UK & World News
Cold Homes 'Crisis': PM Urged To Take Action
Campaigners have written to David Cameron demanding that party leaders invest in "super insulation" for British homes to end the "scourge" of fuel poverty and bring down energy bills.
The fuel poverty alliance Energy Bill Revolution says "woeful" levels of insulation have led to the nation's homes falling "way behind" those of comparable European countries such as Sweden and Germany.
It adds that the wholesale cost of gas in the UK is much lower than in most European countries, but households pay much higher bills due to the amount of heat lost from homes.
There are more than five million UK households living in fuel poverty, defined as spending more than 10% of their income on energy, according to research.
The alliance, which includes Age UK and Barnardo's, says it wants to see carbon tax spent on an ambitious programme of home insulation, claiming that it could save up to £500 a year on a family energy bill and eliminate fuel poverty in the UK "once and for all".
It has warned party leaders that focusing on "short-term solutions" to the energy bill crisis, such as price caps, windfall taxes and cutting green subsidies, they were "ignoring the only way to truly solve the energy bill crisis".
Energy Bill Revolution campaign director Ed Matthew said: "Our political leaders are falling over themselves to come up with headline-grabbing ways to cut energy bills yet they fall woefully short of a true solution to the energy bill crisis.
"By far the biggest opportunity to cut energy bills is to fully insulate the UK's leaky homes. No other investment can do so much for so many. If the Government is serious about solving this crisis they must make insulating homes the UK's number one infrastructure priority."
Around 1.6 million UK children now "endure the misery" of growing up in cold homes, according to Barnardo's.
The charity's assistant director of policy and research, Neera Sharma, said: "It's a disgrace that not only has so little action been taken to bring down energy bills, but so little is being done to stop them continuing to rise further for the UK's poorest families.
"The Government must tackle this national crisis, making homes more energy efficient to reduce the effects of poverty. They can start by channelling funds raised by the carbon tax into making homes warmer."