Greg Barker hits back at Green Deal sceptics
The Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, Greg Barker, has defended the Green Deal despite news last week that no assessments for energy efficiency improvements had been received since the policy was launched last month.
Barker made the admission that no assessments had been received last week, in response to a parliamentary question from Shadow Climate Change Minister Luciana Berger warned that thousands of jobs are in danger because the Green Deal was "in tatters".
Berger said: "This failure will have real consequences for businesses across the country."
She added: "The Insulation Industry Forum is predicting that 16,000 jobs will be lost this year because of a lack of demand for the Green Deal.
"Ministers should be ashamed if they allow thousands of people to lose their jobs this Christmas."
Facing questions on the Green Deal, over a live webchat this morning, Barker hit back at these allegations, insisting that cash incentives would ensure a strong take up of the Green Deal.
"The Green Deal Cash back, recently announced by George Osborne, could mean up to £1,000 cash for taking up a variety of Green Deal measures, on top of the very real annual savings we expect every Green Deal customer to benefit from," he said.
However, Barker also urged caution, insisting that the Green Deal was "a two decade project."
"We want steady growth through 2013 as the market gains confidence, systems are tested and new entrants gain confidence to roll out their models at scale, "he said.
He added: "Yes we want a very positive launch but we don't want hype."
Barker also admitted that the Green Deal for businesses would be more complicated than for households, and take longer to develop.
"Non-domestic Green Deal for businesses, will spring to life on 28 January too, but this is a more complex market so we expect it to develop over the year.
"However I am really excited about the long term potential of the Green Deal for Business to help overhaul our inefficient commercial, retail and industrial buildings," he said.
In response to a question about smaller businesses, Barker argued that SMEs in particular would benefit from the Green Deal.
"SMEs are key to delivering the Green Deal. They are by far the most trusted companies that people want to work in their home, especially for the bigger jobs when they are going to be left alone in the property to get on with it," he said,