Government should step up energy efficiency work says IPPR

The IPPR has called on the Government to invest in energy saving home improvements, as part of its recommendations for the forthcoming Spending Review.

The think tank published its recommendations yesterday (31 August), which include a series of progressive measures, which will still allow Chancellor George Osborne to reach a surplus by 2019/20.

The report recommends the introduction of a “Help To Heat” programme, which would improve the energy efficiency of 330,000 low-income households a year.

All low-income homes could be upgraded by 2030 and programme would cost the Treasury £1bn a year from 2018/19 onwards.

“Estimates suggest that raising the energy performance certificate (EPC) levels of the homes of all low-income households, of which there are 4.7 million, to grade ‘C’ would cost £26 billion (Howard 2015),” the report states.

“To achieve this by 2030 would imply investment of £1.7 billion per year. Currently, £700 million is raised through energy bills to pay for ECO off-balance-sheet, which means that £1 billion in additional capital investment would be needed per year in order to deliver these improvements (ibid). 

“To deliver this extra investment, we recommend that this additional £1 billion be provided to DECC’s capital budget, and that it be protected and ring-fenced annually throughout the spending review period to be spent on energy efficiency improvements through the Help to Heat programme.”

The report also recommends protecting the revenue support grant for local authorities, the public health grant and the Better Care Fund.

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues