Household Energy Efficiency Measures

Energy Security and Net Zero – in the House of Commons at on 28 February 2023.

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Photo of Siobhan Baillie Siobhan Baillie Conservative, Stroud

What steps he is taking to encourage households to install energy efficiency measures.

Photo of Peter Gibson Peter Gibson Conservative, Darlington

What steps he is taking to encourage households to install energy efficiency measures.

Photo of Grant Shapps Grant Shapps The Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero

The Government have made good progress, with 47% of homes in England now having reached the Government’s 2035 target of achieving energy performance certificate level C and above, which is up from 14% in 2010.

Photo of Siobhan Baillie Siobhan Baillie Conservative, Stroud

I want to talk about radiator sludge, as I went to see ADEY Innovation Ltd, a company in my constituency, where I learned that dirty radiators increase energy bills by 7% and people may be getting 47% less heat through poor water quality. Yet in the Government’s £25 million energy efficiency advice campaign there is nowt about the benefits of magnetic filtration and other affordable things that companies such as ADEY Innovation offer households. Will my right hon. Friend agree to work with me to include this advice and meet to discuss this?

Photo of Grant Shapps Grant Shapps The Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero

My hon. Friend is right to worry about radiator sludge, and I fully support her in her concerns. I am pleased to tell her that in this Parliament and into the next we have committed £12.6 billion to campaigns to ensure not just that we tackle the radiator sludge, but that we do things throughout homes to improve their insulation and other technologies. I would be happy to meet her.

Photo of Peter Gibson Peter Gibson Conservative, Darlington

Retrofitting older homes can reduce carbon emissions, cut energy bills, make homes warmer, reduce reliance on gas and bring new green jobs to the north. However, the costs associated with retrofitting are currently prohibitive to achieving it on a large scale. What more can my right hon. Friend do to ensure that we bring down the cost of retrofitting homes?

Photo of Grant Shapps Grant Shapps The Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero

My hon. Friend is right about the cost of doing this. I have described how we are getting towards half of homes having been improved, but he will be pleased to hear about the £4 billion extension of the energy company obligation through its fourth phase, ECO4, along with ECO+, which involves another £1 billion to assist with some of the economics of ensuring that all homes can be improved.

Photo of Derek Twigg Derek Twigg Labour, Halton

Of course we all welcome as many energy efficiency measures as possible and encourage households to put them in place, but the fact remains that many middle-income and low-income constituents in my constituency are still struggling to pay their energy bills and are under great financial pressure. They are looking at how energy companies are making vast profits and now talking about giving vast bonuses to their chief executives and managers. People want something doing about that, and they want the Government and the energy companies to play their part more to ensure that an equal share is paid. We should have a windfall tax as well.

Photo of Grant Shapps Grant Shapps The Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero

We have a windfall tax; it is at 75%, as opposed to just 19% for corporation tax elsewhere. It is worth explaining to the hon. Gentleman and to the House that the Government are currently paying about 50% of a typical household energy bill. Where are we getting that money from? We are largely getting it from taxing the gas and oil companies.

Photo of Emma Hardy Emma Hardy Labour, Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle

Labour has a plan to upgrade our homes and eradicate fuel poverty with a warm homes plan to insulate 19 million homes over a decade. Does the Secretary of State regret the decision of the Liberal Democrat and Conservative coalition Government to cut the “green crap”, as a previous Prime Minister put it? That left people in poorly insulated homes and with expensive homes.

Photo of Grant Shapps Grant Shapps The Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero

I explained in an earlier answer that we have gone from having just 14% of homes in 2010 with an energy rating of A to C to having 46% today. So it is clear that these plans have been working, and I have just talked about another £12.6 billion to finish off the job.

Photo of Bim Afolami Bim Afolami Conservative, Hitchin and Harpenden

There are people in my constituency and across the country who need a lot of advice on how to retrofit older homes in an affordable way. The issue is not just the cost of retrofitting, but good advice on how to do that. I declare an interest: I happen to live in an older home where such advice may be needed. How will the Government help many people in my constituency, and indeed across the country, get that sort of advice on retrofitting older homes?

Photo of Grant Shapps Grant Shapps The Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero

My hon. Friend, who is in a neighbouring constituency to mine, will be delighted to hear that the ECO+ scheme—another £1 billion—is specifically aimed at trying to get to homes in the private and commercial sector that are sometimes harder to decarbonise. It is one scheme that he will want to consider, but, without wishing to give too much away, he should watch this space.

Photo of Bill Esterson Bill Esterson Shadow Minister (Business and Industrial Strategy)

We were insulating 10 times as many homes in 2010 as this Government are doing now. Everyone knows what has happened since the Secretary of State’s Government decided to get rid of the “green crap”. Will he adopt Labour’s plan to insulate 19 million homes over the next 10 years? It has the support of the Construction Leadership Council, the Federation of Master Builders and the building trade as a whole. It will create new jobs, cut bills and play its part in reducing carbon emissions. Will he do it?

Photo of Grant Shapps Grant Shapps The Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero

This is one of those slightly odd parallel universes: we are saying that we have gone from just 14% to 46% of homes with A to C ratings—[Interruption.] My right hon. Friend the Minister of State suggests we might even be hitting 47%. I have also stood at this Dispatch Box and talked about £12.6 billion of investment to go even further, yet the Labour party will not just say, “That is very good, and we’ll support you.”

Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Shadow Minister (Climate Change and Net Zero)

The fact is that, in the last Tory manifesto, the Government promised to spend £9.2 billion on energy efficiency, but they have allocated only £6.6 billion of that, over £2 billion of which has still not be spent. The Lords have just described take-up of the boiler upgrade scheme as “disappointingly low” and Government promotion of the scheme as “inadequate”. Does the Minister at least acknowledge that, at current insulation rates, it will take 92 years to retrofit the 19 million homes that need it and that if we are to bring down energy costs for people who are struggling with sky-high bills now, he needs to do a whole lot better?

Photo of Grant Shapps Grant Shapps The Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero

There is still a considerable chunk of this Parliament left to run. As I have explained several times—I will say it again for the hon. Lady, who may have missed the point—we have already got pretty close to half the homes in this country being rated A to C —up from just 14%. We are well on our way to getting this job done. I appreciate her encouragement, but we will finish this off ourselves.