Oral Answers to Questions is a regularly scheduled appearance where the Secretary of State and junior minister will answer at the Dispatch Box questions from backbench MPsOther Commons Chamber appearances can be:
Westminster Hall debates are performed in response to backbench MPs or e-petitions asking for a Minister to address a detailed issue
Written Statements are made when a current event is not sufficiently significant to require an Oral Statement, but the House is required to be informed.
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy does not have Bills currently before Parliament
A Bill to make provision about energy production and security and the regulation of the energy market, including provision about the licensing of carbon dioxide transport and storage; about commercial arrangements for carbon capture and storage and for hydrogen production and transportation; about new technology, including low-carbon heat schemes and hydrogen grid trials; about the Independent System Operator and Planner; about gas and electricity industry codes; about financial support for persons carrying on energy-intensive activities; about heat networks; about energy smart appliances and load control; about the energy performance of premises; about energy savings opportunity schemes; about the resilience of the core fuel sector; about offshore energy production, including environmental protection, licensing and decommissioning; about the civil nuclear sector, including the Civil Nuclear Constabulary and pensions; and for connected purposes.
This Bill received Royal Assent on 26th October 2023 and was enacted into law.
A Bill to make provision about minimum service levels in connection with the taking by trade unions of strike action relating to certain services.
This Bill received Royal Assent on 20th July 2023 and was enacted into law.
A Bill to revoke certain retained EU law; to make provision relating to the interpretation of retained EU law and to its relationship with other law; to make provision relating to powers to modify retained EU law; to enable the restatement, replacement or updating of certain retained EU law; to enable the updating of restatements and replacement provision; to abolish the business impact target; and for connected purposes
This Bill received Royal Assent on 29th June 2023 and was enacted into law.
A Bill to make provision for controlling energy prices; to encourage the efficient use and supply of energy; and for other purposes connected to the energy crisis.
This Bill received Royal Assent on 25th October 2022 and was enacted into law.
A Bill to make provision relating to entitlement to practise certain professions, occupations and trades; and for connected purposes
This Bill received Royal Assent on 28th April 2022 and was enacted into law.
A Bill to make provision regulating the giving of subsidies out of public resources; and for connected purposes.
This Bill received Royal Assent on 28th April 2022 and was enacted into law.
A Bill to make provision for the implementation of a regulated asset base model for nuclear energy generation projects; for revenue collection for the purposes of that model; for a special administration regime for licensees subject to that model; and about the circumstances in which bodies corporate are not associated with site operators for the purposes of programmes relating to funding the decommissioning of nuclear sites.
This Bill received Royal Assent on 31st March 2022 and was enacted into law.
A Bill To make provision enabling relief from payment of certain rent debts under business tenancies adversely affected by coronavirus to be available through arbitration; and for connected purposes.
This Bill received Royal Assent on 24th March 2022 and was enacted into law.
A Bill to make provision for and in connection with the establishment of the Advanced Research and Invention Agency.
This Bill received Royal Assent on 24th February 2022 and was enacted into law.
To make provision for the making of orders in connection with national security risks arising from the acquisition of control over certain types of entities and assets; and for connected purposes.
This Bill received Royal Assent on 29th April 2021 and was enacted into law.
To make provision in connection with the internal market for goods and services in the United Kingdom (including provision about the recognition of professional and other qualifications); to make provision in connection with provisions of the Northern Ireland Protocol relating to trade and state aid; to authorise the provision of financial assistance by Ministers of the Crown in connection with economic development, infrastructure, culture, sport and educational or training activities and exchanges; to make regulation of the provision of distortive or harmful subsidies a reserved or excepted matter; and for connected purposes.
This Bill received Royal Assent on 17th December 2020 and was enacted into law.
A Bill to make provision relating to the promotion of economic recovery and growth.
This Bill received Royal Assent on 22nd July 2020 and was enacted into law.
A Bill to make provision about companies and other entities in financial difficulty; and to make temporary changes to the law relating to the governance and regulation of companies and other entities.
This Bill received Royal Assent on 25th June 2020 and was enacted into law.
e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.
If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.
If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).
Limit the Sale and Use of Fireworks to Organisers of Licensed Displays OnlyGov Responded - 13 Aug 2020 Debated on - 8 Nov 2021
Current legislation allows for public use of fireworks 16 hours a day, every day, making it impossible for vulnerable groups to take precautions against the distress they can cause. Better enforcement of existing law is insufficient; limiting their sale & use to licensed displays only is necessary.
Extend maternity leave by 3 months with pay in light of COVID-19Gov Responded - 14 May 2020 Debated on - 5 Oct 2020
In light of the recent outbreak and lock down, those on maternity leave should be given 3 extra months paid leave, at least. This time is for bonding and social engaging with other parents and babies through baby groups which are vital for development and now everything has been cancelled.
Ban Animal Testing - Fund, accept & promote alternatives to animal testingGov Responded - 4 Aug 2021 Debated on - 25 Oct 2021
We would like the Government to ban all animal testing UK, including for the development of cosmetics, household products and medicines. Alternatives need to be actively funded. Many products that are tested on animals end up not being suitable for humans. Animal testing is outmoded and should end.
Commons Select Committees are a formally established cross-party group of backbench MPs tasked with holding a Government department to account.
At any time there will be number of ongoing investigations into the work of the Department, or issues which fall within the oversight of the Department. Witnesses can be summoned from within the Government and outside to assist in these inquiries.
Select Committee findings are reported to the Commons, printed, and published on the Parliament website. The government then usually has 60 days to reply to the committee's recommendations.
The exact date that an eligible household will receive support will depend on when the application is made and when the payment can be processed by the relevant local authority. The online application portal and accompanying contact centre helpline for those who do not have online access will be open by 27 February.
The Energy Bill Support Scheme Alternative Funding (EBSS AF) will provide £400 support to those households who do not have a direct relationship with a domestic electricity supplier in England, Scotland, and Wales, with the application portal due to open by 27 February. Park home residents, where the park home owner procures their electricity through a commercial contract and is therefore eligible for the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, are likely to be eligible for the EBSS AF.
The Holistic Network Design (HND) was published in July 2022. For offshore wind projects that do not yet have firm connection contracts, the HND recommends network solutions that deliver coordination, cost and efficiency benefits and an overall reduction in new infrastructure. However it cannot mandate changes to projects with pre-existing connection contracts, including many in East Anglia. For these, the Government has launched the £100m capital grant scheme to support the development of voluntary coordination options.
The Electricity System Operator has undertaken consideration of the best approach to coordinate offshore transmission infrastructure to deliver greater efficiencies, reductions in planned infrastructure and accelerate the offshore wind delivery. Belgium’s Modular Offshore Grid connects several wind farms via a single cable. The UK’s Holistic Network Design delivers a similar outcome at greater scale, covering 21GW of offshore generation in its first round and 23GW in its second. Our approach will utilise shared connection points for multiple generators and aims to use multipurpose interconnectors to transmit energy from generators to consumers; reducing costs and impacts for developers, communities, and bill-payers.
In the Government’s consultation response published in April 2022, we proposed the creation of a new, independent Future System Operator (FSO). Depending on a number of factors, including timings of legislation, updating licensing arrangements, amending industry codes, and discussing timelines with key parties, the FSO could be established by, or in, 2024.
The Primary Legislation required to establish the FSO is contained within the Energy Bill 2023, which is currently passing through Parliament. Subject to reaching Royal Assent, we aim to establish the FSO as soon as practicable, while maintaining the safety and stability of the energy systems and ensuring a smooth transition.
Ensuring environmental protections are maintained is a key component of work being undertaken by Government to facilitate the acceleration of offshore wind. The Energy Bill makes provisions to deliver the Offshore Wind Environmental Improvement Package (OWEIP), which was announced in the British Energy Security Strategy.
The OWEIP will streamline Habitat Regulation Assessments, develop and implement Offshore Wind Environmental Standards, and create a Marine Recovery Fund to enable environmental compensation to be undertaken at a strategic level. This ensures developments are located where there are lower environmental sensitivities, and/or where impacts can be avoided, reduced, mitigated, or if required, compensated.
The new Energy Bill Discount Scheme (EBDS) will run from April until March 2024 and continue to provide a discount to eligible non-domestic customers including hospices. An HMT-led review into the operation of the current Energy Bill Relief Schemes was conducted with the objective of significantly reducing the overall burden on the taxpayer/public finances, and ensuring support is targeted at those most in need and unable to adjust to recent energy price rises. The review considered a range of qualitative and quantitative evidence, including input from businesses and stakeholders. The new scheme strikes a balance between supporting non-domestic customers and limiting taxpayer’s exposure to volatile energy markets, with a cap set at £5.5 billion.
Through government funding to local authorities, including the Local Government Finance Settlement, UK-wide growth funding schemes and other grant programmes, the Government is enabling local areas to tackle net zero goals in ways that best suit their needs.
The Government also funds five Local Net Zero Hubs to support local authorities to develop net zero projects and attract commercial investment. As of January 2023, the Local Net Zero Hubs are working on a pipeline of projects with a projected total capital value of over £4billion.
Ofgem also supports community energy projects and is now welcoming applications from community interest groups, co-operative societies, and community benefit societies to the Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme.
Ofgem rules include an Ability to Pay Principle that requires suppliers to provide appropriate support for those struggling to pay their bills. Support may include setting up appropriate repayment plans based on a customer’s ability to pay, and by directing the customer to further support services.
Ofgem is responsible for ensuring licensed energy suppliers are complying with their licence conditions. Ofgem publishes details of its compliance and enforcement action on its website.
On-site solar generation enables households to reduce their energy bills with savings being dependent on the output from the device, the demand profile for the property and the tariff if exporting to the grid.
Prepayment meters allow customers to control and budget for the amount they spend on energy and help to mitigate the risk of going into or exacerbating existing debt. A restriction on installation of prepayment meters as a last resort would leave court enforcement as the only recourse in cases of non-payment and large debt. Ofgem has stringent rules on force-fitting prepayment meters. The Government has no plans to restrict this option.
The Government is working to alleviate labour shortages in all sectors and is removing employment barriers by boosting wages via the National Living Wage, and furthering workers’ rights, which is particularly important for lower-paid sectors. The Government is also reforming the skills system to ensure an appropriately-skilled workforce.
To address haulage shortages, the Government took over 30 actions, including investing £34m in Skills Bootcamps to train over 11,000 people to become HGV drivers in England.
The newly-created Hospitality & Tourism Skills Board will focus on the medium-to-long term objectives of increasing recruitment, enhancing retention, and building an appropriately-skilled tourism workforce.
The Government’s Local Net Zero Hubs Programme supports local authorities with their capability and capacity to meet net zero. We have also funded work to develop business models to increase private sector investment in local net zero.
The Offshore Transmission Network Review seeks address the uncoordinated growth of offshore transmission assets and develop a more coordinated approach to the design and delivery of transmission for offshore wind in Great Britain. For projects that already had firm connection contracts, limited changes could be made without breaking those commercial contracts, which is something the government has no power to do. For these projects, the Government has launched a £100m funding scheme to support developers to develop options for voluntary coordination. This could include reconsideration of some cable routes to reduce landing zones and use brownfield sites.
The Government recognises that pubs and other hospitality businesses are facing cost of living pressures.
The Energy Bill Relief Scheme ensures businesses are protected from excessively high energy bills up to the 31 March 2022. Following a review of this scheme, a new Energy Bills Discount Scheme (EBDS), will provide all eligible UK businesses and other non-domestic energy users with a discount on high energy bills from 1 April 2023 until 31 March 2024.
Additionally, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a range of support measures regarding business rates worth £13.6 billion over the next 5 years.
The Government does not collect this data. However, Liquid Gas UK reports that they know of 31 companies which distribute liquid petroleum gas (LPG) to customers and businesses across the UK and none have closed in the past year.
The UK continues to enjoy a robust supply chain for LPG, which is met by domestic production and by imported cargoes. The Government works closely with industry to monitor the LPG supply position throughout the year and proactively take steps to mitigate any risks that may affect distribution to customers and essential services.
The Government published its Response to the White Paper, ‘Restoring Trust in Audit and Corporate Governance’ on 31 May 2022. The Response stated that the reforms will be delivered by a variety of mechanisms. This includes changes already made by the regulator and by Ministerial Direction. The Government is committed to legislating when Parliamentary time allows.
The setting of the standing charge is a commercial matter for individual suppliers. Under the Price Cap, a supplier’s default and standard variable tariffs unit rate and standing charge together must not exceed the level of the cap set by Ofgem.
The profits made by distribution network companies are regulated by Ofgem through the price control to ensure sufficient incentives for networks to deliver for consumers, whilst protecting consumers from high costs. The next price control begins in April, where returns for these companies will be set lower than previous price controls.
In September 2020, the Government published an Energy Performance Certificate Action Plan detailing a series of commitments to maximise the effectiveness of Energy Performance Certificates. In November (2021), the Action Plan Progress Report was published detailing the significant progress made in delivering the commitments. The Department continues to work closely with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on progressing the outstanding actions in the Energy Performance Certificate Action Plan.
We have noted the reports of unethical and exploitative practices in this sector. To address this the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has recently published guidance aimed at candidates who are applying for health and social care jobs in the UK from abroad. It provides information on how to avoid scams, working rights and standards, what to consider when deciding whether to take a health or care job in the UK and where to go for further guidance, help or support.
Section 6 of the Employment Agencies Act 1973 (EAA 1973) prohibits the charging of work-finding fees to work-seekers wherever they are recruited from, provided the agency is operating in Great Britain. Agencies are permitted to charge fees for other paid-for services and can pass on visa costs to work-seekers, but this should be clearly set out in writing to the work-seeker. The Employment Agency Standards (EAS) Inspectorate continues to work closely with DHSC to ensure their guidance aligns with these requirements.
The maximum standing charge is limited by the Ofgem price cap. Ofgem reviewed the components of the standing charge in the Summer of 2022 and concluded that maintaining the existing methodology would protect consumers with the greatest energy needs.
Standing charges vary by region, billing method and energy type and range from approximately £99 to £205. In figures published by Ofgem in November 2022, Supplier of Last Resort costs (for those customers whose provider ceases trading) accounts for £61 in the average customer’s energy bill.
The costs of failed energy firms have contributed to an increase in standing charges. The energy regulator, Ofgem, reviewed whether the existing fixed charge was appropriate or whether a usage-based (volumetric) alternative would be more suitable.
Ofgem concluded that while some low consuming users, some of whom may be vulnerable, might benefit from change, there are a number of higher consuming users including vulnerable users that would pay more.
Ofgem’s current methodology protects users with greater energy needs, such as disabled users and users with electric heating in areas off the gas grid.
There are no plans to do this.
As the expert independent regulator, Ofgem is responsible for operating the price cap. Ofgem remains the sole decision-maker over how it is calculated and has consulted extensively on its methodology for determining the cap level. The Government has confidence in Ofgem to set the cap at a level that reflects the underlying efficient costs of supplying energy.
The price cap was never intended to be a permanent feature of the market. As announced in the Autumn Statement, we are developing a new approach to protecting consumers’ energy prices from April 2024.
To date, we have named around 2,500 employers, covering around £20.8 million in arrears and £24.1 million in penalties. The Government last named 208 employers on 8 December 2021, including some of the UK’s biggest household names.
Publicly naming employers who do not comply with the rules remains an important part of our enforcement and compliance toolkit. It clearly demonstrates that it is never acceptable to underpay workers and that employers who do will be held responsible.
This Government remains committed to workers’ rights and enforcement. We need to be realistic with what we can achieve and the limits of parliamentary time. We are reviewing what this means for the creation of the Single Enforcement Body which would be a significant organisational change . In the meantime, we continue to invest significantly in the existing labour market enforcement bodies and are working with the Director of Labour Market Enforcement to ensure that they are supported to work together as effectively as possible.
Ordnance Survey (OS) does not hold data which records the number of public rights of way footpaths that have been removed from OS maps since 2015.
From the 1 April 2015 to 31 January 2023 OS received 5,585 Orders for changes to the cartographic depiction of public rights of way from the relevant order-making authority, typically a Local Authority. 353 of these Orders included an instruction to make a deletion. It is possible that some of these orders for deletions were accompanied by an instruction to add a public right of way.
Applications for edits to the Definitive Map of public rights of way (including the addition of lost public rights of way) are made to the relevant order-making authority, typically a Local Authority. If accepted, the edits are made to the Definitive Map by the relevant order-making authority, whereby public rights of way are added and/or removed. The order-making authority should then notify Ordnance Survey (OS) of the edit and on receipt of the notification, OS will cartographically record the changes required and include in future map editions.
BEIS publishes quarterly information on the overall percentage of all invoices (including SME invoices) paid within 5 to 30 days on GOV.UK. The BEIS payment performance for the financial year 2021-22 is that 87.24% of invoices were paid within 5 days.
The Procurement Bill currently progressing through the Commons contains a Clause (68) that will require all contracting authorities to publish specified information relating to invoice payments. BEIS will ensure that it continues to publish payment information and will comply with the new requirements once they are implemented.
The Government is investing £6.6 billion over this Parliament in decarbonising heat and energy efficiency. The Energy Company Obligation Scheme, running until 2026 is valued at £4 billion. ECO+ has also been announced, with the scheme worth £1 billion per annum to run from Spring 2023 until 2026.
The Autumn Statement announced a new ambition to reduce energy consumption from buildings and industry to 15% by 2030. A new Energy Efficiency Taskforce will be established supporting this. £6 billion of additional funding will also be available from 2025 to 2028.
The Government routinely considers schemes in other jurisdictions in its policy development process.
Businesses in the outbound travel industry can access support through the Recovery Loan Scheme which helps smaller businesses access loans and other kinds of finance up to £2 million per business group so they can grow and invest. The finance can be used for any business purpose, including growth and investment, or working capital. Furthermore, At the Autumn Statement, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced £13.6 billion of support for businesses over the next five years, reducing the burden of business rates for SMEs. This includes freezing the business rates multiplier for another year to protect businesses from rising inflation, worth £9.3 billion over the next 5 years.
The Government’s ‘Help to Grow: Management’ scheme is helping small and medium sized (SME) businesses across the UK learn new skills, reach more customers and boost profits.
All businesses can access support through 38 Growth Hubs across England providing businesses across England with free one-to-one support and advice.
Life Sciences pharmaceutical manufacturing was responsible for $27.7bn exports in 2021. Official statistics from the Office for Life Sciences show that employment in core biopharmaceutical manufacturing employment declined between 2009 and 2019, but increased by 5% between 2019 and 2021. The Life Sciences Vision sets out an ambition to create a globally competitive environment for Life Science manufacturing investments. To help meet these ambitions, the Government launched the £60m Life Sciences Innovative Manufacturing Fund in March 2022 to incentivise globally mobile manufacturing investments in the UK.
Between 2004 and 2021 the UK Government has invested over £346 million into CCUS Research, Development and Deployment (RD&D). This funding has ensured the UK remains at the forefront of CCUS Research and Innovation. Developing the skills, knowledge, and technology to allow the UK to deploy CCUS domestically and export it expertise around the world. In 2020 the UK Government confirmed Advanced CCUS and Greenhouse Gas Removal (GGR) innovation would be two of the ten priority areas of the £1 billion BEIS Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP, 2021-2025).
Businesses in Bexleyheath and Crayford will have benefitted from the Government’s reversal of the National Insurance rise, saving SMEs approximately £4,200 on average, the cut to fuel duty for 12 months and raising the Employment Allowance to £5,000.
The Energy Bill Relief and Energy Bill Discount Schemes will protect SMEs from high energy costs over the winter. The Autumn Statement announced £13.6 billion of support for businesses over the next five years, reducing the burden of business rates for SMEs.
The Government is providing financial support – 128 SMEs in Bexleyheath and Crayford have received Start Up loans to the value of £1,377,883 and 331 SMEs in Bexley Borough to the value of £3,423,737.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) provides specific Human Resources data/information to Departmental Trades Union Side (DTUS), on request, in line with our obligations under section 181 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. Furthermore, BEIS publishes a range of information about the operation of the Department, which is available on GOV.UK and so is publicly accessible.
In addition, BEIS meets regularly with the DTUS, presenting and sharing a range of management information as part of normal engagement on a spectrum of issues. Information and data are supplied where it is appropriate and in line with privacy statements. This helps inform decision making through formal negotiation and meaningful consultation and engagement. BEIS always seeks to work constructively with trade unions to reach fair and reasonable settlements.
The Department is conducting an economic impact assessment of the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill, which takes the most recent industrial action, as well as other instances of industrial action, into consideration. This will be published shortly.
The current planned timeline would be to implement the feedback mechanism in quarter one of financial year 2023/2024.
BEIS awarded 17 direct award contracts in financial year 2021/2022, which equates to 5% of contracts awarded by the Department.
This information is not held centrally and can only be provided at disproportionate cost. However, BEIS has published a Bi-Annual copy of its pipeline on Gov.uk for the past two years, which provides at least an 18 month forward look of potential procurements.
We are bringing forward a range of policies to help rural households decarbonise their heating. These include schemes such as the £450 million Boiler Upgrade Scheme, which provides grants of up to £6,000 towards the installation of heat pumps and biomass boilers, and the £1.1bn Home Upgrade Grant, which supports lower income households off the gas grid in England to upgrade their energy efficiency and transition to low carbon heating.
We are also taking further action to help develop the heat pump market, such as the planned market-based mechanism for low carbon heat. This will provide industry with the policy incentive and confidence to invest in ways to make heat pumps a more attractive and simpler choice for UK households.
The Government remains committed to Levelling Up and is actively engaging with companies to secure investments that will ensure the UK remains a world leader in automotive manufacturing.
We continue to work through the Automotive Transition Fund (ATF) to progress plans to build a globally competitive electric vehicle supply chain in the UK, which includes unlocking private investment in gigafactories, battery material supply chains, motors, power electronics, and fuel cell systems.
We have invested record sums in battery R&D – last October we announced a record £211 million uplift for the Faraday Battery Challenge, which brought the overall budget of this ambitious programme to £541 million. We recently awarded £27.6 million from this funding to 17 UK projects to support innovation in EV battery technology.
The Critical Minerals Strategy seeks to promote a circular economy of critical minerals in the UK. Recycling rates vary significantly for different minerals. In the case of minerals for electrical vehicle batteries, end-of-life recycling is expected to provide less than 1% of UK demand in 2030. The opportunity improves by 2040: recycling is expected to account for 10-20% of battery mineral demand for electrical vehicles.
To promote recycling and recovery, the Government is funding the £30 million National Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Research (NICER) Programme, including a centre on technology metals. Defra expects to consult on regulations for electrical waste in 2023 and subsequently for end-of-life batteries.
In July 2022, the Government published its first ever Critical Minerals Strategy, setting out our approach to improving the resilience of critical mineral supply chains. It will safeguard UK industry, support the energy transition and protect our national security. The strategy sets out how the Government will accelerate our domestic capabilities, collaborate with international partners and enhance international markets. The Government are planning to publish a Critical Minerals Refresh in Spring 2023 to reinforce the strategy, highlight its progress, and set out upcoming delivery milestones.
Individual departments are currently in the process of assessing all their REUL and developing proposals for whether they intend to revoke or reform each piece of legislation, or preserve it from the sunset.
Once this process is complete, Government will announce its intention for the areas where it will focus on reform, where it will repeal or allow REUL to sunset, and where it will seek to retain the status quo. We will be ambitious but mindful of ensuring that businesses and stakeholders are engaged and consulted in the usual way on policy changes, whilst upholding commitments already given at the despatch box.
During 2022 the Office for Product Safety and Standards has undertaken a programme of enforcement activity relating to the availability of unsafe and non-compliant products from online platforms including Amazon, eBay, AliExpress and Wish. This includes safety alerts and withdrawal notices as well as activity at the Border to prevent unsafe products being placed on the UK market, test purchasing and assessment of high-risk products such as small electrical goods, toys containing magnets and button batteries and personal protective equipment.
This has resulted in 308 notifications on the Product Safety Recalls and Alert system and specific Product Safety Alerts on angle grinder chainsaws, hot hairbrushes and baby self-feeding devices.
The Government is committed to growing and levelling up the UK space ecosystem. Since 2014, the UK Space Agency has invested over £7 million through its national and European Space Agency programmes to support space companies in Wales develop new and innovative technologies, including Space Forge who have built Wales’s first satellite. In addition, the Agency also invests significantly in academic R&D institutions in Wales, which stimulate and enable industry spin-out companies and applications in other sectors. This includes the £16.5 million investment in the Cardiff University-led SPIRE instrument aboard the ESA science observatory mission Herschel and up to £2.5 million planned funding in the Ariel mission, as part of the £30 million package announced last year.
The Government has a long record of supporting the UK satellite manufacturing sector, and the UK space sector now excels in satellite manufacture, which includes some of world’s leading small satellite companies such as SSTL and AAC Clydespace.
Through our £1.8 billion investment in ESA programmes and £1 billion via UK agency this CSR, the Government continues to support R&D work with these and many other companies such as OpenCosmos, Alba Orbital, InSpace Missions, Orbital Astronautics and Space Forge which are developing innovative nano and microsats. The Government further supports the sector through regulatory leadership in small satellite insurance, finance and licensing as part of our aim to become the leading provider of commercial small satellite launch in Europe by 2030. Significant commercial opportunities such as the OneWeb second generation constellation offer potential to further strengthen the UK’s small satellite sector.
The Government remains committed to making the UK the leading provider of commercial small satellite launch in Europe by 2030, with all the necessary infrastructure and regulations now in place to support this. £50 million has been provided to grow new UK markets for small satellite launch and sub-orbital spaceflight, with £31.5 million helping to establish vertical launch services in Scotland. This includes supporting Orbex to launch from Sutherland and Lockheed Martin to launch from the Shetland Islands. Both launches are expected to take place in 2024, with other spaceports in development across Scotland and in Wales.
The UK Space Agency is now developing the next phase of the UK Spaceflight Programme, subject to HM Treasury approval. In addition, the UK invested £12 million into the next phase of the European Space Agency’s Boost programme at the ESA Council of Ministers 2022, aimed at providing tailored support to national launch companies and related infrastructure.
The BEIS HR Directorate carries out equality impact assessments in line with the Public Sector Equality Duty when developing new internal departmental HR policies. BEIS does not routinely publish the equality impact assessments for new internal departmental HR policies, however, they are shared with the departmental trade unions, staff networks, and employees more broadly, upon request.
The BEIS HR Directorate consults with the departmental trade unions when proposing new internal HR policies for the Department.
In 2021, the Government published the Life Sciences Vision, which set out an ambition to create a globally competitive environment for Life Science manufacturing investments. To help meet these ambitions and incentivise globally mobile manufacturing investments in the UK, the Office for Life Sciences launched the £60 million Life Sciences Innovative Manufacturing Fund (LSIMF) in March 2022. The LSIMF will provide capital grants for investment in the manufacture of human medicines (drug substance and drug product), medical diagnostics and medical technology products. The fund has received a large number of high-quality applications and we expect to announce the successful grant awards from spring 2023.