From the TUC

Time for an Energy Bill Revolution

01 Jun 2012, by Guest in Environment

To help the UK meet its climate change targets, the Government is introducing a new carbon tax on industry from April 2013 as an incentive to invest in low-carbon power generation. The carbon tax kicks off at £15 a tonne, and will raise the Treasury over £2 billion a year. The question is, Will we see the benefit of this new green tax? 

The Energy Bill Revolution alliance, supported by the TUC and a number of unions, is calling on the Government to use the money it gets from carbon taxes to make our homes super-energy efficient. If we succeed we will be creating up to thousands of skilled jobs and cutting deep into fuel poverty affecting millions of people.

Fuel poverty has gone up in the last year and is now affecting 6.3 million households. We are facing an energy bill crisis. Families are suffering huge financial hardship, and one in four households can’t afford to heat their homes.

Cold homes are damaging the health of vulnerable members of society, including children, older people and people with disabilities. The increased risk of death from cold homes to the elderly is well established, and illnesses caused by cold homes cost the NHS nearly one billion pounds each year.

But we have recently seen new evidence of the dreadful damage that can be done to the health of children and teenagers from living in a cold home – affecting everything from respiratory problems and infant birth weight, through to children’s mental health and educational achievement.

And Government spending on fuel poverty is being cut by a third, and national spending on energy efficiency targeted on the fuel poor is being cut by 50%. Public funding for building energy efficiency – the only permanent solution to end fuel poverty – is essentially being wiped out.

The solution:

The Energy Bill Revolution alliance is calling on the Government to use the money it gets from carbon taxes to make our homes super-energy efficient. This is the only permanent way to drive down energy bills and end fuel poverty. Recycling the carbon tax provides a fair and permanent solution. We can have warm homes, reduce our fuel bills and cut carbon emissions.

From next year the Government will be collecting over £2 billion in carbon tax, rising to £4 billion by 2020 and £7 billion by 2027.

Recycled back into energy efficiency programmes, this would be enough to super-insulate over 600,000 homes a year, bringing 9 out of 10 homes out of fuel poverty. It could also quadruple projected carbon emission savings from households and create up to 200,000 more jobs – exactly what we need to support the UK’s economic recovery.

The Energy Bill Revolution is a public alliance, backed already by more than 80 leading charities, unions, consumer groups and businesses. Most importantly, we can only create this Energy Bill Revolution with your support. Please take two minutes to sign the petition at energybillrevolution.org, email your MP, and ask friends and networks to do the same.

GUEST POST: Ed Matthew is the founder and Director of Transform UK – the group coordinating the Energy Bill Revolution campaign, and which founded and continues to lead the national campaign for the Green Investment Bank. Before Transform UK, Ed led the Economics Team at Friends of the Earth which specialised in climate economics. The team successfully campaigned for the introduction of Carbon Budgets within the Climate Change Act and the introduction of Feed in Tariffs and the Renewable Heat Incentive in the Energy Act 2008.