The “eye-watering” costs of decarbonisation must be “laid bare” to ensure consumers receive equitable treatment and value for money, the GMB has said.

The union has urged the government to commission a review into the fairness and cost effectiveness of the policies being pursued, including whether the costs should be recouped through taxation rather than a levy on consumers bills.  

“Every single household in Britain has an energy bill to pay and for very many people it already represents a significant part of their monthly spend,” said GMB national secretary for the energy sector Justin Bowden.

“Loading the costs of decarbonising the economy onto individual bill payers is highly regressive and will hit those who can least afford it the hardest; we are talking thousands of pounds extra on the bills of every house in Britain over the coming decade and a half.”

The GMB made the call for improved transparency after its researchers were unable to establish the full costs of meeting the emissions targets set out in the 2008 Climate Change Act.

They reached a figure of £123.6 billion by 2030 by extrapolating the £6.76 billion annual cost identified in the Committee on Climate Change’s 2015 progress report. However, this estimate does not cover carbon taxes, emissions permits, capacity auction costs, renewable subsidies which are yet to be allocated or indirect costs.

“Given the eye-watering amounts of cash involved, UK energy bill payers have a right to demand complete transparency over all aspects of the decarbonising costs arising out of the 2008 Climate Change Act,” added Bowden.

“It may well be that when the full costs of decarbonising the economy are laid bare, paying for them out of general taxation is actually the fairer way to proceed.”

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