Energy efficiency a ‘win-win’ for Chancellor’s Spending Review

George Osborne
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne

Making this country’s homes highly energy efficient should be a national infrastructure priority, according to recently published independent research and would be a ‘win-win’ for the Chancellor’s spending review on 25 November 2015.

The research, by Verco and Cambridge Econometrics, revealed that a programme to make UK homes energy efficient would provide net economic benefits of £8.7 billion, based on the government’s own economic analysis – comparable economic benefits to infrastructure initiatives such as HS2 Phase 1, Crossrail and new roads.

Jobs, economic and energy security benefits would be created as a result Ref of an ambitious energy efficiency infrastructure programme according to the research. It could:

  • Reduce gas imports by 26%, strengthening Britain’s energy security
  • Deliver a net increase in employment of up to 108,000 jobs

Government is finalising its spending plans in the lead up to the Spending Review (when £100 billion is anticipated to be allocated to support infrastructure projects over the next 5 years). If just £3 billion of this were allocated to an energy efficiency infrastructure programme, 2 million low income households could see their homes made warm and their fuel bills affordable.

This research is clear: investing in energy efficiency offers significant net economic benefits to the nation, comparable to infrastructure investments in roads and railways“, said End Fuel Poverty Coalition Chair Jenny Holland. “A major energy infrastructure programme would boost economic growth, reduce the UK’s reliance on gas imports and help deliver a net increase in employment across the country. It would keep energy bills down, reduce health costs and warm up the homes of the fuel poor.

This country’s draughty homes are amongst the most expensive to heat in Europe. The UK has one of the highest levels of fuel poverty in Western Europe, as well as one of the worst proportions of homes in a poor state of repair. While most other European countries face higher energy prices than those of the UK, better quality home insulation means most of our European neighbours pay less to heat their homes. Amber Rudd says we need to build a new infrastructure, fit for the 21st century – we can’t do that while our homes are only fit for the 19th.Ref