England’s leaky homes will cost poorer families £250 extra a year in wasted energy

​​​​​​​Three million ‘fuel poor’ households - already struggling with the rising cost of living – are having to pay an extra £250 a year on average on fuel bills because of poorly insulated homes, new analysis by the Local Government Association (LGA) warns today.

Man sitting on sofa with his cat

The LGA said households are wasting £770 million a year as expensive heat leaks through walls, roofs and windows of the poorly insulated homes in England’s ‘fuel poor’ households.

To coincide with its Annual Conference in Harrogate this week, the LGA, which represents more than 350 councils across England and Wales, is calling for a redoubling of efforts to insulate all fuel poor homes by 2030, saving millions from energy bills every year.  

The LGA analysis shows that 2 million households in fuel poverty will need additional help to implement energy efficiency measures lifting homes up to Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating C by 2030.

Councils say additional help for these homes is crucial for hitting the Government’s ambition to retrofit a total of 3.1 million fuel poor homes to EPC C standard by 2030 – almost 900 homes a day. 

A quarter of all families are now looking to improve energy efficiency as bills surge, but fuel poor households are least likely to afford the measures and the most likely to be impacted by rising energy prices.

Not only do poorly insulated buildings waste money, but they also increase carbon emissions and leaves homes cold and damp. By focusing on fuel poor households, the LGA said this ambition would save:

  • Up to £770 million a year from household energy bills by 2030;
  • £500 million in NHS spending a year;
  • 670,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide a year from 2030

While the Government has implemented a significant package to ease the cost-of-living crisis over the short term and has expanded the Energy Company Obligation, the LGA said further measures are also needed to reduce the long-term demand for expensive energy.

Councils are best placed to deliver programmes to help decarbonise England’s buildings. They have the local knowledge, experience, trusted status, relationships with residents and the ability to forge local partnerships, the scheme would create 23,000 skilled jobs across the country.

To tackle fuel poverty, the Government needs lofty ambitions (and insulation) and should consider a further investment in energy efficiency alongside the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund.

Cllr David Renard, environment spokesperson for the LGA, said:

“So many homes are leaking more and more money as energy prices increase. This will hit stretched household budgets hard and the public purse, while adding to the climate crisis.

“Investment now will save households further down the line, ease the cost-of-living crisis and mean families have added security and flexibility within their budgets.

“Ensuring homes are well insulated also means fewer people are at risk of the health risks associated with living in cold, damp conditions, and this is work we have to do as part of our drive to net zero.

“Councils are keen to help the Government deliver on this win-win policy and increase the number of buildings insulated by winter.”

Notes to Editors

  • Modelling undertaken by WPI economics. Data available at local authority level. You can downloaded it below.

Retrofitting fuel poor households - cost/benefit modelling