9,995 Birmingham homes without central heating as Storm Isha hits

Shocking figures show 9,995 homes in Birmingham do not have central heating
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The ‘shocking’ levels of fuel poverty in Birmingham have been laid bare as figures reveal how many households still do not have central heating.

As Britain endures freezing temperatures this week, more than 367,000 households in England and Wales lack such heating and may have to rely on single gas or electric fires to keep warm in their homes.

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The figures from the 2021 Census, published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), show Birmingham has a total of 9,995 homes lacking central heating – which is reportedly 2.4 per cent of all households in the city.

A lack of central heating is classified as one of the key indicators of poverty and nationally, around 1.5 per cent of homes still fall into this category. Birmingham Yardley Labour MP Jess Phillips described the levels of fuel poverty in the city as “shocking”.

“The idea that there are still houses in Birmingham that still don’t have any central heating or double glazing would seem shocking to people who care about this,” she said. "The levels of fuel poverty, certainly in the areas that I represent, are worsening everyday, and are high above the national average.”

What is Birmingham City Council doing to alleviate fuel poverty in the city?

In response to the figures, Birmingham City Council (BCC) said it was upgrading over 5,000 of its oldest and most inefficient boilers as part of the 2024/25 investment programme at a cost of over £14.8 million which it said will “help thousands of Birmingham citizens heat their homes more efficiently”.

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A spokesperson for the authority continued: “The council also supports the work of the Local Energy Advice Partnership and through its Cost of Living programme, the council continues to provide extra support for residents experiencing fuel poverty or hardship, through a number of projects.”

They include the Birmingham Warm Welcome network – a partnership with local community, voluntary sector and faith organisations from across the city who provide around 300 warm and welcoming spaces for residents to visit throughout the year.

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Central heating

“This collective response to the crisis has enhanced the social infrastructure across the city in a year-round offer that connects people with each other, opportunities and services they may need,” the spokesperson said.

They continued that the council works with local welfare provision and energy providers to offer extra support to residents and families across the city – including energy saving measures and energy vouchers.

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Its Information, Advice and Guidance team also works with residents on income and benefits maximisation. The council spokesperson added that the authority’s Neighbourhood Advice and Information Service has extended its opening hours and has since supported more than 1,400 citizens access unclaimed benefits of more than £1.8 million.

How widespread is fuel poverty across the UK?

There are just two local wards in England where every single house is recorded as being fitted with central heating. These are the Ewhurst area of Waverley in Surrey and the Hummersknott ward of Darlington.

The ONS said: “While households without central heating may have other ways of heating their homes, a lack of central heating is one of the characteristics used in our Census 2021 data to identify potential household deprivation.”

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