Monday, 23 November 2015

The scandal of cold homes this winter

Cold homes are a scandal. I see young families onto breadline in private rented properties across Haslingden and Hyndburn and my heart aches. I go home and worry about the cold weather the conditions these young children grow up in. Of course it is not just families freezing, it is also the elderly too who suffer the cold.

In Hyndburn we have a very high proportion (over 50%) of energy inefficient solid wall (or hard to treat cavities) properties. We also have park homes and Age UK are running a campaign to raise awareness of their vulnerability to cold weather. Haslingden and Hyndburn has some of the oldest and coldest properties in the country, and people of all ages suffer from expensive to heat, poorly insulated housing.

I have spoken out about the scandal of cold homes backing the efforts of Energy Bill Revolution, AgeUKs campaign for warm homes, NEA's Warm Homes Campaign and Turn2US.

Shelter and Friends of the Earth have also supported campaigns to tackle cold homes and Shelter offer a dedicated housing helpline.

I am very happy to support Age UK’s warm park homes campaign (below) this winter. I will be writing to Amber Rudd, Secretary of State responsible on behalf park home owners.

Government cuts to local authorities though the Energy Companies Obligation and the Green Deal, has meant more people in Haslingden and Hyndburn living in cold homes, spending more of their money on heating. I am glad that Age UK is continuing to hold the Government to account.

Alongside local companies such as Isothane, I have lobbied the Government persistently to change policy towards energy conservation as it is the most efficient way of reducing energy. Locally Hyndburn Council has shown the way stripping out 5 rows of terraced houses in Woodnook and insulating them to a very high standard.


Good afternoon Graham,

I hope you are well. I am writing to thank you for supporting Age UK’s Campaign for Warm Park Homes to date, to give you an update on the campaign and to inform you about Age UK’s wider campaign for warm homes.

Our broader campaign for warm homes is launching on Monday 23 November ahead of the release of the Excess Winter Death Statistics on Wednesday 25 November.  With the campaign, we are calling on the Government to reform its energy efficiency schemes to enable all older people to live in a warm home. Please find attached a copy of our new campaign report, ‘Still cold: What next for older people in cold homes’. The report explores why the Government’s flagship energy efficiency schemes, the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) and the Green Deal, have had insufficient impact. It also shares the stories of older people in England who have struggled to access support from these schemes and sets out what Age UK believes the energy efficiency schemes of the future should look like and how they should be funded. We hope that you will support our proposals. 

After reading the report, please could you write to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, the Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP and urge her to:
-       Commit to a dedicated energy efficiency scheme for park home residents.
-       Reform ECO to ensure that it has the reach and scale to help those in need.
-       Roll out a new scheme providing incentives to people who are able to pay for improvements.
-       Make energy efficiency a national infrastructure priority.
-       Commit to bringing at least 2 million low income homes up to EPC Band C by 2020 and all 6 million low income homes up to this standard by 2025.

I would be grateful if you also put Cold Homes Week (1-5 February 2016) in your diary. This is a week of action on excess winter deaths and fuel poverty, when local Age UKs around the country will be staging events to raise awareness of these issues in their local areas. Please let me know if you are interested in attending a local event.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Kind regards,

Suzanne Foster
Public Affairs Adviser

Age UK
Tavis House
1-6 Tavistock Square
London WC1H 9NA
T 0800 169 80 80