Sir Keir Starmer has reiterated his plea for the government to roll out a home insulation program across the country, claiming it could save households an average of £1,000 a year on energy bills.
The Labor leader first proposed his party’s Warm Homes Plan in September last year, saying upgrading 19 million homes over the next decade could see billions put back in people’s pockets and create construction jobs.
But the government did not adopt the idea, and now Sir Keir is pushing it again ahead of looming price hikes in energy bills and a new prime minister taking the keys to Number 10.
Politics Hub: Truss hints at more cost of living support
Sir Keir told reporters: “We need a national mission to insulate homes. I called for that a year ago now, and if the government had done that, we’d have the best part of two million homes insulated.”
He accepted the scheme was a longer term fix to rising energy costs, rather than an immediate plan of action.
But Sir Keir said his party also wanted to freeze the energy price cap for six months to stave off the impending rise, and there was no time to wait to do more for the future.
“Millions of people are heating their homes and losing most of that because they are not properly insulated,” he said.
“We can’t go on like this with a government which is absolutely missing in action in the middle of a cost of living crisis.”
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The Conservative leadership candidates are split on the best way to tackle rising costs by hitting household pockets.
Frontrunner Liz Truss is in favor of cutting taxes to boost people’s pay packets, previously saying she was against “handouts.”
But the camp of her rival, Rishi Sunak, claims there needs to be more targeted support for those with the lowest incomes, with Tory MP Kevin Hollinrake claiming people could end up homeless without it.
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Ofgem is set to announce the latest rise in the energy cap in the coming days, with some predicting it could see bills hit close to £3,600 per year from October – before rising again in April next year.
Parliament isn’t due back until 5 September, when a new PM is confirmed, but Sir Keir and other opposition parties have called for an early returnso MPs can take action ahead of the announcement.