Loans of up to £6,500 could be made available to most UK households in order to make homes more energy efficient under a Conservative government, Shadow Housing Minister Grant Shapps said last week.
Under plans unveiled at the BRE conference, Shapps said householders could have energy-saving work – such as insulation or a new boiler – done on their house for no upfront cost. The work could be worth £162.5bn to the industry.
According to Shapps, retailers such as Tesco and Marks & Spencer have said they are interested in becoming part of the scheme. The lender would be then be repaid gradually by the consumer through their energy bills. However, as householders would pay less, they would make an overall saving.
Shapps said that while he supported the Government’s plans for zero carbon new housing, if the UK is to hit its carbon reduction targets, much more would need to be done.
“Up to 80% of the homes we’ll be living in halfway through this century are already here today. So if we are to meet our nation’s carbon pledge – an 80% reduction in Co2 by 2050 – then we’d better start tackle our existing homes right now. There are 25 million of them in every part of Britain.
“And despite the fact that greening-up these homes holds the key to meeting our legally binding carbon reduction targets – so far they’ve been largely ignored. It’s as if Ministers have been so mesmerised by house building targets… Code Level 6… Zero Carbon… 2016 that they’ve almost entirely forgotten about the homes which are already here to stay.”
He added: “Unless you quite literally enjoy burning your money, you’re going to love the Green Deal.”
Adding or modifying a charge on consumers’ energy bills would require a change in legislation, but Shapps said the party was prepared to drive it through parliament to make the plan workable.
Shapps also confirmed that a Tory Government would scrap the Home Information Packs, on the grounds that they “restrict housing supply and add to the costs of selling your home”.
However, the Energy Performance Certificates element would be retained as a stand- alone document informing householders about the energy credentials of their homes.