Clearview South January 2014 - Issue 146 - Page 50

ENERGYEFFICIENCY CHANCELLOR MUST DELIVER ON PROMISE TO INVEST IN BRITAIN’S HOMES The Chancellor has missed a golden opportunity to reverse decades of underinvestment in Britain’s ageing housing infrastructure by not implementing a reduced rate of VAT on domestic renovation and repair, leaving millions of households powerless in the face of rising fuel bills, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB). Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “The Government continues to focus on big-ticket projects such as road and rail, which will be years in the planning and are unlikely even to begin within the term of this Parliament. The Chancellor has missed an opportunity to reduce VAT on housing renovation and repair. ‘A significant saving’ “Householders need more help to combat the rising cost of heating their homes, and lowering the rate of VAT charged on all housing renovation and repair would do this at a stroke – for example a 15% reduction in the rate of VAT on insulation and double glazing would represent a significant saving to the customer, and empower homeowners to protect against spiralling energy bills. Only by making your home more efficient can you arrest, or even reverse, the seemingly inexorable rise in the cost of energy.” Berry added: “Furthermore, diverting £4 billion raised annually in carbon taxes into a mass programme of publicly funded energy efficiency improvements would help those who can’t afford to pay for this work up front. Not only would this lift millions of the most vulnerable out of fuel poverty, it could also provide more than 70,000 new jobs by 2015.” PUBLIC WANTS WARMER HOMES OVER ROAD OR RAIL SPEND Making homes more energy efficient is a greater infrastructure priority for the UK public than building HS2 or new roads, airports and power stations. In a poll out today, 85 per cent of adults rank free energy efficiency measures, which could save an average family £500 every year, in their top three infrastructure priorities. In fact, 57 per cent of people believe it should be the UK’s number one priority, ahead of building new roads (15 per cent), new power stations (15 per cent), HS2 (3 per cent) or new airports (2 per cent). It is an even greater priority for younger people, with energy efficiency for homes coming first for around 70 per cent of 16 to 24 year olds. 50 JAN 2014 In addition, 63 per cent of people say that, of the infrastructure projects, it would have the biggest benefit for them personally, with the number rising to over 70 per cent for those with children and around three quarters of those aged 35 to 44. The poll was conducted by TNS for the Energy Bill Revolution, the world’s biggest fuel poverty alliance representing over 150 British businesses, charities, energy companies and unions. They revealed that Government funding for energy efficiency measures has already been dramatically cut, with investment to help the fuel poor slashed in half before the last long, bitter winter and total spending down by a fifth over the course of this Parliament. The figures were highlighted as official statistics were released showing that 31,000 people died because of the freezing weather last winter, a 29 per cent increase on the previous year. Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said: “Energy-efficiency improvements, unlike major road or rail projects, are not at the mercy of our lengthy planning process before they can get started. The positive impact on jobs and growth is immediate because energy efficient improvements to our homes can be done right away. If the Chancellor prioritises this type of capital investment, he will bring about significant economic gains, providing additional work for the UK’s small local builders, who are the backbone of the construction industry.” To read more, visit