Request to renew housing stock from Construction Leadership Council ahead of autumn spending review
The government-industry Construction Leadership Council has called on the chancellor to fund a long-term retrofitting programme for UK homes to make them greener.
In a letter to chancellor Rishi Sunak ahead of the Treasury’s autumn spending review, Construction Leadership Council (CLC) co-chair Andy Mitchell said that retrofitting the UK’s existing homes with energy efficiency improvements would be essential in achieving the government’s net zero commitments.
The request is a part of six-strong wish-list submitted to Sunak who is set to announce his review some time in November.
Mitchell (pictured) said expanding the government’s current retrofitting programme would “provide substantial new employment for those losing jobs elsewhere in the economy, while safeguarding existing employment”.
He added: “We ask that the government builds on its commitment to a £9.2bn national retrofit programme of energy efficiency improvements, creating a long-term plan for carbon reduction for homes.”
The government pledged the money to improve energy efficiency in homes in its 2019 election manifesto – but has so far announced only £2bn for its Green Homes Grant, a scheme allowing homeowners to apply for the government to fund up to two thirds of the cost of installing energy saving upgrades to their homes.
Mitchell added that a ‘Help to Fix’ interest-free loan scheme could encourage uptake for homeowners not covered by his proposed expansion to the programme.
He also urged the government to set up a ‘Regeneration Investment Bank’ to support the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda by driving regeneration deals with the private sector on behalf of local authorities.
He said the Bank was needed because the current model for regeneration schemes “focuses on redevelopment rather than revitalisation of a local area, neglecting social, environmental and economic outcomes that could potentially deliver on longer-term government ambitions.”
He said the Bank should have a minimum value of £10bn and could function as an extension of the role of Homes England or the British Business Bank managed by property and finance professionals.
Other initiatives called for in Mitchell’s letter include increasing the fund for cladding remediation from £1.6bn to £3.5bn, providing more support for firms to hire apprentices and funding the adoption of an ‘Information Management Framework’ to support data sharing across the built environment.
The CLC has also urged firms to keep insurers fully up to date with their financial performance in the coming months to avoid having their trade credit insurance (TCI) withdrawn.
In new guidance on maintaining access to TCI during the current economic conditions, the CLC said firms should supply underwriters with information on what weekly turnover levels look like compared to pre-covid trading, details on what changes have been made to business operations, and the extent to which government support schemes like the furlough scheme have been used.