Londoners shouldn’t be left out in the cold – Davey and Boris need to act

London Mayor Boris Johnson and energy secretary Ed Davey must do more to ensure Londoners aren't left out in the cold by rocketing energy bills.

Murad Qureshi AM is a Labour member of the London Assembly

Today is Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, yet with energy prices skyrocketing by up to 11 per cent this winter it is unlikely many people are unaware of this growing crisis.

National Energy Action estimates that as a direct result of the recent round of price hikes, an additional 266,000 households were made fuel poor. That is equivalent to a town a little bigger than Stoke-on-Trent.

In London the picture is stark. Before the price hikes, well over half a million London households were fuel poor. Yet London has got a raw deal from the energy companies – and not just on pricing.

Since April 2008, energy companies have been required to deliver home insulation measures to households as part of the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target, a programme that was renewed by the coalition following the election.

However, figures from the Energy Savings Trust show that while 14.7% of homes nationally have received measures, the number for London is only 7.2%.

London has been hindered because it is in general more expensive to insulate homes in London due to the higher occurrence of solid wall properties and flats. Despite their huge profits, this has given energy companies little incentive to retrofit homes in London when they can do it much cheaper in other regions.

The energy companies’ shortfall has been matched by a failure of the mayor to deliver his own target to retrofit 200,000 homes in London by 2012. In the end, the Mayor delivered in 88,000 homes.

What is worse, from this April the Mayor will no longer be directly funding home retrofit measures and will instead rely on those very same energy companies to retrofit London homes once the new Energy Company Obligation and Green Deal are fully introduced.

This is a dangerous strategy and one that could leave Londoners cold.

CERT essentially failed due to the lack of regional targets compelling energy companies to deliver their obligations in London – allowing a flight of measures out of London and into the regions where retrofitting was cheaper. But despite the stronger focus on solid wall insulation within ECO, these regional targets are still absent. Furthermore, the lack of interest so far in the Green Deal should be a worry for the Mayor.

But the situation is worse than that.

As a result of the gap between the end of the existing retrofitting schemes and the new schemes becoming fully functional, the Insulation Industry Forum predicted 625 jobs will be lost in London during 2013.

The energy secretary, Ed Davey, has failed to commit to introducing regional targets. Given the evidence, this should be a minimum assurance he – particularly as a London MP – should be instituting within the scheme. Without this the government is letting down hard pressed households who could desperately use a little help to reduce their energy bills.

See also:

Osborne’s dash for gas will worsen fuel povertyDecember 6th, 2012

We need a new approach to tackling fuel povertyNovember 9th, 2011

Warnings over fuel poverty targets as fat cat energy chief enjoys £2 million bonusJuly 25th, 2011

Westminster must take on energy giants to prevent fuel povertyJune 8th, 2011

Fuel poverty and social inequality should be the focus – not fuel costMarch 17th, 2011

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20 Responses to “Londoners shouldn’t be left out in the cold – Davey and Boris need to act”

  1. LB

    So lets see.

    Green policies – lets raise the cost of fuel.

    Tax policies – lets tax people in poverty. Not surprising that they aren’t left with enough to live off.

    Pension policies – lets take 430,000 pounds from a 26K a year worker, by redistributing their NI to other people. What the heck if they end up in poverty.

    The buck stops with people like you.

    5,300 bn of hidden pensions debts. How are you going to pay that?

  2. Newsbot9

    Absolute nonsense, as usual, on most issues. Pensions are not hidden, and they’re paid from general revenue. Next.

    And keep claiming that taxation, not a massive expense for lower-paid workers, is equivalent to their food, housing, utility and transport bills – all of which you’re inflating.

    Keep using your crooked logic, that the poorer workers should in fact LOSE far more cash, you’d rob them of far more than that over their lifespan for the equivalent benefits delivered from the private sector.

    Keep talking about anything but the topic, as you delight in the misery of the poor you’re creating.

  3. LB

    1. The banks have profited. No they haven’t. Most haven’t increased profits, most are still making losses, particularly those involved in QE.

    2. QE funding government. Yep, no one is lending to the government bar those forced too. Not surprising that the banks aren’t making money if all QE has done is made them lend to the state, whose spent it.

    3. Shortage of Gilts. There’s no shortage. People aren’t lending to the state. There is no demand and hence no shortage. See point 2, where the QE is just about funding deficit spending, not about loans in the economy. You might as well be honest and get the printing presses going. See Zimbabwe. Latest I hear the have 200 quid in the bank, for the entire government

    That’s just for starters.

    Then there is the recommendations. Government to invest. In what? HS2 which has a negative return. ie. The tickets receipts will not cover the debt servicing, running costs and pensions. So who gets screwed for the bill?

    A national investment bank? Yep, muppets like Vince Cable playing with other people’s money and no personal risk. You’re free to start your own bank and invest in Green technologies (or is it harvesting taxpayers?)

    On the QE. Why have they omitted the penal rate of interest? The UK government has lost 30 bn on Brown’s share trading in banks (like his gold trading). Penal rates of interest has earned it 35 bn. At the same time its now taxing capital. Total tax take from the banking industry, 220 bn over 4 years.

    Capital ratios have been reduced. Combine that with taking capital, high taxes, low profits because of the loss, and all work to reduce the amount available for loans. Throw in peer to peer lending (no gearing), and loans are going to go one way, down.

    Eventually, it will be just government favourites that get loans. Like Greece.

  4. Newsbot9

    Yes, I’m sure that’s your policy. You’re trying to drive us towards Greece and Zimbabwe, by fighting growth at all costs.

  5. LB

    Nope. I’m in favour of growth in the economy. However, by growth you and poltiicians mean growth in the tax they take off people.

    However given the 7,000 bn of debts. Spending going up above inflation at 700 bn a year. Taxation at 500 bn a year.

    Government cannot pay its debts unless it takes more money off people.

    That’s the truth about what you and politicians mean by growth.

  6. LB

    You could of course tell us who pays for the growth? Is it going to be those people on the dole who, if they go back to work provide the growth in taxes that the government needs? If so, put some numbers to it. How many back to work, how much money saved for each one and how much tax are they going to pay?

  7. Newsbot9

    Ah yes, so you’re virulently against growth, politician.

    I mean a rising GDP, you hum and whistle and deny.

  8. LB

    The government has a deficit. How does rising GDP help the government? Step by step. …

  9. Newsbot9


  10. LB

    And for that they need money. Wonga. Hard cash.

    So are they going to borrow and dump it on future generations?

    Are they going to print, and screw people with inflation?

    Or are they going to take money now from people? In which case who gets hit.

    30% overspend. 50% of the UK economy is the state. They need to put up taxes by a huge amount, just to balance the books.

    That’s the Tory plan. Small cuts, massive tax rises in the hope that gets more cash. Hence bugger all growth

    Labour want more spending. No doubt more tax rises like the Tories. But they want to borrow more.

    Both of them have looted the money people gave them for their pensions. All of it.

  11. Newsbot9

    Nope, the Tory plan is to cut services massively and hope it’ll save cash. You want to collapse the economy and hope we’ll someday be able to buy things from abroad again.

    Neither is a good idea.

    The reality is, the tax take needs to primarily come from where the wealth is – capital.

  12. LB

    It’s not working. Spending is up in real terms. Where are the cuts? Where are the spending increases?

    If you think its unemployment, we can take the spending increase, divide it by the number of unemployed, and work out how much they are being paid. If its a stupid number, then its not the cause.

    So lets look at the capital angle. Lets start with Branson shall we. We take all of his capital, 2 billion. The over spend is 411 million a day. So it runs out in 5 days.

    Who are you going to hit next? The people who bought Branson’s assets?


  13. Newsbot9

    Nope, you’re the one hitting people, not me.

    Spending is up because your plan doesn’t work. Stopping measures which save cash…cost cash.

    And that’s right, you’re trying to make stupid claims that it’s not you. It’s you. And, of course, all those assets will be wiped out in a full-scale crash anyway. But details, you don’t need them.

    (Not to mention we rely on JIT food delivery…international aid won’t be able to cope, so expect mass starvation…)

  14. LB

    That’s what’s going to happen, if you borrow and spend.

    Assets? You want to take them. Tax capital is your plan. You’ve just said that’s what you would do.

    So debts are 700% of GDP. Which assets are you going to take? To whom are you going to sell them?

  15. Newsbot9

    I’m not the one trying to sell off assets. Proper taxation is NOT confiscation. Your fear of paying a proper amount of tax is pathetic.

  16. Newsbot9

    Nope, that’s your concept, You’re the one who is insisting that the poor must pay ever more for less services. At the same time as you are driving down wages. I would tax where the GDP is going….

    You keep snowballing everything into WE MUST KILL THE POOR.

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