Posted by: bluesyemre | August 19, 2022

Libraries and leisure centres could become emergency shelters for freezing families this winter

Leisure centres and libraries should be turned into emergency heated sanctuaries to stop desperate families from freezing in their homes this winter because they can’t pay astronomical energy bills, a Midlands MP has said. It might not just be food banks that are needed this winter but also ‘heating hubs’, amid urgent warnings about what lies ahead over the coming months.

The suggestion by Helen Morgan further outlines the grim reality facing millions of families this winter, with more likely to have the agonising choice of heating or eating. Councils are being urged to start preparing now to offer emergency shelter for people who can’t afford to warm their homes.

It comes as inflation hit double figures for the first time in 40 years, the latest sobering statistic of the cost of living crisis after average energy bills were forecast to surge to more than £4,000 on average by January. And there are real fears it will mean many people simply won’t be able to afford to heat their homes.

Ms Morgan said: “Places like libraries and leisure centres could easily be adapted to provide a safe space for people to sit and keep warm during the day, at no extra cost to the taxpayer. Community heating hubs are simple, easily implemented and could be a literal lifeline for some households this winter.”

Ms Morgan, Lib Dem MP for North Shropshire and the party’s spokesperson for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, said she had spoken to many families who were “scared” by how much their bills were rising. She’s written to the county council to urge bosses to back her heating hubs plan.

She added: “I’ve been helping lots of constituents to access support as they struggle with the cost of living. Many of them are scared and wondering how they will cope in the winter when energy prices rise.

“We need action from the Government to stop the extortionate energy price rise. But while the Conservative ministers remain missing in action, councils can offer local solutions to help make sure that nobody has to choose between heating and eating.

“Community heating hubs are a simple and cheap way to support vulnerable people in need and they should be introduced in Shropshire and across the country.”

https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/black-country/libraries-leisure-centres-could-become-24776758.amp


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