NHF submits evidence to Public Accounts Committee (PAC) inquiry into decarbonising home heating

17 April 2024

In March, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) published a call for evidence for an inquiry into decarbonising home heating. The role of the Public Accounts Committee is to scrutinise government spending to ensure it delivers effective value for money. Their inquiry builds on a National Audit Office report published earlier this year which found issues with heat pump rollout, long-term strategy, and uncertainty over the role of hydrogen in home heating. 

Our response emphasised the key role housing associations will play in reaching net zero, as well as the work our members are already doing together with local authorities. We have reiterated the need for long term funding commitments to deliver this crucial work and ensure social housing reaches EPC C by 2030.

Summary of our submission

Housing associations are well placed to be at the heart of the country’s decarbonisation agenda, making England’s old and leaky homes more energy efficient, and lifting social housing residents out of fuel poverty by ensuring they live in decent, warm homes that are affordable to heat. The number and variety of homes they own and manage means the sector is able to drive this work efficiently and on a large scale.

Housing associations are leading the way on energy efficiency, with their homes the most energy efficient of any tenure type. Our members are working in line with the government’s Clean Growth Strategy and are dedicated to ensuring their social homes are certified EPC C by 2030.

Funding is crucial to this work. Savills research, carried out prior to the high rates of inflation in recent years, suggests decarbonisation of housing association homes will cost an additional £36bn on top of the £70bn already committed by housing associations.

The Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) is the key funding vehicle through which our members are delivering retrofit works. The allocation of £1.25bn in Wave 3 of the SHDF is welcome, however, longer-term certainty is needed.

A long-term funding commitment beyond 2030 would provide housing associations with the long-term confidence and certainty to plan for, and deliver, the large scale home decarbonisation projects required to meet the country’s target of net zero by 2050. 

Any funding must be delivered through partnerships between housing associations, local authorities and the government, and incorporate the lessons learned so far from existing decarbonisation schemes, such as the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund. 

Who to speak to

Ewan Fulford, Policy Assistant