Green Deal sweetened for UK households offered greater financial backing

The Green Deal programme will be made much sweeter as far as households across the UK are concerned, as the energy secretary pledges to pump an extra £100m toward greater energy efficiency as part of the Home Improvement Scheme entailed within the Green Deal programme.

Ed Davey, the energy secretary, laid out the governmentís plans to reshape the Home Improvement Scheme at the Liberal Conference in Glasgow. He put forward an additional £100m in financial support for homeowners seeking to purchase greater home insulation, with a view to reducing consumer bills as a whole.

Davey also moved to laud government efforts that were concentrated on stimulating competition within the energy sector, pointing to the eradication of red tape preventing customers from fluidly switching energy supplier as particularly significant in the enrichment of energy efficiency.

The £100 council tax discount, already laid out in previous Lib Dem planning, to be presented to households dependent on their improvement in energy efficiency, was also verified by Davey, who also declared the Liberal Democratsí aim for 30% of the energy market to be comprised of smaller firms by 2020 in a cautionary message to the ëBig Sixí energy suppliers.

Going Green ñ Whatís the Deal thus far?

Touted as a landmark development in the provision of energy, the Green Deal Programme, initiated in 2013, was designed to totally revamp the UKís perceived energy inefficient, outmoded houses. The programme was hoped to catalyse homeowners into taking out loans to fund energy saving home improvements, which would otherwise have not been financially appealing for households to invest in.

These loans would be repaid in the form of extra charges levied on top of household energy bills over the next 15 years. These loans were alleged to be a more cost-effective way for households to use energy, as the repayments would prove less expensive than the long-term savings households would accrue due to greater levels of energy efficiency.

However, demand was slow and the inherent lack of appeal accompanying the high interest rates of the aforementioned ëgreen loansí ñ 7% – further dissuaded customers from jumping on the scheme.

Moreover, stealth charges such as the £120 assessment fee consumers were obligated to part with, merely to discover what instalments they can viably place in their homes, were widely slammed and further discouraged take-up of the scheme.

Before the introduction of the Home Improvement aspect, the Green Deal programme had seen under 4,000 households sign up and was widely considered an abject failure. The extra money afforded to consumers as part of the Home Improvement Scheme allowed them to install products such as cavity wall insulation and an ëenergy-efficient doorí without having to take out high interest loans. Due to high demand, the scheme closed suddenly toward the end of July this year.

However, Daveyís recent comments have provided thrifty households with hope that they will be able to increase their energy efficiency levels whilst also enjoying a number of added rebate-perks.

Daveyís spiel, in his own words, reads: “I’m proud that energy independents are supplying nearly eight times as many people as they were under Labour. And I want to see their market share grow more – to 30pc or more by the end of the decade. That will mean lower energy bills and better customer service for people across Britain.

“And if we couple this radical shift to smaller suppliers with a step-change on energy efficiency, not only will we see lower energy bills, but we will dramatically cut fuel poverty, reversing Labour’s failure there too.”

‘The good news is that we are on track to meet our energy efficiency target. One million homes more energy efficient, using our Energy Company Obligation and the Green Deal.

‘But we must do more. With the major new tax cut for energy efficiency in our pre-manifesto. A 10 year council tax cut. Paid for by central Government. Of at least £100 a year.

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