Lord Browne of Ladyton Portrait

Lord Browne of Ladyton

Labour - Life peer

Became Member: 22nd July 2010


Environment and Climate Change Committee
14th Apr 2021 - 31st Jan 2023
Fraud Act 2006 and Digital Fraud Committee
19th Jan 2022 - 31st Oct 2022
Risk Assessment and Risk Planning Committee
15th Oct 2020 - 24th Nov 2021
Science and Technology Committee (Lords)
1st Jul 2019 - 28th Jan 2021
Partnerships (Prosecution) (Scotland) Bill Special Public Bill Committee
22nd Jan 2013 - 13th Feb 2013
Shadow Spokesperson (Scotland)
17th Oct 2011 - 6th Sep 2012
Secretary of State for Scotland
28th Jun 2007 - 3rd Oct 2008
Secretary of State for Defence
5th May 2006 - 3rd Oct 2008
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
6th May 2005 - 5th May 2006
Minister of State (Home Office) (Citizenship, Immigration and Nationality)
1st Apr 2004 - 6th May 2005
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions) (Work)
13th Jun 2003 - 1st Apr 2004
Parliamentary Secretary (Northern Ireland Office)
11th Jun 2001 - 13th Jun 2003
Human Rights (Joint Committee)
17th Jan 2001 - 7th Jun 2001
Public Administration Committee
10th Jun 1999 - 3rd Mar 2000
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee
28th Jul 1997 - 9th Nov 1998


Select Committee Meeting
Monday 4th March 2024
16:00
National Security Strategy (Joint Committee) - Oral evidence
Subject: Defending Democracy
4 Mar 2024, 4 p.m. View calendar
Division Votes
Tuesday 6th February 2024
Automated Vehicles Bill [HL]
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 112 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 200 Noes - 204
Speeches
Thursday 22nd February 2024
Ministry of Defence: Diversity, Equality and Inclusion
My Lords, the truth of the matter is that ethnic minorities are woefully underrepresented in our Armed Forces. I find …
Written Answers
Tuesday 20th February 2024
Asylum: Standards
To ask His Majesty's Government how many legacy asylum applications are awaiting an initial decision.
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Thursday 13th January 2022
Lead Ammunition (Restriction) Bill [HL] 2021-22
A Bill to restrict the possession, use and sale of lead ammunition; and for connected purposes
MP Financial Interests
None available

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Lord Browne of Ladyton has voted in 418 divisions, and 1 time against the majority of their Party.

9 Feb 2022 - Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Browne of Ladyton voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 8 Labour Aye votes vs 67 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 120 Noes - 230
View All Lord Browne of Ladyton Division Votes

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
Baroness Goldie (Conservative)
(60 debate interactions)
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Conservative)
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
(60 debate interactions)
Lord Callanan (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
(39 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Ministry of Defence
(68 debate contributions)
Home Office
(28 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Lord Browne of Ladyton's debates

Lords initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Lord Browne of Ladyton, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.


1 Bill introduced by Lord Browne of Ladyton


A Bill to restrict the possession, use and sale of lead ammunition; and for connected purposes

Lords - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Thursday 13th January 2022
(Read Debate)

Lord Browne of Ladyton has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


60 Written Questions in the current parliament

(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
9th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord True on 6 July (HL5987) and the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 8 July (HL5985), why the gov.uk website for the National Security Council states that there are sub-committees of the Council on (1) threats, hazards, resilience and contingencies, (2) nuclear deterrence and security, (3) matters relating to implementing the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) and National Security Strategy (including cyber matters), and (4) cross-government funds.

The current list on GOV.UK is up to date.

Lord True
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
22nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the (1) Threats, Hazards, Resilience and Contingencies, (2) Nuclear Deterrence and Security, (3) Implementation of the Strategic Defence and Security Review and National Security Strategy, and (4) Cross-Government Funds, sub-committees of the National Security Council still exist; and which Secretary of State or minister chairs each sub-committee.

The bodies referred to were part of a number of sub-Committees of the National Security Council. The Cabinet Office regularly publishes lists of Cabinet Committees and their membership on GOV.UK.

Since July 2019, the National Security Council itself now considers matters relating to national security, foreign policy, defence, international relations and development, resilience, energy and resource security.

Lord True
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
22nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord True on 4 June (HL Deb, col 1436) and subsequent correspondence, whether a committee of ministers has assumed responsibility for receiving reports from the cross-departmental governance board referred to in the UK Biological Security Strategy.

There is an undertaking in the Biological Security Strategy for the Governance Board to report progress to the Ministerial National Security Council. The progress report is in its final stages of drafting and will be submitted to the National Security Council when this has cleared the process.

Lord True
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to respond to the consultation on Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS) Business Models, which opened on 22 July 2019 and closed on 16 September 2019.

We are committed to deploying carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) this decade as we work towards net zero by 2050 and see an opportunity for the UK to become a global leader in CCUS.

We are determined to realise the key strategic opportunities of CCUS in a way that is affordable and value for money for the consumer and taxpayer. As part of this we continue to work closely with industry to design business models which provide value to the economy, drive decarbonisation and are compatible with existing market frameworks.

Our intention is to respond to our consultation on CCUS business models in due course.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
11th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Baroness Barran on 7 January (HL Deb, col 281), and the statement that "the vast majority of people who gamble do not experience harm", what assessment they have made of the report by Naomi Muggleton et al The association between gambling and financial, social and health outcomes in big financial data, published in Nature on 4 February.

The 2016 combined Health Surveys, estimated that 1.2% of people who gamble are likely to be problem gamblers, with a further 2% at moderate risk, and 4.4% at low risk of experiencing some harm related to gambling. The Health Surveys use two validated screening questionnaires to assess problem gambling, which ask whether respondents have experienced a range of negative behaviours and outcomes related to gambling including spending more than they could afford to lose, chasing losses and borrowing money to pay gambling debts.

Recently published analysis of banking transaction data has demonstrated a correlation between higher rates of gambling spend as a proportion of income and indicators of lower financial inclusion, wellbeing and healthiness. These correlations were generally strongest after the 75th percentile of spend levels. The analysis found that the majority of people who gamble spend only a small proportion of their income on gambling, and did not establish a causative link between gambling spend and the indicators identified.

The government launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. The Review will be wide-ranging and evidence led, and aims to make sure that the regulation of gambling is fit for the digital age.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
4th Dec 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many of the 75 local authorities eligible for the Family Hubs and Start for Life programme received part of the £50 million allocated for parenting support, and how this funding was broken down across those family hubs.

The funding package for the Family Hubs and Start for Life programme is for all 75 local authorities. The published funding methodology can be found attached. This publication sets out how each local authority received their funding allocation. For parenting support, each local authority will receive up to £250,000 across the three-year programme duration.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
4th Dec 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many of the 75 local authorities eligible for the Family Hubs and Start for Life programme received part of the £81.75 million allocated for creating family hub networks, and how this funding was broken down across those hubs.

The funding package for the Family Hubs and Start for Life programme is for all 75 local authorities. The published funding methodology can be found attached. This publication sets out how each local authority received their funding allocation. Each local authority will receive up to £500,00 across the three-year programme duration to transform their Family hubs services into a Family Hub model.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
4th Dec 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many of the 75 local authorities eligible for the Family Hubs and Start for Life programme received part of the £81.75 million allocated for creating family hub networks, and how this funding was broken down across those hubs.

The funding package for the Family Hubs and Start for Life programme is for all 75 local authorities. The published funding methodology can be found attached. This publication sets out how each local authority received their funding allocation. Each local authority will receive up to £500,00 across the three-year programme duration to transform their Family hubs services into a Family Hub model.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Sep 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the cost of providing 30 hours of free childcare each week to children aged between 9 months and 4 years, with one or both parents in full-time education or training.

The department does not hold the data on the number of parents of children under four years of age that are in full time education or training.

In the Spring Budget 2023, the government announced a number of transformative reforms to childcare for parents, children and the economy. By 2027/28, the government will expect to be spending in excess of £8 billion every year on free hours and early education, helping working families with their childcare costs. This represents the single biggest investment in childcare in England ever.

The announcement included the expansion of the 30 hours free childcare offer, through which eligible working parents in England will be able to access 30 hours of free childcare per week for 38 weeks per year from when their child is 9 months old to when they start school. The key objective of this measure is to support parental participation in the labour market, which is why the offer is conditional on work.

All students, who work in addition to their studies and earn the equivalent of at least 16 hours a week at national minimum/living wage, and under £100,000 adjusted net income per year, will be eligible for this offer. If they are unable to meet this threshold, they will remain eligible for the universal 15 hours of free early education, which is available to all 3- and 4-year-olds regardless of family circumstances.

The department recognises the value of parents continuing in education and provides a range of support for students in further or higher education (HE) to support them with childcare.

Eligible undergraduate students attending full-time HE courses qualify for fee loans to meet the full costs of their tuition and partially means-tested loans as a contribution towards their living costs.

Additional support is provided for full-time students with dependent children. This support includes the Childcare Grant and Parents’ Learning Allowance which are based on a student’s household income.

The Childcare Grant is available for parents in HE undertaking a full-time undergraduate course and is paid to help with weekly childcare costs. The amount of childcare grant payable in 2023/24 will be based on 85% of actual childcare costs, subject to a maximum grant of £188.90 per week for one child only or £323.85 per week for two or more children. The Parents’ Learning Allowance is for full-time undergraduate students with one or more dependent children. For the 2023/24 academic year, students could receive up to £1,915 a year depending on household income. Students whose household incomes are £39,796 or less qualify for the full Childcare Grant and Parents Learning Allowance applied for.

In addition to the standard student support package set out above, eligible nursing, midwifery and allied health profession students receive a non-repayable training grant of a minimum of £5,000 per academic year. Eligible students with child dependants can also access a further £2,000 per academic year.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Sep 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many parents of children under four years of age are in full time education or training.

The department does not hold the data on the number of parents of children under four years of age that are in full time education or training.

In the Spring Budget 2023, the government announced a number of transformative reforms to childcare for parents, children and the economy. By 2027/28, the government will expect to be spending in excess of £8 billion every year on free hours and early education, helping working families with their childcare costs. This represents the single biggest investment in childcare in England ever.

The announcement included the expansion of the 30 hours free childcare offer, through which eligible working parents in England will be able to access 30 hours of free childcare per week for 38 weeks per year from when their child is 9 months old to when they start school. The key objective of this measure is to support parental participation in the labour market, which is why the offer is conditional on work.

All students, who work in addition to their studies and earn the equivalent of at least 16 hours a week at national minimum/living wage, and under £100,000 adjusted net income per year, will be eligible for this offer. If they are unable to meet this threshold, they will remain eligible for the universal 15 hours of free early education, which is available to all 3- and 4-year-olds regardless of family circumstances.

The department recognises the value of parents continuing in education and provides a range of support for students in further or higher education (HE) to support them with childcare.

Eligible undergraduate students attending full-time HE courses qualify for fee loans to meet the full costs of their tuition and partially means-tested loans as a contribution towards their living costs.

Additional support is provided for full-time students with dependent children. This support includes the Childcare Grant and Parents’ Learning Allowance which are based on a student’s household income.

The Childcare Grant is available for parents in HE undertaking a full-time undergraduate course and is paid to help with weekly childcare costs. The amount of childcare grant payable in 2023/24 will be based on 85% of actual childcare costs, subject to a maximum grant of £188.90 per week for one child only or £323.85 per week for two or more children. The Parents’ Learning Allowance is for full-time undergraduate students with one or more dependent children. For the 2023/24 academic year, students could receive up to £1,915 a year depending on household income. Students whose household incomes are £39,796 or less qualify for the full Childcare Grant and Parents Learning Allowance applied for.

In addition to the standard student support package set out above, eligible nursing, midwifery and allied health profession students receive a non-repayable training grant of a minimum of £5,000 per academic year. Eligible students with child dependants can also access a further £2,000 per academic year.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given (1) to introducing a national and regional skills strategy to provide reskilling opportunities within low carbon sectors, and (2) to the benefits of investing in reskilling and retraining in low-carbon and climate resilient industries, to address unemployment arising from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government is committed to making the skills system more responsive to employer skill needs both locally and nationally, and to equip young people and adults with the skills they need to have productive and fulfilling careers. We are working with employers in all sectors including those in the ‘green economy’ to jointly design and deliver policies and programmes to do this.

We are investing in a network of Institutes of Technology around the country – flagship training providers that will help to drive regional growth in key areas like engineering, advanced manufacturing and construction by meeting technical and higher technical skills needs.

We recently published reforms that aim to make higher technical education a high-quality, prestigious and popular choice. Through our reforms, we will introduce a national approvals scheme to show which higher technical qualifications (including those addressing needs in low carbon sectors) deliver the skills that employers want. We will also raise the profile and understanding of higher technical education through a public campaign and improved information, advice and guidance.

There are a number of apprenticeships available in the green and energy sectors including Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) controls engineer, community energy specialist and dual-fuel smart meter installer, and we are committed to ensuring people of all ages can benefit from the high-quality training that an apprenticeship offers. To help support employers to offer new apprenticeships, employers are now able to claim £2,000 for every new apprentice they hire under the age of 25, and £1,500 for those 25 and over.

Alongside these wider adult skills reforms, the government is providing £2.5 billion (£3 billion when including Barnett funding for devolved administrations) starting this Parliament, for a new National Skills Fund to help adults learn new skills and prepare for the economy of the future.

As part of this, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, recently announced the launch of the trial of digital bootcamps to support local regions and employers to fill in-demand vacancies. We will expand these out to wider areas of the economy and parts of the country next year.

My right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, also announced, as part of his Lifetime Skills Guarantee, that for adults who do not currently have a level 3 qualification, the government will be fully funding their first full level 3 through the National Skills Fund.

Currently, adults who are between the ages of 19 – 23 are eligible for full funding for their first full level 3. We are now extending eligibility for a first full level 3 so adults who are above the age of 23 can also benefit from level 3 courses and qualifications with high economic value and strong alignment with government priorities. We will continue to work to ensure that the National Skills Fund aligns and supports important cross-government priorities, including the UK's ambitious clean growth agenda.

We are committed to consulting on aspects of the National Skills Fund. We are continuing to review the ongoing implications of the COVID-19 outbreak and we are considering the most appropriate time and approach we can take to launch the consultation, ensuring we have meaningful discussions with employers, providers and users.

In the meantime, we will engage closely with stakeholders as we continue to develop detailed plans for the National Skills Fund, including considering what role the fund could play in meeting more immediate needs in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

17th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the Minister for Investment last met representatives of the UK automotive industry to discuss (1) the reduction in investment that motor manufacturing has experienced, and (2) the consequential challenges that industry is facing.

Since becoming Minister for Investment, I have discussed current challenges and opportunities with a range of automotive companies.

The automotive industry globally has seen the impact of a downturn in demand, exacerbated by the COVID crisis. The UK government has already taken unprecedented steps - welcomed by the sector - to protect businesses and workers. The Department for International Trade has been very active in helping companies access these schemes.

We are also delivering a sustained, strategic programme of support to enable the development, manufacture and adoption of low and zero-emission technologies.

UK automotive is a great success story and we are determined to ensure its recovery from the COVID crisis and its prosperity in a zero-carbon future.

17th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Ministerial Statement by the Secretary of State for International Trade on 7 July (HCWS339), whether details of the revised methodology described are publicly available; and if not, whether they will place a description of the non-sensitive and non-confidential elements of the revised methodology in the Library of the House.

The Written Ministerial Statement of 7th July 2020 explained and set out details of the revised methodology developed to comply with the Court of Appeal’s judgment of 20th June 2019 and applied to re-take the decisions remitted by the Court of Appeal on the correct legal basis.

HM Government have no plans to publish the assessments to which the Noble Lord refers. Such assessments use all available sources of information – including some that are necessarily confidential and sensitive – so we are not able to provide details of the assessments.

17th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Ministerial Statement by the Secretary of State for International Trade on 7 July (HCWS339), what data sets were employed in the revised methodology described.

The Written Ministerial Statement of 7th July 2020 explained and set out details of the revised methodology developed to comply with the Court of Appeal’s judgment of 20th June 2019 and applied to re-take the decisions remitted by the Court of Appeal on the correct legal basis.

HM Government have no plans to publish the assessments to which the Noble Lord refers. Such assessments use all available sources of information – including some that are necessarily confidential and sensitive – so we are not able to provide details of the assessments.

13th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Grimstone of Boscobel on 10 July (HL Deb, col 1347), whether they will now answer the question put, namely whether Parliament will be given access to the methodology referred to in the Written Ministerial Statement made by Lord Grimstone of Boscobel on 7 July (HLWS336).

The Written Ministerial Statement of 7th July 2020 explained and set out details of the revised methodology developed to comply with the Court of Appeal’s judgment of 20th June 2019 and applied to re-take the decisions remitted by the Court of Appeal on the correct legal basis.

HM Government have no plans to publish the assessments to which the Noble Lord refers. Such assessments use all available sources of information – including some that are necessarily confidential and sensitive – so we are not able to provide details of the assessments.

10th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the killing of human rights defenders in Colombia and recent reports of illegal surveillance by Colombian Military Intelligence on civil society organisations, whether they are reassessing the licensing of UK arms exports, including cryptographic equipment, to Colombia.

There are no extant licences granted for Colombia that may be used for such surveillance.

For context, all export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the ‘Consolidated Criteria’). In reaching a decision, the Department for International Trade (DIT) receives advice from a number of Departments including the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). Together, we draw on all available information, including reports from Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and our diplomatic missions. The Consolidated Criteria provides a thorough risk assessment framework and requires us to think hard about the impact of exporting any items.

Assessments under Criterion 2 in particular include the respect of rights and freedoms in the country of final destination. A licence will not be issued if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria, including where there is a clear risk that the proposed export might be used for internal repression. Accordingly, we continue to monitor global developments closely and are able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require, in line with the Consolidated Criteria.

17th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by David G Victor et al, Accelerating the Low Carbon Transition, published in November 2019, in particular regarding the recommendation that developing countries with plentiful renewable energy sources could be well placed to attract investment in technology to decarbonise international freight shipping.

The Government agrees that there is a unique opportunity for developing countries to play a key role in the decarbonisation of the international freight shipping sector, including through the production of alternative fuels. For example, according to a study conducted by EDF, the introduction of electrofuels in Chile could unlock investment worth up to 90 billion US dollars for the country.

Ahead of COP26, the Government is working with other States to explore the global landside infrastructure solutions that can unlock clean shipping for all. At the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the UK remains committed to being an ambitious voice at negotiations on the reduction of greenhouse gases from international shipping, and to working collaboratively with our peers to ensure that the specific needs of developing countries are being met.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what percentage of decisions relating to benefits overpayments or benefit recovery made by the Department of Work and Pensions are the result of algorithmic decision-making or another automated process.

As set out in the Annual Report and Accounts 2022-23 for the year ended 31 March 2023 (publishing.service.gov.uk) (P103), DWP does not use automation to replace human judgement when investigating fraud and error to either determine or deny a payment to a claimant. A final decision in these circumstances always involves a human agent.

The Department uses algorithms and automated decision making in some services and processes, which allow us to improve accuracy, speed up delivery and free up colleagues’ time so they can support the people who need it most.

DWP’s Personal Information Charter explains how and why we use personal information and citizen’s rights and responsibilities

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that young disabled people are able to fully benefit from the Kickstart Scheme.

We are encouraging employers to create a range of opportunities through the Kickstart Scheme for all young people aged 16 to 24 who are at risk of long–term unemployment including those who have disabilities. Job Centre Plus Work Coaches will identify those young people most in need of the extra support offered by the Kickstart Scheme. We encourage organisations that work with disabled young people to take part in the Kickstart scheme, acting as gateway organisations for their networks of small and medium employers, to encourage and support young people into a number of careers. This will help ensure that there is nothing to exclude young disabled people, or any disadvantaged groups, from accessing the Kickstart Scheme.

The Department for Work and Pensions also offers a range of support programmes including Access to Work and Disability Confident to advise and support employers looking to take on disabled jobseekers – this support can be accessed through local Jobcentres.

5th Dec 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government which local authorities were allocated funding for Start for Life workforce models, and how much funding was allocated to each local authority.

Through the Family Hubs and Start for Life Programme, up to £9.88 million was allocated to enable a small number of areas to pilot innovative start for life workforce models. Five local authority areas were successful in their applications to become a pilot site. These areas were Barnsley, Islington, Leicester, Norfolk, and Tower Hamlets.

The funding allocations for each area, this financial year, are due to be published shortly. The allocations for next financial year will be published once finalised.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Dec 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many local authorities were allocated funding to establish parent and carer panels as part of the Family Hubs and Start for Life programme, and how much funding was allocated to each local authority.

£10 million is being distributed to 75 local authorities in England participating in the Programme to set up Parent Carer Panels and publish a Start for Life offer from 2022/23 to 2024/25. Local authorities determine the specific interventions they spend their funding allocation on, in line with the programme guide and local area need. A core minimum expectation of the programme is for local authorities to establish a Parent Carer Panel.

A copy of the published funding methodology for the programme is attached; this sets out how each local authority received their funding allocation.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Dec 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many local authorities were allocated funding to publish a Start for Life offer as part of the Family Hubs and Start for Life programme, and how much funding was allocated to each local authority.

£10 million is being distributed to all 75 local authorities participating in the programme to set up Parent Carer Panels and publish a Start for Life offer between 2022/23 and 2024/25. Local authorities determine the specific interventions they spend their funding allocation on, in line with the programme guide and local area need. A core minimum expectation of the programme is for local authorities to publish a digital and physical Start for Life offer.

A copy of the published funding methodology for the programme is attached; this sets out how each local authority received their funding allocation.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Dec 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many of the 75 local authorities eligible for the Family Hubs and Start for Life programme received part of the £100 million for parent-infant relationships and perinatal mental health support, and how this funding was broken down across those family hubs.

Of the £100 million, £92.8 million is being distributed to the 75 local authorities participating in the programme from 2022/23 to 2024/25. Local authorities determine the specific interventions they spend their funding allocation on, in line with the programme guide and local area need. Local authorities are responsible for allocating funding to their family hubs. The remaining funding has been held centrally to deliver a series of national initiatives which will support local delivery.

A copy of the published funding methodology for the programme is attached; this sets out how each local authority received their funding allocation.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Dec 2023
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many of the 75 local authorities eligible for the Family Hubs and Start for Life Programme received part of the £50 million allocated for establishing infant feeding support services, and how this funding was broken down across those family hubs.

Of the £50 million, £47.2 million is being distributed to all 75 local authorities participating in the programme from 2022/23 to 2024/25. Local authorities determine the specific interventions they spend their funding allocation on, in line with the programme guide and local area need. Local authorities are responsible for allocating funding to their family hubs. The remaining funding has been held centrally to deliver a series of national initiatives which will support local delivery.

A copy of the published funding methodology for the programme is attached; this sets out how each local authority received their funding allocation.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government whether the British Embassy in Bogotá intends to conduct an official visit to the offices of the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers Collective following reports of attacks, threats and defamation of its members.

On 28 November 2023, officials from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in London met representatives of the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers Collective to discuss their security situation. Officials at our Embassy in Bogotá will schedule a further meeting in Colombia at the next available opportunity.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of Colombia about reports of (1) attacks against, and (2) surveillance of, members of the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers Collective.

UK ministers and senior officials regularly raise human rights issues, as well as specific cases of concern, with the Colombian Government. Officials from the British Embassy in Bogotá will schedule a meeting with the National Protection Unit (UNP) to discuss attacks against, and surveillance of, members of the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers Collective at the next available opportunity. We look to the Colombian authorities to investigate fully and to take appropriate action against those responsible.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government whether they are making representations to the government of Guatemala regarding the protection of Indigenous leaders and human rights defenders in Guatemala from attacks and forced eviction, in the light of the findings of the report by the Independent Delegations of International Lawyers to Guatemala “We are not trespassers: this is our land”: Agrarian conflict and Indigenous peoples' rights in Alta Verapaz, published in September .

When Minister Rutley visited Guatemala in April, he spoke with representatives from civil society groups about the need to protect space for environmental and human rights defenders including those from indigenous communities. These concerns are regularly reflected in bilateral discussions we have with the Guatemalan Government and in international fora, including in the UK's response to the 42nd Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights in Guatemala. We also regularly raise the issue of human rights defenders and land defenders in Guatemala via our Embassy in Guatemala City, working in conjunction with other international partners, with the aim of promoting full respect for human rights for all Guatemalans. FCDO Officials attended a roundtable with the Independent Delegation of International Lawyers to Guatemala on 18 October in order to discuss the findings of their report and consider their recommendations.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Guatemala regarding reports of threats against the Indigenous human rights defender Lesbia Artola and other members of the Comité Campesino del Altiplano in Guatemala.

When Minister Rutley visited Guatemala in April, he spoke with representatives from civil society groups about the need to protect space for environmental and human rights defenders including those from indigenous communities. These concerns are regularly reflected in bilateral discussions we have with the Guatemalan Government and in international fora, including in the UK's response to the 42nd Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights in Guatemala. We also regularly raise the issue of human rights defenders and land defenders in Guatemala via our Embassy in Guatemala City, working in conjunction with other international partners, with the aim of promoting full respect for human rights for all Guatemalans. FCDO Officials attended a roundtable with the Independent Delegation of International Lawyers to Guatemala on 18 October in order to discuss the findings of their report and consider their recommendations.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have further to support the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina in light of recent actions by President Dodik and the Republika Srpska.

The UK fully supports the High Representative and the use of his executive powers, should the situation require it. We remain an active member of the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board (PIC SB), through which we provide the High Representative with political guidance. Ambassadors of the PIC SB issued a statement on 22 September, urging Dodik to immediately stop his policy of non-recognition of and non-co-operation with the High Representative.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the African Union's ability and willingness to fulfil its mandate to monitor the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement in Ethiopia.

The African Union (AU) plays an important role in regional stability. The UK believes in African leadership and supports the African Union's role in facilitating the implementation of Ethiopia's Cessation of Hostilities Agreement. We support the critical role that the AU Monitoring, Verification and Compliance Mission continues to play in contributing to more sustainable peace in northern Ethiopia.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Leader of the House what plans she has to arrange a debate on the report by the Committee on Climate Change Reducing UK emissions: 2020 Progress report to Parliament, published on 25 June.

My Noble Friend the Government Chief Whip does not intend to schedule such a debate in Government time. Members who wish to initiate a debate of their own are able to do so by tabling a question for short debate. Subject to the progress of legislative business, it is expected that questions for short debate will be re-introduced during October.

10th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to recent reports of illegal surveillance by Colombian Military Intelligence on civil society organisations, what steps they have taken to establish whether cryptographic equipment exported by the UK to Colombia has been used in this type of activity.

We are aware of allegations that Colombian state actors have been illegally gathering surveillance on civil society organisations. We expect state authorities to comply fully with their human rights obligations, and the United Kingdom is committed to protecting and promoting human rights in Colombia. We welcome the Colombian authorities' announcement of an investigation into these allegations and their commitment to hold those responsible to account.

The UK Government rigorously examines each export licence application on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. Risks around human rights violations or abuses are a key part of our assessment. We do not export equipment and technology where we assess there is a clear risk that it might be used for internal repression.

10th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the accuracy of reports that US military exports to Colombia were used for illegal surveillance activities.

We are aware of allegations that Colombian state actors have been conducting illegal surveillance activities against civil society organisations. We are also aware of media claims that US equipment may have been used in such surveillance. We do not have any information on the accuracy of these reports.

We welcome the Colombian authorities' announcement of an investigation into these allegations and their commitment to hold those responsible to account.

8th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to make the Written Ministerial Statement that provides notification that work on the Integrated Security, Defence and Foreign Policy Review has been formally paused.

The Government paused its Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy in April due to the pressing need to focus on COVID-19. We have formally recommenced the Review, building on the work done since February. Deputy National Security Advisor for the Integrated Review (IR) Alex Ellis, has written to Parliamentary Committees (Joint Committee on National Security Strategy, Defence, Foreign Affairs, Development) informing them that the IR has formally recommenced. There are no current plans to make a Written Ministerial Statement. Work is underway to update the GOV.UK website with up to date information on the IR.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 30 April (HL3303), in the absence of a suitable equipped aircraft for observation flights, how they carry out or participate in such flights; and whether they have plans to acquire a new Open Skies airframe equipped with the latest authenticated sensor technology.

Since 2008 the UK has not possessed any Open Skies capable aircraft. Instead, the UK hires Open Skies aircraft from other participating States in order to conduct its missions. This continues to be assessed to be the most cost effective way of delivering the capability for the UK. There is currently no intention to procure an Open Skies aircraft for the future.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what recent assessment they have made of the strategic importance of the Open Skies Treaty; and what discussions they have had with the government of the United States about their reported intention to leave that treaty.

The UK continues to support the Open Skies Treaty, which helps to build understanding and confidence between countries through military transparency. The Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs and the Secretary of State for Defence, as well as other Ministers and senior officials from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence, have raised this on a regular basis with their US counterparts, emphasising the UK's commitment to the Treaty.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Baroness Penn on 14 November (HL Deb col 384), what assessment they have made of the availability of out-of-hours fraud and complaints teams within high street banks; and what consideration they have given to mandating a minimum level of out-of-hours provision.

The Government takes the issue of fraud very seriously and is dedicated to protecting the public from this devastating crime. Tackling fraud requires a unified and coordinated response from government, regulators, law enforcement and the private sector to better protect the public and businesses from fraud.

While specific decisions on the opening hours of high street banks and the out-of-hours services provided are commercial decisions for the firm, many of the major UK retail banks provide 24-hour helplines for customers who have been victims of fraud.

More broadly, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) requires banks and building societies to maintain effective systems and controls to prevent financial crime. The FCA’s rules also require firms to properly investigate all complaints, and, through ongoing supervision, it continues to monitor firms’ complaint handling processes.

If certain banks or building societies have more extensive out-of-hours fraud and complaints facilities, customers may choose to switch to an alternative provider using the Current Account Switch Service (CASS). The switch service is free to use and comes with a guarantee to protect customers from financial loss if something goes wrong. This means that customers are more able than ever to hold their banks or building society to account by voting with their feet, and that firms are incentivised to work hard to protect their existing customers from fraud and deal with complaints efficiently.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Sep 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the average business rates charged to nurseries in England, and (2) the cost of exempting early years providers from business rates.

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is responsible for valuing non-domestic property for business rates purposes. Based on VOA data from April 2023, the mean rateable value (RV) for a day nursery or play school in England is £26,400. This indicates that, before applying any relevant reliefs, an average nursery in England would pay around £13,175 in business rates for 2023-24.

The sector has a total RV of around £320 million and represents nearly half a percent of England’s RV. The Government keeps the tax system under review.

At Autumn Statement 2022, the Government announced a freeze to the business rates multiplier. This third consecutive freeze supports all ratepayers, including Early Years businesses, and means bills are 6% lower than without the freeze.

Baroness Penn
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
7th Sep 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the average expenditure on VAT by private, voluntary and independent childcare providers, and (2) the cost to the Treasury of zero-rating those childcare providers.

VAT has been designed as a broad-based tax on consumption, and the twenty per cent standard rate applies to most goods and services. Exceptions to the standard rate have always been strictly limited by both legal and fiscal considerations.

Ofsted-registered nurseries and childcare providers are exempt from VAT. This means they do not have to charge VAT to their customers, but it also means they cannot recover the VAT they incur on the things they buy.

We do not hold data on irrecoverable VAT expenditure as businesses are not required to report this information to HMRC in their VAT returns.

While we keep all taxes under review there are no plans to make changes to the VAT exemption which nurseries currently enjoy. Representations on changes to the VAT system will be considered through the normal fiscal event process.

Baroness Penn
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether an assessment of funding for (1) a low carbon reskilling strategy, and (2) a public engagement strategy, will be included in the Net Zero Review

The objectives and scope of HMT’s Net Zero Review are set out in the terms of reference, published in November 2019, and are available on the GOV.UK website. The Review will explore how the transition to a net zero economy will be funded, and where the costs will fall. The Review will look at options for a balance of contributions between households, businesses and the taxpayer, and how to maximise economic growth opportunities from the transition.

The government has announced that the Review will be published in Spring 2021. In the meantime, HMT will publish an interim report this autumn 2020. This will set out our approach to the Review and analysis which will inform the final report.

13th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have any plans to use Pool Re’s model of terrorism (re)insurance to provide cover for other systemic events that could impact the economy.

Ideally all firms would be able to purchase the insurance products they need on a market basis, but the Government recognises that in some exceptional circumstances that may not be possible.

The Government welcomes ideas for how insurance can build resilience and access insurance in future, noting the new risks and challenges from the outbreak of COVID-19. We will be assessing all proposals in due course.

20th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they are having with businesses, including banks and risk insurance companies, about business disruption insurance.

The Government is in continual dialogue with the insurance sector to understand and influence its response to this unprecedented situation and is encouraging insurers to do all they can to support customers during this difficult period.

The Government is working closely with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to ensure that the rules are being upheld during this crisis and fully supports the regulator in its role. The FCA rules require insurers to handle claims fairly and promptly; provide reasonable guidance to help a policyholder make a claim; not reject a claim unreasonably; and settle claims promptly once settlement terms are agreed. In addition, the FCA has said that, in light of COVID-19, insurers must consider very carefully the needs of their customers and show flexibility in their treatment of them.

On 1 May the FCA outlined its intention to seek a court declaration, on an agreed and urgent basis, and for a selected number of key issues, to resolve uncertainty for many customers making business interruption claims. Additionally, the FCA stated its expectation for insurers to assess the value of their insurance products to customers during this period and to consider appropriate action. This might include changing how benefits are delivered, refunding some premiums or suspending monthly payments for a certain period of time.

Subsequently on 1 June, the FCA announced the policy wordings that would be tested in the court action and insurers it had invited to participate directly, along with an initial list of policy wordings and insurers that will potentially be impacted by the Court’s decision on the representative sample. The FCA expects to publish a final list of all the relevant insurers and policies that may have impacted wordings in early July, and expects a court hearing to take place in late July.

However, it is important to note that most businesses have not purchased insurance that covers losses from non-property damage. Additionally, while some policies cover losses arising from any disease classed as notifiable by the government, or a denial of access to a building, most of these policies only cover a specific list of notifiable diseases or an incident specifically on the premises of the business. Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers. The terms of a policy cannot be changed retrospectively.

The Government encourages businesses to seek assistance through the wider support package if they are in financial difficulty. Businesses should explore the full package of support set out by the Chancellor in the Budget, on 17 March, and on 20 March, which includes measures such as business rates holidays, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and wage support.

6th Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government how many legacy asylum applications are awaiting an initial decision.

The Home Office publishes data on asylum in the ‘Statistics relating to Illegal Migration’. Provisional data on the legacy applications awaiting an initial decision is published in table IMB_02 of the Statistics relating to the Illegal Migration Act: data tables to December 2023. The latest data relates to 28 December 2023.

Finalised data for 31 December 2023 is due to be published on 29 February 2024 in table Asy_10a of the Asylum and resettlement summary tables, as part of the ‘Immigration System Statistics Quarterly Release’.

Information on future Home Office statistical release dates can be found in the ‘Research and statistics calendar’.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
6th Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what percentage of serving Metropolitan Police Service officers have served for more than five years, and what assessment they have made of the strength of institutional memory within the Metropolitan Police Service.

The Home Office collects and publishes data annually on the length of service of police officers employed within the police service in the ‘Police Workforce, England and Wales’ statistical bulletin which can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/police-workforce-england-and-wales.

Information on the length of service of police officers employed in each of the 43 territorial police forces in England and Wales can be found in Table JL5 in the data tables accompanying each publication.

As at 31 March 2023, 67% of police officers employed within the Metropolitan Police Service had 5 years or more service.

The retention of experienced police officers is a priority for the Home Office and the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC). Voluntary resignation rates, at around 3%, are low compared to other sectors.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
6th Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what UK expenditure within Rwanda has been authorised in respect of (1)  building the capacity of their asylum system, and (2) amending the UK–Rwanda agreement to mitigate against the risk of refoulement.

As I said to the House at Committee Stage for the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill on 19 February, Noble Lords will be aware that we have provided Rwanda with £220 million as part of the economic transformation fund and £20 million as an advance credit to pay for operational costs in advance of flights commencing. The spend on the MEDP with Rwanda so far is £240 million.

We anticipate providing another £50 million in the next financial year. This is not new but follows the same arrangement from 2022.

Rwanda did not ask for money to sign the treaty, nor did we offer it. However, it is right and proper that there is funding to reflect the additional costs in the future. The Government are already committed to disclosing further payments made as part of the economic transformation fund and the per-person relocation costs as part of the department’s annual accounts in the normal way.

During the debate, I committed to write to the Noble Lord Purvis on this matter, and the letter will be published in the House library in due course.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to (1) the remarks by Lord Murray of Blidworth on 10 May (HL Deb col 1922), and (2) the Supreme Court's decision on the government's Rwanda policy, what methodology they used in designating Rwanda as a safe country for the offshore processing of asylum claims.

We undertook an analysis of a wide range of publicly available evidence from a variety of reliable sources about Rwanda’s asylum system and human rights situation. The information was carefully selected in accordance with internationally established country-of-origin information research methods.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the comprehensiveness of their current data in estimating total national fraud, and (2) the feasibility of reintroducing a government-led Annual Fraud Indicator.

The Home Office and the Public Sector Fraud Authority (PSFA) publish datasets reflecting their respective responsibilities for fraud against individuals and businesses, and fraud against the public sector.

These include the Crime Survey of England and Wales (supplemented by data from Action Fraud and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau), the Economic Crime Survey of 2020 estimating fraud against businesses across seven sectors (due to be refreshed in 2024), and the PSFA’s annual report on the scale of fraud. There are also plans for a new Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Service in 2024.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Threats, Hazards, Resilience and Contingencies sub-committee of the National Security Council has met to consider a report from the cross-Government director-level governance board referred to in the UK Biological Security Strategy; and if so, when.

The focus since publication has been on developing and normalising the governance structure, building a biological security community, and mapping current departmental biological security related workstreams and a first cross-government report is in its final drafting stages. The THRC was a former sub-Committee of the National Security Council up until July 2019 and no longer sits anymore. We do not comment on specific National Security Council Agenda items.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
6th Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by The Earl of Minto on 7 December 2023 (HL Deb col 1570), what plans they have to regularise the process of cost forecasting among the three armed services.

The Department's current operating model, where responsibility for managing the equipment plan is delegated to Top Level Budget Holders, acknowledges that they have different financial positions and carry a balance between capability and financial risk.

I remain committed to reviewing the format of future equipment plan reports to ensure they remain fit for purpose.

Earl of Minto
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
15th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Baroness Goldie on 3 July (HL Deb col 987), what estimate they have made of the planned UK expenditure consequent on the AUKUS agreement.

As announced in the Integrated Review Refresh, we are providing £2 billion this year and £2.95 billion next year to Defence. Of this new money, £3 billion will be invested across the defence nuclear enterprise, supporting areas such as the construction of industrial infrastructure, allowing us to continue to grow our graduate and apprentice nuclear skills programmes, and enhancing support to in-service submarines. This will support the overall delivery of AUKUS, while longer-term funding will be revisited at the next Spending Review.

Earl of Minto
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
15th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the operational readiness and viability of the UK’s Warfighting 3rd Division.

Warfighting capability remains the cornerstone of deterrence and the bedrock of a world-class British Army. The 3rd (UK) Division is at the heart of this, able to manage a multi-domain battle in ever greater depth; designed to act with NATO and capable of providing a framework for Allies.

The Army constantly keeps its warfighting capability under review, and regularly assesses the adequacy of its readiness. It is embracing the ever-changing global landscape and ensuring that it will be more capable against peer adversaries and integrated with our NATO Allies and partners.

Earl of Minto
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
24th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with international partners in respect of the possibility of deploying UK military personnel to support (1) EUFOR’s Operation Althea, or (2) NATO headquarters in Sarajevo.

The UK Government regularly discusses maintaining stability in the Western Balkans with our NATO Allies and European partners. The UK provides support for EUFOR ALTHEA through NATO (the operation is carried out with recourse to NATO assets and capabilities) and coordinated bilateral exercising. The UK will support the renewal of EUFOR's UN Security Council mandate, due by November.

The UK already has military personnel deployed to NATO's headquarters in Sarajevo.

30th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the risks associated with any increase in (1) the duration, (2) the proximity, and (3) the intensity, of military exercising undertaken by (a) NATO, (b) Russia, and (c) Belarus, in and around Belarus; and what steps are being taken to reduce those risks.

The Ministry of Defence monitors all military exercising taking place in and around Belarus. Any increase in duration, proximity and intensity of military exercising in or near Belarus only serves to increase regional tensions. The UK and NATO take the appropriate steps to reduce any risks when conducting military exercises near Belarus and where necessary, alter training due to the associated risks.

The UK and Belarus maintain a cooperative relationship; particularly in the areas of arms control and the de-escalation of tensions in the Eastern Neighbourhood. This policy of transparency helps to build confidence and reduce risks associated with any increases in duration, proximity or intensity of military exercises. Though the UK has suspended Defence Engagement with Belarus we still maintain dialogue in order to reduce risks from all sides.

16th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to affirm their commitment to the International Science and Technology Centre (ISTC); and what consideration they have given to the UK’s future membership of the ISTC as a state party.

The Government recognises that the ISTC has played a valuable role in preventing the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction-related scientific and technical expertise from former Soviet programmes, and mitigating broader chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) risks. However, HMG currently funds only a small number of projects through the ISTC. After careful consideration, we have therefore concluded that the recent and currently anticipated level of UK engagement with the ISTC would not warrant the expected costs of future UK membership of the ISTC as a Funding Party. The UK will continue to play a leading international role in countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and related expertise, and mitigating CBRN risks, including funding projects through the ISTC, where appropriate.