Chancellor Gordon Brown announces stamp duty exemption for new zero carbon homes

The chancellor Gordon Brown has pledged that every new home will be zero carbon within 10 years.

In his pre-budget speech he said he wanted to “set a long-term framework for curbing carbon emissions from homes” which account for 30% of all emissions. This will involve stamp duty exemption for “the vast majority of new zero carbon homes” for a limited period.

Brown also pledged to tackle energy efficiency in existing homes, a key part of Building’s 99% Campaign to reduce carbon emissions in existing building stock.

Brown said he wanted energy audits on existing homes and to “offer low loans that would in time, because of low energy bills, pay for themselves.”

The government is also setting aside more brownfield land for housebuilding, increasing the number of new homes on brownfield land to 130,000.

Schools will also be targeted in the drive to reduce carbon emissions. The chancellor said new guidelines would be published to ensure investment in school buildings was sustainable, and the government would pilot green school designs to drive up standards.

In particular, funding for the Building Schools for the Future programme will depend on projects meeting the Building Research Establishment’s environmental assessment method ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ rating.

The government wants to reduce emissions from BSF schools by up to 60%, and in some cases achieve carbon neutrality.

Brown confirmed that the number of apprenticeships would increase from 250,000 to 500,000 by 2020. He also announced that Digby Jones, former director-general of the CBI, has been appointed to help the government reform training to meet employers’ needs.

The report also signalled that the introduction of the planning gain supplement (PGS) has been delayed until at least 2009. It said the government will carry out a fresh consultation on the controversial levy.

It said the levy would not apply to projects that have already been given planning permission and that 70% of the revenue will be retained in the local area.