New Green Deal to give you free Council Tax?

8 July 2011

how green is your house?

They say that while people are in the red, they aren’t going to be very green. Let’s hope the economy recovers ready for next year then, as that is when the Government’s Great Big Green Idea, the Green Deal, is due to be launched. Just in case you don’t know, the idea behind the Green Deal is to transform the country’s homes to make them warmer and cheaper to run. From next year, people will be able to access up to £10,000 upfront to pay for energy efficiency work, and only repaying the costs through savings on energy bills, with similar deals for businesses.There will also be extra help for vulnerable people or those living in homes which need more work than Green Deal finance alone will stretch to. Sounds like a plan.

However, the Government have now been dabbling in behavioural economics, which says that, no matter how logical things may look on paper, you just can’t tell with people, and that the biggest stumbling block in getting buy-in from the general public (who are actually people after all)  is dealing with the ‘hassle factor’*.

So, before next year’s launch, the Government are running two individual trials, as well as a 'group hug' type trial in Merton to see what they would have to offer as incentive in order to get people to sign up.

The two individual trials will both offer a monetary bung for signing up to Green Deal, but one looks at the success of offering a one-month Council Tax holiday, and the other offering vouchers that can be spent at Homebase or Argos. So not only are the Government trying to give you money for home improvements, they would also like to pay you to do it. Nice. The local authorities that will be involved in the trial have not yet been announced, but the results should be interesting. After all, who wouldn’t turn down free Council Tax?

The other trial involves the power of community. In this trial, homeowners in Merton will be offered a discount on B&Q energy-efficient products such as loft and cavity wall insulation. However, the group hug comes in at this point as the size of the discount will increase with the number of fellow Greenies you can get to sign up with you- discounts for each household will range from 10% for two households, to 15% for three households and 25% for five households. The science behind this is probably to do with pack mentality. Or perhaps just not wanting someone else to get a better deal than you.

All in all, from a starting position of initial scepticism, it is looking like Green Deal could be a win-win for consumers. And we like that.

* fortunately this is not an X Factor spin off show with David Hasslehoff, but is instead, basically when you say "I can't be arsed".

TOPICS:   Tax   Utilities

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