Energy efficiency is the way forward, says Darling

10 September 2008 / by Rebecca Sargent
Investing in making homes energy efficient will prove more beneficial than one off payments, the Chancellor told the TUC conference in Brighton yesterday.

The Government has come under increasing pressure to subsidise energy bills in some way, as those in fuel poverty are struggling to cope with the rising costs imposed by the 'big six' energy companies.

The plan, which is thought to focus on making homes more energy efficient through the installation of insulation, is due to be announced tomorrow. And rumours are rife that on top of the 'big six' increasing their contribution, independent energy producers such as British Energy will be called upon to co-operate and bring gas and electricity bills down.

It is thought that over three years, the soon to be proposed plan could cost gas and electricity providers and producers £1billion, with the potential to save households as much as £275 a year.

The moves are expected to help as many as 11 million homes including those on benefits and the elderly. And, although the Government will come under criticism for not imposing a windfall tax on the energy companies, the Chancellor is sticking by his guns.

The union, Unite, is fiercely campaigning for a windfall tax on the energy companies, general secretary at Unite, Tony Woodley said: "The greedy oil companies have made billions and in the next four years will make an extra £15billion from the British public. The Government must intervene and intervene now.

"Our case for a windfall tax is compelling. It is morally right. So I say to the Government, it's time to do the right thing and protect the most vulnerable in society."

But Darling disagrees, he told the TUC meeting yesterday: "We have three goals. Energy security: becoming less reliant on imported oil and gas. Clean green energy: so that we can tackle climate change. Keeping energy prices down, as low as we can, for businesses and families. No-one should go cold this winter."

According to Darling, the measures to be announced will help people to reduce their energy bills throughout winter. He continued to argue that energy efficiency is the way forward, saying:

"Millions of homes to benefit, and thousands of jobs to be created, from becoming a more energy efficient society."

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