Green Deal finance plans to be improved
The majority of people who have a Green Deal assessment carried out on their home don't sign up to the accompanying finance plans, a government minister has revealed.
Ed Davey, the energy and climate secretary, said the majority of the 145,000 people who have had an assessment – which can cost up to £150 – don't go on to choose Green Deal finance plans.
"When it comes to converting Green Deal assessments into finance plans, the story so far has been, let's face it, disappointing," he said in a speech.
High interest rates attached to Green Deal loans, which range from around 7% to 10% haven't helped, especially when personal loan rates can be significantly lower.
While Davey added that "the aim of the Green Deal isn't to sell credit plans, but to make our homes warmer, cheaper and greener," he said moves are afoot to improve the Green Deal and make the finance plans more attractive.
"It's clear from the feedback that the information, administration and finance has been too difficult, lengthy and complicated for people to access easily," he said.
One improvement will be to speed up how long it takes to access the cash. "We are stripping down the red tape required to get a Green Deal finance plan, knocking 10 days off the process, so people can now - as of last month - sign up to a plan on the same day they get a quote for the work," Davey added.
The government is also considering increasing how much households can borrow after being told many customers wanting to use Green Deal finance to fund improvements can't borrow enough to cover the full cost of the measures they want to install.
The Green Deal, previously available only to homeowners, will also be made available to tenants in a bid to encourage more take up of energy efficiency improvements.
Commenting on the proposed improvements, Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com, said: "We welcome Ed Davey's proposals today to simplify the Green Deal scheme and make it easier for consumers to take advantage of its benefits. Consumers need all the help they can get to make their homes more energy efficient and keep them warm.
"The key point is that Green Deal will be less complex. It should be easier for consumers to engage with it and take advantage of it. If the new measures help people protect themselves against skyrocketing energy bills, they should be encouraged."