Green Deal take-up passes 1,000 mark
The number of people agreeing to take up the government's Green Deal on home energy has passed the 1,000 barrier.
Under the scheme, householders can borrow money to install double-glazing, insulation and more efficient boilers.
The Department for Energy and Climate Change said 1,173 households had committed to taking part by the end of last month - up from 954 in September.
In March, the government said it expected 10,000 customers to be signed up by the end of the year.
But figures suggest initial progress might be somewhat slower.
The latest show that, by the end of October, 219 households had their Green Deal work completed.'Big task'
Meanwhile, 594 customers had signed up for it to be done and 360 had obtained a quote and indicated they "wished to proceed".
The Green Deal was launched in England and Wales in January and in Scotland a month later.
Under the scheme, households get an initial assessment to calculate any savings they could make from better energy efficiency.
The costs of the work are paid up-front by the government and the customer repays them over time in the form of a loan.
The savings households make on energy bills should cover the expense of repayments, ministers say.
The Department for Energy and Climate Change's figures show that 101,851 assessments were completed by the end of October. This was up from 85,177 at the end of September.
Labour has criticised what it describes as a low take-up rate, but the government insists this will improve over time.
Caroline Abrahams, charity director for Age UK, said: "The government's flagship Green Deal is clearly failing to deliver what it set out to achieve.
"With one in five older people saying they would benefit from energy efficiency measures, despite more than two thirds saying they wouldn't consider taking up the scheme, the government has a big task ahead to insulate Britain against the relentless energy price hikes and cold weather."
But energy and climate change minister Greg Barker said: "Over 100,000 Green Deal assessments have now taken place, and over 80% of the households assessed said they intend to install at least one energy saving measure."
He added that it was "clear that Britain's homeowners are serious about making their homes warmer and taking control of their energy bills".