Insulating low income homes would boost growth

By staff writers
November 10, 2012

A Consumer Focus report, Jobs, growth and warmer homes published yesterday (9 November) says that the best way to boost growth and create jobs in the UK is to make the homes of low-income households more energy efficient.

The repost has eeen welcomed by TUC General Secretary Designate Frances O'Grady who said:"Building a low-carbon future can create sustainable growth. The financial case for insulating the homes of low-income families across the UK is overwhelming. It would bring thousands of new, highly-skilled green jobs, reduce energy bills for the UK's poorest households, and give an economic boost to the UK that would far outweigh the cost of public investment."

The Consumer Focus report shows that significant energy efficiency infrastructure investment paid for by recycled carbon taxes would generate up to 71,000 jobs and boost GDP by 0.2 per cent by 2015.

According to the report it would also create up to 130,000 jobs by 2027, lift up to nine out of ten households out of fuel poverty, and reduce energy bills in all 'fuel-poor' homes by at least £200 per year.

Investing in energy efficiency has other advantages over alternative options, says Consumer Focus who point out that it is fast to mobilise and would stimulate economic activity and jobs in all regions of the UK. It employs workers in construction and related sectors, which have been hit hard by the recession. Consequently, they say, this sort of investment is less likely than other forms of investment to ‘crowd out’ alternate economic activity. It would also reduce NHS expenditure on treating cold-related illnesses such as respiratory and coronary diseases and reduce dependency on imported gas.

Fuel poverty currently affects over six million UK households, and levels are set to rise as energy prices rise. This is predicted to grow to 9.1 million households – more than one in three homes. Energy consumers will pay an additional £4 billion each year in carbon taxes through their energy bills by 2020.

Mike O’Connor, Chief Executive at Consumer Focus, said: "We need to make heating our homes more affordable, cut carbon emissions and achieve economic growth. Using carbon taxes to ensure our homes leak less energy represents a triple-whammy. This would simultaneously improve the quality of life of millions of people, slash carbon emissions and generate greater economic growth than other measures. Consumers will be paying these taxes through their bills. They can and should feel the benefit.

"Fuel poverty leaves millions of households having to cut back on essentials like food and heating to make ends meet. The Government’s current energy efficiency and fuel poverty plans will only touch the tip of this iceberg. However, Government has the opportunity to use the large and stable revenues from carbon taxes to deliver the most breathtaking and transformative energy efficiency scheme that we have ever seen."

Read the report Jobs, growth and warmer homes here


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