WEEKLY COLUMN by Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie 

NO-ONE has been immune from the rise in energy costs following post-pandemic trade disruption and the war in Ukraine.

This is despite some generous government support last year to all households and this year to the vulnerable and those on low incomes.

For those concerned about how to save money newspapers and websites are full of tips and the government gives advice too.

I have worked with the brilliant local company Adey International to ensure the government gave winter guidance for householders to cleanse their heating systems to get rid of radiator sludge and make heating more efficient while prolonging the life of boilers.

But what else can we do ourselves to improve our own homes and stop heat escaping?
Enter my new hobby horse – windows!

An impressive local woman called Natalie Little came to see me at a surgery to talk about her family run Truhouse windows and doors business based in Stonehouse. And she has become the national president of Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF).

Like me, she can see that homeowners and landlords want to do the right thing but it’s often expensive and the options can be quite confusing - particularly for old Cotswold housing stock.

When there are statistics saying over 80% homes windows have double glazing - there is an element of the job feeling done. But most of these windows are decades old. Like anything they eventually begin to lose power over time. Double glazing technology has also massively improved.

The GGF says replacing pre 2002 double glazing with new to current standards will save 3.16m tonnes of CO2 per year - or the equivalent of 1.88m cars off the road.

There is an average annual household saving of £395. Now, I understand that not everybody can afford this.

Yet it’s cheaper than some home improvement heating measures and the GGF explained the concerns around people having new heat pumps without stopping the heat going out of old windows.

Insulation, solar panels, air and ground source heat pumps, wind and water turbines plus much more are now zero rated for VAT, but not windows.

This is something that I think needs flagging with the treasury - even if there were only temporary changes.

So, it is my New Year’s resolution to do so.