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£15bn retrofit investment plan can eradicate fuel poverty, says Future Generations Commissioner

Elliots town (Image: Gwalia)

The Future Generations Commissioner, Sophie Howe, has said that fuel poverty could be "eradicated in Wales by 2030" if the Welsh Government commits to a "long-term plan to improve the efficiency of our homes".

Ms Howe said that a £15 billion investment plan for housing is "urgently needed and would game-changer for the Welsh economy."

She also said that it would help Cymru meet its "carbon emission targets".

The long-term plan to ‘retrofit’* homes to reduce heating/energy demand would create 26,500 jobs by 2030.

Ms Howe also said that this would save bill-payers "hundreds of pounds each year, while also improving and modernising Wales’ housing stock."

Cymru has some of the oldest and least efficient housing in Western Europe and around 155,000 (12%) of Welsh homes are in fuel poverty— a figure which could even be higher due to the economic impact of Covid-19.

The commissioner’s new report, Homes fit for the Future: The Retrofit Challenge, in partnership with New Economics Foundation, finds that a Welsh housing decarbonisation programme could have a huge impact on the country's social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being by:

  • Eradicating fuel poverty and saving £8.3bn in energy bills by 2040.

  • Reducing the strain on health and social care services, particularly during the winter – generating a cost saving to the NHS of £4.4 bn by 2040.

  • Creating new industries, skills and jobs, based on local supply chains – 26,500 new jobs by 2030, helping to offset the economic impact and job losses of the pandemic. Jobs could include in areas such as installation of solar panels and ground source heat pumps, retrofit assessing and coordinating. Many are roles where existing trades can upskill/ retrain into, via ‘feeder trades’ such as electrician, plumber, plasterer.

  • Creating £19.32bn in additional GDP and £3.54bn of net tax benefit by 2030.

Welsh Government has a legal duty to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, and to reach net zero by 2050— 10% of the country's emissions come from the residential sector.



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