Bishop of Leicester asks about households on pre-payment energy meters

The Bishop of Leicester received the following written answer on 9th March 2023:

The Lord Bishop of Leicester asked His Majesty’s Government what proportion of eligible households on prepayment meters in (1) Leicester, and (2) Leicestershire, have redeemed their Energy Bills Support Scheme vouchers.

Lord Callanan (Con): The Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) for Great Britain publishes transparency data on gov.uk. These show that across October, November and December 2022, 71% of issued vouchers were redeemed in Leicester Local Authority (LA), and 76% in the LAs comprising the rest of Leicestershire. Full breakdown in the table below.

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Bishop of Oxford asks about gas boilers in new build homes

The Bishop of Oxford asked a question on the government’s heat and buildings strategy, and whether the government planned to change the target date for banning the installation of gas boilers in new build homes, on 28th February 2023:

The Lord Bishop of Oxford: To ask His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of progress on their Heat and Buildings Strategy, published on 19 October 2021; and whether they have any plans to change the date of 2025 for banning the installation of gas boilers in new-build homes.

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Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich asks about access to information on energy bills for vulnerable households

The Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich asked a question on obligations of affordable energy providers to offer alternatives to electronic communication to those in need, during a debate on energy costs for vulnerable households on 31st January 2023:

The Lord Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich: My Lords, I recognise that my question connects with the previous Oral Question. Listening to clergy in my diocese who are operating food banks and warm spaces, they say to me that one of the biggest challenges that vulnerable households are facing as they try to pay their energy bills is accessing information, particularly when it is available only online. What assurance can the Minister give that those responsible for delivering affordable energy, including Ofgem, will use or require the use of alternatives to electronic forms of communication when trying to reach those in need, including partnering with service providers such as food banks?

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Church Commissioners Written Answers: Energy Cost Grant

Andrew Selous MP, representing the Church Commissioners, gave the following written answer to a question from an MP on 18th December 2022:

Mr Ben Bradshaw MP (Lab): To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, whether he expects dioceses to pass the Energy Costs Grant direct to parishes.

Andrew Selous MP (Con): The Church Commissioners were pleased to provide £15m to the Archbishops’ Council for distribution to dioceses for Energy Costs Grants. All dioceses received a share of this Grant in October. The main purpose of the Grant is to help Parochial Church Councils to cover the increased cost of heating and lighting church buildings this winter.

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Bishop of St Albans asks about price caps on alternative fuels

The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 16th December 2022:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked His Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Callanan on 17 November (HL3214), why they have no plans for a price cap on alternative fuel.

Lord Callanan (Con): The markets for alternative fuels – including heating oil, coal, LPG, and biomass – contain a large range of suppliers not subject to the same regulation as electricity and gas suppliers. This means there is no single regulated standard price to modify by the imposition of a price cap.

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Bishop of St Albans asks why cold weather payments have not increased

The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 14th December 2022:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked His Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Stedman-Scott on 16 November (HL3212), why they have kept the £25 Cold Weather Payment amount the same; and what plans they have to increase it in light of the increasing cost of energy bills.

Baroness Stedman-Scott (Con): There are currently no plans to increase payment of the Cold Weather Payment scheme. The current Cold Weather Payment scheme represents a contribution towards additional heating costs, paid at the time of need.

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Bishop of Carlisle asks about new coal mine in Cumbria

The Bishop of Carlisle asked a question concerning the proposed opening of a new coal mine in Whitehaven, Cumbria, on 8th December 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, I declare a slight interest in this topic, since Whitehaven is in my diocese, and like the noble Baroness, Lady Hayman, I live in west Cumbria—in a particularly beautiful part of it, I have to say. This debate has now been running for more than two years, and in Cumbria, as in the whole country, it has been highly contentious, with a great deal of passion expressed on both sides. We have already heard some of that passion in the debate this evening. So I am acutely aware of the many arguments about both the potential environmental impact, which has been deplored, and the employment opportunities, which would—as has already been mentioned—be very welcome in this very deprived part of the country.

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Bishop of Durham asks about cap on energy prices for community spaces

The Bishop of Durham received the following written answer on 8th December 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Durham asked His Majesty’s Government, further to the recommendation in the report by THEOS A Torn Safety Net, published on 7 November, whether they plan to introduce a cap on energy prices in community spaces to provide support for communities.

Lord Callanan (Con): Applying a price cap in the non-domestic market would be impractical given the number of different contractual arrangements, range of prices offered, number of meter / location combinations impacting non-energy costs, and the risk of distorting the market.

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Church Commissioners Written Answers: Church Land, Environment, Persecuted Christians (Africa and China), Women in Ministry, Equality, Energy

Andrew Selous MP, representing the Church Commissioners, gave the following written answerto questions from MPs on 1st December 2022:

Jim Shannon MP (DUP): To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, whether the Church is taking steps to plant more trees on its land in rural areas.

Andrew Selous MP (Con): During 2021 the Church Commissioners planted approximately 2 million trees across their land holdings. In 2021 the Commissioners also purchased land in Wales with the intention of establishing a new woodland of c.85,000 new trees (subject to the grant of planting permissions).

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Bishop of St Albans asks about energy costs for farming businesses and alternative fuel users

The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answers on 17th November 2022:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked His Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Benyon on 31 October (HL2654), what specific provisions the Energy Bill Relief Scheme contains to support farming businesses; and what estimate they have made of the impact of that scheme on farming businesses.

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