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Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee slams the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme as a ‘terrible waste of money’, costing more than £1,000 in admin for every home upgraded. It warned that what it called a ‘slam dunk fail’ risked damaging confidence in future schemes.

The Green Homes Grant has been slammed by Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee for upgrading only about 47,500 homes out of the 600,000 originally envisaged and delivering a small fraction of the expected jobs. The PAC found the scheme to add insulation and renewable heating delivered on just a fifth of its original £1.5 billion budget, and £50 million of that was administration costs –

The Committee was scathing about government department BEIS’s grasp of the requirements of the Grant, saying: “The PAC is not convinced that BEIS has fully acknowledged the scale of its failures with this scheme”. It added that the scheme’s failure “continues government’s troubled record of energy efficiency initiatives and risks damaging the Department’s future efforts to harness both consumer and industry action to deliver Government’s net zero commitments”.

The PAC report said the 12-week timescale provided to implement it was unrealistic and BEIS proceeded with it despite its own Projects and Investment Committee rejecting its business case.

It concluded that the GHG was: “a scheme with poor design and troubled implementation”. By August 2021, 52 per cent of homeowners’ voucher applications were rejected or withdrawn, and 46 per cent of installer applications failed. The Committee concluded: “The Scheme’s primary aim was to support jobs but its design and duration limited its impact on employment, and its abrupt closure may have in fact led to redundancies.”

Dame Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee gave a particularly scathing reflection on the Grant’s failure. She said: “It cost the taxpayer £50 million just to administer the pointlessly rushed through Green Homes Grant scheme, which delivered a small fraction of its objectives, either in environmental benefits or the promised new jobs.”

She said: “We heard that it can take 48 months – four years – to train the specialists required to implement key parts of a scheme that was dreamed up to be rolled out in 12 weeks. It was never going to work at this time, in this way, and that should have been blindingly obvious to the Department. That it was not is a serious worry. I am afraid there is no escaping the conclusion that this scheme was a slam dunk fail.”

She concluded: “We will need this massive, step change in the way our homes and public buildings are heated, but the way this was devised and run was just a terrible waste of money and opportunity at a time when we can least afford it.”

 

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