Age Scotland call on Westminster to use carbon taxes to insulate homes

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Age Scotland and its national partners Age Cymru in Wales, Age NI in Northern Ireland and in England, Age UK, are the latest charities to join the Energy Bill Revolution – a coalition of more than 100 businesses and charities calling on the Westminster Government to use the money it gets from carbon taxes to make our homes super-energy efficient.

As part of their joint ‘Spread the Warmth’ campaign, Age Scotland and its national partners have joined the alliance to help drive home the message that improving the energy efficiency of older people’s homes offers one of the best solutions to keeping people warm in winter, protecting their health and reducing fuel poverty.

In a bid to address these urgent issues, the Energy Bill Revolution is calling on Westminster to spend carbon taxes from the European Emissions Trading Scheme and the Carbon Floor Price to make the UK’s homes more energy efficient through the provision of excellent insulation, renewable energy and modern boilers. The taxes would be enough for example, to provide £6,500 to 600,000 fuel poor homes every year to enable them to become highly energy efficient.

Greg McCracken, Age Scotland’s Fuel Poverty specialist, said: “As fuel costs carry on rising, serious action to improve the energy efficiency of our homes will undoubtedly help older people. The Energy Bill Revolution aims to redress the balance which currently sees householders forced to pay more to cover utilities’ carbon taxes and ensure that this money is reinvested in the fabric of people’s homes. Therefore Age Scotland will be working closely with the alliance to put pressure on the UK Government to take action.”

Ed Matthew, Director of Transform UK, the organisation which is coordinating the alliance campaign said: “The Energy Bill Revolution is delighted to welcome on board Age Scotland, Age Cymru, Age NI and Age UK. This is now the biggest and most powerful fuel poverty alliance that has ever been created. We are united by our belief that fuel poverty can be eradicated and our conviction that there is a financial solution. There is enough carbon tax revenue to make the homes of all the fuel poor super energy efficient. We must grasp this opportunity to end the suffering.”

According to Age Scotland, rising energy bills are eating into a greater proportion older people’s incomes; usually fixed and often too low.  The charity warns that should the severe weather of 2010 be repeated, many older people face virtual house arrest unless Councils across Scotland are fully prepared. 

Age Scotland’s ‘Spread the Warmth’ campaign is taking action on both these issues.

Having examined the plans of Councils across Scotland for looking after older people in severe winter weather, Age Scotland has said some of them could do better.  The charity is inviting older people to join Winter Weather Watch and keep an eye on how well their Council does over winter 2012/13.

Any older people with heating and weather worries amongst many other concerns can call the Age Scotland helpline – 0845 125 9732.