MP's column

Sir David Amess MP has put forward a Bill that, if it becomes law, will require this and future Governments to ensure all fuel-poor homes are brought up to Energy Performance Rating C by 2030 (all other homes by 2035). As someone who represents a constituency with some of the least efficient homes and a high number of fuel-poor homes I fully support this effort. However, I’m not confident of the current method for measuring the efficiency of our homes and I know from personal experience how difficult it is to improve the Energy Performance Rating of a traditional Cornish home. Landlords are currently required to ensure rental properties reach an energy performance rating of E at least and, due to the current method for measuring energy performance, this can actually increase the costs of tenants heating bills.

I’m 100% in favour of improving the quality and performance of our homes and I welcome the announcement that the Government plans to spend £3 billion on home improvement measures to help the economy recover from coronavirus. I hope households will make use of the financial support Government is offering to improve home insulation and low carbon heating options. £2 billion of the money announced will be distributed as vouchers worth £5,000 to homes in England for these home improvements from this September.

People should make use of this opportunity but I maintain that an important step towards addressing fuel poverty and leaky homes Government must find a more appropriate way to measure the performance of our homes. Only then will householders feel confident that the measures they are taking will prove to be a sound investment and lead to reduce energy costs.

 

Members of Parliament have the great privilege of getting stuck in to causes that interest them or have a particular connection to the constituency they represent. This is not exactly the case with an All Party Parliamentary Group I chair. The subject is Axial Spondyloarthritis and the honest reason that I took up this challenge is because I was shocked that (although the condition is rare) someone suffering from this condition can wait 8 years to be given an accurate diagnosis and then the appropriate therapy and treatment.

Axial Spondyloarthritis is a condition that affects young people. 220,000 live with the debilitating condition enduring dreadful pain and inflammation. Until appropriate treatment can be provided patients find things that they previously took for-granted are out of reach such as holding down a job or having a social life. The main thrust of this All Party Group is to accelerate the diagnosis and ensure that, wherever you live, your treatment is appropriate and readily available. I’ve chaired the group for over a year but I mention it now as there is a consultation running that enables you to comment on the planned Gold Standard of treatment here in the UK. To take part you can search ‘ Gold Standard Time to Diagnosis programme’ or search nass.co.uk. The consultation is open until August 22nd.