Thousands of jobs would be created in the Taunton Deane parliamentary constituency by retrofitting homes with good insulation and heat pumps, a new report claims.
The Institute for Public Policy Research say the £7 billion-per-year scheme is a 'no-brainer' to create jobs, boost growth, reduce energy bills, level-up and meet net-zero targets nationwide.
The 28-year plan to upgrade almost all of England's 24 million homes with energy efficient measures and low-carbon technologies would create 1.2 million direct jobs – including 2,743 in Taunton Deane.
This is equivalent to 4.9% of the area's total job market – nationally, the uplift would be 4.9%.
IPPR's proposed retrofitting programme would provide 134,152 jobs across the South West – around 4.3% of the region's current jobs.
It claims the move is “uniquely placed” to become “the cornerstone of the Government’s levelling-up strategy in England”, as those communities with the highest demand for installers tend to be current or former industrial centres and coastal communities outside London and the South East.
And the UK as a whole is currently installing less than a tenth of the measures needed in its “cold, damp and leaky” housing stock to meet its net zero target, it said, with the pace of deployment required only increasing in the face of the “dire” energy price crisis.
The think tank said investing in its proposals for a multibillion pound retrofitting programme could save average households £430 per year when energy bills are capped at £2,500 this autumn, and sustain more than 1.2 million direct jobs and 1.5 million indirect jobs by 2050.
The think tank set out five key policy components of a nationwide retrofitting programme, covering standards, skills, funding, communication and local capacity.
These include setting a date for phasing out the sale of oil and gas boilers, expanding training standards, introducing a one-stop shop for financial support, launching a massive national information campaign, and boosting funding to local authorities to deliver tailored retrofitting schemes.
Luke Murphy, associate director for the energy, climate, housing and infrastructure team at the IPPR, said the move was a “no-brainer” as it would deliver jobs, growth, lower energy bills, reduce energy demand and lessen carbon emissions.
He added: “It’s hard to think of another intervention that could deliver on so many objectives at the same time.
"It’s time the Government acted and invested to upgrade our nation’s homes, making them warmer and more affordable.”
The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Department agrees that retrofitting will help the economy grow and bring down household energy bills, which is why it is spending £6.6 billion to improve energy efficiency across the country.
A Beis spokesperson said: “The majority of our ‘Help to Heat’ support is targeting those on low incomes and vulnerable households, which is benefiting tens of thousands of homes and delivering average savings of £300 a year on energy bills.
“Huge progress has already been made, with the number of homes with an energy efficiency rating of C or above at 46% and rising, up from just 14% in 2010.”