Taxpayers are expected to pay £23 billion to fund the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) in Great Britain, yet the scheme has failed to meet its objectives, according to MPs.

The Public Accounts Committee said ministers’ forecasts of take-up were “wildly over-optimistic”, just as they had been with the Green Deal.

Only 60,000 renewable appliances were installed under the domestic RHI in the space of four years, compared with 6.2 million gas boilers during the same period.

“The RHI simply does not work for households and businesses unable to pay the high upfront costs of renewable and low-carbon heating equipment – particularly as gas and oil boilers are cheaper and remain popular heating choices across the country,” the committee said.

‘No idea about over-payments’

Despite the RHI failing so spectacularly in Northern Ireland that it brought down the devolved government, MPs warned ministers have no idea about the levels of over-payment in Great Britain.

“Current rates of non-compliance among scheme participants are too high and despite well-publicised problems with other, similar schemes, the Department has no estimate of the amount of money overpaid to participants who have manipulated the scheme’s rules,” the committee added.

“The Department is now rethinking its future policy framework to support low-carbon heating. In the remaining three years of the current RHI, it must learn as much as possible and ensure it does not repeat the same mistakes in the future.”

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