Santander calls on Government to help households reduce energy loss and keep bills low

  • Santander calls on Government to provide households with more upfront financial support, including stamp duty rebates for new home buyers and subsidised bank loans for energy efficiency upgrades, with the support of Phillip Dunne, MP and Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee.
  • New research published in Santander’s ‘Tomorrow’s Homes’ report shows half (48%) of UK homeowners think improved home efficiency would have a significant effect on their lives.
  • Yet three-fifths (61%) say they won’t upgrade glazing, loft or wall insulation in the next two years, with upfront costs being one of the main barriers.

Santander is calling on Government to do more to help homeowners and renters upgrade the energy efficiency of their properties and reduce their energy bills, as the UK faces a formidable retrofitting challenge. Better education, new financial incentives and access to the right skills are among the package of measures the bank is calling for in its new report “Tomorrow’s Homes” here

The report, which surveyed 4,000 homeowners and renters, found that almost half (48%) believed that improving their home’s energy efficiency would have a significant effect on their lives, but this awareness is not translating into action. 

Homeowners are not being properly equipped to take on the burden of retrofitting, with nearly two thirds (64%) saying they don’t know their current EPC rating, and more than half wouldn’t know where to source a trusted tradesperson to carry out work.  

Filling this knowledge gap and helping homeowners understand what action they could take would only solve one hurdle, with six in ten respondents saying that the cost of retrofitting their home would still prevent them from making changes. Santander’s research shows the cost of a relatively modest program of retrofitting an average home would swallow up more than half the average savings of households in the UK1 -  a price many homeowners are unwilling and unable to pay. 

Large scale measures, such as installing a heat pump or solar panels, were deemed unaffordable by nearly three quarters (73%) of those surveyed. Similarly, 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 their home in the next two years.

 Fiona Hyde, Head of Sustainability at Santander, said: “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.”

Through the “Tomorrow’s Homes” report, Santander 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.

These calls have been made with the support of Rt Hon Phillip Dunne, MP and Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee who said: 
“I was pleased to have been invited to join the Panel for the launch of Santander’s Tomorrow’s Homes report in the Commons. I have taken a considerable interest in how best to improve the energy efficiency of the nation’s homes.
"This report makes some interesting recommendations about raising awareness among homeowners, landlords and tenants of the benefits of reducing energy costs through retrofit. 
The Government has introduced some incentives, such as VAT reductions on energy efficiency installations and the Home Upgrade Scheme for grants to help support heat pumps uptake.
"But there is scope to do more, to help households on the journey to decarbonising homes to lower energy costs and cut emissions."

Santander: how we can help 

Santander recognises how daunting it can be to embark on the journey of either retrofitting an existing home or buying a property which needs work to make it more energy efficient, and supports homeowners in several ways:

  • The My Home Manager app, where customers can access their home’s EPC rating and recommendations on how to improve their energy rating, alongside estimated cost and funding options for improvements. The App is available to download here.
  • Our Santander UK Green Additional Loan – up to £50,000 is available to mortgage customers and offers a reduced rate of borrowing for green home improvements, with plans to develop this offering further in May 2024.
  • The Greener Homes Hub, on the Santander website, provides a wealth of information on improving energy efficiency, education tools and tips on greener and more sustainable living.

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The information contained in our press releases is intended solely for journalists and should not be used by consumers to make financial decisions.

Notes to Editors:
1)    To explore attitudes to retrofitting and understand the key barriers, Global Counsel carried out a programme of primary research incorporating qualitative and quantitative methodologies. All fieldwork was conducted between October and December 2023. 

Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. At 31 December 2023, the bank had around 19,800 employees and serves around 14 million active customers, 7 million digital customers via a nationwide 444 branch network, telephone, mobile and online banking. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the FCA and the PRA in the UK. Santander UK plc customers’ eligible deposits are protected by the FSCS in the UK.

Banco Santander (SAN SM, STD US, BNC LN) is a leading commercial bank, founded in 1857 and headquartered in Spain. It has a meaningful presence in 10 core markets in the Europe, North America and South America regions, and is one of the largest banks in the world by market capitalization. Santander aims to be the best open financial services platform providing services to individuals, SMEs, corporates, financial institutions and governments. The bank’s purpose is to help people and businesses prosper in a simple, personal and fair way. Santander is building a more responsible bank and has made a number of commitments to support this objective, including raising €220 billion in green financing between 2019 and 2030. At the end of 2023, Banco Santander had €1.3 trillion in total funds, 165 million customers, 8,500 branches and over 212,000 employees.