Government right to prioritise low-income families in Heat and Buildings Strategy, but still risks falling short of target to halve home carbon emissions by 2035

Responding to the Government’s Heating and Building Strategy, Jonny Marshall, Senior Economist at the Resolution Foundation, said:

“The Government has rightly made good on its Manifesto commitment of funding to reduce carbon emissions from people’s homes, and to prioritise low-income families and those in social housing for support in making homes more energy efficient.

“The £450 million funding to support the roll-out of heat pumps is also a welcome start. The key test is whether it delivers the cost reductions needed to make the transition affordable for everyone, as history shows the risk that higher income families may be more likely to take advantage of such grants. The Treasury could have gone further by setting a five- rather than three-year budget for this investment, as it has in the past for capital funding, to provide the market more certainty over its commitment to decarbonise home heating.

“This lack of certainty in the market could really matter, as the 90,000 heat pumps that this new scheme is expected to fund still falls well short of the 450,000 heat pumps the Climate Change Committee says need to be installed by 2025 in order to keep the UK on track to cut emissions from our homes in half by 2035.”

Notes to Editors

  • The Foundation notes that the prioritisation of low-income families is demonstrated via the £950m for the means-tested Home Upgrade Grant scheme, and the £800m for the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund.
  • Recent Resolution Foundation research found that recent improvements in home energy efficiency had largely been accrued by high income households. As a result, the poorest fifth of households are now the joint least likely to live in the most energy efficient homes, having been the most likely to back in 2014.