This we week we saw David Cameron carry out the biggest cabinet reshuffle during his time as Prime Minister. One of the casualties was Green Deal champion Greg Barker. Greg has been responsible for the Green Deal and it’s struggle to get off the ground since he was chosen by Cameron to head up that position. But now that his energy for scheme will no longer be applied to the Green Deal, where does this failed scheme go now?
Numbers Still Low
Recently, the Government had announced hundreds of millions of pounds of extra cash as incentives to try and energise the general public into having Green Deal work carried out. Homeowners would be able to claim a portion of that extra cash back and put it towards the cost of the works. But numbers of takers has still remained low. The ratio of Green Deal assessments vs actual work carried out is still massively biased towards the assessments side. People might be getting these assessments done, but are clearly not deciding to go ahead with the work. Personally I don’t blame them. There isn’t much incentive to do so.
Low numbers have always been a problem from day one. Even before the scheme was launched, the Government’s own researchers and advisors told them that the scheme wouldn’t work in practice and that more work needed to be done to successfully launch a scheme like this. But they didn’t listen and they pressed ahead anyway. And now it’s biggest champion has departed, any energy the scheme might have had, has now gone.
Just Like HIPS
Remember HIPs, Home Information Packs? What a load of tosh they were! Launched in 2007 by Labour, they were very quickly scrapped by the coalition Government in 2010. They were seen to be ineffective and a waste of money. I’m afraid that if Labour managed to squeak a win in the next election, Green Deal will go the same way as HIPs did.
Before he left, Greg Barker said that Green Deal would be a slow burner. That eventually the scheme would get off the ground and have an impact on most of the housing stock in the UK. Well in theory yes. The longer you keep something going, the more effect it will have. But in the case of the Green Deal, we would have been having to wait decade after decade after decade for that to happen. I don’t think that’s a sign of a popular scheme. Labour won’t see the Green Deal as money well spent, and will probably shelve it if they come to power. I wouldn’t blame them.
Traditional Methods Best
For me, the tried and trusted ways of purchasing new windows and doors have always been the best. Going to a showroom, looking at products, letting a company give you a price, then you pay for them. Simple. No gimmicks, just straightforward, simple, and with some finance options thrown in to help spread the cost if necessary. We never needed a complicated new way to buy them.
What the Government should have done was to look at the current avenues of purchase and see what they could have done to make them better. One way could have been to reduce VAT to 5%. All the research you could ever need to prove that VAT cuts work is out there. It would have been a far more effective method, and one the general public could have really got on board with. A 15% reduction in the cost of a house full of windows and doors is a significant one and would have helped boost the industry no end.
However this opportunity was missed, and we are now stuck with a scheme which has the same chances of getting off the ground as a bird without wings.
The future does not look good for Green Deal.