Wales Office

The Office of the Secretary of State for Wales supports the Welsh Secretary and the Parliamentary Under Secretaries of State in promoting the best interests of Wales within a stronger United Kingdom. It ensures Welsh interests are represented at the heart of the UK Government and the UK Government’s responsibilities are represented in Wales.



Secretary of State

 Portrait

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales

Shadow Ministers / Spokeperson
Liberal Democrat
Wendy Chamberlain (LDEM - North East Fife)
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Wales)

Labour
Nia Griffith (LAB - Llanelli)
Shadow Secretary of State for Wales

Liberal Democrat
Baroness Humphreys (LDEM - Life peer)
Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Wales)

Labour
Baroness Wilcox of Newport (LAB - Life peer)
Shadow Spokesperson (Wales)

Scottish National Party
Richard Thomson (SNP - Gordon)
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Wales)
Junior Shadow Ministers / Deputy Spokesperson
Labour
Gerald Jones (LAB - Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney)
Shadow Minister (Wales)
Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State
David T C Davies (CON - Monmouth)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Wales Office)
Scheduled Event
Thursday 21st October 2021
08:45
Welsh Affairs Committee - Oral evidence - Select & Joint Committees
21 Oct 2021, 8:45 a.m.
The Benefits System in Wales
View calendar
Debates
Wednesday 14th July 2021
Climate Change: Wales
Westminster Hall
Select Committee Docs
Monday 27th September 2021
00:00
23 September 2021
Oral Evidence
Select Committee Inquiry
Wednesday 21st July 2021
The economic and cultural impacts of trade and environmental policy on family farms in Wales

The Welsh Affairs Committee is conducting a short inquiry to explore the impact of major policy changes (particularly, but not …

Written Answers
Monday 20th September 2021
Refugees: Afghanistan
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on Operation …
Secondary Legislation
Monday 14th December 2020
Government of Wales Act 2006 (Amendment) Order 2021
This Order amends Schedules 7A and 7B to the Government of Wales Act 2006 (c. 32) (“the 2006 Act”). It …
Bills
Tuesday 7th June 2016
Wales Act 2017
A Bill to amend the Government of Wales Act 2006 and the Wales Act 2014 and to make provision about …
Dept. Publications
Thursday 30th September 2021
16:40
Summit to showcase green ambassadors
News and Communications
Treaty
None available

Wales Office Commons Appearances

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 MPs

Other Commons Chamber appearances can be:
  • Urgent Questions where the Speaker has selected a question to which a Minister must reply that day
  • Adjornment Debates a 30 minute debate attended by a Minister that concludes the day in Parliament.
  • Oral Statements informing the Commons of a significant development, where backbench MP's can then question the Minister making the statement.

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.

Most Recent Commons Appearances by Category
Jun. 30
Oral Questions
Jul. 14
Westminster Hall
Oct. 02
Adjournment Debate
View All Wales Office Commons Contibutions

Bills currently before Parliament

Wales Office does not have Bills currently before Parliament


Acts of Parliament created in the 2019 Parliament

Wales Office has not passed any Acts during the 2019 Parliament

Wales Office - Secondary Legislation

This Order amends Schedules 7A and 7B to the Government of Wales Act 2006 (c. 32) (“the 2006 Act”). It comes into force on the day after the day on which the Order is made. The provisions fall into three categories.
View All Wales Office Secondary Legislation

Petitions

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).

Trending Petitions
Petitions with most signatures
Wales Office has not participated in any petition debates
View All Wales Office Petitions

Departmental Select Committee

Welsh Affairs Committee

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.


11 Members of the Welsh Affairs Committee
Stephen Crabb Portrait
Stephen Crabb (Conservative - Preseli Pembrokeshire)
Welsh Affairs Committee Chair since 27th January 2020
Beth Winter Portrait
Beth Winter (Labour - Cynon Valley)
Welsh Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Jamie Wallis Portrait
Jamie Wallis (Conservative - Bridgend)
Welsh Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Rob Roberts Portrait
Rob Roberts (Independent - Delyn)
Welsh Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Robin Millar Portrait
Robin Millar (Conservative - Aberconwy)
Welsh Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Ben Lake Portrait
Ben Lake (Plaid Cymru - Ceredigion)
Welsh Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Geraint Davies Portrait
Geraint Davies (Labour (Co-op) - Swansea West)
Welsh Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Virginia Crosbie Portrait
Virginia Crosbie (Conservative - Ynys Môn)
Welsh Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Simon Baynes Portrait
Simon Baynes (Conservative - Clwyd South)
Welsh Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Tonia Antoniazzi Portrait
Tonia Antoniazzi (Labour - Gower)
Welsh Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Ruth Jones Portrait
Ruth Jones (Labour - Newport West)
Welsh Affairs Committee Member since 15th June 2020
Welsh Affairs Committee: Upcoming Events
Welsh Affairs Committee - Oral evidence
The Benefits System in Wales
21 Oct 2021, 8:45 a.m.
At 9.30am: Oral evidence
Dr Mike Brewer - Deputy Chief Executive at Resolution Foundation
Charlotte Pickles - Director at Reform
Anvar Sarygulov - Senior Research Fellow at Bright Blue
Dr Victoria Winckler - Director at Bevan Foundation

View calendar

50 most recent Written Questions

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department

13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on Operation Warm Welcome.

Representatives from across Government meet frequently with colleagues in the Welsh Government to update them on the resettlement of Afghans in the UK.

In recent weeks, both the Minister for Safeguarding and Afghan Resettlement and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster have chaired meetings to discuss Operation Warm Welcome with Ministers from all the devolved administrations.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
15th Sep 2021
What recent assessment his Department has made of the effect of the United Kingdom Internal Market Act 2020 on the ability of the Senedd to legislate effectively in devolved policy areas.

The UK Internal Market Act has not taken a single power away from the devolved administrations.

What it has done is protect seamless trade within our United Kingdom which is vital to Welsh business and the Welsh economy, with Wales selling more to the rest of the UK than to the rest of the World put together.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
15th Sep 2021
What estimate he has made of the total funding provided by the Government to Wales to help tackle the covid-19 outbreak.

The funding provided to Wales by the UK Government demonstrates the value of the Union to Wales and reflects Wales’ value to the Union.

The UK Government has provided over £3.4 billion in direct support to businesses across Wales, an additional £8.6 billion to the Welsh Government to tackle the pandemic.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
15th Sep 2021
What discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the potential merits of a separate independent public inquiry into the handling of the covid-19 outbreak in Wales.

It is for the Welsh Government to consider the merits of a separate public inquiry. It is vital that all such inquiries rigorously examine public bodies’ handling of the Covid crisis and provide at least the same level of scrutiny as the UK public inquiry.

The UK Government is working closely with the devolved administrations on the scope of the UK public inquiry. I look forward to this beginning its work next year.

David T C Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Wales Office)
15th Sep 2021
What recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on lorry driver shortages in Wales.

The Secretary of State for Wales and I have a wide range of discussions with Ministerial colleagues, including how to solve the current shortage of lorry drivers.

That is why the government is increasing the availability of HGV driving testing. However, I would like to remind the honourable Member that the HGV driver shortage is not exclusive to the UK and is a Europe wide issue.

David T C Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Wales Office)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what recent assessment he has made of the Government’s preparedness for the COP26 summit and its potential impact on (a) Newport West constituency and (b) Wales.

The UK Government is working intensively with countries, businesses and civil society organisations around the world to secure our path to global net zero emissions by 2050 and deliver a safe, secure, sustainable and inclusive COP26. The UK set the tone for the level of ambition we invite all countries to rise to when earlier this year we announced our commitment to reduce emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels.

Climate change does not recognise territorial borders. The summit aims to mobilise countries to bring down global emissions, improve air quality, reduce pollution and protect and restore natural ecosystems globally. These benefits would be felt by citizens and communities in Newport, Wales and beyond.

COP26 is also an opportunity to showcase the breadth of engagement in climate action across the UK. All parts of the UK will have important roles to play in ensuring the summit’s success and will benefit from the collective momentum generated by COP26. We are working with the Welsh Government to ensure an inclusive and ambitious summit for the whole UK. We are grateful to those organisations from Wales that applied to have a physical presence at the summit in the UK-managed Green Zone, about which we hope to make an announcement in due course. Welsh communities have also taken part in the Together for Our Planet and Race to Zero campaigns and engaged with the COP26 Schools Pack.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what discussions he has had with (a) Cabinet colleagues and (b) the Welsh Government on the Government's preparation for the COP 15 summit.

The UK is committed to playing a leading role in developing an ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework to be adopted at COP 15.

As part of this framework, the UK will be supporting ambitious global targets to bend the curve of biodiversity loss by 2030, including targets to ensure more ocean and land is protected, ecosystems are restored, species population sizes are recovering and, that by 2050 extinctions are halted. This ambitious set of targets must be supported by increased finance for nature and strengthened reporting and review mechanisms to facilitate the achievement of them.

There is close working between the UK Government and the devolved administrations on our ambitious objectives for COP 15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity to ensure we deliver the transformational change required.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Welsh Government and (b) social media platforms on tackling abuse online.

The Government is wholeheartedly committed to tackling abuse online and we continue to press social media platforms to take a much tougher approach in their response to such abuse. UK Government officials have been working closely with officials in the Welsh Government, throughout the development of the Online Safety Bill, and will continue to engage throughout the legislative process.

Similarly, UK Government Ministers, including the Home Secretary, and officials regularly meet social media companies to discuss the steps that they are taking to address harmful content on their platforms, including hate crimes and racist abuse.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the (a) process of, (b) timeframe for and (c) allocation of funding for the establishment of a freeport in Wales.

Freeports will regenerate communities across the UK by attracting new businesses, spreading jobs, investment and opportunity to towns and cities up and down the country.

I have regular discussions with the Welsh Government on a range of issues, including Freeports. The UK Government remains committed to establishing at least one Freeport in Wales. We wrote to the Welsh Government on 11 July and I would welcome the support of the Welsh Government to ensure Freeports are introduced in Wales as soon as possible.

The Welsh Government is due to receive Barnett in the usual way and it should be for the Welsh Government to decide how much seed funding to provide to a Freeport in Wales. Through the application of the Barnett formula at the 2020 Spending Review, the Welsh Government is receiving around £123 per head in 2021-22 for every £100 head spent by the UK Government on devolved matters in England. However, it is important to recognise that the seed funding is only one part of the offer available to ports and businesses. There are a variety of benefits from Freeports, including on tax, customs, planning and innovation, many of these which will be delivered by the UK Government.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what mechanisms are in place to audit information provided to his Department by (a) regulatory bodies and (b) non-departmental public bodies.

The Office of the Secretary of State for Wales (OSSW) receives information from a wide range of regulatory bodies and non-departmental public bodies. The Office scrutinises and checks the information it receives as part of the normal course of business. OSSW itself has no arms-length bodies.

David T C Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Wales Office)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, how many items of written correspondence from hon. Members sent to Ministers of his Department have been (a) received and (b) replied to since 1 April 2020; and how many of those responses were responded to by (i) Ministers and (ii) officials of his Department.

The Office of the Secretary of State for Wales has received 90 items of correspondence from honourable Members since 1 April 2020; 69 of these items were responded to by Minister David TC Davies and myself, and 19 were answered by other Government Departments. Two items of correspondence are yet to be answered.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of his Department's energy usage in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021.

The Office of the Secretary of State for Wales is committed to reducing our energy usage to help achieve the UK’s net-zero emissions target. The Office incurred the following costs for energy usage in the financial years listed:

Financial Year

Cost

2018-19

£20,931

2019-20

£17,155

2020-21

£12,017

David T C Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Wales Office)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of a new industrial strategy.

This Government is keen to ensure we build back better in a way that supports the whole economy and delivers for all parts of the UK. Our Plan for Growth sets out the opportunities we will seize across the UK to drive economic growth, create jobs and support British industry.

The Plan for Growth will support our efforts to unite and level up the country: tackling geographic disparities; supporting struggling towns to regenerate; ensuring every region and nation of the UK has at least one globally competitive city; and strengthening the Union.

In addition, I recently launched the Plan for Wales, which outlines the UK Government’s ambitious plans for Wales, which aim to deliver thousands of skilled jobs and ensure Wales’ place as a hub for innovation and the green industries of the future. Over the next 12 months, the Wales Office will continue to work with BEIS on a vision for high growth sectors, an Innovation Strategy, as well as strategies for net zero, hydrogen and space.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what discussions he has had with representatives of the Welsh fishing industry on the effect on that sector of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

I have regular discussions with stakeholders, including those from the seafood sector on maximising opportunities from the UK-EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement.

Under the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the UK has secured tariff-free access for fisheries products and a substantial transfer of quota from the EU benefitting fishing communities across the UK including those in Wales. The transfer is equivalent to 25% of the value of the EU’s historic catch in UK waters worth £146 million delivered over 5 years. All fisheries administrations will have regulatory control, giving the Welsh Government powers over part of the UK's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) adjacent to Wales.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Chancellor of the Exchequer and (b) the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on ensuring an adequate level of funding for Welsh language free-to-air television channel S4C.

I have regular discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport about a wide range of issues including broadcasting matters and the funding settlement for S4C. Furthermore, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and I have had a number of constructive discussions about the licence fee settlement for S4C with the Minister of State for Media and Data.

S4C is the only Welsh language TV channel in the world and the UK Government understands this incredibly distinctive position.

DCMS has received S4C’s submission of need and negotiations are ongoing.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, whether his Department has carried out a risk assessment of the secure holding of CCTV footage filmed within his Department.

As has been the case under successive Administrations, it is not government policy to comment on security procedures in government buildings.

David T C Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Wales Office)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, how many Freedom of Information requests have been referred by his Department for advice on handling to the Cabinet Office’s clearing house for Freedom of Information requests in each year since 2016.

The Office of the Secretary of State for Wales has referred requests to the Cabinet Office Clearing House where appropriate and in line with the published criteria which is available on gov.uk here - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cabinet-office-and-freedom-of-information.

David T C Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Wales Office)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, whether any Departmental business has been conducted on private email addresses by (a) officials, (b) special advisors and (c) Ministers of his Department.

I refer the Hon. Member to the Cabinet Office guidance to departments on use of private emails. www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-departments-on-private-email-use

David T C Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Wales Office)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, whether his Department permits (a) officials, (b) special advisors and (c) Ministers of his Department to access private email accounts from their office desktop computers, department-issued laptop computers or department-issued mobile phone devices.

I refer the Hon. Member to the Cabinet Office guidance to departments on use of private emails. www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-departments-on-private-email-use

It is government policy not to comment on specific technical security controls; however, the incidental personal use of private email accounts from departmental systems is subject to our ‘Acceptable Use’ policy, in spare time.

David T C Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Wales Office)
30th Jun 2021
What steps he is taking with Cabinet colleagues to help businesses in Wales recover from the effects of the covid-19 outbreak.

I have regular discussions with Cabinet Colleagues on how to support Welsh Businesses build back better from the pandemic.

The UK Government has provided 3 billion pounds in direct support to businesses in Wales, in addition to the extra 8.6 billion pounds given to the Welsh Government to tackle the pandemic.

David T C Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Wales Office)
30th Jun 2021
What recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on financial support for people in Wales affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

I have regular discussions with my Rt. Hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on our financial support to people affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.

We have provided the Welsh Government with an extra 8.6 billion pounds to tackle the pandemic, that’s over £2,700 per person in Wales. That is on top of 7.4 billion pounds of additional UK Wide support through the welfare system.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the Acas paper, Dismissal and re-engagement (fire-and-rehire): a fact-finding exercise, published 8 June 2021.

This Government has been clear that we expect employers to treat their employees fairly and in the spirit of partnership. Using threats about firing and rehiring as a negotiation tactic is unacceptable. We expect employers and employees to negotiate new terms and conditions and there are laws around how this must be done, and legal protections in place when firms are considering redundancies. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy asked Acas to conduct an evidence-gathering exercise to improve our evidence base. We welcome Acas’ report on this work which was published on 8 June.

The Acas report demonstrated that there are different views on whether the practice can ever be justified. It finds general agreement that fire and rehire should only be used in limited circumstances – such as to prevent job losses when other options have been exhausted. Acas have been asked to produce clearer and more comprehensive guidance to help employers explore all the options before considering ‘fire and rehire’.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what discussions he has had with the COP29 President on promoting a green recovery from the covid-19 outbreak in (a) Newport West constituency and (b) Wales.

I have had a number of discussions with the COP26 President Designate about the opportunities that exist in Wales to support the drive to net zero, including as part of the COP26 Devolved Administrations Ministerial Group, which I last attended on 10 June.

The UK Government is actively progressing plans to deliver a Green Industrial Revolution that drives the transition to net zero and levels up across the UK. The Prime Minister set out his ambitious 10 Point Plan back in November, which will mobilise £12 billion of UK Government investment to create and support up to 250,000 highly-skilled green jobs across the UK, and spur over three times as much private sector investment by 2030.

As I set out in the UK Government’s Plan for Wales, Wales is at the heart of this agenda. We have backed the South Wales Industrial Cluster with £21.5 million to develop detailed plans to support the region’s net zero transition. We are supporting floating offshore wind, which has the potential to deliver significant supply chain benefits to South Wales and beyond, with a range of policy measures. In addition, we have committed £15.9 million to pioneer low-carbon transport technologies in Cwmbran.

We recognise there is more to do and will bring forward a Net Zero Strategy and plans to decarbonise buildings and transport later this year, which will present further opportunities to the people of Newport West, wider South East Wales and beyond.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what discussions he has with Cabinet colleagues on prioritising science and research as part of the application of the levelling up agenda in the regions and nations of the UK.

The Government recognises the important role science and research will play in levelling up across the UK. That is why the UK Government is investing record amounts across the UK and is committed to reaching a target spend of 2.4% of GDP on research and development by 2027.

I have regular discussions with BEIS and UKRI on a wide range of subjects, including science and research within Wales. My Department is working across government to ensure our ambitions deliver for the whole of the UK and utilise Wales’ creativity, determination and distinctive innovation expertise as we build back greener. UKRI has invested £84.8m in Wales through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to address current and future societal challenges being faced by businesses. In addition, the Compound Semiconductor Cluster has received £25m through the Strength in Places Fund, and we have provided £20m to the South Wales Industrial Cluster to explore routes to decarbonisation.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the uptake of the EU Settlement Scheme.

I have regular discussions with the Welsh Government on a wide range of subjects including the EU settlement scheme (EUSS).

As of May 2021, the Home Office received 92,700 applications through the EU Settlement Scheme from EEA citizens living in Wales.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what recent discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on extending the deadline for EU citizens living in Wales to register for the EU Settlement Scheme.

I have regular discussions with the Home Secretary on a wide range of subjects including the EU settlement scheme (EUSS).

There are no plans to extend the 30 June 2021 deadline for applications to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) by those EU citizens and their family members resident in the UK by the end of the transition period.

For those who are eligible who have not applied before 30 June, this Government will not simply turn off support for people.

We understand there will be valid reasons why a small proportion of those eligible have not applied before the deadline, as we have set out in our reasonable ground guidance. It is our priority to ensure we continue to support people who are eligible to apply and anyone who is eligible who has still not applied should make a late application as soon as possible.

The end of the grace period will mean fundamental changes, for both EU citizens living in the UK and vice versa. The UK Government is committed to supporting our EU friends, family and neighbours wishing to remain in the UK after 30 June through these changes.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on its approach to tackling toxic air.

I have regular discussions with Welsh Ministers on a wide range of subjects pertaining to the environment, like air quality.

Air quality is a largely devolved policy area. The UK Government, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive have provisionally agreed a UK-wide ‘Air Quality Common Framework’. This framework outlines how the four administrations will effectively work together to improve air quality, in line with our current and future obligations, following the UK’s exit from the EU. The framework sets out governance arrangements including mechanisms for joint decision-making, dispute resolution and strategic direction. The ‘common framework working group’, meets regularly in line with the commitment for all four administrations to engage with each other at the earliest opportunity on any development in AQ policy, including the Welsh Government’s Clean Air Plan.

The UK-wide National Air Pollution Control Programme (NAPCP) sets out the proposed measures and technical analysis, which demonstrate how the legally binding 2020 and 2030 emission reduction commitments for five damaging pollutants can be met across the UK. The UK government and the devolved administrations work collaboratively and consult at UK level on actions needed to improve air quality under the NAPCP.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on their Clean Air Plan.

I have regular discussions with Welsh Ministers on a wide range of subjects pertaining to the environment, like air quality.

As air quality is a largely devolved policy area, the UK Government, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive (NIE) have provisionally agreed a UK-wide ‘Air Quality Common Framework’. This framework outlines how the four administrations will work together to improve air quality, in line with our current and future obligations, following the UK’s exit from the EU. The governance arrangements under the framework set a commitment for all administrations to engage with each other on any development in AQ policy, including the Welsh Government’s Clean Air Plan.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, when he last had discussions with the First Minister of Wales.

I attend weekly meetings chaired by my Rt Hon Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster with all three First Ministers and the deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland to discuss the UK-wide response to Covid-19. This is just one example of the vast number of meetings that take place between UK Government Ministers and officials and their counterparts in the Welsh Government.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what recent discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on the deadline for EU citizens living in Wales to register for the EU Settlement Scheme.

I have regular discussions with the Home Secretary on a wide range of subjects including the EU settlement scheme (EUSS).

In addition, my officials are in regular contact with colleagues in the Home Office about how they can best support their efforts.

UK Government has worked extensively to promote awareness of the EUSS. The Home Office has already spent a total of £4.6 million on marketing campaigns to encourage those EU citizens and their family members who have not yet applied to do so. The Home Office recently launched a new £1.5 million wave of UK-wide advertising to ensure EU citizens and their family members are aware of the deadline and know they need to apply.

As of May 2021, the Home Office received 92,700 applications through the EU Settlement Scheme from EEA citizens living in Wales.

The UK Government is committed to making sure everybody eligible for the EUSS can apply, including those who are vulnerable or need extra support. Since April 2019, £17 million has been awarded by the UK Government in grant funding to a network of 72 organisations, who provide a wide range of invaluable support across the UK, ensuring those most at-risk continue to get the help they need.

The UK Government has two grant funded organisations; Tros Gynnal Plant and Newport Mind who operate and provide a wide range of support services to vulnerable and hard to reach EU citizens across Wales.

The UK Government has committed a further £4.5 million of grant funding for the period 1 April to 30 September this year to fund the current network of 72 organisations to continue to provide a range of support across the UK well beyond the 30 June deadline.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, whether his department has has referred any Freedom of Information requests received by his Department to the central Cabinet Office Clearing House on Freedom of Information requests for advice on handling, in the last two years.

Where it is appropriate, the Office of the Secretary of State for Wales has approached the Cabinet Office Clearing House for advice on Freedom of Information requests.

David T C Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Wales Office)
11th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what assessment they have made of the potential (a) threats and (b) opportunities of artificial intelligence in respect of their Department’s responsibilities.

The Office of the Secretary of State for Wales has made no assessment of artificial intelligence in respect of its responsibilities.

David T C Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Wales Office)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, whether his Department operates a red, amber and green rating system for categorising Freedom of Information requests according to their presentational sensitivity.

The Office of the Secretary of State for Wales works to answer Freedom of Information requests within the timescales set out in the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and does not operate a red, amber and green rating system in doing so.

David T C Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Wales Office)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, to what extent their Department makes use of artificial intelligence in the implementation of its policies; and how much was spent from their Department’s budget on artificial intelligence in each of the last three years.

The Office of the Secretary of State for Wales does not use artificial intelligence in the implementation of its policies. There has been no expenditure incurred by the Office on artificial intelligence.

David T C Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Wales Office)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, whether he has had discussions with the Welsh Trade and Investment Hub on producing economic impact assessments of trade deals proposed by the UK Government.

I work closely with my colleagues in the Department for International Trade to ensure that businesses and consumers across Wales feel the benefits of our world-class Free Trade Agreements and take advantage of new opportunities as we unlock access to new markets. The Government carried out preliminary scoping assessments for each FTA negotiation with a full impact assessment published prior to implementation.

The Trade and Investment Hubs are central to promoting British exports from all parts of the UK, to help level up the country and build back better. The hub in Cardiff will be home to export and investment specialists who will provide businesses with expert support and advice to maximise export potential, boost trade in new markets overseas, and help businesses feed directly into the free trade agreements programme.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what metrics the Government plans to use to measure success on the commitment to levelling up in the recently published Plan for Wales.

Levelling up is at the heart of the Government’s agenda and the commitments in the Plan for Wales to build back better and drive jobs, growth and prosperity. This includes making £27 billion available through the Levelling Up Fund, UK Community Renewal Fund and UK infrastructure Bank as well as investment in critical broadband, mobile and transport connectivity.

At Spending Review 2020, all Departments agreed provisional priority outcomes across all of the UK, along with metrics for measuring progress against these outcomes. The full list can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/spending-review-2020-documents.

The Government will be looking at additional mechanisms for measuring progress on its levelling up ambitions as part of the forthcoming Levelling Up White Paper.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
19th May 2021
What steps the Government is taking to promote the growth of green industries in North Wales.

We are backing the North Wales Growth Deal with £120m including for innovative net zero projects such as the Morlais tidal energy test facility. We are seeing a further 2 gigawatts of offshore wind in development. And we are also providing close to £5m for the Holyhead Hydrogen Hub.

David T C Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Wales Office)
19th May 2021
What steps the Government is taking to promote the growth of green industries in North Wales.

We are backing the North Wales Growth Deal with £120m including for innovative net zero projects such as the Morlais tidal energy test facility. We are seeing a further 2 gigawatts of offshore wind in development. And we are also providing close to £5m for the Holyhead Hydrogen Hub.

David T C Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Wales Office)
19th May 2021
What assessment he has made of the potential merits of proposals to devolve aspects of the benefits system to Wales in line with those powers devolved to Scotland.

None. Devolution of the benefits system is not an issue that is raised on the doorsteps of Wales and even the Welsh Government has not asked for powers equivalent to Scotland.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
19th May 2021
What steps his Department is taking to strengthen the Union.

This Government is clear in our commitment to the Union as an unparalleled and successful partnership between our four great nations.

My Department and I are working across Whitehall to deliver strategic priorities for Wales that will level up communities, improve infrastructure, create jobs and economic growth.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of a freeport on Anglesey on (a) jobs and (b) employment opportunities (i) on Anglesey and (ii) in North Wales.

Freeports will increase trade, create employment and attract investment. We want to ensure that the whole of the UK can benefit, and remain committed to establishing at least one Freeport in Wales as soon as possible.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the potential for a Welsh independence referendum; and what steps he has taken to promote the Union.

I have had no discussions with the Welsh Government on a Welsh independence referendum.

The value to Wales of being part of a strong United Kingdom has been clearly demonstrated by the UK Government’s actions during the Covid-19 pandemic. We have safeguarded Welsh jobs through employment support schemes like the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, and reduced transmission of Covid-19 through the successful rollout of the vaccine programme.

We have protected Welsh jobs and businesses by ensuring trade continues to flow freely throughout the United Kingdom by virtue of the UK Internal Market Act 2020, and our programme of City and Growth Deals together with our local growth funds are helping to level up communities across the UK.

Furthermore, the Government is progressing our ambitious plans to establish Freeports across the UK and, under the Union Connectivity Review, boost transport links between the nations of the UK.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what steps he is taking to support Welsh businesses subject to non-tariff barriers to trade with the EU.

The Government remains committed to ensuring that all businesses are able to seize the opportunities our new trading relationship with the EU brings. We have successfully agreed wide-ranging provisions that seek to facilitate trade by avoiding unnecessary regulatory, non-tariff, barriers between the two parties and continue to offer a wide range of support to businesses exporting to the EU. This includes the £20m SME Brexit Support Fund, which provides access to grants and practical support.

My ministerial colleagues and I across government have been speaking directly to businesses across the country through department-led roundtables and other engagement fora, to develop a shared understanding and plan for the future. These engagements have been integral in supporting businesses most affected by our new trading relationship with the EU, helping them to adjust and continue to successfully compete on a global stage.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on using the NHS Test and Trace database system.

I discuss a wide range of issues relating to the Coronavirus pandemic with Cabinet colleagues on a regular basis. However, The Office of the Secretary of State for Wales is not the lead UK Government Department responsible for the NHS Test and Trace database system policy. The lead department is the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC).

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, whether he has allocated any financial or other resources from his Department's budget to investigate potential future uses by his Department of the NHS Test and Trace database system.

The Office of the Secretary of State for Wales is not the lead UK Government Department responsible for the NHS Test and Trace database system and does not therefore develop policy relating to the use of the system. The lead department is the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC).

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, whether his Department plans to use the NHS Test and Trace database system.

The Office of the Secretary of State for Wales is not the lead UK Government Department responsible for the NHS Test and Trace database system and does not therefore develop policy relating to the use of the system. The lead department is the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC).

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the Welsh fishing industry on the effect of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement on their ability to operate.

I have regular discussions with stakeholders, including those from the seafood sector on maximising opportunities from the UK-EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement.

Having left the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy, Welsh fishermen and women will be in a position to rebuild our fishing fleet and increase quotas in the coming years. That is why on 24 March, we announced how the additional quota secured as a result of leaving the EU would be shared between the four UK administrations this year. This approach was agreed with the Welsh Government and delivers uplifts for the Welsh industry in sole, plaice and other important stocks.

We recognised the disruption caused to seafood exporters by delays at the border in the early part of this year. To address this, we launched the £23m package of support to deliver the Seafood Disruption Scheme and Seafood Response Fund. This is designed to help UK fishing and shellfish aquaculture businesses that have been affected by the downturn of export and domestic markets for fish and shellfish due to the coronavirus pandemic and/or disruption to seafood exports earlier this year

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what assessment he has made of the effect of the removal of free TV licenses on people aged over 75 in (a) Newport West constituency and (b) Wales.

The Government remains deeply disappointed with the BBC’s decision to restrict the over-75 licence fee concession to only those in receipt of pension credit. We recognise the value of free TV licences for over-75s across the UK, including those in the Newport West constituency and Wales as a whole and believe they should be funded by the BBC.

In the 2015 funding settlement, the government agreed with the BBC that responsibility for the concession would transfer to the BBC in June 2020. This reform was subject to public discussion and debated extensively during the passage of the Digital Economy Act 2017 through Parliament. This legislation provides that the future of the concession is the responsibility of the BBC, not of the government.

The Government has been clear that the BBC must ensure that it supports those affected by its decision, and it must look at how it uses its substantial licence fee income to support older people.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what discussions he has had with (a) Cabinet colleagues and (b) the Welsh Government on preparations for COP26.

I have regular discussions with the Welsh Government and Cabinet colleagues on a wide range of climate change matters, including the preparations for COP26 to ensure an inclusive and ambitious COP26 for the whole of the UK. This includes when I recently met the Welsh Government Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs at the COP26 Devolved Administrations Ministerial Group on 22 March 2021.

The COP26 Devolved Administrations Ministerial Group brings together the COP26 President Designate, Territorial Secretaries of State and climate change ministers from the devolved administrations to ensure effective engagement and collaboration on COP26 and will meet quarterly in the run up to the summit. There is also ongoing official-level engagement with the Welsh Government on COP26.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales