The Green Homes Grant has been scrapped, with the Government diverting the remaining funds to a new insulation scheme.
Launched as a key policy for the UK’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, the Green Homes Grant scheme has been marred with issues from the very beginning.
Initially the scheme promised funds for upgrading everything from lighting to windows and doors, all of which could improve energy efficiency, fulfilling the scheme’s promise of making homes in the UK greener. However, the scheme underwent some significant changes between what was initially briefed to what was actually launched, with the UK Government instead choosing to concentrate on just a few key green upgrades.
Those changes dropped lighting altogether, while those wishing to upgrade their windows and doors were told they had to have something else done to qualify for cash under the scheme. That work included the installation of a ground source or air source heat pump, or loft insulation.
Despite initial promise, with one survey claiming that a majority of UK homeowners were planning to access the scheme, the actual reality of the Green Homes Grant scheme was disappointing.
In February it was revealed just 17,618 vouchers had been issued as of January 26, with the UK Government gutting the scheme’s funding due to the lack of interest. That’s despite previously announcing an extension to the Green Homes Grant. Now that extension won’t be going ahead, with the scheme set to permanently end at the end of this month.
The Government is to continue paying companies the money they are owed under previous Green Homes Grant applications, but there has also been controversy there. Companies who have claimed money back from the Government have found that payments can be slow, forcing some businesses into insolvency.
What comes next for the Green Revolution?
With the end of the Green Homes Grant, what comes next for the UK Government’s long promised ‘Green Revolution’? Well, there’s not actually much in the pipeline for building back greener, especially not enough to claim that we’re undergoing a green revolution.
But what about the funding that was earmarked for the Green Homes Grant scheme? Well, some of that is being diverted to local councils. They are set to use the cash to help those on low-incomes improve the energy efficiency of their homes, but it’s believed this is predominantly to do with upgraded insulation.
The scrapping of the Green Homes Grant means the UK Government is without a flagship scheme aimed at improving the energy efficiency of UK homes. Improved energy efficiency is seen as key in helping the UK reach its net zero target by 2050, and yet there is no financial incentive for homeowners to make expensive upgrades to their homes.
Kate Blagojevic, head of climate at Greenpeace UK, commented, “We’re just seven months away from hosting a global climate conference at which we’re supposed to be leading the world on climate action. But we cannot expect anyone to think we’re a credible leader when our own policies on climate action are going in the wrong direction.”
The reaction on Twitter has been strong, with many criticising the Government’s announcement.
The Federation of Master Builders, one of the UK’s largest trade associations, had this to say:
While the Chief Executive of the UK’s Climate Change Committee criticised the UK’s approach from the very beginning:
Caroline Lucas, the UK’s only Green Party MP has also indicted the decision, although noted that the scheme has been botched from the very beginning:
Businesses that allowed their customers to use the scheme have also been blindsided by the sudden change, with the scheme closing in just a few days: