Joint call for energy efficiency drive to tackle cost of living crisis

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  Posted by: electime      10th January 2023

Improving the energy efficiency of the UK’s buildings will permanently bring down energy bills for households and boost energy independence, say four leading associations.

Energy UK, the Local Government Association, the Federation of Master Builders and the National Housing Federation are calling on the Government to continue to prioritise energy efficiency as a core solution to the cost of living crisis.

Insulating British housing is a long-term challenge, but it will help keep households bills down permanently, all while supporting the transition to Net Zero through reducing emissions, as well as the UK’s levelling-up agenda through the creation of new jobs in constituencies across the country.

The coalition is holding a drop-in event in Parliament today to brief MPs on where their constituents can go for more support on bills, including what their options are for improving the energy efficiency of their homes, and highlighting the important role that the energy industry, alongside the social housing and local government sectors, are playing in rolling out support for British people this winter.

The four associations are calling on the Government to match their ambition by:

  • Working in partnership with industry, local government and wider stakeholders by developing a deliverable long-term plan for energy efficiency, including bringing forward the £6bn that was committed for energy efficiency in the Autumn Statement to this Parliament;
  • Introduce new regulations and fiscal incentives to unlock additional demand;
  • Speed up the review of its methodology that sits behind the EPC framework;
  • Create the conditions to enable local areas to develop the long-term skilled and qualified workforce that is needed to deliver retrofit and energy saving measures; and
  • Continue working in partnership with industry-led efforts, the social housing sector and local governments to support a long-term cross-Departmental approach to policy making in this space.

Dhara Vyas, Deputy Chief Executive at Energy UK, said:

“Energy UK has strongly welcomed the crucial support that Government has brought forward for households so far this winter, including financial support through the Energy Price Guarantee, and advice via the Help for Households and It All Adds Up campaigns.

“It is essential that we continue this momentum by building a long-term market for energy efficiency measures that will encourage and support households to invest in insulation. Better regulation and fiscal incentives, together with support for key enablers like skills, will unlock a market-led approach to energy efficiency and bring consumers’ bills down significantly in the long-term.”

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), said:

“Our country has some of the oldest and leakiest housing in Europe which makes them very expensive to heat. The Government wants to reduce energy consumption and the best way to do this is to make our existing 28 million homes more energy efficient which will help cut energy consumption and reduce energy bills. Local builders are best placed to help householders insulate their homes, but they need certainty that there is a growing market for them to invest in the skills and training needed to deliver retrofit improvements. Funding announced to incentivise energy efficiency upgrades needs to be brought forward in time for this winter, not next, and the Government should back industry efforts to accelerate the roll out of domestic energy efficiency programmes.”

Kate Henderson, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation (NHF), said:

“The NHF welcomes the various government support packages to help housing associations and their residents with the rising cost of energy. However, we now need urgent clarity on the support heat network customers will receive from March 2023 onwards.

“Improving the energy efficiency of our homes will not only bring down costs for households, but will also enable us to push forward with the net zero agenda. Housing associations are well placed to lead this work, being able to innovate and deliver change at scale.

“We urge the government to release the remainder of the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund to allow organisations to bid for larger, longer term energy efficiency projects. This would provide additional certainty across the retrofit sector allowing us to do more, quicker.”

Cllr James Jamieson, Chairman of the Local Government Association, said:

“Retrofitting more homes as quickly as possible is a practical, sustainable and economically responsible solution to keep many people warm and safe through winters, reduce our carbon emissions, and to drive green jobs and growth. It is also vital in our preparation to become a net zero nation.

“Effective and efficient rollout will require long term funding that gives industry the certainty needed to invest in skills and capacity. We have to be far more ambitious and move much more quickly; supply chains and skills need to be scaled up across the country – something that won’t happen overnight.

“Councils are critical to working with their communities, going street by street to help households permanently reduce their bills, and urgently need the funding and support to accelerate energy efficiency.”