The Government has delayed its flagship policy on rolling out green alternatives to gas boilers amid concerns of a backlash over the costs.
It comes amid concerns over how the country will reach its goal of Net Zero emissions by 2050 without hitting consumers’ bills.
The heat and buildings plan, set to include a target date for the end to new gas boilers from 2035, had been readied for release last week.
But it will now not be released until the autumn, as the Government tries to come up with new ideas to cushion the cost of switching to greener alternatives to gas boilers.
Among the proposals in the strategy is a commitment to review the difference between electricity and gas costs, which currently mean greener heat pumps are on average £400 more expensive to run annually than gas boilers.
That could see gas prices rise to make them more expensive compared to electricity.
A carbon price on gas for heating is also under consideration, echoing a similar move in the European Union.
Meanwhile, heat pumps themselves can cost up to £10,000, and often require costly insulation and retrofits to work effectively.
One idea under consideration is a payout to lower and middle-income families who would be hit by higher gas prices, but would be unable to pay the upfront costs to switch to green heating.
But there is disagreement within Government about whether such a policy would be affordable, with the Treasury said to be hesitant to commit funding, amid concern about backlash from its own MPs over public spending.
"Number 10 is trying to bounce the Treasury into something a bit more populist," an industry source said.
Observers say the Government’s decision to cut the aid budget from 0.7 to 0.5 per cent of GDP suggests there is little appetite to extend public spending.
It comes after the Government released its plan for transport to go green, which suggested it would need to recoup lost costs from fuel duty and vehicle excise duty with new taxes, potentially in a road pricing scheme.
It also suggested electric cars could be eligible to pay vehicle excise duty, which they currently avoid, from 2025.
Meanwhile, the release of the Treasury’s own review of where the costs of Net Zero will fall has also been repeatedly delayed, after concern within other Government departments that it was too negative.
Backbench Tory MP Steve Baker, who has been critical of the planned gas boiler phase-out, said the delay was indicative of the dilemma facing the Government.
"This is just the beginning of the practical problems the Government faces, and they’re going to need to come clean with the public if they don’t want a political disaster later," he said.
"The Government must tell the public openly, transparently and fully the cost of Net Zero and just how substantially our lives will be changed."
A Government spokesperson said: "We have always said that we will set out plans to decarbonise heat and buildings, including through a bespoke strategy, this year.
"Decarbonising our homes and buildings in a fair and affordable way for consumers and the taxpayer is a key element of our strategy to achieve this goal."