Prime minister Boris Johnson has reportedly told ministers to divert more than £1 billion from existing government programmes to fund a new insulation scheme for low-income households.
The Times reports that the government is looking to implement the new scheme before winter to help the most vulnerable households, amid energy price rises and the escalating cost of living crisis.
The scheme, which could be called the ‘Great British Insulation Scheme’, would be set up through an expansion of the Energy Company Obligation, or ECO scheme, which helps low-income homes improve their energy efficiency.
The ECO scheme insulates roughly 200,000 homes, but ministers reportedly want to double that for the winter.
By extending the scheme, middle-income households could be eligible for new insulation provided they are willing to make a contribution.
Chris Skidmore, a Tory MP who founded the Net Zero support group, told The Times: “The fastest and simplest way to tackle the cost of living crisis is to invest in insulation which has the potential to save £150-£400 off energy bills — an investment to permanently bring down bills year after year.”
How Will the Scheme be Funded?
The money will mostly come from the £1bn Public Sector Decarbonisation scheme, which aims to make hospitals, schools and other public buildings more energy efficient.
But ministers have also reportedly considered diverting money from the £450m Boiler Upgrade Scheme which opened for applications in May. The scheme offers eligible homeowners grants of up to £6,000 towards the cost of a heat pump.
With regards to implementation some in government are reportedly concerned, however, about the practicalities of extending the Energy Company Obligation at such short notice.
The government is yet to officially announce how the scheme might work, but architects nationwide have long advocated for the government to announce significant plans for retrofitting homes, and consequently improve the energy efficiency of 28 million homes in the UK.
The UK has many old homes that were not built with insulation, and a February study by accommodation company Wunderflats ranked the UK near the bottom for having the leakiest housing stock in Europe.
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Jack has worked in journalism for 11 years and is the News Editor for Homebuilding & Renovating, a role he has had since 2019. He strives to break the most relevant and beneficial stories for self builders, extenders and renovators, including the latest news on the construction materials shortage and hydrogen heating. In 2021 he appeared on BBC's The World at One to discuss the government's planning reforms.
He enjoys testing new tools and gadgets, and having bought his first home in 2013, he has renovated every room and recently finished a garden renovation.