Energy crisis lifeline: £1bn plan to insulate millions of British homes could slash bills

GMB: Susanna Reid grills Insulate Britain protester

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Britain is currently reeling from the worst impacts of a global fossil fuel energy crisis as UK households have been hit with eye-watering energy bills. Last month, Ofgem announced that the price cap for household energy bills would be raised to around £2,800 by October. The regulatory body warned that this price rise would result in millions of households being thrust into fuel poverty, causing the Government to scramble to find measures to alleviate pressure on households.

One solution that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reportedly considering is offering insulation to thousands of homes before winter, decreasing their energy consumption and thus slashing bills.

Mr Johnson has ordered ministers to divert over £1billion from existing schemes and invest them in insulating poorer households.

According to the Times, during a meeting, one No. 10 official suggested that the scheme should be called “Insulate Britain”.

However, that plan was scrapped as it that was the name of an environmental activist group that caused widespread disruption by blocking major highways.

The programme will now be dubbed the “Great British Insulation Scheme”, although concerns have been raised about whether it will apply in devolved administrations.

Under this proposed plan, the Government will top up the “energy company obligation”, which is levied from bills and is used to fund energy-efficiency measures for poorer households.

The scheme could be expanded to support a larger number of households, even in the middle-income range, if people are willing to make a contribution.

In order to fund the programme, the Government could redirect money from the £1billion Public Sector Decarbonisation scheme, which is aimed at making schools, hospitals and other public buildings more energy-efficient.

The UK may also divert funds from the new £450million Boiler Upgrade Scheme that subsidises heat pumps for up to £5,000.

Despite launching the scheme very recently, the Government has pulled all communication around it.

However, ministers told Mr Johnson that it may be too late to divert those funds.

Chris Skidmore, a Tory MP who founded the Net Zero support group, told the paper the Government needed to prioritise schemes that reduced energy use amid soaring energy prices.

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He said: “The fastest and simplest way to tackle the cost of living crisis is to invest in insulation which has the potential to save £150-£400 off energy bills — an investment to permanently bring down bills year after year.”

It comes after the boss of E.on pleaded for the Government to invest in making homes in the UK more energy efficient to help slash bills and carbon.

Michael Lewis said the country needs “a massive ramp-up” in insulation and other energy efficiency projects.

He told MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee: “Our plea to the Government has always been to push hard on energy efficiency, because that’s the proven way, the only silver bullet, for this crisis.”

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