Andy Street backs Truss

“Do I stand by her, and what she is trying to do? Yes, absolutely,” he said in yesterday’s Birmingham Mail. “We needed to be more ambitious in pursuing growth… we needed to address that.” Street said he is speaking at the Tory Party conference “to demonstrate to all of the Government that investing in the West Midlands will get the sort of return the country needs.”

So what is the Government investing in retrofitting homes in the West Midlands to save money on rocketing fuel bills? According to the BBC yesterday, “Low-income homes in England are to have their energy efficiency improved under a £1.5billion government plan that will also address poor insulation. Wall and loft insulation, double glazing, heat pumps and solar panels are all measures that could be funded.”

Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said “By making homes warmer and cheaper to live in, we are not only transforming the lives of households across England, we are creating huge growth in the economy, backing the green energy sector and supporting thousands of high-skilled jobs.”

How much money is needed? There are 4.4million social homes in England, but this new Government grant is also for private home owners.

And how much funding is being made available to local authorities and social housing providers? Enough to upgrade 130,000 homes.

It would be a joke if it were not so deadly serious. To put the £1.5bn in proportion, even if the West Midlands got it all, there are 320,320 social housing dwellings in the West Midlands. The total Government funding for England will cover only 130,000 homes, which is not even half of social housing in the WM. In reality of course the WMCA will just get at most a few million pounds of this new grant, enough for a few hundred homes – a drop in the ocean.

So, Andy Street, is this what you mean when you praise Truss for being “more ambitious in pursuing growth”? Is this what you mean by “investing in the West Midlands”? Or will you admit that this funding is totally inadequate, that it does very little to tackle the cost-of living crisis that millions face in the West Midlands? Will you denounce the Government’s failure, demand the full funding that retrofit urgently needs, and lead a public campaign for it in the West Midlands?

Or will it be a case of Dead-End Street?

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