Following Chancellor George Osborne’s budget announcement yesterday (8 July) BEAMA’s independent campaign, Ask for Underfloor, says there was a lack of positive news for the renewable and green economy.
Colin Timmins of BEAMA Underfloor said: “Unfortunately, George Osborne has neglected the green and renewable energy economy in his first budget since the General Election. Talk of commitment to improving energy efficiency was relatively low key in the Conservative’s manifesto and it’s disappointing that the Government has failed to acknowledge the importance of energy efficient homes in our economy once again.
He continued: “The Tory manifesto supported a transition to a low carbon economy in a cost effective way. Yet, this budget gives no indication that the Government intends to take a serious look at how we can deliver efficient, affordable and comfortable homes across the UK through the refurbishment of heating systems in existing properties, as well as the creation of new and affordable energy efficient housing. Low energy homes need insulation; but they also need well controlled, low temperature heating systems – such as underfloor heating.
Mr Timmins added: “The lack of focus to tackle this issue is concerning; it does little to encourage the housing and construction sector to prioritise installing renewable energy sources in the new homes over the next five years. We hoped the Chancellor would use this budget to provide an impetus to ensure there will be progress on the energy efficient refurbishment of existing homes, as well as new homes, in the next five years.
Meanwhile, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) claims that the Government is refusing to address a major source of carbon emissions and is calling for existing homes to be made a national infrastructure investment priority.
FMB chief executive Brian Berry said: “The construction industry is at a loss as to why the Government is ignoring the need to improve our current housing stock. By refusing to acknowledge the importance of these improvements, the Government is exacerbating problems such as high household fuel bills, carbon emissions and the national housing shortage.”
He continued: “First and foremost, the Government has a legally binding target to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 and our existing homes account for 27% of our current emissions. Simple logic suggests that if they do not address 27% of the issue, that target will not be met. Climate change is an issue that concerns the majority of the population, but without tackling the energy inefficiency of our housing stock, the Government is not taking cutting carbon emissions seriously.”
Separately Carrie Young, head of Marketing at Ideal Boilers, said: “There was a range of announcements which will be of crucial importance to the future of our business as well as the businesses of our customers. In particular the Chancellor’s commitment to training, building and investment.
“As ‘Investors in People’ and committed to ongoing training and development within our industry, we are keen to find out more about the apprenticeship levy on large firms and its effect on skilling up the workforce. The proposed reduction in corporation tax to 19% in 2017 and 18% in 2020 should be good for industry, encouraging more investment in business and staff.'
She added: “We will continue to monitor the possible implications of the rent reductions in social housing on the potential long-term investment plans of housing associations and local authorities for new house-building, incorporating energy efficiency measures in existing stock and the possible impact on fuel poverty.”
BSRIA chief executive, Julia Evans, has issued a response to last week’s Budget announcement made by Chancellor George Osborne.
With regard to the news that one million extra jobs will be created by 2020 and that there will be a new apprenticeship levy for large employers, she said: “BSRIA welcomes this announcement – and with the construction industry ‘crying out’ for highly skilled staff – investment is needed now – both to attract new entrants into the industry and train them – and, indeed, train and upskill staff already in the industry. The construction industry is currently suffering from a major skills shortage. Any measures that attract new entrants will be welcomed.”