By Neil Marshall – Chief Executive – National Insulation Association
As previously advised, the Government recently announced an additional £100m of funding for the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund in England and Wales, Green Homes Cashback in Scotland. Since then we have been in detailed discussions with Government officials about the design of the new scheme with a view to addressing issues that occurred with the original scheme when £120m ran out in just 6 weeks.
Please fund below an update:
- The £100m is new, additional funding to be spent between the end of November 2014 and end of March 2016.
- DECC has yet to clarify the exact phasing of the spend but it is envisaged that around £30m will be allocated between the end of November 2014 and end of March 2015 with the remaining £70m allocated for the period from April 2015 to end March 2016.
- This is on top of the £120m of funding that was already proposed for the financial year April 15 to end March 16 so the total fund for that period is likely to be around £190m combined.
- DECC held a high level stakeholder workshop yesterday to consider changes to the new scheme at which the NIA had strong representation and I have summarised below the key points discussed:
- Solid Wall Insulation cash back to be set at £4k maximum but need to consider how much of the property must be done to obtain this and give consideration to differentiated cash back values based on the % or square metreage of the property completed.
- Remove the home movers £500 incentive as is confusing and there has been minimal take up, the money would be better spent on additional measures.
- Preference for adopting a multi measure incentive approach with cashback values set according to the measure as opposed to the previous two measure rule to obtain the £1,000 cashback.
- The importance of adopting a building fabric insulation measures first approach with consideration to including loft insulation which is not being picked up on mass through ECO.
- The introduction of a requirement for the householder to obtain and submit a formal quotation for works as a minimum supplemented by a technical survey in order to apply for a voucher.
- Consideration of the introduction of an application fee i.e. £100/£250 when applying for a voucher which is offset against the cost of the job if work is undertaken which can be refunded if the job is cancelled for legitimate reasons outside the householders control.
- The need for a more robust quality assurance framework including:
o formal quotations and technical survey including detailing for SWI at the outset
o introduction of independent technical monitoring
o mandating issue of wall guarantees
o whilst not specific to GDHIF alone, review of the robustness of the current PAS 2030 certification framework.
A significant number of the points above reflect proposals submitted by the NIA which are designed to address issues with the previous scheme of:
- Speculatively applying for vouchers on behalf of customers with no firm commitment to carry out the work and then in some cases attempting to sell these to installers.
- Addressing light touch accreditation and quality issues associated with the installation of insulation measures by some participants.
Please note; this is a summary of the key points I concluded for the insulation industry from yesterdays workshop, a range of other views were expressed and DECC will now be considering all the proposals submitted and making decisions on the final scheme design in the next couple of weeks. In addition, there are likely to be limitations on the number and size of the changes that can be made for the launch of the new scheme at the end of November and therefore some of the more significant changes might have to be delayed until April 2015.