Tackling poverty, cutting carbon and creating jobs

2 March 2021

Jamie Whitham with some insulation, and also insulators.

At Tuesday’s RBC budget meeting, Green councillors moved an amendment designed to tackle poverty, cut carbon and create jobs through insulating more homes in Reading.

The Green amendment called for a Home Energy Conservation Officer similar to one in Bracknell, where an officer has helped residents with grant applications to improve the insulation in their homes. Bracknell is insulating over 500 homes each year like this. A similar scheme could have helped Reading towards its target of 4000 homes per year (the minimum required to tackle climate change). The funding required – a drop in the ocean of the Council’s budget – would have been a pump-primer to release much greater sums from central government schemes.

Labour councillors voted against this budget amendment, but failed to outline how they would bring houses in the private sector in Reading up to the high standard of Reading’s council homes.

Jamie Whitham, Green councillor for Redlands, spoke on this budget amendment. He said: “I represent Redlands Ward in east Reading where there are thousands of houses in poor condition. Residents’ hard-earned money is currently being wasted heating homes with little insulation. The residents inside would benefit from loft and wall insulation. This scheme would also cut carbon emissions and create jobs.

Louise Keane, Green campaigner for Katesgrove Ward, who finished 2nd in the most recent council elections added: “No taxation without insulation. It is disappointing that Labour councillors opposed this budget amendment, but failed to come up with a plan of their own apart from crossing their fingers and hoping national government steps in. We will keep working for a truly green recovery from the pandemic.”

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