The Government’s drive to get Britons to install heat pumps in their home was today branded ‘shameful’ and an ’embarrassment’ after missing its installations target.
Fewer than 10,000 pumps have been installed in England and Wales during the first year of a programme giving households a £5,000 voucher to help cover the cost.
This is despite an official target of 30,000 annual installations – while the scheme has also given out just £60million worth of vouchers from its £150million budget.
Air source heat pumps cost between £7,000 and £14,000 to purchase and install, while a ground source pump is between £15,000 and £35,000 – before any voucher, although Octopus Energy and British Gas are working on cheaper alternatives.
Critics say the pumps, which are typically placed outside at the back or side of a house, perform poorly in cold weather, especially if a home is inadequately insulated or the radiators are not big enough to give off sufficient heat.
Mike Foster, chief executive of the Energy and Utilities Alliance trade body for boiler manufacturers, said: ‘It takes a certain type of genius to fail to give away £150million of taxpayers’ money and this wretched scheme looks like it has done just that. When will the Government actually listen to the people, the majority of whom simply cannot afford a heat pump, subsidised or not?
‘The scheme is simply a taxpayer handout to those who don’t need it. It does little for carbon saving compared to investment on insulation. It does not help people keep bills low. It takes from the poor to give to the wealthy and it is an embarrassment of a policy.’
He added that more taxpayer-subsidised heat pumps have likely been fitted in Cornish holiday homes than the whole of Birmingham, which is ‘shameful’.
Mr Foster said: ‘People are still hurting with high energy bills, insulating the homes of those most in need should be the priority, not giving hard-earned taxpayers’ cash to those who were going to buy a heat pump…
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