UK Government Slashes EST Budget
By Laura Elahi on January 25, 2011
The Energy Saving Trust was set up to provide free advice and publicly funded grants to homeowners across the UK in an effort to increase energy conservation whilst reducing carbon emissions. The previous Labour Government invested considerable time and money in the Energy Saving Trust because it believed, as does the current Government, that a crucial step in reducing carbon emissions is to improve energy efficiency at the domestic level. Unfortunately, the coalition Government has sought to honour its faith in the Energy Saving Trust by cutting its funding in half.
Last year, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne, stated: “We must take action on energy saving. For too long, the debate around energy has focused on supply.” At a later point in time, Mr Huhne stressed: “There is quite a big part of our agenda where clearly the expertise that exists in… the Energy Saving Trust will be very important.”
Mr Huhne eventually admitted that 33 per cent would be taken out of the Energy Saving Trust’s budget in order to save on “administration costs”.
Despite Mr Huhne’s claims, the Department for Energy and Climate Change has halved the Energy Saving Trust’s budget for 2011-2012 by 50 per cent, with some 100 public sector workers set to lose their jobs.
A spokesperson for the Department for Energy and Climate Change announced: “Energy efficiency is a top priority for this department. The coalition’s green deal is the most ambitious energy efficiency programme ever envisaged and a bill is already before Parliament to put it in place. The EST has a role to play as we move towards this and is being funded accordingly next year.”
Highlighting the various problems affecting homeowners in the UK today, such as increasing central heating fuel costs, Ben Margolis, the director of the 10:10 campaign, commented: “The Government is reducing its own energy use by 10 per cent this year and should be doing everything it can to help householders do the same.”
The Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change, Meg Hillier, added that the Energy Saving Trust would need every penny it can get to provide the public with sufficient advice on the forthcoming green deal.