COMMONS

The Green Deal: watching brief

22 May 2013

Three years into the life of this Parliament, Ministers are unable to define what they hope to achieve through of one of the Coalition’s flagship policies, say MPs on the Energy and Climate Change Committee in today's report.

The Green Deal, the Government’s flagship initiative to help households and businesses increase their energy efficiency, has formed a central part of the Coalition’s commitment to be the "greenest government ever." However, the committee was surprised that DECC was unable to provide a well defined set of expected outcomes.

The Chairman of the Energy and Climate Change Committee, Tim Yeo MP, said:

"Our role is to hold Government to account. But it’s impossible to do this if the Government itself cannot explain precisely what it is hoping to achieve through its policies.

It’s unacceptable that, three years into the life of this Parliament, Ministers are unable to explain what success would look like of one of the Coalition’s flagship policies.
At a time when gas and electricity bills are on the rise, improving the energy efficiency of our homes could not be more important. My Committee therefore hopes that  the Green Deal will be a success.  It is only right that such a high profile policy is subject to proper scrutiny so that corrective measures can be put in place quickly if it is failing to deliver."

The Committee plans to monitor progress of the Green Deal over the coming years.  The report sets out seven key areas in which it will focus its scrutiny:  public awareness and communications; take-up levels; energy and carbon savings; financial savings and value for money; access to the Green Deal and ECO; customer satisfaction; and supply chain and job creation.

The report identifies a number of potential challenges, which could lead to low take up of the Green Deal.  For example, people in rented accommodation might have difficulty gaining consents from their landlords, households might find the "hassle" of building works too much to want to upgrade their property, or cheaper sources of finance might be available from other sources.  The Committee says that if take up levels are low, it will be important to understand why this is, so that the policy can be improved.

Tim Yeo MP added:

"My Committee plans to keep a watchful eye on the progress of the Green Deal over the next few years.”
We will be looking to see how many people are taking up the Green Deal and whether they are seeing genuine savings on their energy bills.”
We will also want to ensure that Green Deal companies are providing a good service to customers to make certain we do not see a repeat of the doorstep selling and mis-selling that energy companies have been engaged in recently."

The report calls on the Government to publish information showing how well the Green Deal is progressing.  The Committee also says that DECC should seek opportunities to collaborate with research organisations to maximise its understanding of whether the scheme is working well.

Tim Yeo MP concluded:

"We hope that the Green Deal will be a big success.  The Government should publish detailed information about what progress is being made so that we have the maximum chance of correcting any problems at an early stage."

Further information

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