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The Better Homes Briefing

April 18, 2022 7:00 AM
By Green Liberal Democrats
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Energy bills are spiking. 7.5 million households are set to enter fuel poverty. We are all feeling the squeeze.

On the first of April 2022, the energy price cap rose by 54%, burdening 22 million customers with increased bills. Those on default tariffs paying by direct debit will see an increase of £693 from £1,277 to £1,971 per year, whilst prepayment customers are experiencing an increase of £708, from £1,309 to £2,017.

It's our job as Liberal Democrats to advocate for these people.

Whilst we have presented a full plan for reducing the cost of living, home insulation has increased in relevance in light of the campaigning efforts of groups like Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain.

A fabric first approach to reducing costs by investing in better homes could transform the experience of opening utility bills at the end of the month.

This briefing and campaign pack will outline how we can promote our plan for better homes and lower bills.

The Problem:

Well insulated homes save £671 in energy bills per year. Not to mention the human cost.

In the winter of 2018-19, 17,000 lives were lost due to cold housing conditions, the highest since 1976. A greater quantity than the cumulative deaths from breast and brain cancers in the same period.

The UK has the second worst cold weather mortality rate of 30 European countries, and when balanced for wealth, rank amongst the worst in the world.

In turn, energy usage in our homes accounts for 14% of UK emissions. To tackle the climate emergency, we know that we must urgently reduce our carbon footprint. The phrase 'activism starts at home' could not be more true. It shouldn't cost the earth to live in a healthy, comfortable dwelling.

But instead of helping households to reduce their costs, tackling the health crisis of draughty homes, and reducing our carbon emissions, the Government slashed regulations for developers, costing those in new homes £361 million extra every year.

The price of inaction is too high for our communities and climate.

The Solution:

In the Spring of 2021, the Liberal Democrats proposed that the Windfall from auctions of offshore wind farm rights should be used to invest in a Sovereign Green Wealth Fund. This would finance an emergency ten-year programme to insulate every home.

Sir Ed Davey MP called for 'Lower heating bills for everyone - and an end to fuel poverty. Warmer homes for everyone - and green jobs in every village, town and city across the UK.'

E3G analysis found that for every £1 of government money invested in retrofit, £3.20 comes back into the economy by way of increased GDP. This is an opportunity we cannot afford to waste.

This reiterates pledges made in our 2019 manifesto, which you can read here.

Our plan calls on the government to:

  • Invest in grants to upgrade insulation in all existing homes, creating over 500,000 skilled green jobs.

  • Require all new homes to be eco-friendly, tackling developers who cut corners with higher standards and regular inspections.

  • Increase minimum efficiency standards for privately rented properties and remove the cost cap on improvements, so tenants aren't trapped in cold homes.

  • Empower councils to develop community energy-saving projects, including delivering housing energy efficiency improvements street by street.

  • Grade Stamp Duty Land Tax by the energy rating of the property.

The Campaign:

We've produced a pack of essential resources for campaigning on improving our homes:

P.S: It may be too late to select a campaign for the runup to May, but we are Liberal Democrats. We campaign all year round!

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