Stamp Duty rebates and ‘building passports’: BusinessLDN publishes 10-point for a retrofit revolution

    Stamp Duty rebates and ‘building passports’: BusinessLDN publishes 10-point for a retrofit revolution

    BusinessLDN has set out an ambitious 10-point retrofit plan to encourage homeowners across the capital to retrofit their properties, including stamp duty tax breaks based on Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings and a range of alternative funding measures to help improve the efficiency of different homes.

    According to the business group’s analysis, housing makes up more than a third of London’s carbon emissions. And while enhancing the energy efficiency of the capital’s housing stock would require significant investment, the installation of proven energy-saving measures such as double-glazed windows or insulation could generate £110bn for the economy and create more than 70,000 jobs across the capital.

    Launched today, the plan was developed in partnership with retrofit specialist Hestia and with the backing of businesses including Arcadis, Turner and Townsend, and Clarion Housing Association, as well as the Green Finance Institute and London Councils.

    Muniya Barua, deputy chief executive at BusinessLDN, said at a time when the capital is facing a cost-of-living squeeze, retrofitting programmes could help Londoners cut their energy bills while also slashing emissions and boosting the economy.

    “Homeowners seeking to make their homes more energy efficient face a maze of complex process, confusing regulation and high upfront costs,” she said. “That’s why we’re calling for a bold package of measures to encourage more homeowners to take the plunge, including a major awareness raising campaign, new financial incentives, as well as ensuring local authorities and the construction sector have access to the resources and talent that they need to deliver the retrofit revolution the capital needs.”

    Author of the government’s independent review of Net Zero and Mission Zero Coalition chair, Chris Skidmore MP, added that tackling buildings emissions is key to delivering on the UK’s emissions goals. “Decarbonising owner-occupier homes is essential if we are to deliver the change that is needed,” he said. “London has a critical role to play in delivering the retrofit revolution that is needed across the country so I welcome this action plan from BusinessLDN. It will help to catalyse action from individuals, the public sector and private sector.”

    With owner-occupied homes representing the largest housing tenure in London, the action plan sets out a range of measures to make it easier for homeowners to decarbonise their properties.

    These include an awareness campaign led by the Greater London Authority and Energy Savings Trust to help homeowners more easily understand the benefits of retrofitting, as well as more dedicated funding and retrofit skills training by boroughs.

    The plan also proposes Stamp Duty adjustments based on a home’s EPC rating – including rebates for improvements made within two years of purchase – a streamlined grant programme using a home’s energy usage to determine the level of funding, and ‘building passports’ collated in a housing registry to track home’s real world energy performance.

    Other proposed measures include tailored financing for individuals using products such as green mortgages, funding for communities to create larger scale retrofit programmed that could attract capital from investment firms, and an industry-funded recruitment campaign across London to attract diverse talent and close the green skills gaps.

    Finally, BusinessLDN’s plan urges faster development of apprenticeship standards for retrofits and the creation of an accredited retrofit “one-stop shop” to make it easier for homeowners to seek expert guidance.

    Cllr Kieron Williams, chair of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee, said a “dual approach” between boroughs and businesses can encourage shared learning and maximise the impact of retrofitting homes on London’s carbon emissions.

    “Boroughs are determined to make homes and buildings in London warmer, greener and more energy efficient through retrofit,” he said. “In fact, this is one of the key priorities for our collaborative Climate Change programme.

    “We know that people across the capital support councils and businesses in wanting to move to a more sustainable way of living and are crying out for ways to save money on their energy bills to help them through the cost-of-living crisis.”

    Green Finance Institute programme director, Emma Harvey-Smith, said rolling out a London-wide retrofitting programme could help make homes warmer while also cutting bills and emissions.

    “With buildings being a significant contributor to London’s carbon footprint, making homes more energy efficient will be key to the city achieving net zero carbon by 2030,” she said. “The development and scaling of existing and new financing solutions will be vital for providing the required capital to make retrofit upgrades.

    “Innovative solutions – such as Property Linked Finance which has seen almost $14 billion invested making buildings in the US greener – can help to tackle challenges such as the payback period by linking finance to the property and not the individual.”

    The release of BusinessLDN’s 10-point-plan comes less than a month after the Buildings Mission Zero Network launched the first of two reports exploring how to accelerate the decarbonisation of the built environment.

    Titled Mission Retrofit – the inaugural report was co-authored by Chris Skidmore and Simon McWhirter, deputy chief executive at the UK Green Building Council.

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