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The joint Spending Review and Autumn Statement lacked ambition in its support for energy efficiency for both the existing housing stock and new homes the Insulated Render and Cladding Association (INCA) stated today. The Chancellor announced that the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) will be replaced from April 2017 with a cheaper domestic energy efficiency supplier obligation which will run for five years and upgrade the energy efficiency of just 200,000 houses per year.

Any new scheme must be focused on those households in greatest need and there are more than seven million households in Britain living in draughty and expensive-to-heat solid wall properties, including almost half of the country’s fuel poor. In order to effectively tackle fuel poverty, the Government will need to go further than its commitment to help one million homes and make a meaningful start on addressing the solid wall housing stock. With the latest statistics from the ONS showing that there were almost 44,000 excess winter deaths in England and Wales last winter, the highest since 1999, the need for home insulation has never been more serious and the Government has missed a critical opportunity to prevent cold homes and unnecessary deaths.

Whilst INCA welcomes the announcement of around £7 billon of funding for new homes, the Government has scrapped plans to make all new UK homes carbon neutral from 2016 and there will be no incentive for these properties to be energy efficient. Irrespective of the lack of ambition from Government, as the leading trade association for external wall insulation (EWI), INCA remains committed to supporting its members to deliver both high-quality refurbishment projects that transform local communities and innovation and design in the new build sector.

INCA Chairman Pádraig Barry said: “The evidence is clear that investing in energy efficiency measures such as EWI reduces carbon emissions and fuel poverty, creates growth in the UK economy and supports community regeneration and the new domestic energy efficiency scheme must deliver where it is needed most. EWI is an effective solution for all types of refurbishment and new build projects and INCA will continue to work with industry partners to promote the uptake of this innovative and vital energy efficiency technology.”