Without action in the Comprehensive Spending Review the UK Government will miss fuel poverty target in England by 80 years

Date: 24 November 2015

Fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) has today warned that, based on current energy efficiency policies, the UK Government will miss their fuel poverty target in England by 80 years. In addition, some fuel poor households could be waiting over 230 years to receive some insulation measures. The new figures have been released ahead of the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) and the publication of the ONS’s Excess Winter Death figures for last year across England and Wales (both will be released on Wednesday 25 November).

Peter Smith at National Energy Action (NEA) comments: “Increasing advice and support for heating and insulation improvements should be a top priority within the CSR but without further help for the poorest households we estimate the UK Government will miss the fuel poverty target in England by 80 years.

NEA is calling on the Government to target current supplier led energy efficiency schemes at reducing fuel poverty across GB as well as delivering additional help through local authorities. The latter requires a new and ambitious programme; a new Warmer Communities Fund which would be funded through capital infrastructure funds and delivered by local partners.

Energy efficiency initiatives can make homes warmer, healthier and in turn encourage economic growth. However, the impact of even these expanded or new energy efficiency programmes will not be immediate so we are also urging the Government to continue and expand the Warm Home Discount Scheme. This would provide all low income working families with an automatic rebate off their electricity bills regardless of their energy supplier.”

For further information on NEA’s key CSR asks, please read the campaign policy briefing and contact Peter Smith or call 07595780893.

ENDS

EDITOR’S NOTES

  1. National Energy Action (NEA) is the leading fuel poverty charity. For further information visit www.nea.org.uk.
  2. There are 4.5 million low income households across the UK whose health and well-being is being severely affected as they struggle to afford the energy they need. NEA has estimated that by 2030 over 125,000 vulnerable people across the UK could die needlessly due to living in a cold home. Furthermore, national health services could spend billions treating cold-related morbidity, in excess of £22bn in England and Wales alone over the same 15 year period.
  3. The Government has set a fuel poverty target to improve the energy efficiency of fuel poor homes, by getting as many households as reasonably practicable to a minimum standard of band C by 2030 (with interim targets of band E and band D by 2020 and 2025). Only 5% of current fuel poor households in England live in the most energy efficient properties (Band C or above) – This leaves 2.18m FP households are below band C. Only c. 23K FP households are currently brought up to band C per year and so we estimate it will take c. 95 years to bring all (current) FP Households up to band C and so the Government could miss their target by 80 years. In addition, based on current delivery rates, NEA estimate it will take 32 years for all (current) FP households to receive cavity wall insulation; 19 years for all (current) FP households to receive roof insulation; 21 years for all (current) FP households to receive condensing boilers; 25 years for all (current) FP households to receive central heating system and 237 years for all (current) FP households to receive solid wall insulation.
  4. According to research undertaken in support of the Energy Bill Revolution campaign; adequate investment in domestic energy efficiency nationally can return over £3 returned to the economy per £1 invested by central government; help create a 26% reduction in imports of natural gas in 2030, worth £2.7bn in that year; domestic consumers could save over £8 billion per annum in total energy bill savings; increase relative GDP by 0.6% by 2030; increase employment by up to 108,000 net jobs and help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 23.6MtCO2 reductions per annum by 2030, after accounting for rebound effects. The recognised benefits of acting to end fuel poverty in a local area include: reductions in bills and energy arrears which can increase spending within poorer communities; better living conditions and significant positive direct impacts on public health and fewer premature winter deaths; reductions in bills can lead to less stress and better mental health for occupants; local employment from a more buoyant energy efficiency industry will create more demand for local low and medium skilled labour and better local air quality.
  5. The figures were released as part of NEA’s Warm Homes Campaign. For further information go here.
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