Press Story

  • Areas in need of levelling-up would benefit twice as much from a nationwide retrofitting schemes as London

  • £7bn a year scheme would sustain 2.7 million direct and indirect jobs to 2050, helping growth and net-zero

  • Retrofitting homes with good insulation and a heat pump would save average households £430 off their bills

Retrofitting England’s homes with good insulation and new heat pumps is a ‘no-brainer’ to create jobs, boost growth, reduce energy bills, level-up and also meet our net-zero target, according to a new report by progressive think tank IPPR.

Almost all of England’s 24 million homes need to be upgraded, putting us far behind European neighbours like Germany and France. Additionally, we are currently installing less than 10 per cent of the measures needed in our cold, damp, and leaky homes if we want to meet our net-zero target. This means home emissions are high, people pay for it through their bills and health, and the country is overall more exposed to international crises in fuel prices.

The report lays out a 28-year plan to retrofit every household in England, which at its core would create 1.2 million direct jobs and 1.5 million indirect jobs and provide a cornerstone for the levelling-up agenda, as well as reducing households’ bills by an average of £430 a year.

There is currently significant regional variation in employment opportunities. A retrofitting programme, at the cost of £7bn a year, would benefit regions such as the North East and the West Midlands more than twice as much as areas like London and the South East. The plan would create over 61,200 new direct retrofitting jobs in the North East, equivalent to more than 5 per cent of the total job market in the region, whereas for London retrofitting jobs would represent slightly over 2 per cent of total employment.

Coastal constituencies like Clacton, Wallasey, and South East Cornwall would benefit the most,along with former industrial centres like Doncaster North and Sheffield Hallam. It would also be particularly beneficial to so-called ‘red wall’ constituencies, like North West Durham, Birmingham Northfield, and Stoke-on-Trent North.

The report makes five key recommendations for the government to make substantial progress:

  • Standards - Set a clear direction for the market and introduce stricter EPC minimum standards and deciding on a phase out date banning the sale of oil and gas boilers

  • Skills - Expand training standards to invest in skills and clamp down on bad practices such as ‘pay to pass’ training

  • Funding - Introduce a comprehensive ‘one stop shop’ for financial support known as the GreenGo scheme, which would include full grants for fuel poor homes and substantial grants and zero interest loans for other groups.

  • Communication - Launch a massive national information campaign and a properly resourced advice service

  • Local capacity - Increase funding to local authorities to deliver retrofitting schemes tailored to their areas

Luke Murphy, head of the Fair Transition Unit and associate director for the energy, climate, housing and infrastructure team at IPPR, said:

“The new prime minister and chancellor have said they want to focus on growth. This report shows that a national retrofit programme can deliver jobs and growth right across the country, and deliver levelling up at the same time. It would also lower energy bills, reduce energy demand and our dependence on Putin, and lessen carbon emissions.

“It’s hard to think of another intervention that could deliver on so many objectives at the same time. It’s time the government acted and invested to upgrade our nation’s homes making them warmer and more affordable. It’s a no-brainer.”

Joshua Emden, IPPR senior research fellow, said:

“The UK is in the middle of the worst energy bill crisis for at least 50 years. The price cap freeze shields us from absolute catastrophe but many households are already struggling with last April’s increases. It is vital that the government takes steps to make us less vulnerable in future.

“Retrofitting will not just play a crucial part by cutting energy consumption, but also has the capacity to level-up the regions most in need. Over a million direct jobs, and more than a million more indirect jobs, would be created if the government pursued this retrofitting plan. Left-behind areas like former industrial centres and coastal communities would benefit the most from these jobs and the economic growth it will bring. The country would be better off, the economy would be better off, and the climate would be better off.”


Joshua Emden the report’s author, and Luke Murphy are available for interview


David Wastell, director of news and communications: 07921 403651

Liam Evans, senior digital and media officer: 07419 365334


  1. The IPPR paper, Train local, work local, stay local: Retrofit, growth and levelling up, will be published at 00:01 on Wednesday 21st September. It will be available for download at:

  1. Table: Retrofitting jobs impact by region


New direct retrofitting jobs created

Share of current job market in region

North East



East Midlands



Yorkshire & the Humber



West Midlands



South West



East of England



North West



South East






  1. The average reduction in household bills is calculated on the basis of the newly-announced energy price cap, equivalent to average household energy costs of £2,500 per year.

  1. IPPR is the UK’s pre-eminent progressive think tank. With more than 40 staff in offices in London, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh, IPPR is Britain’s only national think tank with a truly national presence.