Lockdown in Leaky Homes

How people are paying over the odds for heating during lockdown.

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During the coronavirus pandemic, the British public has been advised to stay at home as much
as possible, increasing the amount of energy used within households. Energy experts and fuel
poverty campaigners have warned of the impacts on energy bills were this situation to extend
into the winter months.

This report shows that were the coronavirus lockdown to be continued or re-imposed during winter months, families in cold, leaky homes would face heating bills elevated on average to £124 per month, compared with £76 per month for those in well-insulated homes – a difference of £49 per month.

It also finds that the cost of energy wasted by living in a poorly-insulated home adds more to the typical bill over the course of a year than would be added by extra energy use in a more insulated home in lockdown: £629 compared with £597.

Although the 2019 Conservative manifesto pledged more than £9 billion to increasing the energy efficiency of buildings across the UK, details on how this would be spent were missing from the 2020 Budget. At the same time, energy efficiency installation rates have fallen by more than 95% in recent years , leaving the UK ranked worst out of 13 comparable European countries for fuel poverty.

The report highlights the opportunity to address energy efficiency in a post-coronavirus recovery package. Upgrading properties would deliver specific benefits to UK regions that experience high levels of fuel poverty, such as the North of England, Midlands and South-West, both by improving people’s homes and by creating jobs for tens of thousands of skilled tradespeople, which would be spread across the country thus supporting the recovery.