Unions call for energy policy to end fuel poverty




Eight of the UK’s largest trade unions* have today called on the Labour Party to develop an ambitious domestic energy efficiency programme that cuts bills, creates jobs and is good for the environment.
In a letter to Ed Miliband, the unions have set out a number of key elements they believe should be included in the party’s policy on Energy Efficiency. The unions’submission is based on evidence from UNISON’s Warm Homes** report, which suggests that such an approach would save consumers between £300 and £600 each year, while preserving precious local gas supplies.
The measures include:
  • A strategy to bring all UK homes up to Energy Performance Certificate “B and C”. ***
  • Grants for energy efficient measures, capped at £10,000, to bring all six million low incomes homes to Band C by 2025, and at least two million homes to Band C by 2020.
  • A zero interest rate for energy efficiency loans for those able to pay.
  • A street by street delivery programme, with local authorities taking a leading role.


The UK is quickly reaching crisis point with dwindling gas supplies, and within the next five years will need to import up to 70% of gas from other countries.


UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said:
“The government’s Green Deal has failed miserably. It is a national tragedy that five million homes are languishing in fuel poverty because of poorly insulated homes, and it is these households that are the least well prepared to absorb future increases in energy prices.
“What we desperately need is a strategy that will address the UK’s energy crisis by eliminating the need for large scale fracking and bring millions of people in from the cold.”
Such a scheme would make significant inroads into helping the UK meet its legally binding carbon emission target, to reduce carbon emissions by 34% of 1990 levels by 2020. It would also create more than 100,000 skilled jobs, offer significant opportunities for apprenticeships, and is one of the most effective ways to generate growth and increase economic resilience.




Notes to Editors 


On average, there are 25,000 ‘excess winter deaths’ every year. This is defined as the difference between the number of deaths which occurred in winter (December to March) and the average number of deaths during the preceding four months (August to November) and the subsequent four months (April to July).


* The eight signatories include UNISON; Prospect; UCU; GMB; UNITE; FBU; PCS; Community
** UNISON’s report, Warm homes into the future: Meeting the UK’s energy challenges, is available here:


*** The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating scale classifies properties on a scale of A (most efficient) to G (least efficient).