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‘A welcome statement of intent that misses its mark’ – UK100 responds to the Spring Budget

Responding to the Spring Budget, the UK100 cross-party network of local authorities is welcoming the short-term energy bill relief but reiterating its call for a long-term solution, targeted at the most vulnerable.

Interim Chief Executive Jason Torrance says: ‘The Chancellor’s focus on energy security, energy bill support and devolution is a welcome statement of intent — but we’re worried the measures themselves miss the mark.

‘Extending the Energy Price Guarantee for a further three months offers consumers a vital but brief reprieve from sky-high energy bills. However, Jeremy Hunt has let slip another golden opportunity to embrace a targeted, long-term solution. 

‘For too long, the Government has overlooked the importance of energy efficiency. Our End the wait. Insulate. report sets out an oven-ready, cost-neutral plan for a local-led energy efficiency drive to alleviate pressure on the most vulnerable – and it won’t cost the earth.’

Noting the lack of renewable energy support in the Chancellor’s £20bn energy security announcement, which focuses on nuclear power and carbon capture, Jason continues: 

‘At the same time, the Chancellor’s energy security plans ignore the cheapest and quickest way to boost UK energy production while accelerating Net Zero action; investment in renewables, including making good on the promise to lift the de facto ban on onshore wind.’

Jason concludes by welcoming the ‘beefed up,’ multi-year devolution settlements for Greater Manchester and the West Midlands and support for investment zones: ‘Finally, the move to shift control from Whitehall to regional mayors should be celebrated as a big step in the right direction — but we need to see more detail. The same with investment zones.’

‘Today’s announcement has a huge potential to unlock the power of local. But it musn’t come at the expense of vital environmental and climate protections. To ensure the UK can fulfil its Net Zero goals, local and regional leaders need the power — and resources — to take the lead on ensuring their residents’ homes are warm and comfortable and shaping local energy networks to be more responsive to community needs.’

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