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Incompetence ends Green Homes Grant

March 28, 2021 5:56 PM

667bm (Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash)Regular readers of this site will know we have shown a healthy scepticism about the governments commitment to carbon reduction. We would summarise our position by saying the high rhetoric and targets are rarely supported by concrete actions and underpinned investments.

Only recently we drew attention to the shambles surrounding the implementation of the Green Homes Grants ( see http://southsuffolklibdems.org.uk/en/article/2021/1391168/green-green-grass-of-home) With 17% of the UKs carbon emissions coming from domestic emissions this is a critical issue for the UKs bid to become carbon neutral by 2050

Our criticisms were echoed a few weeks ago by the parliamentary Environmental Audit Select Committee. which heavily criticised the administration of the scheme, which official figures show only six percent of the budget assigned for the grants in 2020/21 has actually been spent. and only 20,000 vouchers have been issued out of a expected 600,000 five months after the £2 billion scheme launched.

Their conclusions stated "We welcome the intention behind the Government's Green Homes Grant. It is disappointing that the administration of the scheme appears to be putting green jobs at risk, rather than creating them. Delivery has been poor for consumers and has led to perverse consequences for installers, and the scheme remains too short-term to have any prospect of achieving its initial targets. We recommend that the Green Homes Grant scheme be urgently overhauled and extended to provide greater long-term stimulus to the domestic energy efficiency sector. The Government must be mindful not to repeat the mistakes of the failed Green Deal energy efficiency incentive scheme"

You can read the full report at Greening the post-Covid recovery (parliament.uk)

At the end of last week it was announced that the scheme will be stopped on Wednesday and the remaining £300m cash allocated to a separate insulation fund run by councils. targeted at lower income households. It is rumoured the Government had become frustrated by the ineffectiveness of the US Company they brought in to run the scheme

Some 19 million homes in the UK need to be insulated or the emissions from gas/oil boilers will wreck the UK's chances of achieving its climate change targets.

This matters a lot in an area like ours with a disproportionate number of period houses dependent on oil fired heating. The cancelled scheme was intended for able-to-pay families so there is still a need for a new programme to nudge able-to-pay home owners into improving their insulation for the UK to hit its climate change targets.

There is no sign yet what that new programme might look like, or when it might happen.

Ed Matthew, from climate change think tank E3G said: "The end of the government's flagship green homes scheme is a tragedy that was avoidable.

"There was plenty of demand for the grants but the scheme was plagued by incompetent administration. The reality is that we can't get to net-zero without decarbonising our homes."

He called for a new grant scheme to replace it - but said it was key to get the grants out quickly.

The demise of the GHG follows the previous failure of the government's Green Deal which flopped because householders could get cheaper finance through their bank.

With all our local Councils dominated by Conservatives this failure by the Party to take the issue of domestic carbon reduction seriously is a major risk to our aspirations to seriously cut emissions. We need more Liberal Democrat councillors locally to get the issue taken seriously