An influential Conservative-led House of Commons Select Committee has recommended urgent action to improve energy efficiency of homes, citing written and oral evidence provided by the NHC. The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee has this week recommended rolling out the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and Homes Upgrade Grants ‘without delay’ with funding front-loaded.
The NHC submitted written evidence to the Committee last July, and our Senior Policy Advisor Karen Brown appeared before the Committee to provide oral evidence in November. Our key messages to the Committee were that home energy efficiency could play an important role in the North’s economic recovery from Covid-19, and that bringing forward the £3.8bn Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund would enable councils and housing associations to retrofit homes at scale and speed.
Commenting on the publication of the report, Committee Chair Rt. Hon Philip Dunne MP (Conservative) said:
“Making 19 million homes ready for net zero Britain by 2050 is an enormous challenge that the Government appears to have not yet grasped. In the next 29 years, the Government must improve energy efficiency upgrades and roll out low carbon heating measures: a material start must be made now.
“Government investment to improve energy efficiency has been woefully inadequate. The £9 billion that the Government pledged at the election was welcome, but 16 months on, there appears to be no plan nor meaningful delivery.”
The cross-party Committee references evidence from the NHC eight times in its final report. It notes that ‘the Northern Housing Consortium said expenditure of the promised £3.8bn [Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund] should be brought forwards so that councils and housing associations can retrofit homes at scale and speed.’.
The report goes on to say:
“We welcome the Social Housing Decarbonisation fund and support its aims to retrofit social housing at scale. However, to date only a fraction of the funding has been made available for demonstrator projects that may well not deliver the efficiencies that larger schemes could achieve.
The Government should bring forward the allocation of the £3.8bn of funding pledged before the 2019 general election. This would deliver cost savings at scale. This funding should be frontloaded to reap the benefits of cumulative emissions savings towards net zero. The Government should also allow housing associations to lead bids, so as to ensure that the available funding is used quickly and effectively.”
This is the second report from the Enivronmental Audit Committee in 2021 to cite the NHC’s evidence, following our written submission to the same Committee’s Inquiry on Greening the post-Covid Recovery. Commenting, NHC Chief Executive Tracy Harrison said:
“I really welcome the Committee’s recommendations, particularly that they have added their voice to calls for the £3.8bn social housing decarbonisation fund to be brought forward and front-loaded – this chimes with the messages the NHC is delivering to Government on behalf of the North’s housing sector. This is another great example of how the NHC is making the voice of housing in the North heard in Westminster and Whitehall.”
Government is obliged to respond to Select Committee Reports and Recommendations within 60 days of their publication.
For more information on our work with this Select Committee, contact Karen Brown – firstname.lastname@example.org