Great British Insulation Scheme will take ’60 years to meet target’, MPs hear

27 February 2024, 13:04

Ofgem announcement
Ofgem announcement. Picture: PA

Labour launched an attack on the scheme designed to help people save money on their energy bills.

A £1 billion home insulation scheme will take 60 years to meet its three-year target to help around 300,000 households, MPs have heard.

The Government launched the Great British Insulation Scheme (GBIS) at the end of March 2023 to help people save money on their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient.

But figures released this month show there have provisionally been 4,011 measures installed in 3,284 households up to the end of December last year.

For Labour, shadow climate minister Kerry McCarthy told the Commons: “The Great British Insulation Scheme is proving to be a great Tory insulation fiasco.”

Labour MP Kate Hollern (Blackburn) also said: “The Government’s latest energy efficiency policy – the Great British Insulation Scheme – was supposed to insulate 100,000 homes a year, but so far just 3,000 families have been helped in eight months; across Lancashire only 35 homes and in Blackburn only six.

“Can the minister explain why currently it will take 60 years to meet its three-year target?”

Energy minister Amanda Solloway replied: “Energy efficiency is incredibly important to this Government and in actual fact we have many schemes that are available.

“We have the Great British Insulation Scheme, which alone has committed £592 million.”

Paul Blomfield, Labour MP for Sheffield Central, added: “I hear what the minister has to say about the Great British Insulation Scheme – it comes after the Green Deal, it comes after the Green Homes grant but frankly it looks like another failure.

“There are 1.4 million people living in South Yorkshire but just 137 of their homes have been upgraded under GBIS.

“My constituents want their bills cut, they want to reduce emissions, they want homes insulated – what’s standing in the way is Government incompetence. When will the minister get a grip?”

Ms Solloway replied: “We’re spending £6 billion in this Parliament and a further £6 billion to 2028 on making buildings, including private rented properties, cleaner and warmer.

“This is in addition to the estimated £5 billion for the Eco4 and the GB Insulation Scheme up to March 2026.”

Labour MP Liz Twist (Blaydon) said just seven homes have been upgraded in Gateshead under the scheme as she questioned why there has been “such slow progress”.

Ms Solloway claimed the Government was making progress on insulating homes and pointed to schemes that are operating.

Elsewhere at energy security and net zero questions, Ms Solloway said “no decision” has been taken on the so-called “boiler tax” amid reports it is poised to be scrapped.

From April 2024, boiler manufacturers are expected to be required to match, or substitute, 4% of their boiler sales with heat pumps or face a £3,000 fine for each missed installation, rising to 6% in April 2025.

It comes as part of a Government target to help phase out gas boilers and deliver 600,000 eco-friendly heat pump installations a year by 2028.

Conservative former minister Dame Andrea Jenkyns said: “Talking of fuel poverty, the boiler tax results in consumers paying an extra £150 when they purchase a new boiler.

“Does the minister agree it’s now time to ditch these unworkable and unaffordable net-zero policies and let the British people decide how to heat their homes, what cars to drive and keep more of their own money?”

Ms Solloway replied: “No decision has been taken on this yet but we have a commitment to ensuring we do the very best deal to all of our constituents in this country.”

By Press Association