Energy Company Obligation — [Nadine Dorries in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:56 pm on 11th March 2014.

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Photo of Lilian Greenwood Lilian Greenwood Shadow Minister (Transport) 2:56 pm, 11th March 2014

My hon. Friend is right. Clifton is the largest scheme in Nottingham, but Candle Meadow is equally important, albeit of a different property type.

Ilona, Kate and Ennis are just three of my constituents whose homes need to be made more energy efficient, but there are more than 20,000 solid wall, hard-to-treat properties in Nottingham and our city is not untypical of the position throughout the UK, which has more than 7.6 million uninsulated solid wall homes.

Nottingham council is committed to improving the quality of its housing stock and tackling the fuel poverty that affects more than one in seven households in our city. It has long understood that improving council homes has wider positive social impacts. I have spoken before in this Chamber about the council’s decent homes programme, known locally as Secure Warm Modern, which began in 2008 and which, when complete, will have delivered double-glazed windows, loft and cavity wall insulation and new boilers to more than 20,000 council properties.

A joint impact study by Nottingham City Homes and Nottingham Trent university’s business school found that improvements to the physical condition of properties led to improved outcomes for tenants and better security, health and comfort, and that it also impacted on the wider community, by reducing carbon emissions, providing employment opportunities and improving neighbourhoods. It was as a result of working with Nottingham City Homes to secure funding for the completion of decent homes that I began to understand the challenges involved in tackling our city’s hard-to-treat solid wall houses.

I first raised these issues with the Minister in July 2012, explaining that Nottingham City Homes could use the decent homes funding to lever in additional benefits from the green deal’s energy company obligation, if there was more certainty about funding.