Minister pushes back on claim of £90,000 bill to UK households for achieving net zero
Cutting the UK’s emissions to net zero will be an “expensive change” a minister has acknowledged, but disputed it would cost an ordinary household £90,000.
Tory frontbencher Lord Callanan was responding after he was challenged at Westminster to tell the public how much the shift to meet the environmental target would cost them.
Ahead of the COP26 summit in Glasgow later this year, he told the House of Lords the Government would publish a comprehensive strategy setting out its vision “for transitioning to a net-zero economy”.
This would include plans to engage with the public and support people “to make green choices”.
“Achieving our net-zero target will be a shared endeavour requiring action from everyone in society,” Lord Callanan said.
His comments follow concerns raised about a lack of a co-ordinated plan to achieve the legally binding goal to cut emissions by 100 per cent by 2050.
Earlier this year, the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) pointed out that as much as 62 per cent of future reductions in emissions would rely on individual choices and behaviours, from day-to-day lifestyle choices on diet to big ticket purchases such as electric vehicles or heating systems.
But the report warned at the time that the Government had not yet engaged with the public on the changes needed.
Pressing the minister on this, non-affiliated peer and former Brexit Party MEP Baroness Fox of Buckley said: “Have the Government told the public that they are relying on such behaviour change and what it will mean ultimately for individuals if they have no choice but to comply?
“When will the minister tell the public how much net zero will cost them?
“Gas boilers cost a great deal less than the heat pumps being proposed, which produce a lot less heat.
“For an ordinary home to achieve net zero will cost approximately £90,000.”
Replying, Lord Callanan said: “I do not recognise the figures given. It will be an expensive change, but I do not think that it will cost that much per home.
“However, she is right in theory. We need to educate people about the changes required and to take them with us, and of course the policy will be brought about by a mix of regulations and grant assistance.”
Labour peer Baroness Whitaker said: “Will the Government let us know how they propose to get many more members of the public to commit to or be remitted the considerable expense of exchanging their gas boilers for ones with zero carbon emissions? What will be the carrot and what will be the stick?”
Lord Callanan said: “She is right that this will indeed be a challenge.”
He told the peer a plan would be published “that will set out how our industry and consumers can take the immediate actions they need to take in order to reduce emissions from all buildings, both industrial and commercial”.