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Boris Johnson tells ministers to find £1bn for insulation scheme

Boris Johnson has reportedly told ministers to find £1bn in funding to go towards a huge new insulation scheme tackling poorly heated homes amidst the cost-of-living crisis.

According to The Times, the Prime Minister has suggested money could be taken from already existing funds, such as the £1bn Public Sector Decarbonisation scheme which aims to improve energy efficiency in public buildings.

Funds could also be moved from the £450 boiler upgrade scheme to cover the proposal to expand the Energy Company Obligation scheme, which insulates fuel-poor homes, to middle-income households.

The scheme was originally dubbed Insulate Britain, before it was pointed out that this was the name of a disruptive campaign group which is notorious for its road blocking protests.

person in blue pants sitting on brown wooden floor

Tory MP and founder of the Net Zero Support Group, Chris Skidmoore, told The Times: ‘The fastest and simplest way to tackle the cost-of-living crisis is to invest in insulation which has the potential to save £150-£400 off energy bills — an investment to permanently bring down bills year after year.’

The UK is the worst in the Europe for energy inefficient homes, losing 3°C of heat every five hours according to the latest analysis by thermostat provider Tado°.

Government data also reveals that 19 million homes need better insulation, a particularly pressing issue with the global energy crisis causing bills to soar.

However, environmental groups have criticised the proposals, as they say money should not be diverted from other green funds to cover the costs.

Mike Childs, head of policy at Friends of the Earth, said: ‘The Prime Minister’s right to recognise that insulating homes is an urgent priority to stop people going cold this winter, and to cushion the blow of rocketing energy bills. But rather than backing a proper scheme to make the UK’s heat-leaking homes warmer, he’s more interested in poaching money from existing insulation funding pots.

‘When there are over 5 million homes that could benefit from basic home warming measures such as loft or cavity wall insulation, it’s clear we need a well-funded, free street-by-street insulation programme to minimise the amount of energy our homes waste.

‘A comprehensive plan like this would cost in the region of £4-6 billion, much more than the amount the Prime Minister is said to be seeking. Instead of giving Windfall Tax handouts to the fossil fuel industry, Boris Johnson should urge the Chancellor to invest in British homes.’

Photo by Erik Mclean

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