The green deal is our ambitious new programme to transform energy efficiency in housing and in small and medium-sized enterprises. From late 2012, home owners, landlords and tenants will be able to install energy efficiency at no up-front cost, with repayments coming from their energy bill savings. Alongside the green deal, the energy company obligation will offer targeted support to the fuel poor and hard-to-treat homes.
“Implementation of measures slipped in 2010. There will be a need for a significant acceleration in the pace of emissions reduction if indicators and carbon budgets are to be achieved”.
The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right: not only did we slip slightly last year in the final throes of the regime that we inherited from the previous Government, but if we had carried on at the rate of progress of the previous Labour Government it would have taken 80 years to retrofit homes to the standard that we hope to achieve in two decades. We will certainly be linking the green deal to our commitments in the climate change legislation, and that is an amendment that we introduced and is included in the Energy Bill.
Despite my best endeavours when I was in the Minister’s job, Londoners received only 5% of the insulation jobs and of the carbon emissions reduction target, even though they make up 15% of the population of England. Will the Minister now introduce a regional obligation on energy companies so that Londoners get a green deal and not a raw deal?
The right hon. Lady is right. Unfortunately, the programmes we had under the previous Government were ineffective, particularly in London. We are transforming that with the green deal and the energy company obligation and we shall certainly ensure that the roll-out of energy efficiency measures under the coalition is much fairer and much more ambitious than we saw under the previous Government.
Yesterday, a report by uSwitch showed that fuel poverty levels in the UK are spiralling, with 6.3 million households—almost a quarter of all UK homes—now classed as being fuel poor. That highlights the urgent need for energy-efficiency improvements coupled with support from Government. However, in the past year the Government have systematically scrapped support for fuel poor households. We have seen Labour’s Warm Front scheme cut, winter fuel payments reduced by up to £100 and the rejection of many Energy Bill amendments that would have provided extra support to—
Order. I am sorry, but we must have a one sentence question straight away.
The hon. Lady is absolutely right. She will know that under the final five years of the Labour Government, the number of those in fuel poverty rose from 1.5 million to more than 4 million—an absolutely catastrophic record bequeathed to the coalition. We will turn that around with the most ambitious energy-efficiency programme since the second world war and a far more effective way of delivering help to the fuel poor.