Energy Company Obligation rules set out by Government

The End Fuel Poverty Coalition has welcomed news that the Government has laid down the regulations for the new “Energy Company Obligation” Scheme to help improve the energy efficiency of peoples homes.

The scheme, known as ECO4, will last until 2026 and will help insulate homes, reducing energy bills. To access the fund, households will need to speak to their energy supplier or social housing landlord.

A spokesperson for the Coalition commented:

It’s welcome that the necessary legislation is finally being laid, but it is absolutely vital that we get swift passage of the regulations before the summer and with cross-party support to ensure no more bumps in the road.

We would also encourage BEIS and Ofgem to continue to work with installers and energy companies to keep up the number of retrofits carried out this summer before further price hikes kick in, and take other steps to ensure effective and smooth delivery (such as tackling supply chain and skills shortage challenges).

There are still some areas where the scheme could be improved, for example in ensuring more advice can be provided and that there is more support for the lowest income households so that those who can make household contributions do not receive overly preferential treatment.

Customers will also need more support if their boilers breakdown. There is a massive reduction in the allowance for this in ECO4, and no good alternative process for emergency (keeping in mind that a heat pump install will take longer could leave households without heating for a longer period in winter).

Finally, given the scale of the current cost of living crisis, more support will be needed to help a wider number of households reduce their energy bills permanently through energy saving measures such as insulation and heat pumps.

We encourage the government to boost existing schemes with new public spending commitments in the forthcoming Autumn Budget.

Energy saving measures could save billions

An expert report has revealed how investing now in energy saving solutions could save the UK Government hundreds of billions in ‘sticking plaster’ solutions this decade.

Experts calculate that the UK government has spent £37bn this year to stand still on soaring costs of living, without meaningful investment in solutions which could permanently reduce bills. With estimates that fossil fuel prices will remain at an unprecedented level until at least 2030, E3G is calling for long-term energy saving solutions to save the Treasury from needing to spend hundreds of billions in ‘sticking plaster’ solutions.

Households living in the least efficient homes will pay around £916 more per year on energy bills when the energy price cap rises to £2,800. If everyone living in homes below Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) band C were improved to EPC C today, the aggregate saving would be £10.6bn each year.

Independent climate and energy think tank E3G has set out a package of measures to make rapid near-term progress, saving families an average of between £450 – over £1,000 per year.

As well as energy efficiency measures in homes, key measures suggested also include launching an Olympic-style skills and training programme for the retrofit supply chain and making independent energy and retrofit advice readily available to people across the country to share what help is available.

Juliet Phillips, Senior Policy Advisor at E3G and lead author of the report says:

With fossil fuel prices expected to remain sky high until at least 2030, the government must decide whether it wants to go on spending £37bn per year just to stand still – or to invest now in permanent solutions for lower bills, which will pay off multiple times over in the years ahead. Until the structural drivers of the cost of living crisis are addressed, including the cold and leaky nature of our housing, the government could be left spending tens of billions on emergency financial support packages each year.

Stew Horne, head of policy at Energy Saving Trust said:

E3G’s latest report highlights the steps the UK Government should take if it is to help people across the country reduce household energy usage and bills for the long-term. Time is ticking away to make the much-needed improvements to the energy efficiency of UK homes that UK government has committed to this decade. Energy Saving Trust particularly welcomes the report’s proposals for bespoke advice and support for consumers as this will play a vital role in helping make the changes that will permanently reduce the energy required to heat their homes and keep energy costs down.

Coalition responds to Chancellor’s cost of living crisis statement

End Fuel Poverty Coalition members have been responding to today’s announcement by the Government that additional support will be made available following reports of record energy price rises.

A spokesperson for End Fuel Poverty Coalition, commented:

“The Government has agreed in principle that a Windfall Tax is vital and the Chancellor has clearly listened to concerns that support for those in fuel poverty needs to be both widespread, but also focussed on the most vulnerable groups.

“But by October, energy bills will have increased by over £1,500 in a year. So while the measures announced today will take the sting out the tail of recent increases, the underlying problem of millions of households in fuel poverty remains.

“People in fuel poverty will need further reassurance that support will be there in the medium-term and we need full investment in a Great Homes Upgrade to improve the energy efficiency of homes as a national priority.”

Ami McCarthy, political campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said:

“This windfall tax will serve only as a sticking plaster. While providing support to millions struggling with sky-high energy bills is 100% the right thing to do, by only skimming the top 25% off oil and gas company profits Sunak has missed a huge opportunity to tackle the root cause of the cost of living crisis and the climate crisis together.

“Taxing the full profits at 70% would have more than doubled the cash available. This could have been used to provide short-term relief to households, as well as upgrades to homes to ensure they use and waste less energy, and keep bills low for years to come.

“Instead of driving money into clean energy solutions, Sunak has used this announcement to encourage oil and gas company investments. Yet the current cost-of-living crisis is mostly a result of gas price rises – hard-up families shouldn’t have to wait for the Prime Minister and Chancellor to deliver cheaper and cleaner energy to help with their bills.”

National Energy Action commented:

“By October the average energy bill was predicted to more than double from last year. This vast increase would have pushed millions of households into destitution, turning to desperate measures to stay warm at home. Without additional support, we were facing an utterly disastrous winter. The Chancellor’s new package today averts the darkest of outcomes, offering some hope to the millions of fuel poor households across the UK.

“Millions will still be struggling and the energy crisis is far from over, but a large, more targeted intervention is what was needed ahead of winter.

“The Government urgently needs to plan for energy prices to remain high for the longer term. This must include a social tariff, setting an affordable price of energy for the poorest households. And there must be additional effort into making the homes of fuel poor households more energy efficient, making them more resilient to the sort of price shock that they are currently shouldering.”

James Taylor, Director of Strategy at disability equality charity Scope, said:

“The Chancellor has importantly acknowledged that life costs more if you are disabled.

“This package is a significant short-term boost to disabled people whose backs are against the wall.

“But inflation and energy prices are still running riot, and disabled people are much more likely to live in poverty.

“Even before the cost of living crisis, disabled people were facing extra costs of almost £600 a month. Many struggling with sky-high bills from needing more energy to charge vital equipment, or extra heating to stay warm.

“Our Disability Energy Support Service has been inundated by disabled people in crisis and nowhere else to turn.

“The Chancellor needs to continue to use the benefit system in the long term to target support at disabled people where it’s needed most. The Government must also make sure that no disabled people fall through the gaps in receiving the support needed to get through this winter and beyond.”

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said:

“Age UK is pleased and relieved that the Government has recognised the extreme risks soaring inflation pose to the health and welfare of pensioners, particularly those on low incomes, and has announced a package of measures today with the aim of mitigating them. With prices continuing to go up for everything they buy, life is certainly not going to be easy for many older people over the next few months, but the extra support the Chancellor is bringing forward will make a difference and will protect most from the worst of the unprecedented surge in the cost of living they face.

“Targeting most of the support on offer to pensioners who receive means-tested benefits, that is Pension Credit, was undoubtedly the right thing to do, but as a result it is more important than ever that every older person who qualifies receives their due. We know that some three quarters of a million are missing out at the moment, so we urge anyone who thinks they may be eligible to put in a claim without delay.  If they act quickly, it is possible they may be eligible for some of the additional financial help that is now available, and this could be life-changing for them.

“No one knows what will happen to prices later in the year and it may well be that the Government will need to go further and do more in the autumn Budget, if inflation goes on ratcheting up. At Age UK we will be tracking the experiences of older people, especially those on low incomes, as the months go by.  We will also continue to campaign with others for more investment in energy efficiency and for the reintroduction of a social energy tariff since, in the longer term, these would help pensioners to keep on top of their energy bills and support progress towards our zero carbon targets.

“It is absolutely crucial for older people that the triple lock kicks in again next year, so it was important that the Chancellor restated his commitment to this during his speech. Age UK will hold him to his word.”

Ed Matthew from E3G commented:

“The increased support for households this winter is welcome but the Chancellor has failed to fix the underlying crisis. The UK has the worst insulated homes in western Europe. He could halve household energy demand through efficiency measures alone, but it won’t happen unless he provides the financial support needed. The windfall tax should have been used in part to do that. It’s a missed opportunity and keeps citizens reliant on gas. We will all pay the price for this missed opportunity.”

Ruth London from Fuel Poverty Action commented:

“Champagne corks will be popping in the  boardrooms of North Sea oil and gas extractors. While in millions of homes, people on low incomes may risk the expense of turning on the kettle and splurging on a cup of tea.

“In the boardrooms they won’t fail to notice that the dreaded, long-delayed windfall tax will remove only £5bn of their £13bn windfall profits.  And even at its temporary peak, UK tax will be lower than the 70% norm for other countries.

“Continuing the UK’s strong record of give-aways to fossil fuel polluters, these giant corporations will get 90p back in tax relief for every pound they invest.  And that investment must go into oil and gas – four times more expensive than wind and solar energy, and costing us all even more than that, through pollution of the air, the sea and the climate.  Rishi Sunak says he doesn’t want to “burden future generations”.  But subsidising fossil fuels may mean they have no future at all.

“Back in the kitchen, some of the sums in the Chancellor’s ‘support’ package will provide much needed relief. But it is hard to feel grateful.  Even the maximum support he has offered to the poorest will not make up the increase in fuel bills this year, let alone the rising cost of food and rents. The missing £8 billion from windfall profits could have done so much to relieve the pain of a decade of cuts, rising prices, overwork, and cold, uninsulated homes!”

Major home insulation programme would drastically slash bills

The energy bills of almost eight million households could be slashed by as much as 40% if the government prioritises retrofitting the country’s draughty, heat-leaking homes, according to new predictions.

End Fuel Poverty Coalition members, Friends of the Earth, predict cavity wall insulation can reduce energy consumption by up to 20%, as can loft insulation.

For an average dual fuel household, the savings that could be made are around £750 a year.

New analysis by the environmental campaign group has identified the areas of the country that would most benefit from a massive programme of free loft and cavity wall insulation, broken down by both local authority area and parliamentary constituency.

Friends of the Earth is calling on the government to implement this policy as part of its upcoming energy review.

The top five local authority areas where most homes could see vast improvements in energy efficiency through the rollout of loft insulation are Birmingham, Leeds, Cornwall, Bradford, and Buckinghamshire.

Similarly, Birmingham, Leeds, Bradford and Buckinghamshire are among the top five areas where homes would most benefit from cavity wall insulation, as well as Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

The average household will see energy costs rise by £693 this year, which is expected to climb higher still when the energy regulator re-evaluates the price cap again later this year.

Estimates suggest that one in four households will be plunged into fuel poverty from today as the initial price hike comes into effect. In some parts of the country, this will rise to more than 40% of households.

However, there are 5.7 million homes across the country where loft insulation could help households make significant cost savings, and a further 5.2 million where cavity wall insulation would have a similar effect.

The group has found that the majority (approximately 60%) of homes which could see lower bills through a government energy efficiency programme are in areas where household incomes are below the national average.

Areas with the highest levels of poverty are also twice as likely to have homes requiring better insulation than areas with the highest concentration of wealth, say campaigners.

Mike Childs, head of science, policy and research at Friends of the Earth, said:

We know that our bills would already be significantly lower had the government not scrapped plans to make UK homes more energy efficient back in 2013. While the government can’t turn back time, it can choose to boost energy efficiency to reduce energy bills now and end the UK’s dependency on imported gas.

A free loft and cavity wall insulation programme, targeted at areas with high levels of fuel poverty, can be rolled out quickly by councils and will make a huge difference for millions of people ahead of next winter. The bonus is that this will also cut carbon emissions.

This programme can and should be funded by a Windfall Tax on profiteering fossil fuel companies. The government must commit to this as part of its upcoming Energy Security Strategy.

Sana Yusuf, climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said:

Sky-rocketing energy costs resulting from today’s price rise have many households wondering how they’ll afford to make ends meet, but without much-needed government intervention the number of people facing extreme financial hardship is shockingly high.

Priority number one has to be protecting our communities from this and future price shocks. It’s crystal clear that our system is broken, and it’s because of the UK’s reliance on highly volatile gas that energy prices have spiralled well out of control.

Extracting more fossil fuels simply isn’t the answer, not even in the short-term, because new developments take decades to become operational, will do nothing to help people struggling now, and will fuel climate breakdown which is already harming millions across the globe.

Clearly, the quickest, cleanest, long-term solutions are already before us. Boosting energy efficiency is a crucial place to start, alongside an ambitious plan to scale up the country’s renewable energy capacity.

Constituencies with highest levels of fuel poverty revealed

The constituencies with the highest levels of fuel poverty have been revealed in a new league table from the End Fuel Poverty Coalition published today.

Over 6.3m homes will be in fuel poverty from tomorrow morning (1 April 2022), following the Chancellor’s Spring Statement, which did little to help end the misery of fuel poverty.

The Coalition has launched a campaign to help people in fuel poverty easily contact their MP on Twitter. Simply tweet your MP today using this easy link: A petition by National Energy Action has also been launched.

The 10% of constituencies most affected by fuel poverty are mainly urban areas represented by Labour MPs.

But in Stoke-on-Trent Central, Wolverhampton North East, Walsall North, Stoke-on-Trent North, West Bromwich East, West Bromwich West, Stoke-on-Trent South, Birmingham Northfied, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Dudley North and Great Grimbsy, Tory MPs represent over 178,000 households which will be in fuel poverty.

An End Fuel Poverty spokesperson commented:

Constituents will rightly be asking what MPs are doing to help end fuel poverty and the energy bills crisis gripping the country.

End Fuel Poverty Coalition members have called for urgent help for households in fuel poverty now combined with a long-term plan to improve energy efficiency of our homes and investment in a sustainable, renewable-led, energy mix.

Sadly, none of these things were delivered in the recent Spring Statement and the Chancellor has once again ignored those in fuel poverty – including the 14,000 homes in his own constituency.

MPs must demand Rishi Sunak comes back to Parliament at the earliest opportunity and sets out how the Government will help those who will continue to suffer.

Meanwhile, the Energy Saving Trust has provided advice on how households can reduce energy bills.

The organisation suggests that making several small and swift changes, such as turning devices off standby and reducing daily water usage, could enable many people to offset the increase in costs by around a third.

While more support for those in fuel poverty will be needed, for those that are able – or able to access financial support to future-proof their homes – investing in energy efficiency can yield results.

Professional draught-proofing and insulation in preparation for the winter months could lead to a reduction in bills by £405 a year for a semi-detached home. Installing solar panels for a similar property could lead to additional annual savings of around £450 a year.

The full league table of constituencies by fuel poverty is below:

Fuel Poverty by Parliamentary Constituency, 2019 (Official BEIS figures) Fuel Poverty by Parliamentary Constituency, from 1 April 2022 (End Fuel Poverty Coalition estimates)
Parliamentary Constituency Number of households in fuel poverty (2019) Proportion of households fuel poor (%, 2019) Number of households in fuel poverty (from 1 April 2022) Proportion of households fuel poor (% from 1 April 2022) MP Name MP Surname MP Party
Birmingham Hodge Hill                  11,575                      27.4            23,041 54.5% Liam Byrne Labour
Barking                  11,580                      24.0            23,051 47.7% Margaret Hodge Labour
Stoke-on-Trent Central                    9,275                      23.7            18,463 47.3% Jo Gideon Conservative
Wolverhampton South East                    8,956                      23.7            17,828 47.1% Pat McFadden Labour
Walthamstow                  10,479                      23.7            20,859 47.1% Stella Creasy Labour/Co-operative
Birmingham Yardley                  10,405                      23.5            20,712 46.7% Jess Phillips Labour
Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough                  10,778                      23.2            21,454 46.2% Gill Furniss Labour
Warley                    8,775                      23.2            17,467 46.2% John Spellar Labour
Birmingham Ladywood                  11,770                      23.1            23,429 46.0% Shabana Mahmood Labour
Manchester Gorton                    9,680                      22.8            19,269 45.5% Afzal Khan Labour
Birmingham Erdington                  10,006                      22.8            19,918 45.5% Paulette Hamilton Labour
Birmingham Perry Barr                    9,248                      22.8            18,409 45.3% Khalid Mahmood Labour
Birmingham Hall Green                    9,550                      22.7            19,010 45.2% Tahir Ali Labour
Bradford West                    8,829                      22.4            17,575 44.6% Naseem Shah Labour
East Ham                  10,819                      22.0            21,536 43.7% Stephen Timms Labour
Bradford East                    9,406                      21.9            18,723 43.7% Imran Hussain Labour
Tottenham                  11,347                      21.8            22,587 43.4% David Lammy Labour
Wolverhampton North East                    8,531                      21.8            16,982 43.4% Jane Stevenson Conservative
Walsall South                    8,688                      21.8            17,294 43.3% Valerie Vaz Labour
Walsall North                    8,852                      21.7            17,621 43.2% Eddie Hughes Conservative
Leeds East                    9,064                      21.6            18,043 43.0% Richard Burgon Labour
West Ham                  12,750                      21.5            25,380 42.8% Lyn Brown Labour
Kingston upon Hull North                    8,932                      21.3            17,780 42.4% Diana R. Johnson Labour
Stoke-on-Trent North                    9,346                      21.1            18,604 41.9% Jonathan Gullis Conservative
Birmingham Selly Oak                    9,210                      20.9            18,333 41.6% Steve McCabe Labour
Leeds Central                  12,738                      20.9            25,356 41.6% Hilary Benn Labour
Edmonton                    9,171                      20.7            18,255 41.3% Kate Osamor Labour/Co-operative
Sheffield Central                    9,838                      20.5            19,583 40.8% Paul Blomfield Labour
Coventry North East                    9,653                      20.4            19,215 40.7% Colleen Fletcher Labour
Croydon North                  11,643                      20.4            23,176 40.7% Steve Reed Labour/Co-operative
West Bromwich East                    7,569                      20.3            15,067 40.5% Nicola Richards Conservative
Leyton and Wanstead                    8,465                      20.3            16,850 40.3% John Cryer Labour
Nottingham East                    9,094                      20.1            18,102 40.1% Nadia Whittome Labour
Rotherham                    7,976                      20.0            15,877 39.9% Sarah Champion Labour
West Bromwich West                    7,623                      20.0            15,174 39.8% Shaun Bailey Conservative
Nottingham North                    8,892                      19.9            17,700 39.6% Alex Norris Labour/Co-operative
Stoke-on-Trent South                    8,090                      19.7            16,104 39.3% Jack Brereton Conservative
Barnsley East                    8,158                      19.7            16,239 39.1% Stephanie Peacock Labour
Manchester Withington                    8,458                      19.6            16,836 39.1% Jeff Smith Labour
Doncaster North                    8,647                      19.6            17,212 39.1% Ed Miliband Labour
Leicester West                    8,667                      19.5            17,252 38.8% Liz Kendall Labour
Liverpool Walton                    8,403                      19.4            16,727 38.6% Dan Carden Labour
Brent Central                  10,324                      19.4            20,551 38.5% Dawn Butler Labour
Blackley and Broughton                    9,219                      19.2            18,351 38.3% Graham Stringer Labour
Birmingham Northfield                    8,805                      19.1            17,527 38.0% Gary Sambrook Conservative
Lewisham East                    8,633                      19.0            17,185 37.9% Janet Daby Labour
Liverpool Wavertree                    8,035                      19.0            15,994 37.7% Paula Barker Labour
Bradford South                    8,227                      19.0            16,376 37.7% Judith Cummins Labour
Middlesbrough                    7,664                      18.9            15,256 37.6% Andy McDonald Labour
Newcastle-under-Lyme                    7,619                      18.9            15,166 37.5% Aaron Bell Conservative
Leeds West                    8,266                      18.8            16,454 37.5% Rachel Reeves Labour
Birmingham Edgbaston                    7,995                      18.8            15,915 37.4% Preet Kaur Gill Labour/Co-operative
Dudley North                    6,661                      18.8            13,259 37.4% Marco Longhi Conservative
Leicester South                    8,792                      18.8            17,501 37.4% Jon Ashworth Labour
Leicester East                    7,659                      18.6            15,246 37.1% Claudia Webbe Independent
Liverpool Riverside                  10,201                      18.5            20,306 36.9% Kim Johnson Labour
Kingston upon Hull East                    7,898                      18.5            15,722 36.9% Karl Turner Labour
Huddersfield                    7,954                      18.5            15,833 36.8% Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative
Newcastle upon Tyne East                    7,693                      18.5            15,313 36.7% Nick Brown Labour
Coventry South                    8,221                      18.4            16,364 36.7% Zarah Sultana Labour
Barnsley Central                    7,384                      18.3            14,698 36.5% Dan Jarvis Labour
Great Grimsby                    7,523                      18.3            14,975 36.4% Lia Nici Conservative
Mitcham and Morden                    7,580                      18.2            15,089 36.2% Siobhain McDonagh Labour


Image: Shutterstock

Charities unite in call for funding to tackle energy bill crisis

An alliance of 27 major charities have today written to the Prime Minister and Chancellor, calling for urgent action to tackle the energy bill crisis, including boosting insulation funding.

The charities, which include Save the Children, Age UK, WWF, Green Alliance, Faith for the Climate, Tearfund and Greenpeace, are calling for emergency funding to support the most vulnerable and for insulation and clean energy funding to be increased to help wean the UK off expensive gas.

Without urgent government action the energy price cap could be increased by £600 in April, driven by the surging price of gas on the international markets, taking an average energy bill to around £2000.

The charities estimate that fuel poverty could increase by 50%, from 4 to 6 million households across the UK. There are fears this will lead to households choosing between heating and eating, an increase in the number of people dying in cold homes and a greater burden on the NHS, when it is already under great strain.

The charities remind the Prime Minister that a cut in support for making homes energy efficient after the last surge in energy bills in 2013 left households far more vulnerable to surging gas prices.

As a result of the Energy Company Obligation levy being cut in half and the Warm Front programme for the fuel poor being abolished, millions of British homes have not been insulated.  The cuts led to a 90% cut in loft and cavity wall insulation measures and half of those in the insulation industry lost their jobs. The charities warn that insulation rates have still not recovered and the same mistake must not be made today.

Juliet Phillips of the climate change think tank E3G said:

The Energy Company Obligation is the biggest programme the government has to insulate the homes of the fuel poor. Any damage to this levy would make these households more dependent upon gas, entrenching the crisis further.

Improving the efficiency of the worst performing UK homes could provide bill savings of over £500 every year per household upgraded, an aggregate saving of around £8bn

Investing in UK green energy and technologies like heat pumps would also help end the UK’s reliance on fossil gas. Renewables have helped to keep electricity prices from soaring as much as gas prices, as cheaper wind and solar cushion the increased expense of using gas to generate electricity.

The charities are also calling for emergency support for the most vulnerable, funded in part by a windfall tax on the fossil fuel industry, who are due to make profits up to ten times higher this financial year due to the surge in wholesale prices.

They are recommending expanding the Warm Homes Discount to ensure the majority of the expected rise in energy bills is covered for the most vulnerable households, for example those on universal credit and providing a one-off payment to those eligible for Cold Weather Payments.

The charities are also joining calls for legacy costs for renewables to be moved off power bills, to be paid for by the Exchequer instead, whilst leaving the Energy Company Obligation on the energy bill as a critical levy to help the fuel poor. They calculate that this would save households an additional £100 a year.

The charities also want the Government to fulfil its manifesto commitment to spend £6 billion on making homes more energy efficient. There is a £2 billion black hole in the funding committed after the Spending Review which they say must be filled, most of which was meant to go to the fuel poor.

Two thirds of households having no access in the UK to any insulation grant scheme. The charities want a new insulation grant programme set up to replace the failed Green Homes Grant which anyone can access.

The charities also call on the Government to ramp up the heat pump grant programme due to launch in April with ten times more funding, boosting it from £400m to a £4 billion programme, to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuel boilers.

William Baker of Solutions to Tackle Energy Poverty said:

The Energy Company Obligation is central to the Government’s legal duty to abolish fuel poverty by 2030. Scrapping the programme would show the Government does not take its statutory responsibilities seriously. It would condemn many fuel poor households to unaffordable fuel bills, ill health and in the worst cases death as a result of living in dangerously cold, unhealthy homes. The government must take urgent action to address the current crisis of rocketing fuel bills and expand its programmes to upgrade the insulation and heating systems of our notoriously leaky homes so that we are less dependent on volatile gas markets.

Dan Paskins, Director of UK Impact at Save the Children said:

The cost of living crisis, fuelled by soaring energy prices, is totally unsustainable and is hitting the lowest income families the hardest. Parents we work with tell 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. Children deserve a fair and green future, and need a concrete plan from the UK Government that tackles both the cost-of-living and climate crises.

Dr Doug Parr, Policy Director at Greenpeace UK said:

The twin imperatives of a gas price crisis and the climate crisis mean we need to get off fossil fuels as fast as we can whilst protecting people on low incomes. That means we need to see short-term support for fuel poor families and long term support for energy efficiency and cheap renewables. A windfall tax on oil and gas companies would be a fair way to help finance the transition as we exit fossil fuel production in line with advice from leading experts at the International Energy Agency.

A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, which was also a signatory to the letter, commented:

After years of tireless campaigning by health, anti-poverty and environmental charities, trade unions and researchers, politicians are finally waking up to the tragedy of fuel poverty in the country.

Fuel poverty is a public health and social crisis but can only be solved by economic measures and the Government must do everything possible to help people in crisis now while investing in energy efficiency programmes to fix the long-term problems.

The full letter is available to read online.

Government must fund missing billions from energy efficiency programmes

The Government’s new Heat and Buildings Strategy has had a mixed reaction, with many anti-poverty and climate change campaigners pointing to significant shortcomings in the final announcement.

The headline announcement in the strategy is a grant to help cover costs of heat pumps up to £5,000. The current cost of a heat pump is between £6,000 and £18,000.

A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, commented:

For millions of households who desperately want and need to improve their energy efficiency by switching to heat pumps, the promised government money won’t be enough. While costs for heat pumps will come down in time, the level of grant available at present is nowhere near enough for households already in fuel poverty.

Coming on the back of the damning Committee for Fuel Poverty report, which suggested that government investment is not targeted at those who need it most, it would appear that the Government has yet to learn lessons from the past.

The government also needs to confirm what has happened to the missing billions, which is the gap between the investment announced today and the levels of investment promised in the Conservative Party Manifesto at the last election.

We hope the Comprehensive Spending Review will offer more support for families in fuel poverty and plug the gap between funding that has been promised and that which has been delivered.

Welcome for government energy efficiency measures

The End Fuel Poverty Coalition welcomes the government’s moves today to improve energy efficiency of people’s homes. We hope this is the first in a series of announcements that will help end fuel poverty in line with our submission to the Comprehensive Spending Review.

The increase in Energy Performance Certificates to level C for those in private rented accommodation is especially welcome. The next step will be to ensure local authorities enforce these new regulations.

Homeowners in England, including landlords, can get up to £5,000 to pay part of the cost of energy saving measures like insulation. Low income households can get 100% of the costs of work covered up to £10,000.

The scheme will help fund energy efficiency and low carbon heating measures in 600,000 households who could save up to £600 a year on energy bills. Installing energy efficient home improvements also cuts emissions, which is better for the environment. Tradespeople and businesses should make sure they’re eligible to carry out work under the scheme, which will support thousands of green jobs.

More information is available online:


One in three British households are already concerned about the health impacts of living in a cold home this winter. And should a second wave of Covid-19 hit during cold weather, the impact could be catastrophic for individuals and our health services.

As a result, the Coalition has urged the Government to commit to five main spending priorities:

1) Rapid roll-out of large-scale energy efficiency programmes

2) Urgent delivery of government promises on tackling fuel poverty

3) This unprecedented level of investment needs to be coupled with large scale training programmes

4) Immediate steps to improve energy standards in the private rented sector

5) Fuel Poverty Debt Relief to ensure fewer people will have to choose between heating and eating this winter

Coalition responds to Chancellor’s Economic Statement

Ending fuel poverty is a public health priority, which can only be solved through economic measures. We hope that the plans set out in the Chancellor’s Economic Statement are the first step towards an ambitious programme to end fuel poverty.

The Green Homes Grant and the social housing decarbonisation fund are welcome, but must be expanded to become long-term programmes. And the government must go further and faster.

The government must deliver the full manifesto pledge to invest £9.2 billion in building energy efficiency, extend the Warm Home Discount and introduce wider Home Upgrade Grants. It must also take further steps to improve energy standards in the private rented sector, alongside improved security and affordability for private tenants.

Finally, we must see a Fuel Poverty Debt Relief programme (not deferral) introduced to ensure fewer people will have to choose between heating and eating.


Business and charities unite in call for energy efficiency investment

End Fuel Poverty Coalition members have joined leading charities and businesses in a new drive for energy efficient investment.

A Declaration, ‘Energy Efficiency First’, has been published, calling on all political parties to make investment in home energy efficiency an infrastructure investment priority.

The Declaration states that to reach the UK’s legally binding net-zero emission and fuel poverty targets, all the UK’s homes will have to be made highly energy efficient. Additional public capital investment of £1 billion a year for the next 15 years is needed to ensure the targets are achieved.

The signatories point out that there is potential to reduce energy demand in UK homes by at least a quarter, saving the average household £270 every year. A quarter of the energy currently used could be saved and there is technical potential to cut home energy use in half.

The Declaration has been published on the day that the Energy Efficiency Infrastructure Group (EEIG) sets out its vision for how to make all UK homes energy efficient. Called ‘The Net-Zero Litmus Test’, it reminds politicians that energy efficiency is the most cost-effective way to decarbonise the economy and would deliver a net benefit of over £50 billion to UK households, businesses and government.

The report finds that installation rate of home insulation measures has been cut by 95% since 2012. 170,000 homes are being upgraded with energy efficiency improvements in the UK each year but the number needs to rapidly rise to 1.2 million a year in order to meet decarbonisation targets.

The EEIG reports progress made against the its six-step plan to set up an energy efficiency infrastructure programme for the UK and sets out how to get on track.

Peter Smith, Director of Policy and Research at National Energy Action, and End Fuel Poverty Coalition Member said:

Fuel poverty continues to be a very real and stark reality for millions of people across the UK. The aim to reach net-zero is one of the most ambitious strategic goals the UK Government has ever set. It will have profound implications for all UK citizens, businesses and society at large.

The UK can only move rapidly towards net-zero, whilst creating a fair energy future for all citizens, if we urgently provide central investment to improve domestic energy efficiency. The top priority is to help the poorest households living in least efficient homes, mainly in rural areas and other hard to heat homes.

Alasdair MacEwen, Spokesperson for the Energy Efficiency Infrastructure Group said:

Achieving net-zero emissions cost-effectively is simply impossible without a huge cut in energy demand. Whether any political party is prepared to do this is the litmus test of whether it is serious about achieving net-zero emissions. It can only be achieved if we treat the decarbonisation of homes as the UK’s number one infrastructure priority. No other infrastructure project can benefit so many and at the same time create returns on investment.

Tom Thackray, Director of Infrastructure and Energy Policy at the CBI said:

All government departments must buy in to improving the efficiency of our homes and buildings and work with industry to provide the correct regulation. Treating energy efficiency as an infrastructure priority, would change the way in which it is approached by the Government allowing the issue to be treated as other public investments, such as in public buildings and transport infrastructure. It would send a clear message to investors and consumers as to the direction and ambition of government policy.

The EEIG represents a growing and broad-based coalition of over 25 industry groups, NGOs, charities and businesses that are asking for rapid improvement on energy efficiency in homes and buildings policy in the UK.

For a full list of signatures to the Declaration, please visit