It blows a snowing gale in the winter of the year;
The boats are on the sea and the crews are on the pier.
The needle of the vane, it is veering to and fro,

So, much of Britain hunkers down for another few days being hampered by the white stuff.

As usual, how well or how badly you fare during winter depends on where you are in the country and how well prepared the councils have been.

Here in the south-east corner, the gritters have been out, the shops have been stocking rock salt and snow shovels for what seems like months, those of us who can work from home are doing so, leaving the roads clear for others, the schools are open and the supermarkets are re-stocked with bread and milk. Even the trains are running again – sort of. All is well.

So as I sit next to the radiator in the kitchen, looking out at the army of snowmen in my garden, it seems an appropriate time to mention the Energy Bill Revolution.

It’s all too easy for those of us who have to forget about those who have not. And, at the moment, what many of those ‘have not’ are missing is the wherewithal to fund housing costs (whether rent or mortgage), food and energy bills.

1 in 4 households in the UK are now in fuel poverty, meaning they need to spend more than 10% of their income on keeping their homes warm. The problem is likely to get worse, with 1 in 3 households projected to be in fuel poverty by 2016.

The main reasons for this crisis are that gas, oil and coal prices are high, and the UK’s homes are some of the most energy inefficient in Europe – leaking heat from their doors, walls and windows. This means they cost much more than they should to heat and power, and they contribute to climate change too.

The Energy Bill Revolution is a campaign committed to ensuring warm homes and lower bills for all.

It’s made up of a huge variety of supporters, from children’s and older people’s charities, health and disability groups, businesses, consumer energy companies, public figures and even – yes, some politicians.

The carbon taxes are designed to help the UK reduce its carbon emissions and wean the nation away from its reliance on fossil fuels. This is what’s known, in journalistic terms as – A GOOD THING.

What the Energy Bill Revolution wants to highlight is that one of the best ways of doing that is by getting people to use less energy to heat their homes. But, at the same time, we need to ensure that they are using less energy because they need to use less energy to heat those homes.

Better insulated homes require fewer megawatts of fossil fuels to heat them. This is good for people struggling to afford to heat those homes and for the government struggling to meets its carbon reduction commitments.

This is not rocket science, it is plain common sense. You only have to look out at the number of houses where the roofs that are already snow-less to realize how many thousands of pound of heat is being lost through under-insulated homes.

This Government has just closed the WarmFront programme which was helping to lift households out of fuel poverty. It seems as though it is hoping that its flagship Green Deal project is going to make this problem go away.

I think we all know how well that’s going to work.

Details on the Energy Bill revolution here.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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