'Warm banks' to be set up for those unable to heat their homes

The action is being taken to help support those struggling with fuel poverty amid soaring energy costs.

Glasgow to establish ‘warm banks’ for locals unable to heat homes over winter iStock

Councillors in Glasgow have unanimously voted to establish warm banks in the city this winter.

Accessible buildings well known to communities will be set up and heated for people to spend the day if they are unable to afford to fuel their homes.

It comes as new Prime Minister Liz Truss announced a cap on energy bills of £2,500 per year – around £500 higher than the current limit.

The local authority hopes to identify suitable facilities within the coming weeks after passing the motion brought by its Green group.

The action is being taken in response to the cost of living crisis, with charities having warned of the risk that people could freeze this winter.

The cap will last for the next two years from October 1 under a new Energy Price Guarantee.

It will limit the price that suppliers can charge customers for units of gas.

Following a vote on the motion to establish warm banks, Glasgow SNP councillor Ruairi Kelly explained that the magnitude of the action being taken requires “immediacy”.

Kelly, who is convener for Neighbourhood Services and Assets at the Council, indicated that more places may become available as more partners join up.

“It is a sad indictment of failed energy policy in the UK that we are having to talk about providing warm places for people to spend the day because the cost of energy is becoming unaffordable for far too many of our citizens,” said Kelly.

“We have a responsibility in local government to respond to this crisis.  So now, and in the weeks ahead, we’re mapping the services and facilities available and working with third sector partners to identify accessible buildings which can provide additional warm places this winter.

“These will be buildings which are well known to communities.  It’s important, though, that this is also about providing a space where people can come and socialise and be offered access to financial inclusion support and social activities.

“The magnitude of this requires immediacy, and the intention would be to have what is available publicised and open by early October through to March – but with the recognition that more places may become available as other partners join what will need to be a Team Glasgow effort.”

Scottish Greens councillor Blair Anderson said that every level of government needs to be doing what they can to stop the crisis escalating further.

“We can’t accept warm banks as just another feature of our failed social security system, like we’ve seen with food banks over the past decade of austerity,” he said.

“But in the face of inaction at Westminster, I’m glad that following today’s vote Glasgow will play our part in keeping people warm and safe this winter.”

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