/ Home & Energy

Shock news as the Green Deal fund closes after seven weeks

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Many were excited about the new Green Deal cash incentive scheme, which could get you £7,600 cash back for making your home more energy efficient. But now the fund’s been closed just seven weeks after launch.

In June it was announced that £120m had been put aside for the Green Deal fund for the 2014/2015 financial year. The Government clearly expected an initial rush of consumers to start claiming, as we knew all along that the payment rates and eligible technologies would be reviewed after £50m in vouchers had been claimed.

As expected, the announcement came on Tuesday 22 July that this £50m mark had been reached, and the £7,600 maximum amount you could claim was reduced to £5,600.

Out of the blue, it was then announced yesterday that £120m worth of Green Deal Home Improvement Fund vouchers had been claimed, and the fund was closed with immediate effect. No new applications will be accepted. A fund that was supposed to last a year didn’t make it past two months. Nor is it clear whether any more money will be available at any point this year.

What does this mean for you?

If you’ve paid for a Green Deal Assessment or Energy Performance Certificate, but are yet to apply for vouchers or haven’t received a voucher, you’ll find yourself unable to claim back any cash for their assessment. This is unless the Government puts in place any special arrangements to help those who have been left out of pocket.

Those hoping to make their homes greener and reduce their energy bills may now be unable to afford energy-efficient measures out of their own pockets. So we want to hear from you:

• Were you in the middle of applying for the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund, or were you considering doing so soon? We’re particularly interested in what your installer is now saying if you have already agreed the works.

• Are you less likely to consider installing energy-efficient measures in your home now that there is no offer of any Green Deal cashback?

Comments
Member

The Green Deal was a fatally flawed scheme from the start. Too complicated, too expensive and the rules were too unfair. This pot of money was a bribe to try and salvage a bad scheme so the Government did not to lose face. Someone has clearly seen that they were throwing good money after bad and has pulled the plug.
The basic Green Deal will continue to fail and much needed energy efficiency improvements will fall further and further behind leaving normal everyday people paying bigger energy bills than would otherwise have been the case.

Hopefully and eventually our badly out of touch Government will grow a brain cell or two and fundamentally change the Green Deal, or scrap it all together in favour of a new scheme.

I would suggest a scheme where we go back to a system of grant subsidy, you know like we had before and which worked, which was far less complicated, and which should be funded from general taxation rather than by surcharging the hard pressed energy bill payer.

Member
kit williams says:
27 July 2014

As a family who live on a very low budget, with no funds available for big improvements or repairs, I was really interested in finding out more about the green deal. However when I spoke to an advisor on a stand at an exhibition I was disgusted by his attitude. Basically his opinion was that because I already had double glazing, albeit very old and failing badly, I wouldnt be eligible for the grant. In fact his attitude was if you had any kind of home improvement, regardless of age or efficiency, you’d be rejected, the only people who would qualify are those with old completely untouched homes! Having been turned down for so many other schemes in the past I didn’t bother in the end. So now I’m still stuck with windows that are misted up or don’t close properly and no way of replacing it without winning a lottery I can afford. Maybe they’ll come up with a scheme that we will qualify for and be able to improve our home.

Member

Governments of all flavours seem to detest anything that enables people to modernise their homes [and thereby increase their asset value] on the back of a publicly-funded subsidy. To avoid any taint of private gain at public expense schemes have been wrapped up in new packaging with snappy labels. There are urgent needs in this country to improve the insulation in hundreds of thousands of homes that are leaking heat and driving their residents into poverty, and to reduce and stabilise our power consumption so as to to supply it reliably from economically available resources. The two go together so doing the first will achieve the second, and it would be money well-spent. What does it matter in the overall scheme of things if some people reap a financial benefit one day as a result of such investment? The principle has already been established with the Feed In Tariff for solar electricity generation [which chiefly benefits the better-off I suspect]. Again, that is a disguised public subsidy because it is laundered through the energy supply industry and recharged to consumers . . . many of whom are living in poorly-insulated homes and having to use more energy. As Malcolm R recently stated in another Conversation, the levy is incorporated in our energy bills and, to compound the offence, is subjected to VAT at 5%. If that isn’t the worst example of regressive taxation I’d be surprised.

I go along with Chris Gloucester in calling for a sensible home improvement scheme, administered and funded publicly that helps people like Kit Williams above and thousands of others to live to a decent standard and lower their energy costs – this must save the Exchequer money in the long run since energy is such a big contributor to household cost inflation that feeds into pensions, welfare benefits, tax credits and allowances, and other forms of support. We did it fifty years ago with smoke control orders to replace coal-burning fires and home improvement grants to install H&C running water, indoor baths and toilets, and ventilated food cupboards. Dump the Green Deal, kick out the Energy Performance Certificate and the costly bureaucratic apparatus that supports it, and do something good for those who need it most.

Member

John Ward, Completely agree with you except for your dislike of the Energy Performance Certificate. I’ll put this down to a bit of confusion or misunderstanding on your part.
The EPC was around before the Green Deal and is an independently produced document which is intended to give would be buyers and tenants upfront information of a properties energy efficiency, and a way of comparing it with other properties. Also a way of helping buyers and tenants budget for energy bills and likely items of expense further down the line.

Don’t confuse the EPC with a Green Deal Assessment, which although very similar also includes an occupancy assessment intended to tailor upgrade requirements in the event of a Green Deal installation. This is the green eyed monster offspring of the EPC, but the original EPC system is still in existence as a requirement on all properties for sale to to be let. This useful document for buyers and tenants also costs sellers and Landlords a lot less than the Green Deal Assessment.

Please note, an assessor providing an EPC has no vested interest and will not try to sell you any upgrade products or recommend any contractor for the upgrade measures recommended within the certificate.
An assessor providing a Green Deal Assessment on the other hand might well be “tied to” a Green Deal provider so there might well be, if only because of the “tie”, an element of selling or at least nudging you in the direction of a particular provider. In other words take an assessor providing Green Deal assessments for British Gas. Where do you think they’ll want you to get that new boiler from? And that might not be the best deal going.

So the EPC is not part of the “costly bureaucratic apparatus” but I’d agree if you said the Green Deal Assessment was.

Member

Given that we have it I agree that the EPC has its uses, but I happen to think its value is over-estimated in the house purchasing or letting situation. I agree it is not as bureaucratic as the Green Deal process is but it costs house-sellers a lot of money, adds another complication into the house-selling/buying process, manages to get estate agents in a tizz, and at the end of the day is not an especially clever document [even when it is 100% correct – and I’ve seen a few that would barely score 75% for accuracy]. I should have added the Smart Meter roll-out to my list of things to get rid of. We seem to love piling on all these burdens, dazzled by the ability of computer programmes to churn them out, forgetting that every one of them adds a complication and a cost that we really could manage without. I wouldn’t go to the wall over dropping the EPC but being able to use a nearly ten years old certificate when selling or letting a property strikes me as questionable to say the least. I wonder how many people, if they bother to study the EPC in the first place, have actually decided not to proceed with a house purchase because of what it says or were able to achieve a lower purchase price on account of an EPC. Anyway, my views on EPC’s are irrelevant to the topic in hand so my apologies for dragging it into the Conversation – I had allowed myself to be distracted by its appearance in the second part of the introduction..

Member

Well John, I think we’ll have to agree to differ regarding the EPC. Compared to a Green Deal Assessment it costs peanuts. And whilst an EPC rating is very unlikely to make or break a house purchase deal those who do at least take a look get fair warning of the energy costs that new home might inflict upon them and the kind of upgrades that might be well overdue. All even before viewing.
Regarding everything else you mention, the Green Deal, smart meters etc., I completely agree, they are at best not fit for purpose and in the extreme a complete waste of tax payers and energy bill payers hard earned cash.