Christina McAnea introduces new energy report at conference

The general secretary said UNISON is ‘warning once again – about the elitist energy economy this government is creating’

Gridlock, a new report outlining the inadequacy of current government help to drive energy efficiency, was launched by UNISON today at the union’s annual energy conference, being held in Liverpool.

It claims short-term policies and a complex array of ever-changing support packages have left millions of households with insufficient help to meet soaring energy bills.

It also concludes that unless substantial progress is made on making sure sustainable homes and vehicles are within reach of those on lower and middle incomes, the UK won’t meet its 2050 net-zero target.

UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea, said at the conference: “Energy is a hot topic of political debate right now. Record energy price increases have hammered family finances. While many energy companies’ profits have boomed.

“We’re also the fifth richest nation in the world, but we’ve got the most energy inefficient housing stock in Western Europe.  If our advice on energy policy had been heeded, we wouldn’t be in this crisis, and we wouldn’t be watching many more coming our way.

“We’ve long called for a national programme of energy efficiency measures, delivered door to door, free to those who cannot afford to pay, and interest free finance for those able to pay.”

Speaking of the launch of Gridlock, she said: “So, we’re warning, once again – about the elitist energy economy this government is creating.

“Greener homes are beyond the reach of many, because of inadequate government help. To turn this around, public investment is an absolute priority.

“75% of our members who responded to the survey said they could not afford to take up any of the government’s incentives, and so the money available goes to those who don’t need it, exacerbating the inequalities we already see, and creating an ever more elitist energy system.

“UNISON energy members must be part of building that fairer system, fit for the future, with good quality, unionised jobs, and everyone working together towards achieving net zero.

“Imagine, looking back in years to come and saying, ‘I helped make that happen. I made a difference… We made a difference.’”