Anne Power, a former urban taskforce member, has criticised the government’s progress over improving the environmental performance of Britain’s existing housing stock, saying it was barely even paying “lip service” to the problem.

Power, professor of social policy at the London School of Economics, told a committee of MPs she was frustrated that the government had not responded to recommendations made by the Sustainable Development Commission on how to tackle the issue.

She said: “They are not giving it sufficient priority. They are not even paying that much lip service to it.” She added that there was a “really serious” policy hiatus and the government had to look at the experience of Germany to find a solution to improving existing homes.