Last week the Government announced the ending of the Green Homes Grant. Launched just last September the scheme was designed to retrofit 19 million UK homes which need insulation and more efficient boilers. It was the Government’s only major green stimulus policy and was one of the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a green recovery. And now it’s gone.
The scheme was in trouble from the start. The Government tried to blame the low uptake on householders’ reluctance to let tradesmen in during the pandemic but in reality demand was high. Bureaucracy was blamed after the Government handed over administration to a US company.
The decision to end the scheme early has been criticised by environmental and industry bodies alike. The Government claimed the scheme would create 100,000 jobs but new research suggests this decision will send a wrecking ball through green jobs in the North East, a region in particular need of the scheme.
As ever Ministers proclaimed that what remains of the scheme, £300 million to councils, was a spending boost and trying to gloss over the £1 billion cut from the original scheme. Our borough was one of the first to declare a Climate Change Emergency and has an ambitious plan to get to net zero. This announcement certainly does not help.
The abandonment of Green Home Grants is not only a blow to regions like ours. It is hugely damaging to the credibility of the Governments environmental strategy particularly since the UK is due to host the UN climate talks at COP 26 later this year.