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Call for Green Deal retrofit finance boost

The UK Green Building Council has called for the government to use its Green Investment Bank to provide finance for retrofit work.

The council warned a “big question mark” hung over the issue of home improvement financing through the flagship Green Deal scheme.

Under government plans, home and business owners would get a grant for energy improvement schemes, to be paid back through savings on their bills.

Director of policy and communications John Alker told NCE’s sister magazine Construction News the council hoped the proposed Green Investment Bank could provide third-party finance to homeowners to upgrade their properties.

He said: “We envisage a third-party finance vehicle that can raise funds and administer them. An element of government under-writing would help to keep interest rates low.

“Energy companies or large contractors may be asked to go to the private finance market themselves and the debt will be seen on their balance sheet.”

The government is due to finalise its intentions for a bank later this year. Chancellor George Osborne confirmed in October’s Comprehensive Spending Review that it would be seeded with £1bn of money, but said the initial capital investment will only be made in the 2013/14 tax year.

The UKGBC said it believed there was a far stronger role for construction companies to play in delivering bank funds.

Alker called on the government to show “strong leadership” in establishing the need for energy efficiency schemes to reassure homeowners that energy efficiency makes economic sense.

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