Yesterday Government provided detail on how to access the Green Home Grant scheme, which was announced as part of the Chancellor’s Summer Economic Statement last month. The Government confirmed the grant programme is scheduled to go live towards the end of September, and also opened bidding for a £500m local authority-led component.
The £2bn scheme has been split into a £1.5bn Voucher Scheme and a £500m Local Authority Delivery (LAD) scheme for low-income, and low EPC households. Social landlords will be eligible for both schemes within the application rules.
Home-owners, including landlords will be able to apply for two thirds of the cost of home improvements with grants capped at £5,000. Meanwhile, low income households will qualify for grants worth up to £10,000 to support energy efficiency upgrades.
Government has stated it expects the scheme to deliver improvements for over 600,000 households, while creating an estimated 100,000 jobs in green construction.
Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme
The voucher scheme aims to stimulate demand for energy efficiency upgrades in existing private homes.
The scheme can be used for primary measures (such as insulation or low carbon heat) and secondary measures (e.g. draught proofing and windows). Households must install at least one of the primary measures to qualify for funding.
Full eligibility details can be found in the information from Government, but councils, housing associations, shared owners and private rented sector landlords are all eligible for the main voucher scheme. A low-income element is only open to owner-occupiers and park homes.
Tradespeople are required to sign up to the TrustMark accreditation scheme ahead of the launch next month – this is intended to prevent poor quality/unnecessary installations.
The Simple Energy Advice (SEA) service, set up following the Each Home Counts review, will provide advice to home owners on appropriate improvements and whether they qualify for funding.
Local Authority Delivery (LAD) Competition
Under the LAD scheme councils have until 1st September to bid for funding to improve the energy efficiency of low-income households in their areas. The LAD scheme targets low-income and low EPC rated homes (those in band E, F or G) including those living in the worst quality off-gas grid homes.
Funding must be targeted at households with a combined household annual low-income of no more than £30,000. Funding is available for all tenure types (including landlords and social landlords) but must support the retrofit of existing domestic properties only. Local authority applications are subject to a minimum bid of £500,000. Consortium bids are allowed, and a lead LA should submit the proposal on behalf of the consortium.
£500m has been allocated to the LAD scheme, in two phases. This first phase consists of £200m to support low income households. £300m of funding will be included in a second phase to be allocated through Local Energy Hubs within 2020/21, to be released in due course for delivery by March 2022.
Local Authorities may use up to 15% of grant funding to administer and deliver the scheme including preparation of properties to facilitate energy efficiency upgrades. As part of the monitoring and evaluation, LAs will be required to keep records of housing stock EPC ratings prior to and post-installation.
LAD cannot be combined with Green Homes Grant vouchers or blended with other government schemes such as RHI or ECO for the same individual measure.
For the LAD scheme it is a requirement for low carbon heat installers to be certified under Trustmark/Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) or equivalent, but it is not yet a requirement for contractors installing other measures to be Trustmark registered. However, bids using registered installers will score higher in the ‘Delivery Assurance’ assessment.
Projects under the next LAD delivery phase (£300m) for 2021/22 will be required to have Trustmark registered status.
How to apply
BEIS is inviting LAs to apply for funding from the 4th August to 12 noon on the 1st September 2020. Funding will be allocated by the 28th September 2020 through grants.
The LAD application form can be accessed here.
On 6th August 2020 BEIS will host a webinar to launch the commissioning process. It is recommended that LAs attend this webinar which will outline the details of the competition, including recommended next steps for bidding LAs. This webinar will be repeated on the 10th August.
Private and Social Landlords
LAD Scheme – landlords eligible for funding (private and social) would provide at least 33% contribution towards the cost of the upgrades and the subsidy should not exceed £5,000 on average per household. This will form part of the ‘Value for Money’ assessment.
Voucher Scheme – Landlords of private rented sector domestic properties and landlords of social sector domestic properties (including LA owned homes) are eligible for the scheme except for the low-income voucher scheme which applies only to owner-occupied properties.
This grant funding is very welcome news and will help upgrade of a significant number of homes.
The North is home to a large number of older, colder homes – with 64% of existing housing in the North below Band C. This £2bn scheme must not be the limit of Government’s ambitions.
In particular, the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund promised in the Conservative Manifesto amounted to £3.8bn over 10 years. While the Summer Economic Statement made an initial allocation of £50m from that fund for a demonstrator project, we await further detail on this fund. The NHC is urging Government to open this fund at the earliest opportunity, enabling the North’s housing sector to create jobs and deliver on our shared net zero and levelling up ambitions.
NHC Contact: Karen Brown, Senior Policy Advisor
0191 566 1000