Almost one in five households in Brent suffer from fuel poverty, according to a recent government report.
Figures from the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy showed more than 20,000 homes in Brent experience fuel poverty, which represents around 17 per cent of all homes in the borough.
The report, published last month but using the most recent available data from 2019, showed that, in terms of outer London boroughs, only Barking and Dagenham and Waltham Forest had a higher percentage of fuel poverty cases.
According to the Low Income Low Energy Efficiency indicator, which defines fuel poverty, a household is fuel poor if they live in a property with an efficiency rating below band D, typically indicating higher energy costs, and fall below the poverty line once these costs have been accounted for.
It often means people living in these circumstances cannot afford to keep their homes warm and well-lit or must sacrifice other living costs to do so.
In a joint statement, Cllr Eleanor Southwood (Lab, Queens Park), who is responsible for housing and welfare reform at Brent Council, and environment lead member Cllr Krupa Sheth (Lab, Wembley Central) said this issue needs to be addressed.
They said: “Having access to a warm home is a basic human right – it’s appalling that almost a fifth of households in Brent are experiencing fuel poverty.
“Brent’s independent poverty commission said it best – to eradicate poverty in Brent, we need to focus on the underlying causes. Low pay and high private rents leave little leftover for bills, including utilities and food.”
They explained the council is conducting a “comprehensive review” of the private rented sector to “better understand” the problems and said there must be a push towards making all homes greener to drive down costs.
The pair also urged the Government to “reconsider” its funding formula for its ‘levelling up agenda’ – an initiative that seeks to support communities, many outside of London, that feel they have left behind.
They argued this could leave many in Brent, who still “desperately need financial support”, being overlooked.