HC Deb 08 February 1982 vol 17 cc730-1
14. Mr. Michaelal Morris

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he has any plans to revise the incentives available to the industrial and domestic sector for the insulation of buildings.

Mr. Mellor

The homes insulation scheme is kept under review and changes are announced from time to time by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment. Any revision of the tax allowances presently available for investment in industrial insulation projects would be a matter for my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Mr. Morris

Does my hon. Friend accept that the gains from a further drive on industrial insulation would far outweigh those on the domestic front? Should not he and his Department be pressing the Chancellor of the Exchequer for some additional incentives in that area?

Mr. Mellor

I think that it sells short the case for insulation to suggest that only by Government incentives will it come about. Insulation in industry, as domestically, is a highly cost-effective way of making business competitive. As I go round the country I see ample evidence that people are getting the message.

Mr. John Evans

Is the Minister aware that many people, particularly old-age pensioners, are shocked to find that, because they installed 1 in of insulation in their lofts 20 years ago, they are disqualified from receiving local authority grants? Does the hon. Gentleman recognise that it causes considerable hardship and will he relax the regulations so that such people may receive the benefit?

Mr. Mellor

The first task facing the Government is to ensure that the several million homes that are not yet insulated get some measure of insulation. That is why the scheme that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment is implementing is cast in the way that it is. The hon. Gentleman has raised a point that many others have raised. I shall be more than happy to look at it and to make representations if that seems the right thing to do.