Government launches £1billion 'eco' scheme to insulate middle-income homes

An aerial shot of houses in the UK.
The government wants households to invest in insulation. Credit: PA

A £1 billion scheme to make middle-income homes more energy efficient is being launched by the government.

But Labour has criticised the announcement as a "reheated announcement with no new resources."

Energy Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed the new Eco+ scheme to extend support for insulating homes.

The scheme will also have a public information campaign around reducing energy usage.

Labour said the policy came "far too little too late."

Hundreds of thousands of households could receive loft and cavity wall insulation under the scheme running for three years from spring.

It is predominantly being targeted at households that do not currently get support to upgrade homes, though a fifth of the funding will be targeted at the most vulnerable.

The majority of the funding will be made available for those households who are in some of the least energy-efficient homes in the country (those with an EPC rating of D or below).There has been a major spotlight on the quality of the housing stock in the UK after 2-year-old Awaab Ishak died after prolonged exposure to mould.

The problem of damp leaky homes has been a major battleground for opposition parties who point to it as an example of Tory failure in government.

Some £18 million will also be spent on a public information campaign giving advice about turning down boiler temperatures and radiators to save energy.

Reducing boiler flow temperatures from 75C to 60C and turning down radiators in empty rooms could save a typical household £160 per year, according to the guidance to be published on the help for households website.

A previous attempt to introduce a public information campaign on energy-saving measures was blocked under Liz Truss’s administration over concerns they were too “nanny state”.

The government has set an ambition of reducing energy use by 15% by 2030 as it battles the spiking energy prices triggered by Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.

The scheme comes alongside other announcements aimed at helping households tackle rising energy bills:

Mr Shapps said: “A new Eco scheme will enable thousands more to insulate their homes, protecting the pounds in their pockets and creating jobs across the country.

“And in the short term, our new public information campaign will also give people the tools they need to reduce their energy use while keeping warm this winter.”

But shadow climate change secretary Ed Miliband said: “This reheated announcement with no new resources, is far too little too late and will help only a tiny fraction of the millions of people facing a cost of living emergency this winter.

“Labour’s warm homes plan would insulate up to two million homes a year, saving pensioners and families up to £1,000 off their energy bills.

“Rishi Sunak wants to crawl towards warmer homes and cheaper bills for our country. Labour will sprint for it – because that’s what the bills crisis demands.”

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