§ Mr. Heddle
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment why, out of the £23 million made available by way of Government grants for home insulation in the year 1978–79, only £8 million has been paid out in the first six months; whether he expects the total sum allocated to be paid out; and, if not, what steps he proposes to take to increase the public awareness of the grant availability.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg
There is no single answer to the first part of my hon. Friend's question, but difficulties with the supply of materials during last winter's industrial disputes undoubtedly contributed. More than 400,000 applications for grant were accepted by local authorities between the start of the scheme in September 1978 and the end of the financial year; only about half of these grants were actually paid in that period.
A national press campaign to publicise changes in the scheme and to encourage grant take-up in the present financial year was launched on 1 November; free leaflets and posters have been sent to all local authorities for use in their areas.