Prime Minister Gordon Brown has struck a £910m energy saving and poverty relief package with the energy giants. Here is what the key political players made of it:
GORDON BROWN, PRIME MINISTER
"Our objective is nothing less than a sea-change in energy efficiency and
consumption, at the same time as helping the most vulnerable households this
CHRIS GRAYLING, CONSERVATIVE PARTY
"The detail of the package is fine as far as it goes, what you have to ask though is, is this actually what we were promised? We've had lots of built-up expectations over the summer that there was going to be a major relaunch package in September that would deal with a whole range of the different challenges that British people are facing and actually what we have had, broadly speaking, is a damp squib, a bit here and a bit there but things that aren't actually going to transform the fortunes of the country and of the people who are really feeling the pinch at the moment."
NICK CLEGG, LIBERAL DEMOCRATS
"These measures will not do nearly enough to help the millions of people who will struggle to heat their homes this winter. While these measures are baby steps in the right direction, the government
should have compelled the energy companies to go much further. The energy giants have profited to the tune of more than £9bn from the EU emissions trading scheme. They should be forced to use most of this money to properly insulate the homes of their most vulnerable customers and introduce social tariffs to cut energy bills."
FRANK FIELD, LABOUR BACKBENCHER
"The government has spent all summer roaring about the package it will produce and now out pops a mouse of a proposal that will probably do very little for many of the poorest pensioners meeting this year's winter fuel bills. Should the UK have a similar winter this year as last, these proposals will only help half a million households for a limited period."
DAVE PRENTIS, UNISON
"There are many things to welcome in this package about energy efficiency, these are medium to long-term measures. What people are interested in is the here and now and how they are going to
pay their soaring fuel bills. The competitive market clearly isn't working and the government and the
regulator must take action to force the companies to peg prices. It's no good having a choice of supplier if they are all putting up their prices at the same time by the same amount."
DAVE TIMMS, FRIENDS OF THE EARTH
"Energy efficiency is the long-term solution to the scourge of fuel poverty - but today's proposal lacks ambition and funding and falls well short of the urgent action that is desperately required. A comprehensive programme to slash domestic energy waste would cut soaring fuel bills, tackle climate change and help reduce the UK's dependency on coal, oil and gas. This should be kick-started by a windfall tax on energy firms' profits."
GILLIAN CHARLESWORTH, ROYAL INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED SURVEYORS
"This is a significant step in the right direction. Increasing the support for vulnerable people to install energy efficiency in their homes has got to be the right way to tackle fuel poverty. Unlike one-off handouts, the expected energy efficiency measures could cut energy bills by as much as 20%, year after year, and the same time cuts carbon dioxide emissions, essential if the government is to meet its environmental targets."
NATIONAL HOUSING FEDERATION
"The energy efficiency programme is a good step forward, but the government has failed to take tough action to force the energy fat cats to do the right thing. It's the job of the energy companies to make lots of money, but it's the job of ministers to make sure they don't exploit the British public through blatant profiteering. At the moment they are clearly failing to do this."
CAROLINE LUCAS MEP, GREEN PARTY
"The government have promised free insulation to pensioners and the poorest, which Greens already forced through the last Labour administration in London. This does help but it requires people to jump through bureaucratic hoops to access the insulation they need. Many of the most needy aren't able to do that, for example because they have learning difficulties or have to move house frequently."
TONY WOODLEY, JOINT LEADER UNITE
"The measures unveiled today are inching in the direction of social justice
but they need to take far bigger steps to avert fuel poverty hitting thousands
of needy people this winter. Greedy energy companies are putting the squeeze on ordinary people with even the energy bosses coming clean and admitting that rocketing customer prices mean
massive profits for the companies. This abuse must end."
MIKE WEIR MP, SNP
"The increase in insulation and other fuel efficiency measures are welcome for the longer term, but will do nothing to deal with the immediate problem. Very few households will benefit in time to reduce bills this coming winter. This whole package is far too little, far too late and shows that the energy companies have won the battle with the UK government. Mr Brown failed to clarify how he will ensure that costs are not passed back to the consumer. "
MERVYN KOHLER, HELP THE AGED
"This is a flimsy and failing package which does little to help older people struggling to cope with soaring fuel bills. The statement simply lacks energy. If the government wants to meet its legal obligations to eradicate fuel poverty and reduce carbon emissions, ministers are going to have to deliver a lot more than this. What we have in response to runaway energy prices and a fuel poverty strategy in terminal decline is nothing more than a half-defrosted package of inadequate intentions and initiatives."
MARGARET EATON, LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION
"A national home insulation programme will not be achieved overnight. It is good news that the energy suppliers have been asked to contribute more towards cutting carbon emissions and household bills, but this investment must not be a one-off gesture. It is vital that the government ensures the energy suppliers do not pass on the costs to consumers. The average household is already paying £33 a year extra on their bills towards energy efficiency schemes, and they simply cannot afford to pay any more. "