The Green Party is calling on the government to cut VAT for refurbishment and retrofitting works to lower energy consumption and ensure everybody has access to a warm home.
Green Party finance spokesperson Molly Scott Cato has launched a petition demanding the government remove VAT for refurbishment projects if they substantially reduce carbon emissions and impose a 20% VAT for new build schemes, reduced to 5% if the build meets minimum passive house standard.
Scott Cato said: “Retrofitting is the most carbon-efficient way to provide Green homes for everybody, rather than focusing on building more new houses."
“The construction industry currently produces 40% of our total emissions, yet current VAT regimes benefit new builds over refurbishments, and this has got to change.
“During a climate and ecological crisis, we need to incentivise the most effective ways to reduce emissions and provide everybody with a warm secure home. The government has the ability to decide now if it wants to benefit all of society, or if it wants to continue prioritising big business at the expense of everybody else.”
Green investment into housing simultaneously aims to reduce climate emissions, tackle poverty and provide genuinely affordable housing. The focus will be on 3 main areas:
Improving insulation is vital for a warm home
- Home renovations would meet the highest energy-efficient standards and social needs and would ensure people have sufficient heating for the winter without the need to sacrifice other vital living expenses like proper meals.
- The households would be built to the Passivhaus or equivalent standard which would use 90% less energy for heating than the average home – good for the environment and saving people money.
- The Greens would ensure that the homes lived in by people on lower incomes would be the first to receive these major improvements; all the homes would have reduced natural gas use and renewable heat sources.
- The reinstatement of building control inspectors to local councils would ensure work on renovations or new builds was carried out under the required standards.
- The creation of new homes would provide quality jobs for communities in every area of the UK as part of a Green Future for Jobs.
- We would empower councils to bring empty homes back into use and, alongside thousands of new council homes, would all fit within the highest energy-efficient standards as the county shifts towards a net-zero carbon economy.
- Funding to local authorities for new homes would be allocated based on the needs of the area and any development would protect local architectural heritage and encourage small building projects as opposed to large new estates.
- The Greens would implement accessible transport routes to and from all new developments which would mean residents would not have to rely on cars to live their daily lives fully.
- Either safe pedestrian routes to local shops and schools would be present, or are within 500m of a high frequency bus service.