CIEH has called on the UK Government to prioritise energy efficiency in efforts to tackle the cost of living crisis.
Last week, Ofgem announced that the UK energy bill price cap will increase to £1971 from April 2022. There are also rumours of further changes to the price cap to come, as often as every 3 months. Combined with high inflation, these rises are fuelling a cost of living crisis for many households. There is also an imminent steep increase in National Insurance contributions that could plunge yet more people into financial difficulties.
The Government made a number of announcements last week on how it will support households with rising energy costs:
- The Energy Bills Rebate will provide around 28 million households with an upfront discount on their bills worth £200. Energy suppliers will apply the discount to domestic electricity customers from October. The discount will then be automatically recovered from people’s bills in equal £40 instalments over the next five years.
- Households in England, which are in council tax bands A-D, will also receive a £150 rebate, which will not need to be repaid. This one-off payment will benefit around 80 per cent of all homes in England.
- In addition, discretionary funding of £144 million will also be provided to support vulnerable people and individuals on low incomes that do not pay Council Tax, or that pay Council Tax for properties in Bands E-H.
Last week, the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, a coalition of 19 civil society organisations, responded by saying that the current package of emergency measures from government falls short of preventing a fuel poverty emergency. It called for further targeted support for the most vulnerable households, a focus on energy efficiency, as well as a long-term plan to permanently reduce the UK’s reliance on fossil gas.
Tamara Sandoul, Policy and Campaigns Manager, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health said:
“This has already been a difficult Winter for many households across the UK, with a cocktail effect of higher inflation and higher energy prices. This huge rise in the cost of energy will push many more people into fuel poverty and could put them at risk of health conditions caused by living in a cold home.
The UK Government needs a long-term investment strategy to retrofit homes and make these far more energy efficient, as well as working to reduce UK’s reliance on fossil fuels, going forward. This will lower domestic energy use in homes and reduce reliance on unstable imported fuels.
As a member of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, CIEH is also calling on the Government to take account of rising costs in all aspects of people’s lives to ensure that families are properly supported.”