Energy efficiency firm Mark Group to axe 670 jobs

A home in Clifton is insulated
Image caption The government scheme involved insulation of houses of low-income families

A Leicester-based home insulation firm is cutting 670 jobs across the UK as a result of falling demand.

Mark Group said a change in government policy on energy efficiency in April had resulted in "significant reduction" in installation work.

Chief Commercial Officer Bill Rumble said it was "a very sad day for our business", adding the cuts would be spread evenly across the country.

Leicester West MP Liz Kendall said it was "devastating news".

'Hasty politics'

"These potential redundancies are a direct result of choices made by David Cameron and George Osborne, who cut the amount of money that energy companies are obliged to put into insulation and energy efficiency," Ms Kendall, a Labour MP said.

The government policy change, which took place in April, has reduced the amount of home insulation being installed through part of the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) scheme by a third.

The scheme places obligations on large energy providers to help low-income households make energy-efficiency improvements.

Mr Rumble said: "Our core UK business remains robust and the need for effective energy efficiency solutions is as significant as ever.

"However, we recognise that we will need to operate with a smaller workforce until there is a clear and consistent approach to energy efficiency policy."

Dave Sowden, chief executive of the Sustainable Energy Association, said the job cuts were a "direct result of short term changes in government policy, driven by hasty politics".

A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesman said: "Since January 2013 around 700,000 homes have benefitted from ECO and a further 600,000 homes will be warmer as a result of the scheme being extended to 2017."

Mark Group said it would hold a 45-day consultation with the affected workers.

The firm, which was formed in 1974, said its operations in Australia, New Zealand and the United States would not be affected.

Energy Companies Obligation

Image copyright PA
  • Introduced in January 2013
  • The government reduced the amount that energy firms must pay for energy savings in April
  • Aims to reduce energy consumption and support people in fuel poverty
  • Provides subsidised insulation to families in "areas of low income" and for households on some benefits

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