Labour: Reverse Tory “failure” by making insulating homes a “national mission”

Elliot Chappell
© UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

Labour has called on the next Conservative Prime Minister to reverse “12 years of failure” by adopting its plan to insulate 19 million homes as part of a “national mission” to reduce energy bills and make the UK more energy independent.

Calling on Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss to adopt Labour’s ‘warm homes plan’, set out by Labour last year, Ed Miliband told the leadership candidates that “too many working people and pensioners live in draughty, cold homes with high heating costs”.

“Both Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss bear responsibility for the Conservatives failures on this vital national agenda. Unless they change course and adopt Labour’s plan, pensioners will go cold, bills will stay high, and we will have to import more gas from Putin and his cronies,” the Shadow Climate Change and Net Zero Secretary said.

“If the Conservatives were serious about cutting energy bills, they could start right now, by delivering the warm homes plan that Labour has called for. A proper national mission would save 19 million families over £1,000 on their bills as well as creating good construction jobs, and boosting our energy security.”

Keir Starmer told the annual Labour Party conference in September 2021 that his party’s “national mission” over the course of a decade would be to ensure every home was “warm, well-insulated and costs less to heat”.

The party has said its plan to insulate 19 million homes over the next decade would save an average of £1,000 per home and that, if 1.9 million homes were insulated each year, the savings in the first three years alone would be £11.4bn – based on current projections that energy prices will remain high.

“Only Labour can give Britain the fresh start it needs – with a plan to tackle the cost-of-living crisis now and build a more secure country,” Miliband added today.

According to think tank New Economics Foundation, the UK spends more money on energy wasted through the walls and roofs of our houses than any other country in Western Europe. Under the Tories, insulation rates have fallen to below 15 times less than the rate the last Labour government were achieving before 2010.

Miliband warned this morning that “this is not a government that is on working people’s side, with no solutions to the challenges this country faces, refusing to implement Labour’s energy price freeze”. Labour announced its plan to freeze the energy price cap, set by regulator Ofgem, until April next year.

Announcing its proposal for a six-month energy bill freeze last week, the Labour Party said its plan would cost £29bn and could be paid for in part by expanding the scope of the windfall tax the government has imposed on oil and gas companies.

Sunak rejected Labour’s plan to freeze energy bills in an interview with ITV’s This Morning last week. The former Chancellor said the proposal was a “very blunt instrument” that provides “a lot of support for people who don’t need it”.

Truss told a Conservative Party leadership hustings last week: “What I worry about is putting a sticking plaster on this to say we will find the money but be in the same situation in six months’ time.” The Foreign Secretary added: “What’s not right is throwing money at the problem without dealing with the root cause.”

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