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It worked with cars: how about a window scrappage scheme?

If someone in the New Start team is bored they can do a check, but I’ll bet them a pint that at no point in the last 10+ years has the magazine covered the activities of the Glass and Glazing Federation.  Until now! 

The chief executive of the GGF, Nigel Rees, has started a petition on the Number 10 website, encouraging the government to set up a window scrappage scheme based on the successful ‘cash for bangers’ model.  £1,000 towards new windows which meet environmental criteria.  It’s here if you want to add your support:  http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/windowscrappage/

How’s this relevant to regeneration?  Easy. 

Unlike most of the new cars bought through the scrappage scheme, a window scrappage scheme will unquestionably mean work for Brits.  New windows will need to be installed, and new windows will need to be made. 

Moreover, while much of that work will obviously go to people already working for GGF members (a fact which clearly matters to Nigel Rees), if volumes dictate, these firms will need to take on more people, and these are jobs for which otherwise unskilled people can be trained relatively easily.  ie beyond the obvious environmental advantage of helping to improve the sustainability of the country’s housing stock, this scrappage scheme might not just protect jobs, but create them, and create them, moreover, for people who could be trained relatively easily. 

With some clever footwork – am I asking too much? – DCLG could work with DWP and BIS to align Train to Gain funds with a scrappage allowance, so that Government training funds support the initiative.  

The idea lacks the simple appeal of the ‘cash for bangers’ slogan, and suffers from the awkwardness that it would mean scrapping windows which are otherwise perfectly good, just poor insulators – but maybe that’s scope for another twist: ensuring that the materials in scrapped windows are re-used in some environmentally-sustainable way.  Any ideas?

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