Insulation sector issues stark job loss warning

The Government seems not to care that up to 16,000 jobs in the insulation could be at risk if its flagship Green Deal initiative is not better managed.

Insulation sector issues stark job loss warning

That’s the view of a number of insulation manufacturers who have issued an open letter to energy minister Ed Davey.

The letter is signed by top executives of 10 companies and associations including John Sinfield, managing director Northern Europe, Knauf Insulation; Richard Pemberton, chief executive Celotex, John Garbutt, marketing director, Kingspan, Thomas Heldgaard, managing director Rockwool UK, Alex McLeod, chief executive – SuperGlass, Andrew Warren, director Association for the Conservation of Energy and Tony Hardiman, chair of the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change’s own figures indicate an:

* 87.5% reduction in the loft insulation market

* 57% reduction in the cavity wall insulation market

* 16% drop in the solid wall insulation market

The losses come from the gap between the ending of the existing subsidy schemes for cavity wall solid wall and loft insulation, and the Green Deal and ECO becoming fully functional. This will seriously impact on the continuity of work and number of cavity wall, loft insulation and solid wall jobs undertaken from the 1 January 2013.

As a result of this gap, 16,000 (45%) of jobs in the insulation industry, the majority of which will be in loft insulation and cavity wall insulation will be lost in 2013. The lack of any transition planning will also stifle and restrict investment and job creation in solid wall insulation which is necessary to transform the market in order to meet Government carbon targets.

The letter states: “Although there are numerous positives to the Government’s Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation (ECO), the Insulation Industry Forum, which represents more than 70% of the UK’s £700m a year insulation industry is extremely concerned about the Government’s plans for its implementation. The withdrawal of the existing subsidies ahead of Green Deal Finance and ECO coming fully on stream will put 16,000 people out of work in the industry over the next year – with many jobs going before Christmas, the majority of which will be in loft insulation and cavity wall insulation.

“The Government’s own Impact Assessment shows that the loft and cavity wall insulation installation industry will fall off a cliff in 2013, even while assuming all necessary Green Deal and ECO mechanisms are in place from January 2013.

“This will have severe implications for our industry. With declining demand, loft and cavity wall insulation manufacturing plants will struggle to remain at capacity, and subsequently not be able to continue with their current investment levels. It will also stifle and restrict investment and job creation amongst solid wall insulation companies.

“The Government’s own figures suggest this will lead to an 87.5% decrease in the loft insulation market, a 57% drop in the cavity wall insulation market and a 16% drop in the solid wall insulation market. It will also prevent the Government from meetings its green commitments.

“We are supportive of the Green Deal and ECO, which we want to succeed. We are therefore calling on the Government to recognise the real threat to thousands of jobs in our industry, and work with us immediately to develop a set of measures to address the insulation gap and implement a suitable solution.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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