Both The Baroness Maddock (Liberal Democrat) and The Baroness Verma (Conservative) are passionate speakers on the topic of Energy – and both took the opportunity to air their views at the official lunch to recognise leaders and innovators in the home improvement sector.
The NHIC Awards 2013 Since 1974 the National Home Improvement Council Annual Awards have recognised achievement in the UK housing arena and have grown over the years to become regarding as the premier event in the sector. They help to raise the profile of the many inspirational initiatives that are characteristic of the UK’s outstanding ingenuity in the field of housing.
There were six categories for this year’s Awards along with one overall winner taking the George Plucknett Award (Aspire Housing who also won the Energy Efficiency in Local Communities Award) The plaques, along with Winner and Merit certificates, were presented by Baroness Maddock and Baroness Verma. The Award Categories, Winners and Recipients of Certificates of Merit are listed below.
Glassolutions won the Award for Best Use of Glass in the Home Sponsored by The Glass & Glazing Federation.
What the speakers said
Baroness Maddock told guests that the NHIC had been founded by her colleague Lord Ezra in 1980 who had come to the opinion that much of the UK’s housing stock desperately needed upgrading particularly when it came to heating and insulation.
Though a huge number of UK properties have seen improvement in the intervening 30-odd years, the NHIC believes that a vast number need improving again as energy issues come to the top of the agenda. The Council continues to lobby fervently for Government measures to help householders.
However, Baroness Maddock was not confident that the NHIC’s call for a VAT reduction on home improvements would receive a sympathetic hearing. She said: “There is a desperate need to build houses so developers will continue to from benefit zero VAT on new build homes but there are few politicians that will be persuaded to extend the benefit to home improvement.”
Baroness Maddock did reference the Green Deal to say that the Government still considered this to be a flag ship initiative. The NHIC is a strong supporter of the Green Deal. Baroness Maddock said that although it had received some poor press, it was still very early days for a programme that is expected to run for twenty years. “Although take-up has been low, 100,000 assessments have already taken place with nearly 10,000 homeowners saying they will act in the future. We now have 2,600 Green Deal Assessors in place and hundreds of organisations ready to install.”
Meanwhile, Baroness Verma, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change avoided the ‘green crap’ scandal (PM Cameron was accused using this to describe levies on energy bills he wanted removed from the Autumn Statement), preferring instead to focus on what she described as the coalition’s ‘landmark’ Energy Bill and the need for a “reasoned debate on energy prices.”
Only days before Baroness Verma had spoken at the House of Lords repeating the Statement made earlier ‘in another place’ by Ed Davey (Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change): “This coalition Government are putting in place the most coherent, sustainable energy policy the United Kingdom has ever had, creating one of the most competitive and attractive electricity investment markets in the world, improving our energy security, boosting home-grown clean energy and providing jobs and economic growth in the process.”
Baroness Verma said at the NHIC Awards luncheon: “By 2020 we want to have 30 million smart metres installed. We are setting a target to have intelligent, informed consumers who have an active role to play in the energy market.”
Baroness Maddock had also given a view to The Lords as the Energy Bill received its third reading on Tuesday 19th November. She said: “It has become quite clear that the big six, in particular, have sometimes not pointed out to their customers or admitted in their discussions, that some of those costs are social costs. It is important that we are quite accurate about what is a social cost and what is a so-called green tax.”
Energy Efficiency in Local Communities
Sponsored by British Gas
Winner: Aspire Housing
Certificate of Merit: Wrexham Borough Council
Excellence in Roofing
Sponsored by The National Federation of Roofing Contractors
Winner: Wyvis Roofing
Certificate of Merit: Clarke Roofing
The Best Use of Glass in the Home
Sponsored by The Glass & Glazing Federation
The Best Home Energy Solution
Sponsored by NAPIT
Winner: Mitsubishi Electric
Certificate of Merit: Dimplex Renewables
Gas Safety in Social Housing
Sponsored by The Gas Safety Trust
Winner: Nottingham City Homes
Certificate of Merit: Soha Housing
Excellence in Glazing
Sponsored by Certass
Winner: Britannia Windows
Certificate of Merit: Daybreak Windows
The George Plucknett Award
Sponsored by The National Home Improvement Council
Winner: Aspire Housing