In a tweet to his 1.7million followers in July, he said: ‘I can’t believe I’m writing this but wondering if this winter we’ll need ‘hot banks’ l equivalent of “food banks” where people who cannot afford heating are invited to spend their days for free with heating (e.g. libraries, public buildings)?”
In response to Mr Lewis’ tweet, Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees said the city was “actively organizing a city-wide network of Welcoming Places – we call them ‘Welcoming Places’ – for Bristol”.
Since then, it has also emerged that councils across Scotland, including Glasgow and Aberdeen, are planning to set up ‘hot banks’ by opening public buildings.
“Reality” that people can’t afford to heat their homes
In Birmingham, Cllr John Cotton, a cabinet minister for the Labour-led local authority, said: ‘Keeping warm will be a huge challenge for so many, with the price of using home heating soaring .
“We will work with partners to map spaces across the city where people can go to warm up.
“Whether it’s local community centers, places of worship or libraries, we want to help people find places where they will be welcomed, free of charge.
He added: “It shouldn’t be true that people can’t afford to keep their homes warm, but that’s the reality we face here in Birmingham.”
The news comes as the average annual household energy bill is set to rise from October to £3,549.
Cllr Andrew Western, Chairman of the LGA Resources Council, said: “While councils are doing all they can to help residents, these schemes are not alternatives to ensuring people can afford to heat their home during the winter months.”