Civil society groups – including the End Fuel Poverty Coalition – have called for greater action on fuel poverty and to cut fossil fuels in the Government’s upcoming Energy Independence Plan
37 organisations spanning fuel poverty, social justice and environmental campaigns wrote to the government on 15 March 2022 calling for greater support for vulnerable households and for decarbonisation to help bolster the UK’s energy security in the imminent Energy Independence Plan and Spring Statement.
The joint letter, addressed to the Prime Minister, Chancellor and Business Secretary, calls for immediate extra support for households facing huge energy price rises, scaled up measures to reduce our gas use and a shift away from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
Measures called for include targeted support that covers the expected rise in energy bills for households on low incomes, long term funding and support for insulation and heat pumps, an expansion of wind and solar energy, and a commitment to rule out new North Sea oil and gas and keep the fracking ban in place.
The letter calls on the government to “ensure the upcoming energy independence plan protects vulnerable households, lowers bills, tackles the climate emergency, addresses air pollution, and gets the UK off gas.”
Juliet Phillips, Senior Policy Advisor at E3G said:
Green homes are the most obvious energy security solution which no one is talking about. Energy security starts at home: this means supercharging a renovation wave to cut energy bills and permanently reduce the exposure of families to volatile international gas markets – boosting energy efficiency and rolling out electric heat pumps. The Chancellor and Prime Minister must seize the moment and push forward an ambitious, long-term plan to support warmer, healthier homes which are cheaper to run.
Rebecca Newsom, Head of Politics at Greenpeace UK said:
This is a fossil fuel crisis, and new fossil fuels from the likes of fracking or new North Sea oil and gas aren’t going to solve our problems. We can reach true energy freedom and stand up to Putin, but that needs the government to back properly funded measures to support households, accelerate renewables and properly fund home upgrades to reduce our use of gas altogether. Otherwise this risks being yet another plan that props up our dependence on volatile and expensive fossil fuels at just the moment we can least afford it.
Dan Paskins, Director of UK Impact, Save the Children UK said:
The cost-of-living crisis, fuelled by soaring energy prices, is totally unsustainable and is hitting the lowest-income families the hardest.
Parents are telling us that they’re struggling to meet basic needs, leaving them having to make impossible choices between heating their homes and buying clothes for their children, and children are paying the price. Without action, things are only going to get harder.
In the upcoming Spring Statement, the Chancellor has an opportunity to ease this burden on families by uprating benefits in line with April’s inflation rate, and invest to keep homes warm and bring fuel bills down.
A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition added:
We’re now seeing the dire consequences of the energy bill crisis come to fruition.
Up and down the country people are scared about how they will make ends meet come 1 April 2022.
A British Medical Journal paper published last week also set out the frightening health consequences for people living in cold, damp homes.
We need greater urgent financial assistance throughout 2022/23 for those in fuel poverty and a long term plan that will rapidly improve energy efficiency of homes across the country.