As I widely predicted not that long ago, a new Government after the 2015 General Election would come in and scrap the Green Deal. Well, I’m almost there.
The Labour party have said today that should they form the next Government (which is far from a forgone conclusion) they will scrap the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund, worth £300m as well as ditching sister scheme ECO. Now I haven’t seen that much complaining about ECO since it was introduced, other than the Green Levy on on our energy bills used to pay for it. The Green Deal however, well I have a whole special area dedicated to that!
Fund to go
Labour has said that it plans to scrap the GDHIF, worth £300m. To those not a fan of the Green Deal in the first place this won’t come as a great loss. But to those companies who set up specifically to facilitate Green Deal work, this will be a disaster.
However, what isn’t clear is if the whole of the Green Deal is to be scrapped. You could assume that if the fund is going, then they might as well chuck everything in the bin because without they would have just about nothing, other than the framework of the scheme. So lets for now assume the whole thing goes down the pan. What’s the plan?
Well, according to Oil Fired Up, Labour would like to swap the Green Deal for a scheme which provides a million interest-free loans for energy efficiency. Again, I’m assuming here this means works to a home aimed to improve the energy efficiency of that home.
On the face of it, this would be a simpler way to lend money to people wanting to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. A load system we’re all used to, with 0% interest. Sounds better to me already. But as with most things, the devil is in the detail.
Will windows be included?
The GGF lobbied hard to make sure that windows were included in the Green Deal, they probably now wish they hadn’t campaigned so hard. So the biggest sticking point for me in this early new idea is if windows and doors are going to be included again?
After their inclusion in the last Government scheme, you would think that it would be easier for windows to remain included in future Government schemes, now that wall has been broken down. And if the scheme is as simple as it sounds, a straightforward loan to cover costs, then I think we should be part of it.
However if the scheme turns out to be as bureaucratic as the last one, then I suggest the GGF stays well away this time. Our side of the industry spent too much time lobbying to be part of something we probably shouldn’t have been part of in the first place.
Should this be an idea not suited to the window and door industry, we need to re-energise the 5% VAT argument. It is still wholly unfair that other energy saving measures are subject to the low VAT rate, when windows, proven to be an effective energy saving measure, gets slapped with the 20% VAT rate.
I maintain and always will that if the Government truly supports this industry and wants to see it do well, then they should lower the VAT to level the whole energy saving playing field and lets us get on with what we do best.