Awareness of the importance of climate change has, it seems, changed the UK’s political landscape indefinitely.
Most of the main parties claim to have a focus on making the UK greener, more sustainable and reach net zero carbon emissions, which represents a major change from previous elections.
Historically the UK has been highly reliant on gas, coal and other non-renewable sources of energy. This new green agenda will reduce our negative effect on both resources and the environment, and will change the utilities landscape for the UK.
We take a look at the impact of the main parties’ manifestos and how they may affect our utilities services and our energy bills.
The Conservative Party propose heavy investment in the economy and trade that may lead to more competition, and therefore competitive prices for utilities, but this is speculative. They don’t have a specific plan for the energy sector unlike the other parties.
The Labour Party quite radically want to nationalise the energy sector, which could mean that prices are lower as they would be subsidised by the taxpayer. Labour also wants “90% of electricity and 50% of heat renewable by 2030”. The party would aim for a predominantly renewable energy sector with 9,000 new wind turbines, 44,000 acres of solar coverage and trialling tidal power. They also plan to implement “new nuclear power needed for energy security”.
Lib Dems will invest £100billion to jump-start the fight against climate change by fast tracking the deployment of clean energy. They intend on achieving a carbon neutral economy by 2045 and 80% of UK electricity from renewables by 2030, the focus is on solar and wind technology but “will also invest in tidal energy, a massively under-utilised energy source in the United Kingdom. We will make the UK a world leader in renewable energy sources”.
Clean and more sustainable energy would not only lead to a greener future but also savings on our utility bills. A win, win!
Cutting emissions from buildings by adding insulation will not only “tackle the climate emergency, but it will save money for families everywhere, cutting £550 of the average energy bill” according to the Lib Dems. The Lib Dems plan is the most detailed, retrofitting 26 million homes by 2030 with insulation and will ‘prioritise all fuel poor homes, retrofitting all of them by 2025’.
The Conservative Party pledge to invest £6.3billion for energy efficiency measures. Despite being a significant figure and undertaking, it’s not clear how this would be implemented or affect the energy efficiency at home for the average person.
Labour have a clearer vision as they want to increase the energy efficiency of 27 million homes, which would positively impact utility bills.
The Conservatives have proposed to bring in a deposit return scheme for plastic and glass.While you might have to do a little more sorting of the recycling, it would mean money in your pocket.
Labour will “make producers responsible for the waste they create and for the full cost of recycling or disposal, encouraging more sustainable design and manufacturing”. The Lib Dems will adopt 'circular economy' system to boost recycling and cut waste. So, Labour’s or the Lib Dems’ plans would perhaps mean less recycling for us to do at home.
The Labour manifesto proposes to nationalise water supply around the country. This could well mean a streamlined service and reduced bills as it’s subsidised by the taxpayer. There is no mention of the water system by the Conservatives or the Lib Dems.
Labour intend to create a new public fibre broadband service to “deliver fast and free full fibre-broadband for all by bringing parts of BT into public ownership and creating a new British Broadband public service”. This would be an incredible and significant change to the landscape of British internet utilities as the service would be free to all individuals and business by 2030. Again, there is no mention by the Conservatives or the Lib Dems.
Utilities are changing
Whatever our government looks like after the election, it’s clear that utility services will be changed quite drastically.
A Labour government would lead radical changes that would likely lower utility bills and streamline services. The Conservatives’ and Lib Dems’ plans would also likely have an impact on utilities but it’s less clear exactly what this impact would be.
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