Baroness Merron Portrait

Baroness Merron

Labour - Lincoln

Became Member: 28th January 2021

Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)

(since July 2024)

Baroness Merron is not a member of any APPGs
1 Former APPG membership
Performing Arts Education and Training
Opposition Whip (Lords)
18th May 2021 - 5th Jul 2024
Shadow Spokesperson (Health and Social Care)
18th May 2021 - 5th Jul 2024
Shadow Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Feb 2023 - 26th Oct 2023
Shadow Spokesperson (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th May 2021 - 20th Feb 2023
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health)
9th Jun 2009 - 6th May 2010
Minister of State (Department of Health) (Public Health)
9th Jun 2009 - 6th May 2010
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)
5th Oct 2008 - 9th Jun 2009
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Development)
24th Jan 2008 - 5th Oct 2008
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Cabinet Office)
28th Jun 2007 - 25th Jan 2008
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Regional Affairs) (East Midlands)
28th Jun 2007 - 25th Jan 2008
Minister of State (Regional Affairs) (East Midlands)
28th Jun 2007 - 25th Jan 2008
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
5th May 2006 - 28th Jun 2007
Lord Commissioner (HM Treasury) (Whip)
28th Oct 2004 - 5th May 2006
Assistant Whip (HM Treasury)
1st Jan 2002 - 28th Oct 2004
Trade & Industry
9th Jul 1997 - 9th Nov 1998


Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Baroness Merron has voted in 380 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
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Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Lord Markham (Conservative)
(155 debate interactions)
Lord Kamall (Conservative)
(99 debate interactions)
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Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(272 debate contributions)
Leader of the House
(11 debate contributions)
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Legislation Debates
Health and Care Act 2022
(16,255 words contributed)
Online Safety Act 2023
(14,034 words contributed)
Telecommunications (Security) Act 2021
(10,367 words contributed)
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View all Baroness Merron's debates

Lords initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Baroness Merron, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.


Baroness Merron has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Baroness Merron has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


Latest 50 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
7 Other Department Questions
16th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with (1) sporting bodies, and (2) other stakeholders, regarding guidance for schools and clubs about (a) the prevention of concussion, and (b) promotion of good health, whilst playing contact sports.

The safety, wellbeing, and welfare of everyone taking part in sport is paramount. National governing bodies are responsible for ensuring the safe provision of their sports.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is currently working with sporting bodies and others to develop a single set of concussion guidelines to be shared across the UK, which will be published in the near future.

The guidelines are designed for everyone involved in grassroots sport from school age upwards – participants, coaches, volunteers, and parents – as well as those working in educational settings and in healthcare.

The Government remains committed to working with interested parties to promote safer sport.

16th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to commission a review of rugby similar to that of the Fan-Led Review of Football Governance.

His Majesty’s Government recognises the recent challenges faced by Rugby Union and is clear that robust governance is essential to sustainable and successful sport, but has no plans to commission a review similar to the Fan-Led Review of Football Governance.

26th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what trends they have identified, if any, in period poverty and shame; and what steps they are taking to address any such trends.

Period poverty is an issue the government takes very seriously and has taken a number of steps to address the problem.

Since January 2020, a Department for Education scheme provides free period products in schools and 16-19 education institutions in England. Additionally, from 1 January 2021, the ‘tampon tax’ has been abolished - with a zero rate of VAT applying to all period products. Prior to the abolition of the tax, a Tampon Tax fund was in place to allocate the funds generated from the VAT on period products, to projects which improve the lives of disadvantaged women and girls. A final round of £11.25 million in grant funding was awarded in November 2021 to distribute the VAT collected on period products in the final nine months of the 2020/21 financial year, before the tax ended.

As well as these steps, in 2019, NHS England announced that it would offer period products to every hospital patient who needs them and the Home Office changed the law to ensure that all people in custody are provided with health and hygiene products for free, to include period products.

In March 2020, in light of COVID-19, the work of the Period Poverty Taskforce was paused to free up resources to focus on the pandemic. Further announcements on the plans and the work of the Taskforce will be made in due course.

26th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to monitor the issues of period poverty and shame.

Period poverty is an issue the government takes very seriously and has taken a number of steps to address the problem.

Since January 2020, a Department for Education scheme provides free period products in schools and 16-19 education institutions in England. Additionally, from 1 January 2021, the ‘tampon tax’ has been abolished - with a zero rate of VAT applying to all period products. Prior to the abolition of the tax, a Tampon Tax fund was in place to allocate the funds generated from the VAT on period products, to projects which improve the lives of disadvantaged women and girls. A final round of £11.25 million in grant funding was awarded in November 2021 to distribute the VAT collected on period products in the final nine months of the 2020/21 financial year, before the tax ended.

As well as these steps, in 2019, NHS England announced that it would offer period products to every hospital patient who needs them and the Home Office changed the law to ensure that all people in custody are provided with health and hygiene products for free, to include period products.

In March 2020, in light of COVID-19, the work of the Period Poverty Taskforce was paused to free up resources to focus on the pandemic. Further announcements on the plans and the work of the Taskforce will be made in due course.

26th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they remain committed to their target of ending period poverty and shame in the UK by 2025.

Period poverty is an issue the government takes very seriously and has taken a number of steps to address the problem.

Since January 2020, a Department for Education scheme provides free period products in schools and 16-19 education institutions in England. Additionally, from 1 January 2021, the ‘tampon tax’ has been abolished - with a zero rate of VAT applying to all period products. Prior to the abolition of the tax, a Tampon Tax fund was in place to allocate the funds generated from the VAT on period products, to projects which improve the lives of disadvantaged women and girls. A final round of £11.25 million in grant funding was awarded in November 2021 to distribute the VAT collected on period products in the final nine months of the 2020/21 financial year, before the tax ended.

As well as these steps, in 2019, NHS England announced that it would offer period products to every hospital patient who needs them and the Home Office changed the law to ensure that all people in custody are provided with health and hygiene products for free, to include period products.

In March 2020, in light of COVID-19, the work of the Period Poverty Taskforce was paused to free up resources to focus on the pandemic. Further announcements on the plans and the work of the Taskforce will be made in due course.

26th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Period Poverty Taskforce will restart its meetings; and if so, when.

Period poverty is an issue the government takes very seriously and has taken a number of steps to address the problem.

Since January 2020, a Department for Education scheme provides free period products in schools and 16-19 education institutions in England. Additionally, from 1 January 2021, the ‘tampon tax’ has been abolished - with a zero rate of VAT applying to all period products. Prior to the abolition of the tax, a Tampon Tax fund was in place to allocate the funds generated from the VAT on period products, to projects which improve the lives of disadvantaged women and girls. A final round of £11.25 million in grant funding was awarded in November 2021 to distribute the VAT collected on period products in the final nine months of the 2020/21 financial year, before the tax ended.

As well as these steps, in 2019, NHS England announced that it would offer period products to every hospital patient who needs them and the Home Office changed the law to ensure that all people in custody are provided with health and hygiene products for free, to include period products.

In March 2020, in light of COVID-19, the work of the Period Poverty Taskforce was paused to free up resources to focus on the pandemic. Further announcements on the plans and the work of the Taskforce will be made in due course.

6th Mar 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government whether the Incubator for Artificial Intelligence, in its work to improve lives and the delivery of public services, will consider the needs of people with facial palsy, as they may lack the full range of facial expressions.

The incubator for Artificial Intelligence focuses primarily on early stage piloting of AI based productivity improvements. We do not currently have any work in the pipeline that involves facial recognition, but we recognise the need for government services to be fully inclusive.

All Government Departments are required by our Service Standard to provide support via alternative channels for all their online services that are available to citizens. Our Roadmap for Digital and Data focuses on enabling the confident and responsible use of AI to improve efficiency and services including accessibility requirements.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
24th Oct 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government when they will respond to the report by the Public Services Committee Fit for the future? Rethinking the public services workforce (HL Paper 48), published on 19 July.

The Government issued a response to the report on Monday 7 November.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
18th Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) how, and (2) when, they will report on the broader impacts of the hot weather on public services.

All departments are responsible for monitoring and reporting on impacts from the extreme heat in their own sectors.

For example, Network Rail are communicating regularly with the public on rail disruption.

However, impacts related to the extreme heat were limited by the early and accurate weather forecasting by the Met Office, the effective preparedness and response at the local and national levels, and the positive response of the British public to warnings and advice issued by all sectors to take pressure off vital public services.

Lord True
Shadow Leader of the House of Lords
5th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the updated Cyber Strategy will be published.

The Integrated Review published in March set a goal of cementing the UK’s position as a leading responsible and democratic cyber power, and committed to launching a new comprehensive cyber strategy in 2021 to implement this vision. The strategy will set out how we will build up the UK’s cyber resilience; deter our adversaries; and influence tomorrow’s technologies so they are safe, secure and open. Work is well underway to develop the new strategy, and the government plans to continue engaging with partners before publishing it later this year and aligning with funding decisions in the next Spending Review.

Lord True
Shadow Leader of the House of Lords
19th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to help small booksellers compete with online retailers beyond the reliefs implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government is committed to ensuring digital markets, such as the e-commerce market, remain competitive and deliver positive outcomes for small businesses, consumers, and society. Our digital competition consultation set out a vision for the UK’s new pro-competition regime for digital markets and the powers of the new Digital Markets Unit, which is already operating in non-statutory form inside the CMA. The regime will enable the UK’s competition authorities to tackle the unique challenges of fast-moving digital markets and will aim to boost competition and innovation by tackling the sources and effects of market power in digital markets. The consultation closed on 1 October 2021 and we are now carefully considering the responses.

At budget, my Rt hon Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced further business rates relief of 50% in 2022/23 for eligible retail, hospitality, and leisure businesses worth almost £1.7 billion and we are freezing the multiplier for 2022/23 saving businesses £4.6 billion over the next five years.

5th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the final communications sectoral definition under the National Security and Investment Act 2021 will be published.

The Government will publish the draft notifiable acquisition regulations as part of the ​implementation of the National Security and Investment Act 2021 in due course. This will include descriptions of the proposed ​acquisitions in the communications sector which must be notified to my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State.

28th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to reach those who are (1) less engaged in current affairs, (2) vulnerable, or (3) have accessibility considerations, to help them tackle misinformation and disinformation; and how they will ensure that such groups have the necessary media literacy skills to identify misinformation or disinformation.

Her Majesty’s Government published its Online Media Literacy Strategy in July 2021, setting out plans to support the education and empowerment of people to make safe and informed choices online. The strategy has a particular focus on vulnerable users.

Through our Year 1 Online Media Literacy Strategy we established the pilot ‘Train the Trainer’ grant scheme. We administered £250,000 in funding to five media literacy organisations working with schools to adapt their resources for teachers of children with special educational needs. Three of the grantees specialise in news literacy programmes which help build resilience to misinformation and disinformation through information literacy.

Our Year 2 Action Plan announced plans to establish the Media Literacy Programme Fund which will further support media literacy organisations which are undertaking work to support vulnerable users. We have also established the expert Media Literacy Taskforce which has been charged with exploring how to extend the reach of media literacy initiatives to those who are disengaged or lack access to support.

27th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Online Safety Bill's ability to ensure companies in scope are (1) supporting, and (2) improving, the media literacy skills of their users.

The Online Safety Bill includes measures to encourage regulated service providers to promote media literacy to their users. Following a recommendation from the Joint Committee which conducted the pre-legislative scrutiny of the Online Safety Bill, media literacy is now included in the risk assessment duties. This requires in-scope companies to consider how the promotion of users’ media literacy can be used to mitigate harms on their platforms.

Media literacy is also expressly referred to in Ofcom’s new transparency reporting and information gathering powers, giving Ofcom enhanced visibility of industry spending and activity related to media literacy. Social media platforms currently play a significant role in boosting media literacy, in particular with regards to the funding of programmes. This greater visibility of spending and activity in this area will therefore strengthen Ofcom’s ability to undertake its statutory duty to promote media literacy.

27th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what research they have undertaken on the effectiveness of different types of media literacy initiatives in tackling (1) misinformation, and (2) disinformation.

On 16 April 2022, DCMS published the Year 2 Online Media Literacy Action Plan, setting out our media literacy work programme for the financial year 2022/23. The Action Plan announced that DCMS is establishing a media literacy research programme to bridge evidence gaps about the effectiveness of media literacy interventions, which includes initiatives tackling misinformation and disinformation. We will report on the progress of the Action Plan in due course.

23rd May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what information gathering powers they intend to give to Ofcom to assess streaming services’ audience protection arrangements; and whether they will ask Ofcom to assess whether platforms are basing age ratings on UK standards to prevent children seeing inappropriate programmes.

Ofcom will be given the necessary information-gathering and enforcement powers to fulfil a new ongoing duty to assess Ofcom-regulated video-on-demand providers’ audience protection measures and ensure that the systems put in place are effective and fit for purpose. As the independent regulator, it will be for Ofcom to determine how that assessment is carried out.

23rd May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Online Safety Bill will contain provisions to enable Ofcom (1) to proactively investigate pornography websites' compliance with the law, and (2) to take swift enforcement action where necessary.

Ofcom will have a range of robust powers at its disposal to help it assess compliance with the Bill. Ofcom will have the power to require information from regulated companies and relevant third parties, to interview employees, to require a company to undertake, and pay for, a skilled person’s report, to enter and inspect companies’ premises, and to carry out audits on services to assess compliance. Ofcom will need to take a proportionate approach in exercising these powers, and will be able to use information from a wide range of sources to help prioritise its investigation and enforcement activity.

Ofcom will also have robust enforcement powers to take action against companies which fail to comply. Those powers will include being able to require companies to take action to come into compliance or remedy any breach, impose fines and, in exceptional circumstances, to apply to the Court for business disruption measures to block or restrict access to non-compliant services. The Bill also provides for interim business disruption measures, which will provide a fast track, where appropriate, to blocking measures.

23rd May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Online Safety Bill will ensure that commercial pornography websites do not carry any illegal content, such as (1) extreme pornography, or (2) prohibited images of children.

The Online Safety Bill principally applies to services that allow users to post content online or to interact with each other, and to search engines. Where commercial pornography websites facilitate user-generated content, they will have to deliver the illegal content duties under the Bill and, where the service is likely to be accessed by children, to protect them from harmful content. These will ensure that all platforms in scope of the Bill tackle illegal user-generated content on their services, including extreme pornography and prohibited images of children.

Where the illegal content is not user-generated but rather is created and published by the relevant company on its own site, then that website service is likely to be committing an offence so will potentially be liable for prosecution. Part 5 of the Bill creates a new duty on providers of published pornography, which includes some dedicated commercial pornography websites, to protect children from accessing pornographic content.

5th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to introduce restrictions on gambling advertising following the completion of their review of gambling regulation.

Her Majesty’s Government is reviewing the Gambling Act to make sure it is fit for the digital age. We have been clear, however, that work to raise standards and tackle gambling-related harm should continue alongside the review, and does not need to wait for it to be concluded. We are determined to protect those at risk of gambling related-harm and welcome the new measures announced by the Advertising Standards Authority further to reduce the appeal of gambling adverts to children and to ensure that the content of gambling adverts is appropriate for the age-restricted nature of the products.

As part of the broad scope of the review, we called for evidence on the potential benefits or harms of allowing licensed gambling operators to advertise, engage in sponsorship arrangements, and make promotional offers. We are currently considering the evidence carefully and will publish a White Paper outlining our conclusions and any proposals for reform in the coming weeks.

5th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, if any, of the decision by the Advertising Standards Authority to ban gambling adverts featuring footballers and other sports personalities.

Her Majesty’s Government is reviewing the Gambling Act to make sure it is fit for the digital age. We have been clear, however, that work to raise standards and tackle gambling-related harm should continue alongside the review, and does not need to wait for it to be concluded. We are determined to protect those at risk of gambling related-harm and welcome the new measures announced by the Advertising Standards Authority further to reduce the appeal of gambling adverts to children and to ensure that the content of gambling adverts is appropriate for the age-restricted nature of the products.

As part of the broad scope of the review, we called for evidence on the potential benefits or harms of allowing licensed gambling operators to advertise, engage in sponsorship arrangements, and make promotional offers. We are currently considering the evidence carefully and will publish a White Paper outlining our conclusions and any proposals for reform in the coming weeks.

1st Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the value of voluntary industry initiatives around responsible gambling.

HM Government welcomes the progress by industry to introduce new safer gambling measures over recent years, but both the Government and the Gambling Commission will continue to mandate further action where it is required. As part of its broad scope, the Gambling Act Review is looking at whether the right controls are in place to protect people who gamble in the digital age. We are considering the evidence carefully and will publish a White Paper outlining conclusions in the coming weeks.

1st Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to publish the findings of their review of the Gambling Act 2005.

HM Government welcomes the progress by industry to introduce new safer gambling measures over recent years, but both the Government and the Gambling Commission will continue to mandate further action where it is required. As part of its broad scope, the Gambling Act Review is looking at whether the right controls are in place to protect people who gamble in the digital age. We are considering the evidence carefully and will publish a White Paper outlining conclusions in the coming weeks.

1st Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many ministers have accepted hospitality from gambling firms since the launch of the gambling review in December 2020; and what is the cumulative value of such hospitality.

Records of ministerial hospitality are published quarterly and are available on GOV.UK. This link also declares all meetings. There has been a wide-ranging series of meetings with a number of gambling stakeholders to support the ongoing Gambling Act Review. There have also been meetings with the gambling industry on other issues, for instance its relationship with racing and the impacts of the Covid pandemic.

1st Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the cumulative cost to the Exchequer of gambling-related harm since May 2010.

Public Health England’s (PHE) evidence review of gambling-related harms reported that 0.5% of the adult population reached the threshold to be considered ‘problem gamblers’ (defined as those gambling with negative consequences and a possible loss of control), and that this proportion has remained relatively consistent since 2012. PHE’s review also included estimates on the costs associated with gambling-related harm. On costs to the Exchequer, the report estimated the annual direct costs associated with people who are problem gamblers to be approximately £647 million, but was unable to make a direct assessment of the costs caused by gambling-related harm.

Additional data on problem gambling prevalence comes from the Gambling Commission’s quarterly participation and prevalence survey, the latest results of which were published in February. The survey found that in the year to December 2021, the overall problem gambling rate was statistically stable at 0.3%, compared to the year to December 2020. In the year to December 2019, the rate was 0.6%.

Our Review of the Gambling Act aims to ensure that the protections in place to prevent harm are appropriate and effective for the digital age. It is looking at issues regarding research as part of its broad scope.

1st Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the (1) prevalence, and (2) cost to the Exchequer, of gambling-related harm in each of the last three years.

Public Health England’s (PHE) evidence review of gambling-related harms reported that 0.5% of the adult population reached the threshold to be considered ‘problem gamblers’ (defined as those gambling with negative consequences and a possible loss of control), and that this proportion has remained relatively consistent since 2012. PHE’s review also included estimates on the costs associated with gambling-related harm. On costs to the Exchequer, the report estimated the annual direct costs associated with people who are problem gamblers to be approximately £647 million, but was unable to make a direct assessment of the costs caused by gambling-related harm.

Additional data on problem gambling prevalence comes from the Gambling Commission’s quarterly participation and prevalence survey, the latest results of which were published in February. The survey found that in the year to December 2021, the overall problem gambling rate was statistically stable at 0.3%, compared to the year to December 2020. In the year to December 2019, the rate was 0.6%.

Our Review of the Gambling Act aims to ensure that the protections in place to prevent harm are appropriate and effective for the digital age. It is looking at issues regarding research as part of its broad scope.

16th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what criteria they have for foreign bodies (1) owning, and (2) investing in, football teams in England; and what measures they have in place to safeguard the interests of fans.

The ownership of football clubs is, and has historically been, a matter for the football authorities, not for HM Government.

The tests for ownership of clubs were raised in the report of the Fan-Led Review which recommended stronger tests independently administered by a new independent regulator.

HM Government is considering the recommendations of the Review, including those made on enhancing the existing owners’ and directors’ tests, and working swiftly to determine the most effective way to deliver an independent regulator.

We will issue a formal response to the Fan-Led Review in the coming weeks.

16th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the operation of Government-backed COVID-19 insurance schemes for the creative industries.

The UK Live Events Reinsurance Scheme and Film and TV Production Restart Scheme were introduced as part of HM Government's commitment to provide support during the Covid-19 pandemic and address market failure in the insurance sector.

Both schemes have contributed positively to the creative industries.The UK Film and TV Production Restart Scheme has supported a production boom during the pandemic, so far protecting over 95,000 jobs and nearly £3 billion of production spend, ensuring the continued production of content for our screens. Since the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme’s launch in September 2021, around £110 million of cover has been written for a wide variety of events, including business events, concerts and theatre performances. So far, 2.7 million people have attended or are due to attend events covered by the Scheme. In addition to directly supporting events, the scheme also protects the supply chains and local economies that depend on their taking place.

The Film and TV Production Restart Scheme’s operation was assessed by an independent body in a Process Evaluation published in January 2022. The research found that close working with industry on establishing the scheme ensured that those most in need of support were able to benefit. An impact evaluation will be published by the end of the year. Similarly, the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme will be undergoing a review in the Spring to assess its effectiveness, including the extent to which it has benefitted the live events sector while also delivering value for money for UK taxpayers. A full evaluation of the Scheme will follow in early 2023.

19th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to meet the Booksellers Association to discuss ways to support small creative businesses.

The Booksellers Association regularly engages at Ministerial level with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

On 15 July, BEIS published the Build Back Better High Streets Strategy, in which the Government committed to continue working with the retail sector, in particular the Retail Sector Council, on its long-term strategic needs to ensure that businesses are profitable, resilient, innovative, and able to support local economies in socially and environmentally responsible ways.

More broadly, DCMS regularly engages with the creative industries, including the publishing sector, through the Creative Industries Council. I have also met individual booksellers, most recently The Bound in Whitley Bay on 29 January, to hear how the Government can best support small creative businesses.

11th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to instruct Ofcom to develop (1) mandatory age assurance technology, and (2) a governance code for age assurance, ahead of the Online Safety Bill being introduced to Parliament.

We are considering fully and carefully the recommendations from the Joint Committee and are grateful to its members for their work scrutinising this important Bill. The Bill will not mandate that companies use specific technologies for protecting children online, as it is vital that the Bill is future-proofed. However, Ofcom will set out in its codes of practice the steps companies need to take to comply with their child safety duties. We expect this to include, where appropriate, age assurance technologies. Ofcom will also be able to include in its regulatory codes specific standards relating to age assurance. Companies would need to follow these steps, including putting in place these technologies and following these standards, or demonstrate that the approach they are taking delivers the same level of protection for children. If they do not, they risk facing enforcement action from Ofcom.

In the meantime, DCMS is already working closely with Ofcom to ensure that the implementation period that will be necessary following passage of the legislation is as short as possible. We expect companies to take steps now to improve safety, and not wait for the legislation to come into force before acting.

11th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the report of the Joint Committee on the Draft Online Safety Bill (Session 2021–22, HL Paper 129), what plans they have to adopt recommendations relating to (1) the statutory regulation of, and (2) minimum standards for, age assurance technologies.

We are considering fully and carefully the recommendations from the Joint Committee and are grateful to its members for their work scrutinising this important Bill. The Bill will not mandate that companies use specific technologies for protecting children online, as it is vital that the Bill is future-proofed. However, Ofcom will set out in its codes of practice the steps companies need to take to comply with their child safety duties. We expect this to include, where appropriate, age assurance technologies. Ofcom will also be able to include in its regulatory codes specific standards relating to age assurance. Companies would need to follow these steps, including putting in place these technologies and following these standards, or demonstrate that the approach they are taking delivers the same level of protection for children. If they do not, they risk facing enforcement action from Ofcom.

In the meantime, DCMS is already working closely with Ofcom to ensure that the implementation period that will be necessary following passage of the legislation is as short as possible. We expect companies to take steps now to improve safety, and not wait for the legislation to come into force before acting.

11th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to protect children from the harms of online pornography prior to the introduction of the Online Safety Bill.

The Online Safety Bill aims to make the UK the safest place in the world to be a child online, but the Government is not waiting for it to become law in order to protect children from online pornography. Ofcom already has responsibility for the regulation of video-sharing platforms and video-on-demand services, which includes requirements to protect children from harmful content such as pornography.

Furthermore, in July 2021, the government published the Online Media Literacy Strategy. The strategy supports the empowerment of users, including young people, with the skills and knowledge they need to make safe and informed decisions online. In June 2021, we also published Safety by Design guidance and a “One Stop Shop” on child online safety. These provide guidance on steps that platforms can take to design safer services and protect children.

In addition, the new Relationships, Sex and Health Education curriculum is clear that, by the end of secondary school, pupils should be taught about the impact that viewing harmful content, such as pornography, can have on the way people see themselves in relation to others and negatively affect how they behave towards sexual partners.

11th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they consider the Information Commissioner’s Office’s (ICO) Age Appropriate Design Code to apply to providers of online pornography; and, if not, what plans they have to (1) direct the ICO, or (2) legislate in this area.

The Age Appropriate Design Code sets out the privacy standards companies must adopt when offering online services that are likely to be accessed by children. If a service is one that children should not be using, such as a pornography service, the Code does not apply. It is the government’s view that the focus of such a service should be on how to prevent children’s access to it rather than undertaking a data protection impact assessment with the aim of making the service child-friendly.

The Online Safety Bill will deliver comprehensive protections for children from accessing pornography by placing new duties on in-scope companies to protect children from harmful content online. The Bill will cover many of the most visited pornography sites, social media, video sharing platforms, forums and search engines, thereby capturing sites through which a large proportion of children access pornography. We recognise the concerns that have been raised about protecting children from online pornography on services which do not currently fall within the scope of the Bill. We are exploring ways to provide wider protections for children from accessing online pornography through the Bill.

9th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many days of visa free and work permit touring is allowed per visit for a musician based in the UK and with UK citizenship, for each of the 19 EU Member States described as allowing visa and work permit free touring.

This government recognises the importance of the UK’s creative and cultural industries, not only to the economy and international reputation of the United Kingdom, but also to the wellbeing and enrichment of our people. We want musicians and performers to be able to tour abroad easily, as we understand it is a vital part at every stage of a musician’s and performer’s career.

Member States of the European Union are principally responsible for deciding the rules governing what work UK visitors can undertake in the EU. That is why we have spoken to every Member State about the importance of touring. Following these talks 19 out of 27 Member States have confirmed that UK musicians do not require visas or work permits for some short term touring. In the majority of cases this is for at least 30 days. Other Member States, including France and Germany, allow visas or work permits for some short term touring for up to three months. Travellers should always check what requirements they need to fulfill with the EU Member State to which they are travelling.

We want our world-leading creative and cultural artists to travel widely, learning their craft, growing their audiences and showing the best of British creativity to the world. That is why we are looking carefully at proposals for a new Creative Export Office that could provide further practical help to support individuals and businesses in touring.

9th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the ability of (a) under-25s, (b) musicians from less privileged socio-economic backgrounds, and (c) working-class musicians, to tour in the EU under the terms of the UK–EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, and (2) the frequency of such musicians doing so.

This government recognises the importance of the UK’s creative and cultural industries, not only to the economy and international reputation of the United Kingdom, but also to the wellbeing and enrichment of our people. We want musicians and performers to be able to tour abroad easily, as we understand it is a vital part at every stage of a musician’s and performer’s career.

Member States of the European Union are principally responsible for deciding the rules governing what work UK visitors can undertake in the EU. That is why we have spoken to every Member State about the importance of touring. Following these talks 19 out of 27 Member States have confirmed that UK musicians do not require visas or work permits for some short term touring. In the majority of cases this is for at least 30 days. Other Member States, including France and Germany, allow visas or work permits for some short term touring for up to three months. Travellers should always check what requirements they need to fulfill with the EU Member State to which they are travelling.

We want our world-leading creative and cultural artists to travel widely, learning their craft, growing their audiences and showing the best of British creativity to the world. That is why we are looking carefully at proposals for a new Creative Export Office that could provide further practical help to support individuals and businesses in touring.

22nd Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the chair of their Telecoms Supply Chain Diversification Advisory Council has any current financial interests or holdings with Fujitsu.

The chair of the Telecoms Supply Chain Diversification Advisory Council has declared any relevant financial interests in line with the usual appointment process. There are no current financial interests to declare.

8th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many members there are of the Telecoms Supply Chain Diversification Advisory Council; and what their names are.

The membership is not fully decided yet, but many of the members of the Diversification Taskforce have agreed to continue providing expertise as part of the Telecoms Supply Chain Diversification Advisory Council. The Government will publish the full membership ahead of the first meeting in the autumn.

8th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the salary of the chair of the Telecoms Supply Chain Diversification Advisory Council.

The work of the Advisory Council is non-remunerative. The Chair and all members have volunteered their time and effort.

8th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Secretary of State for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport discussed the appointment of the new chair of the Telecoms Supply Chain Diversification Advisory Council with the Prime Minister before the announcement on 2 July.

Simon Blagden was formally appointed by Matt Warman MP, Minister for Digital Infrastructure. This was agreed through the usual public appointments procedure.

8th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government who made the final decision on the appointment of Simon Blagden as chair of the Telecoms Supply Chain Diversification Advisory Council.

Simon Blagden was formally appointed by Matt Warman MP, Minister for Digital Infrastructure. This was agreed through the usual public appointments procedure.

8th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what were the appointment (1) criteria, and (2) process, for the chair of the Telecoms Supply Chain Diversification Advisory Council.

Simon Blagden, Chair of the Telecoms Supply Chain Advisory Council, was selected on the basis of having the skills and experience required for the role, with over 30 years experience in the telecoms and digital industries.

He was appointed following the standard Government process for direct appointments, suitable for short term roles where an independent advisory function is filled. Appropriate due diligence and conflict of interest checks have been carried out.

The Terms and Conditions which the Chair and members of the Advisory Council are expected to adhere to will be published on GOV.UK following the first meeting of the Advisory Council. The Council is advisory and there will be a wide ranging membership incorporating views from industry and academia.

5th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the publication of the Telecoms Diversification Taskforce Report on 20 April, whether the taskforce now been disbanded; and if not, what role and responsibilities the Taskforce now has.

The Telecoms Diversification Taskforce has completed its work and submitted its independent recommendations to the Government in April. The Taskforce will now transition to become the permanent Telecoms Supply Chain Diversification Advisory Council with Simon Blagden CBE as the new chair; as announced in the Government’s response to the recommendations published on 2 July. Many of the Taskforce members will continue to provide advice as part of the Advisory Council.

The Advisory Council will play a key role in overseeing and offering scrutiny to the delivery of the 5G Supply Chain Diversification Strategy. We will also draw on the expertise of the Advisory Council for wider telecoms supply chain diversification issues beyond the RAN (Radio Access Network).

5th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the total cost of removing Huawei from the telecommunications network by 2027.

As the Secretary of State set out in his statement to the House of Commons on 14 July 2020, we estimate that implementation of the advice to remove Huawei 5G equipment from the UK’s telecom network will cost up to two billion pounds.

The estimated cost breakdown is set out in the impact assessment published for the Telecommunications (Security) Bill.

5th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much additional funding will be provided to Ofcom to support the costs of monitoring and compliance with the new powers for that body in the Telecommunications Security Bill.

Ofcom's budget for telecoms security this financial year has been increased by £4.6 million, to reflect its enhanced security role under the Telecommunications (Security) Bill. This is in addition to its current security budget of £2 million.

5th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of how many companies in the UK telecommunications sector are estimated to be majority owned by Russian or Chinese entities.

The telecommunications sector includes tens of thousands of companies, including telecommunications providers, equipment providers and service providers in the supply chain. The Government does not monitor the nationality of the owners of each of these on a routine basis.

The UK economy thrives, in part, as a result of foreign direct investment (FDI) and the Government therefore strives to be the premier destination for investment in the world. However, an open approach to international investment must include appropriate safeguards to protect our national security and the safety of our citizens. The new National Security & Investment Act introduces a new regime for reviewing and intervening in business transactions, such as takeovers, that might raise national security concerns.

The Government has also recently introduced the Telecommunications (Security) Bill to establish an enhanced legislative framework for telecoms security, which includes new national security powers for the Secretary of State to manage the risks posed by high risk vendors.

29th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on tourism for (1) Liverpool, and (2) the wider North West region, of the UNESCO World Heritage Site status of that city’s waterfront.

We know from the excellent report prepared by the UK National Commission for UNESCO that UNESCO designations such as World Heritage status are worth over £150 million a year to communities across the UK and in its Overseas Territories, as well as contributing to sustainable development and other policy goals. We do not have a precise figure which can be attributed to the world heritage site of Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City, but we know that many international tourists are keen to visit the UK’s 32 world heritage sites, with concomitant economic benefits across the tourism and hospitality sector.

5th Dec 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government whether, and if so how, they track the mental health outcomes of care-experienced children and young people.

The department is working closely with other government departments to increase our ability to track many aspects of care-experienced children’s outcomes, including their physical and mental health.

Statutory guidance is clear that local authorities are responsible for making sure a health assessment takes place annually for every child in the social care system. This health assessment includes a strengths and difficulties questionnaire that measures any emotional or behavioural difficulties experienced by the child. This provides an outcomes measure within our data collection for care-experienced children that tracks emotional and behavioural needs at a national level.

5th Dec 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to overcome the barriers for care-experienced children and young people in accessing mental health support.

The department recognises the importance of securing appropriate support for children who have experienced trauma, which may include children in care, kinship care or who have been adopted

Local authorities have a statutory duty to promote the welfare of all looked after children. They are responsible for carrying out an annual health assessment for every child in the care system to produce a health plan that addresses the child’s physical, emotional, and mental health needs. This health assessment is reviewed at least annually and is part of a dynamic and continuous cycle of care planning.

Foster carers should be involved in drawing up the health plan as part of the overall care plan for their foster children. Foster carers should be supported by named health professionals for looked-after children on how to access services, including Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service consultations, that the child needs.

For adopted children and children under Special Guardianship orders who were previously in care, the Adoption Support Fund is designed to complement the healthcare system and provide support for those who are suffering trauma and attachment issues. An assessment of need will always be undertaken beforehand, to ensure that the most appropriate support is provided.

The healthcare system is of course available to all children, and parents and carers will be able to receive appropriate advice on how to access this, including support for trauma-related issues as appropriate.

5th Dec 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of barriers for care-experienced children and young people in accessing mental health support.

The department recognises the importance of securing appropriate support for children who have experienced trauma, which may include children in care, kinship care or who have been adopted

Local authorities have a statutory duty to promote the welfare of all looked after children. They are responsible for carrying out an annual health assessment for every child in the care system to produce a health plan that addresses the child’s physical, emotional, and mental health needs. This health assessment is reviewed at least annually and is part of a dynamic and continuous cycle of care planning.

Foster carers should be involved in drawing up the health plan as part of the overall care plan for their foster children. Foster carers should be supported by named health professionals for looked-after children on how to access services, including Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service consultations, that the child needs.

For adopted children and children under Special Guardianship orders who were previously in care, the Adoption Support Fund is designed to complement the healthcare system and provide support for those who are suffering trauma and attachment issues. An assessment of need will always be undertaken beforehand, to ensure that the most appropriate support is provided.

The healthcare system is of course available to all children, and parents and carers will be able to receive appropriate advice on how to access this, including support for trauma-related issues as appropriate.