UK won’t reach net zero without supporting the fuel poor, most Brits believe

Net zero policies that do not increase the cost of living for poor households need to be prioritised, according to a new survey

Big Zero Report 2022

Eight-in-ten Brits believe that the UK will not reach net zero without financial support for fuel poor households.

That’s according to a new survey by the fuel poverty charities National Energy Action (NEA) and Energy Action Scotland (EAS) which shows nearly 66% of Brits agree that it is important for policymakers to make sure that the transition does not increase the cost of living for the poorest households.

In the Fuel Poverty Monitor report, the charities found that upfront costs of low carbon technologies and the lack of clarity of energy efficiency and clean heat schemes are experienced by fuel poor households as barriers to decarbonise their heating.

Matt Copeland, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at NEA, said: “Our report shows that goals to end fuel poverty and reach  net zero carbon emissions are deeply intertwined. We cannot eliminate our carbon emissions without upgrading the least efficient homes, which are disproportionately occupied by those on the lowest incomes.

Frazer Scott, Director of EAS and Co-Author of the report, commented: “In Scotland, fuel poverty affects more than one in four households and is rising.

“Eliminating fuel poverty must be the priority. By doing this we save lives, reduce costs to our national health service and when done well, reduce our carbon emissions.”

A government spokesperson said: “Improving energy efficiency is the best long term solution to tackling fuel poverty, which is why we are supporting households across the UK to improve their energy performance and reduce bills, having already invested £1.3 billion this year alone to upgrade up to 50,000 homes.

“We are continuing to support lower-income households via schemes including the Home Upgrade Grant, the Local Authority Delivery scheme and the Energy Company Obligation, have launched an extra £500m Household Support Fund for those most in need, and have confirmed that the Energy Price Cap will remain in place, shielding millions of customers from rising global gas prices.”

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