Cost of living: Fuel and energy

This section examines efforts to tackle fuel poor households and promote energy efficiency, as rising energy costs are in danger of pushing people beneath the poverty line.

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Brighton and Hove Council: £150 council tax energy rebate donation scheme

Brighton & Hove Council identified a number of households who said they do not need the energy council tax rebate which is intended to help with fuel bills. In response, they supported the launch of the Brighton & Hove Cost of Living Crisis Appeal, the funds of which will go directly to supporting the most vulnerable households in the area.

Brighton & Hove City Council: council tax rebate donation scheme

Bristol City Council: Bristol’s One City Response

From March 2022, the Bristol City Council Neighbourhood and Communities service have convened staff from across the council to understand the potential impacts of the rising cost of living on individuals and communities.

Bristol City Council: Bristol’s One City Response

City of York Council: Zero Carbon Homes Programme

A new build housing programme with all homes built to Passivhaus certification, ensuring high thermal efficiency. In addition, all schemes are low parking developments with a focus on cycling and walking with car free streets.

City of York Council: Zero Carbon Homes Programme

Cornwall Council: Make Big Savings by Bus scheme 

In April 2022 Cornwall Council launched the Make Big Savings by Bus scheme, which has significantly cut the cost of bus travel for residents in Cornwall by around one third. The council has introduced new Tap & Cap technology that means customers using contactless will be cards will be charged no more than £5 a day or £20 a week, no matter how many journeys they take. The initiative follows the council’s successful bid for £23.5m in government funding involves bus companies including First South West and Go Cornwall Bus working in partnership as Transport for Cornwall. It is hoped the initiative will encourage more people to travel by bus, which will not only save residents money but also contribute to the council’s net zero goals.

Cornwall Council: Make Big Savings by Bus scheme

Cornwall Council: Whole House Retrofit Innovation Project

Cornwall is working towards an ambitious target of being Net Zero by 2030 and are finding ways of cutting their carbon footprint, while improving the quality of life of their citizens. Being one of the poorest areas of the UK, they acknowledge the need to ensure residents and businesses are not worse off as a result of action taken. Making energy efficiency improvements to existing properties is a key part of their response to tackling the climate emergency. But it also shows commitment to social justice by helping to reduce fuel poverty.

Cornwall Council: Whole House Retrofit Innovation Project

Ealing London Borough Council: Energy efficiency helpline

The Healthy Homes Ealing project aims to reduce the number of cold homes and hospital admissions. Its telephone helpline is open to all Ealing residents and gives advice on how to save energy and cut fuel bills and offers a 'green doctor' consultation for qualifying residents. It operates Monday to Friday between 9am and 5.30pm and can be accessed via telephone or online.

Ealing Council: Energy efficiency advice

East Suffolk Council: ‘Ease the Squeeze’

East Suffolk Council has worked with partners across sectors, through a series of workshops, to develop a wide reaching programme to support local residents with the rising cost of living.

East Suffolk Council: ‘Ease the Squeeze’

Ease Sussex County Council: Discounted travel as part of a ‘Bus Back Better’ strategy

To increase bus use and help residents with increasing petrol prices, East Sussex Council have partnered with Brighton and Hove Buses and Metrobus to introduce lower bus fares, including a £5 East Sussex day ticket, a child fare of £1 after 6pm and free travel for four children with an adult. The council has offered to reimburse some costs to the operators. 

East Sussex County Council: 'Bus Back Better'

Eastbourne Borough Council: £250,000 cost of living emergency grant scheme 

Eastbourne Borough Council has announced a £250,000 ‘cost of living emergency grant’ scheme that will deliver an immediate payment of £20,000 to Eastbourne Foodbank, with one thousand local people benefitting.  The emergency grant will enable Eastbourne Foodbank to directly support even more people who have fallen into food and fuel poverty.

Council announces £250,000 cost of living emergency grant scheme (lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk)

Gateshead Council: Creating warm spaces this winter

Gateshead Council is planning a network of Warm Spaces, where vulnerable residents can come together to stay warm and socialise.

Gateshead Council: Creating warm spaces this winter

Greater Manchester Combined Authority: New funding for home upgrades to keep energy prices down

Greater Manchester residents will be able to access funding for home upgrades that will cut energy use and lower bills, in a wide-ranging initiative believed to be the first of its kind in the UK.  New finance schemes unlock money for upgrades to private and rental properties, including heating, insulation and flood and heat protection.  The authority hopes the scheme, to be rolled out from December, will help upgrade the energy efficiency of around 60,000 homes a year for three years. 

Greater Manchester residents to access funding to cut bills in 'pioneering' project for UK (Sky News)

Hertfordshire County Council: Hertfordshire Energy Advice Tool (HEAT) app 

Hertfordshire partnered with Energy Saving Trust to provide an energy efficiency app. The Hertfordshire Energy Advice Tool (HEAT) app is free to download and gives users a virtual tour around a typical home, asking questions about different habits and appliances and giving advice to reduce energy use along the way. 

New app to help residents make energy cost savings (threerivers.gov.uk)

Lancashire County Council: £1 million affordable warmth scheme

Lancashire County Council has launched a new scheme to help residents live in warmer homes, as part of their efforts to support residents impacted by the cost of living crisis. 

The Affordable Warmth Lancashire fund will be distributed to Lancashire's district councils on a grant basis, for them to allocate the funding to assist residents on low incomes and those who are vulnerable to the effects of living in a cold home. A cross-party task force has been set up identify and adopt best practice and work in delivering 'warm hubs and welcoming space' schemes. 

Lancashire County Council News: Council launches new £1million affordable warmth scheme to help residents

Leicestershire County Council - Group-buying for solar

Solar Together and Leicestershire council have partnered on a scheme to help residents save on energy bills and cut carbon emissions by investing in solar panels through a new group-buying scheme. The initiative helps people looking to make an investment in solar panels for their house and battery storage systems for a reduced rate. Residents can register their interest for free and opt to be entered into an auction, where solar panel suppliers compete by offering the lowest rate for installation. The more people registered, the lower the price can be.

Group-buying for solar | Leicestershire County Council

Maidstone Borough Council: Working with South East Water to automatically transfer customers to social tariffs

Maidstone has launched a data sharing partnership with South East Water to identify low-income customers and automatically transfer them to a social water tariff. The council have utilised the powers set out in the Digital Economy Act to achieve this, a legislation aimed at improving public services through the better use of data. In this instance, Maidstone have shared the names and addresses of eligible customers, based on council tax support data, with the water company. Qualifying customers in the borough of Maidstone who are not already on the social tariff are then advised by South East Water in writing that they have automatically been given the reduced rate.

MBC working with South East Water to help residents receive lower water bills (maidstone.gov.uk)

North Tyneside Council: working with young people to improve their life chances

Incidents of ASB in Wallsend reduced by almost 50 per cent in four months when North Tyneside Council and the neighbourhood policing team set out to engage with young residents more effectively through outreach, early intervention and a new drop-in centre. Young people said they didn’t want a traditional youth club but needed a dry, warm place to go, with wi-fi, where they could feel safe and listen to music without being moved on.

North Tyneside Council: working with young people to improve their life chances

Portsmouth City Council: Switched On Portsmouth

Switched On Portsmouth was launched in November 2019 by Portsmouth City Council to provide a comprehensive service to offer Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant residents ways in which they can save energy and money in their homes.

Portsmouth City Council: Switched On Portsmouth

Portsmouth City Council: Warmer Homes Programme for lower-income households 

Portsmouth City Council, in partnership with 20 other local authority partners, has secured funding through the Sustainable Warmth funding competition, administered by the Government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), to offer funding to improve the energy efficiency of qualifying homes. The Local Authority and Delivery and Homes Upgrade Grant funding in particular is being used to fully fund solar PV installations to qualifying households (low-income with poor EPC-ratings), it is estimated around 2,000 homes will receive solar under the initiative.

Warmer Homes Programme - Switched On Portsmouth

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea: First Low-energy council home

Verity Close is Kensington and Chelsea’s first low-energy retrofit council home. Completed in summer 2021, this project provided a family with a sustainable home that has reduced the heating demand by half and saved an estimated £1,000 in utility bills annually. It is the foundation on which they Council will make a wider estate carbon-neutral by 2030.

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea: First Low-Energy Council Home

South Somerset District Council: Retrofit in Rural Somerset

South Somerset District Council are embarking on a programme of retrofitting council properties and supporting the community to retrofit their homes to save money, carbon and increase comfort and wellbeing.

South Somerset District Council: Retrofit in Rural Somerset

Swale Borough Council: Fuel and Water Home Advice Service

When declaring the Climate and Ecological Emergency in 2019, Swale Borough Council committed to ensuring the most vulnerable in society were not adversely affected. To help deprived communities save money, improve their energy and water efficiency, and reduce carbon emissions, a Fuel and Water Home Adviser was appointed to work within communities to improve their livelihoods.

Swale Borough Council: Fuel and Water Home Advice Service