Chancellor in last chance saloon to fix UK’s broken energy system

Campaigners from Warm this Winter are urging the Chancellor to back real measures to fix the UK’s energy system, with a rally outside Parliament timed to coincide with the ‘mini-budget’.

Despite the UK Government’s Energy Price Guarantee, it is estimated that 7 million households – over 16 million people – across the UK will still be in fuel poverty this winter.

As well as more targeted support on bills, the coalition is calling for a coherent plan to reduce energy costs permanently through a national rollout of home insulation and a massive acceleration of renewable energy, which is now nine times cheaper than UK gas.

As the Chancellor has previously conceded, doubling down on domestic gas production, whether in the North Sea or fracking, will not lower bills.

On Friday, MPs are being invited to find out more about the campaign’s demands at an event being held in Portcullis House.

This week, more than 70 organisations called for more measures to improve energy efficiency. From energy firms to climate campaigners and from charities to professional bodies, the groups all urged the Chancellor to take action to help people keep their homes warm.

A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition said:

This is the last chance saloon for the Chancellor to provide the support needed by 7 million households to stay warm this winter.

Without this help millions will face the winter struggling in cold damp homes. This will cause health problems for many and place more strain on the NHS and social care system.

We need to see additional short-term measures to provide additional financial help to the most vulnerable.

But we also need to see the Chancellor investing in ending fuel poverty for good.

This can only be done by increasing support for improving the energy efficiency of people’s homes and backing Britain’s generation of cheap and clean renewable energy.

Alethea Warrington, campaigns manager at climate charity Possible, said:

The government has the chance to end the energy crisis and get the UK off gas for good. Onshore wind is now ten times cheaper than gas power, but new wind projects are still blocked in England despite being extremely popular.

A real plan for growth would tax the grotesque profits of fossil fuel companies rather than handing them hundreds of millions of pounds of our money. Then the government should get on with delivering cheap renewable energy and warmer homes.

Tessa Khan, director of Uplift, which campaigns for a just transition away from fossil fuels, said:

In every constituency across the country, many households and businesses are looking at their energy bills with dread, even with this government support, knowing that this situation is unsustainable.

We urge MPs to push for measures that will help people this winter and make sure the country is in a better position in winters to come.

Even if it were possible, more domestic gas won’t lower bills. All it will do is increase industry profits and lock us into an unaffordable energy source for longer than necessary.

Warm this Winter is a new campaign demanding the government acts now to help tackle rising energy bills this winter and to ensure energy is affordable for everyone in the future. It is supported by leading anti-poverty and environmental organisations.

Its demands of government are:

  1. Emergency support now: Provide a new package of financial support to people who, without additional urgent action, will be on the front-line of poverty this winter.
  2. Help to upgrade homes: Launch a properly-funded programme of home upgrades and insulation across the UK to bring down bills and prevent energy waste.
  3. Cheap energy: More than triple the amount of renewable energy in the UK by 2030, including wind and solar generated in harmony with nature, so that we can permanently lower bills.
  4. Free us from oil and gas: Stop opening up new oil and gas fields so that we can escape our dependence on volatile fossil fuels.

Notes to editors

[1] Members of the Warm this Winter coalition will stage a ‘mini-rally’ in Parliament Square from 12.30-1.30pm, when there will be an opportunity for photographs.

There will also be a drop-in for MPs in Room P, Portcullis House from 10-12pm, where will MPs will be able to be introduced to and able to ask questions about the campaign.