Critics question uptake of the Green Deal financing scheme

Suzie Neuwirth
THE UK Government has faced a fresh stream of criticism over its Green Deal initiative, ahead of tomorrow’s release of statistics regarding the policy’s progress.

The scheme offers loans to households who wish to install energy-efficient improvements, but critics claim that high interest rates are deterring people. The Department of Energy and Climate Change released a survey yesterday which polled household owners who had undertaken a Green Deal assessment, which said that eight per cent of those who had installed an energy-saving improvement had paid for it via the finance scheme. Around 20,000 assessments have been completed, equating to around 1,600 loans.

However, reports over the weekend claimed that only a handful of households had taken out loans under the scheme, which a DECC spokesperson refuted as “not based on credible information and not up to date”.

A Labour Party spokesperson told City A.M. yesterday that he expected tomorrow’s figures to show that far less than 100 loans had been taken out. “I’m sceptical about the poll results and think the statistics will give a far lower number,” he said. “Interest rates are definitely too high. With extra charges it looks like they could come up to nearly eight per cent.”

The DECC defended the interest rates as “attractive” compared to other forms of unsecured lending. The government has previously set a target of 10,000 households to sign up to the scheme by the end of the year.