HC Deb 19 July 1995 vol 263 c1654
10. Ms Lynne

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to extend the remit of grants available under the home energy efficiency scheme. [33380]

Mr. Robert B. Jones

This year, about 600,000 homes will be insulated under the scheme. Since 1993–94, we have increased the money going into it by 185 per cent., and we are now seeing whether there are any further ways in which to make it more effective.

Ms Lynne

However welcome the home energy efficiency scheme is, does the Minister agree that, if the Government gave wall insulation grants as well, it would help the environment and help to fight fuel poverty?

Mr. Jones

I agree that cavity fill is worth considering. There are many cases where it might be more effective than other forms of insulation. It is one of the areas that I want to consider during our review.

Mr. Brandreth

I congratulate my hon. Friend on his recent promotion, which was richly deserved in view of his sheer brilliance and because of the time and attention he has given to the City of Chester, which he visited recently in connection with this very scheme.

Will my hon. Friend confirm that the scheme will benefit 600,000 homes in the coming year? Will he further confirm that the people whose homes in Chester I visited are saving several pounds a week in fuel costs since taking advantage of the scheme, as well as enjoying greater comfort?

Mr. Jones

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his kind comments. It is sad that we are discussing this subject so soon after the death of his predecessor, who was a leading figure in the home insulation sector and president of the neighbourhood energy action group.

I confirm that we estimate that 600,000 homes will be insulated this year, bringing to well over 1 million the number that have benefited from the scheme.