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Volume 482: debated on Tuesday 11 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department is taking to ensure that elderly people take full advantage of the energy-saving schemes available to them. (232977)

I have been asked to reply.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) funds the Warm Front scheme, which is the Government's main programme for tackling the problem of fuel poverty in the private sector in England. The scheme provides a grant for specified heating and insulation measures of up to £2,700, or up to £4,000 where the work approved includes installation of an oil fired central heating system. The scheme works alongside a wide range of stakeholders, including local authorities, National Energy Action and other charities to ensure that those eligible for assistance receive the help they are entitled to. The scheme has been designed with its vulnerable and often elderly client base firmly in mind, and ensures ease of use and trouble free access to the measures available.

In addition to this, DECC funds the Energy Saving Trust (EST), which is a not-for-profit organisation, providing independent advice and support to consumers on sustainable energy and carbon emissions reductions. The EST raises awareness and support through regional advice centres that provide a one stop shop, which offers a range of free and impartial advice on energy efficiency and easy access to the full range of offers available, for example under Warm Front and for the over 70s under the Carbon Emission Reduction Target. The EST has an informative, user friendly website and can be contacted for free through the Government-funded Act on CO2 advice line.

The Act on CO2 campaign has been broadcast nationally on TV, in the press, on the radio and online, with a new campaign website featuring a range of advice, tools and guidance on saving money and saving energy.