There are 50,700 households in the Constituency of Bridgwater and West Somerset, which is predominantly rural.
The median weekly wage for full time employees is £530 (it is £540 in the South West Region and £570 in the UK).
Home energy performance
There are 38,200 homes with an EPC rating lower than C, which therefore need improvement to meet the Government's home energy efficiency target for 2035 – which the EEIG recommends bringing forward to 2030.
Bridgwater and West Somerset ranks 430/573 England and Wales Constituencies for the share of homes (12,500) rated C. This is better than the UK average.
It ranks 32/573 for the share of homes (6,200) rated F or G (lower ranking is better). This is better than the UK average:
Home energy investment
38,200 homes below an EPC C rating means 3,800 need to be improved each year to meet the EPC C target for all homes by 2030.
2,476 households have received assistance with energy efficiency measures over the seven years of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) to the end of 2019. That's 4.9% of households in Bridgwater and West Somerset, lower than the Great Britain average of 8.0%.
In 2019, 230 households were supported by ECO with a total investment of £740,000.
Number of households supported with ECO
Getting all homes up to EPC C requires investment of £171.9 million by 2030 – £17.2 million per year.
Alongside regulation of minimum energy efficiency standards for the rented sectors, Government should contribute around £56.2 million of this total (£5.6 million per year to 2030). Some of this will continue to come from the Energy Company Obligation. More may come from the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and Home Upgrade Grants promised in the 2019 manifesto, to address social housing and some of the 6,200 homes in Bridgwater and West Somerset rated EPC F or G (i.e. for households on low incomes).
The remainder needs to come from able-to-pay homeowners incentivised by a step-change in government support for energy efficiency investment. Critically, this support is currently missing from existing policy and manifesto commitments.
For example, varying the rate of Stamp Duty to take account of the EPC rating alongside the sale price could incentivise investment by homeowners and help to embed good energy performance in property values.
In Bridgwater and West Somerset over the last five years, the average number of residential property transactions subject to Stamp Duty was 2,300.
If the properties transacted reflect the Constituency-wide composition of EPC ratings, then 1,800 properties rated D or worse change hands each year and homeowners could – with a Stamp Duty incentive in place – be motivated to improve them.
This could therefore make a significant contribution to the 3,800 properties that need to be improved in Bridgwater and West Somerset each year to meet the EPC C target by 2030 – alongside rented sector regulation, a properly funded and locally led scheme (potentially Home Upgrade Grants), the ECO, and other incentives.
Getting all homes up to a good level of efficiency would save each household on average £270 per year on their energy bills at current energy prices. This would amount to £10.3 million per year across Bridgwater and West Somerset once all homes are improved.
The number of economically active people in Bridgwater and West Somerset is 48,500, of whom 2,100 work in construction. 1,845 economically active people aren't employed. Energy efficiency investment could support employment of 293 people to 2030.
The annual net gross value added from an energy efficiency infrastructure investment programme in Bridgwater and West Somerset would be £6.9 million. The present value of GVA over the duration of a programme to 2030 would be £57.4 million.
Other benefits not quantified here include increased tax revenues, the avoided (including hidden) costs of unemployment, more spending power, and the latter's impact on the Bridgwater and West Somerset's economy.
Fuel poverty and excess winter mortality
5,600 households are in fuel poverty: 10.9%, lower than England's average level of 11.1%. This ranks it 343 out of 533 English Constituencies (higher rank is better).
There were 50 excess winter deaths in 2016/17, of which:
15 can be attributed to cold housing conditions
10 can be linked to the coldest 25% of homes in Bridgwater and West Somerset
5 can be directly attributed to fuel poverty
In 2016/17, there were 13.8% more deaths in winter compared to the non-winter period.
The vulnerability of Bridgwater and West Somerset to excess winter mortality ranked 464 out of 561 (lower is worse) Constituencies for which data are available.