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Focus On Insulating Homes Welcomed

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

GMB Welcomes Labour Party Focus On Insulated Homes As Current Government Policy Is An Absolute Shambles

This commitment on insulation is good for energy customers, good for jobs and good for the environment says GMB.

GMB, the union for energy workers, commented on the speech by Caroline Flint MP Shadow Secretary of State form Energy and Climate Change at the Labour Party Conference in Manchester today. See notes to editors for extracts from her speech.

Gary Smith, GMB National Secretary for Energy, speaking at the Labour Party Conference said, “The Labour Party has made progress on energy policy and there is much that we agree with them on. We agree on things like insulation and installing smart meters, which will empower customers and reduce bills.

The energy sector that Labour will inherit is a mess. The industry is propped up by huge subsidies and these subsidies are a reprehensible and regressive form of taxation that takes money from the fuel poor and stuffs it in the pockets of big energy companies and big land owners.

The UK faces huge challenges around UK energy security to ensure that the lights do not go out. To meet these challenges will require the full force of the UK State has to act to ensure that there is an effective watchdog on behalf of UK citizens.

GMB welcomes the focus on insulated homes. Government policy on insulation is an absolute shambles.

Tens of millions of pounds, earmarked for insulated homes, went unspent. Hundreds of GMB members working in insulation lost their jobs whilst at the same time people up and down the country were freezing to death.

A greater involvement for local government in delivering insulation work and it becoming a key infrastructure project is along with a commitment to force private landlords to insulate homes is a most welcome development.

This commitment on insulation is good for energy customers, good for jobs and good for the environment.”

Ends

Contact: Gary Smith, GMB National Secretary on 07710 618909 or GMB Press Office: 07921 289880 or 07974 251823.

Notes to Editors:

Extracts of the speech by Caroline Flint MP to Labour Party Annual Conference 2014.

“A year ago, Ed Miliband announced Labour’s energy price freeze, and changed the political weather. At one stroke one party, Labour called time on unfair prices, sharp practice, and a secretive industry. And no surprise to anyone, the energy companies, the Tories, the Liberal Democrats and even the SNP, all said we were wrong.

But we stood firm and thanks to you, the thousands of members and supporters who took to the streets and doorsteps of Britain to make Labour’s case, the British public make their minds up too. They said freeze that bill. The public aren’t stupid. They know the energy companies have not played fair. They see that energy bills have risen by over £300 in just four years. Twice as fast as inflation, four times faster than wages, and faster than in almost any other country in the developed world.

A Labour Britain wants energy companies we can be proud of. Companies that play fair with their customers have fair prices and put customers first.

So during Labour’s 20 month price freeze we will change the rules of the game. A tough new watchdog with a bite as a good as its bark. With a power to make sure wholesale price cuts are passed to the customer. To make suppliers behave professionally. When you misbehave, pay a fine, It’s not over. The slate is not wiped clean. Keep breaking the rules, treating your customers badly and you will b e shut down.

But the cheapest energy is the energy we don’t use. Yet heat is going straight out of our roofs, windows and walls. We might as well burn money.

Conference let me tell you three thinks about Sweden. It’s colder than the UK but you probably knew that. Its energy is more expensive than the UK. You may not have known that. So why does the Johansson family in Stockholm have lower bills than the Johnson family in Stockport?

The answer? Simple: Swedish homes are super-insulated, keeping warm using less energy. My plan is not just to freeze energy bills but in the next phase of our reforms to enable millions of people to permanently cut the,.

2014 saw two important anniversaries. One hundred years since the start of World War One and 70 years since the D-Day Landings that marked the beginning of the end of World War Two. We have heard a hundred stories and more of ordinary people doing extraordinary things to protect our country. People who fought abroad and others who kept the home fires burning. They wanted a country fit to live in.

Their courage inspired me to demand so much more. So today I am declaring war on cold homes. Six million low income families live in homes that are far too expensive to heat. In two out of three British homes they don’t know how much heart they loose or where from. And the Coalition response. Useless. Nearly half of the money levied from energy companies doesn’t even go to the fuel poor. Over 1.5 million struggling to pay, live in the coldest private rented homes. But fewer than one in ten will get any help under Cameron’s plans. The Government’s Green Deal is anything but a good deal. Only 200,000 households getting the job done.

So Britain has much to do. Labour will get to work: half a million free home energy reports a year so families know where and how they can cut their bills. For those on low incomes we will make 200,000 homes warm every year using every penny of the Energy Company Obligation. And unlike this Government we’ll get the job done properly in one go and put local authorities and communities in the driving seat and Conference private landlords will have to play their part.

Our ambition is that private rented properties will have to meet a decency standard by 2027 bringing warmth to three million homes. And to typical home owners, I say: Labour will provide one million interest free loans tin the next Parliament so you too can heat your home and save on bills.

Conference five million homes more energy efficient. All without spending any more money or adding to anyone’s energy bill. Now that’s a battle plan. It will take time. But be in no doubt Labour will make saving energy a national infrastructure priority.

Conference this challenge is not a burden. It is an opportunity to create jobs, training and new business, across every region of our country. To reduce bills and to reduce carbon emissions in the face of the biggest challenge facing humanity today, climate change. Conference isn’t that a vision worth fighting for?

Conference I start this week with you in Manchester.”

 

 

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