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THE WEEK IN POLICY - Public Affairs Update - Friday 16 February

Department for Energy Security and Net Zero releases fuel poverty report for 2024


On Thursday (15 February), the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero released its annual fuel poverty statistics report for 2024, using data from 2022 and 2023. The report includes the latest statistics on the number of households living in fuel poverty in England and projections of the number of households in fuel poverty in 2023 and 2024. It found that in 2023, 13% of households (3.17 million) were in fuel poverty in England, according to the Low Income Low Energy Efficiency metric. This is effectively unchanged from 13.1% in 2022. However, due to energy efficiency improvements, there has been an increase in the share of households meeting the 2030 fuel poverty target in 2023, up to 54% from 53.1% in 2022.


Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities launches a consultation on householder development rights


On Tuesday (13 February), the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities launched a consultation looking into various propositions to expand development rights for householders. The potential changes to the Town and Country Planning Order 2015 include improvements for householders looking to improve and enlarge their homes, changes which enable the installation of electrical outlets and upstands for recharging electric vehicles, and an increase in the size of heat pumps that are allowed to be installed outside a building.


Michael Gove calls for councils to build new homes on brownfield land


On Tuesday (13 February), the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities published a press release calling for big city councils to prioritise building on brownfield sites to protect Green Belt land. This follows a set of proposals released on the same day to remove regulatory barriers for the development of brownfield land and buildings.


Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities invests £3 billion for affordable housing


On Monday (12 February), the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announced the Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme is receiving a £3bn funding boost, doubling its size to £6bn. The scheme, which provides lower-cost loans to housing providers, will see 20,000 new affordable homes built and can also be applied to by providers carrying out vital building safety works, such as the removal of unsafe cladding.


Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announces £50 million investment for estate regeneration in London


On Tuesday (13 February), the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announced a package of support to improve the quality of life of housing estate residents in London via regeneration works. This funding comes in addition to the Affordable Homes Programme and includes £4 million to be allocated to establish a Euston Housing Delivery Group to help regeneration in a new “Euston Quarter”.



Rishi Sunak announces plans to turbocharge development of cities – The Times


The Times reports Rishi Sunak has pledged to speed up new home building in Britain’s cities. These comments came alongside the unveiling of new rules that will allow brownfield land to be used for tens of thousands of new homes in England’s twenty biggest urban areas. Sunak said he accepted “people’s anger” over the inaccessibility of home ownership and accepted that the Conservatives need to do more to help the younger generation onto the housing ladder.


The uninsurable world: what climate change is costing homeowners – Financial Times


Financial Times published a long read on the damage already being done to homeowners by climate change. Alongside a breakdown of the international economic losses caused by extreme weather in 2022, the article contains anecdotes from homeowners who have experienced significant costs after their properties were damaged by extreme weather. It also explores the implications for the insurance industry, with the increased rates of weather-related property damage leading to higher average premiums.




Tuesday 20 February: The House of Lords Built Environment Committee will hear oral evidence as part of its ‘High streets in towns and small cities’ enquiry.


Wednesday 21 February: Hywel Williams will lead a Westminster Hall Debate on Government support for cavity wall insulation.


Friday 23 February: The House of Commons will hear the second reading of the Domestic Energy (Value Added Tax) Bill, a private members’ bill brought forward by Sir Christopher Chope MP.








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