The End Fuel Poverty Coalition has written to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, warning of the risks of a future wave of COVID-19 striking during colder winter months.
In the letter, copied to Minister Kwasi Kwarteng MP, the Coalition write:
Dear Prime Minister,
Urgent action is needed now to prevent tens of thousands of needless deaths which could overwhelm the country this coming winter.
However, policy to end fuel poverty has been frozen for three years.
Should a second wave of Covid-19 hit during cold weather, the impact could be catastrophic for individuals and our health services.
Energy use is rising as people stay at home more, incomes are being squeezed and improvements in energy efficiency of housing are on hold.
This means the numbers in fuel poverty are set to soar.
While there is currently no cure for Covid-19, cold homes are entirely preventable and four clear actions must be taken to save lives and help address the financial impact of the current crisis:
- Rapid roll-out of large-scale energy efficiency programmes which would also deliver a green economic stimulus that is shovel ready (e.g. retrofitting of people’s homes and improved heating systems). The Government must confirm their manifesto pledge to invest £9.2 billion in building energy efficiency and bring forward £2.8 billion to invest in the next two years which can support 42,500 jobs across the country and help a million households save an average of £270 on their energy bills. 150,000 jobs could be supported to 2030.
- Urgent delivery of government promises on tackling fuel poverty, such as extension of Warm Home Discount, introduction of the promised Home Upgrade Grants and social housing decarbonisation programme.
- Immediate steps to improve energy standards in the private rented sector, alongside improved security and affordability for private tenants.
- Fuel Poverty Debt Relief (not deferral) to ensure fewer people will have to choose between heating and eating.
The End Fuel Poverty Coalition campaigns to influence government and other bodies to take action to end fuel poverty and thereby improve people’s health and quality of life as well as seeking to reduce the cost of living, create jobs and negate carbon emissions in the process. It is a broad coalition of over 20 anti-poverty, environmental, health and housing campaigners, charities, local authorities, trade unions and consumer organisations.
We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this further or to hear your views on this vital issue.
A campaign on the potential devastating impact of fuel poverty combined with COVID-19 this winter will be launched by the Coalition shortly.
To be kept up to date – or join with this campaign – please email info@ endfuelpoverty.org.uk.