Retrofitting homes in North West England with good insulation and new heat pumps is a no-brainer to create jobs, boost growth, cut energy bills, raise standards and also meet our net-zero target, says a new report from Progressive Think Tank IPPR.
Almost all of England’s 24 million homes need modernization, putting us well behind European neighbors like Germany and France. Additionally, we are currently installing less than 10 percent of the fixes needed in our cold, damp, and leaky homes if we are to reach our net zero goal. This means that household emissions are high, people pay for them through their bills and health, and the country as a whole is more exposed to international fuel price crises.
The report sets out a 28-year plan to retrofit every household in England that would essentially create 1.2 million direct jobs and 1.5 million indirect jobs and provide a cornerstone for the alignment agenda, as well as cutting household bills by an average of 430 £ per year.
There are currently significant regional disparities in employment opportunities. A retrofit program costing £7bn a year would benefit regions like the North West about twice as much as areas like London. The plan would create over 169,000 new direct retrofit jobs in the North West, equivalent to 4.4 per cent of the region’s total labor market, while in London retrofit jobs would account for just over 2 per cent of total employment.
Constituencies such as Wallasey, Liverpool West Derby and Stalybridge and Hyde would benefit the most.
The report makes five key recommendations for government to make significant progress:
- standards – Provide clear direction for the market and introduce stricter minimum EPC standards and opt for a phase-out date that prohibits the sale of oil and gas boilers
- Capabilities – Expand training standards to invest in skills and address bad practices like pay-to-pass training
- Financing – Introducing a comprehensive one-stop-shop for financial assistance, known as the GreenGo program, which would include full grants for low-energy households and substantial grants and interest-free loans for other groups.
- communication – Launch a massive national information campaign and a properly resourced advisory service
- Local Capacity – Increase funding for local authorities to offer retrofit programs tailored to their areas
Luke Murphy, Head of the Fair Transition Unit and Associate Director of the Energy, Climate, Housing and Infrastructure team at IPPR, said:
“The new Prime Minister and Chancellor have said they want to focus on growth. This report shows that a national retrofit program can create jobs and growth across the country while bringing about convergence. It would also lower energy bills, reduce energy needs and our dependence on Putin, and reduce carbon emissions.
“It’s hard to imagine another intervention that could achieve so many goals at the same time. It is time for the government to act and invest to modernize our country’s homes, making them warmer and more affordable. It’s child’s play.”
IPPR Senior Research Fellow Joshua Emden said:
“Britain is in the midst of its worst energy bills crisis in at least 50 years. The price cap freeze protects us from absolute disaster, but many households are already grappling with April’s hikes. It is vital that the government takes action to make us less vulnerable in the future.
“The retrofit will not only play a vital role in reducing energy consumption, but also has the ability to improve regions most in need. Over a million direct jobs and more than a million more indirect jobs would be created if the government went ahead with this conversion plan. Deprived areas such as former industrial centers and coastal communities would benefit the most from these jobs and the economic growth that comes with them. The country would be better off, the economy would be better off and the climate would be better off.”
- the IPPR paper, Train local, work local, stay local: retrofit, grow and level upwill be published on Wednesday 21 September at 00:01. It is available for download at: www.ippr.org/research/publications/train-local-work-local-stay-local
- Table: Effects of retrofitting workplaces by region
|region||New direct retrofit jobs created||Share of the current labor market in the region|
|Yorkshire and Humber||137,662||4.99%|
|East of England||145,627||4.49%|
- The average reduction in household bills is calculated based on the newly announced energy price cap, which equates to an average household energy bill of £2,500 per year.
- IPPR is the UK’s pre-eminent progressive think tank. With more than 40 staff in offices in London, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh, IPPR is the UK’s only national think tank with a truly national presence. www.ippr.org
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