My Department gives grants under the home energy efficiency scheme, which provides insulation measures to low-income households. Some £26 million is available under the scheme this year.
The Minister did not say how much is being spent, so his answer is cold comfort for the many householders on low incomes. Have not the Government punctured energy efficiency efforts in the home by voluntary and public organisations and the electricity and gas companies? Does he agree that there is scope for much more home insulation and for more energy-saving measures and would not it make environmental sense to do that? Are not the Tories too bloody mean to be green?
I agree with the hon. Gentleman that it makes environmental sense to be more energy efficient. Our home energy efficiency scheme will enable 200,000 houses a year to receive insulation and energy efficiency advice, which is a substantial advance on any other year and on what was done by any previous Government.
Does my hon. Friend agree that we need no lectures from the Opposition on energy efficiency, because the last time there was a Labour Government, they spent £2·4 million on energy efficiency, whereas today, under the Conservative Government, the figure stands at £40 million? Does my hon. Friend agree that we are doing something about energy efficiency, which was always neglected by Labour Governments?
That is a typically sound point from my hon. Friend. I confirm that my Department's expenditure on energy efficiency has increased eightfold since 1979 when the Government took office.