The National Audit Office (NAO) has criticised the government’s abandoned £1.5bn Green Homes scheme as “rushed,” saying it frustrated homeowners and failed to create jobs.
The Green Homes grant scheme was introduced to help meet the Government meet its ambitious target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Buildings account for 19 per cent of UK greenhouse gas emissions and were identified as a key area to introduce environmental measures.
The fund allowed homeowners to apply for up to £10,000 to finance energy efficiency improvements which could be swapped for vouchers with licensed suppliers.
The damning report said: “the rushed delivery and implementation of the scheme has significantly reduced the benefits that might have been achieved, caused frustration for homeowners and installers, and had limited impact on job creation.”
The report commented that the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy was under considerable time pressure, with just 12 weeks to finalise the design of the policy between announcing the scheme and its launch in September 2020.
The scheme was supposed to support up to 82,500 jobs over six months and enable up to 600,000 households to save up to £600 on their energy bills. The government estimates the scheme, which was parked in March 2021, will support efficiency measures in 47,500 homes and create 5,600 jobs at a cost of £313.8m.
Participants who applied for the grant faced delays of up to 137 days before receiving their vouchers as the government had only procured 248 licensed providers, making it difficult to meet demand. Despite the botched planning the taxpayer dished out £50.5m on the management and administration of the scheme according to the NAO.
The report urged the government to heed the lessons from this, and previous schemes, for any future domestic decarbonisation programme.