3. Mr. Andy Stewart
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is his estimate of energy efficiency savings so far achieved by Government Departments; and if he will make a statement.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy (Mr. David Hunt)
All Government Departments have been made aware of the need to establish and implement effective energy management practices during Energy Efficiency Year.
I recognise the valuable work that my hon. Friend has done during Energy Efficiency Year, but is there not still a shocking waste of energy in Government Departments and offices, particularly here in the offices in the Palace of Westminster?
Will my hon. Friend give me an assurance that he, as the Minister, will set an example for the rest of industry to follow?
§ Mr. Hunt
My Department's energy manager has already cut the consumption of electricity under his control by about 10 per cent. My hon. Friend is right to emphasise the considerable savings that can still he made. As to the Palace of Westminster, I hope that the hon. Member who shouted "Hot air" will realise that I am not an expert in these matters. I understand that there is a great deal of surplus heat in the Palace of Westminster and I know that the Accommodation and Administration Sub-Committee would greatly welcome any practical suggestions as to how best it could usefully be re-cycled.
§ Mr. Rowlands
In addition to savings in Government Departments, does the hon. Gentleman recall the Public Accounts Committee report, which said that huge savings could be made in the National Health Service which could be used for better patient care? How much progress has been made towards the targets that the PAC said should be set?
§ Mr. Hunt
The hon. Gentleman has made a good point. He will be aware that I and my hon. Friend iat the Department of Health and Social Security launched a major initiative with all the regional health authorities, and he will be aware of the publication of the Encode, which has gone to all managers in the Health Service. I hope that we shall soon see those ambitious but, nevertheless, necessary targets being met.
§ Mr. Rost
Is my hon. Friend aware that the enormous savings in the Health Service, Defence Department and all other parts of the public sector will not be achieved until he persuades the Treasury to remove the stupid restriction that prevents private enterprise third party financed energy management companies from offering services to the public sector without it being added to the public sector borrowing requirement, even if the investment is financed from outside by the private sector?