'Warm banks' to become a common reality as councils announce new plans
'Warm banks' to become a common reality as councils announce new plans Sep 01, 2022
Earlier in the year, founder of Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis released a tweet about warm banks potentially becoming commonplace.
Can't believe I'm writing this, but I wonder if this winter well need 'warm banks' the equivalent of 'food banks' where people who can't afford heating are invited to spend their days at no cost with heating (eg libraries, public buildings)? — Martin Lewis (@MartinSLewis) July 11, 2022
While one user responded stating, "Some already do use such services for this reason", councils are now anticipating this will become a necessary and usual practice this winter as the energy price cap increases.
Despite this, the government remain positive about their ability to support households during this challenging time.
In an interview with Sky News, foreign secretary Nadhim Zahawi said they plan to go beyond the measures they already have in place, stating, "We need to send a message to Mr Putin that this strategy is not going to work."
He also spoke of their work with energy companies to increase the liquidity of wholesale fuel sources, suggesting that the price of energy may soon become cheaper for energy companies to supply.
Turning public spaces into warm banks
Local councils across the UK are now planning to use public institutions, such as libraries as Martin Lewis suggested, to provide a warm space for families who are struggling to heat their homes.
Currently Bristol, Birmingham, London, Gateshead, Dundee, Aberdeen and Glasgow are all planning for this, with spaces set to open as early as October.
"Not an alternative"
The Local Government Association (LGA) expressed that warm banks are "not an alternative" for the government providing support to vulnerable households.
However, with the new Prime Minister yet to be announced, and the suppliers' costs of energy still under debate, warm banks may be a helpful temporary solution to an increasingly problematic situation.
Now more than ever, customers are encouraged to reach out to their suppliers if they are struggling to pay their bills, as they may be able to resolve this by agreeing on an affordable payment plan.