Shapps refutes claims he wants green deal ditched
Housing minister Grant Shapps has rejected claims that he wants the government to abandon its multi-billion pound flagship energy efficiency scheme.
The Sunday Telegraph reported that the minister, along with fellow Tory ministers, chancellor George Osborne, communities secretary Eric Pickles and employment minister Chris Grayling, wanted to see the green deal retrofit programme scrapped on the grounds that it was adding to people’s energy bills.
It claimed that the departure of Liberal Democrat MP Chris Huhne from the post of energy secretary two months ago, paved the way for the group to ‘kill’ the policy – despite it having become law through the energy bill last year and being set to formally launch in October.
The ministerial coup against the coalition’s central carbon reduction policy was reported to have stemmed from opposition to government plans for consequential improvements proposed in Part L of the Building regulations, which the Daily Mail has described as a ‘conservatory tax’ that is now ‘dead in the water’ .
However, asked on Twitter by Inside Housing whether it was true he wanted to see the green deal abandoned, Mr Shapps replied: ‘No. I’m a huge fan of the green deal which we invented in opposition.’
Similarly, Lib Dem sources angrily denied that the plans for consequential improvements – for households carrying out extensions to spend up to 10 per cent of the costs on energy efficiency works (which can be done at no cost through the green deal) – were off the table.
Under the green deal, households will receive energy efficiency works on their homes for no upfront cost, with the tab being picked up by private sector companies which will recoup the cost of the works through the resulting savings in energy bills.
Contrary to the reported concerns, the scheme is expected to reduce household bills over time by making homes more energy efficient.
Climate change minister Greg Barker took to Twitter to dismiss the reports of a Tory backlash against the coalition’s biggest climate change policy as ‘bonkers’.
Similarly, Mr Huhne defended his legacy by attacking ‘posturing top Tories’.
He told the Guardian: ‘The green deal means that home insulation is funded from the savings in home energy bills so people are better off, not worse off. 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.’