Some households and businesses that qualify for the Green Deal could find they can’t access it straight away under plans being considered to scale back the launch of the national insulation programme.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said it is currently examining options with the big energy firms on how to implement a smaller-scale Green Deal when the energy efficiency programme officially launches on October 1. The change in strategy follows reports the launch of the Green Deal could be delayed until next year because of issues between the Government and the energy companies over the funding framework.

DECC has been pushing the Green Deal as the biggest national improvement programme since the Second World War and in November the Government announced £200 million extra funding to kick-start the scheme. Chris Huhne, who was Energy Secretary at the time, said the money would ensure the "Green Deal hits the ground running" and made it "as attractive as possible so that people start to benefit from day one."

But last week, Shadow Climate Change Minister Luciana Berger called on DECC to "come clean" about the scheme as its launch appeared to have been "thrown into chaos".

And today it emerged that secondary legislation for the Green Deal is being delayed until the summer. 

Neither DECC nor the energy companies would say what options are now on the table to scale back the scheme, although a regional rollout has apparently been ruled out. The DECC spokesperson said a "managed" launch would ensure the Green Deal "doesn’t fall on its face on the first day".