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Government blamed for insulation sector job cuts

By Katie Anderson on January 2, 2013

The Coalition has been accused of causing unemployment in the insulation sector. The Insulation Industry Forum (IIF) blamed the government for disappointing figures published last week.

According to the IIF, government policy has contributed to the loss of 816 jobs ahead of the launch of the Green Deal, which comes into effect on the 28th January and represents the Coalition’s best efforts to improve domestic energy efficiency in the UK.

Whilst British households await the government’s flagship environmental policy, the IIF has placed an additional 1,182 workers on redundancy notice, largely as a result of delays affecting the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), which replaced the Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP) and Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) in December. ECO aims to address the problem of inadequate energy efficiency in domestic properties, particularly those occupied by vulnerable householders (the poor, elderly, etc.). The initiative is also deeply integrated with the Green Deal.

Acting as a spokesperson for the IIF, insulation expert John Sinfield said: “Government policy is directly leading to massive job losses in the industry. So far, 60 companies will be making redundancies, with many handing out their P45s over the Christmas period.

“The delays to the Green Deal and ECO and failure to put in place a sensible transition plan will seriously damage the industry”.

Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change Greg Barker accepted that some job losses in the insulation sector were inevitable as government spent time preparing new policy, but insisted that the industry would eventually recover. The Energy Minister also noted that loft insulation was naturally predisposed to decline.

As quoted by the Guardian, Mr Barker said: “The nature of the insulation challenge is changing. By the end of [2012] over 65 per cent of lofts will be fully insulated, with only very small numbers left with no insulation at all.

“It is, therefore, inevitable that the number of loft insulations being delivered will fall and that the number of jobs in the loft industry will naturally decline”.

Mr Barker added that the number of jobs in the insulation industry would rise substantially up to 60,000 within two years as a result of the Green Deal.