New 'Energy Efficiency of Existing Homes' Report and Green Homes Grant scrapped

On 22 March the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee published the 2019-21 Energy Efficiency of Existing Homes report (read here). The report highlights the areas of concern in reaching our legally binding climate change targets. Below is a snapshot of what the summary explains:

  • There is a “chronic” shortage of skills in the retrofit sector
  • A greater focus is needed on retrofitting the existing housing sector
  • The Heat and Buildings Strategy must be urgently published, with the framework to drive more funding from private investment
  • New initiatives needed for owner-occupiers
  • VAT on home renovation labour and energy-saving materials should be reduced to 5%
  • EPCS must be overhauled by revealing not just the fuel cost, but the energy and carbon metrics in its headline rating.

The report covers the Green Homes Grant Scheme and states: “The Green Homes Grant is welcome, but has been poorly implemented, beset by administrative problems and delays which fundamentally jeopardise delivery 

Energy Efficiency of Existing Homes 4of the scheme’s ambition. It is too short term and is now causing damage to the sector. The impact of its botched implementation has had devastating consequences on many of the builders and installers that can do the work, who have been left in limbo as a result of the orders cancelled and time taken to approve applications. It has only achieved ten per cent of its target to improve 600,000 homes in six months. We welcome the Government’s commitment to improve the scheme. It must be urgently overhauled and extended to a multi-annual scheme to provide the financial support to homeowners and build trust within the industry to encourage installers to get accredited and enable companies to hire staff. This needs to be included in the Heat and Buildings Strategy as an urgent priority.”

It was reported over the weekend that the Green Homes Grant Scheme will be scrapped. An update was published on the Green Homes Grant webpage today (29 March 2021) which confirms: “The Green Homes Grant scheme will be closing to new applications at 5pm on 31 March 2021.”