As the cost of living crisis deepens with further rises in electricity and gas prices over the coming months Labour-run Ealing Council is being urged by Ealing Liberal Democrats to “work with partners to see what is possible” as councils in England and Scotland are exploring the introduction of “warm banks” where residents can keep warm during the daytime.
The “warm banks” are planned in libraries and other council and partner premises which the public can use during the daytime to help reduce their reliance of heating up their homes. For electricity customers on Economy 7 tariffs and using storage heaters, daytime heating is charged at a much higher rate than at night as daytime unit charges can be 50% more than at night.
Councillor John Cotton, cabinet member for social justice, community safety and equalities at Birmingham city council, said: “Keeping warm will be a huge challenge for so many people, with the price of using domestic heating spiralling. We are going to work with partners to map out spaces across the city where people can go to keep warm.”
Councillor Cotton added: ““Whether that’s local community centres, places of worship or libraries, we want to help people to find places where they will be welcomed, free of charge. As a council we will then work with our partners across the city to identify gaps in provision and find solutions to fill them.”
Over at Bristol City Council, Mayor Marvin Rees said the council has been looking at “warm places” for people since May.
He said: “We know people are facing a crisis right here, right now. But our approach has been to say the blessing is that people do not need to put their heating on, but we anticipate a gear change when people do need to put their heating on in the autumn.”
While in Ealing there is no official comment from the council if they are set to follow Birmingham and Bristol in England and Aberdeen, Dundee and Glasgow in Scotland, the idea is welcomed by opposition party, Liberal Democrats.
Liberal Democrat Councillor Gary Malcolm, leader of the Opposition on Ealing Council told EALING.NEWS that there are many buildings across Ealing that can be used to help residents keep warm: “Liberal Democrats think that Ealing Council who have many buildings, some of which are not fully used, could help vulnerable residents to keep warm if they cannot deal with the huge increase in fuel bills. I urge Ealing Council to work with partners to see what is possible in Ealing’s town centres.”
EALING.NEWS has contacted Ealing Council for a comment.