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Written Question
Renewable Energy
Thursday 30th June 2022

Asked by: Richard Holden (Conservative - North West Durham)

Question to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy:

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what Government grants or support are available for (a) residential and (b) commercial properties for (i) solar, (ii) wind and (iii) ground source heat energy.

Answered by Greg Hands - Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

Schemes including the Local Authority Delivery, Home Upgrade Grant, and Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund enable installing solar panels and ground source heat pumps.

VAT on installing solar panels, including with storage in Great Britain’s residential settings is now 0%. The Smart Export Guarantee enables small-scale renewable electricity generators, including from solar panels and small wind turbines, to receive payment for what they export.

The Government offers tax-relief to businesses installing solar panels, including for onsite-renewable generation, and will review existing permitted development rights that, subject to conditions, allow solar on and around domestic and commercial buildings without planning permission.


Written Question
Energy Company Obligation
Thursday 30th June 2022

Asked by: Richard Holden (Conservative - North West Durham)

Question to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy:

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when the details of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO4) Scheme to help householders will be released.

Answered by Greg Hands - Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

The Statutory Instrument for the Energy Company Obligation (ECO4) Scheme was laid in Parliament on 22 June and is subject to the affirmative procedure.

The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) has published ECO4 scoring details is expected to publish other delivery and administrative guidance in the coming weeks.


Written Question
Mortgages: Interest Rates
Tuesday 28th June 2022

Asked by: Richard Holden (Conservative - North West Durham)

Question to the HM Treasury:

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of trends in the level of interest rates on people who are mortgage prisoners.

Answered by John Glen - Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)

Ministers and officials meet regularly with industry, trade bodies, and regulators to understand their policies and the impact of the increased cost of living on all mortgage borrowers. I am also in regular contact with mortgage prisoner campaigners about their concerns.

The Treasury continues to work with industry to determine if there are any further solutions which would meaningfully benefit mortgage prisoners and are fair to other borrowers in the wider mortgage market, including those who are also paying variable rates.

The Government continues its efforts to support mortgage borrowers by offering Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) loans to homeowners in receipt of an income-related benefit to help prevent repossession. Recently, the Prime Minister announced a package of homeownership measures, including changes to SMI Loans. When introduced, these changes will provide support more quickly to homeowners by reducing the qualifying period for SMI loans and remove the ‘zero earnings rule’. There is also protection in place in the courts under the Mortgage Pre-Action Protocol which stipulates that repossession should always be a last resort for lenders.

On the cost of living more broadly, the Government has introduced over £15bn of additional support, targeted particularly at those with the greatest need. This package builds on the over £22bn announced previously, with government support for the cost of living now totalling over £37bn this year. Millions of the most vulnerable households will receive at least £1,200 of one-off support in total this year to help with the cost of living.


Written Question
Health: Disadvantaged
Tuesday 28th June 2022

Asked by: Richard Holden (Conservative - North West Durham)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the Health Disparities White Paper will be published.

Answered by Maggie Throup - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)

The health disparities white paper will be published later this year.


Written Question
Individual Savings Accounts: Cost of Living
Monday 27th June 2022

Asked by: Richard Holden (Conservative - North West Durham)

Question to the HM Treasury:

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of reducing the withdrawal cost on Lifetime ISAs to 20 per cent in response to cost of living increases.

Answered by John Glen - Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)

The Lifetime ISA (LISA) was designed as a long-term savings product to encourage people to save for either a first home or for later life by providing a generous 25% government bonus on up to £4,000 of contributions each year. Money held in a LISA, including the government bonus, can be withdrawn from the age of 60 or at an earlier stage if used as a deposit for the account holder’s first home worth up to a maximum of £450,000. All other withdrawals are subject to a 25% government charge made to reflect the account’s specific intention.

The Government has no current plans to reduce the LISA withdrawal charge to 20%. This would mean that the LISA would provide greater benefits than a current account or traditional savings account and undermine its positioning as a long-term savings vehicle. There are a range of other savings products allowing for immediate access of savings, including cash ISAs.

The government keeps all aspects of savings tax policy under review in the context of future fiscal events.

However, to support millions of households across the UK who are struggling to make their incomes stretch to cover the rising cost of living, the government is providing over £15bn of additional support, targeted particularly on those with the greatest need. This package builds on the over £22bn announced previously, with government support for the cost of living now totalling over £37bn this year.


Written Question
Cars: Liquefied Petroleum Gas
Monday 27th June 2022

Asked by: Richard Holden (Conservative - North West Durham)

Question to the HM Treasury:

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the evidential basis is for his fiscal policy on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cars; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of reviewing that policy in order to incentivise the use of LPG cars.

Answered by Helen Whately - Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)

The government uses the tax system to encourage the purchase of cars with low carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Vehicles powered by Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) benefit from a reduced rate of fuel duty in comparison to the main road fuel rate. Budget 2018 extended the current duty differential until 2032, subject to review in 2024.

The temporary fuel duty cut announced at Spring Statement 2022 reduced rates for LPG proportionately to the 5p reduction for petrol and diesel to maintain the relative differential.

From 1 March 2001, cars powered by LPG, including those converted following first registration, receive a £10 discount on their annual VED payment.


Written Question
Council Tax: Valuation
Monday 27th June 2022

Asked by: Richard Holden (Conservative - North West Durham)

Question to the HM Treasury:

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many and what proportion of properties are in Council Tax bands A to D in each (a) local authority and (b) constituency as of 21 June 2022.

Answered by Lucy Frazer - Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)

The Valuation Office Agency publishes annual statistics on the number of domestic properties in each Council Tax Band, by Local Authority area. The latest publication can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/statistics/council-tax-stock-of-properties-2022.

Table 1.0 shows the number of properties by Council Tax band and Local Authority for each year from 1993 to 2022. Table 2.0 shows the number of properties by Council Tax band and Westminster Parliamentary Constituencies for 2022.

The current publication displays statistics up to 31 March 2022. The next publication for figures up to 31 March 2023 will be published next year.


Written Question
Paramedical Staff: Prescriptions
Monday 27th June 2022

Asked by: Richard Holden (Conservative - North West Durham)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of enabling paramedics with prescription training, including paramedic practitioners based in GP surgeries, to prescribe a limited number of drugs to alleviate pressure on the NHS.

Answered by Edward Argar - Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

There are existing systems in place to allow advanced paramedics to become independent prescribers. To become an independent prescriber, a paramedic must have a minimum of three years’ patient-oriented experience and successfully completed an independent prescribing programme. Independent prescriber paramedics can prescribe any licensed medicine, except controlled drugs, for any condition within their competence, including in general practice.


Written Question
Red Diesel
Thursday 23rd June 2022

Asked by: Richard Holden (Conservative - North West Durham)

Question to the HM Treasury:

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential economic merits of permitting the use of red diesel in the (a) construction industry and (b) timber industry in response to rising oil prices.

Answered by Helen Whately - Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)

At Budget 2020, the Chancellor announced that he would remove the entitlement to use red diesel from most sectors from April 2022.

The Government recognised that this would be a significant change and ran a consultation to gather information from affected users on the expected impact of these tax changes and make sure it had not overlooked any exceptional reasons why other sectors should be allowed to continue to use red diesel beyond April 2022.

Following the consultation, the Chancellor announced at Spring Budget 2021 that the Government would grant further entitlements to use red diesel after April 2022 for a limited number of users. However, having assessed the cases made by other sectors to retain their red diesel entitlement, including the construction sector, the Government did not believe that they were compelling enough to outweigh the need to ensure fairness between the different users of diesel fuels, the Government's long-term environmental objectives and the need for the tax system to incentivise the development of greener alternatives to polluting fuels.

Rebated fuel can be used in permitted vehicles and machines for accepted purposes relating to forestry, but not for the further processing or use of timber. Further guidance is available at: www.gov.uk/guidance/using-rebated-fuels-in-vehicles-and-machines-excise-notice-75-from-1-april-2022


Written Question
Coronavirus: Vaccination
Thursday 23rd June 2022

Asked by: Richard Holden (Conservative - North West Durham)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps his Department has taken on vaccine damage payment policy in respect of the families of those who died as a result of receiving a covid-19 vaccination.

Answered by Maggie Throup - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)

The Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme (VDPS) provides a one-off tax-free payment, currently £120,000, to individuals whose health was damaged by a vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines. The VDPS can be applied for on behalf of someone who has died. To be eligible in such cases, the applicant should manage the estate of the deceased, with each case assessed against the legal requirements of the Scheme and considered on its own merits.

The Department and the NHS Business Services Authority are improving the VDPS through a simplified process and greater accessibility for all claimants. This includes the digitisation and modernisation of the claims process, including the VDPS claim form and more regular communications on the progress of claims.