HC Deb 26 April 2002 vol 384 cc504-5W
Mrs. Helen Clark

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what the average cost is per household treated of administering the Warm Front Scheme, incurred by each of the two scheme managers appointed for England, excluding the cost of the actual measures carried out; [50622]

(2) what the average cost was per household treated of administering the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme. [50623]

Mr. Meacher

The Government's main programme for tackling fuel poverty in the private sector in England is the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme (HEES), now marketed as The Warm Front Team.

The New HEES was launched on 1st June 2000, replacing the more basic scheme that had operated since 1991. The Scheme is administered by two scheme managers, TXU Warm Front Limited (Eastern, East Midlands & Yorkshire and the Humber) and Eaga Partnership Limited (the rest of England).

The original scheme provided low income and disabled households with a single main insulation improvement, or a combination of smaller measures, mainly in the social housing sector. The new Scheme provides packages of insulation and heating measures, linked to the condition of the property and the householder's needs and is focussed on the private sector. To provide these packages the grant maximum was increased from £315 to £2,500 in the case of low-income households aged 60 years or more.

Under the original. Scheme, the role of the scheme manager was relatively limited. Their main role was the management and payment of appointed installers. The average management cost per household was £15 excluding recoverable VAT.

The current Scheme introduced a significant shift in the role and responsibilities of the scheme managers. They are now responsible for marketing the scheme, the set up and maintenance of local referral networks, carrying out independent surveys of properties, providing householders with energy efficiency advice, advising and agreeing the most appropriate measures for properties, recruiting and managing heating and insulation contractors through open competition, and managing payments to contractors for work completed. This additional work has increased the average administration cost to £77 for EAGA and £86 for TXU per household excluding recoverable VAT. These costs exclude one-off start-up costs paid by the Department.

In the current scheme, the average cost for HEES installers has reduced to reflect the shift of responsibility for activities outlined above.

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