Hitchin and Harpenden
MP: Bim Afolami
- There are 43,300 households in the Constituency of Hitchin and Harpenden, which is predominantly urban.
- The median weekly wage for full time employees is £780 (it is £590 in the East Region and £570 in the UK).
Home energy performance
There are 30,900 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.
- Hitchin and Harpenden ranks 287/573 England and Wales Constituencies for the share of homes (12,400) rated C. This is better than the UK average.
- It ranks 298/573 for the share of homes (1,800) rated F or G (lower ranking is better). This is better than the UK average:
Home energy investment
- 30,900 homes below an EPC C rating means 3,100 need to be improved each year to meet the EPC C target for all homes by 2030.
- 1,464 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 3.6% of households in Hitchin and Harpenden, lower than the Great Britain average of 8.0%.
- In 2019, 23 households were supported by ECO with a total investment of £70,000.
Number of households supported with ECO
- Getting all homes up to EPC C requires investment of £139.1 million by 2030 – £13.9 million per year.
- Alongside regulation of minimum energy efficiency standards for the rented sectors, Government should contribute around £45.5 million of this total (£4.5 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 1,800 homes in Hitchin and Harpenden 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 Hitchin and Harpenden over the last five years, the average number of residential property transactions subject to Stamp Duty was 2,000.
- If the properties transacted reflect the Constituency-wide composition of EPC ratings, then 1,500 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 3,100 properties that need to be improved in Hitchin and Harpenden 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 £8.3 million per year across Hitchin and Harpenden once all homes are improved.
- The number of economically active people in Hitchin and Harpenden is 57,500, of whom 2,800 work in construction. 895 economically active people aren't employed. Energy efficiency investment could support employment of 237 people to 2030.
- The annual net gross value added from an energy efficiency infrastructure investment programme in Hitchin and Harpenden would be £5.6 million. The present value of GVA over the duration of a programme to 2030 would be £46.6 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 Hitchin and Harpenden's economy.
Fuel poverty and excess winter mortality
- 3,100 households are in fuel poverty: 7.0%, lower than England's average level of 11.1%. This ranks it 38 out of 533 English Constituencies (higher rank is better).
There were 70 excess winter deaths in 2016/17, of which:
- 21 can be attributed to cold housing conditions
- 14 can be linked to the coldest 25% of homes in Hitchin and Harpenden
- 7 can be directly attributed to fuel poverty
In 2016/17, there were 23.4% more deaths in winter compared to the non-winter period.
- The vulnerability of Hitchin and Harpenden to excess winter mortality ranked 228 out of 561 (lower is worse) Constituencies for which data are available.
Excess winter deaths 2012-13 to 2016-17