The old cliché that “If it ain’t broke, don’t mend it”, besides showing some lamentable English, has more than a grain of truth in it – especially when it comes to the tendency of politicians in power to mess up that which they say they are determined to reform or launch.
I am old enough to remember that most people in the UK were genuinely proud of the way the NHS used to provide a world class service; the same was true of Royal Mail too. Along the way the politicians were determined, either through ideology or incompetence, to turn wine into vinegar. We have the horror stories and whistleblowers to prove it.
But what about new ventures where politicians in power cannot blame their predecessors for a ‘mess’ not of their making?
Well, you would have to go a long way to beat the Green Deal. It’s not just in the heating and plumbing sector that you can hear the wails. In the fenestration industry, the disappointment is as great. Nigel Rees, Chief Executive of the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) has been just as vocal in his belief that after all the planning, the government has sold a pup to those earning their crust in the home improvement market. He has even written to the government to express his concerns: ‘It’s hard to understand why energy efficient windows are not on the approved list of energy efficient products that qualify for the reduced tax rate of 5%, when you consider the amount of energy lost through inefficient windows and also the industry investment in technological innovations to increase energy efficiency.’
But, dear Nigel, you are not alone in feeling left out. The LPG and oil fired boiler market can also feel aggrieved in being left out of the Green Deal as we cover in this week’s Editor’s Corner. And for those installers operating within the Green Deal, another story surfaces of how the government appears to have moved the goalposts for them. (If only this government could have done the same in the World Cup – the England team may have had to order additional sun block.)
Behind the attempt at humour is a serious point, however. The Green Deal was genuinely welcomed by almost everyone because it seemed to offer the best of all worlds. A scheme that would upgrade our woefully inefficient housing stock and provide those supplying and installing the products a decent share.
What we have ended up is a dog’s dinner that even a ravenous mongrel would probably turn its nose up at. Politicians have landed us with an incredibly bureaucratic mishmash that has disillusioned almost everybody. Call it timidity, lack of vision or an innate ability to ruin a good idea, our politicians in power have an unerring knack of turning Moet & Chandon into Babycham
This is what the Green Deal must be like if you could drink it…..