The Chancellor’s Green Homes Grant scheme is set to support energy saving projects for householders in England as well as creating new jobs and leading to innovations in the insulation sector.
Builders merchants will play a leading role in the scheme with a significant proportion of insulation materials in the UK distributed through merchants. The total market is valued at £1.2bn, a figure that is likely to rise on the back of the Government incentive.
PBM rounds up industry responses to the scheme.
John Newcomb, Chief Executive:
“We welcome the Chancellor’s proposal which will provide the confidence, incentive and support to homeowners to undertake the necessary upgrades.
“It is also extremely good news for the building materials supply industry. It is likely to bring new contractors into the market who will require just in time site deliveries. Our understanding is that the scheme will be delivered by a network of Trustmark approved installers and we will be talking with both Trustmark and the Government to encourage their use of local merchants from our network of some 5,600 branches throughout the UK.”
Federation of Master Builders
Brian Berry, Chief Executive:
“This is very good news, signalling both an important step towards building back better and greener, and a vote of confidence for local builders up and down the country. This will protect jobs in construction and create new opportunities. We must ensure that all the new entrants to the industry receive proper training or apprenticeships, to guarantee that energy efficiency home improvements are delivered by quality tradespeople.
“To secure local growth and level-up across the country, local builders are ideally placed to deliver the work and the scheme must be accessible to small and medium-sized firms (SMEs). The FMB has been calling for a national retrofit strategy and this step today will help give the boost to consumer confidence that will be needed. We will push for additional steps such as the development of green finance to support the further development of the strategy, and for the full £9.2 billion pledged in the manifesto to be brought forward. We hope in his statement tomorrow, the Chancellor gives added support to the sector with a temporary cut in VAT, support for apprenticeship delivery, and SME house builders.”
Timber Trade Federation
“We welcome the confirmation that the Chancellor is due to accelerate £3bn of spending into improving the energy efficiency of the UK public building stock. More than 85% of the building stock that exists now will still exist in 2050, so it is essential if the UK is to reach Net Zero by 2050, we need to start achieving that standard now.
“We have been working with our partners and Government to push for a strong programme of retrofit for a number of months now, so it was pleasing to see this reflected in the announcement. Treasury has estimated that this programme could support as many as 100,000 jobs in UK construction.
“As the furlough scheme is eased, it is essential that displaced workers receive such support. This represents a good start. It cannot be the end of the current push for green recovery programmes to support a net zero economy in the UK, but praise is deserved for making this advance.”
National Insulation Association
Derek Horrocks, Chairman:
“The benefits that come from improving the quality of our homes are substantial on any level but particularly now as we come out of the crisis. Jobs have been lost, incomes have dipped and at the same time energy bills have risen because we are spending more time at home. For anyone living in or at risk of being affected by fuel poverty, this is critical – and the best way to tackle the issue is to improve the quality of our homes.
Providing support to those in need must take priority but incentivising the deep street by street retrofits that will be needed to achieve our climate targets will drive uptake in all homes below standard; this makes sense when it can be done at the same time. If we are going to ‘build back better,’ it is now time to turn promises into action. After being hit hard by the pandemic, the industry is ready and waiting to respond to an increase in demand – but the signal of certainty must first come from the Government. Once this happens, the sector is ready to go.”