Stamp duty rebate could pay for greener homes, says think tank
Homebuyers should get a 50% stamp duty rebate if they install heat pumps and other energy efficiency measures to help the UK reach net zero, a think tank has said.
Centre-right think tank Onward said the rebate would “take advantage of the ‘moment of change’ when someone moves house” and help overcome the barriers to insulating Britain’s leaky homes.
A similar scheme in Finland has helped that country reach one of the highest rates of heat pump sales in Europe.
The rebate is one of several incentives proposed by Onward in a report published on Monday addressing the slow take-up by individuals of measures to cut the UK’s carbon emissions.
While larger organisations have taken most of the action to date, the report said individuals had been “hesitant about adopting new technologies” and “reluctant to change the way they live their lives”.
As well as limited progress on insulating homes and installing heat pumps, this has also seen people reluctant to switch to more plant-based diets.
Onward said a third of the carbon reductions needed to reach net zero by 2050 relied on individual action, but previous Government attempts to incentivise change had been too complex and expensive to succeed.
In a report on Monday, the think tank said: “Conventional policy has displayed limited effectiveness in driving these changes to date, and time is running out.
“It is clear that the Government cannot simply ban, regulate or subsidise its way to net zero. Instead, the Government needs to learn from previous policy failures and think creatively about new forms of intervention which can encourage people to make the required changes.
“A new bold and practical policy package should revolve around incentives which encourage people to work together, and interventions which gently steer habits and behaviours.”
Other proposals in the report included a salary sacrifice scheme for green technologies such as electric vehicles and domestic solar panels, carbon labelling on food and helping communities use collective purchasing power to negotiate lower prices on green technologies.
Speaking in support of the report, Conservative MP Ruth Edwards, a member of the Conservative Environment Network, said: “I think what the Government’s main aim should be is to make participating in reaching net zero as easy as possible.
“Whoever the new prime minister is, they are going to have to tackle some of these issues.”
Former shadow energy and climate change secretary, Caroline Flint, said: “As Onward’s new research shows, people have a crucial role to play in reaching net zero through the adoption of clean and green technologies and behaviours. But many people are naturally concerned about the upfront costs of doing so.
“This new report sets how the Government can learn from the failures of previous schemes and help people to go green in an affordable manner.”
Former Environment Secretary, Dame Caroline Spelman, said both Conservative leadership candidates would know the costs of failing to reach net zero and urged them to “take note of the bold recommendations put forward by Onward to make it easier for the public to make the choices required for net zero”.