Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Bill — 10 Mar 2000

Order for Second Reading read.

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

If the Bill becomes law, it will undoubtedly improve the quality and well-being of a great many people. I have no doubt that that statement will raise expectations.

People go into politics for all sorts of reasons. I have been in politics for a long time. I decided at the age of 11 that I wanted to be a Member of Parliament, and it was a childhood ambition come true when I arrived in the House in 1983.

As we all know, we are very modest people. None of us really wants to be here; friends, neighbours and relatives twist our arms to stand for Parliament, and hey presto! we arrive here full of modesty. We are all content to be Back Benchers: ambition never enters our minds.

It probably has not escaped the notice of my colleagues that I am neither Prime Minister nor Leader of the Opposition. My mother and my wife still believe that I am a late developer--we shall see what happens--but I believe that, once one realises one's limitations, it is rather churlish to remain here and become bitter and twisted because no one notices the talent that one's relatives alone believe one to have.

When I entered the ballot for private Members' Bills year after year and never got the opportunity to speak, I became rather frustrated. I entered the ballot 16 times and, at last, on the 16th occasion, I was successful. There is no significance in the number 16, but it was third time lucky in this Parliament.

If I had been told that I would have the marvellous opportunity to speak first and not wait to be tail-end Charlie--the opportunity to have a few people listening to what I say, whether the House enjoys it or not and whether or not hon. Members are persuaded to adopt my point of view--I would have said, "How wonderful." However, I never imagined that I would seek leave of the House to present the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Bill. There were two issues on my agenda that were very dear to my heart: the pro-life issue, and animal welfare.

On the second count, I have convinced myself that I have already done my duty. There is an Act in my name, with which I am sure hon. Members are familiar: the Protection Against Cruel Tethering Act 1988, which prevents horses, ponies and donkeys from being tied up and ensures that they are properly watered and fed. I rather feel that I have done my duty by animals.

I did, however, agonise about the pro-life issue. Would I make a glorious speech, enthral the House, convince it of my argument and win the day? Then, without wishing to stir things up, I pondered on the House as it now is, and concluded that, although I might make a decent speech, I would probably be wasting my time.

I therefore did not have an issue to bring to the House. I found that I had suddenly become popular: people were interested in me. It was a little like the 1992 general

10 Mar 2000 : Column 1297

election all over again. For 30 seconds, it seemed that the nation's attention focused on my good self. All sorts of organisations and interest groups suddenly wanted to know me.

Simply shovelling money at people to heat the skies above our cities is hardly a sustainable use of resources. Nor will it help the fuel poor much.

How many of our pensioners will go cold this winter?

To require the Secretary of State to draw up and facilitate the carrying out of a programme of action to provide households with a comprehensive package of home insulation, heating and other energy efficiency improvements for the purpose of reducing fuel poverty; to require the setting of targets for the achievement of that programme; and for connected purposes.

any power to require any person to carry out works.

One of the obscenities of the 1980s was the failure to tackle the problem of keeping our elderly people warm in winter.

The preventable scourge of fuel poverty still remains an indictable menace in our society.

accept the concept of "fuel poverty"?

About one in 20 households were classed as being in severe fuel poverty, needing to spend over 20 per cent. and 30 per cent.

switched gas suppliers can save around £65 each and in electricity 4 million have switched saving £20 a year each.

the old, the poor and the people in the lowest social groupings.

The solution to the problem lies in the long-term improvement of housing stock.

The Government has promised to eradicate fuel poverty. Labour's manifesto for the Scottish Parliament promised to do this in two terms. Senior Ministers are on the record saying fuel poverty must be ended, that it is a "scandal" and a "preventable scourge". Recently, an "Inter-Ministerial Group" has been set up to look at the problem and set a target date to eradicate fuel poverty.

Despite this, the Labour leadership has a poor record. Ministers have effectively "removed" over 1 million households from fuel poverty by attempting to change the definition.

the difference between the number of deaths during the four winter months (December to March) and the average number of deaths during the preceding autumn (August to November) and the following summer (April to July)---[ Official Report , 20 December 1999; Vol. 341, c. 436W.].

measures which the appropriate authority believes are required to ensure that households in fuel poverty have access to appropriate fuel tariffs which encourage the efficient use of energy.

appropriate fuel tariffs which encourage the efficient use of energy.

In preparing a report . . . the appropriate authority shall consult--

(a) such organisations as appear to it to represent--

(i) local authorities,

(ii)relevant utilities

(iii) persons in fuel poverty;

and

(b) such other persons as it sees fit.

the elimination of fuel poverty is essential to meet Britain's international climate change obligations. . . . A policy of paying people to heat the skies above their homes is simply unsustainable.

of customers of persons who supply gas are treated less favourably than other customers of theirs . . .

I have always tried hard to be as supportive as possible--this is why I am surprised to see that I am not listed as being supportive in other ways.

Now that he is Chief Secretary to the Treasury, he has every chance of being as supportive as he could want to. Responsibility has been accepted by the Cabinet Minister responsible for controlling public expenditure, so he must know how the aims of the Bill can be achieved without increasing public expenditure. Otherwise, the figures that the Chief Secretary has published would be misleading, and that cannot be the case. I hope that the Minister will enlighten the House about the funding mechanism and how it fits in with the Government's current spending targets.

Question put, That the Question be now put:--

The House divided: Ayes 143, Noes 0.

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All Votes Cast - sorted by party

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party are marked in red. Also shows which MPs were ministers at the time of this vote. You can also see every eligible MP including those who did not vote in this division.

Sort by: Name | Constituency | Party | Vote

NameConstituencyPartyVote
Sir David AmessSouthend WestCon (front bench)aye
Tony BaldryBanburyConaye
Paul BeresfordMole ValleyCon (front bench)aye
Mr Peter BrookeCities of London and WestminsterCon (front bench)aye
Simon BurnsWest ChelmsfordCon (front bench)tellaye
Sir Sydney ChapmanChipping BarnetConaye
Patrick CormackSouth StaffordshireCon (front bench)aye
Nigel EvansRibble ValleyCon (front bench)aye
Roger GaleNorth ThanetCon (front bench)aye
Edward GarnierHarboroughCon (front bench)aye
Damian GreenAshfordCon (front bench)aye
David Heathcoat-AmoryWellsConaye
John HoramOrpingtonConaye
Mr Andrew HunterBasingstokeConaye
Michael JackFyldeConaye
Eleanor LaingEpping ForestCon (front bench)aye
Andrew LansleySouth CambridgeshireCon (front bench)aye
Tim LoughtonEast Worthing and ShorehamCon (front bench)aye
James PaiceSouth East CambridgeshireCon (front bench)aye
John RandallUxbridgeCon (front bench)aye
Mr Nick St AubynGuildfordConaye
Desmond SwayneNew Forest WestCon (front bench)aye
Mr Teddy TaylorRochford and Southend EastConaye
David TredinnickBosworthCon (front bench)aye
Nigel WatersonEastbourneConaye
Mr John WilkinsonRuislip - NorthwoodConaye
Eric ForthBromley and ChislehurstContellno
David MacleanPenrith and The BorderContellno
Ken LivingstoneBrent Eastwhilst Independentaye
Graham AllenNottingham NorthLab (minister)aye
John AustinErith and ThamesmeadLabaye
Mr Harry BarnesNorth East DerbyshireLabaye
Joe BentonBootleLabaye
Roger BerryKingswoodLabaye
Mr Harold BestLeeds North WestLabaye
Clive BettsSheffield, AttercliffeLab (minister)aye
Liz BlackmanErewashLabaye
Russell BrownDumfriesLab (minister)aye
Karen BuckRegent's Park and Kensington NorthLabaye
Mrs Christine ButlerCastle PointLabaye
Mr Roger CasaleWimbledonLabaye
Ian CawseyBrigg and GooleLabaye
David ChaytorBury NorthLabaye
Ms Helen ClarkPeterboroughLabaye
Paul ClarkGillinghamLabaye
Harry CohenLeyton and WansteadLabaye
Mr Tony ColmanPutneyLabaye
Michael ConnartyFalkirk EastLab (minister)aye
Jeremy CorbynIslington NorthLabaye
Jim CousinsNewcastle upon Tyne CentralLabaye
Mr Tom CoxTootingLabaye
John CryerHornchurchLabaye
Mr Keith DarvillUpminsterLabaye
Mr Hilton DawsonLancaster and WyreLabaye
Janet DeanBurtonLabaye
Jim DobbinHeywood and MiddletonLabaye
Frank DobsonHolborn and St PancrasLabaye
Jim DowdLewisham WestLab (minister)aye
Ms Julia DrownSouth SwindonLabaye
Clive EffordElthamLab (minister)aye
Louise EllmanLiverpool, RiversideLabaye
George GallowayGlasgow KelvinLabaye
Barry GardinerBrent NorthLab (minister)aye
Neil GerrardWalthamstowLabaye
Ian GibsonNorwich NorthLabaye
Linda GilroyPlymouth, SuttonLabaye
Mrs Eileen GordonRomfordLabaye
Mr Win GriffithsBridgendLabaye
Patrick HallBedfordLabaye
Keith HillStreathamLab (minister)aye
Kelvin HopkinsLuton NorthLabaye
Mr Kevin HughesDoncaster NorthLab (minister)aye
Joan HumbleBlackpool North and FleetwoodLabaye
Mr Alan HurstBraintreeLabaye
Brian IddonBolton South EastLabaye
Glenda JacksonHampstead and HighgateLabaye
Miss Melanie JohnsonWelwyn HatfieldLab (minister)aye
Ms Jenny JonesWolverhampton South WestLabaye
Lynne JonesBirmingham, Selly OakLabaye
Tessa JowellDulwich and West NorwoodLab (minister)aye
Gerald KaufmanManchester, GortonLab (minister)aye
Alan KeenFeltham and HestonLabaye
Ann KeenBrentford and IsleworthLabaye
Piara S KhabraEaling, SouthallLabaye
David KidneyStaffordLabaye
Mr Andy KingRugby and KenilworthLabaye
Stephen LadymanSouth ThanetLabaye
Bob LaxtonDerby NorthLabaye
David LepperBrighton, PavilionLabaye
Martin LintonBatterseaLabaye
Andrew LoveEdmontonLab (minister)aye
Mrs Alice MahonHalifaxLabaye
Gordon MarsdenBlackpool SouthLabaye
Steve McCabeBirmingham, Hall GreenLab (minister)aye
Chris McCaffertyCalder ValleyLabaye
Shona McIsaacCleethorpesLabaye
Tony McNultyHarrow EastLab (minister)aye
Gillian MerronLincolnLabaye
Andrew MillerEllesmere Port and NestonLabaye
Margaret MoranLuton SouthLabaye
Chris MullinSunderland SouthLab (minister)aye
Doug NaysmithBristol North WestLabaye
Mike O'BrienNorth WarwickshireLab (minister)aye
Mr Martin O'NeillOchilLab (minister)aye
Nick PalmerBroxtoweLabaye
Ms Linda PerhamIlford NorthLabaye
Bill RammellHarlowLabaye
Mr Ernie RossDundee WestLabaye
Mr Brian SedgemoreHackney South and ShoreditchLabaye
Ms Debra ShipleyStourbridgeLabaye
Alan SimpsonNottingham SouthLabtellaye
Dennis SkinnerBolsoverLab (minister)aye
David TaylorNorth West LeicestershireLabaye
Mr Peter Temple-MorrisLeominsterwhilst Labaye
Mr Gareth ThomasClwyd WestLabaye
Gareth ThomasHarrow WestLabaye
Mark ToddSouth DerbyshireLabaye
Paul TruswellPudseyLabaye
Desmond TurnerBrighton, KemptownLabaye
Neil TurnerWiganLabaye
Stephen TwiggEnfield, SouthgateLabaye
Rudi VisFinchley and Golders GreenLabaye
Alan WhiteheadSouthampton, TestLabaye
Dr Alan WilliamsCarmarthen East and DinefwrLabaye
Betty WilliamsConwyLabaye
David WinnickWalsall NorthLab (minister)aye
Ms Audrey WisePrestonLabaye
Mr Jimmy WrayGlasgow BailliestonLabaye
Mr Richard AllanSheffield, HallamLDem (front bench)aye
Alan BeithBerwick-upon-TweedLDem (front bench)aye
Tom BrakeCarshalton and WallingtonLDem (front bench)aye
Colin BreedSouth East CornwallLDemaye
Mr John BurnettTorridge and West DevonLDemaye
Vincent CableTwickenhamLDem (front bench)aye
Edward DaveyKingston and SurbitonLDem (front bench)aye
Don FosterBathLDem (front bench)aye
Evan HarrisOxford West and AbingdonLDemaye
David HeathSomerton and FromeLDem (front bench)aye
Simon HughesNorth Southwark and BermondseyLDem (front bench)aye
Lembit ÖpikMontgomeryshireLDemaye
Mr David RendelNewburyLDemaye
Andrew StunellHazel GroveLDem (front bench)aye
Matthew TaylorTruro and St AustellLDem (front bench)aye
Dr Jenny TongeRichmond ParkLDemaye
Mr Paul TylerNorth CornwallLDemaye
Mr Roy BeggsEast AntrimUUPaye
Mr Cecil WalkerBelfast NorthUUPaye

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