Environment

Poorest households pay £250 extra each year on energy bills thanks to poor insulation

£770m a year is being wasted through poor insulation, the Local Government Association has told ministers.

insulate houses

Poor insulation can add to the cost of energy bills at a time when surging prices are pushing households into poverty. Image: Erick McLean / Unsplash

The poorest households in England are paying an extra £250 a year on energy bills during the cost of living crisis as poor insulation is leaving them with leaky homes.

A total of £770million a year is being wasted through poorly insulated walls, roofs and windows, according to new research from the Local Government Association (LGA).

The LGA found two million households in fuel poverty will need additional support to improve insulation to reach the Energy Performance rating C (EPC) by 2030. The UK government has committed to retrofitting 3.1 million homes to reach that standard in the next next eight years – the equivalent of 900 homes per day.

Labour’s shadow climate change secretary Ed Miliband said slow progress on insulating houses is hurting families.

“If this government were serious about cutting energy bills, it could start right now, insulating two million homes this year in order to cut bills, cut imports, and cut emissions. But they are not on working people’s side,” said Miliband.

“Labour would give councils the resources they need to deliver the retrofit revolution in their areas. Only Labour can deliver the real long-term plan families need to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.”

The LGA’s warning comes in the same week that the Climate Change Committee slammed the government for inaction over insulating houses.

Ministers promised significant public spending in 2019 and committed to new policies last year, the committee found, but has yet to deliver on either, leaving a “shocking gap in policy”.

The LGA’s research was similarly damning. The local authority group found poorly insulated buildings also increase carbon emissions and leave homes cold and damp as well as wasting money.

Acting to insulate homes could save the NHS £500m every year and slash 670,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide a year from 2030 as well as helping families deal with rising energy bills, which are sent to increase once more in October.

Decarbonising England’s buildings could also create 23,000 skilled jobs.

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“So many homes are leaking more and more money as energy prices increase. This will hit stretched household budgets hard and the public purse, while adding to the climate crisis,” said Cllr David Renard, environment spokesperson for the LGA.

“Investment now will save households further down the line, ease the cost-of-living crisis and mean families have added security and flexibility within their budgets.”

A UK government spokesperson said 46 per cent of homes now have an EPC rating compared to 13 per cent in 2010.

The spokesperson added: “We are investing £6.6 billion this parliament to go even further, with planned energy efficiency upgrades delivering savings of £300 a year on average on their energy bills.

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