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Long term plan needed to improve our homes

Green home upgrades, that would improve the warmth and comfort of the nation’s homes, are being held back by the lack of a clear long-term plan, new research from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has found.

When builders were asked to identify the biggest barrier to installing more energy efficiency measures, in line with the UK Government’s target to get as many homes as possible to EPC rating C by 2035, they said:

• A lack of a clear pipeline of work – 26% of respondents

• A lack of available finance for consumers – 19%

• A lack of consumer awareness of the benefits of energy efficiency measures – 17%

• A lack of capacity and skills in the construction workforce – 16%

• Don’t know – 15%

• None of these – 6%

These figures are issued on the same day that the FMB found just three out of 250 builders who have expressed an interest in the Green Homes Grant scheme have so far completed the necessary registration and training.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “Without a long-term Government plan for making our homes greener and more energy efficient, we won’t be able to tackle fuel poverty, end preventable winter deaths, or meet the UK’s climate change targets. Builders don’t yet have the confidence they need in the domestic energy efficiency market to invest in their businesses and start offering these services to homeowners. Low engagement in the Green Homes Grant scheme has illustrated this problem, with just three Master Builders becoming accredited to deliver this work since the scheme’s launch. A long-term plan, in the form of a National Retrofit Strategy, would address these concerns.”

Mr Berry concluded: “A National Retrofit Strategy would need to be underpinned by a package of fiscal incentives that helps consumers to do their bit for the environment. With one in five builders saying clients do not have the cash to go green, the Government should temporarily cut VAT on home improvements so that more capital is available for homeowners to do the extension they want while also improving the energy efficiency of their home. It is also essential that the Government funds and makes available the necessary training courses for builders so that they can get accredited to deliver green home upgrades, and to a quality standard.”

11 January 2021

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