Thousands of homeowners across the UK are set to receive vouchers of up to £5,000 for energy-saving home improvements as part of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s proposed £2bn grant scheme in England.
The scheme will be used for projects such as home insulation as part of a wider £3bn plan to cut emissions.
The Chancellor also revealed that the poorest homeowners could receive up to £10,000 as part of the plans. He also said that the grants could create more than 100,000 jobs across the country.
As part of the scheme – the Green Homes Grant – the government will pay at least two-thirds of the cost of home improvements that save energy. For example, a homeowner could install cavity wall and floor insulation and save thousands of pounds.
Perhaps the biggest topic of discussions for those within the industry, was the announcement from The Treasury that the scheme is scheduled to launch in September this year. Many leading figures within the home improvement sector are concerned at the immediate impact on orders being cancelled or delayed until the September launch date.
The way in which the scheme is set to work is through an online application which would provide recommended energy efficiency measures and the details of accredited local suppliers across the country. After the work is approved with a price, a voucher for the homeowner is provided.
Speaking to the BBC, Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “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.
“As Britain recovers from the outbreak, it’s vital we do everything in our power to support and protect livelihoods across the nation.”
Amy House, Low Carbon Lead at GC Business Growth, said: “This investment to decarbonise homes will put us on the right track to achieving our zero carbon emissions and will unlock wider benefits for the economy, saving money and increasing consumer spending. While healthier homes reduce the burden on the NHS and the creation of new skilled jobs will stimulate the UK’s economic recovery.
“The government’s commitment to cover up to £5,000 of the green upgrade, and in lower income homes funding up to £10,000, will be a huge incentive for many homeowners. However, barriers to participation could include the hassle factor, uncertainty of the benefits and impact on house valuations remain as challenges to overcome.
“Low carbon housing retrofit is one of the biggest challenges Greater Manchester faces in seeking to mitigate climate change and achieve its ambition of being carbon neutral by 2038. The city-region a high number of solid wall pre-1919 terraced properties, which are typically hard to retrofit. Therefore, this new scheme will form a welcome addition to Greater Manchester’s existing retrofit strategy.
“We are keen for the city-region’s SME supply chain to be part of the government’s list of accredited suppliers who will carry out this work and that these opportunities are accessible to our low carbon network members. Businesses can receive support through our dedicated green technologies and services sector support programme to ensure they get a slice of the pie.”