As the general election of 8th June approaches closer, the End Fuel Poverty Coalition makes five key recommendations to the parties, and to the government that is democratically elected.
Millions of people cannot afford to heat and power their homes. Millions are suffering ill-health, stress and anxiety from unaffordable fuel bills, which in turn can lead to social isolation and reduced educational attainment. The End Fuel Poverty Coalition believes that everybody has the right to a warm, dry home that they can afford to heat and power. We call on the next Government to take action to end fuel poverty and thereby improve people’s health and quality of life, reduce the cost of living, create jobs and cut carbon emissions.
1. Improve the homes of all low income households to the energy standards of homes built today (Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Band C) by 2025 and make this a central element of its programme to address the lack of affordable housing in this country. This will result in dramatic improvements in comfort, health and quality of life and energy bill affordability for occupants.
2. Make improving the energy standards of our homes a central priority for investment in the country’s infrastructure and secure long-term funding for this. Improving the energy efficiency of Britain’s homes could cut household bills by around £370 a year, while reducing our reliance on gas imports by a quarter. It would also boost economic growth, create jobs in every constituency of the country and reduce pressure on health and social care services
3. Require fuel companies to provide bill rebates for all low income consumers and stop companies charging unfair prices to consumers who pay by prepayment meter and who have not benefited from energy market competition.
4. Take immediate action to improve the standards of private rented homes. This requires tough regulation – and effective enforcement of regulation – to outlaw dangerously cold homes from 2018 onwards. This should form part of a wider programme to improve tenants’ rights and security of tenure.
5. Implement a cross-departmental Fuel Poverty Strategy to end fuel poverty that sets targets for all relevant Government departments. In particular, this should address joint action to tackle cold-related ill-health, employment and income policies to make sure people have sufficient income to afford energy and other essential services and devolving power and resources to local authorities so that they can play a central role in delivering the Strategy.
The End Fuel Poverty Coalition’s recommendations can be downloaded here – Key recommendations to government May 2017.