Deal to tackle poorly insulated homes is unveiled
A "green deal" to tackle the UK's poorly-insulated housing stock has been outlined by the government.
After 2012, people will be able to approach their energy supplier for a loan to cover the cost of insulation, instead of paying in advance.
Energy Secretary Chris Huhne said the deal - which is part of the Energy Bill - would "make upgrading our nation's draughty homes a no brainer".
But critics have warned the scheme is too complicated and may be ignored.
The government hopes millions of people will take up the "green deal" - which will allow people to pay back their loan through a charge on their energy bill - and it will create 250,000 new jobs.
Mr Huhne said the scheme would also ensure people did not fall victim to "rogue traders or receive dodgy advice".
"Accreditation, a quality mark, insurance-backed warranties - there'll be no place for cowboys to get a foothold in the green deal."
"When it comes to making our homes warmer and cosier, Britain's a laggard. The green deal is about taking the hassle and upfront cost out of making your home more energy efficient.
"The green deal's also a great business opportunity and shows we're serious about the green industries of the future," he said.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change said the number of people employed in insulation alone could soar from 27,000 to 100,000 by 2015, and reach 250,000 people in the next 10 years.
It said the charge for the energy efficiency measures would be attached to the property - not the owner - so that if somebody sold their home, the buyer would take on the responsibility for the repayments.
Friends of the Earth says the Green Deal does not go far enough and is warning that millions of people including tenants would find themselves excluded.
The environment charity said: "It is not a comprehensive strategy for tackling fuel poverty or making the UK's homes energy efficient.
"A proper strategy is needed which sets out how the government will end fuel poverty and cut emissions from homes by at least 42% by 2020. Locally driven action is essential. Local carbon budgets must be introduced."