Response to the Government’s consultation on fuel poverty strategy for England
16 September 2019
Our response to the Government’s consultation on fuel poverty strategy highlights the considerable policy refocus required to achieve 2020 targets as well as the urgent need to address the huge gulf in resources required to tackle the issue.
We welcome the proposed new definition of Low Income Low Energy Efficiency (LILEE) as a step in the right direction, but stress that the new strategy needs to clearly identify the necessary funding and timeline for delivering the existing statutory targets, as Ian Preston, Head of CSE Household Energy Services, comments:
“When the Government redefined fuel poverty it took five years to finally publish a strategy. It’s subsequently failed to deliver a set of policies capable of meeting its targets and without concerted action now it will miss the 2020 target to achieve an EPC band E. We hope to see swift action to rapidly increase investment in the energy efficiency of fuel poor homes with a refocus of existing policies alongside new infrastructure and health funding.”
Another key recommendation is that Government must do more to understand the carbon impacts of its policies relative to the fuel poverty benefits.
The issue of carbon emissions is an important one given the UK Parliament’s recently declared climate emergency and the many local councils who’ve also declared one. We suggest adopting the principle “Prepare the ground for future action” (which is used by the Committee on Climate Change) – this requires that plans to meet near-term targets also make it easier to meet long-term targets.
Our work has shown that considerable resources already exist; however, the funding we have now must be spent in a way that helps the delivery of our future targets.
CSE recently conducted research for the CFP examining the synergies and tensions between tackling fuel poverty, reducing carbon emissions and keeping household bills down. The report modelled a set of potential policy adjustments that could address some of these fundamental issues and demonstrated how capital expenditure on energy efficiency measures could be increased from £990m to £1.7 billion.
The Committee on Fuel Poverty (CFP) lso made proposals in their Clean Growth Strategy that, if implemented, could realistically reduce the £15.1 billion funding shortfall by £6.2 billion, but additional funding needs to be allocated to achieve fuel poverty targets.
We highlight our support for a new ‘Clean Growth Fuel Poverty Challenge Fund’ to allocate the additional funding required to achieve the Government’s targets. We also note that these CFP proposals have yet to be implemented and even with them implemented the Government would still not achieve the 2020 and 2025 fuel poverty milestones.