Opinion Former Article

NEA: Additional investment into energy efficiency programmes to tackle fuel poverty is a no regrets decision for the UK Treasury and businesses

National Energy Action (NEA) welcomes a landmark report published today by two leading independent consultants, Verco and Cambridge Econometrics (on behalf of Consumer Focus), which demonstrates that by tackling fuel poverty it is not only possible to improve millions of people’s lives, it can significantly boost the economy and local employment.

Maria Wardrobe, Director of External Affairs comments:

“The UK Government is fully aware that millions of households are currently unable to heat their homes to the level needed for their comfort and wellbeing.  This is currently a top political issue. However, from next year, England will be the only UK nation not to have a tax funded energy efficiency programme and HM Treasury is likely to raise staggering revenues from hard up domestic energy consumers. Without changing the current approach we know that the most severe impacts will continue to be felt by many of the poorest and most vulnerable households and communities. This report shows the positive impacts that changing direction and taking action on cold homes could have”.

“NEA has always taken the view that energy efficiency improvements are a rational and sustainable solution in ensuring long-term affordable warmth. We are fully committed to the objectives of the Energy Bill Revolution campaign and urge George Osborne to consider the conclusions of this landmark report very carefully. If he does, we look forward to helping him capture the multiple benefits that an ambitious programme of investment into energy efficiency can have”.


Link to the report:

www.nea.org.uk/ebr


EDITOR’S NOTES

1.            NEA is the UK’s leading fuel poverty charity campaigning for affordable warmth in the homes of vulnerable people. For further details visit http://www.nea.org.uk

2.            Fuel poverty is defined as the need to spend over 10% of household income on fuel costs to maintain adequate warmth for health and comfort. The passage of the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000, supported by the UK Fuel Poverty Strategy 2001, requires the Government to seek to end to fuel poverty for all households by 2016 (2018 in Wales). The Strategy adopted a further interim target to end fuel poverty for all vulnerable households in England by 2010 which was not achieved due to the cost of energy more than doubling since 2004.

3.            Since the passage of the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000, the UK Government have helped to make a quantifiable improvement to the health, financial security and wellbeing of millions of the UK’s poorest and most vulnerable households. But as energy prices have become less and less affordable, we are now failing to beat this challenging social issue and the situation is only becoming more acute.

4.            The most recent Government statistics illustrate that in 2010, 3.5 million households in England were fuel poor, equivalent to 16.4 per of all households. Around 2.8 million of these fuel poor households were vulnerable, which represents around 18.1 per cent of all vulnerable households in England. Since then energy bills have soared and the Government estimated that approximately 4 million households in England are now estimated to be living in fuel poverty, unable to heat their homes to the level needed for their comfort and wellbeing.

5.            The UK Government is seeking to attract investment estimated at £200 billion in energy infrastructure with clear implications for domestic energy bills. The impact of these proposals can be mitigated through adequate and proportionate assistance to vulnerable households; however, according to an independent review of fuel poverty commissioned by the UK Government earlier this year, existing and future policy proposals fall far short of what is required to protect the health and welfare of fuel-poor households. NEA is seeking greater clarity on the adverse impact of EMR proposals and a commitment from Government to implement adequate and proportionate remedial policies.

6.            NEA are actively campaigning with a growing number of partners to ensure   HM Treasury fund an ambitious national domestic energy efficiency programme that can meet economic, social and environmental objectives. 155 MPs are also currently supporting the campaign. To view more information on the campaign or the report please go to The Energy Bill Revolution campaign website or visit NEA’s website here.

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