HC Deb 01 March 2002 vol 380 cc1593-4W
Mr. Stunell

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what data she has collated on the number of householders in privately rented accommodation who have been unable to obtain warm front grants because they have not been able to obtain the landlord's permission for works to be carried out; and in how many of these cases refusal to grant permission has resulted from an unwillingness on the part of the landlord to participate in a leasing agreement related to the installation of a central heating system. [37739]

Mr. Meacher

Work in private sector landlords' properties is only undertaken once a no rent rise agreement is in place. This requirement was introduced following consultation on the proposed scheme in 1999. Many groups representing tenants and older people expressed concern that some private sector landlords would use the grant-funded improvements to justify an increase in rent. Agreements are time-limited to either one year for insulation measures only or two years where heating measures are installed.

In the period June 2000 to January 2002 some 32,400 private sector landlords agreed to the no rent rise agreement. This represents about 5 per cent. of all applications accepted under the scheme.

In the same period, 8,400 tenants had their applications turned down by the landlord. The precise reasons in each case are not known, but we are now investigating these. While there has been very little concern expressed on this issue, we do continue to keep it under review.

Mr. Kidney

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average amount of a Warm Front plus grant has been. [37641]

Mr. Meacher

The Home Energy Efficiency Scheme (HEES) in England is now marketed as the Warm Front Team. The scheme was launched on 1 June 2000 and provides two levels of financial assistance for the installation of insulation and heating measures dependent upon the needs of the householder and the property type:

HEES—£1,500 for low income households with children under 16, disabled persons or suffering long-term sickness on a qualifying benefit; and

HEES Plus—£2,500 for over-60s on an income-related benefit.

Between June 2000 and January 2002 the average HEES Plus grant was £664.