HC Deb 07 November 1983 vol 48 cc9-10
9. Mr. Forman

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what were the total energy savings by sector attributable to energy conservation policy for each year from 1979 to the latest available date.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I have arranged for information to be published in the Official Report. In overall terms, between 1979 and 1982 final energy consumption fell by 12 per cent. About a third of this reduction was due mainly to economic pricing and energy efficiency measures.

Mr. Forman

I welcome that answer and look forward to reading the details in the Official Report. Does my right hon. Friend accept that in the past reliance upon realistic economic pricing, as part of Government energy consevation policy was too heavy, and that perhaps it might be helpful in future to make it clear that both grants and incentives have equally important parts to play?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

That is why we have set up the energy efficiency office and are embarking on a campaign of energy conservation. Already, through the energy conservation demonstration programme and the energy conservation scheme, a number of positive things are being done. I agree with my hon. Friend that this matter requires more drive, and we are giving it.

Following is the information:

The changes in final energy consumption in million tonnes of coal or coal equivalent, between 1979 and, separately, 1980, 1981 and 1982 are as follows:

MTCE 1980 change on 1979 1981 change on 1979 1982 change on 1979
Domestic -2.52 -2.66 -3.43
Industrial -16.03 -20.03 -23.07
Commercial etc. -0.49 -0.46 -0.40
Transport +0.27 -1.63 -0.51

The figures for 1980 and 1981 show minor changes to the information given to my hon. Friend on 23 March 1983. These changes result from the availability of revised data.

It is difficult to separate out in quantitative terms over such a short period of time the effects on energy consumption, of changes in economic activity, on the one hand, and a combination of pricing and other energy efficiency measures, on the other.

However, between 1979 and 1982 final energy consumption fell by 12 per cent., whereas over the same period real GDP fell by only 1.5 per cent.

10. Mr. Leigh

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how much was spent on energy conservation by his Department in the last 12 months.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

My Department spent £10.9 million in 1982–83.

Mr. Leigh

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that, bearing in mind the timely announcement of the setting up of the energy efficiency office and his stated belief that Britain should become the most energy-efficient nation in western Europe, the Department of Energy will invest more resources in energy conservation than it has in the past year?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

Yes. I am glad to tell my hon. Friend that the Government hope next year to increase by £3 million the figure that I have already mentioned.

Mr. Rost

Given the Government's initiative in setting up the energy efficiency office as recommended by a Select Committee a year ago, will my right hon. Friend consider reviewing the Homes Insulation Act 1978, thereby making it more effective?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I wish to pay tribute to the part played by my hon. Friend the Member for Erewash (Mr. Rost) in the Select Committee's report, and I shall examine the matter that he has raised.

Mr. Orme

The energy efficiency office issued a pamphlet in which it said: It can make firms more profitable, more competitive and create jobs. That seems to be a change of Government policy, in view of what they said before the June election. Will the right hon. Gentleman say how many jobs will be created?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

Before, during and since the eletion, the Government's policy has always been to make industry more efficient and effective. That is the best way to retain jobs and create new ones. If industry would invest in the conservation programme, the Government believe that a potential saving of £300 million a year could be realised. Such a programme would require a once-and-for-all investment of £300 million. Given that industry can obtain a 100 per cent. return on its investment in one year, I hope that it will respond to the challenge.

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