Refurb grants for people to make their homes more energy efficient should be available for an extra year rather than finish at the end of March next year, urges the Federation of Master Builders.
The trade body is calling on the chancellor Rishi Sunak in his spending review on November 25th to bring forward a £9.2 bn manifesto pledge to make existing homes greener. The Federation of Master Builders, FMB, said this would offer a clear pipeline of work.
FMB chief executive Brian Berry said: “SMEs in the construction sector stand ready to build back greener, but they will only be able to do so if they are supported to train and recruit highly skilled tradespeople.”
He said this would mean identifying skill gaps and investing in businesses that could do the training.
“We should also be making the most of the current trend for homeowners to extend and convert their homes, by cutting VAT to 5 per cent on home improvements so consumers have more money to invest in retrofit at the same time,” he added.
Extension of green grants gets widespread support
Brokers Hank Zarihs Associates said development and refurbishment finance lenders supported an extension of the £3bn green retrofit scheme launched at the end of September.
About £2bn is available to help private homeowners upgrade the energy performance of homes, using Trustmark-registered installers.
“Our plan to upgrade the nation’s buildings and help build back better is good news for jobs, the environment and people’s back pockets, as we reduce emissions and help cut energy bills,” said business and energy secretary Alok Sharma at the launch of the scheme.
The government has said it will fund two-thirds of the cost of energy efficiency work such as new insulation and double glazing up to a cost of £5,000.
Only traders registered with Trustmark can do the work but few have signed up which the FMB said was due to the scheme’s short length and need to have the green retrofit PAS2030 qualification.
The remaining £1bn is to be funnelled into boosting the energy efficiency of public buildings, including schools and hospitals.