UK GBC urges Government to cut council tax on energy efficient homes

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Campaigners are pushing the Government to introduce measures to allow owners of energy efficient homes to pay less council tax and stamp duty to boost take-up of its Green Deal scheme.

As part of an analysis on how to improve the Green Deal, the UK Green Building Council (GBC) suggested funding would be generated from making owners of particularly inefficient homes pay more under the same two taxes.

The initiative was launched back in January, but a recent report published at the end of June on its overall progress suggested only four homes had actually looked to take up on the opportunity to fit new energy efficient measures into their home.

GBC chief executive, Paul King, said: "This sends a powerful message to the Government that there are viable policy options available to boost demand for the Green Deal and help tackle the UK's energy efficiency crisis.

"The research shows not only the impact additional incentives would have on carbon savings, but how they could breathe new life into the construction sector and boost economic growth."

The report into the Green Deal issued at the end of June did show some positive signs however, with another 245 households looking to finalise finance soon.

It also showed many homeowners were taking up the cashback incentives offered with the purchases of new boilers under the scheme.

However, for the GBC more still has to be done to encourage a better uptake.

Mr King added:"There are some tough political choices to be made, not least in using the tax regime to nudge householders into action, but the opportunities for UK Plc are just so great, that this is a nettle which needs to be grasped."

Fuel Poverty Advisory Group Chair, Derek Lickorish MBE, welcomed the proposals but warned measures would have to take into account low income families struggling to make ends meet.

He said: "The fuel poor tend to live in energy inefficient homes and they have insufficient income to heat them to a good enough level or to put in the improvements required to make them more energy efficient."

With its push for new measures, the UK GBC is confident retrofits under the scheme could be as high as 169,000 a year - far exceeding the current numbers.

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