Chancellor’s summer statement ‘a good first step’ to green recovery

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has promised to deliver a green recovery from the economic effects of the Coronavirus pandemic after confirming a £3bn energy efficiency programme in his much-anticipated Summer Economic Update.

With a full Budget to follow in the Autumn, Sunak said that the government wanted to deliver an economic stimulus package with “the environment at its heart”.

He confirmed previously announced plans for a new £3 billion energy efficiency programme comprising £1bn to upgrade public buildings such as schools and hospitals and £2bn worth of Green Homes Grants.

The grants are designed to cover two thirds of the cost of making individual homes more energy efficient (up to £5000 per household) and the full cost for low income households (up to £10000).

Sunak estimated that the measures would make more than 650,000 homes more energy efficient, cut carbon emissions to the equivalent of taking 270,000 vehicles off the road and support around 140,000 jobs.

Meanwhile, Sunak also announced a range of job protection measures including a new £1000 bonus scheme for companies that take back furloughed employees, and a ‘kickstarter’ initiative whereby government would subsidise companies to hire young people aged 16-24.

Industry leaders welcomed the latest package measures although criticised the Chancellor’s failure to go further to tackle carbon emissions by providing firmer support for renewables and low carbon energy.

Dr Nina Skorupska, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association said; “Although we support the sentiment and maintain that this is a good first step, in reality, these funds are a mere drop in the ocean of what is needed to truly stimulate the economy and set the government on track for Net Zero by 2050.

“The ambition in terms of funding is severely lacking and in some areas clarity over the details, such as whether the Green Homes Grant includes domestic installation of solar, energy storage and biomass boilers as well as insulation.”

She added; “We urge the Chancellor to use the time between now and the Autumn Budget as an opportunity to work with the industry to create a comprehensive and far reaching plan that will ensure a successful and inclusive green recovery.”

Steve Jennings, head of energy and utilities and PwC UK said; “It is clear that there is an opportunity to put clean energy at the heart of a cleaner UK. The likes of a heat sector deal that supports installation of low carbon alternatives to gas boilers would create further jobs and save consumers hundreds of pounds a year. Measures like this, alongside a series of major infrastructure programmes to upgrade our housing, decarbonise transport and create a modern, flexible energy system are crucial to the future of a greener UK.”

 

 

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