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Budget: Chancellor gives no help to households to bring down energy bills

[ 21 Mar, '12 ]

Despite households across the UK suffering severe financial hardship due to high energy bills and record levels of fuel poverty, the Chancellor gave no help in his budget today to make homes more energy efficient.

Instead, the Chancellor made it clear that his focus was on ensuring gas continued to be a major fuel source in the UK, stating:  "Gas is cheap, has much less carbon than coal and will be the largest single source of our electricity in the coming years".

Ed Matthew, Director of Transform UK, which is co-ordinating the Energy Bill Revolution campaign said:

"With over 6 million households in fuel poverty in the UK, I do not believe the British public share the Chancellor's view that gas is cheap.  Gas has caused 80% of the rise in energy bills in recent years. A future energy strategy focused on gas will continue to hold UK households hostage to high and volatile gas prices. The focus of the Chancellor should be on weaning the UK off fossil fuels and minimising energy use by making it possible for every UK household to super insulate their home. Re-cycling carbon tax to households can provide enough revenue to super-insulate 600,000 homes every single year. It offers a permanent solution to bring down household energy bills and end fuel poverty once and for all."

The Chancellor also announced that the Green Investment Bank would be making its first investments in April 2012 but refused to ease the severe restriction the Treasury has imposed on its ability to borrow.  Transform UK, which founded the campaign for the Green Investment Bank and continues to co-ordinate the national campaign, has been calling on the Government to lift the borrowing constraint and allow the Green Investment Bank to borrow from the word 'go'.  Ed Matthew continued:

"The Green Investment Bank can be the beating heart of this Government's industrial strategy, but only if it is allowed to fulfil its potential to leverage in billions of pounds in private investment into the green, low carbon economy. To achieve this it must be allowed to borrow. By holding back the Green Investment Bank, the Chancellor is holding back growth."

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£450 billion is required in energy investment by 2025 but traditional investors can only deliver £50 to 80 billion. This leaves an energy finance gap of up to £400 billion