Critics lambast new Green Deal cashback plan

Suzie Neuwirth
THE GOVERNMENT’S revamped Green Deal came under fire from politicians and consumer groups yesterday, who criticised the extra £360m set to be invested into the struggling energy efficiency scheme.

The programme, which offers loans to households who wish to install energy saving measures such as roof insulation and double glazing, was re-launched yesterday to include a bigger cashback system.

The government has set aside £120m for this financial year to incentivise people to take up the Green Deal, with £360m to be spent over the next three years.

Householders can claim back up to £7,600 under the scheme, even if they install the energy saving measures without applying for financing.

Energy secretary Ed Davey told the BBC that “we have learned from what people were telling us” and said the second round of the scheme was “very generous”.

The programme has previously been criticised for low take-up, with just 2,439 Green Deal plans in progress at the end of April.

The government had previously set a target of 10,000 households to sign up by the end of 2013.

“The Green Deal has been something of a damp squib, so it’s disappointing the government feels the need to throw more money at it when there’s no indication it will be any more successful,” said John O’Connell, director at the Taxpayers’ Alliance.

“Encouraging cleaner energy is a worthy goal, but green subsidies in their current form only push up the price of energy for ordinary people.”

Critics argue that the interest rates on the loan part of the scheme are too high, making the Green Deal an unattractive prospect even with the cashback incentive.

Jonathan Reynolds, Labour’s shadow energy minister, called the scheme “a total flop”.

Some 210,239 Green Deal assessments have been carried out so far, according to government figures.