/ Home & Energy

Q&A with Greg Barker MP: what's the new Green Deal fund?

A green magnifying glass

Households carrying out energy efficiency improvements can now get up to £7,600 via a new Green Deal fund. In this post, Greg Barker answers questions about the fund and how the Green Deal’s going in general.

1. Has the government reviewed why take-up of the Green Deal cashback scheme has been so low before putting in place new incentives?

Yes we did review the scheme and listened to what people wanted. We made changes accordingly by making the scheme better and simpler with more money now available.

Our latest statistics show that more people are now taking advantage of the existing cashback scheme which closes at the end of June. In addition, over 188,000 households have had a Green Deal assessment – over 25,000 in March alone. We also found that over 80% of households have or intend to improve their home’s energy efficiency.

The Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF) will be available from early June.

2. Will I have to pay for a Green Deal assessment and have a Green Deal finance plan to qualify for this and how do I find out which installers are Green Deal registered?

A Green Deal assessment (Green Deal Advice Report) or a recent Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is needed. Assessments cost between £100-£150 – under the new scheme if households carry out the improvements they can now claim back up to £100 for the cost of the assessment.

Households don’t have to have a finance plan to be eligible for the scheme – that’s just one way of paying. It is entirely up to the individual how they choose to pay for the Green Deal improvements.

To qualify for the scheme customers will need to use a registered Green Deal company. A list of approved companies can be found here.

3. What’s to stop providers and installers putting up the price of these measures to maximise their profits?

Work must be carried out by a registered company and there’s a robust registration process for Green Deal installers and providers. This is to protect against fraud and ensure work is done to high standards by properly accredited people. The scheme administrator will verify claims and carry out inspections.

By shopping around, households can get the best deal.

4. I live in a rented property, can I apply for this scheme even though I don’t own my home?

Yes, it’s open to any householder including landlords and tenants. If you rent a property you must get agreement from your landlord to carry out the work first. If a tenant wants to apply for the GDHIF they must also pay for the majority of the work.

5. Is the funding given before work starts or do I need to pay all costs and then claim it back?

The GDHIF incentive is paid once the work has been completed and a claim has been submitted. Households will need to apply and receive a voucher before they carry out the work. This will need to be signed by the company carrying out the work. Once the customer has received the voucher, the work must be carried out and they must make their claim (including providing copies of invoices and other relevant documents) within six months from the date of the voucher being issued.

Have you had a Green Deal assessment carried out? If not, are you tempted by the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund?


Question 1: Good you listened to the views of people about what they want but why didn’t you listen to people on day one of the Green deal launch? Had you done so progress towards making UK housing stock more efficient would not have fallen so far behind.

Question 2: It was never a prerequisite to take out a Green Deal finance plan and with a high variable interest rate a good job too. The Green deal assessment also if you opted not to be Green Deal financed is and was unnecessary a much cheaper EPC (which you need anyway if letting or selling) would tell you basically the same thing. Even just common sense in most cases would tell you if you need for example more insulation or a better heating system.

Question 3: There is nothing to stop providers and installers putting up the price of these measures to maximise their profits. In fact they do, if only to cover the paperwork costs of Green Deal registration. Example, compare the cost of a replacement boiler from a gas safe local plumber and an approved supplier like British Gas?

Question 4: Tenants have always been able to apply for a Green Deal improvement but is it right and fair that they should pay to upgrade a property they don’t own? Surely there should be a minimum efficiency rating for rental property and costs to achieve that rating should be down to the landlord.

Question 5: So the money is only there after the job has been done and you have to “apply”? Great potential for that going wrong I’d say. Finance it yourself either from savings or via a much cheaper loan, use a local tradesman who will be cheaper and it will all work out without any problem.

I’d say the Green Deal still needs work before it’s a good deal, and I think the rate of take up supports that point of view. I’d even say what we had before which was basically a system of subsidy and grants worked much better and, so long as those subsidies and grants are financed through general taxation rather than by surcharging the hard pressed energy bill payer, that is what we should return to.

Chris Dixon says:
9 May 2014

I wonder if this scheme actually exists!
I’ve been waiting since before Christmas for a new boiler. each time I’m told “Yes, you qualify for a new boiler”, then nothing happens!

I love to have a new boiler, double glazing etc, but as I don’t know any of the companies you list, I’ll go without. I’d rather use a builder mate of mine to do all the work, but as he’s not bothering to register with the green deal, I won’t be making use of it. The reason he’s not registering is he’s practically retired and the cost and effect required will probably be not be worth it to just do my house.

Pete Steele says:
10 May 2014

Question for Mr Barker:
After the GDHIF announcements, I read with interest the details regarding eligibility until I noticed in dismay that the funds can be accessed without the need for a Green Deal Report. To allow the funds to be accessed by the inferior EPC, seems a complete folly.

I am a Green Deal Assessor and can assure you that the whole process involved in producing the Green Deal Report and the advice that comes with it is of much greater benefit to the householder than the bland statements and lack of consultation that occurs when producing an EPC.

Having operated as a DEA I decided that the Green Deal would be an effective vehicle in the laudable government push towards better insulated homes. I like many others, have geared up to be able to deliver the Green Deal process and have been very disappointed in its success to date. Now we have the much trumpeted GDHIF to possibly generate some interest, only to find it does not need a Green Deal Report.

Simplistically, it is ludicrous to offer Green Deal funding for measures that are not supported by a Green Deal Report. I request that you explain the rationale that has allowed this to happen and consider my views among the many more that you will be receiving.

“inferior EPC”??? What are you talking about Pete Steele.

I’m a DEA too but one who came to the conclusion a long time ago that the Green Deal was not a good deal for a host of reasons, my conclusion since confirmed by the very poor Green Deal take up. I decided not to become a Green Deal Assessor, but to wait until the powers that be came up with a simple sensible workable system. I might be waiting a while judging by the way things are going.

Anyway going back to your comment, the Green deal assessment is an EPC, but with additional bits to do with how the house is occupied by the particular householder.
The essential information regarding how best to improve any home is already contained within the EPC. The additional “Occupancy Survey”, the extra bit is supposed to tailor improvements to a particular occupant, but in reality recommended improvement change little from those on the basic EPC.
Having said that in the majority of cases the improvement requirements of just about any home are simply a matter of common sense not really needing any survey.

An EPC is required by law if you are selling or letting. It was originally just intended to give would be home buyers and tenants advanced information on the likely energy costs of the home they were thinking of buying or renting and, in that respect, if people take the time to actually look at the thing it can be a very useful aid.
The use of the EPC was later extended to a requirement for qualification for the feed in tariff if you’re having say solar panels installed.(a minimum D band rating being the qualification requirement).
Now the EPC use has been extended further to become the basis of a Green Deal Assessment, but it’s a dogs dinner of a scheme in my view.

Unless you get your EPC through an estate agent (silly money, often a 100% mark up on the actual assessors fee) an EPC usually costs about £50 if you find and approach a local assessor directly. There is a register on the net.
A Green Deal assessment will set you back between £100 and £150, but necessary if you elect to go the Green Deal route for your efficiency improvements.

However if, as is most often the case, you know what improvements your home would most benefit from, because in the vast majority of cases with minimal research it’s pretty obvious, and you’re going to finance it yourself you don’t need a Green Deal Assessment or an EPC. Just do it using local tradesmen. It will be easier and cheaper than the Green Deal approach anyway.

I have looked into this and it is a complete waste of everybody’s time.

Greenerheat says:
12 May 2014

We are a small company who are registered Green Deal Installers for renewable technologies. We are also MCS accredited (at great expense to our business). If home owners want to claim the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) they have to have a GDA first, however we have yet to complete any installations under the Green Deal scheme as it seems to be a more expensive option that obtaining alternative finance. Whilst I appreciate the payback via the electricity bill is designed to make the as financially painless as possible, that is really aimed at a market who can’t afford the improvements and probably can’t access finance any other way. Without wishing to stereotype, I doubt people in this situation own their homes and are therefore less inclined to spend valuable cash on these types of improvements. If it was compulsory that landlords and social housing associations make these improvements, then it would benefit everyone. Once again, another half hearted attempt by the government which has probably cost millions to implement, and will give very little return.

The whole scheme is a complicated folly.
I can only see it benefitting banks and money lending organisations who are able to make loads of money out of the poorest people with guaranteed payback on high interest loans secured against energy bills associated with any property where any owner or landlord has been silly enough to sign up.
I certainly wouldn’t want to buy or rent a property with much increased energy unit costs in order to further subsidise bankers bonuses.

John H comments spot on thanks.

I had a voucher under the old scheme. But in the end, I decided not to use it.

3. What’s to stop providers and installers putting up the price of these measures to maximise their profits?

The answer to this question, is shop around. But the Green Deal is set up in such a way that makes it difficult to shop around.

If you have decided that you are going to replace your boiler under the Green Deal scheme. The likelihood is that you are going to use a company that offers the complete package – Assessment and Installation including all the paperwork. If you try to do the paperwork yourself, you will find it is very complicated and difficult to understand. You will only know whether or not you have succeeded, after you have committed yourself and spent the money.

— British Gas probably understand the scheme better than most, and they offer a choice of boilers. But they are very expensive.

– B&Q offer a service. You are stuck with boilers that you would not normally buy. When they actually come to finalise the figures, they will probably claw back any savings you were hoping to make, by saying your installation will be particularly difficult and consequently it will cost more than they originally estimated.

You cannot shop around.

I would like to see a Which report on companies that offer the Green Deal. Which ones are the best ones to deal with?

If Which decided to investigate the B&Q scheme, they would have to look at a boiler that they have not covered in any previous report.

The Green Deal scheme reveals how shallow Which reports are. You don’t buy a ‘boiler’, you buy a service that includes installation.

You get the impression that the various lobby groups have stitched something up between themselves that will enable them to make money.