Rishi Sunak is due to make a speech this week that will row back on several key green policies that were to cost landlords thousands but that were part of his key Net Zero pledges, it has been reported.
This includes minimum EPC levels for properties and phasing out gas boilers, both of which have been key Tory pledges for years but which the Prime Minister is rowing back on after Labour’s poll lead sticks at 20 points. A ban on the asle of new petrol and diesel cars is also to be watered down.
Fines for landlords who do not upgrade their properties to a minimum Band C by the 2025 and 2028 deadlines are likely to be removed as will the 2035 gas boiler ban for some properties, the BBC has claimed.
A survey out today highlights why the Government has rowed back – just one in five propety owners told boiler repiar firm Fair Fix they supported the planned ban on gas boilers, with 94% believing it should be their decision as to what type of energy powers their home.
Although the leak is thin on detail, it forced No.10 to issue a statement late last night claiming that the government remains committed to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050 but in a “more proportionate way”.
Foreign secretary Sue Braverman took to the radio and TV studios this morning to defend the decision, telling both Times Radio and the BBC’s Breakfast Show that she applauded Sunak for making a “difficult decision” that showed “pragmatism and proportionality” saying “we’re not going to save the planet by bankrupting the British people”.
“We need to ensure that we take into account economic growth, household budgets and the cost of living,” she told Radio 4’s Today programme.
Former housing secretary Simon Clarke has said this morning: “I am very clear: The delivery of net zero should not be a hair-shirt exercise”.
But the U-turn on green policies shows there is much internal conflict within the Tory party. While Gove recently said he wanted to ‘soften’ the impact of green upgrades for landlords, a Government minister in the Lords last week denied any changes were in the pipeline.
Zac Goldsmith (pictured), who until recently was a minister in the Government, said: “His short stint as PM will be remembered as the moment the UK turned its back on the world and on future generations. A moment of shame.”
Alok Sharma, who chaired the recent CO26 summit, said it was important that Britain must stay committed to its Net Zero commitments.
Sunak is expected to make his speech this week but may reveal more details today following last night’s leak.