We argued that a full, nationwide scheme would provide an additional route to funding energy efficiency improvements, could minimise homeowners’ or tenants’ fuel costs as well as support the Scottish Government’s progress towards meeting its climate change and fuel poverty targets.
Views were sought on whether the Pilot, which allows eligible homeowners (including private landlords with up to two properties) to borrow up to £40,000 from the Scottish Government against the value of their property to finance energy efficiency improvements, should be extended nationwide.
The responses highlight broad support for the extension of the Pilot, which is reinforced by positive experiences of recipient households, but recognises that refinements may be needed.
Energy efficiency targets
Propertymark also highlighted that the Scottish Government’s ambitious energy efficiency targets for domestic properties are likely to prove too high without a significant programme of funding to supplement homeowners’ investments and suggested that landlords with more than two properties should not be automatically excluded from the scheme. Both recommendations are recognised in the Scottish Government’s response.
The Scottish Government has set out a series of actions and long-term commitments in its Heat in Buildings Strategy to accelerate the decarbonisation of homes and buildings across Scotland in order to meet its net-zero target by 2045.
Several other changes to the scheme’s eligibility criteria were proposed, including consideration of an applicant’s council tax band and an assessment of net income aligned to the statutory definition of fuel poverty to bring more households into the scope of the fund.
The Scottish Government acknowledges that any national roll-out will need to manage expectations of loan recipients in terms of delivery timescales and improve consumer protection to ensure that the standards of work are maintained.