Nearly half of insulation jobs lost before Christmas?

The insulation industry could face 16,000 job losses because of a delay to the full operation of the Green Deal – or roughly half (45%) of jobs in the whole […]

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By Vicky Ellis

The insulation industry could face 16,000 job losses because of a delay to the full operation of the Green Deal – or roughly half (45%) of jobs in the whole industry.

The Insulation Industry Forum, a coalition of major installers, contractors and manufacturers, as well as leading trade bodies, wrote to Energy Secretary Ed Davey to warn him of the impending job crisis.

They point to DECC’s own figures which suggest there will be a notable drop in the take-up of insulation measures in between the end of the existing subsidy schemes for insulation and the new schemes like Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation (ECO) fully taking off.

DECC’s figures suggest there will be an 87.5% reduction in the loft insulation market, 57% cut in the cavity wall insulation market and 16% drop in solid wall insulation.

The Forum predicts many manufacturing plants and installation contractors could go out of business, with employee numbers slashed by 45% from 36,000 to 20,000 in 2013.

Insulation Industry Forum spokesperson John Sinfield of Knauf Insulation said: “The loft and cavity wall insulation installation industry will fall off a cliff in 2013. The policy by the current Government risks destroying businesses, putting 16,000 people out of work and undermining the Coalition’s green ambitions for the country.

“It will result in a lack of continuity of work from 1st January 2013 and dramatically fewer insulation installations in 2013 – we predict 16,000 job losses, many of them before Christmas.

“We are calling on the Secretary of State to recognise the scale of the problem that is about to hit our industry and develop a set of measures to address the insulation gap and implement a suitable solution”.

Not only jobs are at risk but as many as eight million home still need insulation of some sort, according to Which?, the consumer group which is backing the Forum.

Executive director, Richard Lloyd said: “Consumers tell us that rising energy prices are one of their biggest concerns. Lagging lofts and filling draughty cavity walls are relatively straightforward and low cost ways to reduce bills, so this warning about a drop in basic insulation work is clearly worrying.”

DECC said it “regrets any jobs loses” but countered by suggesting the Green Deal and ECO will actually create more jobs in the long run.

The department said in statement:  “It is important to recognise that the basic insulation sector has benefitted from subsidy, which every bill payer funds, for many years. As a result, the easy opportunities are dwindling – almost all lofts in the country now have some degree of insulation.”

It went on :”We expect the number of jobs in the insulation industry to increase from 26,000 in 2012 to up to 60,000 in 2015.”