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Energy efficiency and the General Election (3)

With the UK General election less than two months away it is worth looking at what it may hold for energy efficiency policy, the different records and policies of each party and the potential forms the new government might take.

Today we look at Ed Miliband’s Labour Party.

Labour

At first glance, the prospect of a Labour-led government should appear to excite supporters of energy efficiency. Under Ed Miliband the party has made energy a central plank of its “cost of living” platform. While this mainly focuses on reducing bills, energy efficiency is also mentioned as part of a wider plan to reduce fuel poverty.

Last year’s Green Paper, An End to Cold Homes aimed to fulfil Caroline Flint’s call for a “war on cold homes”. Around 5 million homes will be upgraded over 10 years according to the paper. There will be no new funding but rather a revised allocation of existing spending plans focusing on the fuel poor and adopting a “street by street” strategy to identify and improve the most in need households. By committing to making energy efficiency a “national infrastructure priority” Labour is also giving energy efficiency projects a potential new source of funding.  

On the other hand, some in the sector have expressed concern that the party offers no new sources of funding, only promises of reallocation. For some, this may not be enough for the UK to reach its mandated carbon reduction targets. There are also fears that Labour’s more fuel poverty orientated approach could push climate change down the policy agenda.

Still, it should be remembered that Ed Miliband was the first ever DECC Secretary of State and green groups will have been pleased to see him attack the Government’s perceived lack of action on climate change in his budget response this week.

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