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Levelling Up: National Retrofit Strategy for Homes

Volume 705: debated on Tuesday 7 December 2021

7. What fiscal assessment he has made of the potential merits of a national retrofit strategy for homes as part of the Government’s levelling-up agenda. (904603)

The Government’s heat and building strategy announced £3.9 billion of funding to decarbonise buildings over the next three years. This included £1.8 billion of support for low income households. I am sure that my hon. Friend will be pleased to hear that her constituency was recently allocated £5.2 million to retrofit low-income homes.

A retrofit strategy also requires established accreditations that customers can trust and training that workers will want to re-skill into. SGS College, the Active Building Centre and others in my patch across Stroud are uniquely placed to create those programmes and certifications for the whole country so that we can implement the Government’s ambitions. Will my hon. Friend be working with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for Education to ensure that funding is available for this crucial work?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right say that we need to have the right skilled workforce for our transition to net zero, and training is part of that. This year we have provided £6.4 million to help 18 training providers to train around 8,000 people, and our £2.5 billion funding for the national skills fund includes funding for employer-led boot camps. I would be very happy to meet her to discuss the part that SGS College and the Active Building Centre in her constituency could play in making sure that we have the workforce we need for the net zero transition.

A decade ago we saw the failure of the green new deal, and only recently we have seen the complete and woeful failure of the green homes grant scheme. These were supposed to retrofit homes, create jobs and boost the economy. Will the Treasury work with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to get a grip on this, so that they invest taxpayers’ money in achieving net zero and creating jobs rather than throwing good money after bad?

The green homes grant and its associated scheme for the Chancellor’s plan for jobs saw £1.75 billion invested in improving more than 100,000 homes. We are now bringing in a more targeted replacement, the home upgrade grant, to support low-income households, and that received £950 million at the spending review. We will continue to support low-income households to ensure that they become more energy efficient, which is good for keeping bills down and an important part of our net zero transition.