807 warm banks have opened across the West Midlands to support the millions of low-income households who cannot afford to heat their homes, according to new figures obtained by Labour.
Labour Freedom of Information Requests and analysis of district, borough and county councils reveal there are at least 12,834 warm banks in the UK. In West Midlands, the figure stands at 807, with over 200 of those being found in Birmingham alone.
Warm banks are public venues that anyone can visit in order to keep warm and have been opened by local councils, community organisations and faith groups. The surge in warm banks comes amidst a fuel poverty crisis.
Labour has announced plans to reduce energy costs and insulate homes, saving households up to £1,400 off their annual bills, not just for one year, but for years to come. This would be paid for by bringing in a proper one-off windfall tax on energy giants and spending that on a package of support for energy bills. Commenting, Preet Kaur Gill, MP for Birmingham Edgbaston said: “I would like to thank those across the West Midlands who are stepping up to support the most vulnerable, especially to all the community groups across my constituency of Birmingham Edgbaston. This is vital work that is happening in the absence of any government support, but it shouldn’t have to be like this. “Too often this burden is falling to local councils and the third sector without the strategy and resources in place to make the difference to people who are becoming desperate. With energy bills set to soar in April it’s a disgrace that Rishi Sunak’s Government is entirely missing in action and is yet to lift a finger. “Labour would bring in a proper windfall tax to stop the energy price cap going up in April, insulate millions of homes, and save families hundreds on their energy bills for years to come.” ENDS Notes to Editors:
Labour analysis of 405 district, borough and county councils reveal there are at least 12,834 warm banks in the UK; this figure comes from:
372 FOI responses from local authorities
Local authority websites
https://www.warmwelcome.uk/, a national register of warm banks
Over 3 million low-income households cannot afford to heat their homes: https://www.jrf.org.uk/press/over-three-million-low-income-households-said-they-have-not-been-able-keep-their-home-warm
8.6 million households are estimated to be in fuel poverty as of April 2023 meaning they live in energy-inefficient homes and have a residual income below the official poverty line after paying to heat their homes: https://www.endfuelpoverty.org.uk/about-fuel-poverty/
Rachel Reeves recent speech setting out Labour’s cost of living support plans can be found here: https://labour.org.uk/press/rachel-reeves-speech-at-fabian-society-new-year-conference/