Home owners failing green targets to pay more Council Tax
Home owners who fail to introduce green measures could be forced to pay more Council Tax.
Under the new proposals, the Government would increase Council Tax and Stamp Duty for millions of homes that are not energy efficient.
It could also mean families are unable to sell their home unless they spend tens of thousands of pounds on getting their properties insulated and double-glazed.
The measures are widely expected to come into force this autumn.
Politicians and housing experts attacked the measures saying it was yet another stealth tax, but this time dressed up as an environmentally-friendly initiative.
Grant Shapps, shadow housing minister, said: “The Government seems intent on giving green taxes a bad name. Rather than penalizing families who happen to live in homes which are harder to insulate they should introduce genuine help for people to reduce the carbon footprint of their property.
“Ministers now seem to believe that any problem can be fixed by simply extracting more tax from hard-pressed families, when what is really required is genuine innovation to green up the nation’s homes.”
Since last October, all homes put on the market for sale or rent have had to have an energy performance certificate, which rate the energy efficiency of a property, giving a rank from A to G.
The energy performance certificates include a report recommending improvements to save money and carbon.
It is understood that Government advisers The Energy Savings Trust wants it to becomes illegal from 2015 to put a home up for sale, which has a rating lower than band E.
An example of a Band F property would be a three-bedroom Victorian terrace property with solid brick walls (no insulation). It would have no double glazing, a standard gas firing boiler with room thermostat, a hot water jacket and energy saving light bulbs.
Measures needed for the property to be pushed up into band D would include installing a condensing boiler, insulating solid walls and double glazing.
A home’s energy ratings is contained in the controversial Home Information Packs, which home sellers must have in place before they begin to market a property. The packs cost £300 on average, but can go up to £500 depending on the provider.
Katie Tucker, of mortgage brokers Mortgageforce, said: “HIPS are an absolute waste of money. It was always known that the packs were of no other use except to help boost government revenues. Now they are using the EPC as a way of boost council tax.”
The Energy Savings Trust said high energy prices means it is more important than ever to have an efficient home. It suggested loft insulation could save a household £155 a year on energy bills, while cavity wall insulation could save around £120 a year.