IPPR sets out home improvement plan for England

The government has been urged to place an ambitious investment programme to deliver household improvements at the heart of the economic recovery from COVID-19.

On 15 July, IPPR published a report, All hands to the pump: A home improvement plan for England, setting out how an energy efficiency and low-carbon heat programme, delivered at scale, could result in up to 275,000 jobs in England by 2035 and 325,000 in the UK. However, existing policies and proposals will fall short of what is needed, with it warning the government is supporting the installation of less than 2% of the heat pumps needed each year to meet the UK’s net zero goal.

It estimated that retrofitting the majority (12mn) of homes below an EPC band of C in England with heat pumps and high energy efficiency standards will require investment of £10.6bn per year through to 2030, before falling to £7bn per year until 2050.

Calling for a comprehensive home improvement plan, the report suggested the government take a “blended approach” to financing where it provides half of the £10.6bn figure, leveraging the remaining 50% from private finance. It further called for a Retrofit Fund for England to be established worth £5.3bn a year to 2030, reduced to £3.5bn until 2050; for households to be provided with grants to cover at least half the cost of heat pump installations; for providers in the social rented sector to ensure all retrofit activity brings homes to at least EPC band B or above by 2030; and suggested government considers a range of taxation options on council tax and stamp duty, recommending they are used to incentivise greater energy efficiency.