It is early days, but the green deal is building on solid foundations and a robust small and medium-sized enterprise supply chain. Nearly 40,000 green deal assessments have been carried out and more than 70,000 homes have already been given green measures through the energy company obligation. Innovative private finance is now starting to flow. While only four green deal finance providers had entered the market by June, that number has now doubled to eight and is expected to reach around 50 by the end of the year.
I strongly support the Government’s efforts to mainstream energy efficiency via the green deal, among other measures. However, it is widely felt that the scheme needs a serious boost if the Government’s ambitions are to be realised. To that end, will the Minister do all he can and use all his influence with the Treasury to ask it at least to consider bringing in some form of stamp duty rebate, or something similar, for homes participating in the green deal in order to maximise the chances of its success?
I am very glad to say that the Treasury is right behind the green deal and that the Chancellor has given £200 million to help drive demand for it. We are actively considering how we are going to spend more of it, as there is still a significant amount that has not been committed. We will make further announcements in the autumn.
I also congratulate my hon. Friend on his successful campaign to ensure that service families can benefit from the green deal and the ECO. I assure him that we are working closely with the Ministry of Defence to ensure that service family accommodation will for the first time mean warm and comfortable homes.
In times of austerity, why on earth would people want to enter a green deal arrangement where the interest rate is three times higher than what they can get on the high street? Apparently, there are penalties for early repayment.
If ever there was an out-of-touch comment, that was it. How many of the hon. Gentleman’s constituents can get an interest rate on the high street of just 2% or 3%? That is just cloud cuckoo land nonsense. The vast majority of his constituents will be able to access green deal finance. I am glad to say that, with over 40,000 assessments, there is strong early demand. It is early days, but we are very encouraged by what we are seeing.