A Conservative government would spend £9.2 billion over the next parliament to increase the energy efficiency of homes, schools and hospitals, the party’s manifesto revealed.
That includes £6.3 billion to upgrade the efficiency of 2.2 million homes, focusing on social housing and households in fuel poverty.
Upgrading the efficiency of the UK’s housing stock, especially its heating, is seen as crucial to the county’s decarbonisation efforts and to limiting climate change. The built environment currently accounts for 40% of the UK’s energy consumption and around a third of its emissions.
While the Tories will spend to boost the efficiency of some homes, their manifesto asserts that “free markets, innovation and prosperity can protect the planet,” and pledges less public money for decarbonisation efforts than their rivals. They’re also targeting a later date—2050—to hit net zero emissions.
Labour has announced plans to upgrade the energy efficiency of every home in the UK by 2030, with £60 billion given in grants to low income homes and other households offered interest-free loans to fund improvements.
Labour has estimated that, with efficiency improvements, 9.6 million low income households could see their energy bills fall by an average of £417 a year.
Labour is aiming to cut a “significant majority” of carbon emissions by 2030—a softening of the proposal passed at its party conference in September to hit net zero by that date.
The Liberal Democrats want to invest £6 billion a year in home insulation and zero carbon heating technologies, in order to hit net zero by 2045.
Meanwhile, climate change is weighing on voters’ minds. A recent Ipsos Mori poll found the voters were more concerned about the environment than at any time before, prioritising it above the economy, education and immigration.