Just a fraction of the numbers promised by the government have signed up to the Green Deal.
“Our Green Deal will mean thousands of families can afford to insulate their homes for less.”
– David Cameron, speech at the Royal Society, 4 February 2013
A year ago this month, David Cameron was billing his government’s so-called ‘Green Deal’ as a “completely new and ambitious approach to home insulation” which would transform Britain’s homes.
The idea was that households would take out a loan to make their homes energy efficient before replaying the loans through their energy bills. The so-called ‘golden rule’ was supposed to mean that financial savings as a result of energy efficiency measures installed would be ‘equal to or greater than the costs attached to the energy bill’.
The Green Deal was included in the Energy Act 2011 and came into force on 1 October 2012.
But soon after the policy was announced it began to unravel, with the government admitting that there was no guarantee that householders with Green Deal packages would save any money at all:
“It is not possible for the government to guarantee people will save money,” said energy and climate change minister Greg Barker on 26 April 2012.
Not long after the Green Deal was announced it also became apparent that consumers would have to fork out for an upfront fee before they agreed to take out a Green Deal package. Interest rates on the loans were confirmed as ranging from 7.67 per cent for a 25-year loan to 7.96 per cent for a 10-year loan.
In terms of signing people up to the Green Deal, Greg Barker said he wouldn’t sleep if the government had failed to sign up 10,000 Green Deals by the end of the year.
Interviewer: How many people will have signed up for the Green Deal by the end of this year?
Greg Barker: No, and you are not going to get that from me I am afraid. But …
Interviewer: Can we dare go into double digits; shall we say ten?
Greg Barker: Oh yeah, I wouldn’t be sleeping if we didn’t have 10,000 at the end of the year.
Interviewer: 10,000? Ok, we’ll hold you to that.
Greg Barker: No, no, no. I think we can do much, much better than that.
– Greg Barker, ‘You and Yours’, 14 March 2013
And yet, according to the latest Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation (ECO) monthly statistics for February 2014, there have been a total of 145,000 Green Deal assessments since the start of the scheme – but only 1,721 people had a Green Deal plan in progress at the end of January 2014.
494 had Green Deal plans accepted, 481 had Green Deal plans pending, and only 746 households had measures installed.
Whichever way you look at it, this is just a fraction of the 10,000 Green Deal sign-ups promised by the minister back in March last year. We’re guessing he’s feeling very tired right now.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.