Britain’s homes are going green, says Derek Horrocks, who runs a home insulation business in Lancashire that has vacancies for architects, surveyors, administrators and accountants. Horrocks, who runs Sustainable Building Services from his offices in Skelmersdale, near Wigan, south Lancashire, says he spent much of 2020 contemplating how to avoid making redundancies. That was after several years when ministers said they wanted to turbo-charge the insulation of British homes, only for those plans to be shelved. “For the first time in a long time we can see a positive picture,” he said. His staff assess whether homes need cavity wall insulation, external rendering, ground source heat pumps or underfloor heating before arranging for the work to be done and later checking it is up to a high standard. This year he expects to employ an extra 50 HQ staff to cope with the flow of business from the government’s “10-point plan for a green industrial revolution” and particularly the seventh element: greener buildings. The government’s Green Homes Grant (GHG), which opened for business in September, is the main vehicle. Plagued by teething problems, the GHG voucher scheme was due to dispense £2bn by the end of this March giving homeowners two-thirds of the cost of energy-efficient improvements, up to a maximum of £5,000 a household, or the full cost up to £10,000 if residents have low incomes. Payment delays forced many installers to down tools and stop recruitment. Within three months of the launch, an embarrassed department of business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) had extended the scheme to March 2022.
Guardian 5th Feb 2021 read more »