The Government’s woefully inadequate energy efficiency policy has failed to help the 4,000 households in Enfield North suffering from fuel poverty, says Rt. Hon Joan Ryan MP.
Speaking during Oral Questions to the Secretary of State for Climate Change in Parliament, on Thursday 25th June, Ms Ryan raised concerns that the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme, which suffered severe cuts in the last Parliament, is due to end in 2017. “How will the Government meet their responsibility to people in fuel poverty once the ECO has ended?”, she said. When the coalition Government replaced Labour’s obligations on the energy companies to install energy efficiency and insulation measures in vulnerable and hard-to-treat households with the ECO, this resulted in the number of households getting loft, cavity and solid wall insulations falling by over 90%.
Fuel poverty affects nearly 10% of homes in Enfield North, and over 2 million households across the country, meaning many people cannot afford to heat their homes properly.
Energy efficiency is the best way of tackling fuel poverty, but the Government’s track record on tackling this issue has fallen far short of what is required. Not only has the ECO suffered substantial cuts, but the Government’s flagship policy - the Green Deal Home Improvement fund – launched two years ago - has completed work in only 9,000 homes across the country. At the time the Green Deal was announced the then Climate Change Minister, Greg Barker, said it would secure “the biggest home improvement programme since the second world war”.
This has failed to materialise and Ms Ryan is calling on the Government to re-think its entire energy efficiency policy.
Rt. Hon Joan Ryan MP, Labour’s Member of Parliament for Enfield North, said:
“With 10% of households in Enfield North suffering from fuel poverty, thousands of people can’t afford to heat their homes adequately –this has a huge impact on their health, well-being and finances.
Whilst we are all enjoying the British Summer it is really important that the Government plans for those cold autumn and winter months ahead, when the effects of fuel poverty really bite.
But the Government’s energy efficiency schemes have flopped and policies like the ECO are facing the axe within a couple of years.
This situation is not good enough and many residents will be facing real hardship in a few short months.”