PLEASE READ THIS NEWS ARTICLE WHICH APPEARED IN THE TIMES ON 19TH FEBRUARY 2021
Boris Johnson’s flagship £1.5 billion green homes grant scheme is likely to be scrapped less than a year after it was launched in a blow for the government’s net-zero strategy.
The Times has been told that the scheme will come to an end in March after only 22,165 grants worth £94.1 million were issued. The initial target was to secure grants for 600,000 homes.
It was launched in September and the prime minister committed to extending it until March 2022 as part of his ten-point plan for tackling climate change.
Under the scheme the government covers two thirds of the cost of energy-efficiency improvements for people’s homes up to a maximum of £5,000. These include insulating homes to reduce energy use or installing a low-carbon heating system.
However, the slow pace of the rollout has led to significant concern among ministers and the scheme is now expected to be scrapped, with a cut-off date. An announcement could be made as soon as next week.
It represents a setback for the prime minister’s commitment on cutting emissions to net zero by 2050. Ministers had already reduced the level of funding for next year to £320 million, citing concerns over the lack of take-up. That additional funding is now expected to be scrapped entirely.
Also, many applicants have complained about the complexity of the voucher application system and delays. The pandemic and a succession of lockdowns have compounded the problem. The work cannot be started until the voucher is issued. Applicants who jump the gun and begin work before receiving the voucher will lose the grant.
Not only have applicants struggled to obtain vouchers but installers are pulling out of the scheme because they have not been paid.