Rishi Sunak scraps home energy efficiency taskforce – BBC

A taskforce to speed up home insulation and boiler upgrades has been disbanded, the BBC can reveal.
The group – which included the chair of the National Infrastructure Commission Sir John Armitt and other leading experts – was only launched in March.
But it appears to be a casualty of Rishi Sunak's decision to scrap energy efficiency regulations for landlords in an overhaul of green policies.
Members were informed in a letter, seen by the BBC, that it was being wound up.
Energy efficiency minister Lord Callanan told the group its work would be "streamlined" into ongoing government activity
A spokesperson for the Energy Security and Net Zero department said: "We would like to thank the Energy Efficiency Taskforce for its work in supporting our ambition to reduce total UK energy demand by 15% from 2021 levels by 2030.
"We have invested £6.6bn in energy efficiency upgrades this Parliament and will continue to support families in making their homes more efficient, helping them to cut bills while also achieving net zero in a pragmatic, proportionate and realistic way."
But former Conservative MP Laura Sandys, who sat on the taskforce, said she was "disappointed" by the decision to disband it and "confused" about the government's intentions on the cost of living.
In a post on X, formerly Twitter, she said energy efficiency must be the "first priority to reduce citizens' costs" and "improve energy security".
A source close to the energy taskforce told the BBC: "The cheapest energy you can have is the stuff you don't use.
"This taskforce was meant to help that – if government is shelving it because recommendations are too challenging for them, then it runs contrary to what the PM said about helping ordinary people and being honest about difficult choices."
Labour's shadow net zero secretary Ed Miliband said: "Every family is paying the price in higher energy bills due to 13 years of Tory failure on insulating homes.
"After Rishi Sunak's track record as chancellor with the disastrous Green Homes Grant, this is another short-sighted decision that will cost families money."
Labour says it would upgrade 19 million of the UK's most poorly-insulated homes over a decade if it gets into power.
The Green Homes Grant was a voucher scheme for insulating homes which was axed in 2021 after being criticised as wasteful and inefficient.
The UK is often described as having some of the oldest and least energy efficient housing in Europe.
In 2020, BBC research found 12 million UK homes were rated D or below on their Energy Performance Certificates, which means they do not meet long-term energy efficiency targets.
This year a BBC investigation found six out of 10 recently inspected UK rental homes failed to meet a proposed new standard for energy efficiency.
The prime minister has now pledged to scrap policies that would force landlords to upgrade energy efficiency in their homes, after pressure from landlords about the costs of doing so, but said the government would "encourage" households to carry out the work.
The old policy was that from 2025, new tenancies would only be possible on properties with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of C or higher – from 2028, this would apply to existing tenancies as well. Both have been scrapped.
The government's energy efficiency taskforce was first announced by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt at his last Autumn statement.
It was asked by ministers to come up with a plan to reduce energy demand by 15% from 2021 levels by 2030 across domestic and commercial buildings.
When it was announced, the government said this would cut bills and help push down inflation and would include "accelerating household insulation and boiler upgrades."
It was chaired by Alison Rose, who was chief executive of Nat West bank at the time (she was forced out of the bank in July after a row over Nigel Farage's bank account).
The taskforce's membership included Sir John Armitt; head of leading housebuilder Barratt Developments, David Thomas; and leading experts from the University of Salford, the UK Green Building Council and National Energy Action.
Lord Callanan wrote to members of the group on Friday saying co-chair Dame Alison Rose would not be replaced and the group would be dissolved.
He told them the work their work to date had not been "wasted" and that "draft recommendations will be instrumental in driving forward this important agenda."
Energy analyst Jess Ralston at non-profit group the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit told the BBC: "This appears to be yet another U-turn that could lead to higher bills just like the prime minister's decision last week to roll back landlord insulation standards that could leave renters paying an additional £8bn on energy bills."
She added: "gas boiler and petrol car phase-out weren't set to have any impact on cost of living for struggling families for more than a decade".
Additional reporting: Joshua Nevitt
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