Warm Homes, Lower Bills
Some of Britain’s biggest businesses, unions and charities today warn the Prime Minister that his attempts to tackle fuel poverty are doomed to fail, and call on him to use Carbon Tax to super-insulate the nation’s homes, solving the problem once and for all.
Following a week of plummeting temperatures and arctic weather across the UK, members of the Energy Bill Revolution campaign are calling on the Government to do more to ease the crippling burden of high heating bills.
The Co-op, Confused.com, npower, UNISON, Age UK, Netmums, Barnardos and the National Children’s Bureau join over 100 major signatories to the biggest fuel poverty campaign in history, which aims to end the fuel poverty crisis blighting 6 million families in the UK.
The organisations warn the Prime Minister that the Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation, his flagship energy efficiency schemes which come into effect next week, are not enough to halt the rise of fuel poverty in the UK.
Fuel poverty affects 6 million UK households, and with gas prices predicted to rise further, 9 million families could be hit by 2016.
Today, energy companies and retailers join unions and charities to urge the Prime Minister to use money raised by the Carbon Tax – on average an estimated £4bn every year for the next fifteen years – to pay for a programme of super-insulation in homes across the country. This would provide five times more subsidy for insulation measures across the UK without increasing consumer energy bills by a penny.
Super-insulation will save the average family £310 every year on their energy bill. With energy prices set to keep rising, super-insulation is the only way to cut energy bills for everyone.
A programme to vastly improve the insulation of the UK’s homes, funded by carbon tax, could bring 9 out of 10 homes out of fuel poverty within ten years.
Super-insulation would also provide a shot in the arm for the UK’s faltering economy, creating over 100,000 jobs right across the country. A recent study by Cambridge Econometrics found that super-insulation would be more effective in boosting the economy than any comparable Government initiatives such as infrastructure spending or VAT cuts.
Ed Matthew, Director of the Energy Bill Revolution, said:
“The suffering caused by high energy bills is turning into a national crisis. Our alliance is united in our belief that the Government can do far more. There is enough carbon revenue to fund an insulation programme which is five times bigger. It could end fuel poverty and ensure all UK homes are super-insulated. Consumers end up paying this tax. It is only right and just that this revenue is used to help them bring down their energy bills.”
Michelle Mitchell, Age UK’s Charity Director General, said:
“Cold homes are not only leading to the deaths of thousands of older people each winter, they are costing the NHS in England £1.36 billion a year due to the devastating impact on people’s health. Using the money raised from carbon taxes to overhaul the energy efficiency of the UK’s housing stock would offer a lasting solution to the scourge of fuel poverty.”
Dr Hilary Emery, Chief Executive of National Children’s Bureau, said:
“Millions of families are struggling to pay their energy bills across the country. Cold homes have terrible impacts on children, affecting everything from respiratory problems and mental health through to educational attainment: this is a national disgrace. The National Children’s Bureau is a leading partner in the Energy Bill Revolution campaign, and together we are calling on the Government to use carbon taxes to drive down bills and end the suffering caused by cold homes.”
Sally Russell, founder of the UK’s largest parenting site Netmums, said:
“A warm home should be a basic right and is as essential to families as food, drink, shelter and education. Our recent study run in conjunction with the Energy Bill Revolution showed nine in ten families are now rationing heating use for fear of not being able to pay the bills – and this is not acceptable in 2013. The Government needs to rethink the energy policy to provide a sustainable system for future generations, which means making UK homes much more energy efficient. This is why Netmums and our million members are proud to support this call.”
Domestic fuel bills have risen by an average of eight per cent this winter. This means families are bracing themselves for annual bills of over £1,300, with gas prices predicted to continue rising.
Based on official DECC predictions on rising energy costs, the Energy Bill Revolution estimates the number of households suffering fuel poverty could rise to nine million by 2016, affecting one in three households.
The Government has cut funding for energy efficiency measures for the fuel poor by 44% since it came to power. The only dedicated Exchequer funded scheme to help make fuel poor homes energy efficient, the Warm Front programme, is about to be axed.
Fuel poverty exists where someone spends more than 10% of their income on paying their energy bills.
The UK’s homes are amongst the worst insulated in Europe, outperformed by countries with similar climates such as France and Germany.
On average, at least 7,800 people die every year in this country from living in cold homes.
The Energy Bill Revolution campaign proposes a programme of home improvements, insulating walls, floors, roofs, doors, and windows, funded by the Carbon Tax, which could save families over £300 every year on their fuel bills and end fuel poverty once and for all.