Select committee recovery report cites NHC evidence

An influential House of Commons committee has cited the NHC’s evidence on net zero and levelling up three times in their latest report on ‘greening the recovery’.

The House of Commons Environmental Audit Select Committee, chaired by Conservative MP Phillip Dunne, published their latest report Growing back better: putting nature and net zero at the heart of the economic recovery on 17th February. It sets out how the Government can ‘grow back better’ after Covid-19.

The Committee cites the NHC’s evidence on how making a long-term investment in housing retrofit could help the Government to deliver on net zero and levelling-up, and our recommendations around creating a long-term retrofit funding programme that would enable social housing providers to invest at scale.

The report notes that Some submissions identified specific opportunities where green measures could help to rebalance the UK; both between north and south and between urban and rural communities. The Northern Housing Consortium said that a programme of improving existing homes in the North to increase their energy efficiency ‘would not only reduce carbon emissions and improve living standards, but also create new skills and employment opportunities in the region.’ It pointed out that the North’s existing homes ‘are older and colder than the English average’ with 833,000 households across the North living in fuel poverty. It said that the ‘labour-intensive nature of improving the energy performance’ of housing stock could be used to contribute to the economic recovery of the North”

The report also notes the NHC’s evidence in relation to the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund : “[The NHC] said the Green Homes Grant scheme was a welcome development but urged the ‘Government to open up the full £3.8bn Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund outlined in the Conservative Manifesto to enable social housing providers to invest at scale.”

The report recommends to Government “that the Green Homes Grant is urgently overhauled and extended to provide a long-term stimulus to the domestic energy efficiency sector.”.  The Committee have also called for a reduction in the rate of VAT applied to home renovations.  The Government has until

Commenting, NHC Executive Director (Policy and Public Affairs) Brian Robson said “It’s great to see our evidence cited by the Committee, and particularly in a way that reflects the potential of domestic retrofit to deliver on the Government’s commitments around net zero and levelling-up. We agree with the Committee that a long-term stimulus is required : we think that’s exactly what the social housing decarbonisation fund can provide.”

The Committee’s report and recommendations can be read in full here. Government has until April 17th to respond to the Committtee’s report.  The NHC have also submitted written and oral evidence to the Committee’s Inquiry on Energy Efficiency of Existing Homes, which is ongoing.