The parliamentary watchdog is to investigate claims that ministers spent around £36 million under the Green Deal to benefit only 2,100 households.
Ministers responsible for the scheme, which lends to households looking to increase energy efficiency through retrofitting, are accused of mishandling cash allocated by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and going on a “breathtaking spending spree”.
It is claimed that a lack of interest from the public is to blame, with many critics saying that the government never tested for demand before launching the scheme last May. Some also claim that homeowners are put off by the high interest rates.
According to the latest figures, a total of 2,100 households have benefitted from the scheme since it launched, with the number of those signing up each month falling. Spending is equivalent to £17,000 per household.
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Margaret Hodge, chair of the public accounts committee said, “It is pathetic when you consider that the coalition promised to be the greenest government ever yet is spending millions of pounds on a scheme that is not even performing at the margins.”
“Sadly the Green Deal is looking like it is extremely poor value for money.”
Shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint said that the Green Deal was failing and that Labour would scrap it immediately.
She said, “Energy efficiency is one of the best ways to help people get their bills under control but the latest statistics show that the Green Deal has completely failed. At a time when public money is so tight there is no excuse for this kind of breathtaking spending spree.”
Since launching, the scheme has continued to disappoint, with ministers dramatically failing to meet their targets. Energy minister Greg Barker said that he hoped it would attract 10,000 homeowners by the end of 2013.
John Aitken of the UK Green Building Council recently said that the number of those interested was “reducing to a trickle”.
Photo: Department of energy and climate change via flickr