'Renters will suffer' because of plans to scrap energy efficiency rules for landlords, opposition MPs claim

16 October 2023, 22:14

Energy efficiency plans would have helped renters, opposition MPs like Ed Miliband said
Energy efficiency plans would have helped renters, opposition MPs like Ed Miliband said. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Renters will be hurt by government plans to axe energy efficiency requirements for landlords, opposition MPs have claimed.

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Rishi Sunak last month axed plans to make landlords adapt their homes to meet energy efficiency targets, among delays to a range of other green measures.

Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary Claire Coutinho told the Commons on Monday that the UK cannot reach its net zero targets "if we don't bring people with us".

People are worried that climate targets will be too costly, she said, as she set out ministers' change of approach to reaching net zero.

Getting rid of landlords' energy efficiency targets would mean a typical household could lose out on as much as £325 a year, according to the Climate Change Committee (CCC), going by today's prices.

Read more: Andrew Marr: Rishi Sunak has found a ‘target to attack’ in net zero 'U-turn' but risks alienating others

Read more: 'Green New Hoax': Donald Trump praises Rishi Sunak's Net Zero U-turn as he slams 'ridiculous climate mandates'

Claire Coutinho
Claire Coutinho. Picture: Alamy

Labour MP Cat Smith (Lancaster and Fleetwood) said: "Given that the rowing back on the commitments towards net zero came on the first day of the parliamentary recess, it did look an awful lot like there was an attempt to avoid democratic scrutiny."

She said families who are renting from private landlords have said their energy bills are "far higher because their roofs are leaky, they're not insulated", adding "the rowing back, particularly on the standard in the private rented sector is costing families more".

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas (Brighton, Pavilion) said the Secretary of State's statement took "Orwellian doublespeak to new levels".

Referring to those who rent their homes, she said: "How she has the gall to stand there and say this is about easing the burden on hard-working people where she knows all the evidence shows that actually what's been announced will increase costs to the ordinary people."

Shelagh Fogarty on Rishi Sunak's Net Zero U-turn

Ms Lucas also accused the Secretary of State of "ripping up the climate consensus for short-term electoral calculation and populist right-wing propaganda".

Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse (Bath) said: "It is absolutely unforgivable that the Government has cancelled the obligation for landlords to upgrade homes... a comprehensive home insulation scheme would reduce bills and carbon emissions this winter."

Shadow climate change secretary Ed Miliband said: "We profoundly disagree with her and the Prime Minister when they suggest that the answer to the cost-of-living crisis in our country is dither and delay on building a clean energy future for Britain. It won't work, and their approach will make it worse."

But Ms Coutinho said: "I do think it is some gall when the Labour Party left the number of energy efficient homes in this country at 14%, and we have taken it to 50%."