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Lord Whitty: I am not entirely sure whether it is in order in Committee to go over the ground that was

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covered in another place at various stages of the Bill. Therefore, I shall not necessarily respond to the comments made about the progress of the Bill, which was, after all, welcomed in its current form by noble Lords on all sides of this House albeit with some reservations. As we have just emerged from a debate on fishing, I should point out that the normal use of the term "filleting" means that one is left with the best part.

The Government are not prepared to accept Amendment No. 1 partly for the reason that the noble Earl, Lord Erroll, gave. Our targets in the energy White Paper relate to carbon saving. There are 135 different ways of meeting those. The market, changing technology and other factors will vary somewhat in terms of their achievements. Therefore, there is a degree of flexibility as regards the target. Tying it to specific individual targets—although there are some in the White Paper—is not necessarily the way to measure progress towards the overall objective. That is why our commitment to an annual report is stated in broader terms. Clause 1 as it stands already requires us to report on cutting carbon emissions, maintaining the reliability of energy supplies, promoting competitive markets and tackling fuel poverty. Therefore, we shall report on an annual basis on all of those main objectives, and we are happy to do so.

The idea that the Government are somehow trying to avoid reporting annually on progress towards the important commitments and targets set out is not correct. I reaffirm—I shall do so in terms in a moment—all the goals, targets, aspirations, commitments and policies of the White Paper. Clause 1 obliges us to report on them. Through the Bill that will become a statutory duty. Brian Wilson, the then Minister for Energy and Construction, said at the first Committee sitting in another place:


    "It is inconceivable that we would report in a way that does not draw attention to, and reflect on, the progress that has been made towards those publicly stated targets. Frankly, if we tried to report in a way that did not measure our achievements against the targets, others would promptly do it for us".—[Official Report, Commons, Standing Committee C, 11/6/03; col. 022.]

I am happy to reconfirm those comments.

As regards the objectives in the White Paper which will form part of the report, we have a Kyoto protocol commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 12.5 per cent below 1990 levels by 2008–12 and a national goal to move towards a 20 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions below 1990 levels by 2010. That has long been our objective. It is in the White Paper and it remains our objective. It will be the subject of annual reports.

The energy White Paper went significantly further and set out our long-term goal of cutting UK carbon dioxide emissions by some 60 per cent by about 2050 in line with the recommendations of the Royal Commission. That is a tremendous task that will require much policy input and a great deal of effort by industry, consumers and ourselves. That long-term target has an effect on the short-term targets mentioned in the amendment. We do not consider it necessary to insert in Clause 1 a specific reference to a 20 per cent cut in carbon emissions by 2010. The

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reference to maintaining that reduction thereafter would be misleading and unhelpful. As I have just explained, the Government have set out their longer-term goal of going well beyond that target. The 60 per cent target therefore is the relevant target, not a series of 10 per cent targets. It would be misleading therefore to focus the report entirely on the 2010 or 2020 figures.

On renewables, we have set a clear target of supplying 10 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2010. We have put in place a number of policies and expenditures in order to achieve that, for example, #350 million of direct government funding. We have been quite clear that we wish to double that 10 per cent target by 2020. We also have a firm target for CHP—good quality CHP capacity of 10 gigawatts by 2010. I believe that the noble Baroness mentioned that. That will prove a challenging target, as the noble Lord, Lord Ezra, has pointed out in this House on a number of occasions, but it is a target to which the Government remain committed.

If we pick out those targets as being the only ones specified in legislation that we should report on, as the noble Baroness, Lady Maddock, said, big elements would be omitted. Energy efficiency measures will deliver a substantial amount of the carbon saving. We believe that energy efficiency can deliver around half the additional savings that we are likely to need by 2020: to be specific, a further 4 to 6 million tonnes—I hope this answers the noble Baroness's question—carbon annual saving from households by 2020 and a further 4 to 6 million tonnes annually from business and the public sector in that time-scale. That, however, is not mentioned in the clause as forming a significant part of the report. I do not think that specifying that would help.

We also have targets on fuel poverty with which the noble Baroness will be familiar. Yet again I reaffirm that it is our intention to ensure that no household in Britain should be living in fuel poverty as far as practicable by 2016–2018. I refer also to our target for ending fuel poverty in vulnerable households in England by 2010. I am happy to reiterate here or anywhere else all of those commitments, but to specify only some of those in relation to the annual report does not seem helpful.

As regards Amendments Nos. 1 and 3, I need to go back to the general objectives of the annual report which are: to look at the totality of progress on the White Paper; to determine whether the policies that we have enunciated there are achieving their objective; whether the individual goals, targets and aspirations expressed there are on course; whether there are new policies required to meet them; and whether there are changes in the national or international economic and environmental context that would require a change of direction or a change of policy in order to meet those overall long-term objectives. All that needs to be covered by the annual report. It must not be focused around the rather specific and partial elements that the amendments pick out. I therefore hope that we do not pursue them further, even if there were time to do so. The noble Baroness has already indicated that she regretfully accepts that we do not have that time.

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2 p.m.

Baroness Maddock: I thank the Minister for his spirited defence of the Government's position. I have come to know him, and would not expect him to do anything else. We are all clear that we do not agree on the matter, and I hope that the noble Baroness will feel able to withdraw her amendment.

Baroness Wilcox: As the Minister said, he and I have just exchanged views on the fisheries report. As someone who knows how to fillet a fish knows, it all depends who is going to get the fillet and who will finish up with the frame with very little on it, which is exactly how I feel now. This is pretty shameful stuff. We will be judging against targets that will be difficult for us to find in future. I was interested to hear the Minister's reply, but I have not heard anything for which I had hoped. I do not know whether the noble Lord, Lord Ezra, feels that he has had the confirmation that he wanted in terms, but I shall not press the amendments at this stage. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Baroness Wilcox moved Amendment No. 2:


    Page 1, line 23, leave out from "household" to end of line 24 and insert "which needs to spend more than 10 per cent. of its income on fuel costs to heat its home to 21 degrees celsius in the living room and 18 degrees celsius in occupied bedrooms"

The noble Baroness said: Clause 1(1)(d) requires the Government to report on its progress in,


    "reducing the number of people living in fuel poverty in the United Kingdom".

As drafted, the Bill purports to define fuel poverty. It is worthwhile looking at the words that the Government choose to use, which are that,


    "a person is to be regarded as living in fuel poverty if he is a member of a household living on a lower income in a home which cannot be kept warm at a reasonable cost".

What is a lower income? Lower than whose? Do they mean someone in the Sunday Times richest 500 list, naming no names, or someone receiving less than the average national income? What about someone who is 10p a year above the average income? What is reasonable cost? Reasonable in relation to what?

For the purposes of the Bill, what is required is a precise definition of the proportion of a person's income spent on heating his home that would constitute fuel poverty, which the Government promised to eradicate in one of their many pledges. This modest amendment does just that. It would be very nice if the Minister would simply accept it. I beg to move.

Baroness Maddock: The amendment is identical to one tabled by the honourable Member for Christchurch, Christopher Chope, in another place on Report. It introduces a specific definition of fuel poverty into the Bill.

The common definition of fuel poverty, one used since 1988, is where households need to spend at least 10 per cent of their disposable income on fuel to keep warm. The Government's draft fuel poverty strategy,

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published pursuant to the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000, defined fuel poverty as where a household needs to spend more than 10 per cent of its total income to heat its home. That has been a point of disagreement between the Government and those who have campaigned on fuel poverty. Indeed, many MPs campaigned vigorously against it. The result was that the Minister then in charge, Michael Meacher, went out of his way to assure them that the Government intended to end fuel poverty on both definitions.

People are obviously concerned about what the Government are doing. I hope that their position is still the same. I am not minded to have a definition in the Bill with which I do not completely agree. I know that other people do not agree with it either. I shall listen with interest to what the Minister says, but I hope that the amendment will not be accepted. I do not intend to speak again to it.


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