Households who refuse to remove gas boiler and switch to heat pump ‘could be taxed’

Heat pump being installed

The Government is striving for the vast majority of homes to remove their gas boilers when they break down after 2035

Jessica Sheldon

By Jessica Sheldon

Published: 23/10/2023

- 09:10

Updated: 23/10/2023

- 12:33

The government has today increased the grant to help towards the cost of heat pump installation

Households could face additional taxes if they refuse to replace their gas boiler with a heat pump, it's been proposed.

The Government is striving for the vast majority of homes to remove their gas boilers when they break down after 2035 in a bid to move home heating to net zero by 2050.

Emma Fletcher, an energy expert, said there should be a “carrot and stick” approach for people to switch from gas boilers to heat pumps.

Speaking to The Telegraph, she said: “I’ve thought a lot about how you actually incentivise people. Do you put it on council tax – so those who are on the lowest incomes don’t have to pay?”

Gas boiler being used

People who refuse to replace their gas boiler with a heat pump could be taxed, an energy expert has suggested


Ms Fletcher suggested households in higher council tax bands face a charge of £5 a month for “not having done something” by 2035 in areas where councils have declared a climate emergency.

“So you’re given time to do something, but actually, after a while, you start having to pay in to something which then can be used to help people who are on low incomes to do it.

“But be under no illusion, the clock is ticking. That is where we have got to get to.”

However, Mr Fletcher acknowledged that heat pumps might not be the answer for every home, and some households may not be able to reach net zero.

She said: “Unfortunately, we are going to have to do this house by house, because it’s not just the house. It’s how people live in the house.”

Last week, an influential figure in the country’s infrastructure urged Rishi Sunak to close Britain’s gas network and instead roll out heat pumps.

A National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) recommended backing electrification as the “only viable option” for decarbonising buildings at scale to reduce the reliance on volatile fossil fuels, lower energy bills in the long term and meet the UK’s climate target.

The NIC suggested the government fully subsidises the cost of installing a heat pump for one-third of households, based on income, and offers £7,000 support to all other households to switch to a heat pump or heat network.

The Energy Saving Trust (EST) estimates it can cost between £7,000 and £13,000 to install an air-to-water pump, while ground source heat pump installations are estimated to cost between £14,000 and £19,000.

The NIC analysis of the impact of their recommendations on households, found the average household could save at least £1,000 a year by the mid-2030s compared to today, with this largely driven by the move away from fossil fuels onto cheaper low carbon electricity.

Person uses thermostat

The government has increased the heat pump installation grant


The government has today increased the grant available to subsidise the cost of installing a heat pump.

They said thanks to the scheme and taking advantage of additional discounts offered by energy suppliers, heat pumps can be cheaper than gas boilers to install.

Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho said: “No one should have to choose between cutting costs and cutting emissions - our pragmatic approach means we can continue to deliver on our ambitious net zero targets without unfairly hitting the pockets of hardworking families.

"From today, for some households starting prices for heat pumps could now be below the average gas boiler, as we have increased the cash grant by 50 percent to £7,500 – making our scheme one of the most generous in Europe.

“This will help thousands of people across the country reduce their energy use and keep their homes warm.”

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