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Policy Telegram 24 March 2023

Policy Telegram w/e 24 March 2023

Each weekly Policy Telegram (PolTel) delivers a concise summary briefing of the key Government policy developments and notable research releases that are most critical for Cornwall Council

Energy Efficiency

22/3/23 – The Government has awarded £1.8bn to upgrade social homes and public buildings.

The Government has awarded the funding through the Social Housing Decarbonisation fund, Home Upgrade Grant, and Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme. The money will be split into:

-  £1.4bn to local authorities, providers of social housing and charities to upgrade homes and off-grid households with energy efficiency measures.

-  £409m to reduce carbon emissions of hospitals, schools, museums, universities, and other public sector buildings across England.

Energy efficiency measures, including loft insulation and new windows, mean households could save between £220 and £400 on annual energy bills, with funding expected to support 20,000 jobs.

Hidden Homelessness

20/3/23 - Chronic increase of ‘hidden’ homelessness in the countryside fuelled by cost-of-living crisis, ground-breaking report shows

This report from the University of Kent and University of Southampton exposes a surge in rural rough sleeping since the pandemic which is being worsened by the cost-of-living crisis. The report found the countryside is battling a 'hidden homelessness' crisis driven by soaring housing costs and a gaping shortfall in local authority funding.

The study, which also included a survey of 157 frontline support workers, service providers, NGOs, and shelters, found:

·  91% of respondents in rural areas have seen homelessness increase in the past five years

·  83% of respondents in rural areas said their job had become harder in the past five years

·  81% of respondents believe that rough sleeping is experienced differently in rural areas compared to urban areas.

Overall, rural local authorities are receiving 65% less funding per capita through the Homelessness Prevention Grant than urban areas.  The sharp discrepancy in financial aid discovered in statistics released by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, shows urban local authorities were paid £7.15, compared to just £2.50 paid to rural local authorities when calculated on a like-for-like basis.

Cost of Living

20/3/23 - Non-domestic alternative fuel payment applications: scheme documents

Terms and Conditions relating to applications for £150 non-domestic alternative fuel payment and for the top-up payment for high users of heating oil (kerosene) have been released.

Apply here:

Renewable Energy

16/3/23Government confirms £205m for energy security

The Government confirmed the budget for this year’s Contracts for Difference, which supports low-carbon electricity generation.

The government announced £170m pledged for established technologies in renewables and £10m ringfenced for tidal, as part of the first annual flagship renewables auction. The scheme will bolster investment into the sector every year, delivering clean, homegrown energy as well as green growth in jobs.

Plastic Packaging

15/3/23 - Plastic Packaging Tax rate change from 1 April 2023

The government has announced an increase to the rate of Plastic Packaging Tax from 1 April 2023 in line with the Consumer Price Index. The aim of the tax is to provide an economic incentive for businesses to use recycled plastic in the manufacture of plastic packaging, which will create greater demand and stimulate higher rates of recycling.


15/3/23 - Tobacco duty: changes to rates

The government has announced an increase to the duty rate on all tobacco products by the Tobacco Duty escalator of 2% above the Retail Price Index (RPI) inflation.

Hand-rolling tobacco will rise by an additional 4% to 6% above RPI inflation, and the Minimum Excise Tax (MET) will increase by an additional 1%, to 3% above RPT.

Homes for Ukraine

15/3/23 - Homes for Ukraine income tax and corporation tax exemptions

The Government has announced temporary tax reliefs and exemptions in connection with the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme for ‘thank you’ payments made by local authorities to sponsors under the scheme.

As part of the scheme, sponsors receive a monthly sum of £350 (capped to 12 months) as a ‘thank you’ for housing an individual or family. Without specific legislation these payments could be subject to tax. The introduction of the new measures has not been subject to a consultation as the government has previously announced that the payments would be tax free.

This measure is wholly relieving with retrospective effect. The exemption from Income Tax and Corporation Tax will have effect from the 14 March 2022, when the Homes for Ukraine scheme launched.


15/3/23 - Transforming Support: The Health and Disability White Paper

The Government’s new health and disability white paper sets out proposals to help more disabled people and people with health conditions to start, stay and succeed in work.

The White Paper sets out how the Government will help open-up more work opportunities, provide the right support, improve government services and transform the system for the future by:

-  Transforming the benefits system by removing the Work Capability Assessment. This will ensure that those who are able to, can progress in or towards work, without the worry of being reassessed and losing their benefits.

-  Improving employment support for disabled people and people with health conditions, investing to help people start, stay and succeed in work.

-  Improving the overall experience of the benefits system for disabled people, making it easier for people to access the right support and improving trust and transparency in decisions and processes.

Data Release: Children and Low-Income Families

23/3/23 – The latest annual statistics on the number and proportion of children in low-income families has been released

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has released the latest annual statistics on the number and proportion of children in low-income families, up to 2021/22 and covering the period from 2013/14-2021/22.


16/3/23 - Government commits up to £3.5 billion to future of tech and science

During the Spring Statement, delivered on Wednesday 15 March, the Government pledged around £1bn of government funding for supercomputing and AI research, with the aim of establishing the UK as a science and technology superpower. Alongside this, they announced a new Quantum Strategy which is backed by £2.3bn over the next 10 years, which will help bring new investment, fast-growing businesses and high-quality jobs to the UK.

To support research and development projects (R&D), from 1 April 2023, the Government will introduce an increased rate of relief for loss-making R&D intensive Small and Medium size Enterprises (SMEs). Eligible companies will receive £27 from HMRC for every £100 of R&D investment.



15/3/23 - Climate Change Agreements: consultation on extension and future scheme 2023

The consultation seeks views on an extension to the current Climate Change Agreements Scheme, adding a reporting period between 1 January 2024 to 31 December 2024. This will result in another certification period ending on 31 March 2027, providing further reductions in the Climate Change Levy for participants.

The consultation outlines:

-  Aspects of the current scheme that will be retained for the extension, as well as some proposed changes.

-  Further developed proposals for a potential future scheme, following on from proposals in our last consultation including target setting, reporting and how performance will be measured.

10 May 2023

17/3/23 - Environmental Outcomes Reports: a new approach to environmental assessment

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities seeks views on the approach to developing Environmental Outcomes Reports to support departments in the next stage of policy development.

The Government will be replacing the EU-derived Strategic Environmental Assessment and Environmental Impact Assessment processes with a new system of environmental Outcome Reports. The introduction of an? outcomes-based approach to the Environmental Outcomes Reports allows the Government to reflect its environmental priorities directly into plan-making and decision-making process on the largest developments.

9 June 2023

17/3/23 - Technical consultation on the Infrastructure Levy

A technical consultation on the Infrastructure Levy. The Infrastructure Levy is a reform to the existing system of developer contributions – Section 106 planning obligations and the Community Infrastructure Levy - in England. This consultation will inform the design of the Levy and of regulations that will set out its operation in detail.

15/3/23 - VAT energy saving materials relief – improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions

At Spring Statement 2022, the government announced changes to expand the VAT energy saving materials relief in Great Britain, providing tax incentives worth approximately £280 million to improve the energy efficiency of homes over a five-year period to 31 March 2027.

The Call for Evidence builds on those changes and seeks views on 2 further potential areas of reform for this relief to meet its intended objectives more effectively. The first potential area of reform is the inclusion of additional technologies and the second is to extend the relief to installations of energy saving materials in buildings intended solely for a relevant charitable purpose.

As part of the Cornwall Council Devolution Deal consultation the Government has committed to working with Cornwall Council to explore the viability of a place-based approach. Included within this is the simplification and consolidation of funding to delivering retrofit measures that could be effectively rolled out further in Cornwall and elsewhere.

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