As part of the Government’s Energy Bill, a new measure is due to come into force next year called The Green Deal aimed at getting small- and medium-sized businesses to improve their energy efficiency through a series of “green loans”. The loans can be spent on things like insulation, energy-efficient lighting, and presumably alternative energy sources such as solar panels.
The loans will be doled out by accredited institutions, and will be repaid on a “Pay As You Save” programme, meaning the loans are paid back as you begin to see savings from improved efficiencies. Which institutions will be taking part is at this point unknown, although it seems likely the Government will recruit at least one high street bank to provide the necessary capital.
The move will be potentially good news for freelance homeworkers, who could potentially use the loans to make efficiency improvements to their home office. The loans available are up to a maximum of £10,000, however the Government has been criticised for not providing more details on how they will be obtained, or when they will be available.
Director for business environment at the CBI Rhian Kelly, said of the scheme -
“Without public understanding and enthusiasm for the scheme at its launch it will be difficult to attract the initial investment.”
However, a representative from the Department of Energy and Climate Change talked up the funding -
“It’s a huge market opportunity for small and medium-sized businesses. Making energy efficiency improvements will produce big savings. By reducing their bills, firms will be protecting themselves from future price rises.”
So, what do you think? A meaningful benefit for small businesses, or more Governmental mouth-flapping?