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Small top-up to energy efficiency support in the UK mini-budget

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UK PM Liz Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng discuss their Growth Plan ahead of a mini-budget to the House of Commons on 23 September. Photo by Rory Arnold for No 10 Downing Street on flickr.
UK PM Liz Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng discuss their Growth Plan ahead of a mini-budget to the House of Commons on 23 September. Photo by Rory Arnold for No 10 Downing Street on flickr.

What was announced

  1. Hidden away in the small print of today’s Plan for Growth is an announcement to step up energy efficiency support.  
  2. The government will expand the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) – which requires energy companies to install energy saving measures in fuel poor homes – with a £1bn boost over three years, starting from next April. 
  3. The new funding will be targeted at those most vulnerable, and made available for the least efficient homes in lower council tax bands 
  4. In addition, the government will also “imminently open applications for up to £2.1 billion over the next two years to support local authorities, housing associations, schools and hospitals invest in energy efficiency and renewable heating.” 

Assessment

While the ECO expansion will provide vital relief for the households that stand to benefit, alone it cannot shift the dial on the resilience of UK households to energy price shocks, now or in future. E3G has previously called for £5bn spending for green building measures to be allocated in the mini-Budget, alongside new support for supply chains and consumer advice.

At a minimum, this was the obvious moment to meet the remaining manifesto commitments for energy efficiency. The government appears to have now done so for the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, but this needs further scrutiny. It seems the opportunity was missed to meet the Home Upgrade Grant pledge – which is still £1.4 billion short of what should have been committed to 2025 – leaving the mooted Spending Review overhaul as the last chance to fulfil election promises.  

Quote

Juliet Phillips, Senior Policy Advisor says:  

“The cold and leaky nature of Britain’s homes and buildings has left families sharply exposed to volatile international fossil fuel markets and spiralling energy bills.  

 

Today’s small top-up to expand energy efficiency support is a welcome step, which will help cut household bills and boost the UK’s energy security. We hope to see the government go further and faster to unleash the full potential that energy efficiency has to offer to protect UK households from future energy shocks.” 

Available for comment 

The following experts are available for commentary – please contact them directly: 

Juliet Phillips, Senior Policy Advisor, E3G 
+44 7548 097 061, juliet.phillips@e3g.org 

Notes to Editors 

E3G is an independent climate change think tank with a global outlook. We work on the frontier of the climate landscape, tackling the barriers and advancing the solutions to a safe climate. Our goal is to translate climate politics, economics and policies into action. About – E3G 

For further enquiries email press@e3g.org or phone +44 (0)7783 787 863 

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