£2bn Grant Scheme To Fund Energy Saving Home Improvements

As part of a £3bn plan to cut emissions, Chancellor Rishi Sunak set out a £2bn grant scheme in England to fund energy-saving home improvements.

The scheme will see hundreds of thousands of home owners receive vouchers of up to £5,000 to make improvements to their property in an aim to cut emissions as well as help support 100,000 jobs.

There have a number of calls to the chancellor to provide radical action to help the economy recover following the impact from the pandemic.

The vouchers will have home owners, under the Green Homes Grant, paying only a third of the costs for home improvements that will save energy. Home owners will have to apply online where they will see recommended energy efficient measures along with a list of accredited local suppliers. The voucher is issued following a quote from the supplier and the work being approved.

The scheme will include double glazing and the poorest households will receive up to £10,000 towards costs. The government has said that about half of the fund will go to the poorest homeowners, who will not have to contribute anything to the cost. By making the improvements, not only will it help cut carbon emissions, each household will benefit from lower energy bills.

With regard to the economy, Mr Sunak said the investment would help “kick-start our economy” by providing business for already skilled workers as well as creating thousands of jobs, which will help “support and protect livelihoods across the nation.”

During the last election, the Conservative manifesto had pledged £9.2bn for improving the energy efficiency on low income housing and public buildings, all to help the UK meet its target of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Shadow Business Secretary Ed Miliband stated that although he welcomed the plans, they were not comprehensive enough:

“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 went on to say that there needed to be a “much broader and bigger scale strategy” to meet the target, such as investing in nature conservation and supporting manufacturers to be greener.

David Cox, Chief Executive, ARLA Propertymark commented:

“Since the withdrawal of LESA (Landlords Energy Saving Allowance), we’ve been calling for a simple grant scheme to help private homeowners and landlords make their properties more energy efficient. Today’s announcement is a big step forward to ensure that they can take the necessary steps to do this and ultimately create a greener property sector in the UK.”

Meanwhile, Rosie Rogers, senior political advisor at Greenpeace UK, said the UK still wasn’t “playing in the same league” as other countries, such as Germany, which is investing €40bn (£36bn) in green jobs and energy efficiency.

The Treasury stated however that the figures are not like for like.

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