The unexpected and overnight decision by the government to end its Green Deal Home Improvement Fund has run into criticism
The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced suddenly that it had closed the £190 million Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF) to new applications with immediate effect. It said that due to ‘overwhelming public demand’, the allocated budget had now been reached.
The response was immediate from trade associations and businesses that had spent much time and resources committing to the scheme. One example was the Builders Merchants’ Federation BMF which stated: ‘The BMF is very disappointed to hear this news. The GDHIF may not be a perfect solution to the underlying problem but it illustrates that cash incentives do entice families to act to improve the thermal performance of their home.’
The government had only launched the new funding in June where householders could claim £7,600 for improvements under the scheme. The unilateral decision to close on 24 July, caught everyone by surprise, especially as it was done overnight. The DECC states on its website that it ‘will monitor voucher redemption rates and will consider whether to launch a further offer should funds become available’.
The BMF was not impressed and complained in its response: ‘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. Earlier this week, we learned that due to the Fund’s runaway success, DECC had modified the criteria to prolong the amount of money available. Yet a few days’ later, it has been closed.’
In accusing the government of a ‘feast-and-famine approach’ that exasperated businesses in planning their investment decisions, manufacturing processes, sales operations and trading forecasts for the future, the BMF was voicing many similar complaints.
The Glass and Glazing Federation had not issued a statement at the time of going to press but it is understood one will be made that will express disappointment over the decision.
Caption Not much to laugh about – this Green Deal image the government ran with must be causing some gritted teeth in the home improvement sector.