9th July 2020
Dear Mr Sharma,
Including Glazing installations as Primary Measure for Green Homes Grant Scheme
I am writing to you as Chair of Certass Trade Association, the leading representative body of thousands of local glazing installers throughout the UK.
The recent announcement on 8th July has unfortunately had the unintentional consequence of damaging the glazing industry as it gives false hope to consumers of being able to acquire glazing work in September through a funded programme.
This has already led to a huge number of job cancellations as consumers wait for Government updates to see if they are eligible for the support. Before the announcement, the glazing industry was bouncing back successfully, both with installations that had been postponed during lockdown and new business.
I would like to ask for immediate clarity on the Green Homes Grant Scheme as regards the position of glazing. I suggest that the most appropriate position is to include glazing as a primary measure for the scheme and to enable the backdating of funds to consumers with immediate effect.
This would result in immediately unlocking the industry-wide problem created by the recent government announcement, create a huge positive in the energy profile of housing stock in the UK and deliver massive benefits in consumer spending for the economy.
Glazing replacement does not deliver the highest level of impact on CO2 emissions but has huge advantages in that it is available to any property in the UK and has an industry active infrastructure level that enables immediate delivery through established SMEs and local micro businesses. Replacement windows and doors also provide significant improvement benefits to homeowners and occupiers.
The success of previous grant initiatives for wall insulation means that many of the remaining uninsulated homes fall into the harder to treat category. Therefore, the most likely primary measure pathway for the fund, as currently detailed, is the installation of External Wall Insulation (EWI).
There are currently not enough trained people to survey, co-ordinate or install EWI to the required standards, and given the housing stock in the UK, the Government is unlikely to achieve its goals through insulation alone.
In comparison, the glazing industry already has the infrastructure in place that can deliver an immediate positive impact. Glazing presents an opportunity to deliver on Government’s energy promise, support an industry that will protect existing and create new jobs and bolster the UK economy. It’s also pertinent to point out that the vast majority of windows and doors are manufactured in UK factories, strengthening jobs further up the supply chain.
The impact of the 2013 Green Deal suggests that the method of focusing on the potential gains offered by the existing primary measures is unlikely to succeed in securing and creating long-term jobs or improving the housing stock.
Glazing has considerable advantages to the UK Government if enabled as a primary method for your Green Homes Grant Scheme, in that the infrastructure is already there in the market at a local level to deliver the benefits of improved energy efficiency, comfort and home value.
Such a programme could revitalise our sector whilst also helping Government deliver on its promises. The glazing industry is dominated by SME businesses, who whilst reasonably supported by Government intervention during COVID-19, are now in a position of considerable instability. Though for many, the bounce back has been relatively successful, there is uncertainty as to how long this success will last and the impact of yesterday’s announcement is stalling homeowners and will affect businesses and jobs.
Time is of the essence for the glazing industry due to the unintended handbrake applied by recent Government announcements. However, glazing can be your vehicle for achieving your aims if September funding can include glazing as a primary measure and be backdated to July so UK consumers will continue to upgrade their homes.
In addition, the coverage on the Martin Lewis Money Show this evening during which he told consumers to hold off buying double glazing until September has basically put the entire industry on hold as it has been picked up across UK media.
If the current position is not rectified urgently, the damage to the sector will be considerable as regards job losses and company closures, due to the lack of financial coverage for businesses that COVID-19 caused and the impact from the announcements and media coverage this week.
Chair, Certass Trade Association