The Green Deal will fail unless the Government takes swift and decisive action to incentivise consumer demand for energy efficiency, warns the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

According to a recent survey of all FMB members in Great Britain, more than 70% think a reduced rate of VAT would be a “successful” or “highly successful” way of encouraging their customers to commission energy efficiency work. Almost two thirds of FMB members (65%) think a free energy efficiency assessment would encourage more of their customers to improve the energy efficiency of their home.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), said: “It’s time for the Government to accept the Green Deal has not been a success. The FMB has worked hard to promote the Green Deal to small construction firms, but until our members see a clear demand for Green Deal work and a more straightforward route to the Green Deal market, they will not engage with the scheme.”

Berry continued: “The latest Government statistics show that just over 70,000 Green Deal assessments have been undertaken to date, but only 12 Green Deal Plans are ‘live’, demonstrating that a growing number of home owners want to improve the energy efficiency of their properties, but they aren’t interested in paying for it using Green Deal finance. A reduction in VAT would reduce the overall cost of the work and make Green Deal finance more attractive to home owners who may be deterred by a large debt against their property.”

Berry continued: “Our latest research also supports the Government’s own findings that just having a Green Deal assessment is enough to encourage a significant number of people install energy efficiency measures in their home, regardless of how they choose to pay for it. Government research found that from a sample of households that had a Green Deal assessment, 81% have already, are in the process of or intend to install at least one energy efficiency home improvement. That’s why the Government should consider offering free energy efficiency assessments alongside a reduction in VAT.”

Berry concluded: “Above all the Government needs to seize the opportunity to announce how it intends to light the touch paper to the flailing Green Deal scheme.”