Did you know that 1.6 million children in the UK suffer from fuel poverty? In other words, one in five British households needs to spend more than 10% of their income on keeping their homes warm. The problem is likely to get worse, with one in three households projected to be in fuel poverty by 2016.
The main reasons for this crisis: gas, oil, and coal prices are high, and UK homes are among the most energy inefficient in Europe – leaking heat from doors, walls, and windows. This means they cost much more than they should to heat and power, and they contribute to climate change too.
The Healthcare Costs of Cold Homes
Cold homes are not only an economic issue; they also pose health risks for vulnerable members of society, including children, older people, and people with disabilities. Diseases such as asthma are made worse, and people are more likely to have strokes and heart attacks. Illnesses caused by cold homes cost the National Health Service nearly £1 billion each year.
Moreover, on average, at least 7,800 people die every year from living in cold homes – more than four times the number of people who die on British roads.
Our Campaign for Change
In the face of these alarming statistics, the Energy Bill Revolution campaign seeks to build broad-based political support for a large-scale government programme that invests in insulating the homes of the poorest households. This programme could be funded using revenues from the UK government’s new carbon tax and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme while bringing broader macroeconomic returns. It would lift the poorest families out of fuel poverty, permanently lower their energy bills, and create jobs while cutting carbon emissions.
As the largest campaign of its type in the world, the Energy Bill Revolution campaign currently boasts nearly 150 members representing children’s and old age charities, environmental NGOs, health and consumer groups, trade unions, and companies. Already, more than 200 national parliamentarians have declared their support for the campaign, and this number continues to climb.
The ECF has been a core supporter of the Energy Bill Revolution since its launch in 2011. Our grant leverages funds from UK donors who recognize that policies and programmes to reduce carbon emission and increase energy efficiency not only benefit the environment but also protect society’s most vulnerable members.
To learn more, please visit the Energy Bill Revolution website.