Reward energy efficient households with council tax cuts

The ‘Home Energy Pay As You Save’ scheme will test ways to finance home energy efficiency improvements, enabling households in participating areas to make green improvements to their homes and pay for them over a long period with money saved on energy bills. However, SmartNewHomes.com believes the Government needs to appeal more directly to homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient, with an instant cash incentive such as council tax cuts.

Homes in the UK leak 152 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year and are responsible for one third of the UK’s CO2 emissions, a figure that the Government needs to reduce dramatically in order to meet its current commitment of an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050. The average new home is 40% more energy-efficient than homes built pre-2000, meaning the UK’s older housing stock is largely responsible for current CO2 levels.

David Bexon, Managing Director of SmartNewHomes.com, comments:

"There are grants currently available for households who wish to replace boilers and improve insulation in their homes, but take up is poor on the whole. I would not expect the Government’s new plan, announced today, to make any real inroads into cutting carbon emissions from housing stock. Savings on energy bills over the long term are simply not enough of an incentive alone.

"Instead, homeowners who have taken measures to reduce energy waste should be rewarded with instant tax breaks, such as a reduction in council tax of 10 – 20% for homes which achieve a high eco rating. Housebuilders can do their bit to build energy efficient new homes, but the Government needs to act if it wants to bring the rest of the UK’s housing stock in line and seriously impact CO2 emissions."

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