Labour KOs eco-funding plan

The government has allegedly dropped plans to part-fund environmental mortgages as part of its bid to encourage more lenders to go green.

Last week, housing minister Yvette Cooper met green mortgage lenders Norwich and Peterborough, Ecology, Co-operative Bank and also HSBC to discuss the possibility of creating a scheme similar to Open Market HomeBuy whereby the government would part-fund green mortgage products.

The meeting followed a statement from Baroness Andrews, parliamentary under secretary of state, revealing the government is keen to work with the industry to encourage more lenders to jump aboard the green bandwagon.

A spokeswoman for Ecology says it was agreed by Cooper and the lenders that a joint venture in which the government would part-fund the loans would not be the best way to encourage growth in the green mortgage market.

She says: “It was decided that it would not be in the best interests of consumers to finance energy improvements in this way – particularly if the amounts of money involved were small.”

She adds: “There may be better ways of incentivising home owners to improve energy efficiency, such as discounts on energyefficient products and domestic renewable energy systems, Council Tax rebates and changes to Stamp Duty.” A spokeswoman for the Department of Communities and Local Government says: “It is not for government to intervene directly on this subject.

“But we support mortgage lenders and banks that wish to implement schemes to help reduce carbon emissions in the home.”

Colin Challen, MP for Morley and Rothwell and chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group, revealed last week that the Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC and Barclays are all looking at how they can make their products greener.