Warm this Winter: Party Manifesto Checklist

Warm this Winter is a coalition of leading anti-poverty and environmental organisations campaigning for further action on high energy bills this winter, and ensuring energy is affordable for everyone in the future by reducing our dependence on volatile fossil fuels.

Unaffordable energy bills are hurting people and businesses around the country, with the UK being hit hard because of our over-reliance on gas to heat our homes and to generate electricity, as well as having lots of old, draughty homes. Despite gas prices having now fallen to pre-crisis levels 6.5 million households are living in fuel poverty. This is coupled with soaring food prices, transport costs and high business running costs which have to be passed on to consumers. There is no end in sight to the cost-of-living crisis.  

The UK needs a positive vision for ending fuel poverty, ending our reliance on fossil fuels, and fixing the energy market so that it delivers for people and the planet. Reducing strain on the NHS, especially over winter, ensuring a fair and affordable transition to clean energy, and boosting the economy should be at the centre of policy thinking and an urgent priority for all political parties.

Any credible future government that is serious about long term solutions to the cost of living and climate crises, meaningfully tackling fuel poverty, and boosting energy security should consider the following priorities in party manifestos:

1. Meaningful support for vulnerable households

Tackle fuel poverty by providing additional financial support to help with energy bills directly, targeted at the most vulnerable groups in society

Even before the energy crisis, energy bills were unaffordable for many, with low-income households facing a double burden. Now more than 6.5 million UK households are facing fuel poverty and cross-party support for addressing the root causes has never been more crucial. Those hit hardest by this crisis must be given targeted support to reduce energy costs including through the introduction of a more progressive billing system where tariff design incentivises efficiency and demand reduction. The current prepayment meter regime should be reformed and the next government should work with charities and local authorities to increase the provision of energy advice (for example, single local point of contact for those struggling) and developing guidance on how social prescribing could be used to help tackle fuel poverty.

Tackle the growing debt mountain

The cost-of-living crisis has seen rising food prices, record numbers of people unable to heat their homes, struggling with rising debt, and being forced to turn to food banks. Around 90% of low-income households receiving Universal Credit are going without at least one essential. High energy prices have led to increasing energy arrears and whilst some people are able to repay through repayment plans, others have little to no spare income and are unable to repay. The next government should act to reduce this debt burden by writing off all debts for prepayment meter customers and introduce a ‘help to repay’ scheme.

2. Help to upgrade homes

Improve energy efficiency and eradicate fuel poverty through whole home energy efficiency improvements that ensures affordable and quality housing

Homes in the UK are some of the dampest and leakiest in Europe, costing homeowners, renters and taxpayers billions because of poor insulation and substandard housing conditions. The private rented sector has the highest proportion of homes in fuel poverty with Citizens Advice data showing that 31% of renters feel unable to heat their home to a comfortable temperature. Living in cold damp homes can cause or exacerbate various health issues such as heart or lung diseases, leading to avoidable hospitalisations. The next government should ensure households can stay warm in winter and cool in the summer by reinstating minimum energy efficiency standards in the private rented sector and rolling out whole home retrofits including heat pumps across the UK.

3. Access to cheap, renewable energy

Speed up the rollout of homegrown renewables so that communities across the UK can benefit from clean, affordable energy with direct bill savings

Renewable energy projects are popular, quick to deliver and produce energy that is several times cheaper than from fossil fuels. The next government should expand ambition for renewable energy sources including onshore wind, offshore wind and solar to deliver a clean electricity system well before 2035. This includes removing the planning barriers for new onshore wind in England, reforming the National Grid and ensuring prices set by the Contracts for Difference auction rounds reflect the global reality of inflation. There should also be a commitment to support community energy projects and ensure that communities who want to deliver their own renewable energy are enabled.​

4. Free us from expensive oil & gas

Deliver a coherent plan for accelerating a just transition away from fossil fuels

Every new oil and gas field delays the transition to clean affordable energy, and continued North Sea exploration and production will not solve the energy crisis long term. The next government must accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels to permanently reduce our dependence on expensive, polluting energy sources like oil and gas, and protect households from spiralling price shocks. The next government should commit to no new domestic fossil fuel developments, phase out the installation of new fossil fuel heating systems by 2033 at the latest, and begin a just transition for communities and workers affected, including through retraining and reskilling. In the meantime, given that methane accounts for approximately 13% of UK emissions, during this transition there should be a commitment to end routine flaring and venting by 2025.

Warm This Winter Wales has a separate manifesto list which you can find here: Political Party Manifestos