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PM Sunak can deliver long-term energy stability, security and savings – here’s how

Sarah Kostense-Winterton, Executive Director

Sarah Kostense-Winterton, Executive Director | Mineral Wool Insulation Manufacturers Association

3 min read Partner content

With the Autumn Statement in our rear-view mirror, both PM Sunak and Chancellor Hunt continue to be faced with fiscal challenges and restrictions as we hurtle towards a general election. It has never been so timely to turn their attentions to reducing the amount of energy we use.

Every unit of energy avoided is one less unit that must be supplied and paid for. With prices likely to remain high for years to come, the technical potential to reduce energy demand by 50% is increasingly attractive. We welcome Rishi Sunak openly recognising the vital role of energy efficiency, reflected in his pledges to embark on a programme of massive energy efficiency upgrades in our homes and subsequently the new commitments announced in the Autumn Statement.

Over 80 businesses spanning this sector - from manufacturers, consumer groups, financial institutions, energy firms, installers, engineers and trade bodies – stand with the new PM and Chancellor in their endeavour.

Supporting families and businesses to permanently reduce their exposure to expensive energy, willcreate long-term financial stability at a household and macroeconomic level, offering substantial benefits:

Lowering Bills, Lowering Spending

Delivering lower household bills for the long-term combined with lower government spending through a comprehensive energy efficiency programme could see cumulative energy savings over the next 5 years’ worth £20bn.

Securing Energy Supply

Heating and powering buildings accounts for 40% of the UK’s energy use, therefore to secure our energy supply we must use less energy, making the task of supply-side security cheaper and easier.

Shoring up the Supply Chain and Delivering a High Skill, High Job Economy

Getting on track for energy efficiency and heat pump targets will require building a resilient supply chain from manufacturers to installers, significantly boosting a highly skilled workforce. A natural major growth and export opportunity that can put Britain on the global map as the leading clean tech powerhouse.

Action must prioritise those who need support the most and schemes and measures that are cost-effective or even cost-neutral, as follows:

  1. Cost effective new schemes and incentives to build a mass-market with a revenue-neutral Energy Saving Stamp Duty incentive as a long-term structural driver of demand, concessional loans through the UK Infrastructure Bank, combined with the expansion of green finance products and services.
  2. Focus on the 7 million households in fuel poverty by turning up the dial on existing government-backed retrofit programmes. These households can ill afford the upfront costs of energy efficiency and clean heat installations vital for reducing their bills and emissions.
  3. Spur investment in local skills and create a sustained competitive market by taking a ‘whole supply chain’ approach, providing long-term certainty and boosting skills capacity across clean heat and retrofit to achieve scale.
  4. Underpin short-term measures with long-term regulatory and market certainty, including tightening Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards in the private rented sector and setting timelines for introducing standards for owner occupiers and social housing.
  5. Consumer awareness raising and rolling out tailored advice with a nationwide public campaign on near term energy saving measures and roll-out of a comprehensive, tailored and impartial energy advice service.

Essentially, the government must work closely with us - businesses with decades of experience - as a vital part of the EETF delivery vehicle. Their sights must be firmly set on achieving the 15% UK energy demand reduction target and enabling the tools to measure progress towards it.

Improving the energy efficiency of our homes and businesses has the power to drive the UK’s economic growth, build in resilience and investment into British businesses, reduce energy use and bills whilst boosting energy security.

A greater focus on efficiency represents excellent value for money, insulating the country from both high energy costs and a growing public debt burden.

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Read the most recent article written by Sarah Kostense-Winterton, Executive Director - Mission possible: Delivering tomorrow’s homes today

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