Jeremy Hunt urged to address energy bills ‘scandal’ in Spring Budget this week | Personal Finance | Finance

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Chancellor Jeremy Hunt should use his Spring Budget to address the “scandal” that many Britons are struggling to pay their , an expert has said.

Thomas Farquhar, co-founder of clean tech business Heatio, told : “It’s a scandal that there are thousands of UK households who have to choose between heating or eating.

“With such potential in low-cost, secure renewable energy, fuel poverty should be eradicated and there are certain things the Government could change or introduce in this Spring Budget to help so many more people.”

Mr Farquhar said one policy the Chancellor should bring is to change council tax bands to reflect a home’s energy efficiency, encouraging people to switch to cheaper, low-carbon energy.

He explained: “At the moment, you can have two identical houses side-by-side, yet one home is well-insulated, energy efficient and uses renewable technology and the other is running on an old oil or gas boiler.

“The UK still fits 1.7 million fossil fuel boilers every year but only one per cent of households have an energy efficient heat pump.

“If you want to encourage more consumers to switch to cheaper, low carbon energy in the home then a lower band on a council tax bill is a simple incentive that everyone understands.”

He also urged Mr Hunt to retain the clean heat market mechanism policy, which aims to bring down the price of heat pumps by encouraging manufacturers to sell more of them.

The energy expert said: “We’ve heard whispers that it could be scrapped and from our point of view, this would be a complete waste of potential and further kicking of the can down the road.

“This policy needs to stay in place and be robustly enforced to ensure a smooth and efficient transition to cheaper, cleaner more secure energy for consumers.”

Turning to the topic of net zero, Mr Farquhar said this needs to be treated as a “national security issue” that cuts through political divisions.

He said: “Above all, this budget needs long-term thinking that will drive adoption of clean energy technologies that will bring down people’s energy bills.

“We are being left behind the rest of Europe in the transition to cheaper, more secure and cleaner energy in homes and instead we are buying the gas they don’t want or need.

“The Spring Budget needs to help us catch up before the next spike in energy.”

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