‘Green Deal’ not helping pensioner over insulation

A pensioner's efforts to get help with his insulation costs have been raised in Parliament
A pensioner's efforts to get help with his insulation costs have been raised in Parliament

An MP has raised a Kettering pensioner’s struggle to get his home insulated under the so-called ‘Green Deal’.

Philip Hollobone brought the plight of Jim Smith to the attention of energy and climate change minister Greg Barker in Parliament.

Mr Smith, who lives in a 1900s house in the Cornwall Road area of Kettering, has faced soaring heating bills in recent years, and wants an external wall at his home to be insulated and rendered.

Mr Smith, 66, said his heating bills between November 2012 and February 2013 totalled £700 – and with price hikes announced by energy companies in recent weeks, he fears that sum could soar this winter.

He has been quoted up to £15,000 by companies to carry out the work – but says he is frustrated not to be able to use the Green Deal to help pay for the work.

Mr Smith, who rents his home, says some companies have said the Green Deal only applies to owner-occupied properties, despite the scheme’s own website saying tenants can apply for funding with their landlord’s permission.

Other companies he has approached via the Government’s Green Deal website have told him they are on the list erroneously.

“We have been left in limbo,” Mr Smith said. “If it starts getting frosty they can’t do the work. It should have been done in August or September.

“Last winter our bill was £700. Prices are rising by three times the rate of inflation.

“It’s getting to the point where we might as well live in a tent. I have done everything it tells me to do but where do I go? I want to find out what I have to do to make the house warm.”

Responding in Parliament to Mr Hollobone, Mr Barker described the case as puzzling, and said he would be happy to meet the Kettering MP to discuss it.