Labour has questioned the viability of the Green Deal after official figures were published on Tuesday.
There can be no question that the Coalition’s flagship environmental policy has endured a sluggish start. Only 133 households in England and Wales had committed to the scheme by the start of August. And only one Green Deal Plan has actually gone live (meaning that energy efficiency works have been agreed and finance arranged) to date.
A further 286 households are seriously considering taking out a Green Deal Plan, having obtained a quote following a Green Deal assessment. But that is where the numbers fall down for the government’s energy efficiency scheme. By the end of July, 58,124 assessments had been carried out by certified installers and energy companies. That means only 0.2 per cent of assessments have resulted in households signing up to the Green Deal.
Although government officials have been quick to praise the more positive aspects of the figures (the number of assessments carried out on domestic properties increased by 30 per cent between June and July), Labour remains unimpressed.
Speaking to the Guardian, Shadow Minister for Climate Change Luciana Berger said: “Just one Green Deal Plan has gone live and only 132 people have signed on the dotted line for a package so far.
“The fact that over 99 per cent of people who had a Green Deal assessment didn’t want to take out a package should be a wake-up call for the government”.
The Labour MP added that the government cannot afford to put a positive spin on the figures when “thousands of workers in the insulation industry have lost their jobs”.
Whether the Green Deal proves to be a success remains to be seen. In the meantime, households are faced with the decision to install cavity wall insulation or loft insulation under the scheme or continue to pay a premium on energy bills. Unfortunately, many households in the UK are not in a position to make such a decision.