The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has announced a new £2 billion grant for homeowners and landlords undertaking energy-efficiency home improvements, such as cavity wall or floor insulation, and double glazing windows.
The new Green Homes Grant is part of the Government’s initiative to cut emissions and is set to benefit homeowners by offering vouchers for home improvements. The vouchers will be offered to homeowners across England up to the value of £5,000, and up to £10,000 for the poorest households.
Launching in September 2020, the Green Homes Grant aims to pay towards home improvements that support energy-saving and efficiency, up to two-thirds of the total cost. Homeowners will be able to apply for the grant online, alongside recommendations for energy-efficiency improvements and local accredited suppliers.
Alok Sharma, Business Secretary, said the scheme will help lower energy bills and save hundreds of pounds for households every year. The scheme also aims to support the creation of new jobs across the industry following the economic downturn from coronavirus.
From September, around a half of the fund will be spent in one financial year, which will be spent supporting the poorest homeowners. It’s estimated the scheme could save some homeowners £600 a year on energy bills, helping to support those struggling with rising energy bills.
The Green Grant Scheme is part of the Government’s £3 billion ‘Green Investment’ package which was announced by Rishi Sunak in the summer statement. The Green Investment package sets to boost the economy and create new jobs following the coronavirus outbreak, whilst helping the UK to achieve its ‘net-zero carbon emissions’ target by 2050.
The package will outline measures to help meet the UK’s net-zero target, by improving insulation and energy-efficiency of public buildings, and retro-fitting low-carbon technologies in low-income households, such as social housing.
Additionally, the Chancellor has also announced a temporary Stamp Duty holiday, to help boost the housing market. Specifically, the Government has increased the lower stamp duty threshold to £500,000 for property sales in England and Northern Ireland.
That means any property purchases below the new level will not need to pay stamp duty as long as the deal is completed before 31 March 2021.
The move is aimed at helping buyers who have taken a financial hit because of the coronavirus crisis. However, this may not help most first time buyers, who already benefited from an increased threshold of £300,000.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: "The average stamp duty bill will fall by £4,500. And nearly nine out of 10 people buying a main home this year, will pay no stamp duty at all."
“With regards to the Green Homes Grant, I welcome any new incentives and funding, but it has to be done correctly, using PAS standards (2030/2035) and strategically help a sustainable level of growth in the industry. I am hoping this is just the start of a package of funding and policies to improve the efficiency of our buildings. Stroma Certification also welcomes the cut in Stamp Duty as this should increase interest and demand in the sale market and encourage buyers to make a move now rather than waiting, and therefore increase demand for domestic EPCs. I am mindful that this could see some negative effects in April 2021. However, I hope to see further support for the market to stimulate activity beyond March of next year”.
Andrew Parkin, Director of Energy Certification