The energy and climate change committee has suggested stamp duty discounts, variable council tax rates and other financial incentives as ways to push householders towards energy efficiency measures, after the government’s flagship scheme failed to deliver expected results.
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The committee has published a report arguing that the green deal – the government scheme to encourage people and businesses to make energy efficiency improvements at little cost – needs to be reformed to make it more attractive to applicants.
The complexity and high interest rates attached to the loan have put many potential candidates off, according to MPs, despite attempts to make the scheme simpler after it received criticism for being ‘unattractive and uncompetitive’.
Chair of the committee Tim Yeo MP said, “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.
“The interest rates attached to the green deal are simply not financially attractive enough for many households to go to the hassle of setting one up. By its nature this kind of scheme also only appeals to a certain section of the population who are in a position to take out loans on home improvements.
“Broader incentives could encourage lots more households to take simpler and cheaper steps to improve the energy efficiency of their properties and save money on their energy bills. Insulating our homes to make them warmer will bring benefits both for homeowners and for society, as we enhance our energy security and lower our carbon emissions.”
MPs also said that the communication strategy of the government has been lacking and confusing. They say support the green deal but the government needs to reshape the scheme and introduce more attractive financial incentives.
Commenting on the report, John Alker, director of policy and communications at the UK Green Building Council, 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.
“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.”
Photo: department of energy and climate change via flickr