Up to three-quarters of the £2 billion funding set aside by the government for the Green Homes Grant is set to be cut by April, according to a government minister.
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan revealed in a parliamentary debate that the original £1.5 billion in funding earmarked for homeowners to upgrade their households can only be used in the 2020/21 financial year, and any leftover cash won’t be rolled over. Instead, the only financial support available from April 2021 until the scheme closes in March 2022 will be £320 million.
In a written answer to Labour Party questions, the government said the number of vouchers issued by 22 January corresponded to a total value of £71.3 million, meaning that only a small portion of the £1.5 billion funding has been allocated, in part thanks to delays and problems with how the scheme is being administered.
The Heat Pump Association is one of many industry bodies to speak out against the cut, concerned that it could "discourage heating installers from training or upskilling so they can install technologies like heat pumps, at a time when the industry needs to prepare for net-zero".
It added: "The decision not to roll over the funding will also send the wrong signal to households who have demonstrated their interest in improvements by applying for Green Homes Grant vouchers. Policy stability is vital for providing both industry and households with the confidence they need to ‘buy into’ the low carbon transition."
Adrienne Minster, Chief Executive of find-a-tradesperson service Rated People, said: “The Green Homes Grant has been hugely successful in motivating homeowners to make green renovations to their homes, with demand for improvements covered under the scheme soaring year on year. However, there have clearly been issues with grants being approved and payments being made for the work, and it is disappointing to learn that a large part of funding is now being withdrawn.
"The Green Homes Grant can play an important role in the government’s pledge for a post-coronavirus green recovery and we would urge them to re-think this decision and look into ways to solve the operational challenges, so that the scheme can end up becoming a real success."
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