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Orbit renews call for action to tackle fuel poverty

Orbit is calling for a renewed focus on tackling fuel poverty following a roundtable held in partnership with Age UK and British Gas.

The call for action follows figures recently released by the former Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), showing there are 2.38 million households living in fuel poverty across the UK.

Hosted by think-tank ResPublica, Orbit was joined by experts from across housing, energy and public policy to discuss and influence the government’s next Energy Company Obligation (ECO) programme, which is aimed at tackling fuel poverty and reducing carbon emissions. The programme is currently open for consultation until the 17 August.

The roundtable discussed making better links with wider government policy around health, welfare and child poverty. There were also calls to make energy efficiency a national infrastructure project, such as the one in Scotland, with government investment alongside ECO funds.

The potential for ECO to be delivered on a regional scale through the Government’s devolution agenda was also considered by attendees in helping to deliver better outcomes locally.

Charley Gibbons, director of strategy and communication at Orbit, said: “With the Bonfield Review of energy saving advice due imminently, the roundtable discussion, delivered a renewed focus and appetite for tackling fuel poverty.

“ECO needs to be a catalyst for further innovation focused on targeting the fuel poor and promoting co-investment and local delivery.”

Roundtable attendees included experts from Citizens Advice, Centre for Sustainable Energy, National Energy Action (NEA) and a number of local authorities. Officials from the newly formed government department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy also attended.

Earlier this year Orbit, the 39,000-home housing provider, published a report titled ‘Warm Homes, Better Lives’ as part of its 2015-16 fuel poverty campaign focusing on home energy efficiency and a future model of investment that will best impact on the hardest to reach families.

Visit orbit.org.uk to find out more about the ‘Warm Homes, Better Lives’ campaign, and to read the report in full.

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