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Government eco-scheme for landlords has zero impact - claim

A campaign by a UK government to help landlords retrofit their properties with energy efficient amenities has had almost zero impact, the Liberal Democrats claim.

The Scottish Government - run by there Scottish National Party and the Green Party in a loose alliance - launched the Private Rented Sector Landlord scheme to help registered landlords retrofit their properties to make them warmer and more energy efficient.

However the government has told the Liberal Democrats, in response to a Freedom of Information request, that just 215 properties, or 0.06 per cent, had received funding for retrofitting measures from the Private Rented Sector Landlord Loan scheme, which was first established more than three years ago and has been allocated a total of £2.5m to date.

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Further data released as part of the same FOI response showed landlords of only 190 of those properties had received funding for energy efficiency measures such as insulation; only 26 had been granted funding to install renewable energy measures such as heat pumps.

Scottish Lib Dem climate emergency spokesperson Liam McArthur says this shows the scheme having “almost zero impact” on landlords. 

He says: “This is supposed to be one of the Scottish Government’s flagship schemes to decarbonise and warm homes, yet it is having almost zero impact. The poor uptake and lack of a whole-home focus suggest the scheme was cobbled together without any serious understanding of how to deliver warmer, greener homes for people living in private rental properties.

“If Scottish ministers are serious about making energy efficiency a national priority, they must ensure schemes provide the necessary incentive and that effort is put into promoting uptake. That is the only way to make meaningful progress in decarbonising homes and reducing fuel poverty.

“More broadly, Scottish Liberal Democrats will continue to call for a national emergency insulation programme for all home across the country, with a particular focus on those homes which are hardest to heat. This will accelerate progress towards creating properties which are both financially and environmentally sustainable.”

A Scottish Government statement to media north of the border says: “Homes in the private rented sector typically have a poorer standard of energy efficiency than other properties and we know that private tenants want to see their landlords invest some of the rental income in making properties warmer and cheaper to heat and to tackle fuel poverty.

“The scheme is demand led. We would encourage private sector landlords interested in finding out more about the scheme to contact Home Energy Scotland.

“Unlike the UK Government, we have not scrapped the plan to introduce energy efficiency standards for private rented homes, and details will form part of our Heat in Buildings consultation to be published next week.”

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    Might rent controls have something to do wit it?

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    These schemes are always a disaster.

    Even though I have got some tenants in receipt of UC there is always an excuse why we don't qualify for anything.
    The most ridiculous excuse I've heard this year is that flats don't qualify for Eco funds because it's more beneficial to improve 6 bedroom farmhouses. Household income needed to be below something like £19K or £31K if someone had a qualifying disability. I think the person may have gone a bit off script with narrowing it down to 6 bedrooms or specifically farmhouses but it certainly indicated how the scheme is designed to exclude tenants who really need it.

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    They usually require particular registered builders with various qualifications.
    Certificates are needed and lots of paperwork. Builders and landlords struggle to apply for the scheme. Those builders that do get registered typically charge much more offsetting any real benefit over getting it done yourself.

    Peter Why Do I Bother

    Correct and why can they not view the property take a few pictures before, award the money and then inspect after it is completed. They did not do that much diligence handing out covid loans so what's the problem?

     
  • Peter Lewis

    After talking to a number of builders, i understand that the majority of them are just not interested in all of the form filling, red tape and jumping through hoops that schemes such as these create, particularly when they are as busy as they are at this present time.
    This just goes to show that even with the best intentions Politicians and Civil Servants are just not equipped with the right knowledge to make decisions unilaterally. And that they should maybe take some advice from those in the industry before making their ( in this case) ill informed strategies.
    However, i fear that these desk jockeys will always know better.

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    The desk jockeys never know better. Look at the Renters Reform Bill!

     
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    • A JR
    • 28 November 2023 18:26 PM

    Big Gov gone bonkers, incessant interference messing up everywhere and zero accountability.
    The UK today!

     
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    @ A JR, I misread your comment as Big Gove gone bonkers!

     
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    Well said Peter!!

  • Nic  Kaz

    Once again it seems to me that the campaign is money spent for publicity, vote winning, claiming green credentials. Could it be there’s no funds left for actually doing the improvements, so they make the scheme too impractical to implement?

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    • A JR
    • 28 November 2023 18:28 PM

    Precisely! Good post.

     
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    Nic, I surprised more people are not complaining about the high costs of improvements, materials have shot up half as much again in a year & a half, trades are off the scales it’s high costs all around yet no one complaining, when was last time you were at B & Q.

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