I warmly welcome today’s announcement that thousands of people across Cornwall will be lifted out of fuel poverty following an £8m funding investment over the next year. I would like to congratulate the Winter Wellbeing Partnership, led by Cornwall Council, Andrew Ball and 30 partners, has secured over £3.5m from National Grid’s Warm Homes Fund to work with thousands of people to stay warmer for less and be lifted out of fuel poverty.
When I arrived in Westminster 2015 I was advised that West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has one of the highest levels of fuel poverty in rural England. Since then I have worked hard to eliminate fuel poverty in the constituency, I believe that addressing the issue effectively would lower household energy bills, reduce hospital admissions, create skilled jobs, improve our housing and lower the cost of living.
The new fund - ‘Warm and Well Cornwall’ – targets residents who are in poor health or at risk of ill health, or with underlying health issues, or caring for a vulnerable person or worried about their home being cold or damp.
By January 2019 the programme is expected to have helped more than 1,000 homes out of fuel poverty, keeping people warm and well.
Private landlords with tenants can also apply for funding to upgrade their properties. From April 2018, private landlords cannot re-let existing rented properties rated EPC F or G, unless they have registered a valid exemption and from 2020 landlords won’t be able to let any (non-exempt) properties if they are rated F or G.
I am glad that the issue of fuel poverty in Cornwall is being fully recognised. Last year I secured a debate in Parliament on fuel poverty you can read my speech and other MPs comments here .
I also held a conference in Penzance, bringing together key stake holders To understand what could be done to tackle fuel poverty at a local level. Delegates included representatives of local councils, social and private landlords, local business leaders and a representative of SmartEnergy GB and the Association of Conservation of Energy.
Most recently, in early November I held my fifth Health and Wellbeing event, aimed at residents to put them in touch with organisations that help people stay warm and healthy over the winter.