Tag Archives: Homes

Cost of living crisis: reducing rising household bills 

Councillor Kye Dudd smiles at the front of the picture, with trees and grass blurred in the background.
Today’s blog is by Cllr Kye Dudd, Cabinet
Member for Climate, Ecology, Waste and Energy
and Labour Councillor for Southmead

The cost of living crisis is affecting us all. As we look to the colder months, I know many people are deeply concerned about the cost of heating their homes and rising energy bills.

Projections that energy bills could continue to rocket into early 2023 have sent shockwaves throughout our city, where around 30,000 households live in fuel poverty. We support calls for immediate national action to freeze bills to save families on average £1,000, by taxing record oil and gas profits.

In the medium and longer term, Bristol City Council is glad to have secured even more funding through the government’s Home Upgrade Grant, to help even more eligible households in Bristol, Bath, North East and North Somerset to install energy saving measures in their homes, through the Bright Green Homes project. Eligible residents who do not use gas central heating are now invited to apply for grant funding, to help reduce their household energy bills and help make their homes more energy efficient.

Eligible households may be entitled to receive up to £25,000 of funding for a huge range of energy saving and low carbon technologies, which will be incredibly important as we look ahead to the colder winter months. This includes external and cavity wall insulation, double glazing, energy efficient doors, as well as air source heat pump installation and solar panel systems. 

Over 200 households have already benefitted from the first phase of the Bright Green Homes scheme, with more families set to have help to keep their energy costs low and reduce carbon emissions.

To be eligible for this £2.7 million round of funding, you must:

  • not use gas central heating. The scheme is only open to households who use oil, coal, LPG, or electric heating systems;
  • have a combined gross annual household income under £30,000 per year;
  • have a valid Energy Performance Certificate with a rating of D, E, F, or G;
  • live in Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset or North Somerset Council areas;
  • be the owner, landlord or private rented tenant of the property.

The scheme has funding for a limited number of homes across Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset and North Somerset. If your household meets the eligibility criteria, please complete the online questionnaire.

A photo of the inside of a attic ceiling, at the front of the image you can see the rafting lining the ceiling, with home insulation installed to keep in heat.
Installed Home Insulation

The Bright Green Homes scheme will not only help to reduce energy costs for individual households, helping more households become more energy efficient is also an essential part of Bristol’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030.

If you have any questions about the project, please contact the Energy Service Bristol team on 0117 352 1180 or email domestic@energyservicebristol.co.uk.

More information about the Bright Green Homes project can be found on the Bristol Energy Service website.

For those who are not eligible for the scheme, you can find energy saving tips on the Energy Service Bristol website.

Launching a Living Rent Commission

Todays blog by Cllr Tom Renhard, Cabinet Member for Housing Delivery and Homes and Labour Councillor for Horfield

In Bristol we face a housing crisis.

We have almost 18,000 households (and growing) on our waiting list for social housing, along with over 1,100 households in temporary accommodation. The cost of renting in this city is one key cause alongside the lack of security that renters have in the private rented sector.

Over the past decade the cost of renting in the city grew by 52%, whilst wages only increased by 24% over the same period and current levels of inflation are far outstripping any growth in income. The spiralling costs mean housing is becoming increasingly unaffordable, pushing many further away from their place of work, family, and support networks, impacting across sectors and low and middle income households

Cllr Tom Renhard, end revenge evictions

This is why we have launched a Living Rent Commission.

We are bringing the best, partnership focused organisations together to explore the issues facing renters.

The principle aims of the commission are to:

  • Improve affordability of the private rented sector
  • Understand the impact of regulation on rent prices including on housing quality and maintenance
  • Identifying the most effective rent controls
  • Consider what other powers are required
  • Consider how to empower tenants’ rights

The powers needed to ensure the rental market is accessible and works for all do not exist. The commission will make recommendations on possible rent stabilisation powers. The powers come from government and so we will work with Westminster on policy development to reform the private rented sector, enabling Bristol to become a Living Rent City.

While we will focus on delivering change for the tens of thousands of renters in Bristol, we are also making links with other urban areas and could see this work pave the way for rent reform that benefits millions across the country. This is our time to make the case for a Living Rent, and it has never been more important given the current cost of living crisis with no immediate end in sight.

We have a track record of supporting action to improve conditions for renters. Whether that be lobbying for the end to no fault evictions, that are a huge driver of homelessness in our city, or campaigning to bring in the eviction ban during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been pushing for renter reform for some time.

With cross party support, I wrote to the Secretary of State setting out the city’s support for the Renters Reform Coalition proposals for change. We will lobby to ensure these issues remain on the agenda. I will continue to fight for better protection for renters and ensure they are not driven out of Bristol.

So how can people contribute to the work of the Living Rent Commission?

We will be ensuring a wide range of people have the opportunity to be heard, including the lived experience of what it is like on the ground. I am grateful to the organisations who are prepared to work together on the Advisory Board and other organisations who will have plenty of opportunity to shape the work.

Get involved, so Bristol can have a clear voice on this – we need a Living Rent that is manageable for people and works for Bristol.   

Want to know more? Get in touch by emailing: city.office@bristol.gov.uk

Membership of Living Rent Commission Advisory Board as at 26/07/22:

  • Fair Renting Campaign
  • Generation Rent
  • ARLA
  • ALL Wessex
  • Shelter
  • Bristol Older People’s Forum
  • Ashley Community Housing
  • Black South West Network
  • UWE Student’s Union
  • UOB Student’s Union
  • We Can Make
  • Trowers and Hamlins
  • Brighter Places