You may well know that Britain is facing an energy crises, mainly due to soaring gas prices, and when the current energy price rise cap is lifted in April this year (which prevents energy companies from passing on costs to consumers, even if it means they go bust, which many of them have!) then this could mean the number of households falling into fuel poverty increasing by 50%, to 6 million households.
The CRAZY thing about all of this is that all of this is made a lot worse by something very BASIC - lack of adequate insulation in much of Britain's housing stock, much of that being Britain's neglected social housing.
Britain, in fact has the least energy-efficient housing in Western Europe, which in turn is due to the lack of government lead investment into making housing more energy efficient compared to all other Western European nations. The UK, and especially England have the lowest per-capita expenditure on energy efficiency:
And to make matters worse, the amount has DECLINE drastically in recent years...
The infographics above are from the Energy Efficiency Infrastructure Group (the name alone is enough to get yer juices flowing, I know!) who campaign for the government to invest more on energy efficiency....
Their number crunching suggests that there is a £ 4.5 BILLION annual investment gap, but only £1 bn of government money a year would be required to unlock a further £3.5 BN of private investment, and with that level of sustained spending over the next 13 years, that could save the average household around £300 a year in energy bills, which is a cool 30% off the current average spend.
The aggregate SAVING per year amounts to around double what the investment is, and that's going forwards several years.
A good use for public money?
Well, I believe in the NHS (Vaccine mandates aside), and on that basis spending an extra billion on insulation probably makes more sense than spending an extra billion on Doctors and nurses and drugs to treat people with the colds they'll get from living in cold houses due to fuel-poverty.
And certainly where social is concerned, if my taxes are going to pay for such things, they may as well pay for decent quality housing if it's only going be another 5% extra on top.
However I'm not so sure how this would work with private housing - maybe insulation-specific very low interest long term loans with a small (10-20% subsidy would be a decent option for housing which is poorly insulated...
Either way this strikes me as one of those areas of life where markets just aren't going to solve the problem - that of poor quality housing leading to poor people spending more on energy, and using more energy.
That does no one any favours. personally I'd rather my taxes went on improving the housing stock so poor people don't have to literally waste money on the basics, I'd rather they used it to lift themselves out of poverty rather than wasting our resources!
Of course something else to keep in mind is that the EEIG is basically campaigning for the government to spend money on the industries it represents, but to be fair I think they've got a point!
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