Government commits £560m to decarbonise housing
The Government has issued £500m from the Green Homes Grant and £62m from a Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund to improve the energy efficiency of 50,000 UK households.
The £562m package will be shared by 300 local authorities across England and Scotland that will fund upgrades to some of the nation’s least energy efficiency and fuel-poor homes.
The funding will benefit 50,000 households, enabling investments into solutions such as insulation and replacing gas boilers with low-carbon alternatives such as heat pumps. The Government claims it will also support more than 8,000 energy sector jobs – such as plumbers and builders.
With emissions from the domestic building stock accounting for around 25% of the UK’s emissions, the Government believes the funding will cut more than 70,000 tonnes of carbon annually – equal to the direct and indirect emissions from 9,000 households.
UK Business and Energy Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, said: “We are ensuring households across the country enjoy warmer homes that are cheaper to heat and emit fewer emissions – all while creating new work for local plumbers, builders and tradespeople.
“This is an initial down payment on the UK Government’s plan to invest over £9bn into eradicating fuel poverty, improving the lives and homes of low-income households. This is yet another important step we are taking to eliminate our contribution to climate change and build back greener from the pandemic.”
Green Homes Grant
The funding consists of the £500m Local Authority Delivery (LAD) Fund, a component of the Green Homes Grant, and a further £62 million Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Demonstrator.
The Government has faced criticism for a decision to pull the majority of funding for the £2bn Green Homes Grant, less than a year after it was unveiled.
The Green Homes Grants scheme was unveiled by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in the Summer Economic Update to Parliament, which outlined measures to boost job growth as part of an economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
A total of £2bn was earmarked for the new Green Homes Grant for those who do not live in social housing. The grant covers two-thirds of the cost of verified energy-saving home improvements – rising to 100% for the poorest households.
However, it has been reported that just 5% of the fund has been spent. Some households have had to wait almost half a year for grants to be approved. The Guardian reports that as of 22 January, only £71m of the £1.5bn promised to householders had been given out – less than 5%. The Government took the decision to extend the grants to run until March 2022, in part due to delays.