Press release: Green Councillor’s call for urgent government funding to retrofit and insulate Cambridge housing backed by City Council

23 October 2021

Green Party councillor Naomi Bennett is leading calls for central government to fund vital work on Cambridge’s housing.

Cambridge City Council on Thursday passed an amended version of a motion proposed by Cllr Bennett that urged the Treasury to provide cash to help insulate and retrofit homes in the city.

Cllr Bennett, who represents Abbey ward, said: “We need our national government to step up on this and make funding available to local councils as a matter of urgency.
“Only central government has the ability to legislate for better insulation standards on rental properties for private sector landlords, to borrow the funds needed to transform our ageing social housing, and to make grants, loans and incentives available to lower income homeowners.”

A 2020 study commissioned by the city council estimated that retrofitting all social housing in Cambridge would cost more than £500m. The council does not have enough money of its own to complete the work by 2025 and so meet targets to become carbon neutral.

The study said it would cost a further £1.75billion to bring all private homes up to the required standard.

The Green Party says insulating houses properly is vital to fighting climate change and ending fuel poverty in Cambridge and beyond.

Matt Howard, local campaigner and Green community support lead, said: “Instead of subsidising fossil fuels and airports, government money should be used to directly reduce our impact on the global climate while improving quality of life.

“Cambridge is the most unequal city in the UK: many people cannot afford to heat their homes properly, let alone insulate them or install renewable energy sources, even though it would save money in the long term.”

Cllr Bennett’s successful motion also called for Cambridge City Council to join the “Great Homes Upgrade” and for council leader Anna Smith to write to Secretary of State Michael Gove asking for action to end fuel poverty, create new jobs and insulate homes.

The Cambridge Green Party is driving efforts to put the city at the forefront of the fight to fight climate change and a Green New Deal.

At the same full meeting of the city council, members passed a motion by Green councillor Hannah Copley that made Cambridge the first local authority in the UK to endorse a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.

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