§ Mr. Hannam
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what proposals he has to assist the least well off to improve their energy efficiency by introducing new arrangements for supporting the work of community insulation projects.
§ Mr. Wakeham
Community insulation projects play a valuable role in providing basic insulation measures in low income households. My predecessor and I have therefore monitored carefully the impact on the projects of the transition from the community programme to employment training. Despite the success of the special support measures introduced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment during the past year there is now widespread agreement that particularly in today's changed climate of substantially reduced unemployment we cannot continue to rely soley on training programmes for the unemployed to support a national network of insulation projects. There is an increasing need for projects to develop into community insulation businesses, capable of financing themselves directly through the insulation services they provide.
I hope therefore to include powers in the forthcoming social security Bill to enable my Department to introduce a new scheme of grants towards the cost of basic insulation measures in low income households in England, Scotland and Wales. Grants towards the cost of draughtproofing, loft, tank and pipe insulation will be available under the legislation. Details of the proposed scheme, which will cover both owners and tenants in both the public and private sectors, will be announced in due course.
This announcement is good news not only for community insulation projects and for those on low incomes but for all concerned with improving energy efficiency, and I am sure it will be widely welcomed.