How much Green Britain will cost UK taxpayers - the staggering amount

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© GETTY Green Britain cost: Boris and Rishi

The Government has outlined its plan to cut emissions to net-zero by 2050. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the climate change plans are long-term and will benefit the nation and the world in several key areas. In a 368-page document, Mr Johnson said the aim is to “meet the global climate emergency, not with panicked, short-term and self-destructive measures”. But concerns have been raised claiming the Green Britain plans could see costs skyrocket for British taxpayers with poorer families and households feeling the worst impact of these costs.

A new plan set out by the Government designed to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 was set out this week.

The announcement was made 12 days before world leaders meet in Glasgow for COP26 to discuss methods to curb climate change.

The plans included an aim to unlock £90bn of private investment in the next decade and will create up to 440,000 jobs according to Mr Johnson.

In addition, there is a plan to launch a £400m package of investment alongside USA tech billionaire Bill Gates to boost the development of new green technologies.

© GETTY Green Britain cost: Boris Johnson

The Government’s plan, titled Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener, outlines “how we will make historic transitions to remove carbon from our power, retire the internal combustion engine from our vehicles and start to phase out gas boiler from our homes.”

The document continues: “But it also shows how we will do this fairly by making carbon-free alternatives cheaper.

“We will make sure what you pay for green, clean electricity is competitive with carbon-laden gas, and with most of our electricity coming from the wind farms of the North Sea or state-of-the-art British nuclear reactors we will reduce our vulnerability to sudden price rises caused by fluctuating international fossil fuel markets.”

Speaking at the Government’s Investment Summit aimed at attracting overseas funding for UK projects, Mr Johnson said the power of consumer choice and the trillions of dollars able to be invested by companies were essential for green growth and jobs.

© GETTY Green Britain cost: Queen and PM

How much Green Britain will cost UK taxpayers?

However, the Treasury waned taxes and consumer costs could rise to cover the cost of turning Britain green by 2050.

Mr Johnson’s rejected alarm from members of the public about the potential costs to families and businesses, particularly in the wake of the Covid pandemic.

Economists, however, predict the plans could cost £1trillion over the next 30 years which means the Government will need to recuperate these funds from the public through taxation and other increased cost burdens passed onto British taxpayers.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak’s Treasury delivered this stark cost estimate about the financial burden in a separate document.

Mr Sunaksaid the transition will have “material fiscal consequences”.

The Treasury further noted the costs of global inaction on climate were greater than those of action – but said the Government ought to take into account “wider long-run pressures to the public finances”.

© GETTY Green Britain cost: Boris

Insulation

Property owners will be encouraged to be more environmentally conscious.

Methods of attaining this such as incentivising mortgage lenders to prioritise properties with better energy ratings.

Government subsidies for green technologies such as electric cars tend to favour the wealthy while increasing costs for poorer families according to the Treasury analysis.

The cost of improving insulation varies depending on the property size, but could be as little as a few hundred pounds to up to £8,500 for “non-standard dwellings”.

One chart demonstrated a huge range of possible outcomes from the Net Zero process, implying heating, power and transport costs could leap from £2,400 a year now to around £2,600 in 2050.

However, other estimates suggest costs could drop to £1,800.

The Treasury said: “There will be demands on public spending, but the biggest impact comes from the erosion of tax revenues from fossil fuel-related activity.”

The Review states an “economy-wide carbon price could generate additional revenues equivalent to around 0.5 percent of GDP initially” creating a temporary increase in total receipts of around 1.3 percent, still below the tax revenues from fossil fuels.

The net fiscal pressures would sit at around 1.5 percent by 2050, even with carbon pricing introduced.

The report states: “There will be demands on public spending, but the biggest impact comes from the erosion of tax revenues from fossil fuel-related activity.

“Any temporary revenues from expanded carbon pricing are unlikely to be sufficient to offset the structural decline in tax revenues but will be important in supporting the transition and can help manage any demands for public spending to support the transition.

“If there is to be additional public spending, the Government may need to consider changes to existing taxes and new sources of revenue throughout the transition in order to deliver net-zero sustainably and consistently with the government’s fiscal principles.

“Seeking to pass the costs onto future taxpayers through borrowing would deviate from the polluter pays principle, would not be consistent with intergenerational fairness nor fiscal sustainability and could blunt incentives.

“This could also push up the economic cost of the transition.”

The document indicates there will be huge additional costs for insulation depending on the property type.

In London, homes are more likely to have solid walls, which are more expensive to insulate with just 23 percent of dwellings in the capital having insulated walls, compared to 73 percent in the North East.

The current cost estimate for cavity wall insulation for a medium-sized semi-detached house would be £590.

However, for not standard dwellings this cost could rise to hit £8,430 for partially filled vanity walls and £7,980 for metal or timber framed cavity walls.

© GETTY Green Britain cost: The PM

Heat pumps and other heat sources

Heat pumps can be much more expensive than gas boilers starting at £6,000 for an air source pump or at least £10,000 for a ground source heat pump.

Heat pumps can cost as much as £18,000, depending on the type installed and the size of your property.

A heat pump’s running costs can also be up to 50 percent higher than a gas boiler, due to the cost of electricity includes carbon taxes and subsidies to support low-carbon energy projects.

The Government will offer 90,000 households a £5,000 grant to help families replace gas boilers with greener heat pumps from next April.

The funding for 90,000 homes has been criticised, especially given the PM’s 600,000 installations target for 2028.

This will cost taxpayers in England and Wales at least £450m.

Hydrogen boilers are another greener alternative to gas boilers – but they are still at the prototype phase which means they are not as available as other devices.

The main benefit of hydrogen is that produces no carbon dioxide at the point of use and these boilers can be manufactured from either water using electricity as a renewable energy source or from natural gas accompanied by carbon capture and storage.

The true cost for hydrogen boilers is unknown but estimates suggest it will range from £1,500 to £5,000.

Solar panels and heating could also be used to heat British homes.

Solar photovoltaic panels generate renewable electricity by converting energy from the sun into electricity, with experts saying they will electricity bills.

The average set of panels produce an average of 900kWh per year in optimal conditions and the cost is £4,800.

Solar water heating systems work by using heat from the sun to warm domestic hot water.

The cost of these systems tends to range from £4,000 to £6,000 – but the savings tend to be lower than other options because it is not as effective during winter months.

Biomass boilers are also an effective tool to heat homes and can save households £700 a year compared to a standard electric heating system.

These systems work by generating renewable energy from burning wood, plants and other organic materials which releases carbon dioxide when burned, but much less than fossil fuels.

An automatically-fed pellet boiler for an average home costs between £11,000 and £19,000, including installation, flue and fuel store.

While manually fed log boiler systems can be slightly cheaper, while a smaller domestic biomass boiler starts at £5,000.

Zero-emission vehicles

The Government’s plan is calling for a zero-emission vehicle mandate from 2024 which requires car markers to sell an increasing share of electric vehicles each year.

Sales of new vehicles with internal combustion engines will be banned in 2030 in a bid to reduce emissions to net-zero by the middle of the decade.

The Treasury review questioned if a rush to electric vehicles was best for society claiming the costs of moving to these vehicles “may fall disproportionately on low-income groups”.

Mr Sunak has been going head-to-head with the Transport and Business Secretaries Grant Shapps and Kwasi Kwarteng in the past week over planned cuts to the Plug-in Car Grant, originally introduced in 2011 but recently cut by £500.

New rules were also introduced meaning only buyers of electric vehicles up to the price of £35,000 are eligible for this £2,500 grant.

Mortgages

Homeowners could be forced to make their properties more energy efficient in order to sell them according to plans outlined in the Net Zero Strategy.

Homeowners may therefore face the prospect of having to make costly energy efficiency improvements to sell their homes.

Properties not meeting energy-efficient standards may become trickier or even impossible to remortgage or sell on.

Some lenders, including Virgin Money and Nationwide, are already offering incentives for those with greener homes to try and push up the number on their books.

Green mortgages have increased five-fold since April, but energy-efficient borrowers could soon be forced to borrow up to £12,000 more on their mortgage with one lender.

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