Today, Groundwork joins 27 charities and mission-led organisations to urge the government to respond to the ongoing gas crisis with measures to create a green, fair and affordable energy future for all – rather than entrenching our reliance on expensive and polluting fossil gas.
In an open letter the Prime Minister, Chancellor and Business Secretary, the groups note that following a record rise in the cost of gas on the global market, households face an enormous increase in their energy bills, fuelling a cost-of-living crisis. The surge in gas prices could increase fuel poverty by 50%, from 4 to 6 million households. It could lead to millions of vulnerable households rationing their energy, increasing unnecessary loss of life during winter and the burden on the NHS when it is already under extreme strain due to the pandemic. Emergency support is needed immediately for the most vulnerable households.
The root cause of the cost-of-living crisis is the UK’s heavy reliance on fossil gas for heating and power. Over 85% of UK homes currently depend on fossil gas heating, and exposure to volatile international gas markets is exacerbated by our cold and leaky housing stock. The letter calls on the government to address these underlying drivers of the crisis by investing in a greener, fairer and healthier future. The path to long-term resilience and to tackle the climate crisis is to ensure all UK homes are well insulated, to shift off gas and to homegrown, sustainable, renewable energy.
Graham Duxbury, Groundwork’s national chief executive, said:
“Unprecedented gas price rises are affecting everyone, but for those who are already struggling to pay their bills and keep warm they come as a devastating blow with the potential to have a significant impact on their physical and mental health.
Groundwork’s Green Doctors provide practical support for people living in fuel poverty to minimise their bills and maximise the support they can access. In the current crisis we’re seeing people already having to make distressing choices to stay well and support their families and we’re also seeing many people in need of help for the first time. Tinkering with levies won’t be enough – we need a programme of sustained financial support and expert advice for those least able to manage while we deliver long-term investment in improving the energy efficiency of our homes and moving away from fossil fuels.”
Find out more about how Groundwork is helping households to stay warm this winter: https://www.groundwork.org.uk/greendoctor/
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Signatories to the letter include: