had a quote for £3k for a new combi boiler and associated work
Well there's part of your problem - don't FFS get a combi, except for a few uses they are the spawn of the devil. But installers lurve them because they are easy to install, and builders/developers lurve them because it means they can shave about 1 square yard off the size of a house by doing away with the cylinder and cupboard. But for most users, they are "a poor choice" - especially for a family with a bath !
Gas takes much longer, if I have it on for an hour then ...
Right, so you are using it wrongly.
I don't however know what the cost of the gas is vs the approx 24p of electric used in that half hour.
Almost certainly less than the lecky - unless you are on LPG from a tank in the garden. Mains gas is typically around 1/4 the cost of mains lecky for a unit of heat. Even if your existing boiler is old and inefficient, I bet it's cheaper (by a good margin) to run than the immersion heater.
Suggested steps to take :
1) If there isn't one, get a cylinder stat fitted and wired into the heating system. This will be able to run the boiler when the cylinder needs heat, and turn the boiler off again afterwards (unless the heating is also demanding heat).
2) Set the time controls to allow the boiler to heat the cylinder for a decent amount of time each day. In practical terms, there isn't really a reason not to allow the cylinder to be set for 24 hours - the boiler does not run on the timer, it runs on the cylinder stat and will not run if the cylinder is already hot.
3) Make sure you have a good room stat for the heating and use it. Don't be like SWMBO who treats the room stat as a switch.
4) The boiler controls need to be set such that the boiler does not shut down on it's own stat before the room and cylinder stats are satisfied. Boiler cycling is very common (usually because the clueless plumber set things up wrong) and is very expensive.
5) At some point (consider it when either the existing cylinder and/or boiler are giving problems) consider upgrading to a modern fully pumped system with "fast recovery" high capacity coil and a condensing (but not combi) boiler. You'll get much better cylinder reheat times and it'll be more efficient - IF the system is setup right (most aren't as "plumbers" are often completely clueless).
And for a few more bits. When (not if) people tell you that it's wasteful to store a tank full of hot water, and mutter about standing losses, ignore them as ignorant idiots ! Provided you've taken measures (like the above) to make the controls work for you AND you have it well lagged, then the losses are low. Plus, unless the airing cupboard is outside of the house, then the losses aren't wasted as they'll be contributing to heating the house. I actually did side-by-side comparisons of a thermal store I'd just installed in one property with the combi next door - the combi had higher losses with no demand than the store (about twice in fact). Combi boilers have significant standing losses because they fire up at intervals to keep the heat exchanger hot so as to avoid the "turn on hot tap, wait a minute or two while the boiler obliges with hot water" problem they are so famous for - and this repeated firing is very wasteful. That's one of the "dirty secrets" about combi boilers that their supporters will never mention.
So TL;DR version.
You are being wasteful, almost certainly not using your systems to best advantage, and having a smart meter won't help with that. You can get a much better saving by using what you have correctly, without the "remote turn off" facility and without handing over a lot of detailed information into a massive database where it's almost certainly going to leak.
And the "spot when the lecky use is high because the immersion is on" bit doesn't even need a smart meter - a slip on energy monitor for a fraction of the price* will tell you that.
* Don't believe the outright lies that these meter are "at no extra cost". You might not get a bill itemising it, but you, and I, and everyone else here paying lecky and gas bills, is paying for it - to the tune of (current estimates) 11 BILLION quid on our bills during the next few years. It works out at around £200/meter.