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United for Warm Homes campaign

With energy prices reaching record highs amid a cost-of-living crisis, a greater number of people across the UK are entering fuel poverty.

Friends of the Earth along with other partners across the UK is calling for action to tackle this important social and environmental issue.

The three calls are:

  1. Urgent additional financial support to keep people warm.
  2. A nationwide insulation programme.
  3. Permanent fixes to our failed energy system.

Find out more about the campaign here United for Warm Homes campaign

What can you do?

Read below for more detail on the issues and how you can get involved.

Sign our petition asking Greater Manchester MPs to take action to support warm homes.

Sign up and get involved. Whether you’re a food bank or a tenants association, sign your group up to join the United for Warm Homes campaign. There are lots of campaign resources and materials available to download.

National Day of Action on Saturday 18th November. Manchester Friends of the Earth along with groups across the country are making Warm Homes community quilts for the Day of Action. We have been working with community groups across Greater Manchester collecting their quilt squares – with messages to local MPs about why warm homes and affordable, cleaner and greener energy is so important.

Send us your 15cm x 15cm quilt squares.

Sign up for the National Day of Action.

If you would like to join the Greater Manchester Warm Homes campaign, please get in touch and come along to one of our meetings – see our events calendar.

Why is this an issue?

Fuel poverty refers to a household that cannot meet its fuel costs which tend to be above the national average. It most commonly impacts low-income individuals with energy inefficient homes leading to high energy usage. Poor insulation is one of the principal causes of fuel poverty as a significant amount of energy is wasted in households living in fuel poverty.

With increasing living costs, it is estimated that more than 1 in 3 households could be in fuel poverty from October 2022. This is deeply concerning since those living in fuel poverty are more susceptible to illness caused by damp and cold homes, such as respiratory diseases, cardiovascular stress, exacerbated asthma symptoms, and mental health implications.

Furthermore, there are socio-political issues associated with fuel poverty since neighbourhoods characterised by poor housing tend to be populated by people of colour, young people, or those with disabilities. This represents a significant inequality in terms of health and quality of housing.

As an example, the neighbourhoods which will struggle the most with the energy crisis, known as energy crisis hotspots, represent 21% of people of colour compared to just 11% of white people. It is also estimated that 900,000 English households with a disabled resident are in fuel poverty, with 3.5 million young people living in energy crisis hotspots.

For more details, see Friends of the Earth’s report on fuel poverty and who it affects. A map of fuel poverty hot spots across the UK has also been collated to help local authorities focus their action.

To hear more on the impact of the cost of living crisis across Greater Manchester hear from Graham Whitham, Chief Exec of Greater Manchester Poverty Action:

The Solutions

Urgent additional financial support to keep people warm

Urgent additional financial support to keep people warm– see our list of support available in Greater Manchester.

Even with the government’s price freeze, energy bills are still far too high for millions of us. As the price of food and other essentials continues to rise, too many people will be pushed into rationing their energy use this winter and living in cold homes. We need more targeted support to keep people warm and well.

A nationwide insulation programme

Upgrading homes with insulation is the cheapest and easiest way to permanently reduce our bills.

There are over 4.4 million homes across England and Wales that qualify for cavity wall insulation but don’t have it, and a further 4.8 million without suitable loft insulation.

Households in fuel poverty are generally unable to afford insulation, therefore a campaign to improve the quality of housing needs to come from a government level. Subsidies and grants for household insulation need to be issued alongside educational campaigns raising awareness of the benefits properly insulated properties can bring. If insulation is a distant and unaffordable concept to millions of households across the UK, more and more people will fall into fuel poverty and experience the bleak consequences of it.

We need governments across the UK to roll out an emergency programme of insulation and energy saving measures now, starting in neighbourhoods where fuel poverty is highest.

Permanent fixes to our failed energy system.

Everyone deserves a warm home, and there’s no good reason we can’t all have one. By powering our homes with cheap and clean renewables and guaranteeing everyone the energy they need to live comfortably, we can ensure no one is left in the cold. 

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