Early indications for the UK Government’s ‘Green Deal’ suggested a low uptake rate amongst the public, so much is being made of the second round of loans by Energy Secretary Ed Davey, who has labelled the scheme as ‘very generous’ this week.
Conceived as an alternative to having commercial energy companies foot the costs of making Britain’s ageing housing stock more energy efficient, the first phase of the Green Deal offered loans to homeowners to cover the cost of double-glazing, new boilers and loft insulation.
However, the prospect of a loan when compared to the ‘free’ insulation provided by commercial energy suppliers such as British Gas proved to be something of a turn-off for the public, with only 1,754 signing up in the first twelve months. All of this in spite of a raft of publicity.
However, Ed Davey says that phase two of the plan is more streamlined and a better deal, powered by the feedback given by the public.
Speaking at the launch of the new scheme on Monday, Davey told the BBC that “we have learned from what people were telling us”, adding that round two was “very generous”.
According to other details in the interview, around £120m has been sidelined for the Green Deal by the government with funding available on a first-come, first-served basis.
That said, the scheme isn’t as straightforward as it may seem – some benefits of this energy-saving project are only available if people claim within twelve months of moving into their new property. Other ‘bands’ of claims will be available for more longstanding homeowners.
After such low uptake on round one, Energy Secretary Davey was keen to point out “these are grants, not loans, and are very generous”. With so much controversy surrounding the commercial energy market at the start of the year, the Liberal Democrat was equally assuring that the revamped Green Deal is the government’s way of “trying to do everything we can to help people with their energy bills.”