The Prime Minister was unequivocal. This summer his Government will introduce a new incentive scheme to encourage home movers to invest in energy saving measures. At his most recent monthly cross-examination by House of Commons Committee chairs, he quite specifically described it as a “stamp duty discount for people who take action to improve the energy performance and energy efficiency of their homes” (Q49). I only wish that this description had been accurate. Sadly it is not. Because formally the new scheme is not directly related to the stamp duty transaction. And, due to that, it can be argued there is no requirement whatsoever for the key professional groups involved in the buying and selling of homes – specifically, solicitors and licensed conveyancers, and estate agents – to inform anybody about the new scheme.
ACE has today joined with nearly 30 other civil society organisations in issuing a joint statement calling on the Government to lay without delay tough, enforceable regulations to introduce a minimum energy efficiency standard in the private rented sector. The sector has the highest proportion of the very worst homes (those in EPC Bands F and G) – with nearly half the households living in them suffering from fuel poverty. The Energy Act 2011 required the Government to bring forward regulations to introduce a minimum energy efficiency standard, expected to be set at Band E. However, these regulations look likely to be laid at least a year later than expected, leaving landlords and tenants alike facing uncertainty and confusion. We are therefore calling on the Government to lay the regulations as soon as possible, to specify that the standard will be Band E in all circumstances and to ensure that exemptions will be kept to an absolute minimum.
Consumer Futures commissioned ACE Research to model the cost and impact of introducing ambitious new fuel poverty targets. This new report presents the results of the research, as introduced by William Baker, Head of Fuel Poverty Policy at Consumer Futures. Consumer Futures has long advocated an ambitious strategy to address the fuel poverty crisis in England. We also consider a national programme to install extensive insulation and efficient heating systems in the homes of low income consumers would make a major contribution towards eliminating fuel poverty. The UK Government’s proposal to develop a new Fuel Poverty Strategy for England provides an important opportunity to introduce just such a programme.