Nick Clegg pledges £540m to help poor

The deputy prime minister has announced that at least £540 million of the government’s home energy efficiency programme will be targeted at helping the poorest face mounting energy bills.

The move, which is said to be worth £1.3bn per year, comes on the same day that energy firms have committed to letting consumers know what their best deal is.

In a speech to leading environmental figures in London, Nick Clegg said: “We will be requiring the energy companies to provide an estimated £1.3bn a year of support for energy efficiency in our homes with at least £540m to fund energy saving improvements in the worst off homes.

“It is shameful that the UK still has so many families unable to heat their homes. By delivering lasting improvements, each year this money will help 180,000 of the poorest households make their homes cheaper to heat for good.”

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) will now target £540m to fund energy saving improvements, such as insulation or new boilers, in the worst off households.

Also included is:

• Around £350m a year to deliver heating and insulation measures to around 270,000 low income and vulnerable households by 2015.This will focus assistance where fuel poverty rates are highest.

• An increase in the eligibility criteria for the Affordable Warmth element of the ECO, for example to include low income households on working tax credit so that more fuel poor families can be helped.

• A large proportion of the Energy Company Obligation will still be targeted at solid wall insulation, but support will be opened up for more measures than before – including hard to treat cavity walls.

• Energy companies will be allowed to carry forward over-achievement against their targets under the current Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) and Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP) and count it towards their ECO targets.