Labour’s announcement that it would provide interest free loans for energy efficiency work to one million households is a welcome step to address the failures of the Green Deal, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
Caroline Flint MP, Labour’s shadow secretary of State For Energy And Climate Change, made the announcement in a speech at Labour’s Conference 2014 in Manchester.
Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “Our housing stock is amongst the oldest and least energy efficient in Europe and Labour recognises the urgent need to retrofit our existing homes. If we cannot tackle this problem, we will not halt the rise in fuel poverty and we will not meet our 80% carbon reduction targets by 2050.”
The Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF) closed in July due to overwhelming demand, just six weeks after it initially launched.
Berry continued: “The Green Deal, as it currently stands, has little financial appeal to most households, precisely because of the interest rates charged. The package of measures announced by Labour yesterday, including focusing ECO funding on low income homes and bringing the private rented sector up to scratch, are good first steps towards making energy efficiency a national infrastructure priority.
“However, given the scale of the challenge, a future Labour government will need to be much more bold. There are 26 million homes in the UK, 85% of which will still be in use in 2050. The simplest and most effective way of incentivising all home owners to continue to invest in the ongoing improvement of their homes is to adopt a lower 5% VAT rate for housing renovation and repair work. This one measure would bring about more than £1 billion in extra energy efficiency work over the course of the next Parliament and is the surest, simplest way of delivering the greener homes we need, while also boosting economic growth and creating thousands of jobs.”