The Ukrainian war is devastating for the Ukrainian people and their future. Ukraine’s neighbours, which include several STEP partners, are now providing shelter and basic support for a huge influx of refugees, the level of which has not been seen since World War 2. But the war is also having ripple effects throughout Europe and many other countries due to the huge hike in energy prices – which in turn leads to an increase in energy poverty.

The End Fuel Poverty Coalition (EFPC), of which the STEP UK partner is a member, recently warned that the energy crisis could leave 8.5 million UK households unable to heat and power their homes next winter. It goes on to estimate that inaction on cold homes results in 80 deaths a day during the winter – a figure that could grow even higher unless the government takes action this Spring to cut energy bills for the most vulnerable. Energy experts predict bills will rise from today’s average of £1200 pa to £3000 pa by next winter.

The End Fuel Poverty Coalition has joined hundreds of organisations from dozens of countries in expressing solidarity with the Ukrainian people in a collective call on world governments to end fossil fuel production. The letter — initiated by a dozen Ukrainian climate organisations — recognises that the war is a “grave violation of human rights, international law and global peace” fuelled by the oil and gas money that powers Russia’s economy.

For years the EFPC has warned that energy poverty is a social justice crisis, a public health emergency and a national security priority, but sadly has not seen a (UK) government response commensurate with the scale of the crisis. STEP UK and the EFPC have therefore joined forces with the biggest coalition of civil society organisations ever seen in the UK to make the case for change on energy policy. They two key asks: provide urgent help with energy bills for households in energy poverty now and put in place a long-term plan to transform the energy efficiency standards of homes and ensure a sustainable, renewable-led, energy mix.

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The STEP project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 847080.