1. Insulation to create warm homes
The UK has some of the least energy-efficient homes in Europe, some of which are in old buildings with little insulation, draughts and single-glazed windows. It can cost £1,368 a year more to heat a poorly-insulated home than a well-insulated one.
We're calling for the government to fund a street-by-street insulation programme to help avoid energy wastage and slash bills. In Wales, we are urging the Welsh government to urgently roll out its Warm Homes programme, prioritising the most in-need households and neighbourhoods for insulation.
The government wants to fund insulation in 2025, but this solution needs to start now.
We've found the coldest neighbourhoods across England and Wales, areas with homes that are poorly-insulated which mean above-average fuel bills to heat them, in places where most people are living on low incomes. We think these are the best places to start street-by-street insulation to create warmer homes now and into the future
2. Support for those most in need
The cost of living remains high and millions of us are struggling with energy bills that have almost doubled, despite the government's price freeze, while oil and gas companies stack up eye-watering profits.
Some of us are being harder hit than others. No one should have to choose between heating their home or putting food on the table. More emergency support, targeted at those most at risk, is urgently needed to keep people warm through winter.
The package announced in the Autumn Statement is welcome but doesn’t go far enough to protect those most at risk. This includes the 40% of people living in poverty who don’t receive means-tested benefits and are therefore unable to benefit from the extra £900 of much-needed support.
3. Move to renewable energy
The UK has huge potential to generate clean energy onshore and offshore from wind, solar and tides. Homegrown renewable energy is the cheapest form of energy, far cheaper than gas, and onshore wind and solar farms are the fastest to build.
Soaring gas prices are fuelling the cost of living and climate crisis. Gas is the UK’s main source of heating, used in around 80% of properties. And the price of our electricity is tied to the price of gas, even when it comes from cheaper renewable sources.
We need to move away from heating our homes with gas to heating with electricity. And we need to change our energy system so consumers can benefit from the lower costs of renewable electricity. This is the solution for long-term cheaper and greener energy.
Councils putting solutions in place
Several local authorities have already taken action for warmer homes.
North East Derbyshire District Council has retrofitted hundreds of council homes with external wall insulation. Liverpool City Council has also engaged landlords to improve the energy efficiency of rented homes.
Wiltshire, Islington and Hastings Borough councils have all set up fuel poverty support services. Warm and Safe Wiltshire, Islington’s SHINE network and East Sussex’s Warm Home Check offer services including home visits to install energy efficiency measures, debt support and help with accessing funding.
Such initiatives help keep residents warm, reduce energy bills, lower carbon emissions and create jobs. These councils’ approaches have also allowed them to prioritise residents particularly vulnerable to cold homes and high bills.
Yet even these councils simply don’t have the resources or powers to ensure warm homes for all their residents. Many councils have struggled to secure funding or find a workforce with the necessary skills. Government action and long-term funding is also needed to match the scale of the energy and climate crises.