New Clause 10 — Green deal installation apprenticeships

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 1:30 pm on 14th September 2011.

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Photo of Gregory Barker Gregory Barker The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change 1:30 pm, 14th September 2011

It is not correct to compare the two schemes. The German scheme consists of a normal personal loan, secured in the normal way. It must be applied for through the banks, and in the case of a successful application the interest rate is subsidised. That is the nub of the programme, which I have discussed in Berlin with the German environment Minister. There is a great deal more to the green deal, which involves substantial subsidy not of the interest rate, but of the interventions themselves. We expect that most solid wall installations will attract a substantial element of subsidy, and that other interventions for fuel-poor households and more vulnerable customers will also be able to attract subsidies. Customers may pay a competitive interest rate, but they will be doing so on a significantly subsidised final bill, and I would have thought that it was much better to pay a competitive interest rate on a smaller bill than a subsidised interest rate on a higher bill.

This is a fundamentally different proposition, therefore. The German scheme simply involves subsidies of existing loans. What makes the green deal unique is that it is not a personal loan in the way the German scheme is. It will be secured against savings on future energy bills. It will not add to the personal debt of the individual who benefits from the installations, and it will remain with the home. There is also the golden rule. I apologise for making such a lengthy intervention, but it was important to put that on the record.