Less than £100m of ‘woeful’ Green Homes Grant spent so far
The grant was launched in September 2020, with the intention of providing homeowners with vouchers which can be used for home improvement works which would improve the energy efficiency of their property.
In a written answer in Parliament this week, the government confirmed that it had so far received just shy of 72,000 applications for the voucher scheme, with vouchers worth a paltry £94.1m having been handed out.
Conservative MP Philip Dunn, who chairs the Environmental Audit Committee of MPs, told the BBC that while the scheme was a good idea in principle, the way it had been handled was “woeful”.
He has previously criticised how difficult it is for builders and installers to gain accreditation for the scheme, leaving them in limbo and called for the application process to be streamlined.
Last week it emerged that the funding for the scheme is to be dramatically slashed from April.
The government has now confirmed that the original funding for the scheme ‒ £1.5bn set aside for households and £500m for local authority led schemes ‒ only applies to this financial year, with any unspent funds being claimed back by the government.
The Department for Business (BEIS), which runs the Green Homes Grant scheme, has confirmed that for 2021/22 just £320m has been set aside for the scheme.
How the Green Homes Grant was supposed to work
Homeowners can apply for vouchers worth up to £5,000 to carry out work on their home which will improve its energy efficiency.
This was inevitably more complex than it sounds, as homeowners have to include at least one ‘primary’ improvement in that work. That covers insulation ‒ whether that’s cavity wall, underfloor or roof insulation ‒ or low carbon heating, which could include the likes of hybrid heat pumps or solar powered heating.
You can then get vouchers for the same amount as you spend on the primary improvements for ‘secondary’ improvement work, which covers things like draughtproofing, double glazing and energy efficient doors.
Crucially the primary work has to be completed before you start the secondary work.