Labour councillors say the district council is not spending a £2.8 million government grant to improve council homes.

The grant is meant to help the council make its council houses more energy-efficient by installing better insulation and heating systems.

Labour says this would help tenants who are struggling to afford energy bills.

The council says it will only increase spending on energy efficiency by a small amount (£0.6m over 2 years) and will save most of the grant money.

Labour councillors say the council should use the grant to improve homes as soon as possible.

Labour spokesperson for the Environment, Net Zero and Waste, Cllr. Dave Bigby said, “This is a blatant misuse of a government grant which was intended to add to the decarbonisation programme rather than substitute for money already allocated.

“Over 80% of the council’s carbon emissions come from its housing stock and only 42% of our council homes meet the energy efficiency target (EPC rating C or better). This is much lower than the national average for social housing (over 60%).

“Our tenants are suffering unnecessarily high energy bills because of this council’s foot dragging.

“At the full council meeting on 7th May, the Tory Lib Dem coalition defeated a Labour amendment to increase the Net Zero housing budget for this year by £1.6m, so the Council could get on with the urgent decarbonisation work. The remaining £1.2m could then be used next year. The Council’s excuse for putting the money into reserves is that it doesn’t have the staff or resources and is concentrating on sorting out its repairs service. This is not good enough. Labour says the council should be able to manage both tasks.”

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