‘Greenest government ever’ scraps yet another green policy

The Tories have taken advantage of parliamentary recess to axe efficiency plans away from scrutiny


Today David Cameron has again boasted that his is the ‘greenest government ever’. The timing could not have been worse, as the government announced yesterday that it was scrapping funds for the Green Deal, its flagship energy programme.

The initiative, introduced by the coalition in 2013, was designed to incentivise greener homes. People could introduce green technology into their homes – such as double glazing and insulation – at no upfront cost, paying back the cost through energy bills. It also had a scheme offering cashback to householders who introduced certain energy-efficient features.

From the start, the Green Deal was poorly managed and uptake was disastrously low. Former energy minister Greg Barker initially said he expected an uptake of 10,000 in the first twelve months; in reality under 2,000 homes had measures installed under the scheme in that time.

The Department for Energy and Climate also admitted that it had spent over £3m on advertising and marketing in the first year.

And in June of last year, the government announced plans to boost the low level of uptake by introducing a Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (the cashback scheme). 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 were left £100 out of pocket.

So, clearly, the Green Deal was far from perfect. But the idea was right; many of us live in homes which literally leak heat, meaning we have to use more and more energy to heat them up. Fixing this would not only put us on the path to a greener economy, it would help tackle fuel poverty and prevent excess winter deaths.

To scrap the initiative without any hint of a replacement in mind highlights the government’s dangerously half-hearted approach to energy efficiency, especially as it comes just weeks after the zero-carbon homes policy was axed.

Announcing the scrapping of the Green Deal, energy secretary Amber Rudd said:

“We are on the side of hardworking families and businesses – which is why we cannot continue to fund the green deal.”

If the government’s recent tax changes somehow haven’t convinced everyone how little they actually care for hardworking families, remember that saving energy is by far the cheapest and simplest way of cutting carbon emissions. Any delay in helping households save energy, and any savings gained by the delay, are effectively false economy.

To suggest, as Rudd did today, that scrapping the only half-formed plan the government has to help people save energy is going to save us money is both misleading and depressingly short sighted.

Green MP Caroline Lucas called the decision ‘cowardly’ as it was announced after parliament broke for recess and therefore will evade scrutiny and demands for a replacement policy. Currently all we have is a vague promise from the Department of a ‘new value-for-money approach’.

If David Cameron wants the UK to be take seriously at this year’s climate summit in Paris, he’ll need to sharpen up that plan pretty quickly.

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

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9 Responses to “‘Greenest government ever’ scraps yet another green policy”

  1. JoeDM

    At last our government is waking up to the climate scam !!!

  2. stevep

    Perhaps they will ditch their green tree logo now, that they conned potential Green voters with.

  3. Peter

    Climate chaos is real, the real scam is this corrupt failure of a government.

  4. antoinettewreeves

    Quality Of performance lleefft …. <…. Find Here

  5. Mikebjones

    Go to Our Community l e f t f o o r a – Online money

  6. I'm very cross about this.

    The least stupid use of electricity produced by windmills is to pump water uphill so we can run it downhill again when we need the power. If the government had any sense they’d stop all renewable subsidies and put an end to the green nightmare.

  7. wjfox

    There is no “scam”. The evidence is overwhelming. Not a single national or international science institution anywhere in the world disputes that increasing the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will increase the greenhouse effect. This is basic science.

  8. wjfox

    The “green nightmare”? What, you mean like having a clean and sustainable energy supply that isn’t reliant on filthy polluting fossil fuels? Onshore wind is cheaper than fossil fuels, by the way.

  9. Holly

    There is no such thing as the ‘green nightmare’ – it is very much real. As a ‘grumpy pensioner’ you can afford to be more short sighted. It is the younger generations and those not even born yet who will have to pick up the pieces of the dirty mess that your generation and mine are contributing to. We are heading towards an inevitable energy crisis in our quest to extract non-renewables – the key word being NON meaning they have and will run out. For you to oppose renewable subsidies shows a lack of consideration for the future and is an unhelpful attitude held in epidemic proportions among the older generations. Don’t be lazy just because it won’t affect you!

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