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Energy Efficiency

Part of Bills Presented – in the House of Commons at 1:37 pm on 30th June 2010.

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Photo of Joan Ruddock Joan Ruddock Shadow Minister (Energy and Climate Change) 1:37 pm, 30th June 2010

I am grateful to my hon. Friend, who always manages to read more comprehensively than I do. I meant to look at the detail before I came to the Dispatch Box, but we were rather busy, so I am grateful that he was able to make that point and that the House has heard it.

I was referring to the fact that we had made changes and were putting the country on track to meet our climate change targets, but we were never complacent. That is why, one year ago, we launched our great British refurb programme, and in July last year published the UK low carbon transition plan. Our proposals signalled a step change in the level of ambition for the household sector over the next decade-precisely the game-changer of which the Minister spoke.

The House should not just take my word for it. Paul King, the chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, said:

"This is a bold and welcome move. The biggest barrier to low carbon refurbishment-the upfront cost-is set to fall. Pay As You Save is a radical scheme, which could trigger a revolution in household refurbishment-creating at least 100,000 new jobs, saving money and conserving energy."

That was the opinion of our transition plan.

Everything that the Minister outlined today could be found in Labour's transition plan. We said that we would introduce clean energy cashbacks-the feed-in tariffs-to enable households to profit from generating their own electricity. We did. We said that we would legislate for a mandated price support for poorer people and raise the level of Warm Front grants, and we did. We said that we would pilot "pay as you save" ways to help people green their homes, and we did.

The Minister has made the Tories' green deal proposals the centrepiece of his departmental policies, but for us it was part of a much more comprehensive strategy. None the less, we were very clear that we needed to engage the public directly in energy efficiency. That is why we began to test the concept of "pay as you save"-what the Government now call the green deal. We established five pilots. The partners in those pilots included 500 households, a housing association, an energy company-British Gas, Birmingham, Sutton and Stroud councils and the Severn Wye Energy Agency, the whole programme being overseen by the Energy Saving Trust.

Can the Minister report on the progress of the pilots? Will they run their course? Does he plan to take any account of them? Is it part of the learning that the Government plan to do, or do they intend to leap in, having cooked up some programme with somebody?

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