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UK-GBC calls on government to ‘throw a lifeline’ to failing Green Deal

The UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) has called on the government to help save the troubled Green Deal programme

The move comes following the release of new figures which show little improvement in numbers taking up the ailing eco-scheme,

At the end of February energy efficiency measures had been installed in just 883 homes with only 33 new households joining the scheme in the last month.

Just 163,096 Green Deal assessments have taken place since the scheme launched more than a year ago.

The figures are far lower than the government had initially predicted for its flagship energy efficiency scheme. Last year energy minister Greg Barker said he expected 10,000 households to be signed up to the Green Deal by the end of 2013.

The continuous poor uptake has led the UK-GBC to renew its call on the government to provide greater incentives to boost the scheme.

John Alker, director of policy and communications at UK-GBC, said: ‘This is by the far the worst month on record for take-up of the Green Deal, with fewer new plans now than at the very beginning of the scheme.

The take-up is reducing to a trickle

‘The scheme was always going to be something of a slow burner initially, but the number of new plans is reducing to a trickle.

‘Government has already had its wake-up call, it is now crunch time. It needs to step in to reduce the cost of the finance plans, strengthen and make permanent tax incentives, and make energy efficiency a pre-requisite for anyone getting an extension this summer.’

Defending the scheme secretary of state for energy and climate change Ed Davey, said: ‘This government is taking action to help people and businesses control their energy bills now. Last December we announced that we were reducing the cost of government policies, saving households an average of £50 each.

‘Yesterday, this government announced measures in the Budget to ensure continued investment in low carbon technology, retain our competitiveness and continue to guarantee energy security. The Budget measures will lower households electricity bills by an estimated £15 in 2020.

‘With regards to the Green Deal and ECO, making it easier for people to have more energy efficient homes is the best way to put consumers in control so they can keep bills down permanently.

‘It’s clear there is a real appetite for more energy efficient homes, which also helps to reduce carbon emissions as well as creating jobs and economic growth in the energy efficiency sector.’

Previous story (AJ 24.2.14)

Green Deal still failing to make a dent in UK retrofit

The numbers of households installing measures through the government’s flagship Green Deal scheme has continued to fall

At the end of January just 746 households had had measures installed through the energy efficiency scheme. Of these, new boilers accounted for 32 per cent of the installations while 23 per cent were photovoltaics.

Less than 15,270 Green Deal assessments took place in January, although this was 23 per cent more than December, it remains below November levels.

A total of 145,110 Green Deal assessments have been lodged since the scheme began more than a year ago.

The figures come as the government announced plans to extend the Green Deal’s cash-back scheme in attempt to boost the floundering programme.  

Paul King, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, said: ‘Increasing the amount of cash-back available and extending the period over which it can be claimed is a welcome move - any extra support to help get the Green Deal up and running is encouraging for industry.

‘Most significantly perhaps is the increase in the amount of cash-back available for solid wall insulation as this may help to make the Green Deal more attractive for those in harder to treat homes and could help to offset the significantly reduced support for these measures under changes to ECO.’

The amount of cash-back available for solid wall insulation has been upped from £650 to £4,000, and double-glazing from £320 to £650.

Green Deal measures graph

Previous story (AJ 24.01.14)

Industry slams failing Green Deal

After just 626 households sign up to the floundering Green Deal in its first year, the industry has called for the government to act now to save the flagship energy efficiency scheme

Numbers of households signing up to the scheme in the past month have dropped by a fifth, causing the industry to call on the government to ‘wake-up’ to problems with the scheme.

Chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, Paul King, said: ‘This latest set of figures, coming a year since the policy launched, should come as a wake-up call to government that the Green Deal is not delivering in its current form.

The Green Deal is not delivering in its current form

‘Government must recognise energy efficiency as a national infrastructure priority and be prepared to delve into its purse to make its flagship policy more appealing through stronger incentives and more attractive finance options.’

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has also slammed the performance of the scheme, scoring it just two out of five in a one-year anniversary ‘report card’.

Brian Berry, FMB chief executive, commented: ‘It’s clear that the Green Deal simply has not achieved the desired results in its first full year, with the majority of SME installers and home owners failing to engage, and the financial package underpinning the scheme proving unattractive to most consumers.

As a financial package, the Green Deal just doesn’t stack up

‘As a financial package, the Green Deal just doesn’t stack up. There are many attractive high street alternatives out there, with loans and credit cards generally available at more competitive rates to fund both the lower and higher value types of eligible energy-efficiency project. Other government incentives such as the recently announced reduction in stamp duty for those taking up the Green Deal are also not inclusive. The pot of money is too small and, worse still, this incentive will only apply to people who are buying or selling their home.’

He added: ‘The Government needs to accept that the Green Deal’s first year has been underwhelming at best. The single most effective measure to kick-start demand would be to reduce the rate of VAT from 20 per cent to 5 per cent on all domestic repair and maintenance work, including energy-efficiency improvements. This would be a real incentive to home owners across the board to think about getting a professional tradesperson in to quote on a variety of repair and maintenance projects.’

Energy minister Greg Barker admitted his initial target of 10,000 Green Deal plans to be in place by the end of 2013 had been ‘spectacularly wrong’. Currently just 1,612 households have Green Deal plans in progress.

Speaking at a UK-GBC Green Deal event on the anniversary of the initiative, Barker blamed contractors for being slow to adapt.

He said: ‘I think it is the largest companies, the incumbents, that have been the slowest to adapt, that are struggling to make a reality of opportunities in the new energy market and maybe this is going to be a trigger of a big realignment of who can make a success in the energy market and who can’t.’

Despite this he insisted the programme had got off to an ‘encouraging start’ and said the Department of Energy and Climate Change was making ongoing improvements to improve the scheme’s appeal to householders.

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