Fuel poverty could be eradicated in Wales by 2030 if the Government commits to a long-term plan to improve the efficiency of our homes, says the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales. 

According to a report published by Sophie Howe, a £15 billion investment plan for housing would be a “game-changer” for the Welsh economy and would help Wales and the UK meet their carbon emission targets. 

The long-term plan to ‘retrofit’ homes to reduce heating and energy demand would create 26,500 jobs by 2030, saving bill-payers hundreds of pounds each year, while also improving and modernising Wales’ housing. 

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

More than 66,000 households in Wales have fallen behind on their energy bills since the start of the pandemic, according to Citizens Advice, and disabled people are four times more likely to be in energy debt. 

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The commissioner’s new report, said that a Welsh housing decarbonisation programme could have a huge impact on the well-being of many in Wales.

Ms Howe said: “The climate emergency and fuel poverty are two parts of the same problem and if we are truly determined to solve it, we need ambitious and interconnected policy actions. 

“Right now we have the chance to do something life-changing for the families, pensioners and people who simply cannot afford to heat their homes properly, and to eradicate fuel poverty for generations to come. 

“The Well-being of Future Generations Act says that by law, the way we get to net zero has to improve Wales’ well-being as a whole. 

“A long-term plan to decarbonise Wales’ housing stock isn’t merely an aspiration, it’s an absolute necessity.

"It’s the only way to pull thousands of people out of fuel poverty as part of a true green, just and equal recovery - and show just how far we can go as a country as the world combats climate change.”   

Lead author of the report, Donal Brown, sustainability director at Sustainable Design Collective, said: “This report makes the case for a ‘Marshall plan’ scale investment for Wales to get on track for housing decarbonisation.

"While we see a central role for government in reducing fuel poverty and helping those on low incomes, we also propose a major role for private investors in the form of green bonds and green mortgages.

"Importantly, finance alone will not solve this challenge with regulation, skills and coordination essential to deliver the vast benefits of this program over the next decade.” 

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