SNP MSP Clare Haughey is leading calls for the UK Government to streamline the complaints process for their flagship energy-saving scheme, the Green Deal, following a scathing report by Citizens Advice Scotland.

Dubbed the “biggest home improvement programme since the Second World War” when it was launched by the coalition government in 2013, the Green Deal scheme provided homeowners with energy-efficiency products like solar panels, insulation and new boilers, with no up-front cost.

More than 4260 across the UK – including 3050 in Scotland – have HELMS Green Deal finance for solar panels that were supposed to cut their power bills, but ended up costing them instead.

A study last November by Citizens Advice Scotland entitled “Bad Company” accused HELMS of involvement in “pressure selling, providing misleading information about repayment, returns on investment, and financing, and selling to people in vulnerable situation”.

It found the complaints process to be long and drawn out, with a number still pursuing complaints about measures typically installed four years ago in 2014.

Citizens Advice Scotland is now calling on the UK Government to set up a dedicated scheme to resolve this issue by fast tracking complaints, providing satisfactory compensation and bespoke solutions for specific problems.

READ MORE: Call for Westminster to compensate Green Deal scandal victims

Haughey, whose Rutherglen constituency has been heavily affected by the issue, said she would be urging the UK Government to take urgent action on complaints. One Blantyre street she represents has had over 20 homes with Green Deal packages installed by HELMS.

“The Green Deal scheme has allowed vulnerable households across the UK to fall into deep debt with rocketing energy bills,” she said. “I’ve spoken with people whose homes have been left damaged by poor workmanship and others who have been left without appropriate building warrants.

“Not only that, but as the loan is attached to the home rather than the person, many are now left unable to sell their homes. It’s utterly shameful that HELMS were able to do this, more so that it was under an approved UK Government scheme.”

Last February, the MSP established a cross-party group in the Scottish Parliament which considers the impact of the UK Government’s Green Deal and the HELMS issue more widely. It will meet later this month to discuss the report’s findings.

“The next meeting of the cross-party group, which takes place a year after the first full meeting, will look at Citizens Advice Scotland report, and in particular the complaints process,” added Haughey. “Hopefully we will urge the UK Government to take quicker action.”

The UK Government has argued that there is an appeals process in place in order to deal with complaints. However several MSPs and Scottish MPs have insisted it is inadequate with further action needed to compensate customers.