One of life’s fascinations is investigating the origins of everyday expressions. The beauty of the internet is that, in a matter of seconds, you can start to find some amazing stories behind them.
For instance – and very relevant to any one in the plumbing sector – did you know that throwing out the baby with the bathwater, comes from a German expression, first recorded in 1512? Writing in 1849, the English writer, Thomas Carlyle, stated: ‘The Germans say “You must empty out the bathing tub, but not the baby along with it.” Fling out your dirty water with all zeal, and set it careening down the kennels; but try if you can keep the little child!’
I had thought that ‘To pull the plug’ was another reference to baths and doomed babies; instead it has a more modern meaning of pulling the plug on a machine when a patient is terminally ill and no hope was there for survival.
Which brings us neatly to the decision by the government to close the funding for the Green Deal, officially known as the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF). On the Department for Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) website you can find the following: ‘Due to overwhelming popular demand, the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund is closed for applications with immediate effect [our italics].’
Now, isn’t there the right to feel we have seen this all before? Cast your mind back to when this government decided to slash the Feed-in-Tariffs (FiTs) for solar installations. It was the death knell for many businesses that saw this sector as lucrative and environmentally of benefit.
What do we have here now? The government states that it has run out of money, so it’s tough on the householder. Put another way, having made such a massive mess of the original launch of the Green Deal, it had made some amends with the GDHIF but had not allocated enough money to meet the demand it wanted to unlock in the first place.
In the accompanying news story, you will see what a Kent heating installer business thinks of the whole, lamentable farce. It’s not just disappointed householders who will be disappointed by the government announcement but many businesses and trade associations that bought into the scheme, spending money and time during a deep recession, to prepare to service the expected demand for the Green Deal. One example is the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) which on hearing of the closure, reacted furiously. ‘There will be undoubted anger and exasperation in the supply chain that ministers have (once again) chosen to change direction in policy and cut funding at short notice without warning.’
Babies and bathwater, pulling the plug….no matter which expression you care to use, the end result is what should have been a massive boom has been turned into a damp squib. In short, the government has thrown a spanner in the works and….I’ve run out of metaphors to describe its ineptness, so back to the internet to hunt down some others.
Caption Run out of cash – Green Deal funding was switched off suddenly by the government, causing anger in the sector.