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September 22, 2003 12:00 AM
Building an energy efficient house.

The Liberal Democrats want to promote incentives for energy efficiency schemes.

New LibDem policies to be debated at conference today would slash VAT on energy-saving products from 17.5% to 5%, making it cheaper for people to use more energy-efficient products - saving money and the environment.

The new policy paper, Conserving the Future, would also go a long way to ending winter pensioner deaths, providing energy-saving alternatives to the winter fuel allowance that could make homes permanently warmer.

And homes with solar panels generating more energy than they use could sell surplus electricity back to power generating companies using two-way meters.

Andrew Stunell MP, Liberal Democrat Energy Spokesman, said: "Labour's record on fuel poverty is shameful. There are 35,000 winter deaths in England every year. Quite simply people are dying because they cannot stay warm. This is a shocking indictment of past Governments of all parties. Yet the Government has cut 22% off their funding for fuel poverty measures over the last three years.

"We want to bring in new measures to help the most vulnerable - especially pensioners. All pensioner households would be offered a subsidised package of energy-saving measures as an alternative to receiving the annual winter fuel bonus. The retail value of the package would be higher than the cash bonus, with the advantage of actually making their homes permanently warmer, with long-term savings on fuel bills year after year.

"Our policies will give people a real incentive to save energy in their homes. They will pay less for energy-saving products; save money on heating bills; and will even be able to sell electricity back to power companies if they produce more energy than they can use."

Other Liberal Democrat policies include: