ENERGY minister Lord Callanan yesterday joined The Sun on a tour of a heat pump research centre — and insisted prices “will be driven down” sooner than predicted.

He promised readers that the green machines would not be any more expensive than gas boilers, and that no one would be ordered to rip out their current system.

He added: “We don’t want to force anybody to do anything. We want to incentivise them.” Lord Callanan discussed the Government’s new £5,000 discounts with Octopus boss Greg Jackson at the Slough, Berks, HQ.

From April homeowners will be able to get a £5,000 discount, thanks to new government grants.

But the energy chiefs at Octopus vow that within six months they will be able to use that subsidy to make a new gas boiler the same price as one of their new green heating systems.

The Government is gambling on kick-starting the market with 90,000 cut-price pumps in the next three years, which run on electricity, making them even more affordable for others later down the line.

Octopus boss Greg Jackson told The Sun: "The only thing that’s holding people back is lack of volume.

"This grant scheme will give us the confidence, the volume will be there, that we can invest in global sourcing and then in manufacturing in the UK.

"Today, we can be incredibly optimistic that the price is going to come down rapidly."

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