Leading charities, campaigners and business groups have issued separate challenges to the Conservative leadership candidates to commit to a green solution to ending fuel poverty.
Business leaders from groups as diverse as the Advertising Association to the Food & Drink Federation, wrote to candidates to claim that over 56,000 jobs have been created in clean industries in recent years with another 440,000 well paid jobs on the way if the current net zero strategy is followed.
In the letter, business leaders said: “In today’s challenging context, an accelerated rollout of low cost, clean energy, energy efficiency, and industrial decarbonisation is vital to protect the UK from the volatile global fuel prices underpinning the ongoing energy crisis. This is an urgent priority as skyrocketing energy bills inflict considerable costs on businesses and push ever more households into fuel poverty.”
Meanwhile, charities also wrote to the leadership contenders highlighting the lack of action on fuel poverty.
The letter from a new national coalition, Warm This Winter, which brings together anti-poverty and environmental organisations, including Save the Children, End Fuel Poverty Coalition and WWF, points to the urgency of the national economic crisis facing the country.
According to the latest predictions, from October, the average annual energy bill will be over £3200. That means that the average pensioner will spend more than a third of their state pension on heating their home – and many people, including families, will have to choose between heating and eating.
In the words of Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis: “Millions of households will be forced into poverty unless we act. This is a genuine, urgent emergency.”
Campaigners have called on the next Prime Minister to provide immediate financial help, rapidly roll out energy efficiency measures and increase the country’s renewable energy production.
A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, said: “Based on current estimates, a third of all homes will be in fuel poverty this winter, yet the candidates to be our next Prime Minister are ignoring the single most pressing issue facing families across the country. Unless they take bold and decisive action now, the next Prime Minister’s first act as leader will be to preside over the worst winter for millions of people in living memory.”
Julie Hirigoyen, CEO, UK Green Building Council said: “Tackling the climate and cost of living crises are two sides of the same coin. Insulating our homes and businesses will bring bills down, bolster energy security and help achieve net zero carbon, whilst giving a real boost to the economy and industry.”