The grant will not cover the full cost of installing a heat pump – with homeowners having to dig out thousands of pounds on top
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Boris Johnson has confirmed thousands of Brits can access grants worth £5,000 in order to replace their gas boilers with more eco-friendly heat pumps.
The Government insists the cash will be a vital lifeline to British homeowners as ministers prepare to ban the installation of new gas boilers from 2035.
But it will not cover the full cost of installing a heat pump – with homeowners having to dig out thousands of pounds on top.
And not all homeowners in the country will be able to access the grant worth £450million of taxpayer cash in total, which would be enough for around 90,000 heat pump grants.
Families up and down the country face an energy and cost of living crisis, with many needing their homes upgraded with insulation and double glazing to reduce costs, Labour said.
Despite this, the PM said: “Our new grants will help homeowners make the switch sooner, without costing them extra, so that going green is the better choice when their boiler needs an upgrade.”
Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said low carbon heating systems will be the most affordable choice for consumers “as costs plummet over the next decade”.
But Ed Miliband MP, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary blasted the fund as “meagre, unambitious and wholly inadequate”.
Mr Miliband said: “People can’t warm their homes with yet more of Boris Johnson’s hot air but that is all that is on offer.”
The scheme is due to go live from April 2022 as part of an imminent announcement from the government.
Those who cannot afford the switch yet will have to wait and hope the price of the technology drops to an affordable level in many years’ time.
The Resolution Foundation raised fears that wealthier families could take advantage of the grants.
The Government has not released eligibility criteria, including whether there’ll be a means-test to block the richest homeowners.
However, it’s thought means-testing is unlikely and all will be able to apply on a first-come, first-served basis.
Jonny Marshall, Senior Economist at the Resolution Foundation, said Chancellor Rishi Sunak should have gone a step further to set a five year budget for the funds instead of a three year budget to create “certainty”.
“This lack of certainty in the market could really matter, as the 90,000 heat pumps that this new scheme is expected to fund still falls well short of the 450,000 heat pumps the Climate Change Committee says need to be installed by 2025 in order to keep the UK on track to cut emissions from our homes in half by 2035,” Mr Marshall added.
“The key test is whether it delivers the cost reductions needed to make the transition affordable for everyone, as history shows the risk that higher income families may be more likely to take advantage of such grants.”
While costs vary, installing a new system can cost around £10,000 on average but it is expected costs will fall as the technology becomes more mainstream.
Octopus Energy has previously said it expects to nearly halve the cost within 18 months, and has announced it will install heat pumps for about the same cost as gas boilers once the Government’s £5,000 grant scheme launches next April.
Because radiators on heat pumps operate at a lower temperature than with gas, people might need to swap out a few of the oldest, single-panel radiators their homes might have to ensure they are big enough to heat the room sufficiently.
They can normally be replaced with double- or triple-panelled radiators that fit in the same spot.
It is also possible that older, narrower pipes might need to be replaced.