Weekly Email News – the future of the building industry

Green Deal consultation launched
£14 billion worth of private sector investment in home energy improvements over the next decade will help insulate households from rising global energy prices and create thousands of jobs in the British insulation and construction sector, Chris Huhne, Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said this week.

A consultation on the Green Deal, which will provide home energy saving upgrades to householders at no upfront cost, was published as part of the Energy and Climate Change Secretary’s Annual Energy Statement to Parliament.

“The Green Deal is about putting energy consumers back in control of their bills and banishing Britain’s draughty homes to the history books,” Chris Huhne said. “By stimulating billions of pounds of private sector investment, the Green Deal will revolutionise the way that we keep our homes warm, making them cosier, more efficient – and all at no upfront cost.

“The Green Deal is also a massive business opportunity for firms up and down Britain, helping to power the economy and creating jobs. From one-man bands and local authorities, to the big supermarkets and DIY stores, we want as many providers getting involved as possible because that’s what will give consumers the best deal.

“I want to insulate Britain’s homes not just from the cold weather, but also from the chill winds of global fossil fuel prices. It’s these that are pushing up consumer energy prices, and it’s why our balanced package of policies aimed at achieving energy savings and shifting to more home grown alternatives is the right one for the economy and all of us who pay energy bills.”

However, local builders could still face being squeezed out of the Green Deal market unless the Government ensures that small local building companies have an equal opportunity to offer Green Deal finance to their customers, warned the Federation of Master Builders. “The danger is that the large energy and utility companies will hoover up the Green Deal market and squeeze out local builders which is very bad news both for the building industry and local economies,” Brian Berry, director of external affairs at the FMB said:

At the launch of the consultation, Chris Huhne said up to £150 in cash back could be available for homes taking out a Green Deal – to be funded through private sector Green Deal finance – as part of efforts to make the Green Deal as attractive as possible.

However, the following day, the Treasury announced that £200m of new and additional Government funding will be made available as an ‘introductory’ offer to boost the early take up of the Government's Green Deal energy efficiency scheme.

This move was welcomed by some organisations, including the WWF. Zoe Leader, sustainable homes policy advisor at WWF-UK, said: “This is a great first step towards getting people to green their homes on the scale required.

“Research has shown that council tax and stamp duty rebates are powerful motivators for the public to take action and WWF encourages the Government to look at these options when using the funding.”