Opinion

Should the Green Homes Grant Scheme be reinstated?

In a new report, heating industry expert Ian Henderson is supporting recommendations that the government reinstates its Green Homes Grant Scheme (GHGS).

Ian, the founder and managing director of Boiler Plan UK, has already written to business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng urging him to extend GHGS until its entire £2billion budget is claimed. However, last month the government scrapped the scheme after blaming administrative delays and the huge demand for the vouchers.

Boiler Plan UK, which is based in Cramlington, Northumberland, recently set up an eco-department to assist applicants through the whole process. Ian, himself a qualified heating engineer said before the scrappage:
“The scrapping of GHGS will lead to a loss of jobs within the industry as well as an initiative designed to stimulate the economy.”

Numerous installers have reportedly had to lay off staff who were hired to meet the expected demand that the Green Homes Grant Scheme was to bring to the industry. In a recent interview, Bryan Glendinning, chief executive officer of Engenera, based in Newcastle said:
“This scheme was supposed to create jobs, but it is not doing that. We were ready to go last autumn, we had set up a call centre for 40 staff, I have now got two in there.”

Ian Henderson, who has previously advised the government on the decarbonisation of Britain’s homes, said:
“The decision to end GHGS is a backward step, and it is vital the scheme is reinstated and made more efficient, with added support so that installers can meet the expectations that the scheme promises and so householders are able to invest in an eco-friendlier future.

“Our housing stock is one of the least energy efficient in Europe and low carbon heating systems require well-insulated homes.

“The decision to scrap GHGS is extremely strange in the same year this country is hosting the UN Climate Change Conference, COP26. Unless there is a well-funded replacement, I can’t see how the UK can meet its 2050 net-zero commitment.”

The government has said the scheme’s £300m budget is to be transferred into a programme administered by local authorities targeting lower income households.

Ian added: “No-one can argue with supporting lower income households when it comes to alleviating fuel poverty, but there are many private households that also require that support and encouragement to invest in a low carbon future.”

If reinstated, would you participate in the scheme? Tell us about your experience and what would need to change for you to be involved.