Tenants who pay the council for their heating saved from a hike in energy cost21st August 2013
Tenants who pay Southampton City Council for their heating will only have to pay 2.5 per cent rather than the 10 per cent needed to cover the cost of energy inflation despite a financial shortfall in the heating account.
A large number of residents who get their heating from the council have had increased heating charges over the last two years. In the current economic environment many may be suffering from fuel poverty, particularly in the most deprived areas of the City, and the impact of welfare reform. Therefore Cabinet has decided only to increase heating charges by 2.5 per cent, which is in line with the expected general price inflation but is significantly lower than the anticipated energy inflation. To help balance the heating account books, Cabinet agreed a one off payment of £391,000 which will be made from the relatively healthy Housing Revenue Account.
Councillor Warwick Payne, Cabinet Member for Housing and Sustainability, said: “It’s a priority for the council to reduce fuel poverty in Southampton and that’s difficult in the face of benefit changes and the economic slowdown.
“However, we aim to meet that challenge with green energy works to council houses and to provide insulation to shield residents from soaring bills in the future.
“Until these greening works take effect, we are using one-off surplus cash in the housing budget to limit this year’s landlord heating charge rise to 2.5 per cent, helping thousands of residents across the city.
“The idea has been backed by the Tenant Resource Group, which includes residents on the landlord system and also those with individual boilers who pay a separate charge, and I’d like to thank them for their support.”
What tenants actually pay will depend on the size of their home – on average tenants will see an increase of 33 pence per week and people living in the largest homes will see an increase of no more than 66 pence per week. The slight increase in charges will take place from October 7.