UK MPs urge government to replace axed Green Home Grants

Lucy Harley-McKeown
·2-min read
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng giving evidence to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee in the House of Commons, where he warned there is a danger Liberty Steel could be forced to close some of its UK plants following the collapse of its main financial backer. Picture date: Tuesday April 13, 2021. (Photo by House of Commons/PA Images via Getty Images)
Kwasi Kwateng faces mounting pressure on the grants, which MPs have said shouldn't have been scrapped. Photo: House of Commons/PA Images via Getty Images

MPs have renewed calls for the government to replace the Green Homes Grant scheme, which was scrapped just months after it was announced.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced thousands of pounds in green giveaways for Brits in his ‘summer statement' last year. But the scheme was scrapped last month after reaching just a fraction of the homes Sunak has promised to improve.

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) this week written to business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng calling for clarity for contractors and homeowners.

“We have been clear all along: the Green Homes Grant was a good initiative but was poorly implemented," Philip Dunne MP, EAC chairman, said.

“This Government has shown its willingness to be an environmental world leader, but I fear its green credentials risk being undermined by poor policy decisions."

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The EAC called for Green Homes Grant to be urgently overhauled and extended within a recent report. A week after its publication, the government announced its intention to end the scheme. The EAC had explicitly said Green Homes Grants should not to be scrapped or quietly wound down.

"Actions speak louder than words, and simply abandoning a critically important decarbonisation scheme when cracks appeared sets a poor example in the year we aim to show climate leadership," said Dunne.

The Green Homes Grant scheme allowed people to apply for up to £5,000 ($6,276) to fund green renovations on their homes. The cash could be used to fund insulation, eco-friendly boilers, and other energy efficient improvements.

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The grant was axed in March, after it reached just 10% of the 600,000 homes the chancellor promised to improve.

UK homes account for 20% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, with 19 million homes failing to achieve an EPC rating of C or above. The EAC committee said there was a pressing need to make homes more energy efficient.

Dunne noted that cutting emissions from UK homes would be a key part of reaching the government's net zero by 2050 target. On Tuesday, the government announced even more ambitious targets for emissions reduction, pledging to cut carbon emissions by 78% by 2035.

Watch: The £2bn Green Homes Grant explained