ECO extension 'causing headaches in insulation sector'

Published:  20 March, 2014

Research from thinktank IPPR has shown the extent of damage that is being caused to the UK insulation and green home improvements sector following the reduction in scope of the Energy Companies Obligation.

Following a deal between the government and the UK's energy providers to reduce annual bills for property owners across the country by £50 this year in exchange for an extension to the period under which ECO measures could be carried out, the IPPR study shows the reduction in green works could result in the loss of up to 20,000 jobs in the insulation sector and associated supply chain.

Moreover, a freedom of information request from the Labour Party has revealed a total of 49 green home improvements schemes have already been axed following the changes to ECO.

The main area to be affected by these changes has been the rollout of solid wall insulation for hard-to-treat homes up and down the country. This is due to the fact this can be one of the most expensive measures required to boost home energy efficiency - costing up to £10,000 in some cases - but it is also one of the most important for individuals facing growing bills.

Overall, the study showed the number of people working in the UK's solid wall insulation could now have fallen from 28,000 in 2012 to just 8,100 by the end of this year, mainly due to the reduction in funding for this type of home insulation measure.

IPPR senior research fellow Reg Platt told the Telegraph: "Insulating solid wall properties is not a 'nice to have'.

"It's essential to limit rising energy costs, reduce carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty. It also creates employment for thousands of workers."

Shadow energy and climate change secretary Caroline Flint concluded: "Instead of making the energy companies honour their obligations, David Cameron has let them off the hook."