Council tax discount ‘could boost Green Deal’

Giving council tax discounts to homes with energy efficiency measures could encourage more people to buy them with loans through the Green Deal. Woeful uptake in the Government’s scheme which […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Giving council tax discounts to homes with energy efficiency measures could encourage more people to buy them with loans through the Green Deal.

Woeful uptake in the Government’s scheme which is meant to update Britain’s draughty, inefficient houses has seen many in the industry wonder where it is going wrong.

Only 245 households have agreed to finance energy efficiency improvements since kick off in January 2013, according to official figures from the end of June. Government expects the Green Deal to support the ‘retrofit’ of 14 million homes by 2020.

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has put together analysis which suggests a “variable council tax” could bump up the number retrofits carried each year by as many as 1.5million.

The task force behind the report included a number of Green Deal installers and building firms including Mitie, M&S, Kingspan and Travis Perkins and E.ON Sustainable Energy.

Based on the research, the yearly carbon savings would be between 800,000 and 2.2million tonnes of carbon. Such a scheme could also contribute £1.5bn-£4.4bn to GDP a year, according to the report.

However the Local Government Association has expressed reservations about discounts for council tax, worrying such a move could affect local councils’ budgets.

A spokesman for the LGA told ELN: “We wouldn’t really back that idea. The reason is, it’s (the Green Deal) a central government initiative which already has funding in place. Local councils already help back up the Green Deal. [Council tax discounts] would affect local council budgets and other services.”

They added the Government would likely have to subsidise such a move, as councils were coping with 33% cuts to budgets as well as the 10% cut laid out in the Chancellor’s Spending Review last month.