Laura Lane and Anne Power
Published June 2010
Forward by Ron Storer, President, Federation of Master Builders: The housing system is intrinsically linked to almost every major area of government policy from the economy and taxation to the environment and education. It is driven by a huge range of factors from the behaviour of individuals to global economic forces. It is also in most cases the greatest asset and debt held by a household. There is a wide variation in the amount of money people spend on their housing ranging from those who own their property outright to an estimated one million households who spend more than two thirds of their income on housing costs. And yet despite its importance economically, socially and environmentally the current housing system is in crisis; namely housing supply is failing to meet demand and the current stock is unsuitable without major adaption to meet future needs. There is now an urgent need to take action to make our existing homes greener and more energy efficient. Given that our homes contribute 27 per cent of the UK's total carbo emissions and that 85 per cent of our homes will be still be in use in 2050 it is imperative if the Government is to meet its legal requirement to cut carbon emissions that a more concerted effort is made to transform our existing housing stock. A large scale programme of retrofitting is required to transform our 26 million homes. Such a programme could have a significant role in helping to reduce fuel poverty, creating new jobs in the construction sector as well as tackling energy saving.