Banks have warned that without financial incentives such as a stamp duty refund to incentivise people to adopt green retrofits the government won’t meet its 2050 net-zero target.

Trade body UK Finance has published a report calling for a national body to deliver retrofitting, grants to upskill tradespeople and improved energy performance certificates.

UK Finance chief executive Clive Postings said: “Climate change is upon us and the challenges we face in the 21st century are literally existential. We are no longer ‘at a crossroads’, no longer just able to consider our options. Now is the time for action.”

Net Zero Homes: Time for a Reset highlights that the UK’s 28m existing housing stock is among the least energy efficient in Europe accounting for 14 per cent of the nation’s total carbon emissions.

Despite 85 per cent of people believing climate change is a problem only 35 per cent are adopting or planning to adopt energy efficiency measures.

Costs of energy efficient improvements are a deterrent

Installation costs are a barrier for nearly half of the public with a quarter perceiving the running costs of a low-carbon heating system as too high for them.

“The government must bridge this value-action gap if decarbonisation ambitions are to be successful. Financial incentives – grants and subsidies – will encourage consumers to implement energy efficient measures to retrofit homes,” said the report.

The Federation of Master Builders, FMB, have been calling for a national retrofit strategy to set out how to make UK homes greener. Both the FMB and the National Federation of Builders, NFB, have said there is an urgent need to upskill existing tradespeople to do the job.

The NFB would like to see a green retrofitting passport scheme where trades people would give householders an assessment about what energy efficiency improvements would make a difference.

Both the FMB and NFB want a VAT cut for green renovations and a stamp duty rebate.

Brokers Hank Zarihs Associates said a national scheme where tradespeople were trained on green retrofits would boost SME builders and make it easier for them to gain development and refurbishment finance.

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Shiraz Khan