Campaigners and MPs respond as climate change watchdog urges UK Government to prioritise investment in domestic energy efficiency for low income households
29 June 2015
The Climate Change Committee (CCC) has today insisted policy makers must adequately resource initiatives that make homes warmer and healthier and in turn reduce carbon emissions.
Jenny Saunders OBE, Chief Executive of National Energy Action stated:
“The CCC report highlights the UK Government must realign current policies and increase investment overall in programmes that can create warmth, comfort and make fuel bills affordable for vulnerable households. Current schemes are in danger of drying up entirely over this coming year. As well as causing needless suffering, this could lead to acute financial costs to national health services unless the CCC’s recommendations are acted upon urgently”.
Ed Matthew, Director of Energy Bill Revolution said:
“Making energy efficiency an infrastructure priority would unlock public capital to make all homes highly energy efficient, generating high levels of economic growth. This would be the cheapest way to combat carbon emissions, slash gas imports and solve fuel poverty. No other infrastructure investment can achieve so much.”
Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas, co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on fuel poverty and energy efficiency said:
“The UK is the 6th richest country in the world & yet thousands will die over the coming years because they cannot heat their homes. The economic benefits of energy efficiency are clear, yet currently not £1 of the annual UK public infrastructure budget has been spent on initiatives to make homes warmer- a move which would create decent jobs and put our economy on a more stable footing. To tackle fuel poverty and cut carbon the Government must ensure that energy efficiency programmes get the investment they so urgently require.”
Labour MP, Jonathan Reynolds commented:
“The UK’s fuel poverty figures are shameful. We are still waiting for the UK Government to set out exactly how they will source funding for energy efficiency improvements in low income homes and address some of the shortfall which needs to be met”.
NOTES TO EDITOR
- For all media enquires please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07595780893.
- The Climate Change Committee’s annual progress report can be downloaded for free here
- Current annual spending on energy efficiency improvements in fuel poor homes in England is circa £490m, a proportion of the GB wide Energy Company Obligation (ECO) programme. However, unlike the other GB (or UK) nations, in England there is no additional and recurrent Treasury funded energy efficiency for these households. In addition, as the ECO policy is paid for via a levy on consumer energy bills, those that don’t benefit are only likely to see their energy bills increase.
- The CCC estimates that an investment of £1.2bn to 1.8bn pa would be needed to improve the homes of those currently in fuel poverty in England up to EPC Band C by 2030 or 2025 respectively. The Government has put in place legislation which requires any future Government to reach this first goal however this analysis and subsequent figures from Policy Exchange’s report: Warmer Homes – Improving fuel poverty and energy efficiency policy in the UK highlights current resources are less than half of what is required to meet this target, let alone a more ambitious timeframe.
- An independent consultant Verco has also estimated it would cost £2.6bn pa to improve the homes of all 4.7m low income households to Band C by 2025. Improving the homes of all low income households, rather than ‘LIHC fuel poor’, households is required as it helps overcome the difficulty of ‘churn’ arising from the relative Low Income High Cost (LIHC) definition and make the delivery and targeting of programmes much more straightforward.
- Without accelerating action on cold homes, between 2015-2030, NEA estimates that over 125,000 vulnerable people across the UK may die needlessly due to living in a cold home. Furthermore, national health services will need to spend billions treating cold-related morbidity, in excess of £22bn in England and Wales alone over the same 15 year period.
- NEA estimates 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.However the UK Government does not 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.
- According to the Government’s own analysis; 541,000 FP households could benefit from cavity wall insulation, 967,000 from loft insulation, 1,180,000 from solid wall insulation and 145,000 from new central heating systems.