Labour has urged the government to launch a major home insulation programme to cut heating bills for future winters.
The party says reversing cuts to insulation could save households £11.4bn on their energy bills in the next three years alone.
It comes as the energy price cap is projected to rise to over £6,000 from April next year, plunging millions into fuel poverty.
In 2013 the coalition government cut funding for existing energy efficiency programmes, immediately slashing insulation rates by 92 per cent that year.
Research by the Resolution Foundation has estimated that 9 million households are paying £170 per year extra on energy bills as a result.
Shadow climate secretary Ed Miliband said Britain was “facing a national cost of living emergency”.
“Twelve years of failure by the Conservatives to insulate our homes is one of the reasons that energy bills are so high. Too many working people and pensioners live in draughty, cold homes with high heating costs,” he said.
“Both Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss bear responsibility for the Conservatives’ failures on this vital national agenda. Unless they change course and adopt Labour’s plan, pensioners will go cold, bills will stay high, and we will have to import more gas from Putin and his cronies.
“If the Conservatives were serious about cutting energy bills, they could start right now, by delivering the warm homes plan that Labour has called for. A proper national mission would save 19 million families over £1,000 on their bills, as well as creating good construction jobs, and boosting our energy security.
“But this is not a government that is on working people’s side, with no solutions to the challenges this country faces, refusing to implement Labour’s energy price freeze. Only Labour can give Britain the fresh start it needs – with a plan to tackle the cost of living crisis now and build a more secure country.”
Last year Labour leader Keir Starmer said insulating 19 million homes that needed improvement should be the UK’s “national mission”, saving an average of £1,000 per home.
The government introduced a “green homes grant” which it said would help improve insulation rates.
But the policy was described by the influential public accounts committee as a “slam dunk fail” after it badly underperformed and wasted vast amounts of money on administration.
The £1.5bn scheme was launched by the business department in September 2020 and was set to run until 31 March 2022. It was, however, cancelled having reached just 10 per cent of the 600,000 homes it promised to insulate.
As well as the insulation programme, Labour is urging the government to cancel a planned energy cap rise and provide funding to energy companies to keep prices at existing levels.
The government is expecting to unveil extra measures to address the cost of living when the Tory leadership contest is over, though frontrunner Liz Truss has said she will focus on cutting taxes rather than what she describes as “handouts”.