A SCHEME to cut energy bills has been declared a “dud” because just three people are signing up each month across the region.

Only 45 households in the North-East and Yorkshire have joined the ‘Green Deal’ in 14 months, taking out a loan to lag a loft, fill cavity walls, or replace an old boiler.

That includes just 11 homes in the North-East – which means it is taking close to a staggering six weeks to attract a single customer.

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Across England, 317 Green Deals were completed by the end of March, a fraction of the 10,000 that ministers had hoped to attract by the end of 2013.

Labour, which uncovered the figures, said they showed that - with £55m spent on the scheme so far – it was costing more than £40,000 for each household.

And it proved that widespread predictions that the scheme would flop – because of sky-high interest rates and frightening bureaucracy – had been proved correct.

Jonathan Reynolds, Labour’s energy spokesman, said: “David Cameron’s failure to stand up to the energy companies means rising energy bills are at the centre of the cost of living crisis.

“Energy efficiency is one of the best ways to help people get their bills under control, but the statistics show that the Green Deal has completely failed.

“It is clear for all to see that, rather than being a great deal, the Green Deal is now a dud deal.”

But Energy Secretary Ed Davey said a simplified Green Deal ‘home improvement fund’ was launched last month and had already attracted 2,800 applications.

He said: “We've changed the Green Deal to make it simpler and faster for people to make their homes more energy efficient - you could get up to £7,600 back, straight into your bank account.

“I want as many people as possible to benefit from this unmissable offer. It won't be around forever, so sign up now and get your home ready for the winter.”

Under the initiative, homeowners take out 15 to 20-year loans for work – with the guarantee that repayments will be lower than the savings on their bills.

But critics said the interest rate charged - almost seven per cent – immediately called into question whether families would always emerge as winners.

When figures were released last year, they showed that around 40 households were asking for Green Deal assessments each week, in the North-East.

Disappointingly for ministers, the latest statistics suggest the vast majority of those families are deciding not to go ahead with any work.

Labour said that, in Yorkshire, “only a fraction of one per cent of the 18,186 homes to have had a ‘Green Deal Assessment’ have actually had work completed”.