Government decision to pull funds from Green Homes Grant scheme will ‘cost thousands of jobs’

According to the Government, almost 30,000 vouchers worth £115m have been issued to homeowners to date – and it is working to process those applications ‘as quickly as possible’

The Government’s decision to axe the Green Homes Grant scheme from 5 pm on the 31st of March will cost thousands of jobs, it’s been claimed, households will now have just a few days to get applications in to qualify for the energy efficiency grant.

Homeowners that are in need of insulation, heat source pumps or double glazing should act now to register for a grant before the Government pulls the plug on the popular grant scheme.

The announcement has come as a shock move to homeowners and businesses, the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) issued a statement confirming the scrapping of the scheme as part of government reforms for a larger domestic energy efficiency programme with a pot of £300m to improve energy efficiency for households on low income.

A spokesman from the Trades Union Congress has stated that pulling large amounts of funding from its flagship £2bn green scheme would be like a “wrecking ball” to the industries job market.

The Green Homes Grant only helped 10% of the 600,000 homes the chancellor promised would be improved.

It is estimated that around 19 million homes in the UK are in need of insulation or the emissions from gas boilers will ruin the UK’s chances of achieving its targets for climate change.

The Green homes grant scheme, that launched in September was set to tackle this, but has been a failiure from the start.

The government claim that many households did not apply for the grants – up to £10,000 – because they did not want tradespeople in their homes during the lockdown.

As a TrustMark registered business based in Cornwall we certainly did not find that this was the case – Phones ringing constantly all hours of the day and night, a deluge of emails from desperate homeowners from all over the country looking for someone to install measures.

An American company dealing with the way the money was spent were so tight that some installers were put out of business because payments were delayed for so long during the process.

Despite stringent checks being carried out, some builders overcharged for their work in some cases charging almost double for their services via the scheme which highlights the incompetency of the company issuing the vouchers.

Inconsistent funding

American consultants brought in to manage the issuing of vouchers have caused frustration and anger at the way the scheme has been handled.

A scheme ran by local authorities funding home insulation is running smoothly in comparison, however, a new programme is required to encourage home owners into improving their insulation if the UK is to reach the targets for climate change.

No details have been revealed about what that new programmes structure, or when it will roll out, it is speculated that a pot of £9bn would be made available for home insulation as promised by the Conservatives in their manifesto.

The green homes grant scheme was a shambles from the very start, homeowners, campaigners and industry trades have called for Chancellor Rishi Sunak to build a new insulation scheme that would span decades rather than months, giving installers and trade suppliers time to build stocks and train installers.

A shambles from the start

Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng wants to transfer the pot of cash to the local authority fund, rather than the total scrapping of the GHG.

Kwasi said: “Upgrading the country’s homes with energy efficiency measures means we can cut emissions and save people money on their energy bills.

“Today’s funding boost will mean even more households across England are able to access these vital grants through their local authority.

“This latest announcement takes our total energy efficiency spending to over £1.3bn in the next financial year, giving installers the certainty they need to plan ahead, create new jobs and train the next generation of builders, plumbers and tradespeople.”

The scheme was first announced last year with a short run time, campaigners and industry experts called for the scheme to be extended in Novemeber for another year until the end of March 2022.

Greenpeace UK described the rollout of the GHG scheme as “shambolic” and stated that the biggest problem affecting England’s energy efficiency was private households and stated that the problem could not be sorted with a smaller pot of money”.

Not the first Green scheme to get axed

In 2015 the UK government ran a flagship scheme to insulate homes but the scheme was cut short because the take-up was too low, there was pandemic to blame back in 2015, so why is the take up so low on these grand schemes?

The green deal was hailed as the biggest home improvement programme since the second world war by Government ministers at the launch back in 2013, however, it actually turned out to be the biggest flop with just over 15,000 households taking part.

Who is to blame for the failure to launch?

Green deals seem doomed to fail, largely due to the shambolic roll out of the schemes and the poor administration. Red tape and beurocracy make it almost impossible for business to particpate resulting in frustrated home owners and an unachievable climate change target.

The pot of money should be distrubuted between local councils rather than allowing American based companies to handle in any future schemes, longer run times of the schemes and less red tape for companies to participate would also make things run a lot smoother