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The planned expansion of the national grid is causing disquiet in many parts of England. Last week, National Grid commendably launched a consultation on the undergrounding of power lines. I suspect that half of the Energy Minister's postbag is about power lines. It is good that he has welcomed the current study by the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology and KEMA Ltd into the cost of undergrounding. Surely it would be a commercial disaster for generators if their investment was at risk of becoming a stranded asset because of widespread public opposition to pylons. Some leadership from the Government is needed to prevent this from happening and to promote a joined-up approach. They have an opportunity to address this next year when they publish EN5, a national policy statement on electricity networks. This must surely include the strongest possible encouragement to National Grid to avoid areas designated for their national landscape importance. DECC and Ofgem must work together to establish the appropriate financial mechanisms to enable any new overhead lines in these special landscapes to be undergrounded.

National parks are rich in the natural resources that lie behind many renewable energy technologies. I think of wind, sun, water and tides. The development of these technologies is important not only from the point of view of generation, which is vital, but also because such projects can raise public awareness of the importance of green energy. However, the scale and location of such developments will be a key factor, given the sensitivity of national park landscapes, to which the Government repeatedly and reassuringly tell us that they are completely committed.

2.24 pm

Lord Lea of Crondall: My Lords, we are obviously having a broad debate on energy policy and I welcome that. One of the difficulties has been the rather disjointed way in which all the various announcements have been made. Those announcements must have been coincidental, because I cannot think that they were made as part of the planning. We had hugely important announcements last week about the electricity market regime, and a very important paper, Carbon Price Floor, was recently produced by the Treasury and HM Revenue and Customs. Ever since Rio in 1992, we have known that the trend in policy, including the Climate Change Bill and so on, has involved two or three different rationales for big price increases, and I want to come on to some of the social problems associated with that. I do not want to labour the point but I find it astonishing that we have this Bill dealing with important, as well as less important, matters relative to the hugely significant announcement that we need £110 billion of new generation by 2020. That is 10 years away, and you do not need to be Einstein to figure out that that is more than £10 billion

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a year. Talk about Heathrow Airport, the railways, the roads and so on! This is a much bigger deal if these figures are correct.

Although I agree to a large extent with the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Lawson of Blaby, and I greatly admire his analysis, I think that we have now entered a new narrative period, because the incentives for new investment seem to have fallen short of the supply requirements for energy security. The situation is a bit like that of Heathrow Airport. We were all astonished last week when it was seriously stated that Heathrow was running optimally, at 98 per cent of capacity. I have never heard such an absurd statement. However, it is a national problem and this, too, is a big national problem. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Lawson, that we cannot have a sort of Gosplan for energy but I would say-and I do not know whether the noble Lord would agree-that we need a more holistic narrative than the highly disjointed one that we have at present.

The Treasury has come up with this framework for a carbon price floor and I want to ask the Minister one question. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Marland, is not going to say, "Well, these are all questions outside the scope of the Bill. My job is to get the Bill through. I am not interested in any other questions", which I think could be his reply. He has indicated that it will be. I thank him but I am not going to sit down; I am going to continue my speech. You cannot have a carbon price floor in Britain without a number of questions arising about a price floor across Europe or any other price floor. I should like to ask him a question and, if he does not want to reply today, I am sure that the department will be able to write plenty of letters, provided that the Treasury agrees with Chris Huhne's department. I am not trying to be nasty about this. Both Secretaries of State are wonderful people working in co-operation at the moment. However, I think that we need a wider view about the context of this carbon price floor.

It seems to me that there are three different rationales for this 30 per cent price increase, announced last week, by 2020-which, surprise, surprise, is the same year as the £110 billion should have been spent. One rationale for the price increase probably has something to do with finding £110 billion, but we do not think that a big percentage of the £110 billion will come from price increases.

Lord Lawson of Blaby: I was very interested to hear the noble Lord's remarks on my intervention. Does he not recall that in the Treasury document to which he referred the rise in the wholesale price of electricity is projected as being between 68 per cent and 88 per cent?

Lord Lea of Crondall: Let me take that as a base from which to throw in my next suggestion. That is that these numbers are baffling to most people. I was in the middle of saying that there are three possible rationales for a 30 per cent price increase. One of them on the face of it has nothing to do with the £110 billion; it is to do with restricting consumption in line with the climate change targets. However, there is no ownership by the British people in the pubs or the HGVs that that is the price that they are to pay.

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I had a debate with my noble friend Lord Rooker when the Climate Change Bill was going through three years ago. I had tabled an amendment that there be introduced a carbon tax industrial and consumer impact forum. Its role would have been to look at, first, the impact of increases in carbon taxes or other such taxes; secondly, the changes in relative costs between different sectors of the economy; and, thirdly, the role of the European globalisation adjustment fund, because those are big industrial structural adjustments. I said that the forum should include representatives from HMG, employers, trade unions and consumer organisations-I subsumed the Met Office and others in HMG. It would produce a report each budgetary period on the impact of all the things I mentioned.

Let me deal with one in particular, which was the real purpose of my amendment. If we are to get ownership of price increases, we need two things. One is a forum where representatives of consumers, trade unions and everyone else sit around the table looking at the energy framework. The second is that we need a degree of hypothecation of the money coming in. I think that the Treasury has stuck its toe into the water for the first time on hypothecation-just as my noble friend Lord Prescott did with the arguments about congestion charging. All the money raised from the Rolls-Royce going along Piccadilly is going to buses. People might start to understand if there were what I might call a hypothetical hypothecation, by which I mean that it would not be separate from the Budget Statement but there must be an understanding of who is paying what, where the money is coming from and why.

The third possible rationale for a 30 per cent price increase is to do with paying for things such as the Green Deal. None of these things come without a price tag attached.

When the House authorities consider what amendments are allowable on the Bill-my noble friend Lady Smith of Basildon will no doubt give me a steer on this-we need to test what amendments we can table to the Bill. Since the Bill has been published, we have had all these announcements of huge importance right in the territory of the Bill. We must look at that.

At minute 10, I shall make two final points. One is to say that, given the regressive nature of price increases on something as basic as electricity, there will be great social unrest unless we do some redistribution. There will, of course, be squeals from big industry about its competitive position, but we need a frank debate. We cannot just look separately at an argument about winter fuel payments. These are huge, important questions, and we need a holistic narrative which would include homes. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Best, about blocks of flats which form a not-inconsiderable part of big cities such as London. I have been chairman of my residents' association for a number of years. We have 99-year leases like many people. If you want to say to an individual, "Do this to your ceiling", "Do this to your loft", "Do this to your walls", or "Do, this to your floors", the managing agent will say, "No, you can't play around with the building like that". So even if the residents' association wants to do something,

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the managing agent, on behalf of the ground landlord, can say, "I don't agree". There is a prima facie question along the lines posed by the noble Lord, Lord Best, and one or two others.

I take this opportunity to say that I am glad that the noble Lord, Lord Lawson, put in his usual plea for us not to rely on base load from wind power. It is not a joke any more. It is a fantasy, and we ought to recognise that. I also take this opportunity to congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Noakes, with whom I almost always try to agree. However, on this occasion, her worry about what she calls the consumer is the same, essentially, as what you might call the social policy dimension as a whole. Again, we just have to test what amendments are going to be allowed in the course of the Committee stage on this Bill.

2.37 pm

Earl Cathcart: My Lords, like other noble Lords, I have received a plethora of briefings from various organisations raising numerous points on this Bill, but I want to concentrate my remarks on a different area altogether.

Last summer, Chris Huhne, the Secretary of State, said:

"The cheapest way of closing the gap between energy demand and supply is to cut energy use".-[Official Report, Commons, 27/7/10; col. 867.]

Quite so. The Green Deal, which will allow households and businesses to improve their energy efficiency with no up-front costs, will help reduce the demand for energy consumption. This must be a good thing, whether or not one believes in global warming, subject of course to the paradox of the philosopher mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Giddens.

However, the Green Deal comes at a time when energy prices are already on the increase. If last week's newspapers are to be believed, average bills will rise by up to a further £500 per annum to pay for the new generation of environmentally friendly power stations, so the era of cheap energy is over. A spokeswoman from DECC said:

"If prices go up, it will mean more people in fuel poverty".

Fuel poverty already stood at 4.5 million households in 2008 and, with the severe weather over the past two months, there is no doubt that it has risen again. My guess is that the figure will rise to over 6 million-a quarter of all households-but it may be even more, as indicated by my noble friend Lady Noakes.

However, there is a glimmer of hope. Following complaints that energy companies have recently increased their prices during this very cold weather, up popped Alistair Buchanan, the chief executive of Ofgem, on my television screen to say that protecting consumers is Ofgem's first priority and that Ofgem would look into how the energy companies have been charging consumers. I thought that that was an excellent idea.

I also thought that I should look at my own bill a bit more carefully to see how I was being charged-I am ashamed to say that, until now, when I received my bill I just closed my eyes and signed the cheque. When I looked at my bill, I noticed that I was being charged

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in the day time nearly 30p for the first few hundred units used, after which the charge dropped to 13p. At night, I was charged a flat rate of 4.5p, regardless of the consumption. I have to admit that I am one of the 70 per cent of consumers who find the plethora of different tariffs utterly confusing, but I looked on the internet at other energy providers. It appears to be pretty standard that the first few hundred units used are expensive and that the more you use the cheaper the energy becomes. That seems totally illogical and rather defies the laws of demand and supply on how demand reacts to price change. The relationship should be the other way around. The more units I use, the more expensive per unit it should be.

Indeed, I would go further. Why do not the Government, through Ofgem, consider charging only a relatively small amount for the first few hundred units consumed and then increase the charge for the next few hundred units consumed and so on? The effect of ratcheting up the cost whenever more units consumed would have the advantage of encouraging all households to reduce their energy consumption and to endeavour to get all their consumption into the lower charging bands by taking up the undoubted advantages of the Green Deal and dropping to lower charge bands. That would encourage households to change the way in which they consume energy.

I then got my energy provider's domestic energy price list for all the regions in Great Britain. I notice that there is a fixed daily charge, ranging from about 25p to more than 30p, depending on where one lives. Multiplying this up by 365 days means that households pay a fixed charge of between £91 and £111 per annum-that is even before they have consumed one unit of power. This is hardly helpful if one is in fuel poverty. Surely the fixed charge could be absorbed into the ratchet price structure that I described earlier.

Sadly, I do not expect Ofgem to get anywhere with the energy companies on my idea, as the energy companies will give any number of reasons why it cannot be implemented. Indeed, I can see one problem with my idea. Should a single person in a band-A property and a couple with two children in a band-D property receive the same number of units at the cheapest rate per unit? Obviously, the band-D property needs more energy and we do not want to penalise families. Why not allow the band-A property, say, 900 units at the cheapest rate and the band-D property, say, 1,200 units at the cheapest rate? It should not be difficult for energy companies to obtain the banding information for each of their customers.

I am sure that there are many other difficulties with the idea of ratcheting up the price of energy, but given that Ofgem's first priority is protecting consumers I hope that the Government will feel that ratcheting up the price-so that the more you consume the more expensive it is-is worth exploring. I was delighted that my noble friend Lord Teverson also touched on this idea. I had thought that I might be a lone voice running down this rabbit hole. If we want to reduce the number of households in fuel poverty by lowering their energy consumption and bills, progressive charging together with the Green Deal might offer the necessary carrot and stick.

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Before I finish, I should declare that I am a landlord in the private rental sector. This year, all my properties were double glazed and I think that they are all pretty well lagged. My first reaction to a tenant coming to me wanting to do the Green Deal on the basis of no upfront costs would be, "Excellent. Go for it". However, I understand, especially after listening to the excellent speech of the noble Lord, Lord Best, that I might have been naive because there are problems in this area. No doubt I will have to get my mind around those problems before the Committee stage.

2.46 pm

Lord O'Neill of Clackmannan: My Lords, this Bill could probably more accurately have been called the energy (miscellaneous provisions) Bill. That is the way the Scottish Office, in pre-devolution days when some of us worked in the Augean stables of Scottish legislation, would lump everything together and put the words "Misc. Provs." after the subject. The Bill is a bit of a dog's breakfast. It has some important parts and other bits that have been thrown in because it provides an opportunity to do so, and that is quite a legitimate thing. But the breadth of briefing we have already received tends to suggest that it is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg, because many more interested parties will be coming along when we get down to the fine print.

The Bill covers a new approach to home insulation with a novel payment arrangement and its consequent legislative changes. It also seeks to address the private rented sector, which the noble Earl, Lord Cathcart, just alluded to. I do not think that the sector will be susceptible to a single silver bullet. It will require a fusillade of other forms of armoury to deal with some of the problems. The Bill also seeks to address the question of security of supply, along with issues related to low-carbon generation. These are some of a number of issues, and this afternoon we have had a discussion about last week's Green Paper on market reform. That will require legislation of its own at a later date, and it will be interesting to see how it can be accommodated.

Before I go further, I declare an interest as the paid chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association. Also, I am the unpaid president of Energy Action Scotland and the vice-president of National Energy Action, its English, Welsh and Northern Irish counterpart, which are fuel poverty charities. I am also doing some consultancy work with the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors on matters relating to the low-carbon heating of homes through insulation and the possibility of the kind of work that might come out of the Green Deal.

It is fair to say that the largest single part of the legislation relates to the Green Deal. In many respects it could be called paving legislation in that it prepares the way for this, but the noble Baroness, Lady Noakes-in a speech I was surprised to agree with so much-pointed out that unfortunately there is a fantastic lack of detail here. We are being asked to take on an interesting concept that has a number of downsides, which we may be exaggerating through ignorance. However, until such time as that ignorance is corrected it is quite

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reasonable for us to ask questions about people who have bad credit records, people in rented accommodation, and individuals on prepayment meters, who already face a number of prepayment charges before they actually start consuming any energy. The addition of another charge on them might well be the straw that breaks the camel's back. That goes for a sizeable proportion, but not all, of those with prepayment meters, because a number of second-home owners have prepayment meters simply for convenience. However, poor and vulnerable households with prepayment meters, often in the private rented sector, face a number of problems.

The biggest problem is their inability to pay. They address the issue at times of the year like this by self-disconnecting. They stop paying. I am not sure how we can get round the question of having additional charges on top of the pre-payment arrangements that are already in place if we are going to be faced with variability in our climate and extreme changes of temperature, which could well happen over the 15 to 20 years we envisage for this payback.

I do not wish to scaremonger, but we need to know a lot more about the vulnerable groups of poor people who rarely have anything approaching the concept of the economic man or women in their minds. I remember visiting constituents who would, when they could afford it, have an electric oven on, with the door open, in order to try to warm a kitchen that did not have proper central heating or insulation. It was the economics of the madhouse, but it was the only way in which these poor folk could keep themselves and their children warm. Usually this was done with considerable danger to the family because of the open heater. I make this point because at the moment there will be a number of households across the UK who will be trying this make-do-and-mend approach to keeping their house warm.

In many respects the Green Deal is fine for the people who open the Sunday Telegraph or the Saturday Guardian in order to find the best way of spending their money on keeping warm-the folk who will go to Sainsbury's because that is what people from their socioeconomic group do when they go shopping. However, the people who go to Lidl and the low-cost supermarkets will not be the most capable of, or interested in, dealing with such opportunities. It is unfortunate that Warm Zone and Warm Front are being set aside in the way that they are because there is a case for them.

There is a division in this House between the left and the right because some of us believe in planning and economies of scale; some of us recognise that individuals are not always the best basis for social amelioration or the improvement of our infrastructure. It makes sense to seek out economies of scale and I am concerned about that.

I am also concerned about the electricity company obligations. This is a misnomer because they are consumer obligations paid for by us as consumers. The energy companies merely act as agents and take in money to do a job that we pay for. At the moment, the environmental improvements-which most of us recognise as being necessary-amount to a kind of poll tax to the tune of £80 per household. This and the additional

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costs of a number of things in the Bill are going to be financed in much the same way and we need far greater reassurance on this.

I know that informally the Minister has indicated that he will do his best but we have to continue putting on the record that it is not enough for us to sign blank cheques in the form of secondary legislation, the definition and specifics of which we know little about at present. The social impact will be much greater on the most vulnerable households in our country than on many of us who can afford to pay the extra charges on our electricity and gas bills in order to do our bit to save the planet or set an example to the rest of the world. I make this point not because I want to see the scheme fail-in a number of areas and districts it will be a most attractive proposition-but because it would be wrong for us to assume that it is the only proposition that should be considered.

We have also in the Bill to consider the issue of security, particularly of gas supplies. In the last debate in which I spoke on this matter, I think I asked the noble Baroness, Lady Wilcox, to respond to this issue but we never got a real response. What I want to know is this. We are talking in terms of providing incentives. We know that we do not have enough by way of gas storage facilities, but it is surely incumbent on the Government to come to a conclusion on what would be a desirable objective for us to incentivise companies towards. We are not in the same position as France and Germany in terms of gas supply. Although we are net importers, we import on a far smaller scale than many other countries and we do not need the 80 or 90 days' supply that they have. However, it would be useful if the Government could give an indication of what was needed, so that we could say that this level of incentive would be necessary only until we got to that level of gas reservoir and storage facilities. It is incumbent on the Government to give us some indication of that if we are to set in place a system of incentives or subsidies, call them what you will.

As I said, the Bill covers a number of elements and I should like to make one point on behalf of the members of the Nuclear Industry Association. We welcome the Government's proposals in that section of the Bill. They are modest; in effect, they give legislative effect to the agreements that are arrived at after lengthy consultation with the appropriate parts of the nuclear industry. I put it on the record that the industry is happy with this. Obviously, the fine print will need some scrutiny but, if the agreements that were arrived at can be dealt with in the manner that is anticipated, I do not think that there will be any problem.

This Bill contains a number of innovative and imaginative approaches, but let us not forget that for a lot of people the saving of the planet is only a secondary consideration after keeping their homes and their families warm. We cannot afford to forget that. I want to see the planet saved and I am prepared for us to make sacrifices, but I do not think that the Government's rather simplistic approach is likely to be either effective or socially just.

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2.58 pm

Baroness Smith of Basildon: My Lords, I have enjoyed this wide-ranging and interesting debate, with impressive contributions from many noble Lords who have recognised expertise, experience and real commitment on the issues before us. I look forward to working with your Lordships in Committee and at further stages of the Bill to ensure that amendments-suggestions were made by the noble Baronesses, Lady Finlay and Lady Parminter-are made to strengthen and improve the outcomes of the legislation.

I thank the Minister, who has been described as one of the "green-obsessed government Ministers"-a mantle that I think he might wear with some pride-for introducing what was called a,

and for his willingness to be open, to engage and to discuss the Bill both inside and outside the Chamber. That is very welcome.

Probably on behalf of all your Lordships who have spoken, I also thank the many groups, organisations and individuals who have supplied briefings and information and who have been willing to enter into discussion. Their input has been invaluable and very welcome, as I am sure it will continue to be as we move through the Committee stage.

The noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, spoke of the broad provisions of the Bill. As the House is aware, we welcome the Bill and support its broad thrust. We welcome the principles both of energy efficiency and of energy security. Although we consider that there are significant weaknesses in the legislation that is brought before us today, I am confident that, with the commitment and expertise in your Lordships' House and with the Minister's willingness to engage, we can improve the Bill and send it to the other place knowing that your Lordships have made significant improvements.

I should like first to reinforce the points made by my noble friend Lord O'Neill and the noble Baroness, Lady Noakes-with whom I do not often agree on these issues. They were absolutely right to raise concerns about the use of secondary legislation. This Bill contains 54 individual provisions for delegated legislation. That is a substantial proportion of the Bill and the detail of how the essential provisions will operate. I appreciate that in many cases it is necessary to bring forward delegated legislation, and I welcome today's report from the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee which raises issues of parliamentary scrutiny, which we shall refer to and continue to debate in Committee. It may assist your Lordships if I ask the Minister to say whether, where possible, he can bring to the Committee drafts of statutory instruments when we are discussing the relevant clauses. I think that that would greatly help us in our deliberations.

In my comments today I shall deal mainly with Part 1 of the Bill, but I also want to refer to the comments that have been made on Part 2, particularly on energy security. My noble friends Lord McFall and Lord O'Neill both emphasised the strategic needs that the Bill is seeking to address, and I was particularly struck by my noble friend Lord McFall's comments on local response. I think it would be helpful to examine that approach further in Committee.

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My noble friend Lord Hunt set the Bill into a policy context, and his examples of housing in Germany were particularly apt for us as we consider the Bill at the moment. My noble friend Lord Giddens made a very important point about how this fits into the wider government policy issues, on which we have recently had numerous debates in your Lordships' House. I think the only way in which the Jevons paradox which he mentioned can be addressed is by considering the Bill in the context of the other policy issues not only across the Department of Energy and Climate Change but across government. My noble friend Lord Lea made similar points about context.

The bulk of the Bill deals with the Green Deal. We strongly support the aim to reduce carbon by tackling energy efficiency in existing homes. However, we have concerns about how we can achieve these objectives, as well as concerns about what the Bill does not do. Those concerns have been expressed by the noble Lords, Lord Jenkin and Lord Teverson, and by my noble friend Lord Grantchester in his opening speech.

The scale of the challenge facing us is enormous: 27 per cent of the UK's CO2 emissions come from energy use in homes. There is enormous potential to reduce. There are 26 million homes in Britain, half of which were built before the 1960s and 5 million of which are Victorian terraced properties. So for the industry to deliver the quantity of work needed there will need to be significant participation in the Green Deal. However, it is not yet clear that the incentives in terms of the carbon and financial costs and benefits to householders will be sufficient to drive up the level of participation. Business needs the confidence and the level of take-up to ensure that it can invest and guarantee the training and skills that are required. As noble Lords have said, another issue is the levels of interest rates, which are of great concern to consumers and installers alike. Without a low interest rate householders will be paying the full unsubsidised rate for measures such as cavity wall and loft insulation that were previously available at low or no cost under successive supplier obligations.

The Government's impact assessment is a weighty document but I have taken a more detailed look at how the Green Deal operates and will affect cavity wall insulation, which is one of the most cost-effective measures. In the assessment we find that the number of homes that will benefit from cavity wall insulation will reduce. In 2009, 560,000 homes benefited from the installation of cavity wall insulation; but in the following two years the number will increase to nearly three-quarters of a million. At the annual conference of the National Insulation Association earlier this month, the members were rightly optimistic about the figures for those two years and the potential for growing the business and taking on and training new staff. However, there was profound pessimism about the position from the time that the Green Deal begins in 2012. It is bitterly disappointing that, as they were gathering in a mood of great optimism, the Government published the Green Deal impact assessment with predictions for the number of cavity walls due to be insulated post-2012 as at least 40 per cent lower than those they expect to deliver in the next two years. The most optimistic figure in this document is for half a million in 2015, which is lower than the figure for 2009.

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So, far from delivering the promised one-quarter of a million new jobs that the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change has heralded, the insulation industry-the part of the construction industry which is supposed to deliver the bulk of the Green Deal in its initial years-will be getting smaller rather than bigger. I am sure that that is not the intention. However, it appears even from the Government's own figures that they have no confidence that the Green Deal will deliver more insulation than has been delivered under existing arrangements. The Government's forecast is that it will be delivering less. The most optimistic scenario, even for existing homes which are not suitable for cavity wall insulation, is woefully inadequate.

If the Green Deal is to be as effective as we want it to be, there needs to be a higher take-up. Looking at how we achieve that has to be a priority in our Committee deliberations and we should examine what further measures can be taken. Examples could include earlier use of renewables and, as referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, ensuring that those undertaking the work and assessing installations are appropriately trained.

Perhaps I may also take up issues raised by noble Lords relating to the plight of the fuel poor. The Government have recognised that the pay-as-you-save element of the Green Deal is not appropriate for those households that are fuel poor, vulnerable to fuel poverty or financially disadvantaged. The latest data from Ofgem suggest that 2.5 million households are in debt to their energy supplier. How will they be able to access the Green Deal, which will increase their energy bills?

For those households which, because of the cost of energy, are the most likely to underheat their homes, the benefits of energy efficiency are in the form of a warmer and healthier living environment rather than in monetary savings. For obvious reasons, those households normally have a poor credit rating and may have existing debt problems. They cannot benefit financially from the Green Deal as they cannot fulfil the golden rule in financial terms, even though they benefit in better warmth. The noble Lords, Lord O'Neill and Lord Judd, raised the social and health costs of proceeding in this way. The people concerned are likely to be private sector tenants.

The new energy company obligation is the main mechanism for assisting disadvantaged households in improving heating and insulation. It will be the only source of assistance for those households following the swingeing cuts and the ending of the Warm Front scheme at the end of 2012-13. As I said in a previous debate on Warm Front, we will support any mechanism that effectively deals with this problem. The ECO could be effective, provided it meets certain criteria. We will work with the Minister to ensure that the scheme is sufficiently well funded and that a disproportionate share of resources is not diverted to households that are able to pay but live in hard-to-treat properties.

A great number of noble Lords, particularly the noble Lords, Lord Teverson and Lord Best, and the noble Earl, Lord Cathcart, raised concerns about the private rented sector. We will see little progress in the private rented sector for some time. The private rented sector

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accounts for around 14 per cent of the housing stock and has some of the most difficult-to-treat problems. It has a disproportionate number of homes with the worst energy rating that will cost in excess of the limits currently being suggested to improve.

The Government's own Fuel Poverty Advisory Group calculated that 19 per cent of private tenants live in fuel poverty, and the impact assessment for the Bill shows that 42 per cent of those in the worst private sector properties are in fuel poverty. As the noble Lord, Lord Best, indicated, a substantial coalition of 30 organisations is calling for the Government to introduce a legal minimum standard of energy efficiency for private rented homes and for it to be an offence to re-let a property which does not meet this standard until it is improved. We do not want to see the private rented sector lose properties. There would have to be financial help, greater incentives and information for landlords to improve their properties.

We welcome the Government's recognition that this is a serious problem, but I fear that the measures being brought forward are inadequate-they are not even guaranteed to come into force. Both landlords and tenants need certainty. The Minister was forceful on this matter in his opening comments, which I welcomed. However, under the Bill as it stands, there will be a review of the sector after a year of the Green Deal. Then, if take-up is not sufficient and it does not impact on the number of properties available to rent, the Secretary of State "may" make regulations to require private landlords to make improvements to their properties. It is almost a triple lock against action. The earliest date on which regulations could be made is April 2015, so we are years away from seeing any significant improvement in the private rented sector. Clearly, this is insufficient, and we offer the Minister our full co-operation in seeking to address the problems that exist here.

Perhaps I may mention local government-I declare an interest as another vice-president of the Local Government Association. I hope that we will be able to explore with the Minister the role of local government in supporting the Government's objectives. We need to look further at both the practicality and the effectiveness of councils' duty to enforce against landlords with low energy effectiveness. I welcome the commitment that the new duty will be funded by government, but there remains again a lack of clarity given that so much will be finalised in secondary legislation and not until after 2015.

It is very difficult for local authorities and landlords who do not know whether there will be a duty to act post-2015. Although it is not part of the Bill, the impact assessment states that the Government intend that F- and G-rated properties will be targeted and will give local authorities access to the EPC database. Councils will then have to use other data-for example, council tax information-to locate those properties that are privately rented and are rated F and G. There are concerns that about whether a fine is the appropriate remedy for a landlord who does not comply. The tenant will still be living in a home that is energy inefficient.

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Many of the organisations seeking to improve the Bill are concerned that the powers here are too weak to ensure that landlords comply and that unless improvements are made we will see very little progress in the housing sector, which has the capacity to make the greatest difference.

If it helps the Minister, I can inform him that 39 per cent of F- and G-rated properties can be improved to band E for less than £1,500 and to improve all band F- and G-rated properties to a minimum of band E for private rented homes would take 150,000 homes out of fuel poverty. That is 25 per cent. Those are huge gains and a real opportunity for the Minister to make a substantial difference. I know that local government stands ready to work with him and assist in this.

We welcome the commitment to give consumers information on energy bills about the cheapest tariff. That should be meaningful information that assists the consumer. We welcome the proposal on smart meters. I have previously raised in debates in your Lordships' House the need for smart meters to be compatible and interoperable for all energy companies. When I raised that before the Minister agreed to look at it. If he is able to update the House it would be appreciated.

Noble Lords have raised a number of consumer protection issues that I feel will need greater clarity as the Bill progresses. I raised some of them with the Minister and his Bill team and I am grateful for their assurances that they will look into them. I know that the Minister is aware of the need for consumer confidence and trust in the energy sector for these proposals to work. The Minister will no doubt be aware that in October this year npower agreed to compensate nearly 2 million of its customers who were overcharged for gas in 2007 and paid around £70 million in compensation. That was after a campaign by the energy consumer advocate, Consumer Focus. Although it is not in the Bill, I hope that the Minister will take on board the importance of a strategic body to represent consumers and I hope that we can return to this issue again.

On the issue of the Coal Authority, I thank the Minister for bringing forward the provisions in the Bill. It is entirely appropriate that a body that is established by primary legislation should be changed only by primary legislation. He will be aware that this body, the Coal Authority, is also listed in Schedule 7 to the Public Bodies Bill. He may be aware that I have tabled an amendment to that Bill to delete the reference to the Coal Authority. Given that we now have the legislation before us quite rightly in this Bill, in the true spirit of Christmas will he support my amendment and perhaps get his ministerial colleagues to do likewise as the reference is no longer necessary?

Finally, I thank all those who contributed to the debate today. I am looking forward to the Committee as the clear will in the House on all sides is to ensure that the Bill achieves its stated objectives. I will not attempt to joke as my noble friend Lord Giddens was able do, but I wish the Minister and everyone who has taken part today a lovely Christmas and an enjoyable new year and I look forward to working with your Lordships on this Bill to make 2011 the year of warmer homes and energy efficient homes.

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3.13 pm

Lord Marland: My Lords, I thank all noble Lords for a wide-ranging debate and some very thought-provoking and some not quite so thought-provoking but none the less invaluable advice and comments. I will not go beyond the scope of the Bill, even though some of the advice and comments did, because this is a debate on the Energy Bill. I will therefore restrict my responses to that matter. We have had plenty of opportunity to debate in the past and will no doubt have plenty in the future and I am happy that we will debate the other issues that have been raised then.

For the purposes of this summing up, I will clarify that this is a framework Bill on which there is a lot of work to be done. I very much value the comments made by noble Lords. We have created the opportunity, which I am told is groundbreaking in this House, to hold breakfasts and discussions with noble Lords, to listen their views and to improve on them, and I shall continue to create those opportunities as the Bill progresses. That the Bill starts here is a good opportunity for us all to get it right, and to do so within the spirit of the Bill. I shall therefore deal with some of the broader issues that have been raised by noble Lords, take some of them together and refer to individual ones later. There have been, as noble Lords are aware, an awful lot of questions. In Committee, I shall pick up on those questions that have not been commented on, or I am very happy to correspond or discuss further with noble Lords.

The noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, raised the subject of consumer protection, as did the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, and others. It is fundamental that the consumer is protected in this whole endeavour. There are two risk areas-accreditation and assessment-and the best practices must be established.

Lord Lea of Crondall: The Minister said that he would discuss some broader points, but he is now on the narrower Bill points again. On this occasion, it is not acceptable-certainly to me-for him to say that he is just going to stick to the Bill when last week it was overtaken by events. The hugely important, historic announcements about electricity price restructuring and the carbon floor are relevant to this Bill; that is what we have all been talking about. It is an absurd use of parliamentary procedure to say, "My job is to get the Bill through. I don't want to hear about anything else". But that seems to be the Minister's approach. There might be Front Bench agreement on this all being a love affair, but it is a greatly missed opportunity. I would ask the Minister to think again, to discuss the matter with the Treasury and Chris Huhne and to find out whether it is really sensible, given last week's announcements, which have hijacked this Bill, to go on as if nothing has happened.

Lord Marland: Well, thank you for those very unnecessarily hostile remarks. Obviously, the noble Lord has been deaf to anything that I said at the start of this wind-up. I notice that he was one of the few who has not attended any of the opportunities to have briefings or discussions on this document, and chooses to take up our time on this particular issue, which is not relevant to this Bill. If he wishes to discuss things

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outside the context of this Bill-as I said earlier, and I shall repeat it, if he would not mind listening-he is entitled to do so, and he is entitled to ask for a debate on it himself. As I said earlier, we are perfectly happy to do that.

If I may, I shall go back to the substantive issues on the Bill. A lot of time has been taken up in this House in the past few days, and I think that people want to get on to other things in their life. To say that I have been unnecessary and not listening is a most unfair remark.

As I think I said, consumer protection is at the heart of this. The OFT will be fundamental to ensuring that best practice carries on, and through the Committee stage we shall enjoy noble Lords' support. I was grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Best, and others in what they said on the rented sector, and the encouraging words coming from the associations that he mentioned. The noble Lord, Lord Teverson, and the noble Earl, Lord Cathcart, and the noble Baroness, Lady Noakes, also referred to that matter. Clearly, we want to encourage the rented sector to embark on this and embrace it with open arms. The noble Lord, Lord Best, suggests that it will do; clearly, if it does not want to utilise the market practices, we will have to review the provisions in 12 months and then we will have to use powers to ensure that it does. Cracking that is one of the most difficult areas of the Green Deal.

The local authorities issue mentioned by the noble Baroness, Lady Maddock, the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, and others, is largely a matter for the Localism Bill, which involves authorities going back to the local authorities and enhanced authorities. It is to their benefit to do something like that. They have a number of incentives to do this through carbon-reducing programmes that they have to adopt through government best practice. That in itself should be an incentive.

Fuel poverty, one of the biggest issues with which the Government currently have to grapple, was raised by the noble Lords, Lord McFall and Lord Lawson, and others. It is a critical issue. Clearly, there are a number of measures. Fuel poverty has exponentially increased year on year since 2004. We must reverse that trend. The Green Deal is part of the attempt to do so, along with all the other measures that I mentioned in my opening speech and, of course, the warm home discount, which will provide £250 million, rising to £310 million by 2015, to encourage people out of fuel poverty. As your Lordships know, we are going to conduct a review of fuel poverty to get into the detail and solve this terrible trend for those in great difficulty.

Incentives were mentioned by a number of noble Lords. There are incentive schemes. This is a free-market programme so the incentives will come from within the market. The noble Baroness, Lady Parminter, will know that councils have the opportunity to incentivise programmes through 60 schemes. We will be looking forward to them doing so.

The noble Baroness, Lady Parminter, also mentioned a level playing field, as did the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester. Through all our energy and endeavours, we are trying to get competitiveness into the market so that we can establish a level playing field. That is fundamental to this programme.

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The noble Lord, Lord Jenkin, raised, among other things, Warm Front and how it interacts with the Green Deal. I am delighted to say that Warm Front has been fully subscribed early in the current year with the money that was made available. In 2011-12 £110 million will be available and a further £100 million in 2012-13. During that time, the Green Deal will have fed in and been excellent in its support of the Warm Front which, as I have said many times, was a good attempt at combating fuel poverty but has not worked in itself. We must grapple and deal with that.

The noble Lords, Lord Cathcart and Lord Teverson, talked about their energy bills and the reverse cost thereof. I undertake to review this during this process because it is an extremely good, fundamental point.

On specific points, the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, said that there was a cap of £6,500. There is no cap. The golden rule will in itself impose a restriction on the amount that the house can utilise. He also asked a reasonable question about interest rates. We obviously have no control over interest rates, but are developing a model and will, through Committee, have developed a model into which we can build interest rates.

I am afraid that noble Lords would not expect me to have an answer on the timeframes of the second Energy Bill. Getting a timeframe for any Bills at the moment seems quite difficult. I thank noble Lords for their support in getting us to where we are today.

Lord O'Neill of Clackmannan: The Minister has gone some way to answering our concerns about the cash limits and the amount of money. Can he confirm that boilers can be part of the Green Deal, or are we talking almost exclusively about insulation measures?

Lord Marland: The golden rule is that it generates energy efficiency. It is not intended, as I understand it, that boilers are part of that. Boilers were part of Warm Front, so there has been a lot of activity in that regard.

The noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, refers to deep geothermal, as do, unsurprisingly, the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, and others. We are exploring a licensing scheme as we speak. I hope to return to that subject in Committee. It is a very valuable and useful way forward.

The noble Lord, Lord Teverson, raised the issue of water. We will support the reduction of leaking, provided it can be demonstrated that it reduces the energy cost to the household. He mentioned issues relating to the accreditation framework, as did the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester. I think I dealt with several of those but the devil will be in the detail. With their permission, I hope we will go through that quite extensively in Committee.

The noble Baroness, Lady Finlay of Llandaff, offered the very good suggestion of an alarm system, which I will take away and consider as a valuable issue. I am grateful for her support on that.

My noble friend Lord Jenkin of Roding raised several points. First, who pays for the assessment? This is a market-led endeavour. We would expect a lot of it to fall within the promotional incentive of the

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people who are going to supply it. The most important thing is that the Government support those who are needy and cannot pay for it themselves. That will be done through an ECO or other function. I am glad my noble friend also mentioned EPCs because I have instigated a review of these. I would like to keep my powder dry until the review is finished. However, by the time we go through the Committee stage, we should have had the full review. I will give further details of that as it goes on. EPCs clearly need a great deal of looking at to make sure that they are fit for purpose. Who bears the cost of a consumer default? A consultation process on that is going on at the moment. It may live with the providers of the Green Deal or the energy companies themselves.

I agree with the noble Lord, Lord O'Neill, that we have not had a big initiative on gas storage due to factors I mentioned previously. To slightly embarrassingly blow my own trumpet, I signed the planning permission for a 15 per cent increase in the nation's gas storage, which had been sitting around waiting for a new Government. We have taken keen action on that, which we need to increase, although it is not our primary concern because we have the most sophisticated terminals in the country for receiving gas. They are also the most flexible, so we can get gas from various supporting operations. Twenty per cent of our supply still comes from a Norwegian network and we still have a diminishing 50 per cent here in the UK.

The noble Lord, Lord McFall, posed the question of how Rupert Soames would like to be remembered. As he is a friend of mine, I feel he would like to be remembered as the CEO of a business that got into the FTSE 100 and generated great employment not only in Scotland but in England. In fine Churchillian tradition, he has achieved a great deal.

We seek to reform planning, which the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, referred to, by bringing more direct control-and therefore quicker decision-making-over such matters as onshore and offshore wind back into the ministerial department so that they can then be dealt with quickly and efficiently.

The noble Baroness, Lady Maddock, referred to HECA, which came from a Bill that she triumphantly took through the Commons in 1995, although she no doubt worked on it for some time before that. HECA was indeed a very good measure that served a great deal of purpose. However, time has moved on dramatically in this area and there has been much consultation on the subject. The consultation carried out in 2007 indicated that a change was very much on the cards. I am grateful for the support of the noble Baroness and for her advice on consulting various people, including ACE. I understand that ACE feels comfortable that our proposals will be a good follow-on to the great work that she carried out, for which we all owe her a great deal.

The noble Lord, Lord Giddens, fed me some interesting stuff. We all learnt about the Jevons paradox-apart from the noble Lord, Lord Lawson, who explained the point to me while sitting beside me, for which I am very grateful-which my officials tell me we take very seriously. However, as I had not heard of the paradox beforehand, noble Lords will not have expected me to

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know that. We build in a substantial discount for estimated energy savings from energy efficiency in all our impact assessments to account for increased consumption. Nevertheless, significant net savings still occur even with this conservative assumption.

Job creation, new jobs, net jobs and the renaissance of our manufacturing industry, which the noble Lord, Lord Giddens, and the noble Lord, Lord Hunt of Chesterton, raised, are absolutely fundamental. We believe that 100,000 new jobs will be created through the installation industry. That will appeal to the noble Lord, Lord Giddens, as an economist.

Lord Giddens: It is important to consider that one is talking about net new jobs. Just talking about creating jobs is not good enough, because the act of creating new jobs often destroys old ones. We must carry out an analysis of that.

Lord Marland: I totally agree. New jobs are created by new productivity. Clearly, there is a shortage in the building trade at the moment so I did not say that there would be 100,000 new net jobs. Obviously, if the building industry takes off at the same time as the home installation or Green Deal activity, new net jobs will be created.

However, net new jobs will be created by the £60 million of technological support that we are giving to the offshore wind industry. Four companies-GE, Siemens, Gamesa and Mitsubishi-have already agreed to sign up to a contract to start manufacturing in the UK, and we have been talking to others. That will create not only £300 million worth of new investment but new jobs.

The noble Baroness, Lady Parminter, talked about the need for an ombudsman, annual reports and targets. Those are very good points. It is important that we have an assessor for the accreditation scheme. I will take those very good points away and discuss them with officials.

The noble Baronesses, Lady Noakes and Lady Smith of Basildon, talked about the Bill's timetable. I am no expert on timetables as I am a self-confessed virgin in taking Bills through the Lords, or any Parliament for that matter. It will not be possible to have 54 delegated powers draft SIs beforehand, but I shall be happy to explain the timetable and the powers that we are taking over the next few weeks. I am also happy to discuss the timetable with the noble Baroness, Lady Noakes, outside of that. We are committed to ongoing consultation on a lot of issues. In Committee there will be more detail about the consultation. We will consult formally on most of the SIs at the end of 2011 before introducing them in 2012. There will be a series of consultations and I am very happy to discuss the timetable of the Bill, and any additions to it, in the open way that we have addressed this so far.

I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Hunt of Chesterton, for his support for the Coal Authority changes. As we have discussed in camera, the Bill presents a very good opportunity for us all.

The noble Baroness, Lady Smith of Basildon, asked how the 2.5 million households in appalling conditions could apply for the Green Deal. I am grateful that she explained the pathway whereby the ECO would have

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been a good way of doing that. Between us, over the next few weeks we need to develop a clear pathway on how that will happen. She reasonably asked why demand for cavity wall insulation is falling. The fact of the matter is that, over the past few years, a lot of simpler cavity walls have been filled and demand is therefore reducing. However, we are now moving into the territory of complicated cavity walls. I am also extremely grateful for her suggestion, which she has made previously, about smart meters. Clearly, we must insist on an industry objective of sharing the same set of common standards. The noble Baroness is absolutely right on that, and we will have developed the specifications by the summer of next year.

The Chief Whip would like me to bring my speech to a conclusion, as would I. Therefore, I am very happy to write on other points made by noble Lords. However, I should like just to mention that boilers can be included in the Green Deal, provided only that the expected savings meet the golden rule.

I want to reiterate that the Bill will bring energy efficiency to homes and businesses across the UK. This is an important Bill and, as I said earlier, despite one intervention, I am grateful for the advice that I have received from all sides of the House. I will continue to benefit from that advice as we discuss the Bill and take it through the House of Lords. It is exciting that the Bill should start in this House. I look forward to continuing these discussions in Committee-in or outside the Moses Room.

I should also like to thank my officials, Hansard-whose staff are incredibly tolerant in these matters-all the staff and all noble Lords and noble Baronesses for their support. I wish you all a very happy Christmas and, indeed, a prosperous new year.

Bill read a second time and committed to a Grand Committee.

Motion to Adjourn

Moved by Baroness Anelay of St Johns

3.37 pm

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: My Lords, I should follow my noble friend's enthusiasm for thanks, as it is appropriate to do at this time of year. It falls to me to move the Adjournment of the House for the Christmas break. It is traditional at this point for the Chief Whips and Convenors to reflect the views of Peers around the House and pay tribute to all the staff who have facilitated our work during the year.

It has been a memorable year for the House, not just for those of us who are addressing the House from a different vantage point on this occasion. Staff at all levels have had to prepare for the dissolution of Parliament and the general election, and then adapt to the formation of a coalition Government, the introduction of a new system of financial support for Members, and the appointment of two cohorts of new Members.

The professionalism and patience of our staff in responding to these changes has been consistently impressive-as indeed, always proves to be the case-and

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I am sure as Chief Whip that I speak on behalf of the whole House when I say that we are deeply indebted to them. We recognise that it has been a demanding time to be working in the House, but I hope that staff have found it engaging and perhaps exciting-sometimes, perhaps, too exciting.

I know that my opposite numbers in the other groups will in the course of their tributes single out individual members of staff who have completed, or are shortly due to complete, their long service to this House. There will be a separate occasion on which we will have the opportunity to pay tribute to our current Clerk of the Parliaments, Mr Pownall, and to our most recent Black Rod, Lieutenant-General Sir Freddie Viggers. That will take place in the New Year. However, the whole House will wish to join me in thanking both of them and all their teams for everything they have done with such quiet and professional fortitude throughout the year.

Whether I sit on the Benches opposite or here, I always feel that the Clerk of the Parliaments is my right-hand man. I pay tribute in particular on this occasion to the Yeoman Usher, who provided sterling support to the House so successfully pending the appointment of a successor to Black Rod. On this occasion I will single out one member of Black Rod's team, Jakki Perodeau, who retired at the end of May this year. She served as senior personal secretary to Black Rod and Clerk to the Lord Great Chamberlain for 10 years. In that time, she served three successive Black Rods: General Sir Edward Jones, Lieutenant-General Sir Michael Willcocks and, of course, Lieutenant-General Sir Freddie Viggers-Freddie to us all. She also assisted in arranging, among many historic events, the lying in state of the late Queen Mother. Prior to joining the House in 1999, Jakki had worked as personal assistant to Sir John Clark, the chairman of Plessey, and before that as personal assistant to Sir Norman Wisdom; what variety in a career. Her colleagues describe her as loyal and discreet, but also as a terrific events planner and unrivalled in her repertoire of anecdotes about the entertainment industry. We will have to ask for some more. She enjoyed the fast life, regularly accepting lifts to and from Hampshire from the Yeoman Usher at the beginning and end of the week, despite her firm disapproval of the speed at which he drives-watch out, Yeoman Usher, for the police. I am sure that all noble Lords will join me in thanking Jakki for her contribution to the House. All of us remember that warm and strong character and we wish her a long and happy retirement.

All that remains for me to do, until I formally move the Adjournment of the House, is to wish all staff and all noble Lords a restful and enjoyable Christmas Recess.

3.42 pm

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I, too, join the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, in paying tribute to all the staff who work on our behalf, to colleagues who share our life and times on these Benches, and to the senior staff who will be departing, or have departed, for their support of our work. In particular, I refer to my left-hand man, the Clerk of the Parliaments, and I

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also thank the Yeoman Usher who, as the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, said, has done a sterling job stepping in to the breach when Freddie Viggers was unfortunately taken unwell.

I also thank my opposite number, the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay. She has taken charge of your Lordships' House in a commanding fashion that does her great credit. Although from time to time we fall out, both formally and informally-that is our job-she does it with good grace and good humour. I pay tribute to her for the way in which she managed the transition when we left office and the coalition took office. It was handled with tact and diplomacy, and all the staff in my former office appreciated the way in which it was done. I am sure that I speak on behalf of the whole House, because the Chief Whip's function is a service to the House.

I pay tribute also to the noble Baroness, Lady D'Souza, for the way in which she, too, has managed the transition. The role of Convenor of the Cross-Benchers is not easy, and I am sure that all noble Lords would like to thank her very much for the important work that she does on our collective behalf.

I, too, have a couple of thanks to give to long-serving staff-in particular to Shirley Russell, who is one of two senior housekeepers who are standing down from their work. Shirley has worked as a housekeeper on the Committee Floor for her entire career in the House of Lords, which has spanned 20 years. For the past seven years, she has acted as team leader. I am told that during that time not a single complaint was ever received about the standard of the work in her area. She has undoubtedly been a larger-than-life character and is, I understand, affectionately known by the other Housekeepers as the "blond bombsite". I can probably only get away with saying that at Christmas but there it is. She undoubtedly has a heart of gold and does everything and anything for anyone, despite grumbling loudly. It is no secret that she held a bit of a torch for the last but one Black Rod, Sir Michael Willcocks, who apparently gave a very good impression of enjoying having to run the gauntlet of her comments during the annual Christmas party for the Housekeepers, which takes place very early on a December morning. I should probably stop there in giving thanks to Shirley Russell, but there is no question in my mind that she has done a sterling job for all of us.

My second tribute is to Pauline Bartley, also a senior housekeeper. She has done great work in her service in the House of Lords. She joined the House on 1 July 1996 and has completed 14 years' service. She was made a team leader some five years ago when Fielden House became available. Her older sister, Kathy, retired three years ago, so there is a strong family connection. She was working here when Pauline started and I think that that is how she got to hear of the vacancy-some things do not change. During her time here, she has worked in the area around the Chamber and the Galleries, and has taken part in every State Opening. She has worked in the Moses Room, assisting with the dressing of Peers in their robes and sewing on the odd button that, perhaps on some of our slightly stouter Members, has popped off from time to time. She has also been known to ensure that ribbons are correctly attached in an emergency.

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Pauline is retiring on 10 February next year to look after her elderly mother, who is aged 97, along with her six sisters. I am told that it is a full-time job for all of them. They would rather do that than have a carer for their mother, and that speaks volumes for their concern and family commitment. Pauline is very proud of her time working in the House and apparently says that she has met some very interesting people, which I suppose must mean us. She will be very sorry to leave.

Finally, it falls to me to echo what has already been said. I wish everyone a very merry Christmas, with the emphasis on the "merry", as I know it will be in my household. I hope that everyone enjoys themselves fully before they come back and enter the full fray of our busy legislative programme.

3.47 pm

Lord Dholakia: My Lords, first, I endorse everything that has been said by my noble friend Lady Anelay and the noble Lord, Lord Bassam. It is right that we pay tribute to those who have served us so well. The media, including television, and the public never see the machinery that makes this House so effective. Behind everything that we do are the staff of the House of Lords, and this is our opportunity to say thank you for the services that they provide.

We each have the opportunity to single out individuals, and my job is to pay tribute to Ray Durrant. I have been told that Ray has sport in his DNA. He was very proud of the achievements of his footballer father, Fred, who was a great figure at Dover City, Brentford and QPR in the 1940s and 1950s. Had he played for my team and the team of the noble Lord, Lord Bassam, he would have seen that Brighton and Hove Albion is now at the top of the league.

Ray is a very good sportsman in his own right and was on the books at Kent County Cricket Club before finding his path blocked by a better player of the same age. Noble Lords will not be surprised if I name him: he was, unfortunately, "Deadly" Derek Underwood-arguably England's greatest ever spin bowler.

At this time, when the England team is playing in Australia, we have the opportunity to thank all of our sportsmen, including our England team. Let us make sure that we teach the Aussies a lesson on cricket after the long time that we have had the Ashes in our hands.

It was a long career in the Civil Service before coming to the Lords which took Ray from Whitehall to Kosovo. He remains a keen golfer and will be very much missed by other members of the Parliamentary Golf Club. I am delighted to put that on the record and thank him and other colleagues who have given such sterling service to this Parliament.

3.50 pm

Baroness D'Souza: My Lords, it is that extremely nice time of the year when it is a very welcome task to pay tribute to all the staff who have served us so well. I do so on behalf of the Cross-Benchers, from the lofty levels of the Lord Speaker, the Chairman of Committees, the acting Black Rod, and the Clerks, to the cleaners, and everyone in between. I extend heartfelt thanks for

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their support, particularly to the Cross-Benchers, during this time which, as has been said, has been somewhat difficult. There are a lot of new Peers, which is extremely welcome-it is now a very bustling House-but it is also rather difficult for the staff to have had to cope with putting names to a lot of new faces and making sure that they match. The people in catering services have had to feed many more mouths over the past few months, and have done so with great grace and cheerfulness.

I particularly single out the Doorkeepers and the Attendants, who have been consistently cheerful and patient, with wonderful memories, coping with very large Divisions taking a great deal longer than the prescribed eight minutes. It is astonishing to me how they manage to be so friendly and pleasant. I must come in and out of that door about 10 times a day, and each time, they say, "Hello", "How are you?" and "Have a nice day". I find that quite incredible. One does not get that on the outside. As I said before, the outside world is a bit of a shock after one has been in here for some time, because of the great deal of courtesy.

I have two retirees to whom I would like to pay tribute, both of them from the House of Lords Library, both of them with extremely long service. Colin Ross, who retired in September, has had 30 years in the Library, so will be familiar to many of your Lordships here. He was an IT whizz-kid with enormous technical knowledge and, therefore, very welcome in the Library and sadly missed-no doubt being replaced by someone who is about 12 years-old but equally good at IT. You know how the IT business goes. We understand that he is also a very keen skier, so perhaps he is also a very happy retiree this winter.

Then there is Glenn Dymond, who has 22 years in the House of Lords Library. He is not a whizz-kid at IT, but is a whizz-kid at law. He is known for his legal expertise and was highly valued by the Law Lords during his time, for whom he did a great deal of work over the years. He was also responsible for a number of the Library notes, which all of us over time will have discovered are the most excellent source of impartial information about Bills coming before this House. If anyone is not aware of them, I hereby give notice that they are ones to look at. In recent years, Glenn Dymond wrote authoritative works on the Parliament Acts, the appellate jurisdiction of the House of Lords and the creation of the Supreme Court, and the ceremony of House of Lords.

To those two retirees, we send enormously good wishes and hope that they will enjoy skiing. Glenn Dymond, as I understand it, enjoys Italy with his wife. His holiday home will now be of enormous benefit to him.

I end by extending my warmest thanks to staff-to colleagues, of course-but particularly to the staff of the House for all that they have done and wish everyone a very happy Christmas.

Motion agreed.

House adjourned at 3.55 pm.

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