New Clause 10 — Green deal installation apprenticeships

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 2:15 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 2:15 pm, 14th September 2011

There will be a commercial consideration involved, because those matters are not lost on participants who want to carve out a large piece of what will be substantial market. The interest rate is only one element of the cost. If the product bought is expensive, it does not matter if the interest rate is low. If a product is £1,000 and one is asked to pay an interest rate of 7%, would that be preferable to a product that costs £600 on which one pays 8%? There are many more variables than the absolute interest rate.

Customers will be looking for the absolute savings, taking into account the overall desirability of the package that they are being offered. The industry and new entrants will be looking at which of the levers they are most responsive to. I have no doubt that some companies will offer zero interest rate propositions. It is already possible to grab a sofa in the market and pay nothing until Easter or bank holiday Monday next year, and even then it may be with 0% finance. However, we know, because we are not stupid, that we invariably pay more in such offers than the actual price being offered. A sophisticated blend of different costs will be taken into consideration.

I understand what the hon. Member for Liverpool, Wavertree says, but ultimately consumers will want to know that the actual savings they make will be substantially greater than the cost of doing the green deal, and then of course they will want to unpick the green deal to ensure that they will get value right the way through the chain. Incidentally, I have here the latest draft of the new energy performance certificate, which I am really pleased with. It is still a work in progress, but I will happily share it offline with hon. Ladies and Gentlemen.

I think that the competitive market will be rather more sophisticated and will be able to fish out where consumers will look. I am not dismissing the hon. Lady’s claims. If borrowing is not available at competitive rates, that will clearly have an impact on the green deal, but our working assumption, which is based not on pie-in-the-sky figures formulated in DECC but on the detailed work done by our stakeholder working groups, with financial sector involvement and with my excellent officials, is that the interest rate, although challenging, will not be a barrier to successful take-up of the green deal.