With the sale of boilers currently down by 6%, and the number of households in fuel poverty up to 24%, Neil Schofield, Worcester, Bosch Group’s head of external and government affairs, looks at how a new boiler scrappage scheme would benefit the struggling UK economy…
The results of the original boiler scrappage scheme speak volumes, not least for being the most successful energy saving initiative in the last 10 years, but also for generating much needed consumer demand to help kick start the economy. In times of economic uncertainty, the consumer is always on the lookout for a good deal, which is why the scheme did so well – offering a £400 refund from the government for scrapping a G-rated boiler, or older, and replacing it with a new, high efficiency model.
More work for installers
The scheme incentivised home owners, who would probably have repaired their existing inefficient boiler, to install a new one. What’s more, 77% of those who claimed the scrappage voucher had additional energy efficiency measures fitted, providing an extra boost for the economy and a reduction in carbon emissions. Inevitably, the increase of demand for new boilers led to more work for installers, with 92% of installation companies benefitting across the country.
The end to the scrappage scheme saw a decrease in new installations, and homeowners reverting back to repairing their old boilers – leaving installers with very reduced work, mainly based around distressed repairs or, on the rare occasion, a reluctant replacement of boilers that are simply too old to function.
There are still 3.5 million G-rated, or older, boilers in use across the UK, which indicates there is an argument for bringing back the boiler scrappage scheme, or similar, in England as has been done in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Looking at the success of the original scheme, this argument is a strong one. Re-starting the scheme would be a win, win situation.
With a new injection of consumer demand there will be a surge in work for installers, safeguarding 150,000 jobs in the industry, which is a significant benefit to the economy as unemployment figures continue to rise to an unprecedented high.
Running further boiler scrappage schemes simply makes sense
There would be virtually no cost to administer and advertise the return of the scheme as the original scheme was promoted, very largely, through word of mouth from participating installers.
Replacing an inefficient boiler with a new model can save the average household £290 a year. With more money to spend in other sectors, this would inject more money into the UK economy, and help to pull some of the 5.7 million homes out of fuel poverty.
As these figures demonstrate, reintroducing the boiler scrappage scheme would be a huge advantage for the UK’s struggling economy, without even considering the environmental benefits the scheme offers – such as the 1.5 tonnes of CO² saved for every boiler replaced. The carbon saved during the original scheme was the equivalent of every car in the country being idle for four months.