Helen Morgan challenges Greg Clark on Community Heating Hubs

On 16 August, Helen Morgan wrote to Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities calling for action to protect those who will not be able to afford to heat their homes this winter. She has also written to Shropshire Council leader Lezley Picton:

Places like libraries and leisure centres could easily be adapted to provide a safe space for people to sit and keep warm during the day, at no extra cost to the tax payer.

Community Heating Hubs are simple, easily implemented and could be a literal lifeline for some households this winter.

In her letter to Greg Clark, Morgan said the country faces a cost of living emergency. She urges him to tackle the emergency this winter by requiring all local authorities to provide Community Heating Hubs, making public buildings available to those who can’t afford to keep their heating on at home.

I’m hoping you will wake this zombie government and take action to help the millions of people being pushed towards poverty by the cost of living emergency. Please ask all local authorities to take this simple step.

The letter to Greg Clark

The Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

Dear Secretary of State,

Community Heating Hubs to tackle the cost of living emergency. This winter the country faces a cost of living emergency.

Our local communities will need to work together to ensure that people are kept and warm and safe.

I’m writing to urge you to tackle the emergency this winter, by requiring all local authorities to provide Community Heating Hubs, making their public spaces available to those who can’t afford to keep their heating on at home.

Many local authorities run libraries and leisure centres which could easily be adapted to provide a safe space for people to sit and keep warm during the day, at no extra cost to the tax payer.

Community Heating Hubs could be a literal lifeline for some households this winter.

I’m aware that some Town Councils have already committed to similar plans, and that some libraries have offered ‘cool spaces’ during the heatwave. They’ve helped people struggling with the weather, and raised interest in the services on offer.

Community Heating Hubs are simple and cost effective. Local authorities can implement them quickly.

I’ve been shocked by the lack of ideas from the Government as crisis looms. In fact, I’ve heard nothing on this emergency from any Minister, while the Prime Minister takes his second foreign holiday of the summer, and the party leadership contestants bicker over the culture war.

We’ve heard nothing on cancelling the energy price cap hike, nothing on helping the small business that face ruin because of spiralling energy costs, and nothing on helping communities to get through the winter.

So I’m hoping you will wake this zombie government and take action to help the millions of people being pushed towards poverty by the cost of living emergency. Please ask all local authorities to take this simple step.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Helen Morgan MP

Member of Parliament for North Shropshire. Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Levelling Up, Housing, Communities and Local Government

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3 Comments

  • Well done for this. At a time when local authorities are being cut, it is essential that a means be found of preserving community buildings for the future.
    Ideas like this will save money as it will result in fewer cases of illness caused by lack of warmth, company and if properly organised food.

  • Helen Dudden 21st Aug '22 - 10:29am

    My concerns are for those who could not get to these centers in say snow or icey conditions.
    I feel things are going down a rabbit hole.

  • On first look this seems a good idea, until the real world impinges…

    Most village halls and community centre are run by community associations ie. the third-sector. Likewise, local authorities have largely transferred their libraries to community associations; begrudgingly because these sites typically represented high-value sites that many Councillors wished to sell for development… So it will be these voluntary third-sector associations that will be paying the energy bills…

    This is unfortunate because community-owned libraries tend to be more than just a library and those who have taken on the responsibility would relish the opportunity to further establish their place as a community hub; if only they have the funds to pay the energy bills…

    So I suggest monies to support this are channelled through existing third-sector funding channels(*) rather than just going directly to local authorities, who given their past performance will take the monies and still close the libraries whilst citing budget constraints.

    (*) I think these need to be investigated to ensure they are efficient and that monies aren’t being overly skimmed as it cascades down through the quangos.

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