Oral Answers to Questions — Energy Saving

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd May 1976.

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Photo of Mr David Lane Mr David Lane , Cambridge 12:00 am, 3rd May 1976

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a further statement on the progress of his energy-saving campaign.

Photo of Mr Gordon Oakes Mr Gordon Oakes , Widnes

The Government's energy-saving campaign is continually being developed. My right hon. Friend will have no new announcement to make until we have completed our study of the reports of the Select Committee on Science and Technology and the Advisory Council on Energy Conservation.

Photo of Mr David Lane Mr David Lane , Cambridge

I congratulate the Minister on his translation to this important post and wish him an enjoyable but short tenure of it. Will he consider whether enough is being done to bring home to individual members of the public the urgency of this whole problem, for example, through local energy-saving campaigns? If not, is it not time that the Government did more in that direction?

Photo of Mr Gordon Oakes Mr Gordon Oakes , Widnes

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his kind remarks. I know that my stay will be enjoyable. I hope that it will be long as well.

It cannot be over-emphasised how important this campaign is, not only to the temporary position with regard to energy but to the whole of our future energy policy. One of the recommendations that we are looking at is for local committees.

Photo of Mr Max Madden Mr Max Madden , Sowerby

In any publicity in this regard, will the Minister ensure that the elderly, the sick and those with young children are reminded of the importance of proper heating provision? Despite the departure of the former Under-Secretary Lord Lovell-Davis, from the Department of Energy, may I be assured that the inquiry that he is heading is continuing with all speed?

Photo of Mr Gordon Oakes Mr Gordon Oakes , Widnes

Yes. I have taken that over from my noble predecessor, and a report will be produced for the House before the end of this month. As regards the "Save It" campaign in general, one of the important aspects of energy conservation is the way in which people can be kept warm enough and yet at the sane time energy can be saved. That can be done by proper insulation, and so on.

Photo of Mr Peter Rost Mr Peter Rost , Derbyshire South East

Has the Minister studied the wide range of positive financial incentives that many EEC countries are implementing, many of which were recommendations in the Select Committee's Report? What is he going to do about them?

Photo of Mr Gordon Oakes Mr Gordon Oakes , Widnes

We are looking at them, together with the recommendations in the Select Committee's Report that deal with conservation policies in Europe.

Photo of Mrs Millie Miller Mrs Millie Miller , Ilford North

Will the Minister bear in mind the need for helping the elderly and the categories of people referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for Sowerby (Mr. Madden) in the matter of insulation, equally as in the matter of tariffs for energy charges?

Photo of Mr Gordon Oakes Mr Gordon Oakes , Widnes

Yes. That is certainly one of the things that we are looking into, particularly in the case of advice, because people need advice on how to conserve energy.

Photo of Mr Trevor Skeet Mr Trevor Skeet , Bedford

The Minister referred to the Select Committee's Report. That Report has been before him for months. When will he report on it? Why has he been so dilatory?

Photo of Mr Gordon Oakes Mr Gordon Oakes , Widnes

Because there were over 42 recommendations in the Report. They were recommendations of the sort that concern not only my Department. They go right across the board and concern nearly every Department of State. Therefore, we want to get the package right when it is produced.

Photo of Mr Laurie Pavitt Mr Laurie Pavitt , Brent South

Will my hon. Friend consider the basic question of competition between gas and electricity in relation to the energy-saving campaign, and especially in relation to new housing estates where local authorities have a responsibility to ensure that the maximum amount of energy is saved, but not by competition between two different sources?

Photo of Mr Gordon Oakes Mr Gordon Oakes , Widnes

That matter is likely to be raised at the National Energy Conference that my right hon. Friend is proposing later in the year.