HC Deb 17 December 2001 vol 377 cc125-6W
Mr. Burstow

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the current review of the levels of HEES grants, with particular regard to(a) the scope of the review, (b) the timetable and (c) which organisations will be consulted; and if she will abolish the grant maximum levels and set an average grant level instead. [19373]

Mr. Meacher

[holding answer 29 November 2001]: The companies that manage the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme provide regular advice to my Department on the average cost of work under the scheme. This advice, together with information on work which costs more than the current grant limits is used to review the grant maxima. I plan to consider whether any changes to the maximum grant levels are required early next year.

We have no plans to set an average grant, rather than the maximum grant approach used at present.

The present approach encourages scheme managers to reach those vulnerable householders in most need. These householders are likely to live in homes requiring the complete package of measures available under the scheme.

Under an average grant system, the scheme managers would be contractually bound to improve a set number of properties using the available moneys. This would create an incentive for them to target householders in less need, who require fewer improvements to their homes, simply to ensure that the average was not exceeded.