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Budget 2014: government must stop spiralling energy costs, says UKGBC



The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) is calling on the chancellor to step in to help millions of families across the UK struggling to keep up with “spiralling energy costs”, ahead of the budget next week.

Improving energy efficiency in homes presents a “unique opportunity” to help families feeling the squeeze whilst curbing carbon emissions. A large majority of the UK’s 25m homes are currently falling below energy efficiency standards.

The UKGBC says that next week’s budget is a chance for George Osborne to set aside funds that would be solely dedicated to retrofitting 1m homes a year. They are calling on the chancellor to make residential energy efficiency a top infrastructure priority, which would rescue the government’s green deal – an initiative that critics claim is faltering.

Paul King, chief executive of UKGBC, said, “As our energy bills continue to climb year on year and the need to reduce our emissions becomes ever more urgent, energy efficiency is the only antidote. But make no mistake, the scale of the challenge, and equally the opportunity for the construction industry, is huge.

“By retrofitting 1m homes a year over the next 25 years, Mr Osborne could end the misery of rising energy bills, fuel poverty, and slash our carbon emissions. But government must make energy efficiency a top infrastructure priority and provide the necessary support to allow this market to flourish.”

The UKGBC is also calling on the government to provide grants to the fuel poor, following the energy price hikes which dominated political discussions towards the end of last year.

When appearing before MPs in parliament, bosses from the big six energy companies were accused of monopolising the markets and colluding in order to drive up the price of energy.

Further criticism came when Ofgem said that energy suppliers’ profits rose by 77% last year. RWE dismissed the figures, saying they were out of date.

Director of the Association of Energy Conservation (ACE) Andrew Warren told Blue & Green Tomorrow that lobbying was rife among the big six, because it was not in the firms’ interest to support energy efficiency which would lead to a decrease in consumer demand for energy.

Further reading:

The 2014 budget we want to see

Downing Street denies Cameron’s ‘green crap’ comments

Energy committee to PM: cutting green levies will ‘undermine investor confidence’

Big six energy bosses grilled by MPs over price hikes

Ofgem: energy firms’ profits from customers up 77%