Responding to the Spring Budget, the UK100 cross-party network of local authorities is welcoming the short-term energy bill relief but reiterating its call for a long-term solution, targeted at the most vulnerable.
Highlighting the network’s recent “End the wait. Insulate.” report, UK100’s Interim Chief Executive, Jason Torrance, says:
“The Chancellor’s focus on energy security, energy bill support and devolution is a welcome statement of intent — but we’re worried the measures themselves miss the mark.
Extending the Energy Price Guarantee for a further three months offers consumers a vital but brief reprieve from sky-high energy bills. However, Jeremy Hunt has let slip another golden opportunity to embrace a targeted, long-term solution.
For too long, the Government has overlooked the importance of energy efficiency. Our End the wait. Insulate. report sets out an oven-ready, cost-neutral plan for a local-led energy efficiency drive to alleviate pressure on the most vulnerable – and it won't cost the earth.
Noting the lack of renewable energy support in the Chancellor’s £20 billion energy security announcement, which focuses on nuclear power and carbon capture, Jason continues:
“At the same time, the Chancellor’s energy security plans ignore the cheapest and quickest way to boost UK energy production while accelerating Net Zero action; investment in renewables, including making good on the promise to lift the de facto ban on onshore wind.
Jason concludes by welcoming the “beefed up,” multi-year devolution settlements for Greater Manchester and the West Midlands and support for investment zones:
“Finally, the move to shift control from Whitehall to regional mayors should be celebrated as a big step in the right direction — but we need to see more detail. The same with investment zones.
Today's announcement has a huge potential to unlock the power of local. But it musn’t come at the expense of vital environmental and climate protections. To ensure the UK can fulfil its Net Zero goals, local and regional leaders need the power — and resources — to take the lead on ensuring their residents' homes are warm and comfortable and shaping local energy networks to be more responsive to community needs."
About End the wait. Insulate.
UK100's report recommends that a government-funded scheme introduced in 2021 is redesigned to turbo-boost its effectiveness. The Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund works by inviting local authorities to compete for funding to upgrade the energy efficiency of the social housing stock in their communities.
UK100 argues that the scheme would be far more effective if the new Department for Energy Security and Net Zero ended the competitive nature of the funding and distributed it by need. The report also recommends that a redesigned scheme is run alongside the new UK Infrastructure Bank to maximise private investment and innovative green finance opportunities.
The scheme could upgrade over 550,000 social housing properties by 2028, supporting 40,000 jobs and saving residents up to £1,500 on their bills in the first year alone. The report argues that beyond 2028, a new £16 billion long-term investment to 2050 would ensure every single social housing property in the UK is upgraded to Net Zero standard, permanently reducing bills and supporting over 80,000 jobs.
An energy efficiency plan focused on social housing is something Brits would support by a ratio of more than 5:1 (69% support, 13% oppose), according to the recent YouGov polling released alongside the UK100 report. Results supported by new polling from Omnisis, released today, which finds Conservative voters back energy efficiency and renewable energy expansion as the most effective ways to bring down energy bills.
UK100 is a network of local leaders who have pledged to lead a rapid transition to Net Zero with Clean Air in their communities ahead of the government’s legal target.
UK100’s primary purpose is to support a local-led rapid transition to Net Zero and Clean Air. We do this through collaboration.
To accelerate action, we believe in bringing together the most influential leaders across the country to learn together and agree on priorities for legislative and regulatory change while empowering them to engage with national decision-makers. We provide our network with the knowledge, tools and connections to make this happen.
- More information: Liam Ward, UK100, email@example.com +44 (0)7518 864 210