PAC slams Green Homes Grant for dismal failure

It has revealed the scheme only upgraded 47,500 homes out of the 600,000 originally envisaged and calls for BEIS to ’acknowledge its failures’

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The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has slammed the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme, stating it ‘underperformed badly’ in its latest report.

According to the report, only 47,500 homes were upgraded out of the original aim of 600,000 and nowhere near the number of jobs that were predicted were created.

It also revealed that the project accounted for only £314 million out of the original £1.5 billion budget, with more than £50 million going towards administration costs.

The grant was introduced as a response to the pandemic, to boost jobs and also tackle the carbon emissions in homes but the PAC claims the 12-week timescale given for implementation was not long enough for it to be a success and stresses BEIS should have waited.

It is “not convinced that BEIS has fully acknowledged the scale of its failures with this scheme” and states that the failure “continues government’s troubled record of energy efficiency initiatives and risks damaging the Department’s future efforts to harness both consumer and industry action to deliver government’s net zero commitments.”

It labels the scheme one with “poor design and troubled implementation”, as by August 2021 46% of installer applications had failed.

Dame Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the PAC, said: “It cost the taxpayer £50 million just to administer the pointlessly rushed through Green Homes Grant scheme, which delivered a small fraction of its objectives, either in environmental benefits or the promised new jobs.

“We heard it can take 48 months – four years – to train the specialists required to implement key parts of a scheme that was dreamed up to be rolled out in 12 weeks.

“It was never going to work at this time, in this way, and that should have been blindingly obvious to the Department. That it was not, is a serious worry. I am afraid there is no escaping the conclusion that this scheme was a slam dunk fail.”

A spokesperson from BEIS commented: “As the National Audit Office acknowledge, the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme was designed as a short-term economic stimulus and was delivered during a global pandemic. Despite this, and despite challenges with delivery, all applications have now been processed, meaning almost 80,000 homes have been upgraded.

“We have taken the experience of the Green Homes Grant into account when designing new measures, with a commitment to go further and faster by investing £6.6 billion in improving the energy efficiency of our buildings, including £1.3 billion this year alone to upgrade up to another 50,000 homes.”