John Healey in talks with climate change secretary on how to improve energy performance of existing homes

Housing minister John Healey is in talks with climate change secretary Ed Miliband about a programme to encourage the retro-fitting of existing homes to improve their environmental performance, he admitted today.

Healey declined to give details of the discussions, but told a Fabian society fringe meeting at Labour conference today he was "working on plans" with the climate change secretary over the issue.

He said: "While we're re-thinking ways of doing things, we have to look at the issue of retro-fitting. We need to see if there are other ways of leveraging investment for that sort of programme.

"Ed Miliband and I are working on plans at the moment. What is in no doubt is that it is needed."

Questioned after the meeting he declined to say when an announcement might be forthcoming, or what new policy ideas he was talking about.

He said: "Obviously we've been talking over feed-in-tariffs and how to move housing to net zero carbon. You'd expect us to be talking. I'm not going to make a further announcement now."