The government is making millions available to homeowners looking to improve their properties.

Homeowners in England will be able to get up to £5,000 worth of vouchers to make energy-saving improvements to their properties, thanks to the government’s new Green Homes Grant.

The scheme was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak earlier this month, and aims to support more than 100,000 green jobs and upgrade 600,000 homes across England. It’s due to come into effect in September, so the exact details of the initiative are yet to be revealed. However, this is what we know so far…

What is the Green Homes Grant?

The grant will give homeowners in England vouchers towards at least two-thirds of the cost of energy efficiency improvements – in some cases more. It has been announced as part of a wider £3 billion package to help the UK meet its 2050 target of achieving net zero carbon emissions.

How much can you get?

Each household will be able to apply for vouchers up to the value of £5,000, with low income households being eligible for up to £10,000. The vouchers will cover at least two-thirds of the cost of improvements, so if you wanted to fit insulation worth £4,000, you would pay £1,320, with the government giving you a voucher for the remaining £2,680.

What improvements are eligible for the vouchers?

The government is yet to announce a detailed list of the work that will be covered by the scheme, but the Treasury says that "green improvements such as loft, wall and floor insulation" will be covered, while Business Secretary Alok Sharma has indicated that double-glazing and boilers will also be included. 

Who will be eligible for the vouchers?

In his speech announcing the scheme, the Chancellor gave the impression that all homeowners and landlords in England will be eligible, although whether every home will qualify is not yet clear. Under the previous coalition government’s Green Deal, for example, homes were subject to a pre-qualifying inspection, with inspectors deciding what improvements each home was suitable for. It’s likely a similar type of assessment will be used for the Green Homes Grant. The scheme only applies to England, however – owners of properties in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will need to check for other government schemes.

Which companies can you use to carry out the improvements?

The scheme has been designed to help mitigate some of the fall out of coronavirus by boosting local economies and creating thousands of jobs – as such, the government says that homeowners will be able to spend the vouchers with “local accredited suppliers”. No details yet on which companies will be part of the scheme or if there is any criteria for their involvement. The previous Green Deal involved a specific list of qualifying installers as it is important to ensure that cowboys do not step in to meet demand.

How do you apply for the vouchers?

The scheme comes into action in September, and homeowners will be able to make an application online. Once you know which local suppliers are taking part in the scheme, you can get a quote for the work, and then once the quote is approved you’ll get the voucher to spend. Once the nitty gritty of the scheme has been announced we’ll update you with a step-by-step guide of the application process. However, we do know that there will only be a year to spend the money so if your loft is full of treasure now is the time to start clearing it out so you are good to go once the green light is given.

Is it worth applying for the Green Homes Grant?

In a word: yes! According to the Treasury, better insulation could save some households as much as £600 on energy bills every year. Using the above scenario of spending £1,320 on insulation (backed up by the government’s contribution of £2,689), the insulation will have paid for itself in just over two years – energy bill savings after that are just money in the bank! Find out more about how much insulation could save you here.

The bottom line

The Green Homes Grant represents a win-win scenario for all parties concerned: the economy gets a boost, homeowners will save money and the environment will feel the benefit of reduced carbon emissions, which is vital in the fight against climate change. If your home is eligible for a voucher, you have absolutely nothing to lose by making the most of it.

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