Actuate UK members are disappointed that only £320m of the original £2bn is now going to be made available through the Green Homes Grants (GHG) voucher scheme because the Treasury has decided not roll over unspent money from one year to the next.
And, as we have previously reported, there is a lot of unspent money when it comes to this initiative.
“Such drastic reduction of funding sends out all the wrong signals, especially as the government aims to put the green economy at the heart of plans for rebuilding the economy,” said Julia Evans, chief executive of the Building Services Research & Information Association, an Actuate UK member organisation.
“Initiatives to encourage the take up of low carbon solutions need to be long term and consistent,” added Hywel Davies, technical director of another Actuate UK member, the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE).
“A short-term stimulus does not create the market shift required to achieve net zero targets, including the development of a suitably skilled workforce in key sectors,” he continued. “To invest in the necessary recruitment, training and technologies, businesses must know that government means business, and is in this for the long haul.”
Julia Evans added “We suggest that next week’s budget is a huge opportunity for government to underline its commitment to building a green economy and recovery, especially ahead of the UK’s hosting COP26, and that this should include ongoing commitment to green residential retrofit.”
Actuate UK is lobbying government to release all the original GHG funding, ensuring that the full £2bn is available until March 2022 and fixes the administration mess that is dogging the scheme.
It is also pressing for all energy efficiency-related products to be VAT-free.
Other Actuate UK members include the Building Engineering & Services Association (BESA), the Federation of Environmental Trade Associations (FETA), the Electrical Contractors’ Association of Scotland (Select) and the Scottish & Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation (SNIPEF). However, Green Homes Grant vouchers are only available for properties in England.