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A green job creation scheme for electrical contractors?

The Government’s new 'Green Deal' initiative, which is set to radically overhaul the energy efficiency of homes and small businesses, could support a quarter of a million jobs over the next 20 years, claims Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Chris Huhne.

The Green Deal aims to make energy efficiency affordable for all - whether people own or rent their property. The upfront finance will be attached to the building’s energy meter. People can pay back over time with the repayments being less than the savings on bills, meaning that many could benefit from day one. Its aim is to help save carbon, energy and money off fuel bills.

If all 26 million UK households were to take up the Green Deal over the next 20 years, we are told that employment in the sector would rise from its current level of 27,000 to something approaching 250,000, working across the country to make existing housing stock fit for a low carbon world.

Commenting on the figures, Huhne said: "The Green Deal is a massive new business opportunity which has the potential to support up to a quarter of a million jobs as part of our third industrial revolution. Energy efficiency is a no brainer. We need to tap into this huge market to save people money on fuel bills, save carbon and help the economic recovery."

The Green Deal is expected to be available in 2012. Whether the electrical contractor industry stands to gain a share of this market remains to be seen, but surely the opportunities are there for the taking. It cannot all be about insulation. Electrical contractors must have a role to play in ensuring the energy efficiency of our properties going forward.

Brian Berry, director of external affairs at the Federation of Master Builders, certainly thinks so. He believes that the scheme is set to impact upon all sectors of the construction industry in the coming months. He said: "The initiative could offer 'big job opportunities' for those with experience in retrofitting existing properties, which could include many of the UK's electrical contractors.

"It is a possible ray of light at the end of the tunnel," he said. "But we are still in for a very bumpy ride over the next year or so because of cuts in government expenditure and the impact that has on house building and public services, in terms of new schools and new hospitals."

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