Students affected by the cost of living price hike that was applied to supposedly fixed-cost packages
Residents affected by damp, mould and pest issues
Residents who have been placed in inappropriate housing for their medical needs
Residents, in commenting on planning and licensing applications that would affect their quality of housing, from loss of light, loss of privacy and sometimes even loss of sleep, as well as objecting to flats that are too small for good quality of living
We are also in contact with those affected by the ongoing horrendous building safety crisis. Much more Government support for residents is required, both to ensure residents’ safety and to release them from flats they cannot sell.
The Green Party are committed to a better quality of housing, supporting and proposing insulation programmes for warmer homes, lower energy bills and lower carbon emissions. We support action on unaffordable rents by using rent controls, more council housing built to the highest energy efficiency standards, and city-wide landlord licensing.
As my colleague Cllr Douglas Johnson, chair of the Housing committee, said in his budget speech, “We believe in good public services”. This is one of the reasons that we believe public services should be in public ownership, a view unfortunately no longer shared by Labour who, under Keir Starmer, have abandoned commitments to bring into public ownership services such as energy and water.
As City Ward councillors, we are regularly in touch with residents, attending regular community group meetings across the ward, and contacting residents about proposals or ideas. We are also contactable for casework by phone or email.
Green Party Councillor Douglas Johnson, who is Chair of the Council’s Housing Committee, has welcomed significant investment to improve the heating systems and insulation standards of hundreds of Council homes.
1249 homes are due to receive heating system upgrades over the next 2 years. Gas boilers will be replaced with modern Air Source Heat Pumps that extract heat from the surrounding air to provide heating, where this is technically possible. Where it is not possible to install a heat pump, an energy efficient A-rated gas boiler will be installed instead.
Sheffield Council will also be insulating some of its least energy-efficient housing. Homes built in the 1940s and 1950s out of pre-cast concrete are cold, leaky and very difficult to heat. Costs for insulating these homes have risen due to inflationary press
Councillor Douglas Johnson said,
“Improving the energy efficiency of homes tackles climate change and also helps address the cost of living crisis which affects those on the lowest incomes the most. Greens have been campaigning for improved energy performance standards of homes for many years, so this investment is very welcome. What’s more, this will be an opportunity for a new generation of apprentices to learn the skills of installing technology for the future.
“We need to do a lot more, though. Greens have also proposed that the Council develops a scheme for private householders to help them upgrade their homes by releasing some of their equity to pay for measures such as insulation and solar panels with no upfront costs. This could be a relatively easy way of improving a large number of homes, reducing both energy costs and carbon emissions.”
In his Autumn statement, Jeremy Hunt has taken £30bn away from people during a cost of living crisis–both directly and through cuts in services. There is enough wealth in this country for us to avoid the dire economic situation this Conservative government is forcing us into. The problem is that wealth is concentrated in too few hands when it should be spread throughout the economy to the benefit of everybody. The Green Party demand a 1% wealth tax on the super-rich and increases in taxes on unearned income to ensure there is sufficient money to fund the public services we deserve.
I welcome the government’s belated recognition of the importance of home insulation in getting people’s fuel bills down and reducing emissions – but where’s the urgency? We need street-by-street action now to make homes more energy efficient, reduce our demand for gas and reduce our bills and emissions.