What can I talk to my MP about?
On this page you will find a range of issues and solutions relating to fuel poverty that you may choose to discuss with your MP. We are able to provide further briefings on any of the issues below- contact us if you would like one! It can be useful to send a briefing to your MP ahead of the meeting, so that they may familiarize themselves with your chosen issue. Also, providing your MP with an A4 side of information can be beneficial to your MP. As they have to know a little about a lot of issues, many MPs are grateful for a summary of an issue that impacts their local constituents.
Solution: Making energy efficiency an infrastructure priority
Whilst providing short-term financial support for the fuel poor to pay their energy bills is essential, the best long-term solution is to improve the energy efficiency of homes.
The most widely supported solution in the UK today to tackle fuel poverty and climate change is to make home energy efficiency an infrastructure investment priority. Some examples some key features of this programme would include:
- A long term infrastructure programme that puts saving energy at the heart of the UK’s efforts to build a cost effective low carbon energy system, backed by the target to bring all homes up to at least EPC Band C by 2035.
- Long term funding of £1.7 billion / year, supported by public infrastructure investment, to help reach this target. This means that not all the programme is paid for via energy bills, which is much fairer. The programme would achieve economic growth comparable to any other energy, road or railway infrastructure project according to the Government’s own economic analysis.
- Delivering the programme by combining three delivery elements – using energy suppliers (as happens now under ECO), an area-based programme led by local authorities and an additional programme to support low income and vulnerable households outside these areas.
- High quality standards to ensure everyone is happy with the works undertaken in their homes.
- All low income households get work done for free to get their home up to EPC Band C.
- Everyone else gets access to zero interest loans to install energy efficiency measures and a reduction in stamp duty if they buy an energy efficient home.
Scotland has now made energy efficiency an infrastructure priority and is implementing a programme of this kind. It is a great model for the rest of the UK to copy.
Tackling fuel poverty can also involve :
1. improving energy efficiency for new builds
Any new dwelling is required to have SAP Calculations (a measure of energy efficiency) carried out, but there are currently no energy performance requirements in the current building regulations. You can discuss the low energy efficiency targets with your MP and ask for an upgrade of building regulations to ensure that all new properties are energy band A or B. Decisions made today will have huge implications for future carbon emissions.
2. retrofitting existing homes
Even if building regulations required that all new builds had very high energy efficiency standards, millions of homes around the UK would still be left with an energy rating of D and below. To meet the UK's carbon emission targets (see 'The Climate Change Act of 2008'), this will require retrofitting.
Retrofitting involves the addition of new features to older housing such as better insulation, double or triple glazed windows and blocking drafts.
“ ‘Under the Climate Change Act, we have to achieve at least an 80% reduction in the carbon emissions from our homes by 2050. We need to be building homes now that are 2050 ready.”
— Philip Sellwood, Chief Executive, Energy Saving Trust
Sample fact sheet
You can produce a fact sheet for yourself like the one below for Liverpool. Include some of the facts you may wish to use during a meeting with your MP, to highlight how much this issue affects your local area. If you would like a fact sheet similar for your local area, contact us.
Fuel Poverty Nationally
- The number of households in fuel poverty in England in 2015 was estimated at 2.5 million (approx. 11 % of all English households. National Statistics UK.
- The Government has announced plans to install solar panels on 800,000 low income households over the next 5 years.
Fuel Poverty in Liverpool
- 14.4% of Liverpool households are in fuel poverty (29,484 households). Liverpool is ranked 20th out of 326 local authority areas in England (Community Action on Fuel Poverty).
- In 2011/12, Liverpool recorded 170 excess winter deaths, ranking 10th out of the 326 local authority areas.
What can I ask my MP to do?
- You can ask your MP to support making energy efficiency an infrastructure priority.
- Ask your MP to write to the Chancellor, calling on him to make energy efficiency an infrastructure priority to achieve the Government’s fuel poverty and energy efficiency targets to get all homes up to at least EPC Band C.
- You could ask your MP to question in Parliament the 90% drop in the installation of energy efficiency measures in the UK and ask what the Government is doing to close the £1 billion investment gap to ensure all homes reach EPC Band C.
- You can talk to your MP about the urgent need for an upgrade of building regulations to ensure that all new properties are energy band A or B. This will reduce the incidence of fuel poverty in the future and drastically reduce the 40% of UK carbon emissions that come from domestic buildings.
- Ask your MP to write to the Secretary of State in the Department of Housing, asking for all new homes to be zero-carbon, and for a new regulation to ensure private rented homes are brought up to EPC Band C as soon as possible.
- Thank your MP for the government's announcement around minimum energy efficiency standards for rented properties. You could ask your MP to write to the Secretary of State in the Department of Housing, asking for a new regulation to ensure private rented homes are brought up to EPC Band C as soon as possible.
- You can ask your MP to show support for a new community energy project, or visit an existing project in your local area.
- Your MP may be willing to work with and support your local council in retrofitting poor quality housing in your area.
If your MP has a particular interest in tackling fuel poverty, then also visit our Community Energy page; community energy can help tackle energy security and reduce energy bills.
Date of Publication: 25.06.2018
Date of Modification: 6.07.2018