TIME FOR UK GOVERNMENT TO TAKE ACTION ON GREEN DEAL COMPLAINTS PROCESS

For immediate release:

TIME FOR UK GOVERNMENT TO TAKE ACTION ON GREEN DEAL COMPLAINTS PROCESS

Following a report from Citizens Advice Scotland, Rutherglen MSP, Clare Haughey, is leading calls for the UK government to streamline the complaints process for their flagship energy-saving scheme, the Green Deal.

Dubbed the ‘biggest home improvement programme since the Second World War’ when it was launched by the coalition government in 2013, the Green Deal scheme provided homeowners with energy-efficiency products like solar panels, insulation and new boilers, with no up-front cost.

However, over 3000 Scottish households were sold energy-efficiency products by the Green Deal approved business HELMS – who are the subject of a scathing study by Citizens Advice Scotland entitled ‘Bad Company’.

The MSP’s constituency of Rutherglen has been heavily affected by the issue, with one Blantyre street in particular having over 20 homes with Green Deal packages installed by HELMS.

The report has found that the experience of too many customers is that the complaints process is long and drawn out, with a number still pursuing complaints about measures typically installed five years ago in 2014.

Citizens Advice Scotland is now calling the UK government 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

Last February, the MSP established a Cross-Party Group in the Scottish Parliament which considers the impact of the UK Government’s Green Deal and the HELMS issue more widely – it will meet later this month to discuss the report’s findings.

Commenting, MSP Clare Haughey said:

“The Green Deal scheme has allowed vulnerable households across the UK to fall into deep debt with rocketing energy bills.

“I’ve spoken with people whose homes have been left damaged by poor workmanship and others who have been left without appropriate building warrants.

“Not only that, but as the loan is attached to the home rather than the person, many are now left unable to sell their homes.

“It’s utterly shameful that HELMS were able to do this, and even more so that it was under an approved UK Government scheme.

“The next meeting of the Cross-Party Group, which takes place a year after the first full meeting, will look at Citizens Advice Scotland report, and in particular the complaints process. Hopefully together we will urge the UK Government to take quicker action.”

ENDS

Notes: https://www.cas.org.uk/system/files/publications/bad_company_citizens_advice_scotland.pdf

Citizens Advice Scotland – Bad Company Report:

“Problems with HELMS have been widespread and owing to an unclear redress pathway, a number of different organisations have been involved in the complaints process. We are aware of 1,125 recorded complaints raised to date4. 11% of all HELMS customers have now complained to the Green Deal Finance Company.

“As multiple financing options were often employed by HELMS and customers were regularly told installations would be free, they were often left unsure of how much they owed.

“The average HELMS loan size is £4,091. The largest HELMS plan is £11,766 and the average daily charge is 98p which equates to roughly £29 per month.”

 

Date published: 19th February 2019

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