More than £14 million is being made available to accelerate the installation of heat pumps and heat networks across the country, the UK Government has announced.
This funding is intended to give the rollout of air source heat pumps a boost by making them cheaper and easier to install and allow more households to move away from fossil fuels.
However, the additional £14 million of funding has been announced just after the scheme was slammed by a Lords committee, which said it has had a “disappointingly low” take-up of grants and it is impossible for low-income households to benefit. Critics also called the scheme "immoral" in handing out money for the technology when poorer families were struggling with everyday essentials.
Why is the Government adding another £14 million?
The additional £14 million from the government will fund the training of new heat pump installers.
The new programme runs alongside the government’s £450m Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) that provides grants of up to £6,000 to help homeowners switch from a gas boiler to a low-carbon heat pump.
Heat pumps are seen as highly efficient and reliable and have been put forward as a way of cutting carbon emissions using cheaper renewable energy produced in the UK. You can find out more about how do heat pumps work in our guide.
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, Lord Callanan, says releasing the addition £14 million of funding will make sure the cost of installing a heat pump is more affordable than ever.
Lord Callanan said: “We need a skilled workforce to deliver this, so we’re training thousands of people to be experts at installing heat pumps and heat networks, driving the country’s push towards net zero.
“We’re also making sure the cost of installing a heat pump is more affordable than ever before through grants of up to £6,000 through the Boiler Upgrade Scheme and a zero rate on VAT. So, it’s right we also put funding in place to train installers to meet demand.”
Why is the Boiler Upgrade Scheme controversial?
Last month the UK Government's green heating scheme was described as "seriously failing" by the Lords Environment and Climate Change Committee.
In a letter sent to Lord Callanan, the committee warned that upfront costs are too high for many households, even with the help of the grant, public awareness of low-carbon heating systems is very limited, and there is a shortage of heat pump installers.
Mike Foster, the chief executive of energy trade body the Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA) went further, calling the BUS a “sick dog that needs to be put down”.
He also expressed disappointment that any underspend on the scheme cannot be rolled forward to the following year, but will instead be “clawed back” by the Treasury.
He said: “This policy has always been flawed. Part subsidising an air source heat pump installation with a £5,000 bung leaves the remaining costs, average of an extra £8000, to be met by the consumer.
“Only the well-off need apply, which in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis with fuel poverty levels rocketing, is entirely the wrong priority.”
Get the Homebuilding & Renovating Newsletter
Bring your dream home to life with expert advice, how to guides and design inspiration. Sign up for our newsletter and get two free tickets to the National Homebuilding & Renovating Show (21-24 March, NEC, Birmingham).
Sam is based in Coventry and has been a news reporter for nearly 20 years. His work has featured in the Mirror, The Sun, MailOnline, the Independent, and news outlets throughout the world. As a copywriter, he has written for clients as diverse as Saint-Gobain, Michelin, Halfords Autocentre, Great British Heating, and Irwin Industrial Tools. During the pandemic, he converted a van into a mini-camper and is currently planning to convert his shed into an office and Star Wars shrine.