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Poor hit by 60% drop in fuel work; MORE DYING BECAUSE OF GOVERNMENT SHAKE-UP.

Byline: GRAHAM HISCOTT

PEOPLE are dying in their homes because of the Government's failure to tackle energy leaky homes, claim campaigners.

Figures have revealed a 60% slump in the number of energy-savings measures installed in properties last year. Among those missing out are some of the poorest in society who would benefit most from the resulting saving on their energy bill.

Critics blame the sharp drop on the Government's decision to axe the Warm Front scheme for hard-up households, which was ended altogether last year.

They also claim a replacement scheme, the Energy Company Obligation, and another initiative, the Green Deal, failed to tackle the problem.

Ed Matthew, director of the campaign group the Energy Bill Revolution, said: "The Government's energy efficiency policies are in free fall. As a result, fuel poverty is getting worse and people are dying.

"We have one of the worst excess winter deaths rates in Europe, around 25,000 a year. At least 30% of those are due to people living in cold or badly insulated homes."

Figures compiled by the Association for the Conservation of Energy, based on data published by the Department for Energy and Climate Change, show 661,000 jobs were carried out under ECO and the Green Deal in the 12 months to April this year, down from 1.65 million the previous year.

The drop includes 87% fewer loft insulations, from more than a million to just 130,000, and cavity wall insulations fell from 490,000 to 260,000. Critics say ECO, funded by a tax on bills, is too focused on paying for boilers and solid wall insulation.

Meanwhile the Green Deal, in which households borrow money to carry out energy-saving work, has been a flop, with just 2,000 loans handed out between last June and this April.

The Association for the Conservation of Energy forecast that the number of installations under ECO and the Green Deal will drop to 507,000 in the year to next April.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change said the new Green Deal Home Improvement Fund, launched last month, has been a hit, with PS16.5million issued in the first three weeks.

The fund offers up to PS7,600 instant money back to people for making energy efficient improvements to their homes.
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Title Annotation:Business; Opinion Columns
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 4, 2014
Words:382
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