Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive at UKGBC said:

“The Chancellor has recognised the huge potential of energy efficiency to create jobs, and the money announced today for upgrading buildings is a much needed first step.

“In respect of homes, we urgently need more detail on how the Green Homes Grant scheme will be implemented. Done well, it has the potential to kickstart a retrofit revolution across the country, but, done badly, this could cause more harm than good to people’s homes and to the industry. It’s crucial to avoid the mistakes of previous retrofit schemes by ensuring that all measures and installers under the scheme are properly accredited and deliver real improvements. The allocation of £50m to social housing is also a welcome announcement, although frankly just a drop in the ocean compared with the Conservative manifesto commitment of a £3.8bn Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund – far more of which should be brought forward immediately

“Furthermore, given that today’s announcement contained a range of financial incentives and tax cuts, it missed the opportunity of tying these in more directly with the green buildings agenda. UKGBC has previously called for a VAT cut on refurbishments and variable stamp duty rates as incentives to drive up consumer appetite for more efficient homes, which would stimulate demand for these cash grants.

“Finally, we urgently need confirmation that today’s announcements are part of a clear, long-term and ambitious plan to bring all our 29m homes and circa 2m commercial buildings up to decent standards of efficiency. Such a plan would include target dates for minimum energy efficiency standards across all property types, and a range of policy and fiscal measures to ensure these can be met. This is not only vital to reaching net zero, but also for ensuring that industry, and the supply chain in particular, can gear up and invest in both the skills and innovations required.”