Tip: To match a phrase, use quotation marks around the search term. eg. "Parliamentary Estate"

Written Question
Energy: Billing
8 Mar 2021

Questioner: Rushanara Ali

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has issued guidance on (a) landlords using energy agents to manage utility bills and (b) the rights of tenants to access information about their own billing costs.

Answer (Anne-Marie Trevelyan)

The Government’s How to Rent guide gives some general advice to tenants on paying bills: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-rent/how-to-rent-the-checklist-for-renting-in-england.

The How to Let guide (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-let/how-to-let) gives advice to landlords on bills.

Additionally, our Tenant Fees Act guidance (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/922900/Tenant_Fees_Act_-_Tenant_Guidance.pdf) tells tenants: ‘You are responsible for your bills if these are not included within your rent. Landlords must not overcharge tenants if they pay utilities separately from the rent’.

Ofgem’s guide for tenants on how to switch energy supplier https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/consumers/household-gas-and-electricity-guide/how-switch-energy-supplier-and-shop-better-deal/how-switch-energy-supplier-if-you-re-tenant says that:

Under consumer protection law, if you are a renting a property and are directly responsible for paying the gas and/or electricity bills, you have the right to choose your own energy supplier. Your landlord or letting agent should not unreasonably prevent this’.

‘Your landlord has the right to choose your energy supplier only when they are directly responsible for paying for the gas or electricity’.


Written Question
Aviation: Exhaust Emissions
8 Mar 2021

Questioner: Seema Malhotra

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support research and innovation to help accelerate progress towards achieving zero-carbon aviation.

Answer (Paul Scully)

The Government is supporting the development of future green aviation technologies as part of our £1.95bn Aerospace Technology Institute programme and the £125m Future Flight Challenge.


Written Question
Wind Power: Seas and Oceans
8 Mar 2021

Questioner: Alex Cunningham

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of the Crown Estate’s Round 4 Offshore Wind Leasing process on developers’ supply chain plans.

Answer (Anne-Marie Trevelyan)

The Government has not made any assessment of the effect of the Crown Estate’s Round 4 Offshore Wind Leasing process on either the Offshore Wind Sector Deal’s target for 60 per cent UK content by 2030 or on developers’ supply chain plans.

It will be a number of years before any projects from this latest leasing round will be preparing a supply chain plan in order to bid into a Contract for Difference Allocation Round. We will work with all developers to see how we can increase UK economic benefit.


Written Question
Horizon Nuclear Power
8 Mar 2021

Questioner: Lord West of Spithead

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of Japan about facilitating a transfer of ownership of Horizon and its sites to another development company or other relevant commercial business.

Answer (Lord Callanan)

Japan is a significant strategic partner for the UK and we regularly discuss a range of issues, including nuclear energy. It would not be appropriate to comment on the detail of these discussions.

The sites at Wylfa and Oldbury are owned by Horizon Nuclear Power and the future ownership of it and its assets is a matter for Hitachi, its parent company.


Written Question
Horizon Europe
8 Mar 2021

Questioner: Chi Onwurah

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to Answer of 16 December 2020 to Question 128674 on Horizon 2020, what plans the Government has for funding continued UK participation in the EU Horizon programme.

Answer (Amanda Solloway)

The UK will participate in Horizon Europe as part of the Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA) with the EU. We will pay a fair and appropriate share into the budget of this programme to enable the UK science and research sector to further their partnerships with our European neighbours.

Participating in Horizon Europe will strengthen R&D to build on the UK’s world class reputation for research and innovation. It provides exciting opportunities for UK businesses and SMEs to support growth and innovation, working with our international partners. Business organisations and researchers have strongly welcomed us securing this outcome.

We will set out our plans for R&D spend in 2021/22 – including funding for Horizon Europe – when we publish our R&D allocations. This will be done in due course.


Written Question
Debt Relief Orders
8 Mar 2021

Questioner: Ian Mearns

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to increase the financial cap for eligibility for a Debt Relief Order; and whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of increasing that financial cap to £50,000.

Answer (Paul Scully)

The Government has recently consulted on proposals to increase the eligibility criteria for Debt Relief Orders to help more people deal with their financial difficulties and to provide a fresh start. The consultation includes increasing the total amount of debt allowable in a Debt Relief Order. The consultation proposes an increase from the current debt limit of £20,000 to £30,000 but also seeks views on whether a different limit should be implemented. The consultation closed on 26 February 2021 and the Government is currently reviewing the responses.


Written Question
Weddings: Coronavirus
8 Mar 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that representatives from all sectors of the wedding industry were consulted in the covid-19 reopening plans for that industry.

Answer (Paul Scully)

I meet regularly with the industry-led UK Weddings Taskforce, established to represent all parts of the UK Weddings sector [in England], and have received representations from it on the reopening of the wedding receptions and celebrations sector.

In the 'COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021', the Government has set out how it will continue to protect and support citizens across the UK and has provided a roadmap out of the current lockdown in England. This includes a staged return of weddings and civil partnerships: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021/covid-19-response-spring-2021.


Written Question
Debt Relief Orders
8 Mar 2021

Questioner: Ian Mearns

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of reviewing every three years the Debt Relief Order monetary eligibility criteria to ensure that those criteria are appropriate.

Answer (Paul Scully)

No assessment has been made of the potential merits of reviewing the Debt Relief Order monetary eligibility criteria every three years. However, the Government does keep the legislative framework for insolvency under regular review.


Written Question
Insolvency: South Yorkshire
8 Mar 2021

Questioner: Lord Scriven

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many businesses have declared bankruptcy in each parliamentary constituency in South Yorkshire in the current financial year to date.

Answer (Lord Callanan)

The Insolvency Service publishes National Statistics on insolvency cases for England and Wales combined. It is not possible to identify accurately companies that trade in South Yorkshire specifically, or companies that operated within specific parliamentary constituencies before entering insolvency. The data used for insolvency statistics is compiled from information at Companies House. The registered office address for a company may not be representative of its trading location, and often it is changed upon insolvency to the address of the appointed Insolvency Practitioner dealing with the case.

Subject to these caveats, the table below sets out the data on all registered company insolvencies from April 2020 to January 2021 (inclusive):


Estimated number of registered company insolvencies in South Yorkshire by parliamentary constituency of company registered office

1 April 2020 to 31 January 2021

Constituency

Registered Company Insolvencies

Barnsley Central

5

Barnsley East

0

Don Valley

5

Doncaster Central

54

Doncaster North

1

Penistone and Stocksbridge

1

Rother Valley

3

Rotherham

1

Sheffield Central

97

Sheffield South East

14

Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough

10

Sheffield, Hallam

182

Sheffield, Heeley

0

Wentworth and Dearne

4

Total

377

Sources: Insolvency Service (compulsory liquidations); Companies House (all other company insolvencies)

The Insolvency Service also holds data on personal bankruptcies in South Yorkshire during 2020 where the individual concerned ran a business as a sole trader or partnership. This information will be available later this year following the summer release of the official statistics covering the location, age and gender of individuals that entered insolvency in 2020 (provisionally due to be released in August 2021). The latest published statistics covering the period 2000 to 2019 can be found on the GOV.UK website.


Written Question
Wind Power: Seas and Oceans
8 Mar 2021

Questioner: Alex Cunningham

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of the outcome of the Crown Estate’s Round 4 Offshore Wind Leasing process on the Offshore Wind Sector Deal’s target for 60 per cent UK content by 2030 in offshore wind projects on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).

Answer (Anne-Marie Trevelyan)

The Government has not made any assessment of the effect of the Crown Estate’s Round 4 Offshore Wind Leasing process on either the Offshore Wind Sector Deal’s target for 60 per cent UK content by 2030 or on developers’ supply chain plans.

It will be a number of years before any projects from this latest leasing round will be preparing a supply chain plan in order to bid into a Contract for Difference Allocation Round. We will work with all developers to see how we can increase UK economic benefit.


Written Question
Green Homes Grant Scheme
8 Mar 2021

Questioner: Baroness Jones of Whitchurch

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by the Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth on 2 February (145087), whether the Green Home Grant allocations to local authorities set out in Lord Callanan’s letter to Peers on 29 January will still be applied if the £2 billion made available for Green Home Grants is not rolled over into 2021/22.

Answer (Lord Callanan)

The £500m government funding for the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery (GHG-LAD) scheme is independent of the funding allocated to the Green Homes Grant Voucher scheme. The GHG-LAD scheme is being delivered in three phases:

- Phase 1A; over £74million was allocated to 55 Local Authorities in October 2020 to fund energy efficiency projects in over 100 Local Authorities by June 2021.

- Phase 1B:  around £126million of grant offers were made to 81 Local Authorities in January 2021, for delivery of energy efficiency projects by September 2021. Further details of these allocations will be announced in the coming weeks once Memorandums of Understanding with individual Local Authorities have been signed.

- Phase 2:  will see funding of £300m allocated to the five Local Energy Hubs this financial year who will work with Local Authorities in their region to deliver energy efficiency projects by December 2021.


Written Question
Energy: Meters
8 Mar 2021

Questioner: Jonathan Edwards

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what proportion of homes classified as rural have installed a smart meter.

Answer (Anne-Marie Trevelyan)

Smart meters are replacing traditional gas and electricity meters in Great Britain as part of an essential infrastructure upgrade to make the energy system more efficient and flexible, enabling the cost-effective delivery of net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

The rollout is making good progress, with 22.2 million smart and advanced meters in homes and small businesses across Great Britain, as of the end of September 2020.

Data for smart meter installations is routinely collected at a Great Britain level.

The latest data on the rollout of smart meters is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/smart-meters-statistics.


Written Question
Visas: EU Countries
8 Mar 2021

Questioner: Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made on securing exemptions to visa requirements for (1) UK nationals performing short-term paid work in the EU, and (2) EU nationals undertaking such work in the UK.

Answer (Lord Callanan)

The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) already includes measures for short-term business visitors, who can perform a list of 11 activities without requiring a work-permit, subject to a limited number of Member State reservations. EU Member States may allow more activities without a work-permit than those specified in the agreement. This will vary country to country.

Visa-free travel is not usually part of Free Trade Agreements, although the UK and EU both allow visa-free visits in their domestic laws. EU nationals can visit the UK for up to 6 months and perform a wide range of business activities (which can be found under the ‘Permitted Activities’ of the Immigration Rules). UK nationals can visit the EU for 90 days in every 180 days and also perform a range of visitor activities, although these will vary from Member State to Member State.


Written Question
Property: Ownership
8 Mar 2021

Questioner: Lord Roberts of Llandudno

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what records they maintain in relation to land and property in the UK held by non-UK citizens; and whether they will publish a list of the ten non-UK citizens who own the most property in the UK.

Answer (Lord Callanan)

HM Land Registry does not hold information on the nationality of property owners.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Vaccination
8 Mar 2021

Questioner: Chi Onwurah

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much funding from the public purse has been spent on covid-19 vaccine (a) manufacturing and (b) research and development since 1 March 2020; if he will make a comparative assessment of the adequacy of that funding spent since 1 March 2020 and the £128 million ringfenced for covid-19 vaccine R&D and manufacturing in Budget 2021; and what proportion of that funding ringfenced in Budget 2021 the Government plans to spend on covid-19 vaccine (i) manufacturing (ii) research and development.

Answer (Nadhim Zahawi)

The UK was the first country in the world to procure, authorise, and start a vaccination programme using the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines. The Government has secured access to 457 million doses, across eight different vaccine developers. As of 8 March, over 22.2 million individuals have been vaccinated with a first dose.

At the Comprehensive Spending Review 2020, the Government announced it has made available more than £6 billion in total to develop, manufacture, and procure COVID-19 vaccines. Of that, £733 million in 2021-22 was confirmed to purchase successful vaccines and £128 million was confirmed for the research and development (R&D) of vaccines, as well as their manufacture. Further funding may be allocated from COVID-19 reserves as needed.

On R&D, we have allocated:

  • £33.6 million for the Human Challenge Programme.
  • £20 million to the University of Oxford to fund clinical trials for their COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Over £40 million to Imperial College London for the development of their vaccine.

At Budget 2021, the Government announced funding of:

  • £28 million to increase the UK’s capacity for vaccine testing, support for clinical trials, and to improve the UK’s ability to rapidly acquire samples of new variants of COVID-19.
  • £22 million for a world-leading study to test the effectiveness of combinations of different COVID-19 vaccines. This will also fund the world’s first study assessing the effectiveness of a third dose of vaccine to improve the response against current and future variants of COVID-19.
  • A further £5 million on top of a previous £9 million investment in clinical-scale mRNA manufacturing, to create a ‘library’ of vaccines that will work against COVID-19 variants for possible rapid response deployment.

On manufacturing,the Government has invested over £300 million to secure and scale-up the UK’s manufacturing capabilities to be able to respond to the pandemic. This includes:

a) Facilities that have come online:

  • £4.7 million for skills training through the Advanced Therapies Skills Training Network, which will be delivered through both virtual and physical centres.
  • £8.75 million for the set-up of the rapid deployment facility at Oxford Biomedica in Oxfordshire.
  • £65.5 million for the early manufacture of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
  • Funding for fill and finish through a contract with Wockhardt in Wrexham, North Wales, which is currently providing fill and finish capabilities to the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

b) Facilities that will come online later this year, to help provide longer-term UK capacity:

  • £93 million to accelerate the completion and expanded role of the Vaccines Manufacturing Innovation Centre in Oxfordshire.
  • £127 million for the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult in Braintree, Essex.

In addition to the above, we have also funded the expansion of the Valneva factory in Livingston, Scotland.


Written Question
Renewable Energy
8 Mar 2021

Questioner: Baroness Blackstone

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government when the results of the consultation on Aligning UK international support for the clean energy transition will be published; and what plans they have to publish  policy proposals on the basis of the results of that consultation.

Answer (Lord Callanan)

As stated in the consultation document, the Government will publish its response as soon as possible, once it has considered the evidence provided and taken a decision on the optimum implementation date for the policy shift.


Written Question
Weddings: Coronavirus
8 Mar 2021

Questioner: Carolyn Harris

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of potential job losses in the wedding industry without additional covid-19 financial support as the sector operates at restricted capacity until 21 June 2021.

Answer (Paul Scully)

I meet regularly with the industry-led Weddings Taskforce, established to represent a wide range of interests in the weddings sector [in England], to understand the impact of the pandemic on jobs and businesses.

Over the course of the pandemic the Government has provided an unprecedented package of financial support to businesses, including those in the wedding industry, which we keep under regular review. The Chancellor announced in his Budget a raft of new measures to further support businesses, including those in the wedding industry. These include:

  • Extension of the Coronavirus Job Support Scheme to the end of September 2021.
  • £5 billion for new Restart Grants.
  • The Government is also providing all Local Authorities in England with an additional £425 million of discretionary business grant funding, on top of the £1.6 billion already allocated.
  • Eligible businesses in hospitality sector will benefit from business rates relief worth over £6 billion in 2021 to 2022.

Written Question
Digital Technology: Small Businesses
8 Mar 2021

Questioner: Chi Onwurah

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the proportion of SMEs that will receive funding in each year of the Help to Grow: Digital scheme announced on 3 March 2020; and what the (a) criteria and (b) administration arrangements are for that scheme.

Answer (Paul Scully)

Through Help to Grow: Digital, the Government will launch a new online platform this Autumn where businesses can access advice on software that could help them save time and money, and a voucher to reduce the costs of buying that software. Over the next 3 years, 100 000 eligible SMEs could benefit from a voucher providing up to a 50% discount (worth up to £5,000) to adopt approved productivity-enhancing software. The voucher is expected to be available to UK businesses that have more than 5 and fewer than 249 employees and that have been trading for more than 12 months. The programme will launch in Autumn 2021 and eligible businesses are encouraged to register their interest at https://helptogrow.campaign.gov.uk/.


Written Question
Life Sciences
8 Mar 2021

Questioner: Patrick Grady

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish a response to Early Day Motion 256, Accelerating human relevant life sciences in the UK.

Answer (Amanda Solloway)

The use of animals in research is carefully regulated and remains important in ensuring new medicines and treatments are safe.   At the same time, the Government believes that animals should only be used when there is no practicable alternative and it actively supports and funds the development and dissemination of techniques that replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in research (the 3Rs). This is achieved primarily through funding for the National Centre for the 3Rs, which works nationally and internationally to drive the uptake of 3Rs technologies and ensure that advances in the 3Rs are reflected in policy, practice and regulations on animal research. Across the UK, the NC3Rs has invested £71 million in research through grants to universities, and almost £27 million in contracts through its CRACK IT Challenges innovation scheme to UK and EU-based institutions, mainly focusing on new approaches for the safety assessment of pharmaceuticals and chemicals that reduce the use of animals.


Written Question
Green Homes Grant Scheme
8 Mar 2021

Questioner: Desmond Swayne

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has plans to further develop the Green Homes Grant scheme.

Answer (Anne-Marie Trevelyan)

The Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme was designed to provide a short-term economic stimulus while tackling our contribution to climate change.

My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced £320 million for the scheme in the next financial year, as part of funding to make homes and public buildings more energy efficient.


Written Question
Energy: Meters
8 Mar 2021

Questioner: Jonathan Edwards

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to tackle infrastructure weaknesses that are a barrier to the roll out of smart meters in rural areas.

Answer (Anne-Marie Trevelyan)

Second generation smart meters use a dedicated national smart metering communications network, which uses a variety of technologies to deliver connectivity to premises. These include cellular mobile technology plus wireless mesh radio, and long-range radio technology.

The Data Communications Company (DCC), which operates the national communications infrastructure for smart metering, is obligated under the conditions of its licence to provide communications coverage to at least 99.25% of premises across Great Britain.

The DCC is required by its licence conditions to assess opportunities to increase the overall level of coverage beyond its contractual requirements where it is practicable and cost proportionate.


Written Question
Energy: Meters
8 Mar 2021

Questioner: Jonathan Edwards

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to introduce an alternative scheme to complement the Smart Export Guarantee to encourage small scale low carbon generation in rural areas.

Answer (Anne-Marie Trevelyan)

The Smart Export Guarantee is available for low carbon generation situated across all areas of Great Britain, therefore the Government does not consider an alternative rural scheme is necessary.


Written Question
Public Houses: Coronavirus
8 Mar 2021

Questioner: Daisy Cooper

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to Cabinet Office's guidance, Reopening businesses and venues in England, published on 24 February 2021, whether pubs opening for outdoor trade at step 2 of the covid-19 reopening roadmap are also permitted to provide outdoor live music performances ancillary to the service of food and drinks.

Answer (Paul Scully)

If a pub wishes to provide complementary live music for their seated food and/or drink customers, they can do this outdoors at Step 2. However, if a pub charges for admission, or admits an audience in addition to seated food and/or drink customers, this would be considered to be a live music event, which should only take place at Step 3. Any live music should adhere to safer working guidelines for pubs and restaurants, which includes the need to ensure that background music should be kept at a low volume and that customers should not be singing or dancing.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Clinical Trials
8 Mar 2021

Questioner: Lord Roberts of Llandudno

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they are offering to those who volunteer for the COVID-19 human challenge study.

Answer (Lord Callanan)

The safety of any participant in a clinical study is always the absolute priority of the research team. The studies will take place in specialised units with very close monitoring and with medics on hand with treatments if they are needed.

The volunteers for the COVID-19 Human Challenge Study will be compensated for their time. The amount that the volunteers receive will be benchmarked against previous studies and the Research Ethics Committee has reviewed this amount to ensure that it is fair. For expenses such as travel, volunteers will be compensated out-of-pocket.


Written Question
Renewable Energy
8 Mar 2021

Questioner: Colleen Fletcher

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to support the development of the renewable energy sector.

Answer (Anne-Marie Trevelyan)

Achieving our 2050 net zero target will require significant increases in renewable electricity generation, and we will continue to encourage deployment and support the UK sector.

The Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme has been very successful in delivering large-scale renewable generation whilst reducing costs through competitive allocation rounds. The next round will open in late 2021 and aims to deliver up to double the renewable capacity of last year’s successful round, potentially providing enough clean energy for up to 10 million homes. The Smart Export Guarantee, which was introduced in January 2020, gives small-scale generators, such as homes with solar panels, the right to be paid for the renewable electricity they export to the grid.

The UK is a major global market for renewables, and we want to harness the wider benefits of this market-leading position in terms of jobs and investment. As well as supporting the creation of new offshore wind port hub infrastructure, the Government is also eager to strengthen how supply chain plans operate, as signalled in my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s announcement on 6 October. The Government is consulting on new proposals for a revised Supply Chain Plan questionnaire for CfD Applicants to complete. This will form the basis for assessment before an allocation round and ongoing monitoring, review and assessment after CfD signature.  This consultation closes on 11 March 2021. The public consultation on proposals to strengthen Supply Chain Plan policy and on changes to the CfD contract has now closed. A government response will be published shortly.