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Nigel Rees, Group Chief Executive, Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF)

The uptake of Green Deal in the Glass and Glazing industry has, as expected, been very slow with less than 20 Glazing companies registered as Green Deal Certified Installers. Combined with the recent media reports of slow consumer uptake and the many barriers to the marketplace for both trade and consumers, Green Deal in its present form, does not appear to be exciting homeowners or the industry.

The lack of interest from companies is most concerning, because should consumer interest grow there may not be enough companies to carry out the work which will inevitably cause delays and consumer dissatisfaction. At present, our belief is that thousands of installation companies are simply unable to afford the cost of becoming Green Deal Certified and even if they can afford to be certified, the stringent demands by UKAS (the accreditation body) to become Green Deal certified has created another unnecessary barrier to enter this new market.

In addition, there are further complications caused by the configuration of the “golden rule” as well as the disparity in the VAT rating on energy efficient products within the measures – currently glazing is VAT rated at 20% while most other energy efficient products are at 5% VAT rating. Both of these financial elements seriously disadvantage the Glazing industry in Green Deal.

In addition, the GGF feels the bureaucracy and complexity of the scheme may cause companies to lose a potential sale if they divert consumers to the Green Deal because of many other parties a consumer has to involve in the implementation of Green Deal.

The GGF recommends that the government looks at de-layering Green Deal to make it more attractive to consumers and industry. As a solution and to make Green Deal work effectively, the GGF proposes that DECC introduces a voucher scheme by converting the Green Deal Assessment into redeemable vouchers for consumers. The Green Deal Assessment would have a list of measures with a monetary value attributed to each measure. These “vouchers” would then be redeemed by the consumer through a Green Deal Provider. This would enable the consumer to have a choice of measure, a choice of installer and choice of provider. This would remove the complication, bureaucracy and make Green Deal more attractive to consumers by empowering them with the full choice of home improvements available under Green Deal. As consumers would drive demand under such a voucher scheme, there would be a greater likelihood of installers becoming Green Deal Certified to fulfil the demand.

In view of the many concerns facing companies over Green Deal and the complicated process for consumers, it is hard to see Green Deal in its current form, fulfilling its initial promise. It is hoped the government can adapt the scheme to make it more viable and attractive to consumers and companies in the construction market.

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