Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary Claire Coutinho (main picture) has rejected the idea of tax breaks for landlords to pay for green upgrades.
During a Commons debate on reaching net zero by 2050, Lib Dem MP Wera Hobhouse urged the government to support a comprehensive home insulation scheme to reduce bills and carbon emissions this winter.
She suggested allowing landlords to offset spending on insulation against their income tax bills.
However, Coutinho said income tax relief was “not necessarily the best response, because a lot of landlords are pensioners and will not necessarily pay income tax. However, we will continue to look at everything we can do to ensure that insulation is properly delivered.”
The minister told MPs that the reason it did not pursue a policy of making landlords upgrade their properties to an EPC grade C rating by 2028 was that it could have cost property owners up to £15,000, although this is the upper end of the likely scale, as LandlordZONE recently revealed.
“Asking families up and down the country to spend £10,000 on updating homes would have been passed on in rents and may have led to more shortages in the private rented sector,” she added. “That is something we absolutely must not see at a time when families are struggling.”
Opposition MPs also urged Coutinho to think again. The Green’s Caroline Lucas said the Climate Change Committee (CCC) had estimated that when it came to landlords and efficiency standards in homes, the move will cost renters an extra £300 a year.
Labour’s Ed Miliband added: “The government now say that landlords will not have to insulate homes, but as the CCC points out, these regulations would have reduced renters’ energy bills significantly. Moreover, the cost savings would have outweighed any changes in rent. Therefore, they are not lowering costs; they are raising them.”