Charities urge George Osborne to keep green levies to help poor and create jobs

 

Deputy Political Editor

Moves to cut green levies in an effort to reduce energy bills would backfire by harming the most vulnerable and driving up the cost of gas and electricity, George Osborne is warned today by leading charities.

They raised the alarm amid speculation that the Chancellor is preparing to scale back the Energy Company Obligation, which is used to help poorer families insulate their homes, in his autumn statement next week. Critics of the levy, which adds about £50 to the average annual energy bill, say the scheme is bureaucratic and poorly focussed.

But in a joint letter to Mr Osborne, seen by The Independent, more than 90 major charities and businesses argue that cutting energy efficiency measures could increase fuel poverty as it will become more expensive to heat draughty homes. They also point out that green schemes help create jobs and foster economic growth.

The signatories include Age UK, Barnardo's, Scope and the Children's Society, as well as environmental groups, think-tanks, small energy companies and trade unions.

In their letter they challenge the Chancellor to act on a recent promise by David Cameron to make Britain the most energy-efficient country in Europe.

They write: "As you prepare for the autumn statement, we ask you to make good on that pledge and ensure that not only is the funding for energy efficiency not reduced but that it is significantly increased."

The signatories say: "The political debate on how to reduce energy bills needs to focus on long term solutions, which will bring down energy costs for generations to come, rather than quick fixes. Energy efficiency is by far the most cost effective solution for tackling both high energy bills and fuel poverty."

Britain has some of the worst insulated properties in Europe and as a result one of the worst rates of excess winter deaths and fuel poverty in the continent, they say.

They call for a major drive, as part of the Government's infrastructure programme, to make more than half a million homes 'super energy efficient' every year.

"We urge you to announce in your Autumn Statement that you will adopt this proposal and provide a clear signal to the public that you intend to solve this crisis once and for all."

Ed Matthew, director of the Energy Bill Revolution alliance, which organised the letter, said: "The slogan used to be 'vote blue, go green', but if the Chancellor cuts funding for insulation it will be 'vote blue, go blue' for millions of UK families who can't afford to heat their homes this winter. The stark truth is that cutting funding for energy efficiency will condemn people to death this winter."

Their warning comes ahead of figures today (TUES) on numbers of people who died because of last year's wintry weather. About 24,000 people die from the cold in Britain every year, proportionately much higher than other countries with harsher, longer winters.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Sport
football
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Life and Style
tech
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Systems Administrator (SharePoint) - Central London - £36,500

£35000 - £36500 per annum: Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator (SharePoint) -...

Biology Teacher

£90 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: We are currently recruiting...

.NET Developer / Web Developer / Software Developer - £37,000

£30000 - £37000 per annum + attractive benefits: Ashdown Group: .NET Developer...

Biology Teacher

Main Pay Scale : Randstad Education Leeds: Biology Teacher to A Level - Female...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering