Our political strategy

The run-up to the next general election is the most promising opportunity to secure meaningful commitments on warm homes from all political parties. Find out how we'll achieve political wins.

16 Jan 2024

Once you’ve built up local support for your United for Warm Homes campaign, it’s time to direct this momentum towards influencing those in power. We’ll be using the run-up to the next general election to secure bold, ambitious promises and policies from all political parties in England. If you live in Wales, see our demands for the Welsh Government.

The political context

Despite the energy crisis, the UK government has failed to act at the scale and speed needed to secure warm homes for all: 

  • It hasn’t spent the small amount promised in its 2019 General Election Manifesto on energy efficiency and insulation. 
  • It hasn’t introduced promised regulations to strengthen energy efficiency standards in the private-rented sector. 
  • It doesn’t yet have a coherent plan on how it’ll achieve the required shift from gas boilers to heat pumps. 
  • And it’s still, in effect, blocking onshore renewable energy in England. 

Successive governments, including previous Labour governments, have preferred to focus on securing cheap energy rather than energy efficiency. 

Insulation requires changes to people’s homes, which makes politicians nervous about its popularity. And there’s been a reluctance, notwithstanding a couple of botched initiatives, to spend the money needed to make insulation an attractive proposition for householders. Insulation, and more recently heat pumps, are firmly placed in the “too difficult and risky” box. 

It's possible this depressing political context is changing. Renewable energy is now recognised as positive and cheap by all political parties. And both the Labour and Conservative parties have recognised the importance of homes insulation in the context of high energy costs. The Conservatives have currently pledged an additional £2 billion a year between 2025 and 2028. And Labour have committed to £13.2 billion over 5 years (down from their original commitment of £6 billion a year over a decade).

But it’s still not enough. To meet the challenges of the energy and climate emergencies, by 2030 all homes must be well insulated – Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) C or above – and 10 million heat pumps must be fitted. We need an annual investment of at least £6 billion a year over the next decade. 

This is a moment of political opportunity, so we mustn’t be complacent. To achieve the scale of change required, a concerted campaign is needed in the run-up to the next general election. 

How we’ll achieve political wins

We’ll continue to push the current government on our campaign goals, but given the political context our expectations are low.  

We’ll therefore use the build-up to the next general election to ensure bold commitments from all political parties within their manifestos and secure ambitious pledges from current and prospective MPs.

We’ll only secure these commitments through strong, widespread grassroots campaigning that convinces candidates they’ll lose votes unless they support and advocate for the change needed. 

Members of Friends of the Earth Reading gathered outside the town hall holding placards calling for warm homes
Group calling for warm homes © Credit: Friends of the Earth Reading

It can’t be just environmental groups pushing for this within constituencies. The campaign must be genuinely diverse, bringing together green groups, faith groups, poverty groups, unions, health groups, local businesses and more. And it must demonstrate that large numbers of people in our constituencies are backing our calls.

Collectively, the job of United for Warm Homes is to ensure that all political parties make the right promises and publish the right policies ahead of, during, and after the general election.

The political battle

Our job as campaigners is to win the battle for more public spending on insulation and deeper retrofits, alongside more regulations and incentives, and on transitioning our energy system towards renewables. 

It’s important to understand that this isn’t a battle of facts. Facts are important and we need to use them, but the rationale for our campaign asks have been clear for many years. Instead, this is a political battle. We need to embolden politicians to do what’s necessary. 

There’s a rule of thumb in politics if you want to secure significant change:

  • Make the status quo untenable. We must show that our current energy system isn’t working, for people or planet. 
  • Show an acceptable solution. We must show that investing in energy efficiency and green heating will have immediate as well as long-term benefits. 
  • Demonstrate widespread pressure for change. We must show that we have broad and vocal support. This means not just the usual suspects like environmental groups, but also businesses, unions, faith groups, health advocates and more. 

Engaging current and prospective MPs

Our political lobbying is ramping up a gear in 2024. In the run-up to the next general election, we’ll make sure that all politicians hoping to get elected show their support for the campaign by taking the United for Warm Homes pledge.

By building broad and vocal support from communities up and down the country, we’ll put pressure on MPs and general election candidates to commit to our campaign. We’ll keep building on the support and momentum gathered over the last year of campaigning, growing in strength and numbers across the UK as we head towards the election. 

We’ll use our collective power to secure commitments from election candidates by asking them to sign the pledge. The pledge commits local politicians to taking action on warm homes. We’ll use these pledges to hold decision makers to account and ensure that successful candidates deliver on their promises.

Find out how to engage your local politicians and ask them to sign the Warm Homes pledge.


The national campaign

At the national level, campaigners will continue to support your activities by: 

  • lobbying key politicians directly
  • influencing those who are close to policymaking within political parties
  • providing additional campaigning support to “swing seats” in red- and blue-wall constituencies
  • using the media for influencing political opinion, including publishing new research.