Since its introduction in the House of Lords in December the Energy Bill has been quietly making its way through Parliament and has now reached committee stage in the commons. While it may not have been grabbing the headlines like other government plans, there is still much for those of us concerned with promoting co-operative ideals to be interested in.

The main proposals in the Government’s bill is to establish a pay as you save energy efficiency scheme called the green deal. 27% of all UK emissions come from homes, so there is clearly a need to introduce a scheme to improve the energy efficiency of our housing stock.

Under the green deal, homeowners and tenants will be able to borrow money to make energy efficient improvements to their homes, such as insulation, with no upfront costs. The improvements will be paid for in instalments from the money saved on utility bills. Labour recognised the need to improve energy efficiency and had begun to implement a pay as you save scheme just before we left government.

However, in its current form the Government’s bill isn’t up to the task. Even as it approaches committee stage we still have a staggering lack of detail on how the green deal will actually work. Many unanswered question remain. What consumer protections will be in place, what energy efficiency measures will be available under the plans, how will the work carried out be assessed and accredited, what will the interest rate on green deal loans be and how homeowners and tenants will be incentivised. To name just a few.

It is so important that the government gets this right as a similar scheme in Australia had to be cancelled after thousands of houses were fitted with poor quality insulation. If done properly the proposals could open up a whole new market; and as a Labour & Co-op MP I want to ensure that mutuals and co-ops are at the heart of that market.

Our movement is not motivated by the pursuit of profit but, by our values of openness, social responsibility and solidarity. As well as being founded on strong principles, in practice co-ops can be more efficient and are a positive force in local communities.

That’s why I’m tabling amendments to guarantee reduced fees for co-ops and mutuals applying to take part in the green deal. I’m going to be fighting every step of the way to ensure there is fair access to the market place, so that it isn’t dominated by big companies.

The committee stages of the bill is a chance to press the government for more detailed policy and to guarantee that mutuals and co-ops are involved in this scheme. I’m holding an Energy Bill briefing for co-op members to discuss this in more detail. I hope you can join me not just to hear about what I’m doing, but more importantly to tell me what you want to see strengthened in the bill.