UK Election: Which party will put an end to cold homes?

April 30th, 2015

party leaders md

With just one week to go until the election, all political parties are making promises. Here’s your guide to which parties have, and which have not committed to ending fuel poverty long term.

The Energy Bill Revolution 

The Energy Bill Revolution is calling for a radical change in home energy efficiency to end fuel poverty and slash carbon emission. The key asks are:

  1. Make home energy efficiency an infrastructure spending priority
  2. Bring 2 million low income homes up to a high standard of energy efficiency (Band C on an Energy Performance Certificate) by 2020. All 6 million badly insulated low income homes brought up to this standard by 2025
  3. Street by street delivery programme in partnership with local authorities
  4. Zero percent loans for those able to pay



EBR Rating:  4 Stars 

EBR Comment: Labour has committed to an ambitious new framework to tackle the cold homes crisis, including whole house retrofits to a high standard of energy efficiency, area based delivery, zero interest loans and making it an infrastructure priority. Labour has not yet confirmed whether they will definitely help finance the programme with infrastructure funds. As a result the number of low income homes they are aiming to insulate each year is too low. They have a strong policy framework but a new infrastructure revenue stream to fund the programme must be confirmed.

Labour Pledges:

  • make energy efficiency a national infrastructure priority
  • upgrade at least five million homes over ten years
  • insulate 200,000 low income homes per year up to a high standard (EPC Band C)
  • deliver the programme street by street in partnership with local authorities and community organisations
  • for those able to pay, a million households will receive zero percent interest loans
  • in the private rented sector regulate to ensure landlords upgrade their properties to a high energy efficiency standard (EPC Band C) by 2027


Liberal Democrats

EBR Rating:  5 Stars 

EBR Comment: The Liberal Democrats have committed to both an ambitious new policy framework to deliver whole house retrofits to low income households and a new infrastructure revenue stream to meet ambitious targets, backed by legislation. Strong targets, high standards and new investment. Full marks.

Liberal Democrat Pledges:  

  • make energy efficiency a national infrastructure priority and use capital infrastructure funds to help finance the programme
  • insulate 10 million homes over the next 10 years and 4 million by 2020 with the targets enshrined in a Green Buildings Act
  • zero interest loans for the able to pay for energy efficiency retrofits
  • bring all low income homes up to a high standard of energy efficiency by 2027 (EPC Band C)
  • to bring all social and private rented housing up to a high standard of energy efficiency by 2027 (EPC Band C)



EBR Rating:  0 Stars 

EBR Comment:  The Conservatives have pledged to only insulate 1 million homes with low cost measures. In the last Parliament, 5 million homes were helped with energy efficiency measures – though most homes received too few measures to remove them from fuel poverty.  At best therefore, this pledge in effect represents an 80% cut in the numbers of homes to be helped. Furthermore, the manifesto specifically promises only ‘low-cost insulation’ measures, which shows no commitment to whole house retrofits and a failure to grasp the economic benefits of such a method.  Other existing schemes, such as for boiler replacement, could also be threatened by this approach as these are energy efficiency measures, but not insulation measures. This weak pledge is like to exacerbate fuel poverty in the UK. The commitment is so poor, no stars are awarded.

Conservative Pledges:

  • improve the insulation of 1 million homes over the course of the next Parliament with low cost insulation measures


Green Party

EBR Rating: 5 Stars 

EBR Comment: The Green Party has set ambitious targets, very high standards for retrofits, supported area based delivery and pledged to recycle carbon tax to fund the programme. All the key elements for a highly successful energy efficiency programme are included. Full marks.

Green Party Pledges:

  • free nationwide retrofit insulation programme focused on areas of fuel poverty
  • insulate 9 million homes in the next parliament with 2 million households brought out of fuel poverty
  • homes will be taken up to the Passivhaus ultra-low energy refurbishment standard by 2020
  • £5000 of support per household for insulation and low carbon energy measures. Plus a loan from the Green Investment Bank of up to £15,000 to take homes to Passivhaus standard
  • delivered by local authorities as part of a Green National Infrastructure programme
  • programme funded by carbon tax


UK Independence Party

EBR Rating:  0 Stars 

EBR Comment:  The failure to include any commitment to make UK homes energy efficient would almost certainly increase fuel poverty in the UK. Zero stars awarded.

UKIP Pledges:

  • None


SNP/Plaid Cymru pledges cover only Scotland/Wales and unfortunately aren’t comparable with UK wide pledges.


EBR Summary View of Election Pledges

The Liberal Democrat and Green parties have made very ambitious commitments to end the cold home crisis which are in line with the Energy Bill Revolution asks. The Labour party pledges set out a strong policy framework but they need to confirm infrastructure funds will definitely be used to help finance the programme. All these parties are pledging to put in place a programme which has the potential to end the cold homes crisis.

There is a huge gap between the quality of their pledges and those of the Conservative Party and UKIP which would be highly likely to worsen the level of fuel poverty in the UK and condemn many millions of people to continue living in freezing homes.

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MPs supporting the campaign
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