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Households struggle to find approved Green Homes Grant installers

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households struggle to find approved green homes grant installers

Households wishing to take advantage of the Government’s new green home improvement scheme say they are struggling to find approved installers to carry out the work. 

The £2billion Green Home Grant initiative is designed to hand out vouchers up to £5,000 for energy-saving improvements such as insulation and double-glazing. 

Low-income families are eligible for up to £10,000 under the scheme launched at the end of last month. 

The £2bn Green Home Grant initiative hands out vouchers up to £5,000 for energy-saving improvements such as insulation and double-glazing

The £2bn Green Home Grant initiative hands out vouchers up to £5,000 for energy-saving improvements such as insulation and double-glazing

But frustrated householders and landlords say they cannot find accredited tradespeople available or willing to carry out the work within the strict six-month completion time. Rebecca Tidy, 33, a university research fellow from Cornwall, had to contact 38 firms before she found one willing to visit her property to quote for attic insulation and solar panel heating. 

‘It’s crazy, it all seems so disorganised,’ she says. ‘Some companies had a waiting list from a few months before the scheme was launched. Others were not willing to do work costing less than £14,000.’  

To get a grant, householders have to get quotes from contractors who are registered with the Government-approved TrustMark and listed on the official Simple Energy Advice (SEA) website. Rebecca is also eligible for a biomass boiler, but getting one will be almost impossible as there are currently only five TrustMark installers listed on the SEA website in the whole of England. 

Andrew Waddle, 53, a depot manager from Newcastle, is also struggling to find any firm willing to quote for double-glazing. 

He says: ‘I rang 15 companies in the North East listed on the Government website. Some didn’t answer, some said they were not doing it because of the shambles of previous schemes, while others said they didn’t have the certificates required.’ 

Applicants in London, York, Middlesbrough, Folkestone and Leicester have reported similar problems.

‘There is only one installer listed in my area and it is so booked up it can’t take on any more customers. I can’t use the scheme,’ says DeAna D’Monte, from Kent. The scheme is also starting to attract criticism from the energy industry. Installers have pointed out that winter is the ‘worst time’ to upgrade insulation or windows as it leaves homes unprotected from cold weather. 

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Nathalie Rush, managing director of Six Star Group, an insulation firm in the Midlands, says it has received too many inquiries to cope with them all. 

A lack of qualified professionals with the necessary skills in the UK and a backlog of home related work following lockdown is putting additional pressure on the tight six-month deadline, says Rush. 

She adds: ‘I am very concerned that there will be a lot of homeowners and landlords with vouchers that will expire at the end of next March because there are not the technicians available.’ 

Comparison website Energyhelpline and certification body Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) are calling on the Government to extend the scheme. 

MCS chief Ian Rippin says: ‘If one of the key aims of the scheme is to create 100,000 new jobs within energy and renewables, then the current window simply does not equip those in the sector with the confidence to make the necessary long-term investment.’ 

Simon Ayers, chief executive of TrustMark, says there are now 1,100 registered installers overseeing up to 20,000 certified sub-contractors. But he acknowledges some companies are still ‘on the fence’ as they wait for Government clarity. ‘We have created a massive market spike,’ he says. 

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy says it is ‘working closely with industry to ensure there are enough installers to meet demand’.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Is it the end of free banking in Britain? This is Money podcast

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is it the end of free banking in britain this is money podcast

Murmurs from HSBC HQ this week warned that an overhaul of its business model could leave customers paying a monthly fee for their current accounts.

This week, Simon Lambert, Lee Boyce and Georgie Frost ask whether this is really a possibility, if banking actually is free anyway and what happens next.

We also look at who is winning the battle of current account switchers and whether people are just too loyal to their bank.

This weekend marks the end of the furlough scheme, replaced by something new – while other financial support is also changing, including free overdrafts and mortgage payment holidays.

What impact did the second wave fear and upcoming US election have on the stock market this week?

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35049904 8898255 image a 30 1604077937680

Bitcoin has seen a surge in price this week, what’s behind its rise to the highest level since the crazy end of 2017?

And boilers – one reader has been told that their 28 year model is too ancient to service. Is this a fair call?

How to listen to the This is Money podcast 

We publish our podcast every Friday to the player on This is Money, above, and on Apple Podcasts (iTunes) and on the podcast platforms Audioboom and Acast, both of which allow you to listen on desktop, mobile, or download an app. We also now publish to Spotify.

To download the Apple Podcasts app if you do not already have it, go to the App store. Or go to either the Apple App store or the Google Play store on Android to download the Acast, AudioBoom or Spotify app. 

Press play to listen to this week’s full episode on the player above, or listen (and please subscribe and review us if you like the podcast) at Apple Podcasts, Acast, Audioboom and Spotify or visit our This is Money Podcast page.   

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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SMALL CAP MOVERS: AIM tops full-year 2019 fundraisings in nine months

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small cap movers aim tops full year 2019 fundraisings in nine months

The junior market has enjoyed a formidable year for fundraisings despite the pandemic weighing on stocks worldwide.

Some £4billion funds have been raised in the nine months to September, which tops the £3.9billion raised in the whole of 2019, according to broker Allenby Capital.

Most of these funds have been raised for existing listed companies, though there has been 15 initial public offers so far.

Just this week lab services specialist SourceBio International started trading after raising £35million to scale up Covid-19 testing capacity as well as paying off shareholder and bank loans.

Lab services specialist SourceBio International started trading after raising £35million to scale up Covid-19 testing capacity as well as paying off shareholder and bank loans

Lab services specialist SourceBio International started trading after raising £35million to scale up Covid-19 testing capacity as well as paying off shareholder and bank loans

Lab services specialist SourceBio International started trading after raising £35million to scale up Covid-19 testing capacity as well as paying off shareholder and bank loans

Verici Dx, a developer of advanced clinical diagnostics for organ transplant, will make its debut next week though it has already completed a £14.5million placing.

In terms of secondary fundraisings, many companies tapped the market to survive major downturns in trading during lockdown, such as airline Jet2, but investors were also eager to back success stories.

The pharma sector was the star of the show, raising £679million or 18 per cent of the total in 2020 so far to support both Covid-19 and existing projects.

The top three largest share issues were conducted by Hutchison China Meditech, Renalytix AI and Tiziana Life Sciences.

The market was also interested in companies that benefitted from the online shopping surge, such as retailers Asos and Boohoo and warehouse operators Urban Logistics REIT and Warehouse REIT.

This week, Angle raised a further £19.6million to propel its breakthrough liquid biopsy into the commercial phase, while Advanced Oncotherapy tapped the market for £7.7million to support its next-generation proton beam therapy technology.

Turning to the wider market, the AIM-All Share slipped 3 per cent over the week to 946, but still outperformed the FTSE 100, which dropped 5 per cent to 5,574.

Among the risers, Chariot Oil & Gas soared 36 per cent to 6p after financial institutions expressed interest in financing the development of its offshore Moroccan gas assets.

Meanwhile, model train maker Hornby steamed 20 per cent higher to 43p after flagging that sales continue to be ahead of last year while it looks forward to the key Christmas period.

Sensyne Health jumped 17 per cent to 123p following an extension of its relationship with Microsoft to collaborate on clinical artificial intelligence and health-related cloud technologies. 

The enhanced tie-up is set to deliver the latest ‘cloud-first’ healthcare systems and cutting-edge predictive machine learning algorithms. The junior biotech also signed a research agreement with Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Elsewhere, language courses provider Malvern International shot up 12 per cent to 0.1p after its half-year report allayed investors’ fears about its survival prospects, since it now has enough funds to continue operating.

Model train maker Hornby steamed 20 per cent higher to 43p after flagging that sales continue to be ahead of last year while it looks forward to the key Christmas period

Model train maker Hornby steamed 20 per cent higher to 43p after flagging that sales continue to be ahead of last year while it looks forward to the key Christmas period

Model train maker Hornby steamed 20 per cent higher to 43p after flagging that sales continue to be ahead of last year while it looks forward to the key Christmas period

Among the fallers, Omega Diagnostics lost 24 per cent to 74p after revealing its food intolerance business had been hit by the effects of the pandemic. Traders took the opportunity to bank some profits after the shares rose from around 10p at the beginning of April on expectations of the diagnostics company making a lot of money from the fight against the coronavirus.

In the retail space, clothing chain QUIZ shed 19 per cent to 6p after admitting increased sales in its casual ranges are not making up for losses in occasionwear revenues, leading to a 73 per cent slump in half-year revenue to £17million.

Completing the outfit, Shoe Zone tripped 13 per cent to 39p after ruling out dividends for five years and warning the reintroduction of business rates might bring to the closure of a fifth of its stores.

In the oil sector, Lekoil tumbled 18 per cent to 1p after its interim loss widened 34 per cent to $7.9million, while the cash balance dropped to $2.9million at the end of September from $4.6million in June.

Finally, escape room operator Escape Hunt fell 15 per cent to 9p after announcing the opening of its next owner-operated site in Basingstoke, perhaps not a great timing considering the rising infections in the UK.

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Electrified cars outsold diesels in Europe for the first time last month

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electrified cars outsold diesels in europe for the first time last month

It’s official, electrified cars are now more popular than diesels in Europe.

That’s according to the latest data from industry analysts Jato Dynamics, which today reported that registrations of battery electric, plug-in hybrid and conventional hybrid cars overtook diesel for the first time on record in September.

One in four new models bought in 27 European nations were alternative-fuelled vehicles, though petrol remains well ahead with almost half the market share of registrations last month.

Changing of the guard: Electrified vehicles - which includes battery-electric, plug-in hybrid and conventional hybrid cars - outsold diesel in September

Changing of the guard: Electrified vehicles - which includes battery-electric, plug-in hybrid and conventional hybrid cars - outsold diesel in September

Changing of the guard: Electrified vehicles – which includes battery-electric, plug-in hybrid and conventional hybrid cars – outsold diesel in September

The September report said there had been ‘clear signs that Europe is all set for an electric revolution’, with the caveat: ‘In fact, this revolution has already started.’   

It marks the first time in the modern era that alternative-fuelled vehicles have outsold one of the two internal combustion engine types but also signifies the substantial fall from grace for oil-burning engines.

Just five years ago, around the time the Dieselgate scandal hit headlines, diesel cars were the dominant force in Europe. 

Overall, registrations climbed by 1.2 per cent year-on-year in September, with 1.3 million passenger cars bought across nations.

That’s despite petrol and diesel suffering double-digit drops compared to September 2019.

In September, diesel made up just 24.8 per cent of vehicles registered on the continent, while petrol accounted for 47 per cent. 

Industry analysts said European passenger vehicle registrations in September were a clear sign that the 'electric revolution has already started'

Industry analysts said European passenger vehicle registrations in September were a clear sign that the 'electric revolution has already started'

Industry analysts said European passenger vehicle registrations in September were a clear sign that the ‘electric revolution has already started’

In contrast, electric vehicle demand spiked by 139 per cent to a records 327,800 units – the first time that EVs have broken the 300,000 units monthly mark, and only the second time that they have counted for more than 20 per cent of registrations. 

Commenting on the change of guard for fuel types, Felipe Munoz, global analyst at Jato Dynamics said: ‘The shift from ICEs to EVs is finally taking place. 

‘Although this is largely down to government policies and incentives, consumers are also now ready to adopt these new technologies.’

In the UK, demand for BEVs and PHEVs is surging, while diesel continues to decline. In September alone, some 60,647 pure electric and hybrid cars were purchased compared to just 46,996 diesels

In the UK, demand for BEVs and PHEVs is surging, while diesel continues to decline. In September alone, some 60,647 pure electric and hybrid cars were purchased compared to just 46,996 diesels

In the UK, demand for BEVs and PHEVs is surging, while diesel continues to decline. In September alone, some 60,647 pure electric and hybrid cars were purchased compared to just 46,996 diesels

The report reflects a similar shift already taking place in the UK market.

So far this year, battery electric vehicle demand is up a massive 165 per cent, while plug-in hybrid sales are ahead by more than 80 per cent.

In September alone – which is traditionally a big month for car retailers with the arrival of a new registration number and deals to incentivise sales of models with the fresh plates – some 60,647 pure electric and hybrid cars (both plug-in and conventional) were purchased.

That compared to just 46,996 diesels.

It means alternative-fuelled vehicles (not including ‘mild hybrids’) had a market share of 18.5 per cent, overtaking oil burners which accounted for just 14.3 per cent of all new cars bought last month.

The launch of the new ID.3 has made VW the brand with the second highest electrified vehicle registrations in Europe, ironically after its Dieselgate scandal sparked the decline in diesel demand in 2015

The launch of the new ID.3 has made VW the brand with the second highest electrified vehicle registrations in Europe, ironically after its Dieselgate scandal sparked the decline in diesel demand in 2015

The launch of the new ID.3 has made VW the brand with the second highest electrified vehicle registrations in Europe, ironically after its Dieselgate scandal sparked the decline in diesel demand in 2015

A year ago, electrified cars made up just 11% of vehicle registrations. Now they account for one in four

A year ago, electrified cars made up just 11% of vehicle registrations. Now they account for one in four

A year ago, electrified cars made up just 11% of vehicle registrations. Now they account for one in four

The car brands taking advantage of the electric switch

While Dieselgate is the moment earmarked as the beginning of the downfall for diesel, Jato Dynamics said Volkswagen has ‘overcome the scandal to become a new protagonist in this chapter of vehicle electrification’. 

Last month, the German car maker registered 40,300 electrified vehicles in Europe, with the all-new ID.3 racking up 7,897 sales last month to become the third most-bought battery electric car in Europe.

Only the Tesla Model 3 with 15,702 registrations (which made it the most-bought of all electrified cars last month) and Renault Zoe (11,023) outsold the ID.3 hatchback.

In fact, VW was the second largest electrified vehicle seller in September behind only Toyota, which continued its dominance from within the hybrid segment.

The Tesla Model 3 is the most-bought battery electric vehicle in Europe. That has also been the case in the UK during 2020

The Tesla Model 3 is the most-bought battery electric vehicle in Europe. That has also been the case in the UK during 2020

The Tesla Model 3 is the most-bought battery electric vehicle in Europe. That has also been the case in the UK during 2020

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35005350 8893829 image a 74 1603987507413

‘Like with its SUVs, Volkswagen Group arrived late to the EV boom, but its competitive products are catching up quickly, and it is now becoming a leader’ Munoz said.  

SUVs continue to top the sales charts, grabbing 41.3 per cent of the market, with the Renault Captur, Peugeot 2008 and Ford Puma most in demand. 

Despite the dominance of utility vehicles, the most registered overall car in Europe was the VW Golf with 28,731 bought last month. It was closely followed by the Vauxhall Corsa (26,269).

The VW Golf was the best-selling car in Europe in September, with over 28,700 registered

The VW Golf was the best-selling car in Europe in September, with over 28,700 registered

The VW Golf was the best-selling car in Europe in September, with over 28,700 registered

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