Climate change is one of the greatest challenges we face, and I agree that urgent action is needed.
That is why I am glad that the Government has set out a comprehensive package to retrofit buildings across the country. This includes the Home Upgrade Grant Scheme which funds energy efficiency measures for low-income households, such as wall and roof insulation as well as new low-carbon heating systems, thermostats and room heating controls. There is also the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund which is helping to upgrade a significant amount of the social housing stock in England currently below Energy Performance Certificate rating C up to that standard. In total, over £6 billion has been committed to retrofit schemes during this Parliament.
I am encouraged by plans which will see new homes built 'zero-carbon ready' from 2025. Under the Future Homes Standard, new homes will produce at least 75 per cent lower CO2 emissions, compared to those built to current standards. In the longer term, no further retrofit work for energy efficiency will be necessary to enable them to become zero-carbon homes as the electricity grid continues to decarbonise.
I know many people want to see these changes implemented quickly and you may therefore be interested to know that an interim uplift to energy efficiency standards has been introduced and will take effect in June 2022. New homes built under this standard are expected to produce around 30 per cent less CO2 emissions, compared to current standards.
While a reduced rate of VAT at five per cent is in place for some residential renovations, I am not aware of any plans at present to review the VAT treatment of home renovations. However, the Government keeps all taxes under review.
I am confident that the steps the Government is taking will deliver improvements in energy use and efficiency in our homes, while spurring the development of cleaner and greener technologies.