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MPs warm up to cold homes week

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Last week saw the launch of Cold Homes Week, a week of action by the Energy Bill Revolution during which thousands of people contacted their MP demanding an end to the scandal of cold homes.

The Energy Bill Revolution, the world’s biggest fuel poverty campaign, is run by Transform UK, the campaign wing of E3G. There are now almost 200 major UK charities, businesses, unions, consumer and health groups in the Energy Bill Revolution alliance. They are calling upon all political parties to commit to using the UK’s revenues from the EU ETS and the Carbon Support Price to make the homes of the fuel poor super energy efficient. They want home energy efficiency to be the UK’s priority infrastructure investment.

Energy efficiency is by far the most effective way to bring down energy bills and is the only permanent solution to fuel poverty. The UK has among the worst insulated properties in Europe and as a result is second worst for fuel poverty. It is causing immense financial hardship for millions of people.

In the lead up to Cold Homes Week EBR released new research (see below) which showed that 2.2 million children are now living in fuel poverty in England and the number is rising. This attracted huge press interest with the story run by ITN, Sky, the Daily Mail and the Mirror.

The campaign is also drawing attention to the impact on the elderly. Due to the appalling condition of the housing stock the UK has one of the worst records for winter deaths with 31,000 dying of the cold last winter.

The week of action kicked off with the release of a Thunderclap (a tool which holds social media messages and sends them at the same time for greater impact). In the end, with the support of our alliance, over a million messages were sent via social media during Cold Homes Week. Thousands of scarves, the main campaign symbol, were knitted and sent in to MPs by supporters. Scarves also appeared on statues across the UK and one was even wrapped around a bus! Many people showed their support by sending selfies in scarves to our hashtag #coldhomesweek. Thousands of others sent letters to their MP via the new website.

One of the main events of the week was the Energy Bill Revolution Parliamentary Reception hosted in the Houses of Parliament by Dr Alan Whitehall MP and in partnership with two of EBR’s leading alliance members, Age UK and Barnardo’s. The reception was one of the most popular held in Parliament in recent years with 100 MPs in attendance, having their photos taken as they were presented with their campaign scarves knitted by EBR supporters. Floods of press releases about Cold Homes Week have since been leaving the House of Commons and constituency offices across the UK.

The Energy Bill Revolution has truly landed and now has the support of over 230 MPs. We are aiming for 300 and the support of every major party. If ever there was a time to write to your MP it’s now!

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