For immediate release:
CITIZENS ADVICE SCOTLAND GREEN DEAL REPORT WELCOMED BY MSP
Blantyre MSP Clare Haughey has praised a report published by Citizens Advice Scotland which looks into problems associated with the company HELMS and the UK Government’s Green Deal scheme which has left many homes in Blantyre saddled with thousands of pounds of debt.
HELMS, prior to their liquidation, were a Cambuslang-based business who sold energy efficiency – or “Green Deal” – packages to thousands of customers across the UK. The Green Deal was an initiative introduced by the UK Government in 2013 to “deliver energy efficiency to homes and buildings across the land.”
Despite assurances that customers would not be paying any more for their electricity than they had been before they signed up to these deals, many people have seen their bills increase at an alarming rate.
Published last week (20th November), Citizens Advice Scotland’s 24-page document aims to find solutions for the people ‘ripped off by HELMS’. Among numerous other recommendations, they are calling for the UK Government to instruct an independent body to set up a dedicated scheme to resolve this issue by fast tracking complaints, providing satisfactory compensation and bespoke solutions for the specific problems facing those affected.
Blantyre MSP Clare Haughey has backed the publication of the report and has written to the UK Government echoing the calls made by Citizens Advice Scotland.
Commenting, Ms Haughey said:
“I am very grateful for the work of Citizens Advice Scotland, and local Citizens Advice Bureaus, in supporting my constituents and those further afield with this issue. In addition to their representation of individuals, they have been enormous of help in the Cross-Party Group I set up at the Scottish Parliament looking into such issues.
“This report is very damning for HELMS and the UK Government, and I fully support the recommendations made by Citizens Advice Scotland.”
Kate Morrison, Energy Policy Manager at Citizens Advice Scotland, said:
“HELMS customers were promised free energy improvements, but in reality they have been left high and dry by the company. Some have been left with bills in the tens of thousands of pounds.
“With far too many cold, draughty homes in Scotland, we need to improve the energy efficiency of our housing stock. The Green Deal scheme helped some families to achieve that, but rogue trading like this undermines customer trust.
“HELMS customers entered into their agreements in good faith but they were mis-led and have suffered higher bills for four years because of this rogue company, with some facing two more decades of repayments.
“We know about hundreds of cases, but we fear there may be more people who haven’t come forward yet. So the UK government needs to act so that all customers of this company are given the opportunity to come forward and access appropriate compensation.”
Citizens Advice Scotland’s press release, which includes Kate Morrison’s quote and a link to the full report, can be found here: https://www.cas.org.uk/news/rogue-company-helms-leaves-scots-thousands-pounds-debt
Please find attached the letter from Clare Haughey MSP to the UK Government’s Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth.
Date published: 26th November 2018