A new grant scheme is set to give thousands of homeowners vouchers of up to £5,000 for energy-saving home improvements. 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is to announce the £2 billion Green Homes Grant on Wednesday (8 July), which will form part of a wider £3 billion green package in England to help the economy recover from the pandemic.

What is the funding for?

The Green Homes Grant will allow households in England to receive vouchers worth up to £5,000 to spend on various green initiatives in the home, such as insulation, low-energy lighting and double glazing.

The government has said that around half of the fund will go to some of the country’s poorest households, who will reportedly be able to access vouchers worth up to £10,000.

Under the scheme, the government will pay at least two-thirds of the costs on energy-saving improvements in the home.

The Treasury has said the grants could help to support more than 100,000 jobs for existing skilled workers, upgrade buildings and protect the environment, as part of efforts to restart the economy in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

As well as creating tens of thousands of new jobs, the scheme will help the UK to meet its 2050 target of achieving net zero carbon emissions.

The new green package will also include £1 billion of funding for public buildings, with the money to be used in places such as schools, hospitals, military bases and prisons, to make them greener and more energy efficient.

What about renters?

While the funding was welcomed by Labour, the opposition party criticised the plans for appearing to leave out renters, with Shadow Business Secretary Ed Miliband stating the scheme was not “comprehensive” enough.

Mr Miliband said that the government needed a “much broader and bigger-scale strategy” in order to meet its target of cutting carbon emissions to net zero.

He said: “It appears there is almost nothing for the people who rent the 8.5 million homes in the social rented sector and private rented sector, which has the worst energy efficiency standards.

“That means one-third of people are left out.”

When will the scheme launch?

The new scheme is expected to launch in September and improvements, such as better insulation, could save families up to £600 per year on energy bills, according to Treasury estimates.

How do I get the vouchers?

Online applications for recommended energy efficiency measures are to be made available when the scheme launches, alongside details of accredited local suppliers.

Once one of these suppliers has provided a quote for the home improvements, and the work has been approved, a voucher to fund it will be issued.