I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing this important debate for those of us who represent areas like Sandwich that have a high preponderance of listed buildings. There are more than 3,000 in my constituency. They are often in rural areas where properties are remote, isolated and, in many cases, hard to heat. I hope that he will talk about the opportunity to reduce VAT to, say, 5% on renewable energy initiatives in listed properties, which the Minister might want to take into account in the forthcoming Budget or the comprehensive spending review later this year.
My right hon. Friend makes an important point for people who have older properties, which are expensive to heat. We have ambitions to be carbon neutral by 2050, so the current regime of charging full VAT on trying to do the right thing for the Government’s other ambitions seems somewhat perverse.
My hon. Friend will remember that it was introduced by the EU. We had to reduce the previous concession as a result of an EU directive. Now we are free from EU directives, we may be able to be more liberal in our interpretation of VAT laws.