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Groups call for more home insulation

Date: 02/02/2015

Massive investment in extra home insulation must be a priority for whatever government emerges after May's general election, an open letter by 80 businesses, charities and unions has argued.

The letter, written to the Sunday Telegraph, said it is a "scandal" that people living in Britain can still die in their homes as a result of the cold winter weather and it calls for £8.5 billion to be devoted to tackling the issue over the coming five years. This would come in the form of grants to two million low-income households and interest-free loans to four million others.

Signatories include charities like Age UK and Barnardos, DIY stores like B&Q and Ikea, the Fire Brigades Union, the Federation of Master Builders and a number of renewable energy bodies.

Written at a time when Britain is enduring the coldest spell of weather so far this winter, the letter said: "Britain has some of the least energy efficient homes in Europe.

"It is time for a bold new approach. The next government should make home energy efficiency a priority in order to slash energy bills, provide a lasting solution to fuel poverty, bring down carbon emissions, reduce winter deaths and NHS costs and add £13.9 billion to the UK economy annually by 2030."

The government's existing policy is to encourage homeowners to take out loans through the Green Deal, which are then repaid over time out of the savings made on the cost of heating homes brought about by the energy efficiency improvements that insulation and other measures available under the deal can bring.

It offers cavity wall, solid wall and loft insulation, with people interested in the scheme able to speak to a Green Deal assessor to work out what the best available deal is.

One stipulation of the terms of repayments for Green Deal loans is that the repayment costs in any given year should be no more than the amount of money saved on energy bills.

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