LHC urges Govt to put social housing at the centre of energy efficiency plans

Social housing providers must be backed by further, mid- to long-term Government funding to enable them to lead the country’s drive towards net zero.

Public sector procurement specialist LHC has welcomed the Environmental Audit Committee’s (EAC) call for more money and longer-term commitments to meet the energy efficiency retrofit challenge.

Responding to the committee’s Energy Efficiency of Existing Homes report, LHC is now urging the Government to expand the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme, both in funding and length of term, to put social housing front and centre of future plans.

John Skivington, director of LHC, said: “Since the launch of the Green Homes Grant, local authorities and their registered provider partners have demonstrated that they are very willing and very able to deliver the energy efficiency upgrades many of our social homes so desperately need. That is despite the poor delivery of vouchers for private homes.

“Had the funding been weighted towards social housing rather than private households, we have no doubt that the Government would be much closer to achieving its target for 600,000 upgraded homes than it currently is.

“By extending support through further, committed funding, local authorities will be able to lead the way in building the confidence and capacity the supply chain so desperately needs if the country is to reach net zero by 2050.

“As outlined in our response to the EAC’s call for evidence, we want to see an extension to the Local Authority Delivery scheme, and we are pleased to see this included in its report.

“We also support the recommendation to frontload the funding as part of the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, and to allow housing associations to lead bids to enable them to act quickly and effectively. We are pleased to see the Government’s announcement as to where £562million will be spent on increasing the energy efficiency of social homes, and look forward to similar schemes becoming available.

LHC’s written evidence to the committee warned that the ‘low-hanging fruit’ of energy efficiency retrofit measures are now scarce, so social landlords must now turn to higher capital investments for multilinked technologies to upgrade their homes at scale.

This can only be done in planned phases, which could be supported by longer-term Government investment. This would help to drive down costs through product development, and support investment in training to increase capacity amongst suppliers.

John added: “Through our energy efficiency frameworks, we have direct experience of the challenges of recruiting sufficient numbers of high-quality installers and trades to fully service current demands, so building confidence and capacity in the supply chain is absolutely vital if the country is to get anywhere near its aim of readying all existing homes for zero carbon.”

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