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Energy Efficiency

Part of Bills Presented – in the House of Commons at 12:46 pm on 30th June 2010.

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Photo of Gregory Barker Gregory Barker The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change 12:46 pm, 30th June 2010

That is what I am saying, with the caveat that there are two big variables, the first of which is behaviour change. If someone decides, in their newly insulated home, to turn up the dial and hoover in the nude, that will affect the energy bill. Likewise, if there is a spike in oil prices or a surge in gas or electricity prices, that will affect bills. On an equalised basis, assuming there is no major behaviour change, the assumption in the model we are working on will be that the financing costs will always be less than the overall costs of installation.

Our ambition goes way beyond just household energy efficiency. Households, businesses, industry and the public sector all need to pull together to achieve the change that we need. For businesses, energy efficiency can make sense provided that they are not constrained by unnecessary bureaucracy. The green deal will apply to businesses too, and especially to small and medium-sized enterprises. It has the potential to help many companies improve not only their green credentials but their bank balances and their overall competitiveness.

I want our reforms to take energy efficiency away from the corporate social responsibility managers and plant it firmly on the desk of Britain's finance controllers. Pioneers in this area are already demonstrating that energy efficiency makes real sense for business. To pick just one example, Marks and Spencer made a saving of £50 million last year alone through energy-efficiency measures. It is just one of thousands of progressive British businesses that realise that energy efficiency has a direct impact on profitability.

Marks and Spencer launched Plan A in January 2007, in which it set out 100 commitments to achieve in five years and the aim of improving fuel efficiency by more than 20%. Critical to Plan A has been genuine and consistent leadership from the very top of the organisation. Providing leadership from Government Departments is a responsibility that we cannot shirk, and that is why the new Prime Minister has committed the coalition to cutting emissions from central Government Departments by 10% in just 12 months. I am pleased to inform the House that work is well under way, but the 10% cut in Whitehall is just the starting point. We are engaged in a major, long-term drive to reduce emissions and save energy costs right across the wider public sector, which alone accounts for 3% of total UK carbon emissions.

The public can watch our progress: all Government Departments are now committed to publishing their energy use online and in real time. Seventeen Government Departments will publish energy consumption data for their headquarters buildings by the end of July, following the first meeting of the new cross-departmental energy committee. However, I am pleased to say that the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice have already made their energy-use information available online and in real time. We have also asked the private sector to join Ministers in this cross-cutting group, so that we can hold Government Departments to account and ensure that we learn the very best practice from business. This Government are determined to get our house in shape in short order, and we are already delivering clearer leadership, greater transparency and real change.

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