The Conservatives face 1997-style annihilation if they don’t stop this drift

More than a third of households care more about cutting their bills than using environmentally friendly alternatives, according to a new poll.

A survey of the British public found that they are expecting a range of household costs to rise this year, including food, motoring and socialising as the country deals with a cost-of-living crisis.  

In particular, 75 per cent of respondents are expecting their utility bills to rise over the next few months, with 49 per cent expecting them to rise a lot.

Energy bills are expected to increase about 50 per cent in April, when the price cap is likely to be raised from £1,277 to £1,925, and could rise again in October to £2,400, according to energy analysts.

More than a third of respondents, 38 per cent, said it was more important for them to tackle their household costs than to make choices that were environmentally friendly, according to the poll.

Balancing costs and environmental concerns was of equal importance to 43 per cent of respondents, the survey found.

How the price cap might change

Only 13 per cent of respondents suggested that it was more important to make environmentally friendly choices, even if it costs more money, with young people and high earners more likely to agree with this.

Among those earning more than £55,000 each year say, 16 per cent said there should be a greater focus on green choices, compared to nine per cent of those earning up to £19,000.

The Government has faced calls to cut green levies from energy bills, with the Conservative Environment Network, a group of 116 MPs, arguing they should be temporarily moved to general taxation.

However, removing the levies will not be enough to offset the significant rise in bills, linked to a global gas crunch.

The Prime Minister has also been urged to help people invest in energy efficiency measures, such as insulation, to help them save on bills as well as reduce their emissions.

Price surge shock

The Energy Efficiency Infrastructure Group, a coalition of businesses and charities, has said that improving energy efficiency in draughty homes could cut bills by up to £500 a year.

Gideon Skinner, a research director at Ipsos Mori, said: “It’s clear the public (and particularly older people) are concerned about rises in the cost of living over the next few months, especially utility bills and food and household shopping. 

“And this is something they pay attention to, justifying the political focus on the issue at the moment – even more people say they are following stories about rises in the cost of living than last month were following stories about alleged Christmas parties in Downing Street. 

“Meanwhile, Britons are split on the right balance to be struck between saving money and protecting the environment – many think we should strive to do both, but substantial minority do put cost of living savings first at the moment.”

Ipsos Mori surveyed 2,009 British adults online on Jan 14.

Improving energy efficiency ‘important in the long term’

A separate poll, for the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit on Wednesday, found the public think that profiteering by energy companies, the Russian government reducing gas supplies to Europe, and growing demand around the world are the main drivers of the gas crisis.

Dr Simon Cran-McGreehin, the unit’s head of analysis, said: “Net zero measures such as insulation and boosting British renewables are saving people money during this gas crisis. Early green levies drove down the costs and everyone now knows that new wind and solar are the cheapest way to make electricity in the UK.”

Simon Francis, from the End Fuel Poverty Coalition said: “Short term, yes, we need action on people’s energy bills to help people in crisis. But long term, improving energy efficiency of people’s homes and a reliable green domestic energy network is the only way of ending fuel poverty in a sustainable way.

“That’s why we and many other charities have recently written to the Prime Minister calling for emergency financial support for households today alongside continued long-term investment in energy efficiency programmes.”

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