Ahead of the Economic Statement scheduled this week, nine energy efficiency industry groups have come together to write to Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, calling for the introduction of major energy efficiency stimulus within the UK economic recovery package.
In a letter to the Chancellor they express disappointment that refurbishing existing homes did not feature within the Prime Minister’s ‘Build Back Better’ speech in Dudley on 30th June.
The Prime Minister highlighted the importance of the right environment to enable young talent to prosper, pointing out the need to refurbish dilapidated schools and FE institutions. However young people living in cold, leaky homes whose parents or guardian cannot afford basic necessities due to the cost of heating are also at a tremendous disadvantage. Similarly, the pressure on the NHS and Care System so rightly targeted through the building of new hospitals could be alleviated by reducing the number of people who live in unfit homes that make them ill.
In its 2019 Conservative Manifesto the Government pledged to invest £2.5 billion in the energy efficiency of UK homes through a Home Upgrade Grants (HUG) Scheme. The energy efficiency sector, climate campaigners and experts across industry and academia have stated in recent weeks that home energy retrofits should form part of plans to revive the economy and stimulate green growth following the impacts of COVID-19.
In the first year of the HUG scheme, the delivery of 10,000 deep home energy retrofits would create 500 jobs and save the NHS £63 million. Rolled out at scale, the scheme would deliver 185,000 retrofits, 8,000 jobs and a significant £1 billion saving for the NHS. This would go a long way to easing the strain on the service that has seen us through the worst of the health crisis.
The Home Upgrade Grants scheme should be confirmed by the Chancellor as part of the forthcoming Economic Statement and a pilot version introduced ahead of the National Infrastructure Strategy. This will create much needed employment, reduce energy bills, support the Government’s climate strategy and deliver far-reaching benefits right across the country.