A much-promoted grants scheme to help householders in England insulate their home is to be scrapped within days.
The Green Homes Grant (GHG) reached just 10% of the 600,000 homes the chancellor promised would be improved.
The scheme will be stopped on Wednesday and the cash allocated to a separate insulation fund run by councils.
The £300m previously allocated for the GHG will now go into a programme administered by local authorities, targeted at lower income households.
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Some 19 million homes in the UK need to be insulated or the emissions from gas boilers will wreck the UK’s chances of achieving its climate change targets.
But the GHG scheme, which launched in September in a bid to tackle that, has struggled from the start.
The government said many households were reluctant to apply for the grants – up to £10,000 – because they feared catching Covid from contractors coming into their homes.
However, in some parts of the country installers were actually overwhelmed with demand, and families could not even get firms to answer the phone.
Then checks on the way the money was spent were so stringent that some installers went out of business because payments were so badly delayed.
And despite the checks, some builders appear to have hugely overcharged for their work. One joiner told me he had witnessed an installer carry out work worth £3,000 at most, then deliver an invoice for £5,000.