Neighbourhood energy action has welcomed my announcement about future arrangements to finance the work of the community insulation projects. By 1988 the number of people employed by projects and learning valuable skills will have increased from 6,000 to 8,000, and over 300,000 homes a year will be being insulated.
I thank my right hon. Friend for that encouraging reply and I welcome the good news about jobs. Does he agree that it is typical of the way that Conservative Governments take action to get on with the job and take a lead in matters concerning energy conservation, job creation and help for pensioners and others with their heating?
Yes. It has been a staggering achievement already. Half a million such homes have been insulated, at the same time helping people to obtain new jobs and new skills. But even more remarkable is that in the next couple of years that figure will rise to 300,000 a year. That will mean a great deal of comfort and warmth to elderly and low-income families, and also a great deal of work.
Is the Secretary of State aware that the problems in Leeds with the unions which inhibited work being done on council houses, have been overcome and that the work is now going ahead? The only thing that people are concerned about is that the new regulations will prevent the work being done for the benefit of many people, both in council and private houses. Therefore, will the Secretary of State look again at the regulations and ensure the development of a scheme for the benefit of all?