§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy (Mr. Tony Baldry)
A number of representations have been received about the 90 per cent. limit as part of the consultation process. They are being considered.
§ Mr. Flynn
Does the Minister agree that the 10 per cent. shortfall is a formidable disincentive to the most needy families in Britain to take up this environmentally and socially valuable scheme? How can the Government be so miserly with those people and yet so profligate? Is not it true that there would be enough fuel efficiency grants for almost the entire population if Sizewell B were cancelled? Is not it acknowledged now that Sizewell B and the whole PWR programme was the worst, the most futile and the most wasteful civil investment decision since the Pharaohs decided to build the pyramids?
§ Mr. Baldry
The 90 per cent. grant is a continuation of the home insulation project. However, the levels of individual grant will be determined in the light of the comments received by means of consultation. I shall make sure that the hon. Gentleman's comments are taken into account as part of the consultation process. The principal aim of the new scheme is to bring about a further increase in the uptake of home insulation measures among low-income households. The scheme will, I believe, be successful in doing just that.
§ Mr. Ian Bruce
Does my hon. Friend agree that loft insulation is the most cost-effective way of reducing energy consumption, so, when the Government are willing to give low-income households a 90 per cent. grant, that is an extremely good deal, which they should be encouraged to take up?
§ Mr. Baldry
Energy efficiency in the home extends beyond that scheme, and the promotion of energy efficiency in buildings generally is extremely important. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister recently presented the first national home energy rating certificate in support of the methodology and principles of energy labelling as endorsed by the Building Research Establishment. It is a welcome step in the development of the voluntary energy labelling of homes. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State recently spoke at the opening of the one millionth new home to be built with mineral wool cavity wall slab insulation. Such initiatives will greatly help promote energy efficiency and energy savings in Britain's households.