Win political commitments

Politicians can commit to taking action on warm homes by signing the United for Warm Homes pledge. Find out how to persuade them to sign the pledge.

16 Jan 2024

Ahead of the next general election, we need to secure active and vocal support for warm homes from current MPs and prospective parliamentary candidates (PPCs). This’ll ensure those elected commit to urgently fixing our energy system so that it works for people and planet. We’ll tell decision makers that they must show ambition and commit to our campaign asks if they're to win the next election. Find out more about our political strategy.

Resources for winning political commitments

Ask decision makers to sign our Warm Homes pledge

Current and future MPs can show their support and commitment by signing our United for Warm Homes pledge.

 

The more politicians that sign, the stronger our chances of succeeding in our campaign. The pledge also allows us to hold our decision makers to account after the election and ensure they follow through on their commitments. Adapt this template email to invite your MP(s) and electoral candidates to sign the pledge. 

Dear [MP/ electoral candidate name],

I’m writing to you from [group name], a group in [constituency], to ask you to sign the United for Warm Homes pledge. 

Too many people in our constituency are struggling to heat their homes each winter. Fuel bills remain too high and the government is withdrawing financial support, while our poorly insulated homes leak heat and waste energy. This must be the last winter that people are left to shiver in cold homes. 

[Add any compelling constituency data on numbers in fuel poverty, number of energy crisis hotspot neighbourhoods etc.]

The United for Warm Homes campaign was created as a response to rocketing energy bills and the cost-of-living crisis. It brings together environmentalists, fuel poverty campaigners, tenant rights advocates, community and faith groups and more, to demand action and investment. We’re calling for permanent solutions to fix the UK's heat-leaking homes and bring down bills once and for all. 

Within the next year there’ll be a general election, and it's essential that the next parliament does what’s needed to end the cold homes epidemic and guarantee people a warm home that doesn't cost the Earth. United for Warm Homes is calling for a national street-by-street insulation programme, with funding of at least £6 billion a year, starting in the neighbourhoods that need it most. 

That's why we’re asking all MPs and prospective parliamentary candidates to sign our pledge and commit to introducing these policies in parliament if they’re elected. 

Will you sign the pledge today? 

If you’d like any more information on fuel poverty in [constituency], or you’d like to meet and discuss further, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. 

[If you're sending the email before 26 February 2024] I'd also like to invite you to a parliamentary launch of "Left out in the cold: the hidden health costs of Britain's cold homes". This is a report written by the Institute of Health Equity on the health impacts of cold homes and fuel poverty. The event will be held on Monday 26 February, 6-8pm, in the Attlee Suite, Portcullis House. You’ll hear the latest research into health inequality and the need for insulation in the context of the cost-of-living and energy crises. If you're interested in joining this event, please RSVP to [email protected]

Yours sincerely,

[individual's name]

[group name]

Once an MP or candidate signs the pledge, their name will be displayed on the pledge page. Seeing other MPs and candidates listed will be a compelling motivator for those who haven’t yet signed the pledge. So, if your group covers more than one constituency, you can use the fact that one MP or candidate has signed to leverage others in the area. 

When MPs and candidates sign the pledge, ask them to share their support on social media using these template assets and post. 

Some MPs and candidates might sign the pledge straight away, but some may need more persuading. Don’t be disheartened if they say no the first time you ask. One of the best ways to win support is to meet with them in person or online. This’ll allow you to build a stronger relationship with them and demonstrate the broad and diverse support for warm homes in your community. Take a look at our meetings guide to help you prepare.

You don’t have to invite every candidate standing in your area to meet, as that could become unmanageable. However, you should ensure you invite representatives from all parties that currently hold seats in Westminster. So that would be Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green party candidates in England, plus Plaid Cymru in Wales.

Below are some more ways you can build pressure and persuade them to sign the pledge.

Tactics for winning political commitments

If your group is short on time, feel free to pick just one of these tactics to focus on. Make the most of these activities by having a mailing list sign-up sheet available whenever you're out in your community.

Send postcards

It’s important that our decision makers hear heartfelt messages from members of the community about why we need warm homes. We’ve created template postcards in the shape of a home which you can order and use to gather messages to send to current and prospective MPs. Find out more about how to create and send postcards. 

 

Highlight the health impacts of cold homes

No matter who you are, if you live in a cold home, your health and wellbeing are at risk. Friends of the Earth has worked with the Institute of Health Equity to produce "Left out in the cold: the hidden health costs of Britain’s cold homes," which is a report on the health impacts of living in cold homes. 

The research has found that 9.6 million UK households are living in heat-leaking, badly insulated homes and have incomes below the minimum required for an acceptable standard of living. Cold homes double the risk of adults developing new mental health conditions and put 1 in 4 children at risk of multiple mental health symptoms. Read more about the report and its findings on the Friends of the Earth website.

This research makes clear that urgent action is needed. You can use it to persuade your MPs and electoral candidates on the need for insulation. Here's how:

  1. Plan an action for 9 March 2024 (or the closest date to this that you're available) to bring the message to your MP's office and hand in the report to them. Read our guidance to help plan your photo action. 
  2. Request a meeting with your MP to discuss the report findings and ask them how they'll take action. Use our template email to request a meeting. Don’t forget to take a look at our MP meeting guide to help you prepare once you’ve got a meeting confirmed. We’ve also prepared these talking points about the report to help keep the conversation with your MP on track. 
  3. Share the report findings on social media to help make your MP, electoral candidates and local community aware of them.

Together, we can make sure that MPs and candidates listen and take action to bring down bills, keep homes warmer, improve health and slash emissions.

Send a joint open letter

A joint open letter is a great opportunity to build on existing community partnerships, to re-ignite partnerships where there hasn’t been a joint activity for a while, and to reach out to new partners. Create your own open letter for your group, local partners and members of the community to sign, calling on your MP(s) and candidates to sign the Warm Homes pledge. 

We recommend setting your letter up on Action Network, a digital campaign platform to support your local campaigning. Get in touch with us and we can help you get your Action Network letter set up.

Don’t leave us out in the cold: insulate homes now 

Dear [name of MP and/ or electoral candidates], 

The cost of living has skyrocketed and energy prices have gone through the roof. People in [your constituency] can no longer afford essentials like food or heating. As a group of local organisations seriously concerned about the impact of cold homes on our community, we’re asking you to commit to urgent action and sign the United for Warm Homes pledge. 

Shocking new research from Friends of the Earth and the Institute of Health Equity has revealed 9.6 million UK households are living in heat-leaking, badly insulated homes and have incomes below the minimum required for an acceptable standard of living. The analysis found that living in a cold home increases the risk of health conditions such as respiratory problems, heart attacks and mental health conditions. It also has serious impacts on children, putting 1 in 4 at risk of multiple mental health symptoms and even causing impairments in lung and brain development. 

This concerning national picture is reflected here in our local community. In [your constituency] only [XX*] homes are energy efficient, which is just [XX*]% of homes. At [your organisation(s)], we’re seeing the real-world impacts of cold, heat-leaking homes. In recent months we’ve seen [add information about how your community has been affected by the energy crisis and why you're concerned about it].  

We need urgent action to insulate homes and ensure our neighbours don't have to suffer the disastrous health consequences of living in a cold home. This isn’t just the fair thing to do, it also makes economic and environmental sense. Researchers estimate cold homes cost society tens of billions of pounds per year, through costs to the NHS, mental health and care services, and the lost economic contributions of those ill due to cold homes. Insulating homes is also essential for meeting our legally-binding carbon reduction targets and international climate commitments.   

We believe everyone deserves a warm home and we know our community thinks so too. Show everyone in [your constituency] you agree by signing the United for Warm Homes pledge today. 

Signed

[add names of partners who've signed here]

[*To find these figures, go to our energy crisis hotspots map and type in your postcode.]

The open letter highlights some key findings from the "Left out in the cold" report, focusing on health inequalities and cold homes. Working with partner organisations that support people disproportionately impacted by fuel poverty is central to the campaign and a key part of this action. Reach out to organisations that might be interested in the report, for example disability activist groups campaigning on the cost-of-living crisis or health groups campaigning against health inequalities. You should also share the open letter with your mailing list to encourage supporters to sign it. It's vital that MPs and candidates hear this message loud and clear, so the more people who've signed your open letter the better.

Once you’ve got enough signatures, send the letter to your MP and electoral candidates. You should also spread the word by sharing it on social media, tagging your MP and candidates, and by sending it to the local press to publish. Find out more about getting local media coverage.

As we get closer to the general election and more MPs and candidates have signed our pledge, we’ll turn our attention to running election-focused activities and events such as panel discussions with candidates (hustings).  

Next steps after signing the pledge

Once your MP(s) or candidates have signed the pledge, it’s important to keep building the relationship with them. Ask them to become an active champion for the issue in your constituency. Remember, the more they speak about the issue publicly, the more they can be held to account if elected. Encourage your local politicians to: 

  • Post their support for the campaign on their social media channels. This includes sharing the pledge using the social media assets we’ve created.
  • Visit a street that needs insulation and talk to residents, either door to door or via a meeting. Make sure the media are invited to interview them. Find energy crisis hotspots near you. 
  • Speak at an event you’re organising. Ask them to commit publicly to the campaign demands and outline how they’ll raise the issue with the rest of their party. 
  • Raise the issue within their party, for example with appropriate spokespeople or manifesto writers. 
  • Raise the issue within parliament by submitting written or oral questions, meeting with influential decision makers, joining all-party parliamentary groups, hosting parliamentary events or sponsoring debates.
  • Meet with your group every few months to discuss how you can continue to work together on warm homes.

Reminder: the best way to convince decision makers is to show the breadth and depth of support for the campaign from voters in their constituency. So, before jumping to meet with them straight away, make sure to spend time building strong local support. 

Engage your local political parties

Most constituencies will have an active Conservative, Green, Labour, Liberal Democrat or Plaid Cymru local party. These can help increase support locally and advocate for the campaign demands within their national parties.

Ideally your group should seek to gain support from the local chapters of all the major political parties. 

To engage your local political parties, you could:

  • Offer to do a presentation at their next meeting. Many local parties allow external presentations, especially on topics of relevance to the constituency.
  • Ask them to put forward a warm homes motion and/ or adopt the demands of the campaign as local party objectives. 
  • Ask the local party to send a letter to their local MP, regional party and national policy team encouraging them to adopt our demands.
  • Ask the local party to put pressure on their local MP to advocate publicly for warm homes. 
  • Invite them, alongside other local parties, to actions or events you organise.

If you need any guidance on or support with engaging your politicians, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your regional campaign organiser or email [email protected]