MCS responds to UK Government’s call for evidence on decarbonising home heating

Installer with MCS certified badge on polo

In March 2024, the Public Accounts Committee requested written evidence for an inquiry into decarbonising home heating. It follows a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) on the UK’s progress in decarbonising heat, and the Committee will hear from senior officials at the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) on how Government intends to deliver emission reductions in home heating.

MCS welcomed the opportunity to respond to this call for evidence, providing insights on a number of issues raised in the NAO report. In particular, the MCS response focused on its experience and involvement with the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS).

Headline MCS responses

  • Increased demand can be met by the existing workforce – but clear incentives are needed to support continued growth in the sector

MCS believes that demand-side interventions may be more impactful than supply-side at the current stage of heat pump deployment. There are now more than 1,600 MCS certified contractors for heat pumps in the UK, and our recent contractor survey found only 11% of respondents consider themselves as ‘working at between 91-100% capacity’. This suggests that a large proportion of contractors would be able to increase their capacity if demand dictated it.

Industry also needs confidence and long-term certainty that there will be a stable and commercially viable market if they are to invest time and resources into upskilling. We must therefore not underestimate the importance of demand-side policies in the next few years, including zero-rated VAT on energy saving materials and the BUS.


  • There is high customer satisfaction with the BUS

MCS has been tasked with supporting Ofgem in monitoring the BUS. As of April 2024, it had received 23,000 contacts – of which 21,953 had been contacted so far. Of the households that received a BUS voucher, there has been a very high average satisfaction score of 95%. In terms of payment of the BUS voucher, 80% of households have had the total amount discounted from their bill, with the remaining 20% refunding the grant amount upon completion of the system. This shows a significant improvement of the administration and implementation of the BUS compared to previous government grant schemes from the consumer perspective.


  • The BUS is a key government policy to drive consumer demand for heat pumps

MCS strongly supports the Boiler Upgrade Scheme and considers it an essential lever to drive consumer demand for heat pumps. Since the increase to the grant from £5,000 to £7,500 we have seen a significant increase in vouchers awarded – in February 2024 there was a 75% increase compared to February 2023. MCS recommendations to encourage higher uptake for the remainder of the scheme are:

  • Maintain the current administrative processes. While not perfect, industry has had time to familiarise itself which means any drastic changes could result in disruption.
  • Support consumers by providing free, easily accessible advice as we move from early adopters to wider uptake.
  • Provide long-term certainty. Stop-start schemes can lead to large peaks and troughs in installations, which can risk contractors going through periods without work. MCS welcomes the extension of the BUS scheme but believe a 10-year scheme would provide even greater certainty of steady consumer demand.
  • Greater promotion of the BUS scheme to drive consumer awareness of the money-saving potential, as well as the benefits of installing heat pumps and other energy efficiency measures.


  • Standards are essential to maintain high-quality installations and provide consumers with confidence in low-carbon heating

Standards, assessment frameworks and training must go beyond simply ensuring competent installers – they need to create a workforce that champions consumer protection and experience. The purpose of this broader perspective is to safeguard consumers, as consumer satisfaction will help to reinforce a positive reputation for heat pumps and other low-carbon heating. It is therefore a key component in achieving mass-scale heat pump deployment.

Monitoring compliance is also needed to deliver a reliable workforce because, if left unsupervised, substandard opportunistic contractors could enter the market to benefit from the rapid growth of the sector. In recently-published proposals to redevelop its scheme , MCS has stated its intention to reduce the administrative burden placed on contractors by assessing compliance through the delivered quality of installation and that of the customer’s experience.


  • Robust and rigorous training is key to deliver a skilled and reliable workforce

A strong pipeline of skills is crucial for ensuring a reliable workforce into the future. MCS has invested in developing the Low Carbon Heating Technician Apprenticeship, in collaboration with an employer trailblazer group, to position renewable heat as a credible career with an associated path for the first time. MCS has set the standard for what a new entrant will learn from the first day of training, all the way through to the point of the delivery of their first installation. This training incorporates a holistic framework, integrating the technical skills required to design and install heat pumps and other low-carbon heating systems to a high standard, with the soft skills needed to ensure a high-quality consumer experience.

MCS looks forward to seeing the outcome of the inquiry, which is being held on 24th April.

Read more about the decarbonising home heating inquiry here: