Housing association calls for Green Deal policy change

Hertford-based Riversmead Housing Association has called for “considerable changes” to Government’s Green Deal scheme, to help it support the poorest of its tenants.

Under the Green Deal, householders deemed as most in need of home improvements like loft and wall insulation in order to reduce energy bills, will be able to apply for money from a new Affordable Warmth Target fund.

However, the money will only be available to those who own or rent their home privately despite some of the cash originally coming affordable housing tenants’ energy bills.

The Affordable Warmth Target is an obligation on energy suppliers to reduce the heating bills of those most vulnerable to cold.

Riversmead’s Director of Housing Services, Chris Wright, said: "While we agree with the key principles of the Government’s Green Deal proposal, we feel that considerable changes are needed to make sure social rented tenants are not excluded.

"Help should be given to vulnerable tenants on low incomes who are in fuel poverty to ensure they are able to heat their homes.

"We hope the Government listens to the concerns raised and works with social enterprise organisations like housing associations to reconsider its approach."

Riversmead Board Member and East Herts Council’s Deputy Leader, Councillor Malcolm Alexander, called on the Government to distribute the Green Deal money fairly, saying: "We want to get behind the Government’s Green Deal but councils cannot endorse an approach which explicitly excludes some of the poorest and most vulnerable living in our social housing.

"We urge Government to reconsider any decision to exclude social tenants from an initiative designed to support the most vulnerable."