The Government’s flagship energy policy ‘The Green Deal’ was unexpectedly terminated yesterday amid reported rumours of under-performance and poor installation practises.
Launched in September 2013 the Green Deal was hailed as the “biggest home improvement programme since the second world war” by ministers, specifically targeting the UK’s ageing housing stock. The primary focus was to improve insulation levels and reduce energy consumption. But argues the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC); ‘the take-up of the scheme has been much lower than forecast with only 15,000 Green Deal plans being submitted since its inception’. It goes on to argue that the taxpayers liability must be reduced.
BUT and this is a big but….the Government have forgotten to mention that the Green Deal Finance mechanism (the way in which the loan to cover the work is paid back through the electric meter) was not available to the consumer until late 2014 thus preventing any Green Deal applications being submitted or measures installed. In reality, 15,000 homes have been improved in just several months!
They have also failed to highlight the impact this will have on unemployment. An entire industry has been built around the Green Deal including Providers, Installers, Assessors and training companies who have all supported the scheme from the start. Each of those organisations, companies and individuals have invested huge amounts of time and money in developing the scheme, their business’ and training only to see the ‘rug pulled from beneath them’. Moreover, the Green Deal has no alternative to supersede it, placing the industry in a very precarious position indeed. Thousands of livelihoods are today at risk and who do you think will be picking up the unemployment tab…..the Taxpayer of course.
Finally, it’s worth remembering that by 2020 the UK must achieve certain carbon reduction targets under an international agreement called the Kyoto Protocol. Failure to meet these targets will incur a levy (tax) on every household and business within the UK.
Whilst the Green Deal was not perfect it was making a difference. Rather than scrapping it as they did yesterday, the Government should have addressed the issues and barriers that have held it back.
R.I.P Green Deal