West Cornwall MP, Derek Thomas, has stepped up his war on fuel poverty following recent figures that confirm the St Ives Constituency has the highest proportion of poorly insulated homes. Research shows that local families are being crushed with £1,460 extra on their energy bills, every year, due to poor insulation. This is because St. Ives suffers from the highest share of poorly insulated homes of all parliamentary constituencies in England.
New expert research shows that over 50% of homes in the St Ives Constituency are now rated E, F or G on the official energy performance certificate scale. The UK as a whole also performs worst overall of 16 European countries across a range of housing and fuel poverty indicators.
MP Derek Thomas has written to George Osborne ahead of the Spending Review, drawing the Chancellor's attention to what he believes is a win-win policy for the Government to generate economic growth and protect the most vulnerable in society.
In his letter to Mr Osborne, Mr Thomas states that cold homes cause unnecessary deaths in winter, more expensive heating bills, worse fuel poverty, added queues for our NHS, and wasted energy production – all of which costs taxpayers money. Sadly, Britain’s poorer pensioners are usually the hardest hit.
The key is to recognise the full economic benefits of a major energy efficiency programme. There is plenty of academic evidence to support doing so. New Frontier Economics research shows that based on the Government’s own economic data, a major programme to make British homes more energy efficient could provide net benefits of around £8.7 billion to our economy, comparable in economic impact to other infrastructure projects such as HS2 or Crossrail. A Cambridge Econometrics report also found that a major energy efficiency programme could cut our gas imports by 26 per cent and create up to 108,000 jobs in constituencies across the UK.
Derek Thomas MP, said:
“This new research shows how my constituents in West Cornwall and on the Isles of Scilly and in many parts of rural Britain are suffering due to poorly insulated homes. There now is a compelling case to make energy efficiency an infrastructure investment priority. The Government has plans to spend tens of billions of pounds on capital infrastructure projects over the next five years. Allocating funding to an energy efficiency programme could deliver a high level of economic benefit, boosting energy security and economic productivity. At the same time, such a programme would be a highly cost-effective way to reduce the fuel bills of the most vulnerable and to save lives.”