Energy minister Greg Barker has hit back over claims the Green Deal is failing to boost energy efficient conversions
The minister spoke out after the UK-GBC and industry leaders panned the government’s flagship retrofit programme for failling to kickstart a new wave of retrofits.
Launched in October last year, the scheme offers loans for domestic energy saving measures which are repaid through energy bills and transfer with the property if sold.
Official statistics however showed less than one per cent of the 38,000 Green Deal assessments carried out have led to householders signing up for installations.
In a letter responding to the UK-GBC (attached), Barker said the Green Deal aimed to ‘establish a self-sustaining market mechanism that will grow to meet demand without the need for the heavy subsidies that previous incentives were based upon’.
He also said further government incentives and subsidies could be expected in the coming months.
Barker also defended the Green Deal’s interest rate of nearly 7 per cent which the UK-GBC had claimed was a ‘major disincentive to take up’.
Barker added: ‘The Green Deal makes finance accessible to over 80 per cent of consumers, many of whom would not be able to borrow unsecured credit at anywhere near this level of interest’.
John Frankiewicz, divisional chief executive, Willmott Dixon Capital Works, who backed the UK-GBC letter welcomed Barker’s response.
He said: ‘We welcome the minister’s pragmatic approach and willingness to engage with industry through new initiatives like the Green Deal Providers Forum in seeking solutions to something we all want to achieve; greener property with lower energy costs.
‘The minister’s response, while acknowledging the government’s budgetary constraints, shows a keen desire to make programmes like Green Deal work, and that to do so, it must be a joint approach with the private sector.’
Peter Hindle, of Saint-Gobain commented: ‘Saint-Gobain welcomes Greg Barker’s response to the open letter from the UK Green Building Council to which I was a signatory. We know the Government is under considerable pressure to close the deficit but there is still a need for urgent action if the UK is to meet its retrofit targets. Saint-Gobain is committed to working with Government, as constructively as possibly to help make this happen.
‘However, we must address issues like the current rate of interest for the Green Deal Finance which is a major barrier to take up of Green Deal loans and will, together with other issues, be crucial to the future success of the scheme.
‘We are encouraged however by the news that a new Green Deal Provider Forum is being set up and hope this will facilitate closer engagement between the Government and the industry, enabling us all to come up with workable solutions that will drive retrofit and enable the UK to meet its carbon reduction targets.’