New fuel poverty report urges policy makers to unlock investment in domestic energy efficiency

1 June 2015

National Energy Action (NEA) and Energy Action Scotland (EAS) are national charities working to end fuel poverty and the illness caused by cold homes across the UK.

Today they have published a joint report highlighting the need for policy makers to adequately resource initiatives that make homes warmer and healthier and in turn encourage economic growth.

Jenny Saunders OBE, Chief Executive of National Energy Action stated:

“The report highlights widespread recognition that significant energy efficiency interventions and bespoke energy advice can help increase warmth, comfort and make fuel bills affordable for vulnerable households. Energy efficiency is also regarded as a highly cost effective way of reducing carbon emissions and gas imports. However, across the nations, investment in energy efficiency is not sufficient or in danger of drying up entirely. This could lead to acute financial costs to national health services unless our recommendations are acted upon urgently”.

NormanKerr, Director of Energy Action Scotland observed:

“Joining up the benefits of action to end cold homes should be a common message across the nations. However there are growing differences in delivery across nations and changes to policies by the UK Government have undermined national delivery plans and national targets to eradicate fuel poverty. Many consumers and even frontline support staff are also not clear about who to contact for advice and support needs. This is despite the potential for locally delivered projects to often offer a greater level of assistance and more services”.

The UK Fuel Poverty Monitor was funded by Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice commented:

Millions of people are struggling in fuel poverty. With a new government in place, this monitor provides a timely assessment of how energy efficiency programmes are being delivered. Now is the time to consider better ways of tackling fuel poverty through the delivery of energy efficiency programmes, perhaps for example by devolving funding and responsibility for such schemes to councils.”

Margaret Lynch, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Scotland said:

Fuel poverty now affects a shocking 39% of households in Scotland. For many remote and rural communities, the figure is even higher with some estimates putting fuel poverty in the Western Isles at 71%. That’s shameful for a civilised nation in the 21st century. We desperately need to see concerted action from government, regulators and suppliers to tackle the scourge of fuel poverty and make sure that no one has to live in cold damp homes.”

The report finds that eliminating fuel poverty across the United Kingdom remains achievable and doing so will provide wider social, health, environmental and economic benefits. However, ending fuel poverty and realising the associated benefits will only happen if the scale of investment in domestic energy efficiency is increased (nationally and across the UK). Given the UK Treasury expects to receive a significant windfall from domestic energy consumers in all four nations; the report concludes that the new UK Government must support the use of these revenues or public infrastructure funds to adequately resource initiatives across the UK that make homes warmer and healthier and in turn encourage economic growth.

Notes to the editor

  1. For press enquiries related to the report findings across the UK, England, Northern Ireland or Wales please contact Maria Wardrobe, External Affairs Director at NEA, on 07949615807 or emailmaria.mardrobe@nea.org.uk. For press enquires related to Scotland only, please contact Elizabeth Gore, Public Relations and Information Manager/Deputy Director at EAS on 07764 212564 or by emailinge.gore@eas.org.uk or contact the EAS office on 0141 2263064.
  2. For more information about National Energy Action (NEA) visit: http://www.nea.org.uk/For more information about Energy Action Scotland (EAS) visit: http://www.eas.org.uk/default.phpFor more information about Citizens Advice (CA) visit: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/For more information about Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) visit: www.cas.org.uk

  3. The summary or full versions of the report can be found at: http://www.nea.org.uk/monitor2015

  4. The UK Fuel Poverty Monitor is funded by Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland. The report will be launched in the UK Parliament on the 1 June 2015.
  5. The report highlights that over the term of the UK Parliament (the next 5 years) domestic energy consumers will contribute over £14 billion to the Treasury (£11.82bn in England, £1.33bn in Scotland, £690m in Wales and £190m in Northern Ireland) through VAT and revenue generated from carbon taxes. With the UK Treasury expected to receive this significant windfall, the report concludes that the new UK Government must support the use of these funds (or alternative public infrastructure funds) to adequately resource initiatives that make homes warmer and healthier and in turn encourage economic growth. The report also makes recommendations on other issues that must be addressed at a national level within the four nations.
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