Homes could be key to rebooting the economy

As the UK looks to rebound from the impacts of COVID-19, a recovery package with a widespread push for retrofits offers a “massive opportunity”, according to analysis.

On 10 June, the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) explained that such a package would offer new jobs, increase spending in other areas of the economy, boost standards of housing and cut carbon emissions. Its analysis had found local overlaps between high unemployment, skilled workforces, a struggling construction sector and leaky homes – suggesting homes could be key to an economic rebound.

The unemployment rate in Blackpool stands at 11% – substantially above the national average of 3.9% – while three quarters (75%) of its homes are rated Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) D or below. Middlesbrough and Wolverhampton have unemployment rates of 9%, with 67% and 70% of homes rated EPC D or below respectively. These figures account for millions of homes and work could begin almost immediately. Similar trends were found for areas where a substantial percentage of the workforce is employed in skilled trades, areas of deprivation where the number of vacancies is falling fastest, and regions with levels of youth unemployment “well above average”.

The installation of most forms of household insulation, such as filling cavity walls, upgrading windows and insulating roofs, would require limited household interaction at the most. This means they could be easily carried out under social distancing guidelines, offering a boost for tradespeople looking to get back to work. Furthermore, there is an opportunity to lock in good, long-term employment for hundreds of thousands of young people that offer a chance to tackle climate a change – a key concern among today’s youth.