Conservatives propose green incentives

As part of its green initiative, the Conservative Party has proposed tax cuts and Stamp Duty rebates to home owners who make their homes more energy efficient. Leader David Cameron recommended rebates in Stamp Duty, reductions in council tax and cuts in the VAT levied on materials that save energy.

The policy would help buyers recover around £10,000 in Stamp Duty with hundreds of pounds saved in council tax, and was laid out in an 800-page report from the Quality of Life group, led by environmentalist, Zac Goldsmith, and former Environment Secretary, John Gummer.

One of the primary aims of the report was to reduce Britain’s energy use, with a strong focus on buildings.

The report said: ‘We propose a partial rebate of Stamp Duty if all cost-effective energy efficiency improvements are adopted at the time of sale or shortly after. This should be combined with a zero rate of Stamp Duty for zero carbon homes. We also favour a discount on council tax payable in respect of all homes which are built to the highest environmental standards.’

The intention was to make green measures attractive with incentives rather than by penalising home owners for not conforming. It also proposed that energy suppliers would install ‘smart-meters’ in every home, giving customers more details on their electricity use.

Rob Clifford, chief executive at Mortgageforce, welcomed the move. “Consumers need financial incentives to get on the ladder and the reality is that the UK is pretty poor in terms of energy efficiency in comparison to the rest of the world.”

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