Currently, almost 23 per cent of the cost of electricity bills is made up of “environmental and social levies”, compared with just two per cent of gas bills.
Jess Ralston, analyst with the Energy, Climate and Intelligence Unit, said: “While it’s important that vulnerable households are supported in staying warm at home, installing new fossil fuel boilers – which contribute to harmful air pollution in homes that are already more likely to have poor air quality – just means that fuel poor families are locked into dirtier, more expensive and more unhealthy heating systems for longer.
“It’s wasteful and baffling when it’s clear that a clean heating revolution is just around the corner and gas prices are rocketing.”
Another government energy efficiency scheme, for social housing, is not supporting fossil fuel boilers, and Ms Ralston called for the Government to make that approach the norm.
Incompatible with UK’s climate goals
Jan Rosenow, Europe director at the Regulatory Assistance Project, said: “Reducing carbon emissions from our homes is absolutely critical to meet the climate targets.
“But paying people to install new heating systems running on fossil fuels is incompatible with the UK’s climate goals.
“Rather than subsidising gas boilers, we urgently need a policy to support the transition to clean heating.”
He said other countries had stopped funding fossil fuel heating systems through public programmes, and urged the UK to lead by example ahead of the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow.
The Government is expected to set out its plans for switching households over to cleaner energy before the November summit, in a strategy document due to be published in the coming weeks.
A spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “While we remain committed to transitioning away from gas boilers over the next 15 years, we make no apology for supporting low-income households in the short term to replace a limited number of the most inefficient gas boilers, thereby cutting energy bills and carbon emissions.
“The majority of the 3.3 million measures installed under ECO so far are insulation measures, and we expect that to continue in the future.”