Saturday, 18 September 2010

Huhne promises Green Deal Bill this autumn

Lib Dem Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne today promised a ‘Green Deal’ Bill this autumn which he said would be a bigger attempt to dramatically improve the energy saving capability of houses that have already been built anywhere in the world.

“Everything up until now has been incremental. It will make sure that every home is lagged, insulated and draught proofed to within an inch of its life to be consistent with our climate change targets - an 80% reduction in our carbon emissions. If we don’t get our homes right we can kiss goodbye to our carbon emissions targets,” said Chris.

The work will extend to public buildings too and Huhne joked about a naming and shaming session within the Cabinet with the best department winning a prize and the worst awarded a wooden spoon. He couldn’t say whether the results of this would be made public but indicated that he hoped they would be.

On nuclear power, an issue which divided the parties during the general election, Huhne said that it was his belief that there would be new nuclear. “We recognised that we couldn’t go to the wire on this because there is an overwhelming majority in favour of nuclear power in the House of Commons.” But, he said, the Lib Dems had won a concession so that our MPs will abstain when the matter comes before the House of Commons. “A deal is a deal and my job is to deliver on the deal exactly as I would expect George Osborne to deliver on our commitment of raising tax thresholds.”

However, he acknowledged that he himself faces a difficult decision as to how he will vote. “The coalition agreement implies that I will abstain on this, but I’ll have to discuss that with Alistair (Carmichael) and Nick (Clegg),” he conceded. “It does look a bit odd if I’m actually facilitating all of these new energy sources and then abstaining in the House of Commons.”

Chris Huhne also announced that he would be backing former Richmond Park MP Susan Kramer to be Party President:

“I think it’s better to have someone who is not an MP. Whilst it’s not deliberate that Susan is not an MP, I think it’s better to have someone who isn’t.”

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