A freedom of information (FoI) request made by RCI, a Unity Media sister publication, has shown that the government spent just £6 million on publicising the Green Deal throughout the failed scheme’s entire run.
According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), marketing and publicising the Green Deal began when the scheme was launched to consumers on January 28, 2013. Between this date and the end of the 2014/15 financial year, £6,239,290 was spent on increasing knowledge of the scheme. This means that less than three per cent of DECC’s £220 million budget for energy efficiency subsidies was spent on building demand for the government’s flagship scheme.
This would suggest that no effort was made to publicise the scheme before its launch in January 2013, despite the scheme being heralded as the government’s main policy effort to boost energy efficiency among UK households.
A lack of public support for the scheme was often cited as a main stumbling block for the Green Deal. A YouGov poll of 5,071 UK energy customers conducted in January 2013 found 81% had not heard of the scheme, while only two households had taken up Green Deal Plans in the first six months of the scheme.
DECC’s FoI response also reveals that nothing was spent on marketing the scheme between April 2015 and its closure in July, suggesting plans were in place to scrap the scheme months before the announcement was made.
Many in the energy efficiency sector were caught by surprise when Amber Rudd, secretary of state for energy, announced the closure of funding to the Green Deal Finance Company on July 29. Speaking at the time of the Green Deal’s closure, Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, said the announcement came with “no forewarning”.
Since the scheme was closed, DECC has initiated a review of its energy efficiency policy, with a new raft of measures being prepared alongside industry.
It was believed first that a new policy would be ready in time for the government’s autumn spending review, however, it has since been reported that a scheme may not be announced until spring 2016.