Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Government Decent Homes Programme is Indecent

I have been having a number of conversations with Brenda Osbourne (http://online.gateshead.gov.uk/Councillors/Councillor_info.aspx?CllrID=64) , our excellent councillor for Winlaton and High Spen, about the half hearted nature of the "Decent Homes" programme in Blaydon, which is due to be rolled out to Winlaton soon.

Government funding has been released to Councils/Almos/ in order to bring Council Housing up to decent standards. There is concern that in Blaydon and Winlaton, being at the end of the programme in Gateshead appear not to be receiving anything like the investment made in homes at the commencement of the programme several years ago.

Decent homes includes bathrooms, windows, kitchens, electrical wiring, and heating systems. Most of the properties in Gateshead were originally installed with back boilers many of which are now quite aged and inefficient but these will not be replaced with efficient combi boilers if spare parts can be located regardless of age. Insulation is also being carried out by Warm Zone. The windows are not to be replaced under 30 years as long as they are in a repairable condition. Many of these properties are in very exposed areas and the windows are extremely draughty which often results in huge fuel bills for some of our poorest citizens. We had reports that last winter several constituents in Barlow Village were obliged to pay approx £900 PER MONTH in order just to keep the chill off their homes. These properties are to be fitted with double glazed windows and have already been cavity wall and loft insulated but there is actually a cold breeze when a door is opened to the hallway.

It is apparent that many of the houses in the next phase with the same windows are not to receive double glazing or new boilers and that their heating bills are also high. It is simply unacceptable that the Labour government doesn't appear to be helping the most vulnerable and meeting their obligation to bring all housing stock up to the right standard. I suspect that this situation exists right across the region, not just in Blaydon. I will be raising this issue with our MEP, Fiona Hall, who leads on energy efficiency for the Lib Dems in the European Parliament. I will also be working with Brenda and other Lib Dem campaigners to campaign for improvements.
I would value feedback from residents on this issue.

2 comments:

  1. Hi Mr Bradbury,

    I would just like to sasy how excellent your colleagues have been in Wales referefnce energy efficiency for home owners and it is not just in England that the labour government is not interested in Saving Energy for householders.

    I've had great responses from the Welsh Liberal Democrats, but no response at all from any of the Labour AMs or MPs and I've written to everyone. Perhaps it's just another tale of if you're in government you do what you like, sorry I did have one reply from a labour politician he told me as my company was not in his constituency I had to send a letter to my constituent, but I wanted to talk to him for his constituents. It was a pass it to the PA and let them deal with it.

    Keep on pushing Lib Dem and you'll be getting more popular every day, however I do vote Conservative but you're starting to win me around...

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  2. Thanks for those comments - good to see more are being won over! Energy Efficiency is a passion of not just Lib Dems in Wales - we are passionate in the North East. North East Lib Dem MEP Fiona Hall has been leading Europe in demanding practical energy efficency measures as a great way of reducing co2 emmissions and in saving money for consumers!

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