Darlington consumers protected as Green Homes Grant launches

Darlington consumers protected as Green Homes Grant launches
13 October 2020

 

As the Government launched the Green Homes Grant, Darlington Borough Council’s trading standards and private sector housing teams have started a campaign to help protect consumers from the threat of fraud.

The Green Homes Grant is an initiative to allow homeowners to invest money in improving the energy-efficiency of their property – while also giving the economy a much-needed boost.

Homeowners in England, including landlords, can get up to £5,000 to pay part of the cost of energy saving measures like insulation. Low income households can get 100% of the costs of work covered up to £10,000.

Only approved and checked traders who are registered with TrustMark can carry out the work requested to meet the criteria. Types of improvement that qualify for the grant are split into primary and secondary measures – the voucher must be used to install at least one primary measure such as low carbon heating.

After at least one primary measure has been installed, the voucher can then be used to help cover the cost of a list of secondary measures which includes double or triple glazing, draught-proofing and energy efficient doors.

But officers from trading standards and private  sector housing, part of the council’s Community Safety Team, are concerned the door may be left open for illegitimate traders to exploit the trust of consumers who just want to access a voucher to get home improvements done cost-effectively.

Councillor Johnathon Dulston, the council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for stronger communities, said:

“The Green Homes Grant is a great way to get traders, who will have been adversely affected by lockdown, out working on projects again.

“The council welcomes this scheme, but our concern is for those that may not have done their research. If someone turns up on your doorstep and says ‘I can get you the deal and insulate your home cheaply thanks to the Government paying most of the bill’ who would turn that down?

“There are steps that have to be followed to gain access to the Government grant and we’re urging people, not just in Darlington, but across the North East and beyond, to say no to uninvited doorstep callers or offers posted through your letterbox.”

To combat the threat, the council’s trading standards and private sector housing teams have launched a social media campaign today to reaffirm what steps the public should be taking.

Whether you’re a homeowner or a trader, you can find out more about the Green Homes Grant scheme by visiting gov.uk/greenhomesgrant

If you have concerns about an uninvited doorstep caller offering a Green Homes Grant service or you receive information through your letterbox, please report it to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.