Thousands of households are to be handed vouchers for home improvements as part of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s pledge to cut energy bills and make homes greener.
Under the Green Homes Grant, families will receive vouchers of up to £5,000 for energy-saving changes, such as a new boiler, with the poorest getting up to £10,000.
It’s part of a £2billion pledge set to be unveiled in Wednesday’s mini-Budget, which could also include one-off £500 high street vouchers to save struggling businesses.
The plan aims to create tens of thousands of new jobs while helping the UK meet its 2050 target of achieving net zero carbon emissions, the Treasury said.
These new roles will include plumbers, builders and tradesmen to help the Covid-hit economy recover.
Homeowners will be able to spend the cash on loft, wall and floor insulation, eco-friendly boilers, heat pumps, double or triple-glazed windows, low-energy lighting and energy-efficient doors.
Under the grant, the government will pay at least two-thirds of the cost of home improvements that save energy, the Treasury said.
For example, if a homeowner of a semi-detached or end-of-terrace house spent £4,000 on install cavity wall and floor insulation, the household would pay £1,320 and the government would contribute £2,680.
The scheme will launch in September, with online applications for recommended energy efficiency measures, along with details of accredited local suppliers.
Once one of these suppliers has provided a quote and the work is approved, the voucher will be issued.
The government said better insulation could save some people £600 a year on energy bills.
Sunak said the investment would also help to “kick-start our economy” by creating thousands of jobs and providing business for existing skilled workers, as the UK recovers from the economic shock of coronavirus.
“As Britain recovers from the outbreak, it’s vital we do everything in our power to support and protect livelihoods across the nation,” he said.
Matt Clemow, chief executive of challenger energy provider Igloo, said: “Without question, this is a bold, forward-thinking move from the Chancellor. 31% of the UK’s household carbon emissions come from fossil fuels used to heat homes. Creating homes which are energy-efficient is crucial if the UK is to meet its net zero targets.
“The pledge to spend half the fund on making improvements to the poorest households is vital. These are the homes who will benefit the most from cheaper energy bills. But the government must also work to help renters who want to reduce their emissions but can’t make such drastic changes to their homes. We cannot leave part of the country behind as we transition to a greener economy.”
The announcement comes after Sunak was urged to consider a new voucher scheme to help inject money back into the economy.
The High Street Voucher scheme would target industries that have been the hardest hit – and give every adult £500 and child £250 to spend where necessary.