When Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak delivered his summer statement on Wednesday, he announced plans to issue vouchers to homeowners and landlords in England to help them make energy efficient home improvements.
Although a full list of government-approved upgrades is yet to be revealed, it is thought that homeowners will be able to use the vouchers to install loft, wall and floor insulation, eco-friendly boilers, heat pumps, double-glazed windows, low-energy lighting and energy-efficient doors.
Under the Green Homes Grant scheme, the government will pay for at least two-thirds of the cost of home improvements that save energy. According to official figures from the Treasury, this means that a homeowner installing cavity wall and floor insulation at a cost of £4,000 would only pay around £1,320 for the work, with the government contributing the remaining £2,680.
The Treasury has set aside £2 billion for the scheme, which will launch this September. Most homeowners and landlords will be able to claim up to £5,000 in vouchers that cover two-thirds of the cost of the improvements, but the government says that up to half of the fund – which is due to be spent in one financial year – will go to the poorest homeowners in England.
These homeowners will receive up to £10,000 in vouchers, and they will not have to contribute anything towards the cost of the improvements. According to Treasury estimates, the programme could save families up to £600 a year on energy bills once the work is complete.
Through the scheme, the government is aiming to help upgrade over 600,000 households in England. It is also hoped that once the scheme launches it could support more than 100,000 green jobs, by creating extra work for plumbers, builders and tradesmen.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Business Secretary Alok Sharma praised the announcement. “What [the scheme] ultimately means is lower bills for households, hundreds of pounds off energy bills every year, it's supporting jobs and is very good news for the environment,” he said.
In addition to the Green Homes Grant scheme, a further £1 billion has been set aside to make public buildings greener, including schools and hospitals. It is hoped that both of these initiatives will help the country meet its ambitions of achieving Net Zero by 2050.
How will the vouchers work?
As the scheme is not due to begin until September, the government is yet to publish full details on exactly how the scheme will work and exactly which eco-friendly improvements can be carried out.
However, it’s widely expected that homeowners will be able to apply online to receive government funding for eco-friendly measures, following the launch of the scheme. With each online application, a homeowner will be shown recommended energy efficiency measures, along with details of accredited local suppliers. Once an accredited supplier provides a quote, a voucher can then be issued by the government.
At present, the Treasury doesn’t have any further information about what eligibility criteria will be used to access who qualifies for the boosted £10,000 vouchers.
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