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FMB “at a loss” to deafening silence on energy efficiency

There was zero mention of energy efficiency in today’s Budget delivered by Chancellor George Osborne, much to the frustration of those within the construction industry.
The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) expressed its disappointment, saying the Government is refusing to address a major source of carbon emissions.

In response to today’s Budget Statement, the FMB has called on the Government to make the UK’s existing homes a national infrastructure investment priority.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, 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.”

Berry 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. This is rather surprising when you consider that not long ago; the Prime Minister wanted his Conservative-led Coalition to be the “greenest Government ever.”

Berry concluded: “What’s more, the issue goes to the heart of household finances. By improving energy efficiency in our homes, the Government will reduce fuel bills and put more money back in the pocket of the consumer. The benefits of taking action in this area are clear and the Government is aware of this but seems determined to sit on its hands. Making our existing homes a national infrastructure priority, re-directing carbon taxes, putting an energy efficiency financing framework in place and reducing VAT on housing renovation and repair work from 20% to 5% are all effective and implementable measures. We urge the Government to wise up on energy efficiency – we want to work with Ministers to find a sustainable solution.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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