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Government promises to 'roll back' green taxes
David Cameron has promised to review green taxes, following increasing pressure to reduce consumers' energy bills after several of the big energy companies have raised their prices recently.
The energy companies have partially blamed the government's green taxes for the price rises.
The government is said to be considering reducing the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) – which pays for the energy efficiency retrofit of homes (loft insulation etc.) through a charge on all energy bills – in an attempt to ease the pressure.
Cameron said: “We need to roll back some of the green regulations and charges.”
However, the news wasn't welcomed by the construction industry, which had been provided with more work as a result of ECO than from the related Green Deal scheme.
Paul King, chief executive the UK Green Building Council, said comments were “short-sighted” and “potentially very damaging”.
He added: “With the cost of energy bills going up, policies such as ECO are essential in ensuring the homes of vulnerable and poorer income people are well insulated and will help to keep their bills down in the longer term.
“The government’s own analysis shows that without these policies, bills will be much higher in the future.
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Government brings forward Help to Buy
The Treasury has brought forward the mortgage guarantee element of the government's Help to Buy scheme, designed to help first-time buyers to get on to the housing ladder.
David Cameron used a recent interview with the BBC to reveal that the government guarantee to sit behind mortgages will come into effect from this week rather than January as originally planned.
He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr the market was “recovering from a very low base” and first-time buyers needed some help.
“As prime minister I am not going to stand by while people’s aspirations to get on the housing ladder are being trashed,” Cameron said.
“If we don’t do this it will only be people with rich parents to help them who can get on the housing ladder - that is not fair, it is not right.”
The Treasury said: “To be able to offer the guarantees ahead of schedule, the government will be allowing lenders to start writing loans that will become part of the scheme once it opens in January.
“Because lenders know that they will be able to purchase a guarantee on these loans when the scheme opens in January, it means that they are able to offer high loan-to-value mortgages, much sooner.”
Image: Danilo Rizzuti / freedigitalphotos.net