The creation of a skilled workforce to deliver the Government’s Green Deal retrofit programme will depend on more than just the 1,000 apprentice places announced this week.
That’s according to the Federation of Master Builders which says a comprehensive package of incentives is needed to help the tens of thousands of small and medium sized building companies train local apprentices across the country to retrofit 26 million existing homes.
FMB director of external affairs Brian Berry says: “Construction SMEs hold the key to the success of the Government’s Green Deal but only if they are allowed to access the market. There are increasing concerns amongst the building industry that the Government is overlooking the role of small construction firms in favour of major retailers as a quick convenient solution to ensure the success of its Green Deal.”
He continues: “Small construction companies across the country are already training two thirds of the industry’s apprentices so it would make sense to harness and support this existing skills pool to underpin the Green Deal. Ultimately though, it will be householders that decide the outcome because unless they take up the Green Deal finance package there is the danger that it will become a missed opportunity.
“The Chancellor of the Exchequer needs to support the Green Deal in his Budget on 23 March with a range of incentives to create demand in the market for retrofit work. A targeted VAT cut to support energy efficient improvements in our homes; and a reduced rate of Stamp Duty and Council Tax would provide the boost that is needed to deliver the Green Deal objectives and the employment opportunities widely heralded by the Government.”