In marking the start of Big Energy Saving Week 2022, the Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Member of the Welsh Parliament for Aberconwy – Janet Finch-Saunders MS – has urged for cross departmental collaboration to ensure that the ambition of the Warm Homes Programme is reviewed, and its eligibility broadened.
In a Written Question, Mrs Finch-Saunders asked:
What discussions has the Welsh Government undertaken to review the criteria for the Warm Homes Programme, given that is only expected to reach 79,000 homes between 2011 and 2023 which is less than 10% of owner occupier homes in Wales?
According to Citizens Advice, more than 66,000 households in Wales have fallen behind on their energy bills since the start of the pandemic. The issue could also result in further strain on the health service as Age UK estimates that cold homes cost the NHS around £1.4 billion every year.
Commenting on the need for a review, Janet said:
“Sadly, as too many residents can attest in this day and age, fuel poverty was a significant issue in Wales long before the onset of COVID-19. According to the latest statistics, an estimated 144,504 Welsh households remain at risk, spending between 8% and 10% of their household income on fuel costs.
“Whilst I generally welcome the fact that social housing stock will be helped to decarbonise with £580 million capital investment up to 2024-25, it is a most concerning fact that the Warm Homes Programme is only expected to reach 79,000 homes between 2011 and 2023. That is less than 10% of owner occupier homes in Wales being helped to become greener and more energy efficient.
“This lack of ambition is why I have marked the start of Big Energy Saving Week 2022 by urging the Welsh Government to come forward with proactive proposals on how they will review whether the Warm Homes Programme can be retargeted to ensure that as many families as possible are eligible for assistance.”
Energy Saving Week is a national campaign that aims to encourage people to save energy whilst also cutting down on fuel costs. The event is a partnership between Citizens Advice, the Energy Saving Trust and the UK Government’s Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.