The government are to continue the previous administration’s policy of gradually withdrawing ‘warmfront’ grants which entitles the elderly and needy to free insulation for their homes it has emerged.
Chris Huhne the Energy minister, has announced that grants are to be phased out and replaced by loans under the new ‘green deal.’
In future loans for insulation work, – loft lagging and cavity wall insulation- will be available to all of the country’s 26 million homes subject to survey.
The cost of repayments should be offset by the savings in householder’s energy costs and customers will repay the principal in instalments through their energy bills.
The Eastleigh MP also revealed that locally based company B&Q could be a possible provider and said that his department had guesstimated up 250,000 jobs could be created over a 20 year period.
Prior to the general election the former Labour skills minister, John Denham, had been derided in the local press when he had suggested that semi skilled Ford workers being made redundant could be retrained as loft laggers but this would now appear to be Lib Con policy as well.
Overall this is an ingenious and ambitious plan but does seem to make assumptions regarding costs – of fuel, materials and labour.
The predicted drop in energy demand could cause energy companies to raise prices to compensate for loss of revenue and an unintended consequence of increasing employment might be higher wages – better get your home insulated for free before the grants run out!!