The head of a building body says landlords and home owners need a replacement for the defunct Green Homes Grant to fund basic eco-improvements.
The government’s new Heat and Buildings Strategy says relatively little about insulation and instead majors on heat pumps to replace gas boilers.
Gillian Charlesworth of the Building Research Establishment says: “Moving away from gas for home heating is crucial if the UK is to meet its net zero targets, and we are pleased to see clear recognition that heat pumps are the technology most likely to get us there, as well as new investment to support low carbon improvements in public sector buildings and social housing.
“However, there are still billions of pounds missing from the government’s manifesto commitment of £9.2bn for decarbonising the built environment.
“We had hoped for a replacement to the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme to provide private home owner occupiers with support for fabric first measures, like insulation. Privately owned homes are the least energy efficient part of the UK housing stock and we would like to see fiscal incentives through council tax or VAT to encourage decarbonisation.
“These incentives, along with changes to business rates, will be equally vital for small businesses, who will also need a clear plan and support to transition to net zero.”
The original Green Homes Grant offered grants of between £5,000 and £10,000 to cover two thirds of the cost of insulation or low-carbon heating.
But the scheme failed because of a shortage of accredited fitters and thousands of landlords were left without the improvements they hoped for by the time the scheme was shut down by the government over the summer.
Charlesworth continues: “The success of the strategy will depend on its implementation, and we need more detail on how the government will support industry to train and retrain the hundreds of thousands of workers needed to retrofit Britain’s ageing housing stock, who will make a vital contribution to levelling up.
“The government has another opportunity to outline its plans to address these challenges in next week’s Budget, which we will be watching keenly.”
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