PEOPLE in Glasgow who were mis-sold home improvements under the government Green Deal scheme are being urged to complain about their experience to recover some of their losses.

The Green Deal was a government scheme designed to allow homeowners to make energy efficient adaptations to their houses by installing insulation cladding, solar panels or new boilers.

The “golden rule” of the scheme was that customers would make back the cost of the improvements through their lower energy bills.

But many customers of the Glasgow-based company HELMS say they are paying more for their energy after the improvements, or that the firm failed to secure building warrants and has left them with houses they cannot sell or insure.

HELMS was dissolved in 2016.

At a public meeting in Springburn, the Green Deal Finance Company (GDFC) urged more than 50 residents to complain about their experiences so their bills could be reduced in line with the “golden rule”.

The GDFC said more than 500 complaints had been made about HELMS.

In some cases, payment plans could be cancelled entirely.

Under Scottish law, a building warrant must be granted by the council before building work begins.

But HELMS operated in Glasgow by completing work first and applying for a so-called “retrospective” building warrant afterwards.

Councillor Allan Casey, chairman of City Building Glasgow, said: “No building work should ever take place without a building warrant in place.

“The only reason the retrospective process exists is if somebody has done something by mistake.

“They shouldn’t have laid a tool on any of the buildings before that was in place.”

One customer who spoke at the Springburn meeting was unable to sell their mother’s house after her death because HELMS had not secured a building warrant for insulation cladding.

Last night, Robert Skillen, a former director of HELMS, said he had been granted hundreds of retrospective building warrants while his company was in operation, and that the company always completed work before securing a warrant.

He strongly denies responsibility for his customers’ energy bills being too high and blames a government algorithm designed to calculate energy savings.

Paul Sweeney, MP for Glasgow North East, said: “If Robert Skillen really cared about the people left living in homes blighted by shoddy workmanship or by his business’s failure to secure the necessary building warrants then he would be taking steps to put it right.

“Instead, he continues to point the finger of blame everywhere except at himself.”

Elizabeth, 74, has a wet room she didn’t apply for 

Elizabeth RANKIN, 74, has a back condition and dissolved hip and uses a wheelchair. 

She signed up to a plan with HELMS in 2014, and had solar panels installed on her roof.

Now, her roof is leaking and and water is running on to her bed.

Her bedroom ceiling has partially collapsed, and a tray sits under the leak to collect dripping water.

Before she had the panels installed, she says  a HELMS representative told her the company would remove the panel for repairs if necessary.

But when she contacted the company to fix her roof, it was unable to help.

Her story was echoed by other residents, who said they had contacted the firm or insurers and been turned away.

Robert Skillen, the former director of HELMS, said he has no record of her phone call to report the damage in 2016.

He urged Mrs Rankin to contact a third-party insurance firm that he claims will fix her roof.