Labour is calling for an investigation into the handling of the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund, which was closed without notice on Thursday evening.

The department of energy and climate change said cited “overwhelming popular demand” but industry figures believe the application process could have been open to abuse. After a rush of applications it was closed effective 1830 on Thursday. Monthly traffic to the Green Deal website quadrupled from May to June.

Labour’s shadow DECC team plans to request an inquiry.

“This is a shocking act of incompetence by government ministers. A fund that was supposed to last the year, and compensate for the cuts to energy efficiency measures announced last December, has run out after just six weeks,” said Jonathan Reynolds MP, shadow energy and climate change minister.

“It will leave many customers who have paid £100 for a Green Deal assessment out of pocket, with little prospect of them having the work they were promised done, and an insulation industry in despair at the stop-start nature of this government’s policy.

“We have always said this was the wrong way to make pay-as-you-save energy efficiency work. The government must now provide clear answers on how they will resolve the mess they have created. Given the scale of incompetence and waste of public funds, I am writing to the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee to ask her to investigate this matter fully,” said Reynolds.