The government must include financial incentives for householders adding energy-efficiency measures to their homes, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has said.

According to the FMB, more than half of small building firms back a government requirement for homeowners to make energy-efficiency improvements when they extend their home. However, the Federation believes there would have to be financial incentives to help pay for the work.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “Following a thorough consultation with FMB member firms, we believe the government should re-evaluate the need for a consequential improvements regulation, but only alongside a significant financial incentive for energy efficiency. This could take the form of a reduction in VAT on home renovation and repair, variable stamp duty or variable council tax.

“We still want to see government introduce financial incentives to increase uptake of the Green Deal. At present, the Green Deal is simply not attractive to most people. New government research shows that 56% of people who have had a Green Deal assessment have already installed at least one of the recommended measures, and a further 6% are in the process of having work done. However, very few are actually using Green Deal finance to fund the work, proven by the fact there are still only 12 'live' Green Deal Plans.

“The Green Deal must not be left to fail, which is why additional incentives are needed to increase the number of people who have a Green Deal assessment and also go on to install the recommended measures.”

Mr Berry added: “Further to that, government must invest the money collected via carbon taxes in a publicly funded retrofit programme. Low-income households cannot afford to retrofit their own home and are unlikely to sign up to a scheme like the Green Deal. Therefore government must commit to a public spending programme to lift significantly more households out of fuel poverty and support those who are unable to pay for this work.

“We are currently in the midst of party conference season and want to see all three main political parties make low-carbon refurbishment policies a priority. It is the only lever that can simultaneously tackle a broad range of economic, social and environmental problems.”