Britain’s biggest high street bank and the owner of DIY retailer B&Q are among a group of companies calling on Jeremy Hunt to support the energy transition by overhauling the stamp duty scheme for house buyers.
Sky News has learned that Lloyds Banking Group, Kingfisher and Santander and E.ON UK, the domestic energy supplier, have signed up to the Better Homes Alliance (BHA), a new group calling for incentives to drive greater energy efficiency.
In a letter to the chancellor this week, the BHA said its members’ “shared aim is to enable households across the UK to improve the energy efficiency of their homes”.
It urged Mr Hunt to consider introducing a ‘rebate to renovate’, which it described as “a stamp duty rebate on homes that improve their EPC rating through refurbishment within two years of a sale”.
“We believe that a carrot, rather than a stick, is the only way to encourage homeowners to make the kind of improvements that will begin to address the fact that we have some of the least efficient and carbon-intensive homes in Europe,” The BHA letter said.
The newly formed group cited research showing that more than £10 billion could be saved by homeowners if their properties were upgraded to make them more energy efficient.
Britain’s housing sector accounts for 17% of all UK carbon emissions, according to government figures, the letter added.
“This [£10bn figure] equivalent to an annual saving of £390 for the average household.
“Improving our stock can also add a significant ‘price premium’ to homes, with Rightmove research showing that an improved EPC rating of F to C can add as much as £56,000 to the value of a home over local price growth.
“To address rising costs and concerns about energy security affecting households across the UK, and our wider net zero commitments, it is imperative that households are incentivized to make improvements to their homes,” said the letter, of which a copy has been seen. by Sky News.
The BHA said it would carry out analysis to show why the ‘rebate to renovate’ would be more effective than previous energy efficiency proposals.
A Whitehall insider said officials at the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero had already held initial talks with Treasury counterparts about such a policy.
The BHA’s other founding members are Santander UK, Knauf, an insulation supplier, and the Energy Efficiency Infrastructure Group.
The group’s secretarial function is handled by WPI Strategy, a public affairs firm.