Margaret Greenwood MP has called on the government to provide additional funding so that more homes can be retrofitted to combat the sharp increases in energy costs and to help tackle climate change.
The Wirral West MP was speaking in a parliamentary debate on the energy efficiency of homes in the north of England.
The UK has the least energy-efficient housing in Europe, and Margaret Greenwood said that the government “must match the ambition shown by Labour to insulate 19 million homes within a decade.”
Citizens Advice are among those who have highlighted that effectively insulated homes will help to reduce soaring energy bills by making it easier and cheaper to heat homes and ensure that heat is better retained.
In the Liverpool City Region, Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram has invested nearly £60 million to retrofit more than 5,500 homes. Funding is being targeted at the most disadvantaged households, making their homes more energy-efficient and cutting their fuel bills.
However, Margaret Greenwood pointed out that there are more than 700,000 homes across the region and that many more could be retrofitted if the government were to come forward with more funding for this.
The Wirral West MP also praised the work of one of her constituents, Colin Usher, an architect who has designed a series of ultra-low energy homes. The homes follow the same principles of the award-winning passive house that Colin designed for himself and his wife Jenny in 2013.
The house, which is in West Kirby, is based on the Passivhaus energy design standard developed in Germany and is designed to provide a high level of comfort while using very little energy for heating and cooling.
Colin and Jenny’s home features triple glazing, LED lighting and an air source heat pump. It costs less than £75 for a year’s supply of energy for heating, lighting, hot water and cooking.
Speaking after the debate, Margaret Greenwood MP said, “I am very concerned about what this winter will bring for people on low incomes.
“The government should invest in the improvement of energy efficiency in existing homes as a matter of urgency.
“Citizens Advice have highlighted the importance of this, and Labour has a clear plan to insulate 19 million homes within a decade. The government must match that ambition.
“We have seen real progress in the Liverpool City Region, with the retrofitting of more than 5,500 homes. With more funding from central government, we could see the benefits of retrofitting existing homes enjoyed by many more people.
“I was pleased to be able to highlight the work of my constituent Colin, an architect who uses a range of technologies in his work to deliver extremely low-energy homes.
“Earlier this year I visited three of the new homes that he is building in West Kirby.
“It offers important lessons to policy makers on how to build greener, more sustainable homes for the future.”