The farcical implementation of the government’s Green Homes Grant scheme has been sharply criticised by Propertymark.
Timothy Douglas, the organisation’s policy and campaigns manager, says: “The Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme was the first we have seen after years of no funding and it’s extremely disappointing that the scheme was poorly executed.
“The time frame for its application was unrealistic and therefore failed to provide landlords and home owners with enough incentives and access to sustained funding.
His criticism comes after publication this week of a report by the spending watchdog, the National Audit Office: it says the scheme was delivered to an over-ambitious timetable and was not executed to an acceptable standard, making it far less effective than planned on both job creation and carbon reduction.
Both landlords and home-owners were able to access the scheme, which offered vouchers of up to £5,000 that could be then spent with approved tradespeople and builders to upgrade their homes via energy efficient improvements.
Propertymark’s Timothy Douglas continues: “Financial support for the sector is fundamental if energy efficiency targets are to be achieved and the National Audit Offices’ recent report examining the UK government's Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme has reiterated our concerns with the schemes implementation.
“The UK government now need to learn from the shortcomings and create something that will actually work. Any new schemes or policies need to consider the disparity of the country’s housing stock from varying ages and sizes to construction and not just a blanket policy which misses the mark for many properties, owners and landlords.
“The Green Homes Grant also didn’t realistically consider the costs of improvements needed to get properties to an EPC Band C and the value of the Green Homes Grant should be increased from £5,000 to £10,000 with a consideration to include more home improvements.”
At its launch in September 2020, it offered landlords and other home owners up to £5,000 funding, or £10,000 for low-income households, for the installation of energy efficient improvements.
The government originally expected the scheme to support up to 82,500 jobs over six months, and enable up to 600,000 households to save up to £600 on their energy bills.
The scheme did not deliver the expected number of energy efficiency home installations, nor support the expected number of jobs.
In total, the government estimates that it will spend £314m of the £1.5 billion funding available, of which £50.5m - the equivalent of more than £1,000 per home upgraded - is on administration. It forecasts that the scheme will eventually support efficiency measures in 47,500 homes, and create up to 5,600 jobs over 12 months.
Many landlords, home owners and installers had a poor experience using the scheme.
There were delays issuing vouchers to homeowners and paying installers, causing frustration. Homeowners also found it challenging completing applications, and were often asked for more information, which took time. From October 2020 to April 2021, over 3,000 complaints were made.