Green Homes: Low-carbon houses given tax breaks
Our homes, said the Chancellor, account for one-quarter of Britain's carbon dioxide emissions, and he provided a series of measures designed to encourage the development of low-carbon houses - "benefiting the climate through lower emissions, and benefiting consumers through lower bills".
He extended the grants for microgeneration - generating some of your own electricity instead of relying entirely on the National Grid, which wastes much of the energy it creates in transmitting it long distances - and he started the process by which people who do that could sell their surpluses back to the Grid and receive proper income.
He scrapped stamp duty until 2012 on all new zero-carbon homes up to half a million pounds in value. He also announced that Britain was proposing in the EU that the rate of VAT on energy-saving and environmentally friendly products in the home should be reduced from 17.5 per cent to 5 per cent.
But for some campaigners, he simply did not go far enough. The measure which excited most comment was his 50 per cent increase in the amount of grant aid available for microgeneration, from £12m to £18m. On the face of it, this is substantial - but many observers felt it was inadequate to keep up with demand. Over the past year or so, the public has discovered that if you want to put a wind turbine on your roof, like David Cameron, or a set of solar panels, there are extremely generous government grants available. You might receive, for example, as much as £3,000 towards the £9,000 solar panel installation cost.
The trouble is, there are not enough of them. The grants, part of the Government's low carbon buildings programme, have become so much in demand that they have recently been given out in tranches each month - and are snapped up within hours. The last set went in 75 minutes.
The extra £6m, many observers felt, was nowhere near enough to satisfy the burgeoning demand. And it would soon run out. "We think the amount is absolutely pitiful, considering that the UK is lagging behind the other industrialised countries in developing and rolling out small-scale renewable energy technologies," said Dave Timms, economics campaigner with Friends of the Earth.
However, Mr Timms applauded Mr Brown's decision to ask Ofgem, the energy regulator, to find out how green homes could benefit more by selling their electricity surpluses back to the Grid - a situation which at the moment is entirely haphazard compared with, say, Germany, where there are regulated high prices available to household generators.
"That would help a lot with the long payback time, which, with the high initial cost, is one of the main barriers to people investing in home renewable energy," he said.
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
The magicians using online collaboration to push boundaries
lifeIt takes year-long dedication to get Selfridges ready for 25 December. And they're already working on plans for 2015...
Jennifer Lawrence attacks mass media again over body image
- 1 America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 Ian Watkins: Paedophile Lostprophets singer sentenced to 35 years for child sex offences, as judge labels him a 'dangerous sexual predator'
- 4 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber announces he's 'retiring from music'
- 5 Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
You can STILL be jailed for being a republican, government confirms, and it remains illegal to even 'imagine' overthrowing the Queen
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Fighting back: the woman giving a voice (and 49,999 others) to the victims of sexism - by giving an airing to their horror stories
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
Ethan Couch: Texas quadruple murderer – or a victim of ‘affluenza’?
- < Previous
- Next >
£25000 - £32000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Business Analyst - Banking...
£21999 - £27001 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Do you have exten...
£25000 - £35000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Harrington Starr: Business Analy...
£42000 - £51000 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Are You Receiving...