U.K. to End Green Home Grants, Add Funds for Energy Upgrades

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The U.K. government will end a key program to improve home energy efficiency, while boosting funding for efforts to help households cut greenhouse emissions and save on power bills.

The government will end its Green Home Grant voucher program, which faced a tepid uptake partly because of the coronavirus pandemic. The program, which provided vouchers for homeowners to help pay for insulating their properties and switch to low carbon heating, will be terminated on March 31, the government said in an emailed statement.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is working on a major overhaul of the voucher program, one of the government’s most important climate change policies, after it failed to deliver, people familiar with the matter said earlier this month. Johnson is now in talks with finance minister Rishi Sunak over what comes next. The Treasury is seeking to redirect funds elsewhere, while the premier wants to design a successor program, the people said.

The voucher program was launched in September with a budget of 2 billion pounds ($2.8 billion) and was designed to be a temporary stimulus measure as part of its broader climate change effort. Officials had originally hoped the grants would help upgrade 600,000 homes and support more than 100,000 jobs, fueling the economic recovery from the pandemic. The government didn’t provide figures on how many people applied for vouchers.

The government also announced today an additional 300 million pounds in funding that will be channeled through local authorities in England to help low-income households upgrade the energy efficiency of their homes. The additional financing will take total government funding for energy efficiency and low-carbon heating in 2021-2021 to 1.3 billion pounds, the statement said.

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