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Plans for New Measures to Help Households Reduce Energy Bills

Posted on November 30th, 2022 -

Government joins with households to help millions reduce their energy bills – new measures set to help hundreds of thousands better insulate their homes and reduce consumption while saving families hundreds of pounds each year.

  • New £1 billion ECO+ scheme will see hundreds of thousands of homes across the country receive new home insulation, saving consumers around £310 a year
  • ECO+ will extend support to those in the least energy efficient homes in the lower Council Tax bands, as well as targeting the most vulnerable
  • a new £18 million campaign will give the public advice on how they can save hundreds on their own bills without sacrificing comfort

On Monday 28 November, Business and Energy Secretary Grant Shapps launched a government push to help millions of people across the country bring down their energy costs for this winter and beyond.

It is part of wider action this week across energy policy to help the UK meet its ambition of becoming energy independent.

Under plans announced, the new ECO+ scheme will extend support to those who do not currently benefit from any other government support to upgrade their homes. Joining the existing £6.6 billion ‘Help to Heat’ energy schemes this new £1 billion funding will ensure hundreds of thousands more households benefit from new home insulation and with that, lower bills.

Plus a new £18 million public information campaign will also offer technical tips and advice for people to cut their energy use, while also keeping warm this winter. Alongside the impact on their bills from the Energy Price Guarantee, the campaign will demonstrate how consumers can make significant savings.

Of the £1 billion funding available through the new ECO+ scheme, around 80% of the funding will be made available for those households who are in some of the least energy-efficient homes in the country – that is, those with an EPC rating of D or below – and in the lower Council Tax bands.

This will benefit those households who do not currently benefit from any other government support to upgrade their homes. Around a fifth of the fund will also be targeted to those who are the most vulnerable, including those on means tested benefits or in fuel poverty.

On top of this, the government will significantly expand its Help for Households campaign to help customers to reduce their own household energy usage and bills, while also giving vulnerable groups the right information for doing this without harming their health.

This includes promoting some of the government’s top recommended actions to help households save money on their energy bills, such as:

  • reducing the temperature a boiler heats water to before it is sent to radiators (known as the boiler flow temperature) from 75⁰C to 60⁰C
  • turning down radiators in empty rooms
  • reducing heating loss from the property such as by draught proofing windows and doors

It also comes ahead of the Business and Energy Secretary setting out his latest package of measures to deliver home-grown, affordable energy – helping to cut bills and bolster the country’s long-term energy security and independence.

Business and Energy Secretary Grant Shapps said:

The government put immediate help in place to support households in the wake of global energy price rises caused by Putin’s illegal march on Ukraine. Today, we launch the first of many measures to ensure the British public are never put in this position again as we work towards an energy independent future.

A new ECO scheme will enable thousands more to insulate their homes, protecting the pounds in their pockets, and creating jobs across the country.

And in the short term, our new public information campaign will also give people the tools they need to reduce their energy use while keeping warm this winter.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt said:

With Putin’s war driving up gas prices worldwide, I know many families are feeling worried about their energy bills this winter and beyond. Our extensive energy support package is insulating people from the worst of this crisis, but we’re also supporting people to permanently cut their costs.

In the longer term, we need to make Britain more energy independent by generating more clean, affordable, home-grown power, but we also need more efficient homes and buildings.

Our new ECO+ scheme will help hundreds of thousands of people across the UK to better insulate their homes to reduce consumption, with the added benefit of saving families hundreds of pounds each year.

Making homes more energy efficient is the best way to cut household energy use and is already helping reduce household energy bills, while also creating jobs across the country.

Since it was launched in January 2013, the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) schemes have delivered as many as 3.5 million energy-efficiency measures in around 2.4 million homes. The ECO+ scheme, which will run from spring 2023 for up to 3 years, extends that support even further and will see hundreds of thousands of households receive new insulation, saving them around £310 a year.

By rolling out predominantly low-cost insulation measures such as loft insulation and cavity wall insulation, the ECO+ scheme will support the government’s new ambition to reduce the UK’s final energy consumption from buildings and industry by 15% by 2030. The £1 billion scheme is backed by a new £6 billion investment to contribute to the existing £6.6 billion energy efficiency funding pot.

The new funding pot will also provide long-term funding certainty across for the industry, supporting the growth of supply chains and green jobs in the sector, as the government takes further action to tackle fuel poverty and reduce energy bills.

Improving the energy efficiency of UK homes is a crucial part of the government’s strategy. Thanks to government support so far, the number of homes with an energy efficiency rating of C or above is at 46% and rising, up from just 13% in 2010. We are investing over £6.6 billion over this Parliament to help decarbonise homes and buildings, and to ensure all homes meet EPC band C by 2035. An additional £6 billion of new government funding will be made available from 2025 to 2028. Further details on allocation of additional funding will follow in due course.

To further support households and help meet the government’s new energy demand reduction target, the government has also expanded its public awareness campaign to help reduce bills for households and protect vulnerable people over the winter and beyond. Backed by £18 million, this campaign will complement existing government support schemes. such as the Energy Price Guarantee and the Energy Bills Support Scheme and the information provided will save households money. For example, if a typical household reduced their boiler flow temperature from 75⁰C to 60⁰C and turned down radiators in empty rooms, they could save £160 a year on their energy bill at current prices. This also has the benefit of reducing the temperature a boiler heats water to before sending it to radiators, while making no difference to the temperature a room is actually heated to.

Information will be available on the existing Help for Households website.

Notes to editors

The government is delivering a new energy demand reduction target announced at the Autumn Statement to reduce energy demand by 15% by 2030.

The £6 billion of new government funding to back this target will be made available from 2025 to 2028.

This provides long-term funding certainty, supporting the growth of supply chains, and ensuring we can scale up our delivery over time.

Further details on allocation for this additional funding will follow in due course.

This is on top of £6.6 billion of existing spend in this parliament through Help to Heat schemes including the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, Home Upgrade Grant and Local Authority Delivery Scheme.


The existing ECO scheme (known as ECO4) is targeted at those who need support most; those in social housing, on a low-income or fuel poor. However, with the significant increase in energy bills, the government intends up to 80% of ECO+ to help a wider customer base who are currently not eligible for support under existing government-backed energy efficiency schemes.

The UK Government intends to lay necessary legislation for the scheme to launch in spring 23 and run until March 26. However, the government also plans to work with energy suppliers to explore the potential for some earlier delivery in 2023.

The consultation will run from 28 November to 23 December.


SWLA encourage landlords to take part in the consulation here; https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/design-of-the-energy-company-obligation-eco-2023-2026


Article by gov.uk

Autumn Budget 2022

Posted on November 17th, 2022 -

Stamp Duty

The Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt MP announced measures to restore stability to the economy, protect high-quality public services and build long-term prosperity for the UK with confirmation that the increased threshold to Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) will be phased out by 31 March 2025.

The nil-rate of SDLT was raised in September 2022 to £250,000 for all purchasers of residential property in England and Northern Ireland and increased the nil-rate threshold paid by first-time buyers from £300,000 to £425,000.

Energy crisis

The Energy Price Guarantee, which caps a typical energy bill at £2,500, will continue to provide support from April 2023 with the cap rising to £3,000.

More than eight million households on means-tested benefits will receive a cost-of-living payment of £900 in instalments, with £300 for pensioners and £150 for people on disability benefits.


Commercial property

A £13.6 billion package of support was included for business rates payers in England. To protect businesses from rising inflation the multiplier will be frozen in 2023-24 while relief for 230,000 businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure sectors was also increased from 50% to 75% in 2023.

To also help businesses adjust to the revaluation of their properties, which takes effect from April 2023, a £1.6 billion Transitional Relief scheme was announced to cap bill increases for those who will see higher bills.

This limits bill increases for the smallest properties to 5%. Businesses seeing lower bills as a result of the revaluation will benefit from that decrease in full immediately, with the Chancellor abolishing downward transitional relief caps. Small businesses who lose eligibility for either Small Business or Rural Rate Relief as a result of the new property revaluations will see their bill increases capped at £50 a month through a new separate scheme worth over £500 million.



Working age benefits will rise by 10.1%, and the Triple Lock on pensions will be protected, meaning pensioners will also get a rise in the State Pension and the Pension Credit in line with inflation.

The National Living Wage will be increased by 9.7% to £10.42 an hour.


Housing support

The UK Government is limiting the rent increase for people in social housing in England and will only be able to rise by a maximum of 7% in 2023-2024.

Homeowners on Universal Credit will be able to apply for Support for Mortgage Interest loans after three months instead of nine months, including those in employment. This will come into effect in Spring 2023.


Taxable allowances
The threshold at which higher earners start to pay the 45p rate will be reduced from £150,000 to £125,140, while Income Tax, Inheritance Tax and National Insurance thresholds will be frozen for a further two years until April 2028.

The Dividend Allowance will be reduced from £2,000 to £1,000 next year, and £500 from April 2024 and the Annual Exempt Amount in capital gains tax will be reduced from £12,300 to £6,000 next year and then to £3,000 from April 2024.

The threshold for employer National Insurance contributions will be fixed until April 2028, but the Employment Allowance will continue to protect 40% of businesses from paying any NICS at all.

Confirmation that Corporation Tax will still increase to 25% from April 2023.

Electric vehicles will no longer be exempt from Vehicle Excise Duty from April 2025.


Energy Efficiency Task Force

A new long-term commitment to drive improvements in energy efficiency to bring down bills was also announced, with an ambition to reduce the UK’s final energy consumption from buildings and industry by 15% by 2030 against 2021 levels.

New UK Government funding worth £6 billion will be made available from 2025 to 2028, in addition to the £6.6 billion already pledged. The Task Force will be charged with delivering energy efficiency across the economy.


Article Abridged from ARLA Propertymark


A Message to Plymouth Landlords from Plymouth City Council

Posted on November 17th, 2022 -

There is a shortage of homes in Plymouth – can you help?

Demand for private rented accommodation has seen significant increases over the past 2 years. At the same time we are seeing an increasing number of households approaching us as homeless or at serious risk of homelessness. There are more single persons, couples and families than ever in temporary accommodation including bed and breakfast, waiting to move on to a home.

Plymouth City Council are reaching out to you as we believe you are either a landlord, or agent, who may be able to help be a part of the solution!

If you have under-occupied buildings such as HMO’s, if you have tenants that are moving out and need to organise re-letting, or if you have ideas on what could work better, then we want to hear from you.

The below link will take you to a form which will capture information surrounding either vacancies you currently hold, or are anticipating in the near future, and also allows you to make suggestions regarding longer-term solutions. The form only takes a couple of minutes to complete and could save you time and money by helping you to occupy your building.

Help with a Home form

We also have 2 existing schemes in the City which means you may be able to help with the current shortage of homes.

 1     If you are interested in leasing your property to us at a guaranteed monthly rental please contact communityconnections@plymouth.gov.uk in the first instance with the subject title Houselet.

2)    Owners of empty properties who are interested in letting their properties to those in need of accommodation in the city can contact Plymouth Homes4Let (PH4L): https://www.ph4l.co.uk/ PH4L is a local letting agency that works with the Council, managing properties on behalf of owners.

 Thanks in advance and we look forward to hearing from you.

Article by Plymouth City Council

Trade Point – Black Friday Deals from Friday 11th November – Wednesday 30th November

Posted on November 10th, 2022 -

SWLA Trade Point Members receive 10% off on top of these deals. All Black Friday deals are whilst stock lasts.


Click here to view the deals; BlackFriday_Flyer_A5_12pp_small

Residential Property Income Tax Rules Review Published

Posted on November 9th, 2022 -

A report by the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) on the Income Tax rules for residential property income. The report looks into the common issues and concerns facing taxpayers and outlines several key recommendations for change.



In this report the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) considers the UK taxation of income from residential property, primarily in relation to individuals. Nearly one in ten Income Tax payers have income from property, underlining its importance within the UK economy and tax system.

Across the spectrum of sophistication and scale of activities, the 2.9 million property businesses reported by individuals to HMRC for income tax must face the rules for taxation of income from property. This report contains findings and recommendations to help reduce complexity and enhance understanding of taxpayers’ obligations.

Key findings

  • Although the furnished holiday lettings regime can provide some tax benefits, it is not widely used and adds a complex layer to the tax rules which apply to property income. The government should consider whether there is continuing benefit to the UK in having a separate tax regime for furnished holiday lettings.
  • The report recognises that removing the furnished holiday lettings regime could put pressure on the boundary between whether a taxpayer has a property business or a trade, and recommends the government consider whether it would be appropriate to introduce a statutory ‘bright line’ test to define when a property business should be handled under the trading rules.
  • Should the government wish to retain the furnished holiday lettings regime, the report recommends that the government consider removing the benefits for properties in the EEA and removing the benefits where there is private use (other than a minimal level).
  • The report reflects the weight of feedback on the long-standing tax complexity for landlords of whether costs are allowable straight away as repairs and replacements or should be disallowed for Income Tax as capital improvements, and recommends the government consider a broader immediate Income Tax relief for the majority of property costs. This would also support landlords in obtaining better EPC rating certificates, as is proposed by BEIS.
  • Nearly half of landlords will be filing for Making Tax Digital for Income Tax in respect of jointly-owned property. It is common practice for only one of the owners to keep records, and the report recommends that HMRC should establish a system to allow this practice to continue for Making Tax Digital. The report also notes the importance of HMRC accepting multiple agents to help with the new tax filings and recommends that HMRC should not go ahead with Making Tax Digital until these issues have been resolved.

Taxation of income from residential property

This report also covers the general regime for property and the confusion and challenge raised by large numbers of respondents about matters such as the allocation of income between joint owners, and in relation to rules which cause significant distortions or complexity such as the circumstances for diversified agricultural businesses.

The report looks in detail at how Making Tax Digital for Income Tax will affect landlords, and questions whether the initial and medium term threshold for entry into the new system should be increased above £10,000.

The report looks at non-resident landlords and encourages HMRC to make it easier for them to register for and report their income online for UK tax purposes. It also recommends that the government should consider removing the obligation on individual residential tenants in some situations to withhold tax from their rental payments to non-resident landlords.

Notes for editors

  • This is an own initiative review by the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) reflecting the responses to the OTS’s Call for Evidence and survey exploring the taxation of residential property income.
  • The survey was completed by 3,559 individuals, the highest survey response the OTS has received. Insights from this were added to the ideas, analysis, and challenge provided by stakeholders over the course of over 35 meetings and 27 written submissions.
  • About 2.9 million property businesses are reported to HMRC by individuals every year, only around 127,000 of which are in the furnished holiday lettings regime (111,000 in the UK and 17,000 in the EEA). About 1.4 million properties are jointly owned. HMRC estimate that around 1 million landlords’ property income turnover meets the £10,000 threshold to bring them into Making Tax Digital for Income tax, with around a further 380,000 landlords with combined turnover from property income and self-employment to meet the threshold.
  • The OTS is the independent adviser to government on simplifying the UK tax system. The OTS makes recommendations for the government to consider. It does not implement changes; that is a matter for officials and ministers.
  • The OTS works to improve the experience of all who interact with the tax system. It aims to reduce the administrative burden, which is what people encounter in practice, as well as looking to simplify the rules. Simplification of the technical and administrative aspects of tax are important, both to taxpayers and to HMRC.
  • The government announced on 23 September as part of The Growth Plan 2022 fiscal event that the Office of Tax Simplification will be closed.
  • As the Office of Tax Simplification is a statutory body, this closure will take effect when the next Finance Bill receives Royal Assent.
  • The OTS will complete one more report after this, on Hybrid and distance working


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