The UK Fuel Poverty Monitor report from National Energy Action (NEA) and Energy Action Scotland (EAS) sets out the urgent priorities for tackling fuel poverty in England and across the UK.
Adam Scorer, chief executive of National Energy Action, said: “Based on current ‘progress’ we estimate three million households in England alone will still be trapped in fuel poverty by 2030 – the same number who are currently in fuel poverty in England. Three million households left cold, damp and unhealthy. Governments risk missing their legal targets, but those living in fuel poverty are at risk of so much more.”
The Fuel Poverty Monitor contains a study independent analysis by Gemserv, of the cost and benefits of meeting the targets. It quantifies a funding gap of at least £18bn for energy efficiency measures to meet the legal requirement to ensure fuel poor homes in England are brought up to a reasonable standard of energy efficiency by the end of this decade.
Adam Scorer added: “Unlike the £40bn spent last year to subsidise everyone’s energy bills, this funding is targeted and achievable from existing sources of revenue such as carbon taxes, VAT revenues or planned windfall taxes. Crucially, the benefits of positive action are double the costs. The quicker we act, the greater the benefits that are generated.”
The report shows that action on the private rented sector, put off by the UK government last year, is critical. Effective regulation on private and social landlords would reduce the investment gap to £10.8bn of central investment required, it cited.
In the private rented sector alone, this could remove almost two fifths of all households from fuel poverty in England by 2030, NEA stated. It could also add over £3bn of capital value to private rented sector properties with fuel poor tenants, allowing landlords to recover the cost of their investment in energy efficiency measures through lower overall borrowing costs, it noted.
Angus Brendan MacNeil MP, chair of the ESNZ Committee, said: “As a committee, we have heard countless times about the energy crisis continuing to have a devastating effect on the most vulnerable in our society.
“Millions of the poorest households across the UK continue to be exposed to the worst of the crisis due to the low level of energy efficiency in their homes. This report should be a wake-up call to redouble our efforts. The potential for social, environmental and economic benefits through enhancing current efforts is vast.”
The full report will be on NEA’s website at 5pm on 31 January.