HC Deb 04 July 2003 vol 408 cc720-1
Mr. Chope

I beg to move amendment No. 9, in page 2, line 7, at end insert in respect of residential accommodation and at least one energy efficiency aim in respect of office accommodation.".

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following amendments:

No. 10, in page 2, line 10, leave out "residential".

No. 11, in line 20, leave out "residential".

No. 12, in clause 3, page 2, line 38, at end insert

in respect of residential accommodation and at least one energy efficiency aim in respect of office accommodation.".

No. 13, in page 2, line 41, leave out "residential".

No. 14, in page 3, line 8, leave out "residential".

Mr. Chope

The amendments identify a lacuna in the Bill. The Government sit on an enormous office estate. Those of us who occasionally visit it know that it is overheated, badly designed and wasteful of fuel and energy. However, the Government are prepared to accept only obligations on people with individual houses, which is unsatisfactory. If the Government were to accept the amendments, it would demonstrate that they are serious about their desire to improve energy efficiency.

Brian White

I had to draw the line in the Bill somewhere. Many people wanted me to include provisions on many things, such as transport. I drew the line where I drew it and although I have sympathy with the points made by the hon. Member for Christchurch (Mr. Chope), I ask him to withdraw the amendment.

Mr. Timms

I have several problems with the amendments, not least the lack of a clear definition of office accommodation in the Bill, which would cause considerable problems with the Bill"s implementation if they were accepted. I hope that the House will resist the amendments.

Mr. Chope

I presume that the Minister is saying that he will amend the Bill accordingly when he has a definition of office accommodation. That may be done in the other place if the Bill receives its Third Reading today, and on that basis I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Order for Third Reading read.

Motion made and Question proposed, That the Bill be now read the Third time.—[Brian White.]

2.27 pm
Mr. Chope

I shall not object to the Bill receiving its Third Reading, but I hope that the Government are suitably ashamed of the way in which they have destroyed the will of the House by holding the Bill's promoter to ransom and destroying it in Committee so that it is now a pale shadow of its original form.

2.28 pm
Brian White

May I thank the Ministers, their civil servants and the Conservative and Liberal Democrat spokespeople who have helped me greatly to put the Bill together? I thank the sustainable energy partnership and various members of the industry for their work. The Bill does not represent as large a step forward as I would have liked. It is not a panacea but it has useful aspects, and I commend it to the House.

2.28 pm
Mr. Laurence Robertson (Tewkesbury)

In view of the time, this must be the briefest debut as a Front-Bench spokesman that the House has ever known. I congratulate the hon. Member for Milton Keynes, North-East (Brian White) on promoting the Bill. My hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch (Mr. Chope) has raised extremely important points and I, too, regret the fact that the Bill is considerably weaker than it was when it began its passage through the House. Nevertheless, the official Opposition want the Bill to be passed, as do many people throughout the country.

2.29 pm
Mr. Timms

I warmly welcome the hon. Member for Tewkesbury (Mr. Robertson) to his position and congratulate him on his brief first contribution to our debates. I especially congratulate and commend my hon. Friend the Member for Milton Keynes, North-East (Brian White) on his skill and patience while piloting the Bill. I commend to the Bill to the House.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time, and passed.

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