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Industry reacts to Green Deal HIF closure

Following the DECC’s decision to suspend the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund, DECC has told H&V News that the budget for 2014 has gone with no immediate plans to re-open.

A spokesperson at DECC has told H&V News that there will be up to £120m available for home energy efficiency improvement next year.

The decision announced late on the 24th July blamed a surge in applications to the fund which caused it to reach its £130 million target in just seven weeks.

Worcester, Bosch Group head of government and external affairs Neil Schofield described the decision-making process as a farce. “The scheme was supposed to last for three years and instead has been wound up after seven weeks. We were promised certainty and long-term planning and instead have received ambivalence and short-termism.

“The decision displays a shocking inability to demand forecast and a total lack of understanding of the dynamics of the heating industry.

“The tragedy is that, for once, DECC has come up with a scheme that works. Consumers understood it, manufacturers could get behind it and installers could sell it.

“Instead of embracing its success and saying “let’s do some more” and really make a difference to the UK’s ageing housing stock, the new Energy Minister, who has only been on post for two days, has closed it. It’s a body blow and a triumph for short-termism.”

The Builders Merchants’ Federation said: “The BMF is very disappointed to hear this news. The Green Deal Home Improvement Fund 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”.

“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”.

UK Green Building Council policy and public affairs officer Richard Twinn said: “The sudden and immediate closure of this fund is another setback for the energy efficiency industry because companies have specifically geared up to market and deliver through this scheme.

“These constant changes are not helpful to industry. We now need urgent clarity as to whether Government will bring forward any more money to ensure continuity of Green Deal work.

“This does demonstrate that we need long-term drivers, not short term pots of cash to avoid this continual cycle of boom and bust.” 

While the industry reaction has mainly been one of disappointment, Baxi – part of the BDR Thermea Group - echoes such sentiment whilst also stating that such a short-term solution remains relatively minor in comparison to the long term solution needed to drive the energy efficiency agenda.

Baxi marketing director Andrew Keating comments: “The early closure of the GDHIF due to unexpectedly high uptake is an indication of the difficulty of getting incentive schemes right.

”Rather than further short term fixes, substantive changes are now required to make the Green Deal easier to access, particularly for heating installers who visit thousands of homes each day.

”Ultimately, the simpler and more appealing the basic proposition to the consumer, the smaller the nudge in the form of an incentive that will be required.

“At Baxi, we are working hard with government and industry colleagues to create the conditions for a step change in delivery of energy retrofits.”

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