Paul Ellis responds to the Chancellor’s Summer Economic Update

8 July 2020

In his Summer Update Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, confirmed widely anticipated plans to spend £2bn on energy-saving home improvements as part of a funding package to support a green recovery in the Government’s ‘Plan for Jobs’:

The plans included:

  • £2bn Green Homes Grant with vouchers of up to £5,000 to help homeowners upgrade their homes, with up to £10,000 available to some of the UK’s poorest families
  • £1bn programme to make public buildings, including schools and hospitals, across the UK greener
  • £50m to pilot innovative approaches to retrofitting social housing at scale.

 

Responding to the Chancellor’s announcements,  Paul Ellis, our Chief Executive, said,

“As we emerge from the disruption wrought by Covid-19, the Chancellor needed to think bigger if he really wanted to turn this crisis into a defining moment in the fight against climate change, delivering the economic stimulus to support a green recovery so we can ‘build back better’.

“Improving and retrofitting our ageing housing stock is key to meeting our net-zero commitments. It will also create jobs and reduce energy bills.

“However, while a welcome start, £2bn simply won’t be enough to deliver the whole house retrofits required to decarbonise our homes and there’s no evidence this will create the hundreds of thousands of green jobs required.  We need bold and decisive action, going much further than the well-travelled path of loft insulation and draught proofing.

“The Chancellor has missed an opportunity to align the cut in stamp duty to incentivise greener homes and slash VAT on renovations as part of a national home retrofit scheme with a wide-ranging package of measures to support green building including: tightening the building regulations underpinning the new Future Homes Standard; building the long term capacity of the retrofit supply chain; and driving the market for green finance so lenders such as Ecology can step up and play our part.

“Without this it’s hard to see how the Government is going deliver a truly sustainable, healthy and inclusive recovery.”

The Chancellor presented his Summer Economic Update to the House of Commons on Wednesday 8 July.