Alex hits out at Government failure to support off-mains households

The Tory-led Coalition is failing to adequately support homes which are hard to heat, Alex Cunningham has warned, despite the current gap in policy being acknowledged.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change last week published its response to the Cutting the Cost of Keeping Warm consultation, recognising that homes not connected to the gas mains can be some of the worst in terms of energy efficiency and also reflect some of the greatest need in terms of fuel poverty.

The Government’s response explicitly identifies that “a policy gap has emerged over time” in this area, resulting in non-gas homes failing to get the support they need to improve energy efficiency, and Stockton North’s Labour MP has hit out at the Coalition’s latest failure to right this wrong.

Just a single day after releasing the consultation response, the Department for Energy and Climate Change issued £70 million of funding for the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund which offers specific support for upgrading condensing boilers in properties connected to the gas mains but neglects to support those upgrading oil or LPG boilers in rural areas.

Alex said:

“It strikes me as astonishing that the Government can attempt to recognise the failure of its policy in one breath, but then neglect to take any action to redress the situation in the next.

“Households around the country that are not connected to the mains gas supply are losing out, with these areas contributing far more towards energy efficiency schemes in levies than they receive as support in return.  In effect, some of our poorest rural communities are subsidising richer urban and suburban communities.

“The Government have themselves acknowledged that over 45 per cent of F and G rated homes are non-gas and have professed to be increasing their focus on these properties.  However, they have fallen at the first opportunity to begin addressing the situation and are continuing to fail to support those who stand to benefit the most.

“And it is more obvious than ever that the Coalition’s energy efficiency schemes have failed to deliver, with the number of energy efficiency measures installed falling by 60 per cent between 2013 and 2014.  This is why a Labour government would seek to better target assistance for the fuel poor, delivering schemes more efficiently through area based programmes led by local authorities and companies in partnership.”