Homeowners, renters and businesses should be given grants of up to £1000 each to help them insulate their homes and make energy savings over the coming years, according to a new paper by Our Scottish Future published today.
In Scotland, the UK and Scottish Government should work jointly on the plans so that, by next winter, an army of home insulators and heat pump installers are on hand to replace gas boilers, lag drafty lofts, and refit buildings.
The grants system should replace part of the emergency energy price guarantee provided by the UK Government last month which, the report says, cannot be sustained in the long-run.
Today’s report says that instead of spending tens of billions of pounds capping the unit cost of energy, government should instead award grants for people to reduce their reliance on gas. By kick-starting a wave of investment in energy saving technology, quick action would create green jobs across the UK.
The report recommends that the new measures are implemented by a new Energy Cost Council, on which the UK Government and devolved administrations would sit as equal partners. Scotland would be set to experience some of the largest benefits, as its homes and businesses currently have energy use far above the UK average.
Dr Pete Wood, the author of the report, said today:
“This year, the government stepped in to cap the worst excesses of energy bills, against predictions that households could face average bills of over £6,500. But high gas and electricity prices are here to stay, which means that unless the UK takes new action next year we could see energy prices bring down the government – again.”
“Either we continue the energy price cap at a cost upwards of £100 billion or we try something more imaginative.”
“We propose in this paper that the Government offers grants of £1000 per person to support homes and businesses to refit boilers, lag lofts, and improve energy efficiency. Regional mayors and local government would be responsible for bringing communities and businesses together, to tailor solutions fit for local needs. That way rather than spending billions to cap the price of gas, with the money going to oil and gas companies, we spend billions reducing our need for it.”
“This won’t happen unless we cooperate across the UK. So we support a new Energy Cost Council, in which all the nations sit as equal partners, to help implement this on the ground.”
“The best way to slash energy bills is to reduce the amount of energy we need. This is the way to do it.”
Dr Pete Wood is a sustainability researcher with over ten years experience in policy and behaviour change. He is currently an associate lecturer in Environmental Studies, Science and Management at the Open University in Scotland. He lives in Edinburgh.