The government’s much-maligned Green Homes Grant has been axed six months after it was launched, business minister Kwasi Kwarteng has announced.
His department’s flagship scheme, which was introduced to help give the nation’s private homes and rented accommodation a green upgrade and to create work for builders, will close to new applications from Thursday this week onwards.
As LandlordZONE reported three months after its September launch, the Green Homes Grant has been dogged by problems including the complicated nature of its approvals system, while its roll-out was described by Greenpeace as ‘shambolic’.
This has included a lack of tradespeople willing to go through the Trustmark approval process to join the scheme, Covid restrictions, confusion over which upgrades and improvements qualify under the scheme and in which order they must be completed, and also a lack of applications.
Only approximately 60,0000 of the 600,000 available vouchers have been taken up by the scheme, a situation not helped by the government’s decision to outsource the management of the grant scheme to a US-based company.
The BBC report that £300m of the unspent cash allocated to the Green Homes Grant scheme will now to redirected to a parallel green upgrade programme administered by councils that targets low-income households, called the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery Scheme.
Meera Chindooroy (pictured), Deputy Director, Campaigns, Public Affairs & Policy says: “The government’s decision to scrap the Green Homes Grants, proves that a new, long-term plan for upgrading properties is needed.
“The NRLA has consistently called for further funding to be made available to help landlords to go above and beyond the legal minimum of energy efficiency measures set out by the Government for the PRS.
“One way for the government to ensure it avoids the pitfalls which have affected the Green Homes Grant scheme is to consider the Environmental Audit Committee’s (EAC) latest recommendations.
“In our view the EAC’s report, which features several NRLA recommendations, can provide a useful starting point for a longer-term strategy to energy efficiency.”
Kwarteng’s official announcement barely mentions the closure of the scheme, in which he says: “This latest announcement takes our total energy efficiency spending to over £1.3 billion in the next financial year, giving installers the certainty they need to plan ahead, create new jobs and train the next generation of builders, plumbers and tradespeople.”