Green homes grant gone

With a year left before it was due to come to an end, the Green Homes Grant has disappeared seemingly overnight. The scheme, which was designed to help property owners afford energy-efficient home improvements has been considered a flop by many landlords.;
Green

At the end of March 2021, the Green Homes Grant was scrapped a year early.

The £1.5bn scheme was implemented in September 2020 and was designed to help property-owners afford energy-efficient home improvements.

Green homes gone

With the sudden removal of the grant, tens of thousands of jobs that it was expected to generate for contractors have disappeared over a weekend.

By the end of February 2021 there were over 123,000 applications for the grants but just 28,000 vouchers were issued and only 5,800 energy efficient installations made.

The government has confirmed that the extra £300m will be used by local governments to help people on low-incomes access energy efficiency improvements instead.

Kwasi Kwarteng, the secretary of state for business and energy, commented:

“Upgrading the country’s homes with energy efficiency measures means we can cut emissions and save people money on their energy bills.”

“Today’s funding boost will mean even more households across England are able to access these vital grants through their local authority.”

“This latest announcement takes our total energy efficiency spending to over £1.3bn in the next financial year, giving installers the certainty they need to plan ahead, create new jobs and train the next generation of builders, plumbers and tradespeople.”

Landlords at loss

Angus Stewart, Property Master’s chief executive, says the scheme was designed to mitigate misuse and fraud, but ultimately this led to the scheme being difficult to use.

“Dividing the measures landlords could claim for into primary and secondary was confusing, and landlords had to first claim for work that fell under the primary heading. It would have been far better to have let landlords decide what was needed to bring their properties up to the required standard.”

“It proved challenging to find the correctly accredited tradespeople in sufficient number to do the work and, finally, having to wait for a voucher and then wait again to redeem it once the work was completed was not particularly attractive to either landlords or tradespeople.”

The grant could have been an opportunity for landlords to increase their EPC ratings in an effort to meet the government targets of having all PRS properties at band C by 2025.

Richard Rowntree, Paragon Bank’s managing director of mortgages, says that improving the data available on energy performance certificates would help.

“A large percentage of properties don’t have a rating as they may be unencumbered or have not been sold in a long time”

“A central database would be a great start, plus consumer campaigns about how people could improve their rating.”

It is unclear as to whether the GHG scheme will be replaced with a similar scheme to assist landlords in reducing their PRS properties’ carbon footprint, or not.

This information should not be interpreted as financial advice. Mortgage and loan rates are subject to change.