HC Deb 16 January 1974 vol 867 c533
19. Mr. Rost

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will now allow improvements to thermal insulation and double glazing on existing property to qualify for grants, in the interests of long-term savings of national energy resources.

Mr. Channon

As I informed my hon. Friend the Member for Hampstead (Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg) on 25th October—[Vol. 861, c. 651]—improvement grant for thermal insulation may be given, at the discretion of the local authority, as part of a full scheme of improvement to bring older dwellings up to modern standards.

Mr. Rost

Is the Government aware that this is becoming a matter of priority in view of the fact that thermal insulation standards in this country are about the worst in Europe, since only about one-quarter of the heat put into houses is used to heat them, the remainder being wasted? In view of the need to conserve energy and to save hundreds of millions of pounds on the balance of payments, should we not give this matter top priority?

Mr. Channon

I sympathise with my hon. Friend's views. Provisions are being made in the Health and Safety at Work Bill to amend the building regulations, and it is intended to make new standards of thermal insulation compulsory for the future.

Mr. Blenkinsop

As there is widespread feeling about this, can the Minister assure us that it will be possible to include it within standard grant or other comparable procedures without delay?

Mr. Channon

I must ask the hon. Gentleman to await publication of the Bill.