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House of Commons Hansard
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Warm Front Scheme: Essex
01 March 2010
Volume 506
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To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how much has been spent on the Warm Front programme in (a) Essex and (b) Castle Point in each year since its inception; and what recent steps his Department has taken to (i) encourage take-up of energy efficiency measures and (ii) reduce the level of fuel poverty in Castle Point constituency. [318079]

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The following table shows how much has been spent in (a) Essex and (b) Castle Point through Warm Front under the present phase of the scheme which began in 2005.

£

Essex

Castle Point

2005-06

2,000,189.00

177,491.43

2006-07

6,182,784.13

598,284.01

2007-08

9,468,843.84

1,276,872.33

2008-09

12,165,333.14

1,695,775.39

2009-101

8,274,213.56

1,039,361.96

Total

38,091,363.67

4,787,785.12

1 Data run to 31 January 2010.

The Government have a strong package of measures to encourage the take-up of energy efficiency measures and help reduce fuel poverty among vulnerable households:

The ACT ON CO2 campaign encourages energy efficiency in the home through the use of advertising (broadcast, online and press), digital media, outreach events, PR and partnerships with appropriate commercial organisations. Typically this promotion encourages a range of behaviours from simple actions like turning down thermostats, turning off electrical appliances fully and using energy efficient light bulbs to more substantial measures like loft and cavity wall insulation. The current burst of advertising on insulation launched on 11 January and will run to mid-March 2010.

Schemes such as Warm Front, Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT), Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP) and the Decent Homes Standard reduce the demand for energy by improving home energy efficiency.

CERT requires energy suppliers to meet at least 40 per cent. of their obligation by promoting and installing measures in the homes of a priority group of vulnerable consumers in receipt of qualifying benefits or people aged over 70 years. Measures are only reported at a GB level and details for the work carried out in Essex and Castle Point are therefore not available.

A regulatory framework has been introduced that: promotes competition as the main driver to ensure downward pressure on prices for consumers; improves licence conditions; and strengthens Ofgem's powers through the Energy Bill.

Measures such as the winter fuel payments and cold weather payments—alongside the wider tax and benefit system and through benefit entitlement checks (BECs) under the Warm Front Scheme—have raised real incomes. Since 2005, Warm Front has carried out almost 900 BECs in Castle point, identifying eligibility for a previously unclaimed benefit in over 350 households—leading to an average increase of £31.09p in weekly income.

We have also introduced legislation to implement mandated social price support schemes once the current voluntary agreement with suppliers comes to an end in 2011. These schemes will provide more of the most vulnerable consumers with help towards their energy costs. We have said that we are minded to focus the majority of the additional resources on older pensioner households on the lowest incomes as these households tend to have a high incidence of fuel poverty—over 50 per cent. of fuel poor households have a person over 60 living in them; their circumstances are relatively stable; and they are at the greatest risk of excess winter deaths.

The fuel poverty review which was announced in January 2009, has been looking across all three drivers of fuel poverty (income, energy prices and energy efficiency) and particularly the key issue of how we can more effectively identify and target assistance at the most vulnerable households.

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To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many applications from residents of (a) Essex and (b) Castle Point for (i) heating, (ii) insulation and (iii) heating and insulation measures under the Warm Front scheme were approved in each of the last three years. [318080]

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The following table provides information as to how many applications were approved in (a) Essex and (b) Castle Point for (i) heating, (ii) insulation and (iii) heating and insulation measures under the Warm Front scheme for the previous three years and up to 31 January for the current year.

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-101

Total

Essex

Heating

1,442

1,806

1,848

1,814

7,863

Insulation

3,209

3,454

4,069

1,814

14,476

Heating and insulation

1,505

1,991

2,212

1,545

8,267

Castle Point

Heating

166

268

205

213

923

Insulation

451

312

281

186

1,332

Heating and insulation

213

266

227

169

940

1 Up to 31 January 2010.

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To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many households in (a) Essex and (b) Castle Point have received assistance under the Home Energy Efficiency scheme since the inception of that scheme. [318081]

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The operating name of the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme in England is Warm Front.

The following table shows how many households in (a) Essex and (b) Castle Point have received assistance from Warm Front under the present phase of the Scheme (since 2005).

Essex

Castle Point

2005-06

3,487

216

2006-07

7,022

881

2007-08

8,499

776

2008-09

9,809

968

2009-101

6,399

693

Total

35,216

3,534

1 Up to 31 January 2010.

Prior to 2005 these regions were under the control of a different Scheme Manager. The data retained by the present administrator are not sufficient to provide a consolidated response.