Don’t Scrap Green Homes Grant, Lib Dems tell Chancellor

 

Ahead of Wednesday’s budget Wera Hobhouse MP, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for the Climate Emergency, has written to the Chancellor imploring him not to scrap the Green Homes Grant scheme.

According to reports the Government is to withdraw funding for the scheme that aims to support people in retrofitting their homes to cut bills and reduce emissions.

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for the Climate Emergency Wera Hobhouse MP said:

“In the year the UK is hosting COP26 – the most important climate negotiations since the Paris Agreement, the Conservatives must not undermine our legitimacy on ambitious climate policy. For the sake of those in fuel poverty and the UK’s efforts to stop the climate crisis, the Green Homes Grant must not be scrapped.

“Retrofitting homes is vital in the fight to tackle the climate emergency and is one of the easiest steps the country can take now to cut emissions. If this programme is ended prematurely it will be a missed opportunity and lead to more delays – delays the planet cannot afford.

“Not only that, but thousands of small businesses can benefit from this programme. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and can create the jobs we need for our green recovery. By continuing the scheme thousands of new jobs will be created and provide opportunities for reskilling for those who have lost their jobs in the last year.”

 

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A copy of the letter to the Chancellor is below:

Dear Chancellor,

1st March 2021

Ahead of the Budget this week I am writing to urge you not to scrap the Green Homes Grant scheme aiming to support people in retrofitting their homes to cut bills and reduce emissions.

Retrofitting homes is vital in the fight to tackle the climate emergency and is one of the easiest steps the country can take now to cut emissions. If this programme is ended prematurely it will be a missed opportunity and lead to more delays – delays the planet cannot afford.

Not only that, but thousands of small businesses can benefit from this programme. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and can create the jobs we need for our green recovery. By continuing the scheme thousands of new jobs will be created and provide opportunities for reskilling for those who have lost their jobs in the last year. But the delays in payments to these small businesses who are signed up to the scheme are not helping.

I urge you to fix the programme and adopt the Liberal Democrats’ plan to retrofit our homes. This means rather than working on a year-by-year basis you should set out a ten-year extension to the scheme, aiming to end fuel poverty by the middle of this decade. Only such a long-term commitment will allow industry to scale up and develop the skills base needed for this huge and critical task.

Extending this scheme must be combined with the establishment of a new skills development programme with industry to ensure that the UK has the skills base to deliver on this programme and this energy efficiency investment must become infrastructure investment – capital spending with a long return, that’s jobs-rich, for every community. Small businesses must be properly supported to sign up to the Green Homes Grant, which means there must be an end to the delays in payments many are reporting.

More must also be done to improve the standards of new homes. Liberal Democrats are calling for new tougher energy efficiency and heating regulations to be introduced this year. This means tough new zero carbon homes standards for new homes to stronger energy efficiency requirements for rented homes. It is no good upgrading existing homes if new homes are still being built to poor standards.

But this extension to the programme must be combined with greater incentives for homeowners and landlords to upgrade their homes. The Treasury must consider Stamp Duty or Council Tax reductions for those who retrofit their homes, as well as the grants and loans already in place.

There must also be a greater role for local authorities, who are best positioned to support homeowners and landlords, as well as identifying those in fuel poverty who could benefit the most from these upgrades.

In the year the UK is hosting COP26 – the most important climate negotiations since the Paris Agreement, the Conservatives must not undermine our legitimacy on ambitious climate policy. For the sake of those in fuel poverty and the UK’s efforts to stop the climate crisis, the Green Homes Grant must not be scrapped.

I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

Wera Hobhouse MP

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