U.K. Labour Party Wants to Cut Energy Bills With Insulation Fund

(Bloomberg) -- Britain’s opposition Labour party plans to spend 2.3 billion pounds (3.2 billion) installing insulation in low-income households to help bring down what it says are “skyrocketing” energy bills.

Should the party win the next election, a Labour administration would fund local authority schemes to insulate 4 million homes and will tighten regulation of privately rented properties by preventing inefficient homes from being rented out.

The policies add to a radical overhaul of the energy sector Labour has already outlined, including nationalising local grid companies. The opposition under its leader Jeremy Corbyn wants to prioritize steps to prevent climate change and ask industry to take the lead on reducing energy costs, directing cities to build local power grids and and municipally-owned green power projects.

“This is part of our plan to fix our broken energy system by capping energy bills and radically reform our broken energy market,” said Rebecca Long-Bailey, the Labour lawmaker who speaks on business. “This will make a real difference to people’s lives.”

The Conservative government has pressed the regulator Ofgem to find ways to make sure vulnerable customers are protected from paying the most for energy. In April last year, it sought a cap on the amount suppliers could charge households using prepayment meters. The regulator is in the midst of setting a new limit on bills for customers on standard tariffs that tend to be the most expensive.

A quarter of all money spent on heating in British homes is wasted due to poor insulation, and 10 percent of households can’t afford enough fuel to stay warm, the party said.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.