Energy Company Obligation — [Nadine Dorries in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:09 pm on 11th March 2014.

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Photo of Gregory Barker Gregory Barker The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change 4:09 pm, 11th March 2014

No; I obviously did not explain this properly. What I am saying is that we could not do the whole lot, the 7 million or so—I think that that is the figure, off the top of my head—properties that need to be done at this price, so what we are doing, as we work with other technologies, is getting the market going, using the green deal communities subsidy and the cashback that we have announced to jump-start the market and to fund the amount that we judge we can afford. That is in order to get the market working and to bring forward innovation; and as the market gets going, so we will see the price come down. We should use Government policy as a lever to drive down the cost, just as we have used Government policy in support of feed-in-tariff technologies as a means of driving down cost; and as costs come down, that should not be passed across in inflated profits to installers. It should come across in benefits to consumers, whether they are bill payers or people who are purchasing the technology. That is at the heart of the green deal.

We are trying to move away from the model that was used under Labour, in which there was 100% subsidy. Basically, what that meant was a glorified lottery. Millions of homes were substandard, and each year a lucky few thousand would win the lottery of insulation and get every single measure fully funded. I do not begrudge those home owners or people in the rented sector who had their homes upgraded, but that is not the fairest way of doing it. Yes, there are those who are fuel-poor who will never be able to make a meaningful contribution. We must accept that, but most people who fall into this category are capable of making a meaningful contribution to something that will add considerably to the value of their home.