Former Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Chris Huhne, has found himself having to defend the government’s Green Deal insulation and energy efficiency scheme against some vociferous anti-green attacks by Senior Tory ministers. The Tory MP’s are arguing that the scheme should now be scrapped because of the rising cost of living and the effects of the recession. The group of ministers includes Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, and Chris Grayling, the Employment Minister. Both are concerned that householders will have to spend thousands of pounds upgrading their energy efficiency when costs of energy generally are rising.
“The green deal was Chris Huhne’s baby. He has gone now and it is the right time to kill it off” said one Tory minister. “Forcing people to pay thousands of pounds for unwanted extra home insulation is the last thing hard-pressed families need at the moment. It’s madness.” Another minister commented: “It cannot be right that every time your boiler blows up, you have to face the cost of replacing it, but also buying loft insulation. It is piling too much on. We need to pause with the green deal and look at it again in the light of the recession.”
At the heart of the group’s complaints is the proposed requirement for householders to install cavity wall and loft insulation whenever they build an extension, conservatory or replace a boiler. The proposed legislation has met with a widespread public backlash recently fuelled by certain tabloid newspapers such as The Daily Mail. However the Green Deal is also seen as being essential to the government commitment to cut carbon emissions by 2020.
“The green deal means that home insulation is funded from the savings in home energy bills so people are better off, not worse off” said Huhne, in condemnation of the Tory Ministers criticism. “Top Tories should stop posturing on green plans that help hard-hit households. The green deal became law last year with all-party support because it is a world-leading way for households to save energy and costs”
The Climate Change Minister, Greg Barker, also condemned the group, describing their attacks on the Green Deal as ‘bonkers’. Advisors to Chris Huhne’s successor, Ed Davey, were also said to be fuming at the criticism, pointing out that householders would pay out little more than £500 for energy efficiency improvements, a figure which would be quickly recovered through lower energy bills. Last week the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, deftly defended the Green Deal, saying: “We’ll ensure customers are never charged more for the home improvements than we expect them to make back in cheaper bills. Plus the charge is attached to the property, rather than the person, so if you move, you stop paying. That is maximum affordability, with savings that should more than cover costs.”