I would like to reassure my hon. Friend that if we look back at where we were this time last year, we came out with the heat and buildings strategy, which directly answered this question, and also a very generous comprehensive spending review settlement.
I thank the Secretary of State for his answer. In Sevenoaks we are keen to play our part in achieving net zero, but many of my constituents in more rural areas are worried about the costs and feasibility of replacing their oil boilers as they are phased out. Can the Secretary of State provide reassurances to them, and all in a similar position, that safeguards will be put in place to ensure that alternatives are affordable and practical?
Very specifically in regard to her question, my hon. Friend will know that there is a £450 million boiler upgrade scheme, which was outlined in the CSR, that will provide up-front capital grants for the installation of low-carbon heating systems. She will also be aware that for lower-income households we have a £1.1 billion home upgrade grant, which will upgrade energy efficiency and increase low-carbon heating of non-gas homes across the country.
I am sure that the Secretary of State is aware that off-grid customers’ gas and oil supplies are not covered by the price cap, and that they will therefore experience even higher price fuel price increases this spring than the £600 or so now predicted for on-grid customers. Is the Secretary of State intending to provide any special assistance to off-grid customers, or is he going to let them stew alongside their on-grid neighbours, as the Government seem happy to do at the moment?
I think that is a complete misrepresentation of all the work that the Government have done to help customers. There are the winter fuel payments, as the hon Gentleman well knows, and £300 for 8 million pensioners is worth £2 billion. We have the warm home discount, we have cold weather payments. We have a full range of measures that will help off-grid customers in a difficult time.