Government could be cutting £5bn rather than £50 from energy bills

The £50 saving on household energy bills promised by government late last year could be far exceeded – and the UK could win numerous other benefits – if government were to adopt an ambitious home energy retrofit programme. Households could be saving more than £370 a year on their energy bills by 2030 if government supported the use of grants and 0% interest loans to help people carry out upgrading work.

Overall UK households could save nearly £5bn by 2030 and such a retrofit programme would effectively pay for itself within a decade. These are among the key findings of a new report aimed at convincing ministers to take action to remedy the country’s badly insulated homes.

Last December government acted to help reduce high domestic fuel bills by pledging a £50 saving for every household. But the saving effectively came from a relaxation of the requirement for energy companies to retrofit fuel poor homes, and so has slowed the pace of home energy retrofit for many who need it most. By contrast, the report commissioned by campaign Energy Bill Revolution makes the case for stepping up the pace of retrofit massively. It concludes that as an infrastructure investment, a much more ambitious retrofit programme would be considered to be delivering ‘high’ value for money.

The report says such a programme would:

  • Add £13.9bn annually to the UK economy by 2030
  • Boost GDP by £3.20 for every £1 invested by government
  • Produce £8.6bn in energy savings per year by 2030, an average energy saving of £372 per household. Taking into account loan repayments this would result in £4.95bn in financial savings per year for households
  • Cut gas imports would by 25%, boosting energy security
  • Create up to 108,000 jobs
  • Cut carbon emissions from homes by 23.6m tonnes a year by 2030
  • Return £1.27 in tax revenue for every £1 invested by government.

Research for the report, Building the future, was undertaken by Cambridge Econometrics and Verco. The report was sponsored by the Energy Bill Revolution, UK Green Building Council, the Mineral Wool Insulation Manufacturers Association, Willmott Dixon, Kingfisher and the Sustainable Energy Association.

Anti-fuel poverty coalition, the Energy Bill Revolution, is calling for a programme that would see: UK low income households receiving grants to help make their homes highly energy efficient by 2020; all 6m low income households being treated to this standard by 2025; and all other households being offered 0% interest loans to help them reach the standard by 2035.

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