The green deal will be a real game changer, but the Government fully recognise that the deal might need to provide additional drivers if we are to achieve the full scale of our ambitions to retrofit more than 14 million homes by 2020. We are working closely with a range of stakeholders to identify additional triggers that will steer customers towards the green deal and in the Energy Bill we are seeking powers to require changes to poorly insulated private rented accommodation.
The green deal is one of a number of tools, but clearly its effectiveness will be tested by the number of homes we manage to insulate and bring up to a decent standard. We have said that our ambition is 14 million homes by 2020. Clearly, that is the huge target that we must meet if we are to meet our carbon budgets.
Many of the materials that will feature in the green deal to improve the heat efficiency of homes attract VAT at a rate of 5% but some, such as double glazing, still attract it at a rate of 20%. Does the Minister agree that it would encourage people into the green deal if all the materials were taxed at 5%? Will the Minister investigate to find out whether that can be achieved?
I was very interested to hear the Minister’s response on the green deal. As yet, we have seen no targets in the Energy Bill and nothing to link it to the Climate Change Act 2008 so that it can create a tangible emission reduction. Yesterday, we heard the Chancellor talk up the green deal in the Budget, but not so loud was his announcement on page 117 of the plan for growth that the Government have scrapped the requirement for new homes to be truly zero carbon. Does the Minister agree with WWF, which said that this announcement of the destruction of the policy sweeps away
“years of work and ambition”?
What representations did he make to his colleagues in the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Treasury before the decision was made?
This is a DCLG lead, but there should be no doubt about our commitment to the transformation of the housing stock. We know that the Opposition are still addicted to targets, but the difference is that the Government are addicted to real progress and to transformational change. They can carry on creating new targets and we will get on with making real changes in real life.