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Off-grid Energy Support

Volume 723: debated on Tuesday 29 November 2022

The Government have doubled support to £200 for alternatively fuelled households in recognition of the pressures caused by rising fuel costs. We are committed to delivering that payment to households as soon as possible this winter, and will announce further information on the delivery and timing of those payments in due course.

People living in park homes are concerned that they have had no further information on when support will be available to them, or how they will access it. One representative of the company managing a park home site in my constituency first raised this issue with me in August, yet months on we still have no further information. Can the Minister provide some reassurance that people living in park homes will not slip through the cracks, and give some clarity as to when they will receive the £400 of support that they have been promised?

I think the hon. Lady has slightly confused the alternative fuel payment for those who are not on the gas grid with the energy bills support scheme—an easy mistake to make in this complex landscape. Those with a domestic electricity supply are already receiving the £400 discount under the EBS scheme that she has talked about. We are looking to come forward with details about timing, but it will be this winter; we are looking to work with local authorities in Great Britain to set up a scheme whereby people in park homes can apply as households, to ensure that they receive that £400 through local authorities as quickly as we can manage.

Now then. The residents of Ashfield mobile home park do not have a regular energy supplier. They get their gas and electricity sold on by the park owner—who, by the way, marks it up and puts a little bit back in his own pocket. Those residents do not have a great deal of money, so can the Minister please reassure them that help is on the way as soon as possible?

I thank my hon. Friend for his question; I hope he found my letter yesterday, and the annex to it, helpful. As I said, the Government have doubled support to £200 for alternatively fuelled households in recognition of the pressures caused by rising fuel costs. We are also determined to get support in place for edge cases. It sounds simple, and if I were where my hon. Friend is, I would certainly be shouting at the Minister to get on with it, but we do not live in a central database-driven society; it is necessary to identify these people in a way that protects public money. We are working flat out to deliver this support as quickly as we can.

A number of my constituents live in park homes, and many more have no access to gas mains and so rely on bulk deliveries of kerosene and liquefied petroleum gas. They are all concerned about the rising cost of energy, so would the Minister outline to the House how he is going to communicate to those groups the support that is available, and ensure that it is delivered for them this winter?

I thank my hon. Friend for his question. As I said, we are very much looking to work with local authorities, which we think are in the best position to help to go through the verification and assessment process and look after public money, and most importantly, to get the funding to heating oil users and others who need support to meet these unprecedented bills this winter.

The Government announced this week that £1 billion will go towards energy efficiency to reduce energy bills. Will the Minister confirm how many new homes will be covered by that £1 billion?

I cannot give the Chair of the Committee an exact figure, but I hope that very large numbers will be covered by that—[Interruption.] Opposition Front Benchers may find that amusing, but we should remember how few homes had an energy performance certificate C when Labour left power and how many more have had their level raised since then.