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Industry slams failing Green Deal

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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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Readers' comments (1)

  • There was at best scepticism amongst small architectural practices when the Green Deal was first discussed amongst RIBA members. I would heartily endorse Brian Berry's proposal to reduce VAT on domestic improvement works, many of which now do not require planning consent and could be implemented quickly. Small local architect's practices would be on hand to assist.

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