THE NUMBER of homes which have been upgraded through the government’s landmark insulation schemes has dropped around 40 per cent in a single year, according to analysis from the New Economics Foundation (NEF).

The analysis finds that as of last year, the government’s four leading schemes only installed 15.8 per cent of the home energy efficiency measures needed by the end of 2023 to meet the UK’s net zero climate commitments.

Previous NEF research has found that insulating the nation’s draughtiest homes would save households £6.4 billion a year on their energy bills. But this new analysis finds that the total number of households upgraded by the home upgrade grant (HUG) and local authority delivery (LAD) schemes has fallen by 40 per cent in the last year. Similarly, the number of households upgraded under ECO – the largest and longest running scheme – has fallen by 55 per cent over the past year. The social housing decarbonisation fund (SHDF) has existed for less than two years so it is not possible to compute equivalent figures but it is also down 41 per cent quarter on quarter.

Home energy efficiency measures are a key component of the UK’s policies to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. According to the government’s own climate advisors, the UK should have installed around 2,940,087 insulation measures between 2020 and the end of 2023. This analysis shows a massive gap between these targets and reality: just 464,982 energy efficiency measures have been installed since 2020 across the government’s landmark schemes (LAD, HUG, ECO and SHDF). These represent just 15.8 per cent of the installation measures needed.

According to the English Housing Survey, just 53 per cent of homes have cavity or solid wall insulation, and only 48 per cent are rated EPC A to C. UK homes leak heat three times faster than our European neighbours, according to rhe energy management firm Tado, and private rented homes are particularly affected.

Christian Jaccarini, senior economist at the New Economics Foundation (NEF), said: “We’re in the midst of yet another winter where people are agonising over whether to turn on their heating, because of the sky-high cost of energy bills. The energy crisis should have been a wakeup call for the government to subsidise basic insulation measures in the UK’s draughtiest homes, as a way to keep bills down for good. Instead, we’ve had a piecemeal approach, and today we’re seeing the results: a drop in government-supported home insulations, when they should be accelerating.

“The result is eye-watering energy bills for yet another winter. The government needs to step up its game with a genuine mass insulation scheme and investment in training so we have a well-paid workforce ready to upgrade the nation’s homes.”

* Source: New Economics Foundation