How much more of the government’s net zero 2050 strategy is just flashy public relations masking poorly thought out policies, making the goals simply impossible to achieve?
Homes account for just under 30% of energy use and around 20% of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK – what does this mean for the UK’s Green Homes Grant Scheme?
It is one of the few sectors where emissions reductions have stalled so the government introduced a Green Homes Grant Scheme and allocated a budget of £1.5 billion for the fiscal year 2020-21.
The scheme opened for applications on 30th September 2020, allowing homeowners and landlords to apply for vouchers to pay for green improvements such as loft, wall and floor insulation. […]
6.3% of the £1.5 billion budget has been spent
However, according to recent government data, just 6.3% of the £1.5 billion budget for the Green Homes Grant scheme in 2020/21 has been spent and 86% of homeowners reported having a ‘poor experience’ with the application process.
The Environmental Audit Select Committee admitted that the scheme needed to be “urgently overhauled” at the same time as admitting that any money not spent on the scheme will not be rolled over to next year, with a budget of just £320 million allocated for the fiscal year 20121-22.
In response to written parliamentary questions, Energy Minister Anne Marie Trevelyan revealed that: “As of 8th February, 71,953 applications have been received for the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme, with 22,165 vouchers having been issued to customers. The value of these vouchers is currently £94.1 million.”
However, a quick calculation reveals that at the current rate it would take 10 years to fulfil the government’s promise of the grants helping 600,000 householders implement the carbon reduction measures envisaged when the scheme was approved….
Are these climate goals impossible to achieve?
It has also been revealed that Ministers awarded the contract to run the programme to ICF, a large American consulting corporation based in Virginia, but details of the value of the government contract have not yet been published, leading to widespread criticism and anger that a key plank of the plan was to create work and jobs for the UK, not US economy.
The government has been somewhat quiet on the reasons for this failure, with muted claims of the lack of qualified installers being available to carry out the work. This only fuels further criticism of the scheme and the government, because it seems they have entered into this scheme without the means to deliver it.
It also begs the question – how much more of the government’s net zero 2050 strategy is just flashy public relations masking poorly thought out policies, making the goals simply impossible to achieve?