§ Queen's recommendation having been signified—
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That, for the purposes of any Act resulting from the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Bill, it is expedient to authorise the payment out of money provided by Parliament of—
§ Mr. Eric Forth (Bromley and Chislehurst)
We come again to a money resolution on a very interesting Bill that occupied the House a couple of Fridays ago. The money resolution is more interesting than usual. Although the wording is cast in terms of the sort that we have become used to, we have also become used to the fact that Ministers never do the House the courtesy of speaking to the money resolution and explaining what its contents might be. That means that the more curious of us have to ask a number of questions to elicit information from them. It is a pity that things are done that way round, but that seems to be how they prefer it, so I am very happy, as always, to ask my few modest questions to try to find out from the Minister what lies behind the money resolution.
We are discussing the potentially significant Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Bill and—we are used to this—the money resolution is opaque. It does not tell us how much money we are being asked to vote, but in some ways it is worse because it refers to the authorisation ofthe payment out of money provided by Parliament…That is the key phrase, as ever. The House is being asked to authorise expenditure of taxpayers' money. The money resolution goes on to refer toany increase attributable to the Act in the sums which tinder any other Act are payable out of money so provided.
In the usual way, we are given no indication at all of the amounts involved. That would be interesting enough, but as the Minister knows—he sat through the debate on the Bill, which took about five hours—we failed to get any indication at all of the scale of expenditure that might be involved and hence might give us a clue as to the scope of the money resolution. I give a few brief examples from Hansard, which will probably suffice. The Bill's promoter, my hon. Friend the Member for Southend, West (Mr. Amess), was asked how much expenditure might be involved. He said:I would be stupid to give a figure that would be used in evidence against me. We can pluck any figure out of the air.That is not an encouraging start for a House anxious to know exactly what amount might lie behind the money resolution. The promoter was coy on the subject—I put it no higher than that.
I decided to seek further guidance and inspiration from my hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Sir S. Chapman)—a senior and experienced Member who is also an architect. He is, moreover, the Chairman of the Select Committee on Accommodation and Works. 937 One would have thought that he had enormous knowledge of such matters. On the subject of what the Bill might involve in costs and in public expenditure, my hon. Friend said:the Bill contains no guesstimate of its cost. I believe that it will cost a considerable amount of money…I would estimate the cost at approximately £500,000 million a year.
I am not sure that that is what my hon. Friend said, or intended to say—I can only quote the words in Hansard. That is the first figure on the record from an expert—£500,000 million a year is what the Bill might cost the taxpayer. He continued:I also estimate that a programme of eradicating fuel poverty and ensuring that all the housing stock is satisfactorily insulated would take 15 years.
We are talking about an expenditure programme of 15 years that may cost the amount estimated by my hon. Friend.
§ Ms Joan Walley (Stoke-on-Trent, North)
Will the right hon. Gentleman tell the House the cost of fuel poverty? What would it cost not to take action to ensure that households are not in fuel poverty, leading to ill health? Is he aware of the work of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in York? The foundation has estimated that fuel poverty has a huge effect in terms of ill health and its costs to the national health service.
§ Mr. Forth
I refute the whole concept of fuel poverty. It is nonsense, as I tried to point out in some of my interventions in the debate. Unfortunately, we ran out of time before I could make the speech that was bubbling up inside me.
Fuel poverty is nonsense. I am much more interested in food poverty, for example. The average family spends much more on food than on fuel. Many families cannot even afford enough food. During the debate, I cited figures that showed that the lowest decile of families by income spend the same proportion of their income on alcohol and tobacco as they do on fuel. Much nonsense is talked about fuel poverty; I am not convinced of it as a concept, so I do not feel that it is relevant.
My hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet added:My view is that we need to insulate 5 million houses in England more effectively and at the top end, although I hope that the figure may not be so great, as many as 8 million throughout the United Kingdom.Although no one has yet given a definitive or authoritative figure, we are beginning to realise that the Bill might involve the expenditure of large sums. However, for reasons that I am beginning to understand, the Minister has not yet given us a figure; nor did the Bill's promoter, my hon. Friend the Member for Southend, West—for reasons that I also understand.
We have to look further for inspiration and guidance on the matter. My hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Mr. Green), the Front-Bench spokesman on that occasion, said:if the House supports the Bill—as I hope that it will—we need to think through the taxation and spending consequences.That is an understatement if ever I heard one. I agree with him; it would be desirable to think through those consequences. I would have thought it more desirable to 938 do so before Second Reading or before we approve the money resolution. If not, the House will be asked to sign a blank cheque. That would not be a responsible way to undertake our duties.
I then looked to see whether the Minister gave any guidance in the debate about what he thought the Government might be committing themselves to were we to support the Bill and the money resolution. I am afraid that I looked in vain. He had much to say about current programmes of different types and he pointed out:According to recent estimates, at least 4.3 million households have difficulty with fuel bills.That was a modest use of words; the phrase "difficulty with fuel bills" is a fair way of putting it. I do not necessarily disagree with that, although I would not want to get involved with the ludicrous concept of fuel poverty. However, he offered no more clues as to how much he thought the Government might commit themselves, and therefore the taxpayer, to as a result of the Bill.
I was slightly encouraged—I hope that the Minister will not disappoint me when he replies—when he said:We have to consider provisions for bringing the measure into force and, bearing in mind the Government's current spending commitments and reviews, we want to consider carefully the references to time scales and targets.—[Official Report, 10 March 2000; Vol. 345, c. 1306-354.]That was the kind of responsible statement that we have come to expect from him. However, there was still no clue as to whether the expenditure involved in implementing the Bill might be within the scope that the Government can afford.
We are in an unusual position. A Bill has been introduced by my hon. Friend the Member for Southend, West and it received enormous praise and support on Second Reading. However, it received all that support with no one having any idea how much money would be required to implement its provisions properly. For fans of the concept of fuel poverty who think that it is a real problem that must be tackled, I am left with the thought that they must have gone away from the Second Reading debate, in which they expressed their concerns eloquently, wondering how the Government would solve the problem. The Bill gave no sign of how that would be done and the Government did not say how much taxpayers' money they would commit to fulfilling the high aspirations expressed in it. Indeed, my hon. Friend, the Bill's promoter, was not able or prepared to tell the House what he thought would be necessary to fulfil its purposes.
The terms of the money resolution ask the House to give the Government an apparent blank cheque. It refers toany increase attributable to the Act in the sums which under any other Act are payable out of money so provided.That has all the appearances of a blank cheque. Nothing in the Bill tells us how much might be required and nothing in five hours of debate told us how much money would be involved to deal with the alleged problem of fuel poverty. Will the expenditure be focused and specific or will it be general and blanket? We have no idea of the answer.
A cynic might say that the Bill will commit the Government to very little other than expressing rather vague targets. In the remarks that I quoted, the Minister gave a hint that, even then, the Government might want to reconsider the targets and move them around a bit, 939 so that they are not too taxing and do not involve a commitment in the foreseeable future. That is one interpretation.
There is a quite different interpretation. To deal adequately and properly with the problem of so-called fuel poverty, enormous sums of money would have to be spent, and spent quickly, to tackle the problems that were described so eloquently by many hon. Members on Second Reading.
We are in a peculiarly difficult position. We are being asked to vote for an unknown sum of money that could vary from not very much, if little comes out of the Bill and the problem of fuel poverty is hardly dealt with, to an inordinately enormous sum of taxpayers' money. Perhaps it will not be as much as my hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet suggested, but it could be several billions of pounds over a period of years if the problem is to be dealt with effectively. We just do not know what is involved.
I suggest that, unless the Minister is now able, having given the matter some reflection, to give us a far clearer idea of how much spending might be involved, the House should not give its assent to the money resolution. It should not do so until further consideration has been given to the extent of the taxpayer's involvement and commitment in the aims set out under the Bill. That is the only responsible attitude that the House can adopt.
It cannot be right for the House of Commons, on behalf of the taxpayer, to agree to the form of words before us, given that hon. Members have no idea of the extent of the commitment involved. That is my simple plea. I hope that, unless the Minister is able to provide a full and convincing explanation of what is involved, the House will not give its assent to the money resolution.
§ 12 midnight
§ Mr. David Maclean (Penrith and The Border)
First, I apologise to you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to the Under-Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions and to the House for not having been present for the Minister's opening remarks on this important subject.
§ Mr. Maclean
In that case, I apologise to my right hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Mr. Forth) for not having been here to hear the bulk of his most erudite and interesting speech.
§ Mr. Maclean
I was not paying attention to the Annunciator, because I assumed that the Government would want to make more progress tonight on the Freedom of Information Bill.
The money resolution relates to the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Bill. I draw the attention of the House to clause 2, which is entitled "Duties of the appropriate authority", subsection (2)(a) of which states that the strategy that the appropriate authority has to draw up should includemeasures which the appropriate authority believes are required to ensure the fitting of a comprehensive package of home insulation, heating and other energy efficiency measures to the homes of persons in fuel poverty.940 We know that estimates of the number of homes of persons in fuel poverty range from 1 million to 4 million. However, the more homes are insulated and upgraded, the greater will be the number of people caught in the net of a new definition of fuel poverty—inevitably, as is the case with any definition of poverty, the threshold will be lowered over time.
Britain is urged, over a 15-year period, to catch up with Finland, Sweden and other countries that are regarded as having higher standards of home insulation, but I assume that those countries will not stand still during that period. As technology improves, so will their methods of home insulation, with the result that, in 15 years' time, we shall be told that, despite implementing the marvellous programme set out the Bill, Britain still lags behind other, more sophisticated and better insulated countries and that we must embark on further energy efficiency programmes.
I commend my hon. Friend the Member for Southend, West (Mr. Amess) on the way in which he steered his Bill through Second Reading. Even though he has not had the privilege of serving as a high-ranking Minister, despite being an admirable Parliamentary Private Secretary to other Ministers, on that occasion, he displayed the skill envied by Ministers of being able carefully to avoid answering all questions about the cost of his Bill. He said that cost was a matter to be considered in Committee, addressed in due course, discussed on Report. His masterful answers did not, however, satisfy those of us who are concerned about the cost implications of the Bill.
Given that clause 2(2)(a) refers toa comprehensive package of home insulation, heating and other energy efficiency measuresfor up to 4 million homes in this country, is it any wonder that some conclude that, over the time scale envisaged, the cost might total as much as £15 billion?
§ Mr. Tom Brake (Carshalton and Wallington)
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a Government amendment has been tabled that would delete that "comprehensive package"?
§ Mr. Maclean
That makes it all the more important that we get a firm statement from the Government on what the cost will be. I have been considering my hon. Friend's Bill. My concern, if I may say so in the nicest possible way, is that it is incredibly well meaning, but it lacks teeth.
I listened carefully to my hon. Friend as he advanced his Bill in the House, and I was convinced that there was some merit in some parts of the Bill. I have been contemplating amendments to the Bill on Report which would give the targets some proper teeth—amendments that would specify sums of money. I was worried that my amendments would be out of order because the Government would probably not table a money resolution and I would not be able to advance them.
Now we have a money resolution, it is appropriate for me to consider amendments that would give the Bill some financial muscle and some certainty, so that the 4 million people out there in fuel poverty are not misled into thinking that the Government have supported a Bill that will make things better for them, only to find that it has no teeth.
941 However, we find that the Government intend to delete the comprehensive package. When my hon. Friend proudly told the House that the Government were supporting his measure, was he aware that he would be stabbed in the back by them?
§ Mr. Forth
My right hon. Friend is starting to persuade me that the open-ended nature of the money resolution could be to the advantage of the Bill. If my right hon. Friend persuades me that we need to toughen the Bill up and make it effective, rather than waffle, an open-ended money resolution would provide the vehicle whereby large commitments could be made, so that the alleged problem of fuel poverty could be properly addressed. If my right hon. Friend works a little harder, he might take me with him.
§ Mr. Maclean
My right hon. and erudite Friend always has a certain logic about him. He may initially have been opposed to the Bill when it was introduced in a different form, without the considerable experience that my hon. Friend the Member for Southend, West brought to it. My right hon. Friend may have been opposed to the Bill because of the excessive burden that it may impose on the taxpayer for no apparent gain. Now, I believe that my right hon. Friend was concerned about the Bill because he thought that it might be meaningless.
The Bill was well sounding. It seems that the Government supported it only because they thought that it had no teeth. Now they are proposing to weaken it further by removing the word "comprehensive". If the Government are planning to support my hon. Friend's Bill and put it on the statute book because it will not cost them a penny, that would be gross sabotage of the Bill and would make a mockery of the money resolution that we are putting through tonight.
That will leave the 4 million people out there, alleged to be in fuel poverty, and mislead them into thinking that the Government are planning expenditure on the measure, hence the money resolution. The good news is that I may persuade my right hon. Friend to support me in the amendments that I am considering to my hon. Friend's Bill, to put some proper financial targets into the measure.
If the Government wish to remove the word "comprehensive" and insert the words "half-hearted or wishy-washy strategy for a partial programme of home insulation, heating and other energy efficiency measures here and there in the country, whenever we feel like it in the future", I must tell them that alternative amendments will be tabled when the Bill comes back on Report. I look forward to my hon. Friend supporting them. His Bill is important.
We spent a whole day one Friday ensuring that my hon. Friend's Bill got through and was not sabotaged by the wreckers on the Government side, who block so many Bills on Friday. My hon. Friend had to do his utmost to persuade the Government Whips Department not to block 942 his Bill and to let it through. We all know the record of those on the Government Front Bench on blocking Bills on a Friday.
We spent six hours ensuring that the Bill of my hon. Friend the Member for Southend, West proceeded to Committee. Yet it appears that the Government have tabled amendments that make a mockery of the money resolution. What is the point of including in the Bill a money resolution that states:There shall be paid out of money provided by Parliament any expenses of the Secretary of State or of the National Assembly for Wales under this Act; and any increase attributable to this Act in the sums payable under any other Actif the Government have tabled an amendment to delete the first clause, which would make a difference to those in fuel poverty?
Clause 2(2)(b) provides formeasures which the appropriate authority believes are required to ensure that households in fuel poverty have access to appropriate fuel tariffs which encourage the efficient use of energy.We can speculate that if 4 million homes are to be insulated to the Swedish or Finnish standard, it will cost £4 billion or £5 billion. However, neither the Government nor the briefing material from the special interest groups provide an estimate of the cost.
What measures would appropriate authorities deem suitable to ensure that households in fuel povertyhave access to appropriate fuel tariffs which encourage the efficient use of energy?What doesaccess to appropriate fuel tariffsmean? It must mean that tariffs for those in fuel poverty are cut or reduced. That means an element of subsidy, or heating payments, which must come from the taxpayer, not the appropriate authority. We therefore require a statement from the Government that outlines their calculations of the cost of the fuel tariff subsidy if clause 2(2)(b) is to be effected. I intended to explore the matter on Report.
The phrase, which my hon. Friend the Member for Southend, West, with the assistance of the parliamentary draftsmen, had incorporated in the Bill seemed cleverly and carefully worded. However, it does not have teeth. I wanted to consider clause 2(2)(b) in a little more detail. However, I wait to be advised about whether the Government have tabled an amendment to delete that provision. If so, it would underline the cynicism that the Government have displayed towards the Bill.
Clause 2(2)(c) requires the appropriate authority to devise a strategy onany other energy efficiency measures which in the opinion of the appropriate authority will reduce the extent of fuel poverty.What could those measures be? What would they cost? Are we debating an important money resolution when the House is not sure about the cost of clause 2(2)(c)? The Minister, with the excellent briefing that one receives from Department for the Environment, Transport and the Regions officials, doubtless has some calculations. Perhaps if we had made further progress on the Freedom of Information Bill, we might be in a position to exact those details from the Government.
What does the Minister's brief say about the Department's estimated cost of clause 2(2)(c) and "any other efficiency measures", which may reduce fuel poverty? The Government 943 must have an estimate of the cost. If those costs are too high in the Government's opinion, I suspect that they will either table an amendment to delete clause 2(2)(c) or insert a further delaying clause on Report. I suspect that it will suggest that the final implementation target will be set in the far distant future. My hon. Friend the Member for Southend, West would not like that; it would be a cynical Government move to provide for local authorities to draw up strategies, which will be put on the shelf to gather dust.
Clause 2(3) suggests thatThe targets shall include a final target date…by which as far as is reasonable practicable no person will live in a home which cannot be kept warm at reasonable cost and shall also include at least one interim target.When considering the money motion and the costs that the taxpayer could incur under the Bill, we must have an indication of the time scale in which it will operate.
§ Mr. Forth
I remind my right hon. Friend that the Minister said on Second Reading:We have to consider provisions for bringing the measure into force and, bearing in mind the Govemment's current spending commitments and reviews, we want to consider carefully the references to time scales and targets.—[Official Report, 10 March 2000; Vol. 345, c. 1353-54.]My right hon. Friend may be asking too much, because the Minister has said that the Government will have to consider carefully—and we know what that usually means—the references to time scales and targets. I suspect that the time scales and targets may not survive the Committee stage.
§ Mr. Maclean
My right hon. Friend is right to remind me of the Minister's implied threat. It was a serious threat. He said in the nicest possible way with his usual ministerial smile that he would have to consider carefully the time scales and targets. We all know that that is ministerial speak for "we cannot have those time scales and targets, so we will have to remove them or delete them from the Bill."
The Government may remove my hon. Friend's modest proposal that the appropriate authorities should include a final target date. My hon. Friend does not even require that it should be the 15-year time scale that we used to hear about in other Bills. To ensure that he had the Government on board, he was so reasonable that he did not pin them down even to a 15-year time scale, yet they find even that unacceptable. If they find the rather loose phrase "a final target date" unacceptable, it must be because they are concerned about the overall cost in the time frame that they have in mind.
The Government are under a clear obligation to spell out what the costs would be if the Bill were to be implemented over five, 10 or 15 years. The total implementation costs may have been grossly exaggerated—that is possible, even with the excellent advice that my hon. Friend was given. Since the Bill received its Second Reading, I have had letters from insulation companies. They do not call themselves that—they are new millennium sophisticated heating companies. They say that they have the perfect solution to the problems addressed by my hon. Friend's Bill. They urge me to support it because they hope to sell 50 million highly efficient fuel condensing boilers and a lot of loft insulation.
944 I do not impugn the integrity of those companies, but many of them believe that they will make a lot of money from the Bill, if it is enacted, in a reasonably short time scale. The taxpayer will have to pick up that tab, and the Government may be exaggerating the overall costs.
If the cost of this measure turns out to be £2 billion over 20 years, it is reasonable, but if it is £15 billion over five years, that is an enormous cost. Given that the taxpayer is being fleeced by the Government, those costs would be unacceptable. The Government must give the House an idea of the overall cost of the four different, crucial provisions in clause 2(2)(a), (b), (c) and (d). When we have that figure, we will be in a position to make a judgment on whether the cost would be acceptable to the taxpayer and the Chancellor of the Exchequer if it were incurred over three, five, 10 or 25 years or a century.
I know that the Government have made those calculations. The Government could not have reached a view on the Bill in the Cabinet Sub-Committee, and the Treasury would not have consented to its getting as far as this, unless the Government had had fairly clear figures relating to the anticipated costs. The Minister would not be receiving his instructions from Cabinet Committee A or from the Treasury to pull the teeth of the Bill—to extract references to, for instance, a comprehensive plan, and to make the other amendments that we shall see—unless the Treasury had a fair idea of what the costs would be.
Given that both the Treasury and the Minister's Department have a fairly accurate idea of the costs, and that the Minister is therefore under instructions to remove the parts of the Bill that will require money, I believe that the Minister has an obligation to share the information that he has with the House. Otherwise, by the time we return to the Bill on Report, I shall probably have drafted amendments to specify costs in the Bill, to try to help my hon. Friend the Member for Southend, West to ensure that the 4 million people out there experiencing fuel poverty are not misled.
I shall also draft amendments putting in a sensible time scale. I may be opposed by my right hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst, and I suspect that we may have some fairly vociferous arguments on that Friday; but I want to ensure that, if the Government are going to kill the Bill by stealth, we have a fair idea of exactly what costs they find acceptable.
I may table amendments suggesting that the costs should range from perhaps £5 million per annum to £500 million per annum, and I shall want to hear from the Minister the level at which the Government find the costs acceptable. Then we may have an indication of whether they are taking the Bill seriously, or whether they are involved in an elaborate charade involving their officially supporting in the House a Bill that could have serious financial implications for them and pretending to the public and all the lobby organisations out there that they are supporting a Bill that will one day eradicate fuel poverty, while making dashed sure that they table amendments in Committee and on Report to remove the vital parts of the Bill that deliver the solutions.
If the Government are going to remove parts of the Bill that relate to financial targets and costs, they have involved us in a big charade tonight by tabling a money motion that is absolutely meaningless. Money motions are important: they represent the one control that the House 945 has, theoretically, over the Executive. But the Executive, of course, is backed by a large Labour majority, and can drive through money motions if it wishes to do so.
The Minister has written books about honesty and justice in our legal system. The Minister has a reputation for seeking out the truth. The Minister has a reputation for supporting freedom of information. Given all that, I should have thought that the Minister would wish to put his folder on the Dispatch Box and read out the figures that he has relating to the costs of the Bill.
The Minister will, of course, want to share those figures with the House. If he does so and they are reasonable, Conservative Members such as my right hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst—who may wish to oppose the Bill one day because he considers the costs excessive—may be highly embarrassed.
If the motion is not to prove meaningless, and if it is to be voted through by the Government's huge majority, the Minister owes it to us to tell us the costs of implementing clause 2(2)(a), (b), (c) and (d). Let him give us the overall ballpark figures; then my right hon. Friend might be able to support the Bill, and I might be persuaded to withdraw some of my amendments to put the figures into it.
§ Mr. David Amess (Southend, West)
The hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington (Mr. Brake) probably thought that he was helping me, but I think that he rather fed my right hon. Friend the Member for Penrith and The Border (Mr. Maclean) with some fuel.
I apologise to my right hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Mr. Forth) for missing his opening speech, but I think that he may have been slightly disingenuous in not mentioning that I had invited both him and my right hon. Friend the Member for Penrith and The Border to serve in Committee, which will begin considering the Bill tomorrow.
I also sent my right hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst quite a detailed analysis of the overall costing. He will know that that showed that, in many cases, savings would pay for the programme's costs. Private finance also could be used. Transco and Scottish Power have already launched various schemes. Today, I received a letter from the Electricity Association, which will help with the project. I also know that, on Second Reading, the Minister said that the measure would not cost anything extra. I very much hope that the Minister will reinforce that point today.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions(Mr. Chris Mullin)
I thought that I had drawn the short straw when I heard that I had to be in the Chamber at this late hour, but the right hon. Members for Penrith and The Border (Mr. Maclean) and for Bromley and Chislehurst (Mr. Forth) are a class act, and it was well worth waiting for.
The Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Bill, promoted by the hon. Member for Southend, West (Mr. Amess), enshrines commitments and mirrors 946 measures that we already have in hand. For that reason, we do not believe that anything in the Bill would increase public expenditure above and beyond current commitments. The right hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst was quoting from my Second Reading speech, but he seemed to overlook the sentence that said that the Bill was unlikely to have any financial implications.
As hon. Members have suggested, the Bill may not require a money resolution. However, it is important to note that amendments may be tabled at some stage that would require a money resolution. It is of course difficult to be certain, but if an amendment were tabled or circumstances arose in which consideration of financial issues was necessary, we would not want to restrict debate on the Bill simply because the resolution had not been agreed to beforehand.
Therefore, although in the Bill's current form we believe that it is unlikely to create a charge on public funds, we should not dismiss the possibility that the Committee chairman night need to put the question on charging provisions. Agreement of the resolution would enable a full and careful examination of the Bill to occur. It is the usual courtesy for hon. Members to agree and support such resolutions on private Members' Bills, and I trust that they will support this one.
Agreement to the resolution does not commit the Government to additional expenditure—[Interruption.] I knew that that would cheer up the right hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst, but it will not be news to him, because I said it in my Second Reading speech. Unaccountably, he omitted that bit when he was quoting from my speech. However, the resolution will allow the Committee, which meets tomorrow, to consider the Bill and to consider any concerns that the Government may have on any financial implications and the control of public expenditure. I commend the resolution to the House.
§ Mr. Peter Bottomley (Worthing, West)
As I understand it, the Minister said that the Bill can be considered in Committee and become law without the money resolution, and that the money resolution only allows amendments to be made to the Bill. If the resolution were not agreed, it could create a dilemma for my right hon. Friends the Members for Bromley and Chislehurst (Mr. Forth) and for Penrith and The Border (Mr. Maclean), who may want to move amendments to the Bill.
I—with the encouragement of Worthing borough council—want the Bill to become law. We should like to see far fewer people in fuel poverty, and the creation of targets in achieving that.
§ Question put and agreed to.
That, for the purposes of any Act resulting from the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Bill, it is expedient to authorise the payment out of money provided by Parliament of—