From the TUC

It’s hard to see the point of an unambitious Green Deal

18 Jan 2012, by in Economics, Environment

With 6.7 million households in fuel poverty in Britain (the highest for a decade), strong criticisms are emerging in response to the Government’s Green Deal consultation which closes today (18 January 2012). The End Fuel Poverty Coalition, supported by the TUC, had expected Government to scale its plans to the legal obligation to end fuel poverty by 2016. But spending on improving the energy efficiency looks set to be cut by two-thirds, with just £325m available on Affordable Warmth energy efficiency measures for low income households.

Meanwhile, the Green Alliance has signalled “five strong measures” needed to make the government’s flagship carbon reduction policies credible.

The Green Alliance is calling on the Government to:

  • help to encourage take-up, particularly by using the Green Investment Bank to help deliver preferential 2% interest rates on loans;
  • give more support to the fuel poor, by increasing funding through the Energy Company Obligation;
  • make sure local economies benefit, by supporting Green Deal accreditation for small businesses and tradesmen;
  • spread the message, by introducing a national marketing strategy and give existing community networks communications resources; and
  •  help to drive real demand reduction, by making sure the most effective measures are installed first and working with local agencies to help people change.

The End Fuel Poverty Coalition (EFPC) believes that local authorities should play a leading role, working with local partners, in deciding how ECO resources are spent in their area. This would enable resources to be spent in accordance with local needs and is consistent with localism principles.

This proposal chimes with the key point in The New Green Team a UNISON study, supported by the TUC. It shows how local government can play a major role in our economic recovery and in efforts to ensure that the UK meets its targets on carbon emissions and renewables.  This approach involves bringing together local governments economic and environmental agendas together in a more systematic way, creating green & decent jobs through the installation of community scale renewables and roll out of energy efficiency programmes.

The report will be launched at a TUC seminar in Congress House on 31 January. Speakers include: Howard John, Managing Director, Southern Solar; Caroline Lucas MP; Frances O’Grady, Deputy General Secretary, TUC; Mark Bramah, Assistant Chief Executive, APSE; and Mike Jeram, National Secretary for Business and the Environment, UNISON.

The benefits of an effective fuel poverty strategy offer the triple gains of relieving hardship for low income families, saving carbon and creating new jobs and skills. It’s hard to see the point of an unambitious Green Deal.