According to the BBC, the Green Homes Grant scheme is in such chaos that a huge majority of its £1.5bn budget for this year is unspent and the government has said it will pocket that money, rather than rolling it over to next year’s £320m fund.
But the Environmental Audit Committee says that would be a “deeply retrograde step”.
Conservative MP Philip Dunne, who chairs the committee, told the BBC: “We need a long-term commitment to helping people insulate their homes – at the very least until the end of this Parliament.
“We (Conservatives) promised £9.2bn for energy efficiency in our manifesto – and we have to deliver that or we won’t reach our climate change targets.”
The current green homes programme has been heavily criticised, with householders unable to get quotes from registered contractors and the firms unable to get paid.
The government confirmed only £94.1m of the £1.5bn allocated for homes in England until April has so far been spent.
Mr Dunne said: “The Green Homes Grant scheme is a good idea but its implementation has been woeful.”
He said the scheme designed to create jobs and improve energy efficiency had turned into a “job destruction” scheme because so many builders laid off their workers when government payments didn’t come through.
Mr Dunne said the project had been devised with too much bureaucracy because Treasury officials didn’t want a repeat of Northern Ireland’s Northern Ireland’s “cash for ash” renewable heat scheme, where millions of pounds were lost because rules were badly devised.
As a result of the red tape, he said, small builders in the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) – the largest trade association in the UK construction industry representing thousands of firms in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – were reluctant to apply for accreditation.
Mr Dunne said out of 7,400 members of the federation, only three had been accredited.
In response to the disappointing scheme statistics published here, Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “The government will not succeed in achieving its Green Industrial Revolution with a short-term plan like the Green Homes Grant scheme, which today’s figures show is putting off both builders and consumers. The government needs to think bigger and bolder and back a long-term National Retrofit Strategy, that sets out an ambitious delivery plan to cut carbon emissions from all our homes, and the Budget is the perfect opportunity to do so.”
Berry concluded: “The government will clearly be disappointed that a scheme designed to create 100,000 new jobs has fewer than 1,000 building companies on board. A flash in the pan policy doesn’t give small builders the confidence they need to invest in the necessary accreditations and training. That household applications for grants peaked in October is concerning and suggests the negative press around this scheme is taking its toll.”