By Marcus Leach

London could miss out on £500 million to help people cut fuel bills and insulate their homes, local government leaders have warned.

And new measures to tackle fuel poverty could exclude the people who need help most, warns London Councils - the body representing the capital’s 33 local authorities.

London needs a fair share of government Green Deal cash, says London Councils, to help people afford home improvements such as solid wall insulation.

To date less than five per cent of the national pot to help support ‘retro-fitting’ (upgrading the energy-efficiency of existing homes) has been spent in London, despite the capital housing 13 per cent of the population. Funds for carbon saving and affordable warmth schemes available under the government’s new Green Deal should be allocated on a regional basis, says London Councils.

London Councils also wants better targeted support for people in fuel poverty (where low-income households spend more than 10 per cent of their budget on heating). It says health professionals should be able to identify people in need of help on medical grounds so that councils can refer vulnerable residents, including social housing tenants, to energy companies as priority cases.

Councillor Catherine West, chair of London Councils Transport and Environment Committee, said:

“The Green Deal is vital to London, good for the environment and good for people’s pockets. It can help us to tackle the growing problem of fuel poverty in London, but the government’s proposals exclude many of the people that need help most.

“London has a very high proportion of homes that are hard to treat and families living in fuel poverty. To make the Green Deal a success nationally we have to make it work in London, but we can only do that with our fair share of the available money.”

All of London’s councils are involved in the RE:NEW scheme which provides free energy surveys and advice and is being rolled out to 55,000 homes by March 2012.

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