Housing association calls for Government policy change

By Dan Peters

A HOUSING Association has called for “considerable changes” to the Government’s Green Deal to ensure it helps some of its poorest tenants.

HousingRiversmead Housing Association, which is based in Ware Road, Hertford, said it was concerned that current proposals due to come into effect in October would prohibit it and its tenants from applying for money under the new Affordable Warmth Target fund.

Householders will be able to apply for money from the fund to pay for home improvements like loft and wall insulation, which will reduce energy use and deliver savings on their bills.

But the money will only be available to people 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 Cllr Malcolm Alexander (Con, Ware Trinity) called on the Government to distribute the Green Deal money fairly.

He said: “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.”

Source: http://www.hertfordshiremercury.co.uk/Hertfordshire/Housing-association-calls-for-Government-policy-change-13022012.htm