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Green Homes Grant voucher scheme scrapped

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

The government has ditched its £1.5bn green homes grant scheme, part of big plans to ‘build back greener’, just six months after launch.

The Green Homes Grant voucher scheme will close on 31 March 2021 – this Wednesday. Applications made before the deadline will be honoured and any vouchers already issued may be extended upon request.

According to government figures, more than 96,000 applications have been made through the scheme and more than 39,000 vouchers have been issued. The government expects to issue vouchers worth a total value of £300m by the time the scheme closes.

The government said that instead of the scheme, an extra £300m will be directed towards helping people on low incomes gain access to energy efficiency improvements through local authorities.

Kwasi Kwarteng, business and energy secretary, said: “Today’s funding boost will mean even more households across England are able to access these vital grants through their local authority.

“This latest announcement takes our total energy efficiency spending to over £1.3bn in the next financial year, giving installers the certainty they need to plan ahead, create new jobs and train the next generation of builders, plumbers and tradespeople.”

The Green Homes Grant voucher scheme was announced in the Summer Budget in July 2020 as part of a £3bn green investment package the government said would help support about 140,000 green jobs and upgrade buildings and reduce emissions. It opened for applications on 30 September 2020.

Under the scheme, homeowners in England, including landlords, can get up to £5,000 to pay part of the cost of energy saving measures such as insulation.

The vouchers can fund up to two thirds of the work done. For example, a household getting £6,000 worth of energy improvement work done could get a voucher for £4,000. Low income households can get 100% of the costs of work covered up to £10,000.

But the scheme ran into problems since launch, with people complaining about being unable to find a registered trader or installer, while builders complained of excessive red tape regarding participating in the scheme. The government announced in November 2020 that the scheme would be extended by a year – until 31 March 2022.

But last month it was confirmed that funding for the scheme had been slashed when the minister of state for business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) Anne-Marie Trevelyan confirmed that the original £2bn in funding was only to be used in the 2020/21 financial year and any leftover cash wouldn’t be rolled over.