The UK Government must change direction on its policy for tackling fuel poverty following the revelation that 5.5 million households are living in fuel poverty, according to an open letter from unions and pressure groups.
The letter in The Guardian newspaper, from groups including Friends of the Earth, Association for the Conservation of Energy, Consumer Focus, Age UK and the TUC, calls on the Government to speed up its efforts to radically improve the energy efficiency of the country’s housing stock as a long-term solution.
The most vulnerable are currently eligible to receive grants for energy efficiency measures under the Warm Front scheme.
But the scheme, which has already seen its funding cut by two-thirds, will end in 2013 leaving the UK – for the first time in 30 years – without a publicly-funded energy efficiency programme.
The signatories to the letter want to see the scheme reinstated and the Warm Home Discount for pensioners expanded to low-income families and those with a disability or long-term health condition.
While the Government’s flagship energy bill promises to introduce an obligation on energy companies to tackle fuel poverty, the signatories say this action is likely to be insufficient. The letter also calls on the Government to bring forward the introduction of a minimum energy-efficiency standard for rented homes from 2018 to 2016.
Unless the Government shifts from its current course, ever greater numbers of households will be unable to afford to heat their homes, warns the letter.
For further information:
British Gas launches its own ‘green deal’ for homes (19-Jul)
Fuel poverty hits 5.5 million UK households as prices rise (15-Jul)
UK opposition accuses Government of “shelving” energy bill (8-Jul)
Homes and businesses need to insulate now to meet UK climate change targets (1-Jul)
UK Government launches trials to make home insulating easier (6-Jul)
20 July 2011