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Changes to the Affordable Warmth Scheme: a response from Sustainable NI

In November 2017, the Department of Communities published a consultation on proposed changes to the Affordable Warmth Scheme.

The review of the Affordable Warmth Scheme examined five key themes: Effectiveness and efficiency of processes; Appropriateness of delivery arrangements; Accuracy of the targeting model; Scheme performance in 2015/16; Scheme qualifying criteria. 

It featured four propsals;

  1. That one installer, managing the installation of all measures to the household, becomes the preferred delivery method. 
  2. To raise the income threshold to £23,000 for households with more than one person and reducing it to £18,000 for all single person households. 
  3. That Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance, Personal Independence Payment and Carer’s Allowance are removed from the calculation of income for the Affordable Warmth Scheme. 
  4. The removal of age-related and disability-related eligibility criteria from the boiler replacement element of the Affordable Warmth Scheme. 

SNI generally endorses these proposals, however urges the government to consider introducting quality standards for measures installed and minimum technical accreditation standards for installers carrying out the works, and also consider setting energy performance targets for dwellings benefitting from the scheme to ensue the measures fitted have the desired impact. We disagree with proposal 4 and recommend including some form of priritisation mechanism for the boiler replacement element of the Affordable Warmth Scheme.

The consultation does not address the issue of low uptake in the Private Rented Sector (PRS), which is historically the tenure most affected by fuel poverty. Low uptake is most likely due to the requirement for 50% match funding from landlords. The Department shold develop a policy to address this issue, setting SAP targets for the sector as a whole and  introducing legislation which would prohibit landlords from renting F and G rated properties, mirroring legislation in England and Wales.

Attached is our response to the consultation document.

PDF icon SNI Response to 2018 Affordable Warmth Consultation.pdf