Home insulation and other energy efficiency improvements plummeted at the “worst possible time” for Britain, Labor warned, as spiraling bills paint a grim picture for the cold months to come.
The analysis of the party found that installations decreased by more than 50% in the first half of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021, from a total of 261,315 to 126,131.
He blamed this on government “mismanagement”.
A document from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) states that the “sharp decline” in the second quarter of 2022 – which saw far fewer installations than the first – is due to problems with the transition between efficiency schemes.
Labor said the figure for the second quarter of 2022 was the lowest since 2018.
The party said that if ministers had implemented their own “national mission” to increase isolation when Sir Keir Starmer touted the policy in September 2021, two million of the cooler homes could have been renovated by this winter.
This would have saved households more than £ 2 billion on energy bills this year alone, he said.
Kerry McCarthy, Labor’s shadow minister for climate change, said: “The energy price cap has just risen to record highs and people are terrified of what it means to their bills this winter.
“The government should have worked around the clock to seal off homes and ensure that as many families as possible benefit from lower utility bills. Its inability to do so despite repeated warnings risks leaving millions in the cold.
“There is still time for the government to adopt the Labor plan to freeze energy bills and protect millions of families this winter. Not acting would be unforgivable ”.
Mike Childs, Head of Policy for Friends of the Earth, called on the next PM to make energy efficiency a “top priority”.
“The poor level of insulation in UK homes is a shocking testimony to the government’s inability to take this issue seriously,” he said.
“This winter millions of families will pay skyrocketing bills for heating that will simply escape through drafty roofs, walls and windows and doors.
“The next prime minister must make energy efficiency a top priority and commit to funding a free, street-by-street home isolation program, focusing on those most in need.”
A BEIS spokesperson said: ‘We are investing £ 6.6 billion in total in this parliament to improve energy efficiency across the country, with the majority of our support targeting low-income and vulnerable households.
“Huge progress has already been made, with the number of homes with an energy efficiency rating of C or greater at 46% and increasing, up from just 14% in 2010.
“This is benefiting tens of thousands of homes and offers an average saving of £ 300 per year on energy bills.”
Analysis of the work was based on statistics showing the number of measures installed under the Energy Company Obligation program, which helps fuel-poor customers insulate their homes.
BEIS said the figures do not take into account the local authority’s separate granting program for green homes, which aims to improve the energy efficiency of low-income households.
The department also said that the sharp decline in installed measures was largely due to the pandemic, as well as the transition between ECO regimes.