Advertisement - Content continues below
Housing

Make social housing warmer and greener, says minister

Green MP Caroline Lucas said it was “shameful” there was no mention of the “failing” Green Homes Grant at the Budget

A minister has said there are “huge benefits” in retrofitting homes to make them warmer and greener, despite the Government’s flagship building upgrade scheme reportedly reaching a tiny percentage of its target.

Environmental and empty homes campaigners have long called for the retrofitting of old-style housing, which entails increasing the energy efficiency of less modern homes and reducing the amount of lost heat. 

But reports have claimed the Green Homes Grant, the Government’s flagship scheme to upgrade homes, is only reaching a small fraction of its 600,000 household target and could face the axe as builders and installers failed to sign up.

Lockdowns have taken income away from hundreds of Big Issue sellers. Support The Big Issue and our vendors by signing up for a subscription.

In an interview with Inside Housing as part of its retrofit challenge virtual summit, climate change minister Lord Callanan said there were “huge benefits to be realised from retrofitting warmer and greener homes”. 

He added the Government had a duty to maximise the energy efficiency of social housing.

Advertisement - Content continues below
Advertisement - Content continues below

“If there is a chance to maximise the energy efficiency of our social housing supply at the same time as making these homes safer, it is incumbent on all of us to do just that where it is practical,” Callanan said. 

“The dual ambitions of having safer homes and greener homes are integral to the Government’s commitment to building back better and building back fairer.” 

Under the £3 billion Green Homes Grant scheme, which would also have seen state-owned buildings upgraded, homeowners are offered vouchers worth up to £10,000 to make green improvements. 

But there was no mention of the troubled programme in this week’s Budget, despite experts saying it should remain if the Treasury is serious about a green recovery.

Green MP Caroline Lucas said it was “shameful” there was no mention of the “failing” Green Homes Grant at the Budget. 

She wrote on Twitter: “Climate experts are clear we cannot meet climate targets without home retrofits. 

“Where is the long-term investment to upgrade the UK’s leaky homes which householders and the climate so desperately needs?” 

Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Olney added that ministers had continued with their green strategy of “words, not action” with no mention of the grant. 

“This is a scheme that could solve fuel poverty, reduce energy bills for millions, cut emissions and support thousands of small businesses,” she added. 

Advertisement - Content continues below

Support your local vendor

Give your vendor a hand up and buy the magazine. Big Issue vendors are some of the most vulnerable members of our society. But, at the same time, they are micro-entrepreneurs. By supporting their business, you can help them overcome homelessness, financial instability and other social disadvantages that hold them back.

Recommended for you

Read All
Leaseholders take cladding fight to parliament to demand action over unsafe homes
Housing

Leaseholders take cladding fight to parliament to demand action over unsafe homes

One in three homes in London’s financial district are sitting empty
Housing

One in three homes in London’s financial district are sitting empty

Thousands became homeless during pandemic with more feared in autumn
Housing

Thousands became homeless during pandemic with more feared in autumn

9,000 people could fall into homelessness without national Housing First plan
Housing

9,000 people could fall into homelessness without national Housing First plan

Most Popular

Read All
Only 30 MPs turn up to debate cutting universal credit
1.

Only 30 MPs turn up to debate cutting universal credit

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick sacked in cabinet reshuffle
2.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick sacked in cabinet reshuffle

More than 70 MPs back motion to stop ministers lying in parliament
3.

More than 70 MPs back motion to stop ministers lying in parliament

Universal credit: What is it and why does the £20 increase matter?
4.

Universal credit: What is it and why does the £20 increase matter?