Is the Future of the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme at Risk?

The IAA note with grave concerns the recent article from the Times Newspaper in which they suggest that the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme is to be scrapped by Government at the end of March and the committed funding for the financial year 2021/22 withdrawn in its entirety and, whilst this is currently being denied by the BEIS the Government Department responsible for the scheme we are yet to receive assurances from Ministers that this is not the case.
It was hugely disappointed that the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced that almost £1.4 billion would be lost back to the treasury as a result of the financial underspend this financial year. Even more concerning is that the first real opportunity for Government to evidence its credentials in tackling Net Zero 2050 appears to be in jeopardy, through no fault of the industry and indeed a very real appetite from consumers.
Is this to be the case? If so the question of accountability needs to be correctly addressed and a rapid response for support is needed for the inevitable fall-out that will be forthcoming.

It is without doubt that the GHGVS scheme had and indeed could still have the makings of a scheme that can benefit home occupiers, reduce fuel costs, create jobs and help tackle the circa 17% carbon emissions from our homes which contribute to climate change.
The scheme has promised much, and the industry has responded in a positive manner with our own certified installers increasing by 50 percent and almost 250 further enquiries still waiting to be processed from new companies who are keen to invest but are rightly cautious as a result of ongoing challenges with its implementation. As an industry there are many positives that could come from the scheme unfortunately failure to deliver at volume has impacted on not only future growth but has also damaged the existing able to pay market as homeowners cancel work and seek voucher contribution to their much needed building fabric improvements.
The Energy White Paper published on the 14th December following the spending review referred to the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme being extended for another year which was also noted in the Prime Ministers Ten Point Plan. It is therefore disappointing and contradictory that underspend is not being carried over and now the whole future of the scheme is at risk.
It is worth noting that Industry has made a considerable investment on the government promise of a green recovery with the majority of installers investing an average of £87k on the scheme and thanks to issues with the administration and construct of the scheme are seeing little in the way of return. Payments are far too slow, vouchers are not being issued in a timely fashion and customers are becoming increasingly frustrated at the lack of momentum (despite over 100,000 voucher applications), and yet in Prime Ministers Questions on the 10th February the failure to roll over the underspend was blamed on “people not coming forward”.
As a certification body and provider of guarantees to the scheme our experience has been that industry is very much up for the challenge, has shown a willingness to invest and grow and has committed to making the scheme a success.  However it now faces a real problem, that problem being a lack of confidence in the scheme administration, a weariness in what could once again be another good initiative allowed to fail at the first sign of difficulty and apparent lack of preparedness by Government to learn from what has worked well over recent years and importantly engage with an industry with the skills and experience to make this work.
What does this mean for the Governments Net Zero 2050 agenda and the credibility of the UK as we prepare for COP 26?
We implore the Prime Minister, the Chancellor and the Secretary of State for BEIS to engage with the industry, restore consumer and industry confidence and work with the industry to make this scheme the success it should rightly be as a key aspect of our green recovery.
Listen to the BBC You and Yours radio programme 24th Feb 21.