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Housing Energy Efficiency

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 12:23 pm on 30th March 2000.

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Photo of Robin Harper Robin Harper Green 12:23 pm, 30th March 2000

Somewhere deep in the recesses of Victoria Quay, there is somebody who writes every single Executive amendment. All those amendments come to us in the same self-congratulatory tone and ignore the facts that are staring the Executive in the face.

I was glad to hear the minister mention, for the first time in this debate, the possibility of ring fencing. The sum of £100 million is spent every year by the NHS on curing the problems that are caused by poor housing and dampness, while about £5 million to £6 million is spent on addressing those problems through insulation programmes, the warm deal and so on. We have things upside down.

Today's debate will achieve one thing if it drives housing energy efficiency further up the agenda, for the country and for the Parliament. It is an education concern—think of the child doing his or her homework, in the one room of the house that can be heated, with the rest of the family watching television. It is also a health concern, an income concern and an environmental concern, and must be the top priority for the next year of the Scottish Parliament. That is why I cannot accept the tone of the Executive amendment.

I am also sad that the Tories have bottled out, just as they did last week in the debate on genetically modified organisms. If the Tories had voted for my motion in the GMO debate, the Executive would have had its nose put slightly out of joint. Today, the Tories have bottled out again.