Government blows £3m of Green Deal budget on marketing

The Green Deal is failing despite the huge sums invested in promoting it.

The Green Deal is failing despite the huge sums invested in promoting it

The Department of Energy and Climate Change has spent more than £3m since last October on advertising and marketing for the Green Deal, the government’s flagship energy efficiency policy.

This is despite the fact that the Green Deal has seen a disastrously low rate of take up.

When former energy minister Greg Barker was asked in March 2013 how many people he expected to have signed up to the deal by the end of the year, he gave 10,000 as a minimum figure.

As Left Foot Forward reported at the start of the year, Barker has since been forced to admit that the actual uptake has been much lower than this:

“We thought we’d do about 10,000 in the first 12 months, but in the first eight months since the plans have been available, there are just under 2,000 in the system. So we’re much lower than we expected.”

The latest figures show that just  2,581 households have had measures installed under the scheme. This represents fewer than one per cent of the households who had a Green Deal assessment.

Nevertheless, the Green Deal’s communications team has expanded by 40 per cent, and now employs 59 people. This includes 12 press officers.

In June 2014, the government announced plans to boost the low level of uptake by introducing a Green Deal Home Improvement Fund. But by the end of July ministers had been forced to close the fund when the money ran out.

This meant that some customers who had already paid for an assessment and expected it to be refunded under the cashback scheme £100 out of pocket.

The government’s figures also show that  440,000 households will miss out on help to install energy efficiency measure that would reduce their bills, because of changes to the Energy Company Obligation.

Jonathan Reynolds MP, Labour’s shadow minister for energy and climate change, said:

“The government’s Green Deal has been a disaster, with 99 per cent of people who have had an assessment saying ‘no deal’. This Tory-led government is wasting money hand over fist on this policy.

“It would have been cheaper to send their advertising executives out in a hired limo with a drill and some lagging to do the work themselves.

“Labour has committed to ending this scandalous waste of money and set out plans to freeze energy bills, reform the energy market and upgrade at least five million homes over 10 years. Our plans will mean cheaper bills and warmer homes for millions.”

In July 2013, a marketing company representing the Green Deal was fined £45,000 for making thousands of sales calls trying to persuade households to sign-up to home energy efficiency improvements.

Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter

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