The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) is warning that the Green Deal will fail unless the Government takes swift and decisive action to incentivise consumer demand for energy efficiency.
According to a recent survey of all FMB members in Great Britain, more than 70% think a reduced rate of VAT would be a 'successful' or 'highly successful' way of encouraging their customers to commission energy efficiency work. Almost two thirds of FMB members (65%) think a free energy efficiency assessment would encourage more of their customers to improve the energy efficiency of their home.
Chief executive of the FMB, Brian Berry, said: 'It's time for the Government to accept the Green Deal has not been a success. The FMB has worked hard to promote the Green Deal to small construction firms, but until our members see a clear demand for Green Deal work and a more straightforward route to the Green Deal market, they will not engage with the scheme.'
He continued: 'The latest Government statistics show that just over 70,000 Green Deal assessments have been undertaken to date, but only 12 Green Deal Plans are 'live', demonstrating that a growing number of home owners want to improve the energy efficiency of their properties, but they aren't interested in paying for it using Green Deal finance. A reduction in VAT would reduce the overall cost of the work and make Green Deal finance more attractive to home owners who may be deterred by a large debt against their property.'
Mr Berry said: 'Our latest research also supports the Government's own findings that just having a Green Deal assessment is enough to encourage a significant number of people install energy efficiency measures in their home, regardless of how they choose to pay for it. Government research found that from a sample of households that had a Green Deal assessment, 81% have already, are in the process of or intend to install at least one energy efficiency home improvement. That's why the Government should consider offering free energy efficiency assessments alongside a reduction in VAT.'
'Above all the Government needs to seize the opportunity to announce how it intends to light the touch paper to the flailing Green Deal scheme,' he concluded.