Published On: Tue, Jan 7th, 2020

If only they would keep their promises

As if we weren’t all sick and tired enough of the political circus surrounding Brexit, we now have to grin and bear the catalogue of promises the political parties will be dishing out to try and secure our votes in the up and coming general election. One thing we can be sure of is that many of the manifesto pledges will never see the light of day, and as we have witnessed in the past, leaders will erase their memories of having ever promised to adhere to the result of a certain EU referendum! The news is awash with populist proposals that attempt to secure our votes, but which often prove to be pure fantasy; the latest being the promise of free broadband for everyone. However, there has been a concerted effort by all parties to tackle climate change with a host of environment-based proposals.

Making our homes more energy efficient has been at the centre of many of these proposals. What we can take from its position on the political agenda, is that our industry has an important role to play in future government policy. The Liberal Democrats’ promise is rather unrealistic, as it doesn’t bring into question the actual size of the task to make homes more energy efficient. The proposal is to make 26m homes more energy efficient by investing £15bn over the next parliament to retrofit these homes. Average household energy bills would then be reduced by £550 per year. The aim would be to upgrade every home to an energy-performance certificate rating of band B by 2030. Presently, half of UK homes are rated D. This is very ambitious. Experts claim it would be straightforward to upgrade 20% of homes, however the real challenges comes with homes that require more extensive improvements. A specialist in this field said: “While we’re living in Victorian properties and homes from the 1930s, I really don’t think it is realistic that you can move so many to band B.”

For the home improvement industry it is always encouraging to be linked to government policy, especially when the safeguarding of our environment is concerned. However, many of these proposals and efforts to shift the onus on to individuals and households could be viewed as a way of deflecting attention away from finding policy solutions to global warming. Energy efficiency is part of the solution and goes some way to tackling fossil-fuel emissions and the increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide heating the planet. All we can hope for is that the next government is true to its word. Unfortunately many manifesto promises are just too ambitious and unfortunately prove to be just ‘hot air’.

John CowieEditor