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The lender is calling for:

- More upfront grant support, such as rebates on stamp duty for new home buyers who make defined retrofitting investments and upfront grant support, means-tested for lower income households, delivered by local government;

- Government to take a role in creating an online tool that can help consumers learn more about how to retrofit their homes in the simplest possible way;

- Support from Government to lenders offering financing options for Green improvements using techniques previously seen for SME lending and Covid loans;

- Increased support for the supply chain with clear, long-term commitments to retrofitting demand, including Government commitment to educating the specialist tradespeople of tomorrow, alongside a possible retargeted apprenticeship system building on the Heat Training Grant.

Santander has released a new report - called Tomorrow’s Homes, based on a survey of 4,000 homeowners and renters - which says improved energy efficiency would create a significant improvement on their lives. 

Owners say they aren’t properly equipped to take on the burden of retrofitting, with nearly two thirds saying they don’t know their current EPC rating, and more than half admitting not to know where to source a trusted tradesperson to carry out work.  

However, the mortgage lender says that filling this knowledge gap and helping homeowners understand what action they could take would only solve one hurdle, with six in 10 respondents saying that the cost of retrofitting their home would still prevent them from making changes. 

Santander says even a relatively modest programme of retrofitting an average home would swallow up more than half the average savings of households.

Larger measures - such as installing a heat pump or solar panels - were deemed unaffordable by 73%: even more modest or stand-alone upgrades were deemed out of reach, with 61% saying they are unlikely to or will definitely not upgrade glazing, loft or wall insulation in the next two years.

A spokesperson for Santander says: “It’s clear that homeowners and renters need Government support to be better informed about the options available to them; to have access to affordable, skilled tradespeople; and crucially to be able to benefit from all available financial incentives, if we are to help them keep their homes warm and their energy bills low.

“But beyond that, the houses and flats we know today will, in the majority of cases, be the same houses and flats that we are living in for generations to come. Failing to retrofit them is simply not an option if we are to truly tackle the climate crisis and achieve the country’s carbon emission targets.”

Santander claims the support of Tory MP Phillip Dunne,chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, who says: "This report makes some interesting recommendations about raising awareness among homeowners, landlords and tenants of the benefits of reducing energy costs through retrofit.”