The head of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has called on the Government to upgrade the UK’s leaky housing stock rather than spending billions on massive energy bills every year.
Director-general Tony Danker said that the UK will need to invest around £5.2 billion every year until 2035 to properly insulate its homes, which lose heat faster than any in Europe.
“That sounds expensive,” he told business leaders at a CBI conference in London, “but higher energy bills and resulting inflation just cost the Chancellor £22 billion worth of support in the spring; £15 billion in May; and we haven’t reached October yet.
“Do we want a new normal of energy efficiency, or a new normal of billion-pound bailouts every quarter?”
Experts have estimated that households are currently paying around £40 extra per year each – or £2.5 billion collectively – because of Government cuts to energy efficiency schemes and other programmes over the last decade.
“The UK has some of Europe’s oldest, leakiest buildings. UK homes lose heat up to three times faster than more energy-efficient homes in countries, such as Germany,” Mr Danker said.
Insulating homes better can both reduce bills and help the country reach its climate targets.
Mr Danker called on the Government to pass a new rule to extend the ECO (Energy Company Obligation) scheme, which helps households with energy efficiency improvements, before Parliament breaks for summer.
The CBI said that £1 billion should be committed every year for retro-fitting old buildings with better insulation, windows and other improvements.
“It supports fuel-poor households to save through energy efficiency measures,” Mr Danker said.
“As such, it’s the fastest tool we have to get thousands more homes upgraded before the winter.
He added: “Households and suppliers still await confirmation of its next phase, nearly two months since its end in March, when the energy price rises really began to hit.”