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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

The ‘green deal’ won’t tackle fuel poverty says CIH


The government consultation on the ‘green deal’ closed this week and the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) is calling on government to radically review its proposals before they are implemented later this year. If not, the danger is that the those who need most help will miss out

The ‘green deal’ is the government’s flagship policy for improving the energy efficiency of homes and other buildings.  Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change - Chris Huhne said it will ‘make every home in Britain ready for a low-carbon future. No more half-measures going off at half-cock’.

John Perry, CIH policy adviser said: “One of the main aims of the ‘green deal’ is to tackle fuel poverty and unless the proposals are changed it will indeed go off at half-cock.  Latest figures show 5.5m households in fuel poverty – spending more than 10% of their income on fuel.  
By the government’s own impact assessment, the new package will only cut this by 1% per year up to 2020.  Furthermore, according the Hills report on fuel poverty published at the end of 2011, the ‘green deal’ measures will add to the fuel bills of most poor families.

CIH is calling for:

  1. The ECO (energy company obligation under the ‘green deal’) to have a higher proportion of work directed to poor households, as occurred under the previous obligation where it was 40% (not 25% as now proposed)
  2. Social landlords – who house many fuel-poor families – to be properly included in the ‘green deal’
  3. Continuation of the ‘warm front programme’ which specifically helped poor households
John Perry continued: “This is a highly regrettable outcome: CIH is strongly in favour of the obligation being imposed on energy companies, but it urgently needs reconsidering to avoid the situation where (as Hills puts it) ‘the poor would bear the largest proportional losses from the climate and energy policy package’.  It cannot be tolerable that the net result is a very modest cut in fuel poverty paid for in a way that impacts most on the majority of poor families who cannot benefit from the schemes.’

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