The leading heating manufacturer has described DECC’s decision to suspend the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund as a farce and a body blow to the heating industry.
DECC’s decision was announced late on the 24th July with the Department blaming a surge in applications to the fund which caused it to reach its £130 million target in just seven weeks. However, the widely held belief in the heating industry is that the two-day surge in applications, from the 23rd to the 25th July, was prompted by rumours that the scheme would be rolled back once it reached its £50 million target. The rumours prompted a run on the scheme, which saw a further £80 million of applications in two days and led to its closure.
Neil Schofield, Head of Government and External Affairs at Worcester, Bosch Group, described the decision-making process as a farce. He said: “The scheme was supposed to last for three years and instead has been wound up after seven weeks. We were promised certainty and long-term planning and instead have received ambivalence and short-termism. The decision displays a shocking inability to demand forecast and a total lack of understanding of the dynamics of the heating industry.”
“We were promised certainty and long-term planning and instead have received ambivalence and short-termism.”In its press announcement, new Energy Minister, Amber Rudd, hailed the scheme’s success saying: “The Green Deal Home Improvement Fund is a world first and in a short space of time has proved extremely popular.” Defending the decision to cut the fund, the Minister declared, “We were always clear there was a budget, which is why we encouraged people to act quickly.”
Neil Schofield responded: “The tragedy is that, for once, DECC has come up with a scheme that works. Consumers understood it, manufacturers could get behind it and installers could sell it. Instead of embracing its success and saying ‘let’s do some more’ and really make a difference to the UK’s ageing housing stock, the new Energy Minister – who has only been on post for two days – has closed it. It’s a body blow and a triumph for short-termism.”
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