Greg Barker, the CPA's guest speaker, was heckled and hissed about the Green Deal yesterday.

Minister heckled over lack of independent merchant role in Green Deal

Published:  25 April, 2012

LONDON: The climate change minister was heckled and interrupted while making a speech at the Construction Products Association's annual lunch.

During the question and answer session climate minister Greg Barker mentioned builders' merchant Travis Perkins in the context of the Green Deal which prompted an audience member to shout "Travis Perkins are a fantastic business but they are the largest builders' merchant in the UK. What about the smaller builders' merchants?"

Mr Barker responded by saying that the Government wanted SMEs to get involved. He had already endured a challenging introduction by CPA chairman Bill Bolsover who questioned whether the Green Deal would work. "All I would say is bring it on," he said. "The onus is on the private sector to come forward."

The minister was interrupted again as another audience member challenged Mr Barker to comment on how independent merchants would be involved in the Green Deal.

"There are huge opportunities, but I will tell you who is going to decide – the consumers," Mr Barker said. "We are going to make sure small businesses can compete on an even playing field, but ultimately it is up to you guys to go out there and win the business."

In an increasingly rowdy atmosphere, Mr Barker was also challenged on why construction firms would choose to invest in the Green Deal given the slashing of the Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) for solar installations. One audience member told Mr Barker that confidence in government energy initiatives had been 'massively undermined' by the FiT saga.

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