First Minister, Mark Drakeford was pressed on the Welsh Labour’s record on home insulation programmes at First Minister’s Questions in the Senedd today, with the Welsh Lib Dem leader, Jane Dodds stating that successive failed programmes have left rural households extremely vulnerable to price shocks like the current energy crisis.
Ms Dodds took aim at the Welsh Government’s Warm Homes scheme, known as Nest, which is designed to provide funding for energy efficiency improvements to low-income households and those living in deprived communities across Wales.
She urged the Welsh Labour Government to “put a rocket under a support scheme for households in fuel poverty” after Lib Dem analysis of Nest found that only a small percentage of households have benefitted from support, adding that it could take the Welsh Government 135 years to insulate every fuel poor household.
The Lib Dems said its analysis of the Nest scheme annual statements revealed that the number of households receiving support under the scheme had declined from 5,500 in 2016/17 to 4,559 in 2020/21.
At the 2016/17 rate, it would take 111.6 years to insulate every household, and at the 2020/21 rate it would take 134.7 years, said the party.
Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader and Mid and West Wales Senedd Member Jane Dodds said: “We already know rural households across Wales are some of the most vulnerable to energy market price changes. We have a high proportion of inefficient housing and of homes off the national gas grid.
“However what we have seen from the Welsh Government is successive failures in home insulation schemes. The failure to ramp up these home insulation schemes, especially in areas of rural Wales, has left people in places like Powys and Ceredigion extremely vulnerable to energy price increases.
“We cannot continue with a scheme that is being rolled out so slowly it could take 135 years to complete, we need the Welsh Labour Government to put a rocket under a support scheme for households in fuel poverty.
“The Welsh Liberal Democrats have put forward costed plans to set aside £1.75 billion over a five-year Senedd term for an accelerated home insulation programme. This would create 10,000 full-time equivalent jobs across Wales over 15 years and generate around £2.2bn for the Welsh economy in addition to reducing the £67 million per year spent by the Welsh NHS on conditions caused by poor housing.”
In his response Mark Drakeford stated that the Welsh Government are seeking to redesign the scheme.
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