AS Rishi Sunak last week put a £2 billion Green Homes Grant scheme at the heart of his plan to boost the economy the fact it will not apply in Scotland will spark concern in the country.

This will only be exacerbated by the recognition that UK taxpayers have had to pick up the bill for similar programmes that have backfired.

As the Westminster Government is offering to provide up to £10,000 funding to help people improve the energy efficiency of their properties the Chancellor’s scheme sounds appealing.

Mr Sunak hopes it will encourage lots of homeowners and landlords to go ahead with upgrades that will play an important part in the fight to slow climate change, such as fitting insulation. He said it could save some households hundreds of pounds a year on their energy bills while creating thousands of jobs for tradespeople.

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However, the scheme announced by Mr Sunak will only be available for homeowners and landlords in England.

The launch of the programme will not result in the Scottish Government getting additional funding under the Barnett formula as the scheme is regarded as a reprioritisation of existing funding rather than new money.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said it was already taking bold action to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions from the country’s homes and buildings.

But the spokesperson added: “We have always argued that the UK Government needs to do more to support efforts to decarbonise our buildings and, while we welcome them following our lead, we are disappointed that Scotland will not receive any additional funding following last week’s announcement to allow us to further our ambitious work.”

Regardless of what Nicola Sturgeon’s administration decides to do next, all UK citizens have an interest in the outcome of Mr Sunak’s scheme given the environmental issues involved and the potential impact on the public finances.

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While the details have still to be fleshed out, aspects of what Mr Sunak announced are concerning.

As the scheme will not go live until September the programme cannot provide the immediate shot in the arm that many firms are crying out for.

The decision to provide vouchers covering two thirds of the costs of qualifying work up to £5,000 means wealthy people could benefit from a subsidy they do not need.

The Government’s proposal to cover all the costs for low income households, up to £10,000, sounds fairer. But people on low incomes may not be the ones deciding what will be done to properties they live in. Those who can may not want to prioritise work that will only provide a payback some way down the line.

Other big green energy efficiency initiatives have involved big outlays without delivering the gains predicted.

The Conservative- Liberal Democrat coalition Government launched a Green Deal amid fanfare in January 2013 but scrapped it just two years later after take up rates fell well below expectations.

The programme was intended to encourage homeowners to invest in energy efficiency improvements.

However, the application process was complex and loan funding provided was not cheap enough to persuade people to sign up in the large numbers expected. Only 10,000 had done so when the Government announced in July 2015 that it was ending funding for the scheme.

READ MORE: Homeowners left high and dry by Green Deal scheme

The scheme was also plagued by claims that products had been mis-sold to people who did not appreciate the costs involved.

The Government hopes smart meters will help consumers save lots of energy. Take up of these lagged well below expectations even before the lockdown created complications for installers. In June the smart meter rollout deadline was extended by a further six months to July 2025.

Private sector firms that install meters continue to prosper.

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Glasgow-based Smart Metering Systems recently reiterated plans for a big increase in dividend payouts, which it announced in March after selling a portfolio of meters to the Equitix private equity house in a £291 million deal.

On July 1 the company told investors it had more cash than expected so would return the coronavirus grant funding it had received from the Government in respect of staff placed on furlough.