Tuesday 21 January 2014 7:40 pm

Green Deal faces criticism with uptake of only 1,612 last year

THE GOVERNMENT’S Green Deal faced another battering from its opponents yesterday, after new figures showed that just 1,612 households had taken up the energy-efficiency scheme by the end of December. Just 626 of the 1,612 measures have actually been installed, with the rest approved or pending. The initiative offers loans to households who wish to install energy-efficient improvements, but critics claim that high interest rates are deterring people. The government had previously set a target of 10,000 households to sign up by the end of 2013. Labour’s shadow energy minister Jonathan Reynolds said the statistics showed that the scheme has “completely failed”. Paul King, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, an industry body, said the latest figures “should come as a wake-up call to the government”. Energy minister Greg Barker said: “129,842 Green Deal assessments have now taken place with 81 per cent of people consistently telling us that they are taking action following their assessment.” Green energy initiatives also came under pressure in Germany yesterday, after the country’s new economy minister proposed to curb renewable energy subsidies. Sigmar Gabriel said that German firms must stay competitive and he would defend German interests against interference from the EU.