Vouchers of up to £5,000 for homeowners to make their properties energy efficient will encourage more builders to go green, claim leading figures in the industry.
The chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a £2bn grant scheme, as part of a wider a £3bn plan to cut emissions, which the treasury claims could support more than 100,000 jobs.
Construction trade bodies have welcomed the grants for retrofits such as insulation, double-glazing and heat pumps. They are optimistic this will encourage more builders to get into this field as the initiative will offer guaranteed work.
“It has to be treated as a first step and we must come together to produce industry solutions so that when this comes on board we´re doing high-quality work,” said National Federation of Builders, NFB, head of housing and planning Rico Wojtulewicz.
Federation of Master Builders, FMB, chief executive Brian Berry described the scheme as a vote of confidence for local builders up and down the country.
Training will be key
“This will protect jobs in construction and create new opportunities. We must ensure all the new entrants to the industry receive proper training or apprenticeships, to guarantee energy efficiency home improvements are delivered by quality tradespeople.”
Mr Wojtulewicz agreed adding it would be important to upskill the existing workforce so they can inform consumers about what can be done and why.
The scheme is expected to launch in September with online applications for recommended energy efficiency measures made available alongside details of accredited local suppliers.
The FMB said it would push for additional steps such as the development of green finance and for the full £9.2bn pledged in the Conservative´s manifesto to be brought forward.
The building industry is hoping the chancellor will reduce stamp duty and VAT when he gives his summer statement tomorrow afternoon in the Commons.
In particular, the NFB would like to see stamp duty scrapped for new build homes.
Mr Wojtulewicz said: “New homes create jobs and more wealth for the country and so it´s a broader remit in terms of bringing in taxation.”
The industry would also like to see a temporary cut in VAT until spring to give the sector a better chance of recovering post the Covid-19 lockdown.
Brokers Hank Zarihs Associates said property development lenders believed lifting stamp duty on new homes would be one of the best measures for stimulating the housing industry.