CBI says Green Deal risks becoming lame duck

The government’s flagship energy scheme, the Green Deal, risks becoming a “lame duck” unless it provides greater clarity on how it will be financed and promoted, the CBI said yesterday. […]

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By Kelvin Ross

The government’s flagship energy scheme, the Green Deal, risks becoming a “lame duck” unless it provides greater clarity on how it will be financed and promoted, the CBI said yesterday.

The Green Deal will allow people to take out loans to improve the energy efficiency of their properties by buying insulation, heating and lighting. The loans are to be attached to the property and will be paid back over a fixed period through the savings made on energy bills.

However, with a new CBI survey showing that three-quarters of the public do not even consider the energy efficiency of a property when buying or renting a home, the government clearly needs to do more to get consumers to buy-in to the concept. This is a vital first step to ensure there is a market for the businesses that will deliver the scheme.

CBI deputy director-general Neil Bentley said: “The Green Deal is a good idea, but risks becoming a lame duck unless the government tackles the big questions of financing and uptake. The government faces an uphill challenge convincing home owners to sign up to the Green Deal.”

He added: “To ensure the scheme is a success, the government needs to clarify how the Green Deal will be paid for in the early stages to give investors confidence, and make it simple and hassle-free for consumers.”

In a new report called A Real Deal? Making the Green Deal Work, the CBI is calling on the government to deliver a financial model that is attractive to private investors, with a decision by Spring on where the default risk will lie, ensuring that it does not undermine the ability of smaller firms to become providers.

The CBI also wants to see a range of policies to encourage take-up of the Green Deal by the public, which could include rolling out Display Energy Certificates to commercial properties. It also believes the Green Deal should be targeted at the public at appropriate trigger points, for example, when people are buying their first home or installing a new boiler.