Committee calls for improved energy efficiency scheme after Green Homes Grant closure

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The Environmental Audit Committee has written to the Business Secretary calling for clarity for contractors and homeowners following the Government announcement to end Green Homes Grant.

The Committee called for the Green Homes Grant to be urgently overhauled and extended within its recent Energy Efficiency in Existing Homes-report.

A week after report publication however, the Government announced its intention to end the scheme.

Environmental Audit Committee Chairman, Philip Dunne MP, commented: “We have been clear all along: the Green Homes Grant was a good initiative but was poorly implemented.

“This Government has shown its willingness to be an environmental world leader, but I fear its green credentials risk being undermined by poor policy decisions.

“Actions speak louder than words, and simply abandoning a critically important decarbonisation scheme when cracks appeared sets a poor example in the year we aim to show climate leadership.

“Businesses need to get behind low-carbon housing and have the confidence to upskill employees. Householders need to get behind low-carbon housing and understand how energy efficiency can be enhanced and heating costs cut.

“Above all, the Government must get behind low-carbon housing and comprehend the complexity of decarbonising our housing stock, committing to initiatives essential to make net zero Britain a reality.”

In his letter to Kwasi Kwarteng on behalf of the Committee, Mr Dunne points out that the Government announced its decision to cease accepting new applications to the voucher scheme at 5pm on 31st March. on the afternoon of Saturday 27th March, less than 96 hours before the closure deadline.

According to the letter, this was just four days after the Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth had been questioned on the future of the scheme at the Despatch Box and had given no indication that early closure of the scheme to new applications was likely.

In his letter, Mr Dunne states: ”This decision runs directly counter to the letter of the Committee’s recommendation that the voucher scheme ‘should not be scrapped or quietly wound down.’

“The Committee finds it curious that in your letter you made no reference to the Committee’s recommendations on the scheme, made in a report to the House which had been available to you and your team for over a week.”

In the letter, the Committee also calls after an improved energy efficiency programme in the next Spending Review.

Mr Dunne writes: “— Without a well-functioning, multiannual programme of measures to encourage owner occupiers and private landlords into retrofitting their properties, it is difficult to see how these sectors can make the energy efficiency contributions necessary to realise the Government’s net zero ambitions.

“We look forward to examining how the forthcoming Heat and Buildings Strategy will fill what appears to be a worrying gap, and what provision might be made for a multiannual
programme in the next Spending Review.”

The full letter is available on the UK Parliament website.