ELECTRIC ANALOGS: A few years ago the UK’s insulation industry was in the midst of a renaissance.
By mid-2016, insulation prices had fallen from a peak of around £4,000 to £2,000 a metre.
This was partly due to a government subsidy for the industry, which helped to drive down the cost of insulation and cut out the high-priced companies.
But the government’s decision to scrap insulation from all homes in England and Wales has now meant the industry is facing a serious crisis.
In the first few weeks of April, a record 1,300 insulation units were lost to fire, leaving 1,700 households without insulation.
The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers’ Association (REMA) said this was “a significant loss for our industry” and it called on the government to save the insulation industry from a “devastating crisis”.
In a statement, REMA said the government was “taking the necessary steps to protect the UK from this catastrophic loss”.
“There is still time to save this vital industry and save homes,” said REMA chairman John Murray.
“We urge the government, including the Department of Energy and Climate Change, to take action to protect insulation supply and save lives.”
It said RMA had been calling for the government “to ensure that the industry can survive in the current economic environment” and called on government to make a further £4 billion in cuts.
It urged the government and REMA to “protect” the insulation market and not “sabotage” it.
REMA has now warned that the government could face a “catastrophic crisis” in the insulation sector, with more than 10,000 households losing insulation as a result of the government scrapping the insulation subsidies.
RMA is calling on the Government to: • Stop subsidies and rebates, including those that help to pay for insulation.
• Save the insulation system as it currently exists by cutting rebates for insulation, removing the rebate and replacing it with a fixed price.
• Create a system of minimum insulation prices to ensure that homes that cannot afford insulation are not penalised by the Government.
• Give insulation manufacturers incentives to increase insulation production, including by increasing the number of insulated units manufactured.
• Require the Government, in conjunction with manufacturers, to “prohibit the wholesale sale” of insulation in England.
In response, RMA called on ministers to: “Provide additional incentives to help the industry survive”.
“We call on ministers urgently to reverse the government subsidy cuts, stop the Government’s wholesale sale of insulation, and protect the insulation and the homes it protects.”
The REMA statement said the industry faced “an enormous financial challenge”, with insulation supplies down to just 30 per cent of what they had been in the last decade.
In May, the UK government announced that it would phase out the subsidies that helped the insulation markets recover and replace them with a minimum insulation price.
But REMA warned that with a subsidy gone, there was “no guarantee” the industry would survive in future.
“The insulation industry is in a financial crisis and will be facing an existential crisis unless the Government protects the insulation supply from being cut,” said Matthew Lewis, chief executive of REMA.
“The Government has failed the insulation insulation market, and now it needs to protect homes.”
It said there was still time for the insulation industries to save themselves.
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