Chartered Institute of Housing says social housing providers face ‘shortfall’ in energy efficiency funding

The government must invest more in tackling poor energy efficiency in residential buildings or risk housing development being cut or homes being sold off, the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) has warned.

The CIH, in its submission ahead of next week’s Spring budget statement, warned that social housing providers are facing a shortfall in funding to decarbonise their existing stock.

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It said: “Without further support, difficult trade-offs will need to be made which will inevitably lead to reduced development, and/or accelerated stock disposals/rationalisation of ‘hard to treat’ stock – which will not help achieve net zero.

“Urgent action is needed to tackle low energy-efficient housing – escalating oil and gas prices mean that we cannot afford to wait.”

The CIH pointed to figures for the National Housing Federation showing that housing associations need to invest almost £36bn to achieve energy performance certificate band C in their properties by 2030 and replace all fossil-fuel boilers by 2050. It said this implies spending of about £2.2bn annually on top of associations’ current repairs and maintenance budgets of £1.5bn. It said the extra cost of achieving net zero for councils in 1.5m homes is almost £1bn per annum over 30 years, which it said was a “considerable call on resources” given council’s annual capital housing investment is around £6bn per year.

The CIH also called for the government to make more of the promised £3.8bn social housing decarbonisation fund available soon and for ministers to consider other means of funding, such as government-backed loan guarantees.It called for the government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy to be improved alongside investment to support innovation, for a reduction or removal in VAT on decarbonisation work and for investment in “market development to support cost effective retrofit technology and workforce upskilling”.

The call from CIH follows rating agency Moody’s yesterday warning that housing associations will have to become more leveraged or cut their development pipelines as they cope extra costs due to building safety and decarbonisation. It said these calls on cash were ‘credit negative’ for the housing association sector.

The CIH also called for more investment in new and existing supported housing, an increase in grant levels to support the development of social rented homes, a long-term homelessness strategy and more help for residents to pay their housing costs.

Source : Housing Today