Public affairs update from CE National – May 26th
Government announces mortgage rate cut for energy efficient homes
Last Friday (19 May), the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero announced that homeowners who make their properties more energy efficient could their mortgage rate cut under a new government-backed pilot. Perenna Bank will receive more than £193,000 in government funding to help develop their long-term, fixed-rate mortgage that will incentivise customers to make their homes more energy efficient by offering to reduce their mortgage rate. Another trial will see buy-to-let landlords add the cost of making properties more energy efficient onto their mortgage – enabling them to borrow the money for the improvements and include it in their monthly repayments. The projects are among 26 green finance products being developed and tested, backed by £4.1 million of government funding.
Unanimous support for Shadow Housing Secretary’s motion to replace leasehold with commonhold
After the Housing Secretary Michael Gove rowed back on plans to abolish leasehold, the Shadow Housing Secretary Lisa Nandy tabled a motion calling on the government to end the sale of new private leasehold houses and introduce a system to replace current private leasehold flats with commonhold. In total, 174 MPs – all from opposition parties – voted in favour of Labour’s motion while Conservative MPs abstained. During the debate, the Housing Minister Rachel MacLean insisted the government had not U-turned on its commitments. She said officials in her Department were working “flat out” to implement reform, but added that she could not comment on precise timetables or details of the expected legislation.
National Audit Office calls for clarity on government’s net zero innovation spending plans
The National Audit Office (NAO) is calling on the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero to clarify how the money set aside to support its net zero innovation plans will be spent. In June 2019, the government committed to the UK becoming a net zero economy by 2050 by investing in research and development of new technologies, but with the publication of the National Audit Office’s new report – Support for innovation to deliver net zero – the spending watchdog has called into question whether value for money can be achieved with this strategy.
Ofgem lowers price cap to £2,074
Yesterday (25 May), the UK’s energy regulator Ofgem announced the energy price cap had fallen to £2,074 a year, but the average households can still expect to pay double the rate for their gas and electricity than before costs started to soar. About 27 million households can expect a modest drop in energy bills this summer after the regulator Ofgem lowered the cap on the typical annual dual-fuel tariff to reflect a steep drop in global energy prices over recent months. From July, when the change takes effect, households will see their average gas and electricity bill fall from the £2,500 a year level set by the government’s energy price guarantee. Households could still face dual-fuel bills above £2,074 if they use more than the typical amount of energy because Ofgem’s cap limits the rate energy suppliers can charge customers for each unit of gas and electricity – not the total bill. Fuel poverty campaigners at National Energy Action have warned that most households are unlikely to feel any better off, and about 6.5 million households will remain in fuel poverty despite the lower rate.