Inevitable, yes but the timing surprised even me

24th Jun 2024

 

Over the weekend, Ed Miliband (who is odds on favourite to become the UK’s next Energy Secretary) announced that a future Labour government would scrap the 2035 deadline for banning the sale of gas boilers.

That should elicit a “wow”, because even though I have always believed the deadline would be scrapped, I didn’t expect the announcement so soon.

His argument, which I warmly welcome, is that households should be encouraged to take up new technologies, not punished for not being able to afford to. It is a bold statement to make because it could be seen as backing off the target Boris Johnson set. But it is a massive dose of reality. The 2035 deadline, after which new gas boiler sales would have been banned, was always a fantasy, just as banning oil boilers by 2026 was.

The upshot of Ed Miliband’s statement is that the carrot is more powerful than the stick. And he is right. It comes following both major parties committed in their manifestos to promise not to force consumers to rip out their boilers.

Elections tend to focus the mind. They have a habit of forcing change as those seeking office meet their employers, the voters.

So, with the polls suggesting a Labour victory on July 4th, the environment is set for consumers to be in charge. If alternatives are more attractive than a gas boiler, they will have them, if not, then consumers can keep their boilers. Given the impact the cost of living crisis has had on their finances, it should be no surprise that finding the cash for a heat pump is proving to be difficult. And given the awful state of the public finances, the cash isn’t going to be spent on them when so many other demands are being made. Harsh realities have hit home, that’s a good thing, however much of a surprise the timing has been.

Mike Foster

EUA's Chief Executive

 

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