APHC calls for simplicity with Green Homes Grants

John Thompson is the CEO of APHC

The Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors (APHC) has called on government to ensure the Green Homes Grant Scheme won’t be overly bureaucratic for homeowners and installers.

Announced last week by chancellor Rishi Sunak in his Summer Statement to help homeowners make their homes more energy efficient, the government will pay two-thirds of energy efficient home improvements up to £5,000, with those on low incomes being able to receive up to £10,000.

As well as planning to create thousands of new jobs, the government believes the scheme will help the UK meet its 2020 target of achieving net zero carbon emissions through the installation of new, more efficient boilers, heat pumps, loft and floor insulation, energy-efficient lighting, double or triple glazed windows and energy efficient doors.

John Thompson, CEO at the Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors, said: “In principle we welcome the Chancellor’s announcement regarding the Green Homes Grant Scheme as although in the main our members and the wider plumbing and heating sector have re-commenced work activities, their work is somewhat scaled back from the first part of the year with much of the high value installation work being associated with orders placed prior to lockdown. I know for many businesses in our sector the low number of incoming work enquiries is becoming a concern especially as the signs are that the economy isn’t going to spring back quickly and that we are most likely facing a prolonged period economic decline. Therefore any scheme that financially incentivises homeowners and landlords to make their properties more energy efficient needs to be straight-forward. I have written to government to offer input in shaping the Scheme as the government needs to learn from past schemes, such as Green Deal which was based on the PAS 2030 standard and was overly bureaucratic and failed to deliver on its core purpose.

“In my opinion the Green Homes Grant Scheme needs to be simple, just as the Boiler Scrappage Scheme was in terms of its simple administration arrangements and recognition of existing business competence schemes. This way the Scheme will be able to deliver quality installations and provide protection for homeowners without duplicating current requirements and adding unnecessary costs and bureaucracy for the installer. And let’s not forget the boiler scrappage scheme was highly effective in delivering quality and value for money for the consumer.”

Exact details on the eligibility criteria has not yet been released, a statement added, but applications for the Green Homes Grant Scheme will open in September.

The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) also welcomed last week’s summer statement, saying its measures tackled issues raised in the CIPHE’s manifesto such as education and energy efficiency. “This mini budget is set to have a particular impact on the sector,” a statement added.

There was also good news for homebuyers in the summer statement, with Stamp Duty temporarily exempt below £500,000, and for employers bringing furloughed staff back to work, with a £1,000 job retention bonus per employee for those still in employment until the end of January 2021.

  • See this month’s print version of HPM for further reaction to the Green Homes Grants scheme.