The answer should be a no-brainer – insulate. And there have been a series of, admittedly inadequate, programmes to help the poor to do so, culminating in the current Energy Company Obligation (ECO), under which suppliers are required to carry out efficiency measures. It is this that Mr Osborne is intent on cutting, by spreading its two-year programme over four. If he does so, spending on energy efficiency in England will have dropped by 62 per cent since the Coalition took office.
More than 140 organisations – ranging from Barnardo’s to confused.com, from AgeUK to the TUC – have written to him in ECO’s defence. Insulating houses saves families an average £400 a year. It is job-intensive, now employing some 136,000 people. It provides one of the highest returns on investment; £350 million spent under ECO will save a total of £4.2 billion. And it helps avoid energy shortages. No wonder David Cameron this year hailed it as “right for the economy”, pledging “to make Britain the most energy efficient country in Europe”.
I’m not entirely sure that it’s quite as simple as that given that there are many houses that it’s not possible to insulate (like all those Georgian houses in Bath). But let’s take it as being true.
Who could possibly be against it? Most energy companies, because it depresses their sales.
So which fucking cretin organised that it would have to be the energy companies that ran the insulation schemes then?
And then look at the trickery with numbers:
Now the Chancellor looks like capitulating. If he cuts the programme as expected, calculates the Association for the Conservation of Energy, the Big Six will avoid spending £1.3 billion on ECO measures, and sell £360 million worth of extra fuel to the uninsulated houses. Six hundred thousand families will pay hundreds of pounds extra annually, and at least 10,000 jobs will be lost. All for some £50 off the average bill of nearly £1,300.
Quote the costs as gross numbers, the benefits as per household. With 24 million households £50 each is £1.2 billion isn’t it?