The End Fuel Poverty Coalition has laid down a challenge to the candidates for the Conservative Party Leadership Contest to confirm they will tackle fuel poverty if they become Prime Minister.
At the heart of the pledges the Coalition is asking candidates to make, is for them to fully commit to spending the full amount promised by the Conservative Manifesto for energy efficiency during this Parliament.
Candidates will be asked to support the following measures:
- Urgently address the operational issues with the package of support announced by the previous Chancellor in May 2022.
- Commit to further, short-term, financial support for people in fuel poverty this winter and to mitigate any further increases in the price cap over and above the £2,800 predicted by Ofgem in May 2022.
- Co-ordinated action to rapidly improve the energy efficiency of our homes, fulfilling 2019 Conservative Manifesto commitments and including a skills strategy to ensure work is delivered to the highest standards.
- Announce a review and subsequent reform of the energy supply market to consider the introduction of policies such as a social tariff, energy for all allowance and a total price cap ceiling.
- Work with energy firms to ensure the country has a secure, renewable-led, domestic energy supply.
The Coalition will write to MPs as they declare their candidacy and will publish responses received.
A spokesperson for the End Fuel Coalition commented:
The next Prime Minister could leave a legacy of setting the country on the path to ending fuel poverty.
But solving the public health and social inequality challenges caused by rocketing energy bills will require a full package of support to those in fuel poverty now – as well as measures to ensure no more households become fuel poor this winter.
At the heart of candidates’ policy proposals must be a commitment to implement their party’s 2019 Manifesto promises on household energy efficiency in full.
The End Fuel Poverty Coalition has written to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, warning of the risks of a future wave of COVID-19 striking during colder winter months.
In the letter, copied to Minister Kwasi Kwarteng MP, the Coalition write:
Dear Prime Minister,
Urgent action is needed now to prevent tens of thousands of needless deaths which could overwhelm the country this coming winter.
Evidence from Public Health England (PHE) shows that fuel poverty puts households more at risk from the worst effects of Covid-19.
However, policy to end fuel poverty has been frozen for three years.
Should a second wave of Covid-19 hit during cold weather, the impact could be catastrophic for individuals and our health services.
Energy use is rising as people stay at home more, incomes are being squeezed and improvements in energy efficiency of housing are on hold.
This means the numbers in fuel poverty are set to soar.
While there is currently no cure for Covid-19, cold homes are entirely preventable and four clear actions must be taken to save lives and help address the financial impact of the current crisis:
- Rapid roll-out of large-scale energy efficiency programmes which would also deliver a green economic stimulus that is shovel ready (e.g. retrofitting of people’s homes and improved heating systems). The Government must confirm their manifesto pledge to invest £9.2 billion in building energy efficiency and bring forward £2.8 billion to invest in the next two years which can support 42,500 jobs across the country and help a million households save an average of £270 on their energy bills. 150,000 jobs could be supported to 2030.
- Urgent delivery of government promises on tackling fuel poverty, such as extension of Warm Home Discount, introduction of the promised Home Upgrade Grants and social housing decarbonisation programme.
- Immediate steps to improve energy standards in the private rented sector, alongside improved security and affordability for private tenants.
- Fuel Poverty Debt Relief (not deferral) to ensure fewer people will have to choose between heating and eating.
The End Fuel Poverty Coalition campaigns to influence government and other bodies to take action to end fuel poverty and thereby improve people’s health and quality of life as well as seeking to reduce the cost of living, create jobs and negate carbon emissions in the process. It is a broad coalition of over 20 anti-poverty, environmental, health and housing campaigners, charities, local authorities, trade unions and consumer organisations.
We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this further or to hear your views on this vital issue.
A campaign on the potential devastating impact of fuel poverty combined with COVID-19 this winter will be launched by the Coalition shortly.
To be kept up to date – or join with this campaign – please email info@ endfuelpoverty.org.uk.