Thousands of homeowners are set to receive home improvement vouchers worth as much as £5,000 as part of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s plans to push for greener homes and cheaper energy bills.
While details about the scheme are yet to be revealed, what’s known is that eligible families can use the voucher to enhance the energy efficiency of their homes by installing eco-friendly improvements like a wall, loft, and floor insulation, or double-glazing.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak outlined plans during his economic address, highlighting the £2-billion pledge for green home enhancements. The Green Home Grant is part of a broader £3-billion plan to reduce carbon emissions of the UK and keep it on track legally-binding 2050 decarbonisation targets.
Up to £5,000 worth of one-off vouchers will be given to eligible households to pay for energy-saving changes like new boilers or installation of new insulation, energy-efficient doors, low-energy lighting, and more. The poorest could get as much as £10,000 for their home improvement.
According to the Treasury, this grant intends to generate thousands of jobs while also helping achieve a decarbonised economy by 2050. Some of the additional roles would include builders, tradespeople, and plumbers, who will be helping the COVID-hit economy to recover.
The government will be paying two-thirds or more of energy-efficient home enhancement costs. For instance, an end-of-terrace or semi-detached house spending £4,000 on floor and cavity wall insulation will receive a £2,680 contribution from the government, which means they would pay only £1,320 for the improvements.
The scheme will commence in September. Online applications for homeowners to fill out will be made available to determine what work should be undertaken. It will also put in detail the accredited supplier relevant to the local area. The supplier will then be expected to submit a quote, to which the government will match with the voucher. The government is planning to match up to two-thirds of the costs or up to £5,000.
Alok Sharma, Business Secretary, stated that the most vulnerable households could receive as much as £10,000 to get access to home improvements without having to contribute to the costs.
The government is positive that better insulation could help save up to £600 yearly on energy bills.
The Green Homes Grant applies to residents in England only. Those living in Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland, are not eligible for this scheme.
While further details are yet to be divulged, some experts comment that no qualifying income would likely be followed, which means that every landlord and homeowner could be eligible. However, which homes qualify are still unknown.
A few years ago, a similar scheme called the Green Deal implemented a pre-qualifying inspection that determined whether the home was suitable for a specific improvement plan. Although still largely guesswork, experts anticipate some pre-qualifying assessment this time.
For example, if the homeowner wants double-glazing, they may also have to get floor insulation as part of a package.
The Treasury expects that these vouchers will help more than 600,000 home improvement plans come to life across England. The £10,000-worth boosted vouchers are to be given to the people with the lowest incomes. However, the eligibility criteria or income threshold for these exclusive vouchers are still up in the air.
Challenger supplier Igloo CEO Matt Clemow stated that this bold move by the Chancellor is crucial in hitting the net-zero targets. He said that 31% of the carbon emissions in UK households arise from fossil fuels, which are used in heating homes.
Clemow also cited how vital it is to make the most impoverished homes more energy-efficient. He said that these households would benefit significantly from reduced energy bills. However, he also noted that the government should help renters who are unable to change homes drastically yet still want to reduce carbon emissions. He believes that no one should be left behind as the nation transitions to a decarbonised economy.