Rishi Sunak to unveil £2bn home insulation scheme for improvement Labour objects renters are left out, need broader plan

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LONDON: As a new step to help the needy people, hundreds of thousands of homeowners will receive vouchers of up to £5,000 for energy-saving home improvements, with the poorest getting up to £10,000.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is due to set out a £2bn grant scheme in England for projects such as insulation as part of a wider £3bn plan to cut emissions. The Treasury said the grants could help to support more than 100,000 jobs.

Labour said renters appeared to be left out and called for a “broader and bigger” plan to cut carbon emissions.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak

Under the Green Homes Grant, the government will pay at least two-thirds of the cost of home improvements that save energy, the Treasury said. For example, a homeowner of a semi-detached or end-of-terrace house could install cavity wall and floor insulation for about £4,000 – the homeowner would pay £1,320 while 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 is issued.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Business Secretary Alok Sharma added that the poorest households could receive up to £10,000 towards costs, and that double glazing would also be covered by the scheme. He continued: “What [the scheme] ultimately means is lower bills for households, hundreds of pounds off energy bills every year, it’s supporting jobs and is very good news for the environment.”

The government said about half of the fund – which is due to be spent in one financial year – will go to the poorest homeowners, who will not have to contribute anything to the cost. Better insulation could save some people £600 a year on energy bills, the Treasury said.

Mr 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.

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. It will involve improving insulation in public buildings such as schools and hospitals and retro-fitting low-carbon heating technology to social housing.