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Energy Bills (Park Homes)

Volume 578: debated on Thursday 3 April 2014

Unlike previous schemes, park homes are now eligible for the energy company obligation, and some park homes have already begun to benefit from support. Additionally, we have made it possible, since February this year, to create an energy performance certificate—an EPC—for a park home, and this lifts a key barrier to accessing green deal finance for park homes.

I thank the Minister for his reply, and it is heartening to hear that some progress has been made after the very many questions that I have asked on the subject. I know that he will agree that we are talking about some very vulnerable people who are terribly exposed to energy prices. There is an imperative to get better insulation. How widespread is the publicity about this help, and has he found a way around the joint metering for electricity and water and the subsequent recharging, which often seems to add even more to their energy pricing?

The hon. Lady raises a valid point. Frankly, successive Governments have failed to act sufficiently for park home residents. Although the measures that we have taken move the agenda on, we accept that there is more to do, and we want to do more to help park home residents. Providing better information and support is part of that strategy, and we are making more information available to residents. We are looking to see what further steps we can take to help to insulate the homes of park home residents.

One problem with energy in many park homes is that the supply is in the name of the operator of the site, who then sells on the energy to the tenants. One quirk of that is that under the warm home discount the name of the tenant must be on the bill, and it is not in these cases, so although these tenants would otherwise qualify, they do not in fact get the warm home discount. Will the Minister look at that and see whether there is a way around that anomaly?

I fully accept the hon. Gentleman’s point. That has made it difficult for successive Governments to reach out and act effectively to help park home residents. We are determined to try to crack this, and we are looking carefully at exactly the point he makes.