Mayor takes action on fuel poverty with new £1m boiler fund

15 December 2016
  • Better Boilers scheme to cut household bills by £150

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today announced plans to help Londoners struggling to afford to heat their homes with a £1m fund to replace or repair inefficient or broken boilers.

The new fund - called Better Boilers - is the first ever pan-London scheme of its kind to help Londoners living in fuel poverty.

This pilot scheme will help up to 500 fuel-poor home-owners in London to keep warm this winter by replacing or replacing inefficient or broken boilers with A-rated ultra-low emission appliances, and will reduce annual energy bills by an average of around £150 per household. It will also:

  • reduce cold-related ill health and winter deaths
  • lower NOx emissions to help improve air quality
  • save up to 310 tonnes of carbon emissions a year, contributing to the Mayor’s aim for London to be a zero-carbon city by 2050
  • reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning

Fuel poverty is a large and growing problem in the capital, affecting over a million Londoners, including around 300,000 children. The number of households unable to afford to heat their homes increased by 26 per cent between 2012 and 2014 to more than 348,000 homes.

The Mayor has committed to producing a Fuel Poverty Action Plan and to reducing bills through Energy for Londoners, his programme on energy and fuel poverty which aims to help Londoners get out of fuel poverty and put London on a path to zero carbon by 2050.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “It is shocking that more than a million Londoners live in fuel poverty. In a great city such as ours, people should not have to choose whether to heat their homes or buy food.

“I am committed to making our capital a city for all Londoners, and part of that means people being able to heat their homes and live in comfort, as well as breathe cleaner air. This scheme is another step towards achieving that.”

Jenny Saunders OBE, Chief Executive of charity National Energy Action, welcomed the announcement: “In the absence of Central Government funding to help people living in fuel poverty to repair or replace their heating systems, the Mayor of London has stepped in. I applaud his initiative which provides financial and professional support to Londoners who are struggling to keep their homes warm.”

Councillor Julian Bell, chair of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee, said: “London Councils welcomes this announcement and the steps being taken to support boroughs in cutting emissions and easing pressure on poorer households across the capital.

“We know rising levels of fuel poverty contribute to cold-related illnesses and winter deaths every year and councils are working hard to improve energy efficiency in their housing stock, which in turn will help to improve air quality – another key health priority.

“Boroughs have played a key role in the development of this scheme and will continue to work alongside the Mayor of London to identify the households most in need of support.”

Paul Goulden, Chief Executive, Age UK London, said: “It’s a tragedy that the last confirmed figures showed there were 4,040 excess winter deaths in London in 2014/15, almost all of them older people. Replacing broken and inefficient boilers is one way of helping to reduce this figure, and this scheme will help those who wouldn’t be able to afford to do so otherwise. We’re glad the Mayor of London is tackling this issue and hope the pilot scheme will succeed and be extended so no older Londoner ever has to make the choice between heating and eating again.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

1.       According to Greater London Authority analysis of 2014 Fuel Poverty statistics, 1.1 million Londoners are living in fuel poverty. The statistics were produced by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy:https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fuel-poverty-detailed-tables-2014

 

2.       To be eligible for the Better Boilers scheme, people must be homeowners in receipt of qualifying benefits with either:

i. an 85-per cent or below efficient gas, oil, LPG or solid fuel boiler (typically at least ten years old) in working order

OR

ii. a broken gas, oil, LPG or solid fuel boiler of any age or level of efficiency.

3.       Administration of Better Boilers will be undertaken by the Energy Saving Trust. Installations and repairs will be undertaken by a contractor from the Mayor of London’s RE:NEW framework.

4.       The London Boiler Cashback Scheme (LBCS) will continue to run in parallel to Better Boilers until funds run out. The LBCS differs from the new scheme because it does not directly address fuel poverty; households must contribute around 80 per cent of the overall boiler installation cost, which would be unaffordable to many households in fuel poverty. The £1m capital funding for Better Boilers has been reallocated from the LBCS, in recognition of the need not only to reduce carbon emissions but also to tackle fuel poverty.

5.       For people living in rented homes, RE:NEW, the Mayor’s homes energy efficiency programme, provides support to social landlords to retrofit their homes, including those accommodating fuel poor households. Private renters may benefit from the London Boiler Cashback Scheme.

6.       London accounted for 69% of the increase in fuel poverty nationally between 2012 and 2014.

7.       In 2014, over 348,200 households (10.6 per cent of homes) were fuel poor, compared to 276,700 (8.9 per cent of homes) in 2012 – a 26 per cent increase.

8.       In 2014/15 there were 4,040 Excess Winter Deaths in the capital. While the reasons for excess winter deaths are not entirely clear, poorly heated homes are likely to contribute https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarri...

9.       The pilot scheme will test the efficacy of this approach to tackling fuel poverty, to help inform future Mayoral action.