A £1 billion scheme to make middle-income homes more energy efficient is being launched along with a public information campaign advising people how to cut power usage.
Energy Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed the new Eco+ scheme to extend support for insulating homes as he tries to get households to reduce energy consumption.
Labour criticised it as a “reheated announcement with no new resources” that comes “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.
📣NEW: Today I'm announcing the ECO+ scheme to insulate hundreds of thousands more homes. Protecting pounds in pockets and creating jobs across the country.
— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) November 28, 2022
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”.
After 12 years of failure on energy efficiency, a serious government would not think that helping 0.3% of the 19 million homes in need of an upgrade- with no new resources- is good enough.
At that snail's pace rate, it would take almost 300 years to get where we need to!
— Ed Miliband (@Ed_Miliband) November 25, 2022
The Government has set an ambition of reducing energy use by 15% by 2030 as it battles the spiking energy prices caused by Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.
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.
Households shouldn’t see their direct debits rise when their energy use falls
My letter to suppliers making clear people’s bills should reflect the energy they use 👇 pic.twitter.com/Lrsdtsjroz
— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) November 27, 2022
“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.”
Greenpeace UK energy campaigner Georgia Whitaker warned the funding was not nearly enough as nearly seven million homes are suffering fuel poverty, while 19 million homes in England and Wales are badly insulated.
“This is a drop in the ocean compared to what people actually need to stay warm and well this winter and in the winters to come,” she said.
“At least £6 billion is needed by the end of this Parliament for a nationwide insulation programme that will not only help reduce our emissions but will also reduce the terrible levels of fuel poverty in the UK.
“The sooner the Government realises this and actually gets going the sooner we’ll have more affordable bills, more energy security and a more stable climate.”