Green Homes Grant extended for an extra YEAR after government was criticised
The Green Homes Grant scheme has been extended by a year, the Government has announced today. Households looking to take advantage of the Grant will now have until 31 March 2022 to get improvement work completed. The original deadline of 31 March 2021 was criticised with homeowners initially given just six months to both apply and have all work completed.
This is Money revealed experts were calling for an extension as many reputable traders are booked up months in advance, meaning households struggled to use the scheme. Other concerns included traders doorstepping households claiming to be available for cut price work as part of the Grant. Under the Green Homes Grant, the Government has made available 600,000 vouchers for energy efficiency improvements to homes and has set aside a budget of £2billion that households can apply for.
The date change is part of the Prime Minister’s ‘ten point plan for a green industrial revolution’ which also revealed there is to be a ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030.
Richard Neudegg, head of regulation at Uswitch, said: ‘In the coming years, finding more environmentally friendly ways of heating our homes is going to be a significant part of working towards net zero, alongside the need to make sure our homes don’t leak the heat due to poor insulation. ‘But there may be eyebrows raised at some items on the list, with the previously launched Green Homes Grant being included as part of the plan, giving it more time to resolve its teething problems.
‘Many builders and installers have been failing to sign up to carry out the work, citing the accreditation process as a hurdle – which has left thousands of households so far unable to access the grant.’
The vouchers are worth up to £5,000 for a variety of energy efficiency and heating measures, such as insulation and double glazing, increasing to £10,000 for fuel poor homes.
How can I apply?
To find out if you are eligible for funding under the Green Home Grants and how you can apply, click here
However, many traders were found to be fully booked months in advance, meaning households couldn’t take advantage of the scheme. Tradespeople now welcome the extension but still believe there are not enough to complete all necessary works. Mike Fairman, chief executive of Checkatrade, said: ‘This year-long extension will allow homeowners more time to book a reputable tradesperson, however this doesn’t solve the skills gap which has been prohibiting thousands of homeowners from taking up the grants. ‘Put simply, there still aren’t enough trained and qualified tradespeople to carry out the work – we know some of our accredited members are being contacted by homeowners over 50 miles from their usual patches as demand far outstrips supply.
‘Until better investment is made in training and upskilling professionals, we’re likely to see many homeowners experience the same issues, irrespective of any extensions to the scheme.
‘If you’re a homeowner looking to benefit from the grants, you should look to get in touch with a tradesperson as soon as possible. ‘Over the past few months we have seen a huge increase in searches on our platform for energy efficiency-related projects, with a 168 per cent increase since the Green Homes Grant announcement in July.’
Adrienne Minster, CEO of Rated People, added:’It is really positive news that the government has decided to extend the Green Homes Grant and this announcement will be a welcome update for tradespeople, many of whom have been put off by the short time period needed to schedule and complete works. ‘This change will have a positive impact on the industry, but this isn’t to say that there aren’t still challenges.
‘To be eligible to work on projects supported by the Green Homes Grant, tradespeople need to register with the government’s endorsed scheme, which is over and above them having the necessary certifications to carry out work, and comes at an extra cost. ‘As such, this could be a big barrier for smaller businesses and sole traders.
‘While the extension is beneficial to the wider industry, we would urge the government to consider how to make the scheme more accessible to smaller businesses, especially as many are well qualified and ready to provide services covered under the Green Homes Grant.’Other previous applicants to the scheme said they have been told they are not eligible for vouchers as they would first have work done which the Government describes as a ‘primary measure’.Such primary measures include solid wall insulation, cavity wall insulation, under-floor insulation, loft insulation, flat or pitched roof insulation, roof insulation or insulating a park home.
However, many have said such primary measures are not appropriate for their home, meaning they are unable to access secondary measures, also covered by the Grant. These include double or triple glazing, hot water tank insulation, draught proofing and heating controls. Although households who have applied will only be offered a list of approved TrustMark and MCS registered tradespeople in their local area to carry out the work, trade firms also issued a warning to potential applicants to ensure they only hire reliable tradespeople.
Fairman added: ‘We can understand why homeowners may be tempted to use a tradesperson who has immediate and ample availability, however this can sometimes be a sign of a rogue trade. ‘We’d recommend homeowners continue to be vigilant when choosing someone to carry out any works.’ Installers need to act in line with TrustMark’s code of conduct by respecting a consumer’s wishes not to receive unsolicited visits if they have stated so.
The Green Homes Grant scheme will never include official representatives coming to a property uninvited or cold calling on the phone to encourage households to join the scheme.