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Tag Archives: Fuel Poverty
1 December 2013: …is not anywhere on Number 10 or DECC’s websites but behind a ‘paywall’ in today’s edition of the Sun on Sunday. But is now also reproduced below:
Cameron: We can help the poorest and stick to our green policies
Coalition on pledge to keep energy bills down
By DAVID CAMERON, Prime Minister, and NICK CLEGG, Deputy Prime Minister
LABOUR leader Ed Miliband rocked Westminster with his pledge of a 20-month freeze on energy bills.
While ministers scoffed it wouldn’t work, they were stung by its popular appeal with voters.
Now after two months of head-scratching, they have come up with an alternative plan to keep prices down.
Here the Prime Minister and his Lib Dem deputy reveal plans to slash £50 off the average bill – and explain how they’ll do it:
BECAUSE of the hard work of the British people, and because we have stuck to our long-term economic plan, Britain’s economy is now on the mend – and we’re determined to help families in every way we can.
The Coalition is offering real help in these hard times: income tax cuts, a council tax freeze, a fuel duty freeze and free school meals for young children.
We have only been able to do this because we have taken difficult decisions and our economic plan is working.
This week, we will announce further help: proposals that will be worth around £50 on average to energy bill-payers.
We’re doing it without taking any help away from poor families or sacrificing our green commitments; and in a way that will keep Britain’s lights on in the long-term too.
When you look at your bill you see it is made up of various costs. Some of these we can’t control.
Most of what you pay is determined by the price of energy in the global market – the gas and oil we’re buying from the Middle East or Europe.
Politicians in the UK cannot wave a magic wand over these prices. To pretend you can is fantasy politics.
But there are bits that government can control – the parts of your bill that go to helping the poorest families heat their homes and to making Britain more energy efficient.
Some say we should drop these commitments entirely but we do not agree. As we approach winter, we refuse to turn our backs on the worst-off families. And if we abandon our green commitments, it is our children and grandchildren who will pay the price.
This Coalition Government has never pursued quick fixes today when they’ll hurt people tomorrow - and we’re not going to start now.
So we are going to stick to these commitments but we are not going to ask you to pay for all of them through your bills.
The two million poorest families who currently receive a discount on gas and electricity will continue to do so, but Government will pay for it. We’re able to afford this because we have cracked down on tax avoidance – leaving us more money to help struggling families. We are also changing the way we fund improving energy efficiency in Britain’s homes.
We will all be better off when our homes lose less heat, so we want the energy companies to help insulate as many homes as possible over the next decade.
But – apart from in the worst-off homes – we’re going to spread the costs of these programmes over a longer time frame, reducing people’s bills.
And to make sure we carry on cutting enough carbon, the Government will pay for new incentives for people to insulate their homes.
Alongside the Green Deal, when you buy a new home you could get up to £1,000 from Government to spend on energy-saving measures – equivalent to half the stamp duty on the average house – or even more for particularly expensive measures.
It is an all-round win. Better insulation means cheaper bills, it will cut carbon emissions and boost British businesses who provide these services.
On top of that, we will offer cash incentives to landlords of the least energy-efficient properties so that, when they are between tenants, they can better insulate their properties. And we’ll also make sure our schools and hospitals are more energyefficient, too.
Taken together, these things mean we will meet our green commitments and support those employed in the insulation industry but, crucially, without putting the cost on energy customers.
Labour have promised a temporary price freeze on energy bills. But they’re taking people for fools. Energy companies would hike up prices both before and after the freeze – so families would end up paying more.
Not only that, by cutting investment in green energy, their freeze would threaten thousands of jobs.
Labour’s con is the worst of all worlds. When an offer sounds too good to be true it usually is.
The Coalition has come up with a serious and credible plan that actually works.
By taking the time to get this right, we’ve got the best outcome all round. No poor family will lose a penny of help.
Our clean energy sector will get the investment it needs, the lights will stay on and we will cut just as much carbon as we planned.
Instead of a fake giveaway, we’ve found another way to support Britain’s hard-pressed families when they need it most.
November 2013: This month the Mayor has been asked questions in relation to:
the price of Londoner’s gas bills; the uptake of the Green Deal in London; details of schools going through the RE:FIT Energy Efficiency Programme; the recent GLA-commissioned study looking at London’s Zero Carbon Energy Resource; London Energy Costs; the London Energy Efficiency Fund (LEEF) Loan to Croydon; work undertaken on Energy Efficiency guidance to SMEs; buildings adopting the GLA Sustainable Design and Construction Standards; whether the Mayor had sent a copy of the GLA’s ’Energy Planning: Monitoring the implementation of London Plan energy policies in 2012‘ research to CLG; the Mayor’s response to a recent Environment Audit Committee recommendation that local authorities should have a statutory duty to produce low-carbon plans for their area; the GLA’s response to CLG’s Allowable Solutions consultation; Mayoral concern over CLG’s Housing Standards Review consultation; organisations working alongside the Mayor’s Affordable Warmth and Health Action Plan; events proposed around the Mayor’s Affordable Warmth and Health Action Plan; London’s children and fuel poverty; evaluation of the Know Your Rights Campaign; the Mayor’s support for nuclear; the Mayor’s response to former PM John Major’s comments on households having to choose between heating or eating; an update report on the Mayor’s Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Strategy; the Mayor’s response to concerns that the ECO is to be scrapped; the Mayor’s strategy for delivering the ECO and Green Deal in London; whether the Mayor has been in contact with CLG over the Housing Standards Review consultation.
Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.
October 2013: This month the Mayor has been asked questions in relation to:
Climate change leadership; London’s successful ‘green economy”;
potential for wind energy in London; the human contribution to climate change; Nissan Electric taxis‘; emissions from electric vehicles; promoting community energy through planning; Mayor’s briefing to the House of Lords on the Energy Bill; Mayoral visits to the Dagenham wind power project; RE:NEW programme advice on supplier switching; supplier switching advice; Nuclear power and London; bills savings achieved by households under RE:NEW; the Mayor’s energy advisor’s visit to New York; the Mayor’s energy advisor’s visit to Rio de Janeiro; the Mayor’s view on wind farms; London Energy Efficiency Fund (LEEF) Advisory Committee papers; nuclear power value to Londoners; roll-over energy contracts for SMEs; CO2 savings achieved under RE:NEW; the Mayor’s energy advisor’s visit to San Francisco; the Mayor’s view on MASDAR’s investment in the London Array; the Mayor’s view on shale gas; investment opportunities for London through financing wind power projects; hosting a London ‘Climate Week‘; RE:NEW advice supplier switching; renewable electricity supply to the Tube; SOURCE London charging points; London’s need for more electricity substations; completion of Affordable Warmth and Health Action Plan; applications to the London Schools Hydrogen Challenge; budget allocated to the Mayor’s new Affordable Warmth and Health Action Plan; the Mayor’s new Affordable Warmth and Health Action Plan; Londoners supported through the Mayor’s Know Your Rights helpline; GLA officers working on the new Affordable Warmth and Health Action Plan; RE:NEW report backs; Benefit Entitlement Checks (BECs) under RE:NEW; carbon offsets for flights; key activities in the Mayor’s new Affordable Warmth and Health Action Plan; private sector funding leveraged by RE:NEW; targets under the Affordable Warmth and Health Action Plan; community level responses to heatwaves; disseminating research undertaken to date on how to cope with heatwaves and the health impacts of cold homes.
Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.
September 2013: Recently released GLA research indicates that:
- The number of Londoners living in poverty has seen little change over the last few years.
- More than a third of London’s children are in households with income below the poverty line, though rates have again fallen. The poverty rate for children in London, after housing costs, remains higher than for any other region, but is at its lowest level for 16 years.
- Child poverty in Outer London, before housing costs are taken into account, has fallen to the same level it was when the Government set Child Poverty reduction targets.
May 2013: This month the Mayor has been asked questions in relation to:
whether the Mayor had signed up to the London Big Energy Switch; whether the Mayor had signed up to the Green Deal; making Greenwich Power station a low-carbon generator; the London Energy and Greenhouse Gas Inventory (LEGGI); discussions with DECC over increasing levels of fuel poverty in London; the Mayor’s response to the Government’s consultation on a new definition for fuel poverty – (link to actual response document here); the growth of fuel poverty in London’s private rented sector; a new power station for London; energy and climate issues in Transport for London’s business plan; decentralised energy and the London Infrastructure Group; meetings with energy supplier companies on the ECO in London; the impact of rising energy prices on London’s economy; the poor uptake of photovoltaics in London; renewable energy supply to London Underground; the use of recycled cooking oil in London’s bus fleet; the number of job losses in the insulation industry in London; how the London Enterprise Panel’s Skills & Employment Working Group will promote green jobs; the number of ‘green’ double decker buses in London; the number ‘green’ single decker buses in London’; emissions related to the ‘New bus for London’; the Shoreditch Heat Network; the Citigen CHP scheme; Guidance on Low Carbon Cooling systems; zero carbon heating at the Tate modern; minutes of the High Level Electricity Working Group; future changes in London’s weather; climate change in the national curriculum; petition to remove climate change from the national curriculum; carbon emissions and projects supported under the Growing Places Fund the RE:NEW evaluation report and an update on the Mayor’s electricity ‘license lite’ application.
Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.
22 May 2013: After some delay, DECC have published their latest annual report for the Warm Front programme for the year April 2011-March 2012. Little information has been released on the Warm Front programme since early 2012, when measures delivered per parliamentary constituency were published.
The report indicates that London has – once again – been poorly served by the programme, with the capital having the lowest number of homes assisted. See graphic from the report below.
Warm Front was the Government’s principal fuel poverty alleviation scheme and the only energy efficiency scheme centrally funded by Government [ie the various energy supplier obligation programmes that have operated over the past decade (EEC, CERT, CESP) are paid through by charges added to UK householders electricity and gas bills by energy companies]. The incoming Government decided to significantly reduce the budget of Warm Front – from an annual spend of £345m to £110m in 2011/2012. This was further reduced to £100m in 2012/13 which was also decided to be the last year of the scheme.
The foreword to the annual report points out that “For the first time in the history of the scheme the budget available was not fully spent. The greatest reason for the budget not being fully spent was undoubtedly the low rate of applications received by the scheme.” The Government came under significant criticism in 2012 as a result of this underspend, coming as it did at not only at a time of increasing fuel price rises, but also after the budget of the programme had been cut by 68%! A House of Commons briefing note from February 2012 provides details to all of this – and further info on the impacts in London in post here).
In relation to the final year of the programme – 2012/13 – the annual report for which we may not see for another year (!?) – the Government actually withdrew funds late last year from the Warm Front budget to pay for a number of new initiatives - the Green Deal Pioneer Places programme, a fuel poverty programme and a collective switching scheme (details via the following link). It was not announced at the time that some £30m was drawn out of the Warm Front budget to fund these schemes - and only came to light earlier this year (see latter parliamentary questions from Shadow Secretary of State Caroline Flint to DECC here).
May 2013: The newly constituted London Health Board met for the first time on 20 May 2013. A press release sets out that the Board is a “partnership between local government, the NHS and the Mayor of London, which has been established to provide leadership on health issues of pan-London significance, where this adds value to decisions, agreements and action at local level.” A useful evidence paper was presented at this first meeting setting out some useful information on ‘Health in London‘. None of the papers indicate that the Board are to address issues relating to health and its relationship to cold homes or fuel poverty, however, this is only their first meeting…
The London Climate Change Partnership recently published ‘‘Linking Environment and Health: A resource for policy and decision makers working on Joint Strategic Needs Assessment’. The LCCP sets out that “Given the importance of the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) in shaping priorities for health and social care investment it is essential that a proper assessment of such environmental factors, which impact on population health and health inequalities, are given real attention and emphasis. Health and Well-being Boards and the Boards of health and care providers will also want to take full account of environmental issues and community capacity when addressing quality and finance challenges.”
The key study looking into these issues was undertaken by the UCL’s Institute of Health Equity. Their key report ‘The Health Impacts of Cold Homes and Fuel Poverty‘ was published in 2011 and can be downloaded here.
April 2013: The Department for Communities and Local Government announced last week new funding to help councils fund the adaptations disabled people need to live independently in their own home. The press release states that “Ministers have protected the Disabled Facilities Grant programme for the last 3 years, with a further £185 million expected in next year’s funding“.
Included in eligible types of work for funding are:
- adapting heating or lighting controls to make them easier to use
- improving or providing a suitable heating system
A document setting out the allocation awarded to each local authority is provided here. Looking at London councils , it can be seen a total of £23.5m has gone to the capital – a breakdown of each borough’s funding is provided below:
27 March 2013: A parliamentary question asking about the numbers of fuel poor households in the UK, including for numbers at the regional level, helps provide an indication about the growth in fuel poverty in the capital over the past decade.
Data is only available as yet to 2010 (see PQ link above for references): updated statistics for 2011 and 2012 will be made available in June of this year. London is common with most other areas in observing a threefold increase in the numbers of fuel poor households as a consequence of increasing fuel prices – most notably from 2005/06 onwards. The Government is however currently working on a redefining the definition of fuel poverty and the proposals – as set out out in a consultation paper late last year – are anticipated to have a significant impact in London, as a consequence of housing costs now being taken into consideration (see earlier post here for details).
March 2013: The ‘Big London Energy Switch’ collective switching scheme was initiated earlier this year after securing £686,655 in funding from DECC (see earlier post here for full details). Those involved include London Councils, with 18 other boroughs and with the Royal Borough of Kingston as lead. Kingston is also where Secretary of State for Energy, Ed Davey, a longtime support of collective purchasing, is the local MP (see here for further details). The other 17 London boroughs are: Bexley, Brent, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Haringey, Islington, Lambeth, Merton, Newham, Richmond, Southwark, Sutton and Waltham Forest.
A recent London Councils briefing paper highlights that three other boroughs (Lewisham, Harrow and Tower Hamlets) are now also supporting the scheme but are not in receipt of DECC funding. A Big London Energy Switch website has now been established along with an introductory video to the initiative.
The Scheme is currently procuring a switching provider with support from law firm Pinsent and Masons.
March 2013: This month the Mayor has been asked questions in relation to:
the number of applications to the London Energy Efficiency Fund; the Mayor’s correspondence with DECC on the ECO; fuel poverty and health; Details of decentralised energy schemes being supported by the Mayor; visits to Brixton Energy Solar projects; energy efficiency targets in the Mayor’s London Rental Standard; fuel poor families in London – and RE:NEW delivery in the private rented sector; the Mayor’s work to plug the energy gap; progress under the RE:FIT programme in London boroughs; the level of Green Deal activity in London; Is the GLA a Green Deal provider; plans in place to spend the £5,627,342 DECC Green Deal and Fuel Poverty funding to the GLA; 2013/14 funding to the RE:FIT programme; evaluation of the RE:FIT programme;
RE:CONNECT programme budget for 2013/14; Better Building Partneship programme budget for 2013/14/; events attended by the Mayor’s Environment Advisor; Bunhill CHP scheme; attendance at the High Level Electricity Working Group; and participation on environmental issues on the Talk London website.
Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.