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Nationwide to help mortgage borrowers go green with £1bn fund

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11/02/2020
Nationwide Building Society has made £1bn available to reduce the carbon footprint of Britain’s homes as it called on the government to make the Help to Buy scheme greener, review council tax and create incentives for housebuilders to build more EPC A-rated homes.

The £1bn fund will finance the development of a new range of green mortgages at “preferential” rates if the borrower is buying a new-build EPC A-rated home.  

The fund will also be used to give borrowers loans of up to £25,000 for green home improvements and retrofitting. These loans will have rates which start from one per cent for the first two years. 

The building society said incentives for consumers are “the only realistic way” to help people make their homes greener. 

Wider reforms 

Nationwide’s chief executive Joe Garner has urged the government to commission an independent review of council tax to explore how linking taxation to a home’s energy efficiency can incentivise green home improvements. 

Garner also wants the government to transition the Help to Buy scheme to a new Help to Green programme to deliver more EPC A-rated homes with taxpayer support. 

He also called on other lenders to follow Nationwide’s lead and offer discounted rates for EPC A-rated new-build homes and green home improvements. 

Garner said: “Nationwide Building Society’s core social purpose is to help people into a place fit to call home. There is now also an urgent imperative to reduce carbon emissions from those homes. 

“Our suggested reforms are about creating meaningful incentives for people to green their homes. It’s not about penalising those in society who are least able to pay or putting the burden on local authorities.”   

“This is the greatest mutual challenge we face, and we will only make a difference if we work together,” he added. 

Dr. Rhian-Mari Thomas, chief executive of Green Finance Institute, said: “Developing the market for financing net-zero carbon and climate-resilient homes is a key objective of the Green Finance Institute’s Coalition for the Energy Efficiency of Buildings.  

“We welcome the leadership shown by Nationwide in supporting homeowners and consumers with innovative financial products.” 

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