Green homes grant scheme helped just 15,000 low-income households buy insulation

Green homes grant scheme helped just 15,000 low-income households buy insulation

Green homes grant scheme helped just 15,000 low-income households buy insulation

Government’s flagship home insulation scheme reached less than 7% of intended 600,000 households

Smoke ascends the side of a British house from a condensing boiler outlet.

Last modified on Mon 1 Nov 2021 03.56 EDT

The government’s flagship green homes grant scheme to help people install energy efficiency measures resulted in just 15,182 households on low incomes improving their property’s insulation, it has emerged.

The GBP1.5bn scheme was designed to improve 600,000 properties but, according to data uncovered by the Liberal Democrats, only a small number of homes benefited from funding for much-needed improvements.

In total 41,300 measures were installed, according to the figures, with low-income households benefiting from around half of the jobs.

Launched in a blaze of publicity last year, the scheme offered homeowners in England vouchers worth up to GBP10,000 to make their homes more energy efficient or to replace old boilers.

While those in work were offered a maximum of GBP5,000 a household to cover two-thirds of the work, those on low incomes and certain benefits could claim the entire cost, up to GBP10,000.

However, almost immediately the scheme ran into difficulties with claimants saying it was impossible to find accredited installers who were either willing or able to do the work.

The scheme was scrapped in March, and in the same month a select committee of MPssaid it had been “botched [in] implementation” and that the administration had been “nothing short of disastrous”.

According to the figures seen by the Lib Dems, 15,182 home insulation measures have been installed for low-income households, including 2,063 loft insulations, 4,752 pitched roof insulations and 5,153 external solid wall insulations. Low-income households also installed 2,359 heat pumps and 5,257 solar thermal panels. In total 41,300 measures were installed, according to the data.

While applications made before March are still being processed, the Lib Dems said the scheme’s withdrawal has left home owners no meaningful government support for insulation.

The government’s recent announcement on green homes included a proposal that mortgage lenders be set targets to improve the average energy performance rating of the properties that they lend on.

Wera Hobhouse, the Liberal Democrat spokesperson for climate emergency and energy, said: “We know home insulation is the easiest way to cut energy bills. But this scheme was a complete disaster, and now the government appears to be passing the buck on to mortgage lenders and homeowners. Serious questions need to be asked about how such an important programme for the environment and household bills was allowed to fail like this.”

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