HC Deb 30 January 1984 vol 53 cc3-4
3. Mr. Bermingham

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will introduce a comprehensive national insulation plan.

The Minister of State, Department of Energy (Mr. Alick Buchanan-Smith)

There is already a comprehensive set of measures to promote insulation. If the hon. Gentleman has any further suggestions, I. am ready to consider them.

Mr. Bermingham

How does the Minister reconcile his Department's campaign with the lack of incentives because of the cut in availability of grants for the domestic consumer for insulation, and with the failure by his and other Departments to develop a capital grants system in the private sector to encourage householders to install energy conservation techniques and facilities?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

The hon. Gentleman is ignoring what is happening. This year we are spending about £40 million on the insulation of lofts, pipes and tank lagging, and more will be spent in the next financial year. In that and other ways a considerable amount of money is being spent and I believe that that expenditure is well worth while.

Mr. Rost

Will my right hon. Friend do more to make known to the public the latest welcome extension to the Homes Insulation Act, so that people will know that more help is available?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

Yes, that is important. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment hopes to announce early in the next financial year a new topping-up scheme for loft insulation. I shall consider whether there is adequate publicity, because it is an important scheme.

Mr. Kennedy

Will the Minister take note of the problems which many people, including my constituents, face over the effect of cavity wall insulation foam on timber-frame houses? Will he bring pressure to bear on his colleagues in the Government, who have so far said that they will not put pressure on building societies which are not now supporting buyers of timber-frame houses which have suffered severe damage as a result of deficiencies in the foam insulation programme?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

The point raised by the hon. Gentleman is related more to the building regulations within the construction industry. He will no doubt follow up the point with my hon. Friend at the Scottish Office who is responsible for the construction industry.

Mr. Orme

Does not the decision of the Welsh Office fly in the face of what the Minister has just said? When did he become aware that home insulation grants had been cancelled for the remainder of this year by the Welsh Office? What action will his Department take to reverse that decision?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I hope the right hon. Gentleman will welcome the fact that during the next financial year £4 million will be spent in Wales on the home insulation scheme. That is nearly double the amount spent in the present financial year.