§ Mr. Barnes
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what financial or other support his Department gives to voluntary organisations promoting energy efficiency for low-income households; what is the value of such assistance in the current financial year; what advice on energy efficiency and reducing fuel bills is available to householders from his Department; what additional funds have been made available in 1994–95 to low income householders to improve efficiency following the introduction of VAT on domestic fuel; if there is a target for the number of households to benefit from such assistance; what progress has been made towards achieving these targets; what health and safety considerations are made when installing draughtproofing in households to ensure adequate ventilation; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Tim Smith
My Department provides financial support to eight energy projects engaged in the delivery of draughtproofing to low income households under the action for community employment programme. This assistance will amount to some £440,000 in 1994–95.
Advice on energy efficiency and reducing fuel bills in the home is available through targeted publicity campaigns and the distribution of a wide range of publications on energy saving measures.
Following the introduction of VAT on domestic fuel an additional £1 million is available for energy efficiency measures in low-income homes in 1994–95, effectively doubling the budget for these measures. It is planned that an estimated 12,000 households will benefit from such assistance in the current year. Some 3,100 households have benefited to date.
The ACE energy projects follow a mandatory set of instructions designed to ensure that combustion ventilation within the household will be adequate after draughtproofing. These instructions were drawn up in conjunction with the Building Research Establishment. In addition, each householder receives a safety leaflet giving advice on how to maintain an adequate supply of air to the heating appliance.