Save green deal by offering financial incentives to households, MPs say
Report advocates council tax discounts and stamp duty rebates to revive flagship energy efficiency scheme.
Stamp duty discounts, variable council tax rates and other financial incentives should be offered to help households reduce energy bills and revive the government’s flagship conservation initiative, a group of MPs has urged in a scathing report.
The green deal, launched in January 2012 to encourage energy efficiency, has been a failure and needs a complete rethink, says the energy and climate change select committee. Although over 300,000 households have asked for assessments, only around 4,000 have signed up to the financial packages offered.
The pay-as-you-save scheme, which is designed to help retrofit older buildings allows households to have energy efficiency work done without upfront costs is seen as too complicated and has led to confusion and mistrust, say the MPs.
“The government must re-evaluate its approach and set out a clear strategy to revive the failing scheme. Unless the package is made more attractive to a wider group of consumers, green deal finance is likely to remain unappealing to many,” say the MPs.
Tim Yeo, chair of the committee, urged government to consider other incentives. “Stamp duty discounts and variable council tax rates could be used to broaden the appeal of energy efficiency improvements and make them even more of a money saver for households.
“Extra incentives certainly need to be considered. The scheme has only delivered a fraction of the expected benefits so far,” he said.
The MPs identified “high levels” of confusion, misunderstanding and mistrust surrounding the green deal. “[It] could play a crucial role in meeting the UK’s [greenhouse gas] emission reduction targets, but a combination of financial, communication and behavioural barriers has meant that many potential customers and partners have been disillusioned and alienated,” says the report.
A spokesman for the UK Green Building Council, which has previously called for council tax discounts for people taking up the green deal and gave evidence to the MPs, said: “This influential cross party committee has now added its voice to a crescendo of industry and independent experts, who have long called for greater incentives to boost demand for energy efficiency and the green deal.
“Energy efficiency is too great an untapped opportunity for this message to fall on deaf ears once again. Government needs to treat energy efficiency as a national infrastructure priority, which means a long-term programme of incentives and support, enabling the private sector to get on and deliver lower bills for householders.”
Article taken from The Guardian on 15/09/14