HC Deb 13 February 1992 vol 203 cc1095-6
4. Mr. Simon Hughes

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received in favour of taxation policies to benefit the environment; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Maude

We have received a number of representations on this subject also.

Mr. Hughes

Given that investment in cavity wall insulation, in energy-efficient boilers and in heating controls has dropped by 50 per cent. since 1987, given that even double-glazing salesmen appear to have gone quiet in this recession and given that energy-efficiency investment not only helps the environment but protects the vulnerable and the old and creates hundreds of thousands of jobs, will the Government consider extending the exemption from stamp duty for all energy-efficient homes beyond August and perhaps indefinitely?

Mr. Maude

I shall certainly listen carefully to what is said on that matter and give it full consideration. The hon. Gentleman seems to leave out of account the fact that investment in energy efficiency is desirable for its own sake. Saving energy saves on cost, so there is already a built-in incentive for people to make prudent investments in energy-efficiency measures.

Mr. Nicholls

Will my hon. Friend confirm that one of the representations that he must have received was that from the Liberal Democrats advocating their policy of imposing an extra 50p a gallon on petrol? Does my hon. Friend agree that those who live in rural areas ought to know that that is what the Liberal Democrats have in mind? Does he agree that that policy would have a devastating impact on people who live in the country areas of Teignbridge?

Mr. Maude

My hon. Friend does a sterling service in drawing attention to that Liberal Democrat policy. I wonder, with him, whether the Liberal Democrats will be quite as keen on promoting that policy in rural areas in the coming general election.