The Treasury must invest in new housing energy efficiency infrastructure for our future

Posted On: 
12th March 2019

The Mineral Wool Insulation Manufacturers Association (MIMA) calls for more action from the Chancellor in terms of investing into energy efficiency measures and low carbon homes in this week's Spring Statement.

"MIMA wants to focus attentions on the “can do” and how the Spending Review has the potential to support the nucleus of a coherent programme on energy efficiency for England - as an area that truly cross-cuts government departments"
Credit: 
PA

With the positive news in the media this week that Chancellor Hammond will be using his Spring Statement tomorrow to unveil fresh green policy measures for new builds, he must not forget the multiple benefits of energy efficiency in our existing homes too.

As a co-founder and member of the Energy Efficiency Infrastructure Group (EEIG), MIMA wants to focus attentions on the “can do” and how the Spending Review has the potential to support the nucleus of a coherent programme on energy efficiency for England - as an area that truly cross-cuts government departments. There is a clear recognition that energy efficiency is a policy that benefits constituents, voters and us, the “general public” in multiple ways - from reducing energy bills to improving health to combating climate change - and spans across Whitehall objectives.

Benefits do span government departments:

With a £1bn extra investment, a housing energy infrastructure programme could deliver £3.4bn in private investment a year:

  • Which would keep homes healthy – delivering key NHS and health targets around healthy breathing, warmer (health impacts from cold homes cost the NHS £1.3bn per year in England ), quality homes (reducing the health impacts of poor housing, estimated to cost the NHS £2.5bn per year ) and healthier air – take note Matt Hancock.
  • Helping DEFRA’s air quality strategy and meeting DEFRA targets on air pollution creating £4.1bn of net present value to DEFRA (in terms of avoided harm to human health) – take note Michael Gove.
  • Delivering by 2035 on BEIS’s Clean Growth strategy pledge to have all homes up to an EPC C standard by 2035
  • Helping to meet a major part of the government carbon targets in the least cost method and on the road to meeting the overall net zero climate goals up to 2050

We ask the Chancellor, to:

  1. Commit to an additional £1bn a year infrastructure investment into low carbon homes and therefore creating £3.4bn of private investment and growth.
  2. Lead on energy efficiency as a UK infrastructure priority as recommended by the National Infrastructure Commission and the Committee on Climate Change.
  3. Guide HM Treasury to ensuring energy efficient standards for housebuilders and on designing and testing incentives for households so as to maximise their contribution – e.g. lower Stamp Duty for efficient homes and 0% interest loans.

Other benefits are within your grasp:

  • Reducing energy bills by 25% on average (or £270 lower) for UK households and keeping them low
  • Cutting greenhouse gas emissions in the most cost-effective way
  • Creating growth, productivity, and enterprise in low carbon industries
  • Bringing strong economic returns of a similar scale to other major infrastructure projects Appraisal based on HM Treasury’s own methodology (Cambridge Econometrics) finds that the net benefit of this saving would be £7.5bn (before considering wider health and economic benefits). 
  • Increasing GDP by £3.20 for every £1 invested by the government - as a result of  energy efficiency investments, GDP will be 0.6% higher in 2030 (£13.9bn).
  • Generating more than 100,000 new jobs a year, spread across the UK

Let’s hope that the Spring Statement is not just hot air, grand gestures or more empty targets but in the words of Elvis Presley, surely it is time for “A little less conversation, a little more action, please”.