Thank you to the UK Green Building Council for hosting today’s event.
I am delighted to be here this morning.
I want to begin by saying; I very much welcome the report published today by the UK Green Building Council.
Constructive feedback and engagement from industry are key to helping make the Green Deal a success.
It is almost one year to the day since I formally launched the Green Deal so it is a good time to pause and reflect on progress.
There are 3 key points I would particularly like to stress in my speech today:
Firstly, as I look back on the Green Deal’s first year, despite the critics, the programme has seen an encouraging start.
Secondly, I want to update you on the progress we are making to implement improvements to the programme having listened to feedback
Thirdly, we need to go further, much further and work hand in hand with industry to drive this programme forward
So to begin with, I want to set a little bit of context.
Since day one of coming into Government we have been committed to helping people to heat and light their homes more efficiently and more affordably.
We know that hardworking families are being hit by the rising cost of gas and electricity.
And we know that this is not helped by Britain having some of the oldest, leakiest and most inefficient building stock in Europe.
Consequently, the Coalition has promoted energy efficiency across the board and given it a priority that no previous Government has attempted.
You don’t need me to tell you the importance of energy efficiency to our society.
Not only can it save individuals and businesses money on their bills, but it has many wider benefits too.
It can drive investment in our economy, helping UK industry to compete in the global race for green skills and growth. It can strengthen our security of supply and it can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
This Government aims to improve the relationship between demand and supply, developing an energy efficiency market where consumers are aware of the beneficial options available to them and where companies deliver profit making energy efficiency services as a matter of course.
Central to this vision is of course the Green Deal.
The Green Deal is a world-first and long-term initiative designed to upgrade the energy efficiency of Britain’s homes.
The most ambitious home improvement Programme since the Second World War.
But it is exactly that, a home improvement programme, not just a programme to shift finance plans.
It has created a new, trustworthy market to empower bill payers to choose which energy-saving improvements are needed to make their homes warm more energy efficient and allow people to take control of their energy bills.
A market of clearly branded, trusted measures, trusted installers, trusted assessors and trusted companies.
At the very heart of the new Green Deal market is the strong consumer confidence in the Green Deal brand of certification.
The Green Deal is radical. It is opening up new choices and simultaneously new products and services.
As I said in my introduction it has been an encouraging first year for the Green Deal.
It has not exactly developed in the way we anticipated with a very slow start from the Big 6, but terrific growth from SMEs.
Together with the ECO, the Green Deal has improved over 400,000 homes in their first eleven months.
And crucially it is the number of measures installed, not the number of Green Deal finance plans that I want to focus on.
Today we announced new figures that show over a 129,000 assessments have been completed until the end of November and research published last week shows that 81% of those households have installed, are in the process or intend to install at least one measure.
Of those who have had measures installed, 87% are satisfied with the quality of the measures installed.
We have an exciting and sustainable supply chain with:
Over 125 authorised Green Deal providers.
Over 2,900 advisors registered to carry out Green Deal assessments.
And over 2,300 organisations now officially Green Deal approved to carry out installation.
So as I say, the foundations are in, there are good signals of growth but now we really need to inject more momentum.
And to do that, there are new incentives to drive up demand but also we are making a series of improvements to the Green Deal itself.
This brings me on to my second point.
We have been listening very carefully to feedback from industry.
We have listened to consumers and wider stakeholders recognising the need to balance ambition, against people’s immediate concerns of consumers who fund any subsidy on their bills through their taxes.
In December we announced a £540M three year energy efficiency package for home buyers, landlords and public sector buildings as well as proposals to streamline the Green Deal
£450M funding for rebates for home buyers and to help private landlords improve their properties’ energy efficiency.
To support supply chain jobs and really drive take up now, we have:
Quadrupled funds available to local authorities this year to £80m to promote Green Deal on a street by street basis, incentivising the delivery of hard to treat cavity and solid wall insulation. A critically important boost to my vision and ambitions community backed street by street roll out which has had a terrific response in local authorities.
Extended the current Green Deal cash back scheme to June and reviewed the values including uplifting solid wall insulation to £4,000.
Worked with energy companies to promote a stronger mix of ECO and Green Deal finance.
We have also established a Green Deal Working Group, led by Sir Ian Cheshire, Chief Executive of Kingfisher to further simplify the Green Deal process to make it easier for both consumers to access and SMEs to install measures.
Over the coming weeks we will be announcing:
Further improvements to the Green Deal – such as enabling consumers to complete a Green Deal finance plan in one day – and adjustments to Green Deal finance.
Details on the new homeowner’s energy efficiency rebate.
Further Green Deal incentives to drive the market.
A substantial government led marketing campaign, including messages to catalyse action on RHI launch.
We have already been in close contact with many of you here today and I would encourage you to continue to feed-in your views.
This is the year when the Green Deal goes up a gear
But this brings me to my third point, that this is a joint endeavour between Government and industry.
We have worked hard together to get this far.
And my key message today is that we need to stick together and to partner effectively to make sure we keep up the momentum.
To succeed we will need to leverage your expertise, your reach with customers, your communications capacity, and your experience of what works and what doesn’t.
Helping us, help you, win business, get working on improving people’s homes, get their boilers replaced, their walls insulated and their windows double-glazed.
So I don’t want to raise unrealistic expectations but over, 129,000 Green Deal Assessments in 11 months, leading to over 80% taking action with over 87% satisfaction rating.
This is a great base to build on, to scale up and mobilise, and in 2014, we will.