Key government energy advisers criticise its latest policy changes

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The political wrangle over the government's re-working of a number of green schemes has continued, with leading advisers on energy efficiency slamming the changes.

The shift in policies in order to potentially save energy consumers £50 per household, although endorsed by the 'Big Six' energy suppliers, has been labelled as 'sticking plasters' and 'watering down' many measures which are in fact the only way to permanently cut energy costs for consumers.

Speaking to the Guardian, expert chair of the energy efficiency deployment office within the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), Peter Boyd said: "We have policies that are among the best in the world, which we are unfortunately watering down.

"Energy efficiency is the one piece of the government's energy policies that can really cut bills in the future – because more efficient homes use less fuel."

Boyd provides strategic guidance on energy efficiency to government ministers and believes the industry offers a lot more than warmer homes, it offers more local jobs and affordable reductions in carbon emissions amongst many other benefits.

Fuel Poverty Advisory Group chair, Derek Lickorish, also condemned the changes.

Speaking to the Guardian, he said: "This is a sticking plaster and platitudes competition. What we need is a cross-party unity to deliver permanent reductions to bills through energy efficiency.

"The £50 saving, as welcome as it is, could be gobbled up by a small rise in the wholesale price on the global markets."

However, Lickorish is concerned the changes will see a huge fall in solid wall insulation being installed through the ECO scheme - with figures dropping from 80,000 to 25,000. He believes such insulation could save up to 40% on energy bills and the drastic reduction in uptake shows the new policies are targeting the wrong things.

Sophie Neuburg, energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: "The government has crumbled in response to pressure from the 'Big Six' energy companies.

"The effect of all the measures announced today is that overall funding for energy efficiency has fallen by £550m to £625m, condemning thousands of people to shiver in heat-leaking homes."

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