Middle income earners will get “up to £15,000” for energy efficiency work

Middle income earners will get “up to £15,000” for energy efficiency work

Close-up of woman holding smart energy meter in kitchen measuring energy efficiency

Ministers relaunch failed bid to subsidize energy efficiency improvements (Image: Getty)

People will soon be offered up to £15,000 for energy efficiency improvements in their homes, according to a report.

The ‘ECO Plus’ scheme, which launches in April, aims to cut the UK’s energy use by 15% over the next eight years, while saving people hundreds of pounds a year on their bills.

The government is understood to have committed to covering 75% of the costs when eligible homeowners have proper insulation and up-to-date thermostat systems, although there are fears the scheme could quickly run out of funding.

It will be the first move to free up such funding for middle-income households since the disastrous failure of Boris Johnson’s Green Homes Grant last year.

Current schemes worth around £12bn are mostly limited to improvements to social housing and low-income private homeowners.

‘Eco plus’, which will be shown in full next week, is specifically aimed at making works cheaper for people who can afford some, but not all, of the costs.

Exact details of who will be eligible have not yet been released, but the grants could be offered to people living in homes in the four cheapest council tax brackets.

Ministers have earmarked £1 billion from existing budgets for the scheme over the next three years, according to The Times.

Roof insulation, worker infill pitched roof with wood fiber insulation

Improvements covered by the scheme reportedly include attic and wall cavity insulation (Image: Westend61)

But the Energy Efficiency Infrastructure Group, which represents industry leaders and green think tanks, previously told ministers that at least £3 billion would be needed in that time to make ECO Plus viable.

A report published by the body in September also insisted that the scheme should be paid for with “new spending commitments rather than being diverted from existing funding pots”.

It was not immediately clear whether departments would need to make cuts elsewhere to fund the scheme, although there was likely to be a large chunk of resources left over from the £1.5bn Green Homes Grant.

It was set up in September 2020 and was due to run until March this year, but was scrapped after reaching just 10% of the 600,000 homes that then chancellor Rishi Sunak promised would be improved.

Wireless thermostat control

It is understood that the scheme will also help finance new thermostats and thermostatic valves (Image: Getty)

Homeowners complained widely about hurdles with the application process, while contractors reported long delays in receiving vouchers, and some engineers said they still hadn’t been paid months after completing work.

A cross-party group of MPs branded the scheme a “slam dunk fail” and said it could have

A report by the spending watchdog accused the government of rushing ahead and ignoring warnings from industry.

Just over £310m was handed out through the scheme, while around £320m originally earmarked for it was given to existing pots for advice to retrofit low-income households.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has been contacted for comment.

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