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Energy Efficiency

Volume 563: debated on Thursday 6 June 2013

This Government’s November energy efficiency strategy clearly sets out the importance of reducing our energy demand and how the UK has an opportunity to lead the world in improving its energy efficiency. Game-changing initiatives such as the green deal, electricity demand reduction and the roll-out of smart meters are central to realising this opportunity.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that helping to improve home insulation is vital when helping to take people out of fuel poverty? What is this Government’s energy company obligation doing to help vulnerable and lower-income families in that vital task?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Energy prices have gone up massively on global markets and we as a Government need to cushion people from those rising prices by helping them with energy efficiency, and through the green deal and ECO we are doing just that. The affordable warmth component of ECO is already making a major difference for people in fuel poverty and helping to tackle it.

I welcome the Secretary of State’s saying that he wants to support people, but there has been a 97% plummet in the number of cavity wall insulation installations, one in four insulation workers has lost their job since December and, according to industry reports, just three people are paying back a green deal loan on their electricity bill. When is he going to make the green deal a good deal, so that the ambition that we all share is achieved?

It is already a good deal. I understand the issue in the cavity wall insulation market, but the hon. Lady will understand that there are very few cavity walls left to fill. The real issue in the building fabric of the nation is solid walls. There are 7 million solid walls that are yet to be treated for energy efficiency. The last Government did almost nothing to tackle that. The green deal and ECO will do something about it. That is where the biggest wins are available and we are proud of what we are doing.