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County council launches new £1million affordable warmth scheme to help residents in Lancashire

Lancashire County Council is launching a new £1m scheme to help residents across Lancashire to live in warmer homes, as part of its 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.

The county council will also work with GPs and the NHS to ensure those who need our help most will be prioritised.

County Councillor Michael Green, cabinet member for health and wellbeing at Lancashire County Council, said: "Low incomes, high fuel costs and a lack of energy efficiency can all increase the risks of living in a cold home.

"We know that living in a cold home can have numerous negative impacts on one's health and wellbeing.

"That is why we are taking and exploring a number of innovative and responsible measures to support our residents this autumn and winter.

"We are making £1 million available to our district council colleagues, to enable them to improve the insulation and heating systems in homes across Lancashire, which will improve the health and wellbeing of our residents."

The latest statistics indicate that 13.7% of Lancashire households were living in fuel poverty in 2019, just above the England average of 13.4%, and up from 10.8% in 2013. Rates vary across districts, from a high of 17.3% in Pendle to 10.8% in South Ribble. 

Improvements such as insulation and efficient heating systems are the most sustainable way to reduce energy use and bills and associated carbon emissions, as well as improving the thermal comfort of homes. The Affordable Warmth Lancashire fund will be used to support the installation of measures such as these, targeted at those vulnerable to the effects of living in a cold home and who struggle to afford to heat their home. 

It will also supplement ongoing work with the district housing authorities in Lancashire on domestic energy efficiency schemes, using government and Energy Company Obligation (ECO) funding and adding value to existing delivery schemes in place such as Cosy Homes in Lancashire (CHiL).

The launch of the Affordable Warmth Lancashire fund comes after an agreement on how to best support our residents was reached at Full Council on Thursday 14 July.

Among the actions, members agreed to set up a cross-party task force with immediate effect to identify and adopt best practice and work in delivering 'warm hubs and welcoming space' schemes and report this back to cabinet.