• Wiltshire Wildlife

£1b needed to combat fuel poverty

The next government must commit to ‘net zero fuel poverty challenge fund’ to address fuel poverty that afflicts one in ten homes, claims National Energy Action (NEA).

It is calling for the government to commit £1 billion of central investment to the fund that would help the poorest households living the least energy efficient homes.

The effect of such a move would be to lift people out of fuel poverty, defined as when their energy costs to meet standards of comfort are higher than average and paying those costs would leave them below the poverty level.

Fuel poverty has dire effects on peoples lives. Each winter, on average 11,400 people die due to a cold home. Fuel poverty also increases stress and the Manifesto for Warmth notes various steps people take as a result of not being able to afford to heat their homes, including cutting back on buying essential items, using candles and unsafe heating appliances.

The NEA points out that as well as the impacts on individuals, fixing the fuel poverty problem would reduce the stress and costs to the NHS, reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality, kickstart a fair transition to a net zero carbon society, and boost the economy.

Maria Wardrobe, Director of Communications at NEA said: “This winter, thousands of people will fall victim to the cold. It’s invading our homes and causing breathing problems, strokes and heart attacks. It’s making people’s lives stressful and miserable, and preventing our children from thriving.

‘‘But we can cure this. A Government-funded, national heating and insulation scheme would vaccinate our homes against the cold. Giving incomes a boost would also mean that people could afford to switch on their heating and stay warm and healthy.”

The full Manifesto for Warmth can be found here.

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