People in Northumberland cold shoulder warm homes scheme

Home insulation being fittedHome insulation being fitted
Home insulation being fitted
Fewer than 250 householders in Northumberland took advantage of a Government energy-saving scheme before it was scrapped, new figures show

Launched in September, the flagship Green Homes Grant was designed to help homeowners install energy efficient improvements with vouchers of up to £5,000, or £10,000 for those on low-incomes.

Figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy show residents in the area applied for 645 vouchers by the time the scheme was axed at the end of March – and, of those, just 233 (36%) were issued.

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The most popular energy efficiency measure was loft insulation.

Union leaders say the figures represent a lost opportunity to create thousands of jobs and make houses more environmentally friendly.

Under the scheme, £1.5bn was made available nationally to pay for measures such as insulation and low-carbon heating but said just 49,000 vouchers – worth £208m – had been issued by April 19.

Two-thirds of applications were rejected or still awaiting a decision at the end of March.

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It was due to run until March 2022 before being scrapped last month, with Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng admitting that applications were not processed quickly enough.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "The Green Homes Grant was an opportunity to create thousands of decent jobs in making our homes warmer and greener.”

She says the Government should give local councils the resources to create more jobs making homes more environmentally friendly.

A BEIS spokeswoman said: "All applications received by March 31 will be processed, supporting jobs and delivering energy efficiency to homes."