Warm Homes for All – Labour’s plan to reduce energy bills, create jobs and tackle the climate emergency
Today (Sunday), Labour will announce “Warm Homes for All” – the largest scale upgrade of UK housing since post-war reconstruction. By 2030, Labour will create 450,000 jobs by installing energy saving measures such as loft insulation and double glazing, renewable and low carbon technologies in almost all of the UK’s 27 million homes.
Labour’s Green Industrial Revolution will be a central motor of the party’s plans to transform our country and economy, using public investment to create good, clean jobs, tackle the climate emergency and rebuild held back towns, cities and communities.
By 2030, Labour’s plans will:
- Cut carbon emissions by 10% – the equivalent of 72% of the emissions of all the cars in the UK.
- Prevent 1,500 deaths from cold and up to 560,000 cases of asthma due to reduced damp.
- Bring energy bills of 9.6 million low income households down by an average of £417 per year.
- Eradicate the vast majority of fuel poverty by the mid-2020s, benefiting the 1.14 million elderly people and one quarter of single parents currently living in fuel poverty.
- Create an estimated 250,000 skilled jobs in the construction industry like insulation specialists, plasterers, carpenters, electricians, gas engineers, builders and window fitters – with the quality of work and rights at work guaranteed. The investment will generate another 200,000 jobs across the economy.
The UK’s housing stock is among the worst insulated in Europe. Electricity and heat use in buildings is the biggest source of emissions in the UK today – 56% of the total. It also costs households billions over the odds in heating bills and pushes 3.5 million households into fuel poverty.
According to National Energy Action, last year around 10,000 winter deaths were caused by ill health linked to cold homes. According to Age UK, most avoidable deaths were people aged 75 and over.
Upgrades to low income households will be grant funded. These households will pay no upfront costs and will see their bills fall immediately after the work is done. They will keep most of the savings on their bills, with the rest used to pay off part of the cost of the work.
Wealthier households will be offered interest free loans to improve their homes and lower their energy bills. Landlords will be regulated to ensure their properties are warm and energy efficient.
Rebecca Long Bailey MP, Labour’s Shadow Business and Energy Secretary said:
“Warm Homes for All is one of the greatest investment projects since we rebuilt Britain’s housing after the Second World War.
“Labour will offer every household in the UK the chance to bring the future into their homes – upgrading the fabric of their homes with insulation and cutting edge heating systems – tackling both climate change and extortionate bills.
“This project will also create hundreds of thousands of good unionised construction jobs, bringing good work back to areas of the UK the Tories abandoned long ago.”
Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn MP said:
“If we don’t radically change course we face the threat of a hostile and dying planet. But Labour will turn that threat into an opportunity.
“We will tackle the climate crisis by putting wealth in the hands of the many not the few, with lower bills, more good jobs and better health.
“By investing on a massive scale, we will usher in a Green Industrial Revolution with good, clean jobs that will transform towns, cities and communities that have been held back and neglected for decades.
“At this election, the choice is clear – we can either take action to protect future generations, or allow the Tories to help fuel our planet’s destruction.”
Notes to Editors
- 565,000 less cases of asthma by 2030
4% of UK homes have serious damp concerns, and 17.5% of the UK population have been diagnosed with a form of asthma according to the World Health Survey https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3353191/table/T1/?report=objectonly. Damp is known to cause asthma, and so improving the quality of all UK homes, with a focus on damp, will result in higher likelihood of asthma. The mould – asthma risk ratio is around 1.4. Using this evidence, and a methodology developed and used by C40 (https://www.c40.org/benefits), estimates can be made of the fewer cases of asthma expected by 2030 by removing the majority of cases of damp (assumed 90% success rate). As such, it is estimated that by 2030 around 560,000 cases of asthma will have been avoided through reducing the amount of damp housing in the UK.
- 1,500 lives saved per year
In the 2017 to 2018 winter period, there were an estimated 50,100 excess winter deaths in England and Wales. The number of excess winter deaths in 2017 to 2018 was the highest recorded since winter 1975 to 1976. This is for a whole range of reasons, but poorly insulated and cold homes is a contributing factor. C40 have developed a methodology for estimating the impact of increasing the average temperature of the coldest homes on cold deaths. This methodology was used to estimate the impact of increasing internal temperatures by an average of 2 degrees centigrade, more than feasible based on a whole home retrofit as proposed in this document. It is estimated that of the roughly 50,000 extra deaths due to cold each year, around 1,500 can be avoided through delivering a UK wide home retrofit program as proposed by Labour.
- The costs and benefits of Labour’s plan have been produced by an expert advisory team led by Dr Donal Brown, Research Fellow at the University of Leeds and Director of the Sustainable Design Collective. Housing stock modelling was undertaken by Parity Projects, an environmental consultancy group with expertise in retrofitting. This is part of a wider research project undertaken for Labour on decarbonising the UK’s housing stock.
- Fuel poverty affects 3.5 million UK households – roughly 12.9% of all households. https://www.nea.org.uk/about-nea/fuel-poverty-statistics/
- The UK has the least energy efficient housing stock in Europe. According to the Office of National Statistics the number of excess winter deaths across England and Wales last winter exceeded 50,000, the highest recorded for over 40 years. https://www.green-alliance.org.uk/resources/reinventing_retrofit.pdf
- These figures were described by the charity National Energy Action as “preventable and shameful”. https://www.nea.org.uk/media/news/nea-slams-record-number-of-excess-winter-deaths-last-winter-as-predictable-preventable-and-shameful/
- Electricity and heat is responsible for 56% of the UK’s emissions https://labour.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/ThirtyBy2030report.pdf
- There is huge public appetite for better homes. Households were installing energy savings measures like loft and cavity wall insulation at record rates until the Conservative and Liberal Democrat scrapped Labour’s Warm Front Scheme in 2013 – costing households £3.7 billion in higher energy bills. https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3080539/scrapping-of-insulation-scheme-in-2013-has-cost-households-gbp37bn-labour-claims
Warm Homes for All
- There are two main components for upgrading homes:
o Improving energy efficiency through measures like loft insulation and double glazing so that we use less energy. Under Labour’s plans, we estimate that households will need 23% less energy to heat their homes. Under Labour’s plans, we estimate that by 2030, 92% of cavity walls will be insulated, 88% of remaining lofts will be insulated, 62% of homes will have floor insulation, and 60% of homes will have enhanced double glazing.
o Installing renewable and low carbon technologies like solar PV, solar thermal, and heat pumps, so that the energy we use is lower carbon. Under Labour’s plans, we estimate that by 2030, 6.34 million homes will have heat pumps, 5.3 million homes will have solar thermal systems, and 1.75 million more homes will have solar PV.
- Both components will save households money – an estimated £11.54 billion annual saving across the UK by 2030, or an average of £417 for low income households. For households that go from a very low energy efficiency rating to a very high energy efficiency rating, the savings will be even higher.
- Implementing Labour’s plan would save approximately 50.46Mt CO2e per year by 2030. This is 10.28% of the UK’s 2018 CO2e emissions. This is more than all the emissions from agriculture in the UK (45Mt CO2e) – equivalent to 72% of the emissions of all the cars in the UK.
- Delivering essential upgrades to the UK’s entire housing stock will cost around £250 billion, or an average of £9300 per house. Labour’s plan will make this affordable. We will provide £60 billion of direct public subsidy for the programme, with the rest paid for through energy savings.
- Upgrades to low income households will be grant funded. These households will pay no upfront costs and will see their bills fall immediately after the work is done. They will keep most of the savings on their bills, with the rest used to pay off part of the cost of the work.
- According to independent modelling, this will bring energy bills of 9.6 million low income households down by an average of £417 per year by 2030.
- Zero interest loans will also be made available for upgrades to wealthier households. These households will also pay no upfront costs and see no increase in their bills. However, bills will decline more slowly as the loan will be repaid through savings on bills. These households will benefit from all bill savings once the loan is repaid. The loan will sit with the property, not the resident.
- Labour will also regulate so that residences in the social and private rented sectors reach at least EPC band C by the mid-2020s.