I don’t know about you, but if the Government wants to launch a national flagship scheme and make it a success, it’s going to need to spend a hell of a lot more than £6million in marketing the thing. Yes, this is actually the figure that the Government spent on marketing the Green Deal to the general public from it’s launch in January 2013 to the end of the last financial year.
3% of the budget
These figures were obtained by a Freedom of Information request by online magazine RCI (roofing, cladding and insulation).
The official figures showed that a total of £6,239,290 was spent on marketing the scheme, which equates to just 3% of the overall DECC budget. There was also no money spent between April and July of this year, signalling that the game was well and truly up for Green Deal a long time ago.
I’m no expert, but if the Government wants to make a new scheme work, it’s going to have to promote it well before it’s launch so it can build up anticipation and education of the scheme. Then when it is launched, it steps up a gear to make sure that take up the scheme from the general public is strong. Alongside, it needs to provide support and educational materials to the various industries involved so that they too can benefit.
Non of the above happened however, and our industry looked on with derision as the scheme limped on from month to month.
Within RCI’s article though, there is a paragraph that my eyebrow:
Many in the energy efficiency sector were caught by surprise when Amber Rudd, secretary of state for DECC, announced the closure of funding to the Green Deal Finance Company on July 29. Speaking at the time of the Green Deal’s closure, Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, said the announcement came with “no forewarning”.
I’m surprised that RCI thinks that it’s closure was a surprise. Months before the election I predicted the demise of Green Deal. It was a Lib Dem policy of which the Tories had very little to do with. I explained that Green Deal could be one of the first things to go should the Tories win power. It wasn’t a policy of theirs. Take up had been miserably low and money was being thrown at it without any change in fortunes.
From a window and door perspective, a scheme like this was never going to work. The process for a homeowner to qualify for Green Deal funding was way too long, and with the industry’s already strained reputation with the public, something like this was never going to help.
I maintain that if the Government is determined to create a scheme to help people with the purchase of new windows and doors, they should lower VAT on energy efficient windows and doors to 5%. This would bring it in line with other energy efficient products like insulation. Do that, and watch demand rise very quickly.