Brits are preparing to cut back on essentials such as accommodation and food costs to afford soaring energy bills, according to stark new research.
The data, from research commissioned by sustainable insulation company ROCKWOOL, shows that nearly a third (29%) of households are expecting to sacrifice spending on essentials like accommodation and food so they can keep up with the rising cost of energy. 31% were expecting to sacrifice spending on health and wellbeing.
The data also highlights the squeeze on young people - who have already been hit hard by the effects of the pandemic. With housing, employment and now cost of living struggles, only 12% of people aged 18-24 believe they will not have to cut back their expenditure in other areas to pay their energy bills, with a staggering 36% saying they’d need to cut back on essentials like food and accommodation.
While the Government has announced some short-term financial support, making homes more energy efficient by properly insulating them would provide bill savings year-after-year.
The public is emphatically in support of retrofitting their homes but need help to make it happen, with just under nine out of 10 people (87%) saying they were likely to make their home more energy efficient if they had the resources needed. Meanwhile two thirds (66%) said they would even support mandatory energy efficiency improvement if the right financial support and advice were available.
Ólöf Jónsdóttir, Head of Public Affairs at ROCKWOOL UK, said, “It’s deeply worrying that people expect to have to cut back on essentials due to the energy crisis, and they are saying this even as we approach the warmer months of the year. We need to act now to implement a long-term fix. Energy efficiency measures such as improving insulation in homes could significantly reduce energy bills and Government needs to support retrofitting at pace and scale.”
Just six months after COP26, only 10% of people strongly agree that the Government is doing enough to combat the effects of climate change.
The new research also shows that 85% of Conservative voters and 93% of Labour voters would be likely to make their homes more energy efficient if given the resources to do so.
Insulation upgrades (61%) ranked above loft conversions (20%), home extensions (20%), and new bathroom/kitchens (37%) as home improvements people would be most likely to invest in if they had the relevant support and financial resources.
They also outranked other environmentally friendly energy sources such as solar panels and heat pumps (49%).