We already knew the uptake by the public was less than expected, and last week we heard how small businesses were also shirking away from it, and now a parliamentary committee has dubbed the government’s Green Deal a ‘disappointing failure’.
A group of MPs was called upon to evaluate the loan scheme, which was designed to help update Britain’s ageing and energy-inefficient housing stock, and gave their verdict on Monday as part of the Energy and Climate Change select committee on Monday.
Launching in January 2013, the Green Deal started out as a loan arrangement, but even an early 2014 revamp to the payback structure of the program couldn’t turn fortunes around, the committee said yesterday.
Flawed planning, poor implementation and unclear messaging were three of the key factors that MPs said held the Green Deal back from helping drive down commercial energy costs through less draughty homes and businesses.
Greg Barker, the former energy minister who launched the scheme, said that he would have ‘sleepless nights if 10,000 households hadn’t signed up by the end of 2013’; as of the end of July 2014, less than 4,000 homes had signed up.
“With such extremely low levels of take-up eighteen months into the life of the policy, the Green Deal has so far been a failure,” the committee says.
“Rather than facilitating access to energy efficiency measures and creating momentum in the market, the Green Deal has caused frustration and confusion for both consumers and the supply chain. The first eighteen months of the Green Deal have been largely wasted.”
One forward-looking upshot of the committee’s verdict on the Green Deal is we could see something that’s more integrated and with a greater impact on the bottom line for homes and businesses in the future.
The Energy and Climate Change select committee suggested that stamp duty rebates or proportionate cuts in overheads like taxes could mean that businesses and home could see some of the money they put in to saving energy brought back via reducing a government-related expense;
“Stamp duty discounts or variable council tax rates could encourage more homeowners and households to improve the energy efficiency ratings of their properties and we urge DECC and the Treasury to consider such ideas,” it says.