Labour plans to scrap Green Deal in favour of new energy deal
Labour is to scrap the Government’s flagship energy efficiency scheme if it wins the 2015 election, after dismissing the Green Deal as “failing” and its progress as “woefully inadequate”.
“It was meant to be the biggest home improvement programme since World War Two and Ministers said they would be having sleepless nights if 10,000 people had not signed up by Christmas 2013,” said Caroline Flint, Shadow Energy Secretary. Mrs Flint also noted that just 12 Green Deals had been completed. The pledge to scrap the Green Deal follows Ed Miliband’s dramatic promise to freeze energy bills and break up the Big Six energy companies that dominate the UK market.
All the main political parties agree cutting energy demand is crucial to keeping bills down and cutting the carbon emissions that drive climate change. But take up has been slow and Green Deal assessments fell in August. Conservative Minister Greg Barker has defended the scheme by saying it is “early days.”
Paul King, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council also commented on the announcement by saying: “It’s no secret that the Green Deal is off to a tough start, but talk about ‘replacing’ it risks causing further confusion and lack of confidence in the construction sector. Labour are right to look at reducing the interest rate, but even low costs loans will not work without additional incentives to nudge people into action.”
Discounts on Council Tax and Stamp Duty have been suggested as incentives. The current incentive, a cashback scheme, has almost entirely been spent so far on boiler replacements, rather than whole-house measures.
According to shadow minister Luciana Berger, Labour have also committed to changing the current ECO scheme, where energy bill-payers subsidise retrofits in low income households. It claims 60 per cent of the £1.4 billion earmarked for the scheme can be spent on homes that are not in fuel poverty.