The following announcement was made by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy at 17.00 on Saturday 27th March 2021:
The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has taken the decision that the Green Home Grant Voucher scheme will cease taking new applications from 5pm on 31st March. We will refocus efforts and funding on an alternative approach to maximise the delivery of home retrofits and benefits to consumers and businesses. Link to the press release here.
We have made some encouraging progress. To date, we have had over 96,000 applications and over 39,000 vouchers issued, and we have listened to your feedback to improve the scheme.
However, it is important to recognise that there have been some challenges as well. The Green Homes Grant voucher scheme, while recognised by many as an important initiative, has not been delivering at the rate and scale we had originally hoped. It has faced a number of delivery challenges, exacerbated by the understandable impact of the Covid pandemic.
I want to reassure you that all valid applications received up to 5pm on 31st March will be processed and vouchers in the system will continue to be issued, meaning that delivery of installations on the ground will continue over the coming months, supporting jobs in the industry and delivering much needed upgrades to households. We may allow vouchers that are already issued to be extended to a date that will provide a reasonable window for installations to be completed.
The Government’s commitment to sustainably growing the supply chain and investing in decarbonising our buildings remains unwavering. To ensure we continue to support a thriving building retrofit industry, the Government will be expanding its funding commitment for both the Local Authority Delivery element of the Green Homes Grant scheme and the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund with up to £400m in additional funding, with delivery continuing through 2022/2023.
The Local Authority Delivery element of the scheme has already successfully allocated £500 million of funding across the English regions, to support retrofit measures such as energy efficiency and low carbon heating in around 50,000 low-income households.
In addition to the success of the Local Authority Delivery element of the Green Homes Grant scheme, we have seen an extremely positive response to the initial Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Demonstrator, which is currently delivering 19 projects across England and Scotland, delivering whole house retrofits to over 2,300 social homes, showcasing innovation in process and technology. We will build on this success by increasing the size of the first tranche of funding for the main Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund.
The Local Authority Delivery scheme and the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund will require many of the same skills and training as the Green Home Grant Scheme. Investing in these skills and training remains a key priority for us, following the Government investment of £6.9 million in skills training for this industry in December 2020 which is ongoing. This is also why the Government is investing £2.5 billion in a National Skills Fund, helping to support hundreds of thousands of green jobs over the next decade. This approach will help us support a thriving retrofit industry to ensure we build back better after the pandemic and continue to deliver on our Net Zero ambitions.