We continue to promote the adoption of cost-effective energy efficiency measures through a range of programmes and other services offered by the Energy Efficiency Office. A number of new initiatives, including the ministerial group on energy efficiency, were announced in the White Paper on the environment and we are now working to carry these forward.
Is the Secretary of State aware that an estimated 6·6 million households suffer from fuel poverty as a result of inefficient fuel heating systems? Does he agree that the lessons learnt from the Gulf crisis and war and the fight over oil, combined with this Government's inefficient approach to energy conservation, mean that a national programme for energy conservation and energy use is urgently required if we are to address the country's energy problems?
I agree this far with the hon. Lady—that there is a continuing need for greater energy efficiency. We estimate that about 20 per cent. of all the energy used in this country is wasted. However, we have made some progress. During the last 10 years gross domestic product has increased by 25 per cent. while our energy consumption has remained virtually unchanged. Both commercial and domestic energy efficiency are important. That is why the Government have introduced a home energy efficiency scheme. Grants are provided for basic insulation measures and advice is available for low-income households. We have built on the success of the community insulation project that led to the insulation of about 850,000 low-income homes.