Cross-industry body has called for retrofit work to be made a major priority for future government policy with inclusion in the soon to be published Autumn Budget 

The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has called for the Treasury to prioritise retrofitting UK homes to better support lower carbon heat within the upcoming Autumn Budget.

CLC Co-Chair Andy Mitchell said in an open letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak that backing for a national retrofit strategy would be a vital step to meet the government’s net zero carbon ambitions.

Decarbonisation of the UK’s existing housing stock that is predominantly reliant on natural gas and other fossil fuels for heating is identified by watchdogs such as the Climate Change Committee (CCC) as one of the most significant barriers to become a net zero economy by 2050.

A national strategy focused on reducing the carbon emissions from powering and heating homes will have significant long-term benefits for the country and should therefore be considered a “strategic priority” for at least three years within government spending reviews and policy, according to the CLC.

The organisation stated, “This will mean that it is an area of significant concern for senior ministers to work with industry, developing a fully funded programme paid for both by public and private sector, to secure a step change in the carbon performance of the built environment.”

Mr Mitchell said ahead of the latest Budget, which is expected to be delivered this month, that the CLC’s only specific calls for new funding were to match industry support provided to develop a Construction Innovation Hub that is working to develop new approaches for retrofit work.

He added, “This support will also underpin ongoing work to develop digital twins of UK built assets, allowing them to be much more effectively managed, securing lower long-term costs and much better carbon performance.”

Skills challenge

The CLC said that the heating and construction sector accepted that there was an urgent need to upgrade skills to address demand for lower carbon retrofit work. However, the industry body said it was not asking for any additional funding intervention at a government level in this area.

The organisation stated, “Instead we have asked that the government sustains its efforts to promote future skills by maintaining existing support for employers to take on apprenticeships and continues to refine the operation of the Apprenticeship Levy.”


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