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MPs slam “snail’s pace” Green Homes Grant vouchers for landlords

The Green Homes Grant scheme is set to fail according to MPs, who claim the current slow roll-out means it would take 10 years to meet its target take-up.

The Environmental Audit Committee of the House of Commons says it’s found out from energy minister Lord Callanan that only 20,000 vouchers towards the cost of installing energy efficient improvements have been issued to landlords or homeowners. 

“At the current rate, it would take over 10 years to meet the government’s target to issue vouchers to 600,000 households” in a scathing statement this morning. 

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The EAC conducted an online survey on the Green Homes Grant in November, collating feedback from those who had accessed the scheme. 

The shortage of accredited engineers registered with TrustMark, the government-endorsed quality scheme for Green Homes Grant installers, was highlighted as a reason landlords and owners were unable to make the upgrades the scheme should have enabled. 

Back in November the Commons Environmental Audit Committee discovered that 1,200 companies had registered with TrustMark to do the work - now, three months later, the number has risen to only 1,300.

Ministers hope the extension of the Green Homes Grant scheme, to the end of March 2022, will give industry more confidence to hire installers with the necessary certifications.  

The EAC says it’s also concerned that a lack of skilled installation engineers risks undermining the government’s commitment to install 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028. 

Within the Green Homes Grant, landlords and owners are eligible to receive vouchers towards heat pump installation.  

The EAC says it wants Chancellor Rishi Sunak to announce a further multi-year extension to the Green Homes Grant scheme in his Budget next month. 

EAC chairman Philip Dunne, a Conservative MP, says: “The principle of the Green Homes Grant should be commended. It is a timely initiative not only to boost energy efficiency of homes – which is urgently needed to stem carbon emissions – but to address our growing unemployment crisis triggered by the pandemic. 

“But unless overhauled and further extended, this scheme will fail to deliver its ambition. 

“Issuing vouchers is continuing at snail’s pace, with only 20,000 of the 600,000 target issued four months in – at this rate it will take over 10 years to fulfil the government’s expectation. Many of the builders and installers that can do the work are in limbo as a result of the time taken to approve applications, and perversely we have heard evidence some are having to lay off skilled workers as orders have been stalled pending confirmation of vouchers.  

“This scheme has good potential. But it needs a radical overhaul now the scheme has been extended. 

“It must streamline the application process by removing unnecessary bureaucracy and must make sure the supply of skills meets the demand that 600,000 vouchers, and a further boost by the Chancellor in the March Budget, would drive. By doing so, it could make large strides towards meeting other Government commitments, such as installing 600,000 heat pumps every year by 2028.” 

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    It took about 10 weeks for my voucher to arrive once I had finally found an installer to quote. I don’t quite understand why they only last 3 months when it’s unlikely the installer can do the work that quickly. I know it can be extended but why make more work?

  • Philip Drake

    The incentive is not sufficient to overcome the inertia to take action.

    Perhaps the following could be considered:
    . the government pays for the equipment and installation costs
    . An interest free loan is placed against the property where it is installed
    . A charge is placed on the property, which is ignored for typical mortgage security
    . Monthly repayments towards the loan are made by the occupier at an amount which is 50% of the saving in energy costs achieved per month, collected by the electricity supplier.

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