What is it with dodgy green schemes and wasting money? It seems that greenies like imposing a tax on stupidity that goes beyond the usual tax on stupidity for gambling or smoking.
The Coalition’s £14 billion flagship plan to insulate millions of British homes and cut bills is in jeopardy, after major energy companies halted work on the project.
Ministers hope to launch the Green Deal to householders this October, but a dozen firms wrote to Nick Clegg to say they are putting their efforts on ice.
Around 14 million households are meant to get loft and wall insulation under the Green Deal at no upfront cost, but Labour claims the project is “spiralling out of control”.
David Cameron was last month so concerned about problems with the Green Deal that he called in its critics for crisis talks at the Cabinet Office.
The letter to Mr Clegg will be a further blow to the credibility of the scheme, which has been criticised for being too complex and expensive.
In the letter, companies said they are “holding off development further” until the Government gives them £240 mllion to fund the scheme. But so far the Coalition has refused to agree when or even if this money will be paid.
The signatories, including RWE npower, E.ON, Marks & Spencer and Scottish Power, are all members of the Green Deal Finance Company, which was set up in March to “pioneer” the scheme.
Under the plans, householders will get their lofts and walls insulated by companies, then pay back the cost through their energy bills.
British Gas, one major provider, has warned of significant “challenges” in launching the Green Deal.
It says the name is “not attractive to consumers” and customers are often not interested in insulation, even when it is offered for free.