Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled a new £2bn Green Homes Grant to retrofit homes and buildings across the country, part of a £3bn green investment package.
From September, homeowners and landlords will be able to apply for vouchers of up to £5,000 per household and the full cost up to £10,000 for low-income households.
Of this funding, £1bn will be allocated to public sector buildings and £50m will be used to decarbonise social housing.
This scheme is part of a wider £3bn green investment package that Sunak said will: ‘Save money; cut carbon, and create jobs.’
Friends of the Earth’s head of policy, Mike Childs, commented on this announcement: ‘This might be a green start, but it’s not yet a green recovery.
‘The Chancellor said his investment will insulate 650,000 homes and create 140,000 jobs. Over the next decade, 15 million homes need insulation to eradicate fuel poverty and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
‘The Autumn budget must spell out a multiyear funding programme on energy efficiency and a plan to switch homes from gas heating to heat pumps, as well as the obvious need for more investment in public transport, walking, cycling and nature restoration.
‘With the government saying it will spend £27 billion on roads and so far only announced £3 billion extra on climate change today this is not yet the green recovery that’s clearly needed.’
Chris Venables, head of politics at Green Alliance, also commented: ‘Today’s speech could mark a really positive first step on the green recovery – but only if this ambition is continued throughout the rest of the year, and particularly in the Autumn budget.
‘We urgently need to see a clear funding strategy for supporting public transport in its time of crisis, a long term strategy to ensure all buildings are warm and cheap to run, reversing the catastrophic declines in nature, and investing the technology of the future.
‘The jury is still very much out on how green the UK government’s recovery will be – and we’ll be watching over the coming weeks and months.’
Under the Green Homes Grant, the government will pay at least two-thirds of the cost of home improvements that save energy, the Treasury said.
For example, a homeowner of a semi-detached or end-of-terrace house could install cavity wall and floor insulation for about £4,000 – the homeowner would pay £1,320 while the government would contribute £2,680.
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The scheme will launch in September, with online applications for recommended energy efficiency measures, along with details of accredited local suppliers.
Once one of these suppliers has provided a quote and the work is approved, the voucher is issued.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Business Secretary Alok Sharma added that the poorest households could receive up to £10,000 towards costs, and that double glazing would also be covered by the scheme.
He continued: “What [the scheme] ultimately means is lower bills for households, hundreds of pounds off energy bills every year, it’s supporting jobs and is very good news for the environment.”
The government said about half of the fund – which is due to be spent in one financial year – will go to the poorest homeowners, who will not have to contribute anything to the cost. Better insulation could save some people £600 a year on energy bills, the Treasury said….
Other measures expected in Wednesday’s summer statement:
- The government will pledge to provide 30,000 new traineeships to get young people in England into work, giving firms £1,000 for each new work experience place they offer
- According to reports, there could be a short-term VAT cut for the ailing hospitality industry to help lift demand
- However, the Observer reported that plans to give all adults £500 and children £250 in vouchers to spend on hospitality were being considered as an alternative
- The chancellor is also likely to announce a stamp duty holiday, reportedly aimed at first time buyers.
….The Conservative manifesto had pledged £9.2bn for improving the energy efficiency of low income housing and public buildings.
Shadow business secretary Ed Miliband welcomed the plan but stressed that it was not “comprehensive”.
“It appears there is almost nothing for the people who rent the 8.5 million homes in the social rented sector and private rented sector, which has the worst energy efficiency standards. That means one-third of people are left out,” he said….
The UK Treasury said the figures are not like-for-like.
For more background see:
Read the speech at TheyWorkForYou