Lord Clement-Jones Portrait

Lord Clement-Jones

Liberal Democrat - Life peer

Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Digital)

(since June 2017)
Artificial Intelligence Committee
29th Jun 2017 - 13th Mar 2018
Licensing Act 2003 Committee
25th May 2016 - 14th Jun 2016
National Policy for the Built Environment Committee
18th Jun 2015 - 11th Feb 2016
Communications and Digital Committee
22nd Jun 2010 - 30th Mar 2015


Select Committee Meeting
Monday 18th October 2021
13:45
Draft Online Safety Bill (Joint Committee) - Oral evidence
Subject: Draft Online Safety Bill
18 Oct 2021, 1:45 p.m.
At 2.30pm: Oral evidence
Rocio Concha - Director of Policy and Advocacy and Chief Economist at Which?
Martin Lewis OBE - Founder and Chair at MoneySavingExpert.com and Money and Mental Health Policy Institute
At 3.15pm: Oral evidence
Mark Steward - Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at Financial Conduct Authority
Guy Parker - Chief Executive at Advertising Standards Authority
Michael Grenfell - Executive Director for Enforcement at Competition and Markets Authority
Commander Clinton Blackburn - National Economic Crime Coordinator at City of London Police
At 4.45pm: Oral evidence
Sophie Zhang
View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 20th October 2021
15:00
Select Committee Meeting
Thursday 21st October 2021
09:30
Draft Online Safety Bill (Joint Committee) - Oral evidence
Subject: Draft Online Safety Bill
21 Oct 2021, 9:30 a.m.
At 9.45am: Oral evidence
Professor Richard Wilson - Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Intellectual Life, Gladstein Chair and Professor of Anthropology and Law at University of Connecticut
Barbora Bukovska - Senior Director, Law and Policy at Article 19
Matthew D’Ancona, journalist formerly of Index on Censorship, currently Editor at Tortoise Media
Silkie Carlo - Director at Big Brother Watch
At 11.15am: Oral evidence
Gavin Millar QC
Alison Gow - President at Society of Editors
Matt Rogerson - Director of Public Policy at Guardian Media Group, and News Media Association
Peter Wright - Editor Emeritus at DMG Media
At 12.15pm: Oral evidence
Professor Jonathan Haidt
Jim Steyer - CEO at Common Sense Media
View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Thursday 21st October 2021
13:00
Select Committee Meeting
Monday 25th October 2021
14:00
Draft Online Safety Bill (Joint Committee) - Oral evidence
Subject: Draft Online Safety Bill
25 Oct 2021, 2 p.m.
At 2.30pm: Oral evidence
Frances Haugen
View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 27th October 2021
09:45
Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 27th October 2021
15:00
Select Committee Meeting
Thursday 28th October 2021
14:20
Draft Online Safety Bill (Joint Committee) - Oral evidence
Subject: Draft Online Safety Bill
28 Oct 2021, 2:20 p.m. View calendar
Scheduled Event
Monday 1st November 2021
Oral questions - Main Chamber
Calls made at the 3–13 August 2021 meeting of the Group of Governmental Experts at the Convention on Conventional Weapons for a legally-binding instrument, including both prohibitions and positive obligations, to regulate autonomous weapons systems
View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Monday 1st November 2021
14:00
Draft Online Safety Bill (Joint Committee) - Oral evidence
Subject: Draft Online Safety Bill
1 Nov 2021, 2 p.m. View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 3rd November 2021
14:00
Select Committee Meeting
Thursday 4th November 2021
09:30
Draft Online Safety Bill (Joint Committee) - Oral evidence
Subject: Draft Online Safety Bill
4 Nov 2021, 9:30 a.m. View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 10th November 2021
09:45
Division Votes
Tuesday 12th October 2021
Skills and Post-16 Education Bill [HL]
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 57 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 0 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 148 Noes - 129
Speeches
Thursday 9th September 2021
Standards in Public Life

My Lords, it is a huge pleasure to follow the noble Lord, Lord Puttnam. I commend his Digital Technology and …

Written Answers
Tuesday 22nd June 2021
Broadband
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to implement the recommendations of the Final Report by …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Tuesday 4th February 2020
Automated Facial Recognition Technology (Moratorium and Review) Bill [HL] 2019-21
A bill to prohibit the use of automated facial recognition technology in public places and to provide for a review …
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
None available

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Lord Clement-Jones has voted in 166 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Lord Clement-Jones 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 Barran (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
(43 debate interactions)
Lord Callanan (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
(9 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(14 debate contributions)
Home Office
(11 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Lord Clement-Jones's debates

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Lord Clement-Jones, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.

MPs who are act as Ministers or Shadow Ministers are generally restricted from performing Commons initiatives other than Urgent Questions.


Lord Clement-Jones has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Lord Clement-Jones has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

4 Bills introduced by Lord Clement-Jones


A Bill to amend the Licensing Act 2003 with respect to the performance of live music entertainment; and for connected purposes

This Bill received Royal Assent on Thursday 8th March 2012 and was enacted into law.


A bill to make provision about the categorisation and use of B2 gaming machines; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 2nd Reading: House Of Lords
Friday 11th March 2016

Second reading - the general debate on all aspects of the Bill - took place on 5 July.Committee stage - line by line examination of the Bill - is yet to be scheduled. The 2013-14 session of parliament has prorogued and this Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to amend the Environmental Protection Act 1990 with respect to the distribution of printed matter for events which involve small-scale performance of live music and other entertainment, and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 2nd Reading: House Of Lords
Friday 5th July 2013

A bill to prohibit the use of automated facial recognition technology in public places and to provide for a review of its use


Last Event - 1st Reading (Lords)
Tuesday 4th February 2020
(Read Debate)

Lord Clement-Jones has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


90 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
11th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are their current requirements for the geographic location of servers used to store public data when procuring cloud services.

When procuring cloud services, departments should use the Technology Code of Practice principles and follow the government Cloud First policy. They should also follow NCSC security guidance and the Information Commissioner's Office’s guidance on adequacy of a country’s level of data protection. These policies and guidance provide clear guidelines of the things a department should consider, including security classification and best value for the taxpayer.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
30th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the impact of the SolarWinds cyberattack, first reported on 13 December 2020, on their (1) departments, and (2) agencies.

The reported SolarWinds compromise is a complex, global cyber incident, and the Government is working with international partners to understand its scale and assess any UK impact. This work is ongoing.

The National Cyber Security Centre has published guidance on their website.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
30th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government which (1) departments, or (2) agencies, have suppliers who have been affected by the SolarWinds cyberattack, first reported on 13 December.

The reported SolarWinds compromise is a complex, global cyber incident, and the Government is working with international partners to understand its scale and assess any UK impact. This work is ongoing.

The National Cyber Security Centre has published guidance on their website.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
30th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many direct contracts they have with SolarWinds; and of any such contracts, (1) which (a) departments, or (b) agencies, they are with, and (2) which contracts specify the use of the Orion Platform.

The reported SolarWinds compromise is a complex, global cyber incident, and the Government is working with international partners to understand its scale and assess any UK impact. This work is ongoing.

The National Cyber Security Centre has published guidance on their website.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Government Digital Service has undertaken a risk assessment of UK Government data being held with US cloud providers following the judgment by the European Court of Justice in the Schrems II case; and what the outcome of any such assessment was.

The Government Digital Service (GDS) is currently reviewing cross government cloud policy and guidance, including the Cloud First policy. This includes reviewing the cloud hosting market and associated regulatory environment.

GDS is currently undertaking a risk assessment of all of its services and products (including GOV.UK) in relation to cross-border data flows. The new ECJ judgment will be considered as part of this assessment. The assessment will identify relevant data flows and make sure appropriate mitigation is implemented if necessary, following updates and guidance from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and the European Data Protection Board (EDPB). GDS has engaged with other government departments via data advisory groups and data protection networks to ensure consistent mitigation.

Ultimately, however, it is a decision for individual government organisations where and how to store their data, provided it is done in a secure way and offers good value for money.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the judgment by the European Court of Justice in the Schrems II case, what assessment they have made of the use of US-based cloud providers to host UK Government data held in the UK.

The Government Digital Service (GDS) is currently reviewing cross government cloud policy and guidance, including the Cloud First policy. This includes reviewing the cloud hosting market and associated regulatory environment.

GDS is currently undertaking a risk assessment of all of its services and products (including GOV.UK) in relation to cross-border data flows. The new ECJ judgment will be considered as part of this assessment. The assessment will identify relevant data flows and make sure appropriate mitigation is implemented if necessary, following updates and guidance from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and the European Data Protection Board (EDPB). GDS has engaged with other government departments via data advisory groups and data protection networks to ensure consistent mitigation.

Ultimately, however, it is a decision for individual government organisations where and how to store their data, provided it is done in a secure way and offers good value for money.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
27th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the total spent by Government departments on Facebook advertising in the past year; and whether they have plans to join a boycott of major advertisers pending Facebook’s change of policy on hate speech and disinformation.

The UK Government is a significant advertiser on Facebook. Social media platforms enable departments and agencies to connect with citizens and businesses to communicate about important policies and help drive behaviour change, including in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Government is in correspondence with Facebook seeking reassurances and action on various points. Individual departments are responsible for their own advertising expenditure delivered in line with a centrally agreed approach coordinated by the Cabinet Office.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
24th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government which Government departments have official Facebook accounts.

The information requested is not held centrally by the Cabinet Office. This is the prerogative of individual departments.

The Government has no objections to digital media companies running political advertising, provided it is transparent, and we are bringing forward proposals to increase transparency in this area.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
24th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether Government departments with official Facebook accounts intend to maintain those accounts, in the light of Facebook's continued refusal to ban political advertising.

The information requested is not held centrally by the Cabinet Office. This is the prerogative of individual departments.

The Government has no objections to digital media companies running political advertising, provided it is transparent, and we are bringing forward proposals to increase transparency in this area.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on competition of the market dominance of (1) Amazon, (2) Apple, (3) Facebook, (4) Google, and (5) Microsoft; and what plans they have, if any, to address any such impact.

Responsibility for investigating individual and market-wide competition issues, including breaches of competition law, falls to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) as the UK’s independent competition authority.

In July 2020, the CMA published the final report of its market study into online platforms and digital advertising. In the recent Government response to the market study, we agreed with the CMA’s findings that Google and Facebook are dominant in the search and social media markets and that this is leading to higher prices for goods and services, less innovation, and less choice for consumers.

We also announced the Government’s intention to establish and fund a Digital Markets Unit (DMU) within the CMA from April 2021, to operationalise a new pro-competition regime for digital markets. We will consult on the form and function of the DMU in early 2021, and legislate to put it on a statutory footing as soon as parliamentary time allows.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to continue the Artists Resale Rights regime as part of the future trade relationship with the EU.

The Government supports Artist’s Resale Right (ARR), both domestically and internationally. It is provided for in UK law and after the transition period, the UK will continue to comply with its international obligations relating to ARR.

The final details of a future trade relationship between the UK and the EU will depend on the outcome of the ongoing negotiations.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether some sectors will be harmed more than others by the COVID-19 pandemic; and what associated measures they have taken to support public health in those sectors.

The Office for National Statistics reports that 82% of businesses that responded to its latest COVID-19 business impacts survey stated that they were continuing to trade between 4 May and 17 May 2020; while 18% reported they had temporarily closed or paused trading.

Of the sectors that the Office for National Statistics’ survey covered, the ‘arts, entertainment and recreation’ and ‘accommodation and food service activities’ sectors had the largest proportion of businesses who were not currently trading.

We recognise the challenges faced by businesses across the country at this challenging time, which is why we have made a significant package of support available to businesses, including:

  • grants such as through the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHGLF) and the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) available to eligible businesses
  • government-backed loans through schemes such as the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS)
  • access to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) to furlough workers, which will continue in its current form until 31 July and then in a more flexible form from August until 31 October
  • a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses for the 2020 to 2021 tax year
  • the option to defer VAT payments due between 20 March and 30 June until 31 March 2021

In addition, the Government has issued practical guidelines to make workplaces safe, and to give those people who cannot work from home during the coronavirus pandemic, confidence to go back to work. This guidance covers eight workplace settings, from outdoor environments and construction sites to factories and takeaways, which are allowed to be open.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to restrict European Economic Area 'address for service' at the Intellectual Property Office if no reciprocal rights are offered by the EU Intellectual Property Office at the end of the transition period.

The Government is aware that this is an important issue for stake holders, in particular UK-based patent and trade mark attorneys.

Officials at the Intellectual Property Office are having ongoing conversations with representative bodies over how to best address this matter once the transition period ends.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what cross-departmental discussions have taken place on the UK approach to intellectual property in negotiations on the future UK–EU relationship.

Her Majesty’s Government’s negotiation approach to intellectual property in the future UK-EU relationship has been discussed in many cross-departmental fora, both bilaterally and as part of multi-departmental groups. This includes but is not limited to engagement between: the Intellectual Property Office (the lead executive agency), the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Number 10 Taskforce Europe, Cabinet Office, the Ministry of Justice, the Department for International Trade, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Department of Health and Social Care, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and the Office for Life Sciences. Discussions have also taken place at ministerial committees considering the UK-EU future relationship negotiation approach.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to implement the recommendations of the Final Report by the Gigabit Take-up Advisory Group, published in June.

The Advisory Group’s June 2021 final report made a number of recommendations aimed at Government, Ofcom, industry and trade bodies to encourage the take-up of gigabit broadband services. The Government welcomes the Advisory Group’s report.

Action is already planned by the respective bodies to whom some of the recommendations were directed at. Ofcom plans to work with industry to improve the consistency of broadband terminology in the market, and to develop information to help consumers understand the benefits of gigabit broadband. BDUK plans to develop a 'Gigabit toolkit' to support local bodies in raising awareness and understanding of the benefits of gigabit connectivity among local residents and businesses. BDUK plans to work closely with local bodies and other key sector stakeholders.

We are considering the wider recommendations in the report and will continue to look at what more can be done to best support take-up of gigabit services.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the level of public concern about streaming services applying age ratings that may not reflect British Board of Film Classification ratings; and what steps they are taking to ensure that streaming platforms apply age ratings that (1) align with established ratings, and (2) maintain child protection.

The British Board of Film Classification’s (BBFC) age ratings are used by a number of video on demand providers and although adoption is voluntary, we welcome their use. On 1 December 2020, we were pleased to see Netflix become the first video on demand platform to achieve complete coverage of their content under the BBFC’s ratings.

The UK’s Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2020, which transposed the revised EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive, were made and laid in Parliament on 30 September 2020. Following Parliament’s approval, the video sharing platform regime, for which Ofcom is the regulator, came into force on 1 November 2020. UK-established video sharing platforms must now take appropriate measures to protect the public, including minors, from illegal and harmful material.

Under this regime, video sharing platforms are not currently mandated to adopt BBFC ratings, nor is it expected that they will be mandated to do so. However, in order to comply with the regime, age assurance measures and measures such as age ratings and parental controls, may be adopted by video sharing platforms. Age assurance measures comprise a broad range of technical measures which can be used by a service to establish the age of their users. The BBFC is engaging actively with both Ofcom and video sharing platforms to share their expertise and discuss the applicability of content ratings on those platforms.

In line with the government’s commitment to keep children safe online, the government is working at pace to prepare the Online Safety Bill, which will be ready this year.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to issue new guidance to amateur choirs and orchestras on their ability to rehearse and perform; and if so, when.

On 22 February the Prime Minister set out the roadmap gradually ending the current lockdown for England.

Amateur activity will be permitted from Step 3 which will begin no earlier than 17 May. The performing arts guidance will be updated in advance of each step of the roadmap.

The timings outlined in the roadmap are indicative, and the Government will be led by data, rather than fixed dates. Before taking each step, the Government will review the latest data and will only ease restrictions further if it is safe to do so. The indicative, ‘no earlier than’ dates in the roadmap are all contingent on the data and subject to change.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effect of non-tariff barriers to trade on small and medium-sized enterprises in the cultural sector which have exported to EU customers since 1 January 2021.

The Government recognises the importance of the creative and cultural sectors, and is fully committed to assist them to navigate the new rules under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

The Agreement ensures there will be zero tariffs or quotas on trade between the UK and the EU, where goods meet the relevant rules of origin, and includes provisions to facilitate trade and address non-tariff barriers for UK exports to the EU and vice versa.

The Government appreciates that leaving the European Union and the Customs Union will mean changes and new processes, and companies having to adapt to new rules of origin procedures.

We will continue engagement to understand the circumstances of companies in the cultural and creative sector, and to support them to adapt to new trading arrangements with the EU.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the importance of touring in the EU for the career development of UK musicians.

Touring is a vital part of the careers of musicians, performers and their support staff, providing not only an important income stream, but also enriching opportunities for cultural exchange across the world. Being outside the European Union does not change this. It does, however, mean practical changes on both sides of the Channel that will require understanding and adaptation.

We are now working urgently across government and in collaboration with the music and wider creative industries, including through a new working group, to help understand and address these issues so that touring in Europe can resume with ease as soon as it is safe to do so.

As part of this work DCMS is working with the Foreign Office and others across government to consider how best to take forward engagement with EU Member States on these issues. It is within Member States’ gift to improve their arrangements and we will engage with bilateral partners to find ways to make life easier for those working in the creative industries in countries across the EU.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had since 1 January with (1) the EU, and (2) individual EU Member States about introducing work permits and visas to enable UK musicians and their crew to be paid for performances in the EU.

Touring is a vital part of the careers of musicians, performers and their support staff, providing not only an important income stream, but also enriching opportunities for cultural exchange across the world. Being outside the European Union does not change this. It does, however, mean practical changes on both sides of the Channel that will require understanding and adaptation.

We are now working urgently across government and in collaboration with the music and wider creative industries, including through a new working group, to help understand and address these issues so that touring in Europe can resume with ease as soon as it is safe to do so.

As part of this work DCMS is working with the Foreign Office and others across government to consider how best to take forward engagement with EU Member States on these issues. It is within Member States’ gift to improve their arrangements and we will engage with bilateral partners to find ways to make life easier for those working in the creative industries in countries across the EU.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the Public Switch Telephone Network switch off on businesses across the UK.

The retirement of the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), and its replacement with Internet Protocol technology, is being led by Openreach and Virgin Media, as the relevant infrastructure owners. Openreach and Virgin Media have publicly set out their plans to withdraw these services by the end of 2025. The migration is likely to affect all fixed exchange lines, of which there are 31.3 million in the UK.

Ofcom estimates that 81% of UK households have a landline service, with 4% of UK adults living in a home with a landline and no mobile phone and 3% of UK households having only a landline without any broadband. The Government, Ofcom, and industry are working to ensure that the needs of vulnerable consumers are considered and Ofcom regularly monitors how communication providers are taking steps to ensure they identify and protect vulnerable customers.

In June 2020, the Broadband Stakeholder Group, a government advisory forum on telecoms policy, launched the ‘Future of Voice’ website. This consumer-facing website is designed to inform the public and businesses of the PSTN switchover process. The website has been developed with the support of telecoms companies, Ofcom and DCMS.

The Government will also continue to work closely with various stakeholders, including the telecoms industry, Ofcom, and other Government departments to ensure the country is prepared for the withdrawal of the PSTN, and will continue to consider the best course of action to prepare for the migration.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of vulnerable people who will be impact by the Public Switch Telephone Network switch off.

The retirement of the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), and its replacement with Internet Protocol technology, is being led by Openreach and Virgin Media, as the relevant infrastructure owners. Openreach and Virgin Media have publicly set out their plans to withdraw these services by the end of 2025. The migration is likely to affect all fixed exchange lines, of which there are 31.3 million in the UK.

Ofcom estimates that 81% of UK households have a landline service, with 4% of UK adults living in a home with a landline and no mobile phone and 3% of UK households having only a landline without any broadband. The Government, Ofcom, and industry are working to ensure that the needs of vulnerable consumers are considered and Ofcom regularly monitors how communication providers are taking steps to ensure they identify and protect vulnerable customers.

In June 2020, the Broadband Stakeholder Group, a government advisory forum on telecoms policy, launched the ‘Future of Voice’ website. This consumer-facing website is designed to inform the public and businesses of the PSTN switchover process. The website has been developed with the support of telecoms companies, Ofcom and DCMS.

The Government will also continue to work closely with various stakeholders, including the telecoms industry, Ofcom, and other Government departments to ensure the country is prepared for the withdrawal of the PSTN, and will continue to consider the best course of action to prepare for the migration.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with Ofcom about the Public Switch Telephone Network switch off; and what plans they have, aside from the Broadband Stakeholder Group website, to ensure that (1) consumers, and (2) businesses, are informed of that switch off.

The retirement of the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), and its replacement with Internet Protocol technology, is being led by Openreach and Virgin Media, as the relevant infrastructure owners. Openreach and Virgin Media have publicly set out their plans to withdraw these services by the end of 2025. The migration is likely to affect all fixed exchange lines, of which there are 31.3 million in the UK.

Ofcom estimates that 81% of UK households have a landline service, with 4% of UK adults living in a home with a landline and no mobile phone and 3% of UK households having only a landline without any broadband. The Government, Ofcom, and industry are working to ensure that the needs of vulnerable consumers are considered and Ofcom regularly monitors how communication providers are taking steps to ensure they identify and protect vulnerable customers.

In June 2020, the Broadband Stakeholder Group, a government advisory forum on telecoms policy, launched the ‘Future of Voice’ website. This consumer-facing website is designed to inform the public and businesses of the PSTN switchover process. The website has been developed with the support of telecoms companies, Ofcom and DCMS.

The Government will also continue to work closely with various stakeholders, including the telecoms industry, Ofcom, and other Government departments to ensure the country is prepared for the withdrawal of the PSTN, and will continue to consider the best course of action to prepare for the migration.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with (1) Ofcom, and (2) Openreach, about the trials in Salisbury and Mildenhall for migrating customers to fibre and withdrawing copper services.

We are aware of Openreach’s plans to modernise its telecoms network to deliver telephone services over Internet Protocol technology and migrate customers from copper to fibre broadband. As part of this, it is undertaking trials in Salisbury and Mildenhall to test approaches to migration. Openreach has consulted on its plans for the trials and has publicly set out timings. In addition, Ofcom has consulted on changes to regulations in these areas to allow the trials to go ahead. Openreach hopes to complete full migrations in these areas by the end of 2022.

DCMS regularly engages with the telecoms industry, Ofcom, and other Government departments to discuss these upgrades, including Openreach’s trials. Discussions include the impact these upgrades will have on consumers, business and public services. In addition, DCMS has engaged with other Government departments to ensure they are aware of the trials and relevant local government services are prepared.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to amend the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 to require intermediaries providing commercial services for online businesses to undertake due diligence measures for the verification of the identities of those conducting digital business services.

Her Majesty’s Government has no plans to amend Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 to require intermediaries providing commercial services for online businesses to undertake due diligence measures for the verification of the identities of those conducting digital business services.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Intellectual Property Office about the development of guidance similar to “know your customer” guidance for financial services, for wider application under any future online harms legislation.

Ministers and officials have regular meetings and discussions with organisations on a range of issues, including the challenge of fraud and anonymity online. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the Gov.uk website.

The Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation, published in December 2020, sets out expectations on companies to keep their users safe online. This includes a proposed legal duty of care on companies and the appointment of a new communications regulator, Ofcom, to ensure that new laws are enforced.

There are many legitimate reasons why an individual would not wish to identify themselves online. Whistleblowers, victims of modern slavery and survivors of domestic abuse may wish to stay anonymous, to protect their identity online. Our proposals strike the right balance between protecting users’ rights online, while preserving freedom of expression. The Online Safety Bill will be introduced next year.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to their announcement on 25 November that their target for the rollout of gigabit broadband to householders in the UK by 2025 has been revised to 85 per cent, when they estimate 100 per cent of households will have such broadband; and what costs will be saved before 2025 as a result of the new target.

The Government remains committed to delivering nationwide gigabit connectivity as soon as possible. Our programme for gigabit-capable broadband has made dramatic progress. More than a third of UK premises now have access to gigabit-capable connections, up from nine per cent when the government took office in July 2019. By next year, more than half of all premises will have access. We are working with industry to target a minimum of 85% gigabit-capable coverage by 2025 but will seek to accelerate rollout further to get as close to 100% as possible.

We remain committed to investing £5bn in bringing gigabit coverage to the hardest to reach areas and will continue to work with suppliers to accelerate this investment.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to address regulatory concerns in relation to the fees levied on application developers by major technology platforms.

We are committed to taking action to protect businesses and users from the potential harms associated with substantial and enduring market power in digital platform markets.

Earlier this year, we accepted all the strategic recommendations of the Furman Review and established the cross-regulator Digital Markets Taskforce to advise on the design and implementation of a new pro-competition regime for digital markets.

On 27 November we confirmed the establishment of a new pro-competition regime for tech giants. A Digital Markets Unit (DMU), housed in the Competition and Markets Authority, will be set up to begin to operationalise the new regime. It will work closely with key regulators, including the ICO and Ofcom, to ensure that the new regime is effective and coherent. The Taskforce has advised us that the DMU should prioritise firms active in particular activities, including app stores. We will consider the expert advice and respond in due course. Government will legislate to put the DMU on a statutory footing as soon as parliamentary time allows, following consultation in early 2021.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer from Baroness Barran (HL10058) from 11 November, on what basis they propose to use age assurance as opposed to age verification to prevent children accessing online pornography; what is the difference between the two measures; and what assurance they can give that they are equally effective.

Protecting children is at the heart of our online harms agenda, and wider government priorities. Our Online Harms proposals will deliver a higher level of protection for children than for the typical adult user.

Age assurance is the term used to describe the broad range of technical measures that can be used by a service to establish the age of their users. Age verification is a form of age assurance that provides the highest level of confidence in a user’s age. Currently age verification measures require a user's age to be established through a full identity verification process, for example through passport or credit card data..

We expect companies to use a proportionate range of tools, including both age assurance and age verification technologies, to prevent children accessing age-inappropriate content such as online pornography and to protect them from other harms.

We will be setting out further details on our approach for protecting children, including the use of age assurance, in the full government response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation, which will be published this year. We will follow this with legislation, which will be ready early next year.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to encourage the adoption of British Board of Film Classification and Video Standards Council best practice guidelines on voluntary age labelling; and what plans they have to introduce legislation on age labelling if it is not implemented voluntarily.

While adoption of the British Board of Film Classification’s (BBFC) best practice age ratings by online platforms is currently voluntary, we welcome their adoption by Video on Demand platforms.

For example, Netflix has committed to work towards complete coverage of its content under the BBFC’s ratings and support the BBFC’s drive to encourage other Video On Demand platforms to follow suit. By doing so, industry will provide consumers with well recognised age ratings and consumer advice.

We will keep the evidence for legislation in this area under review and will continue to engage with industry on the issue.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether the filters adopted by mobile network operators based on British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) guidelines, and regulated by the BBFC, could be supported and promoted as a best practice solution to protect children from adult content online.

Protecting children is at the heart of our online harms agenda, and wider government priorities. The government has worked hard to ensure content is filtered in public places where children are likely to be, as well as at home.

The BBFC provides an independent framework for mobile network operators and defines content that is unsuitable for customers under the age of 18 based on their Classification Guidelines for film and video. Like current device level filters, and the filters used by every school in the country, filter software is provided to Internet Service Providers by well-established web filtering companies. There are no plans to require other providers of family friendly filters to use the BBFC’s framework.

Our forthcoming online harms proposals will deliver a higher level of protection for children than for the typical adult user. We expect companies to use a proportionate range of tools, including age assurance and age verification technologies, to prevent children accessing age-inappropriate adult content and to protect them from other harms.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the report by the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee Impact of COVID-19 on DCMS sectors: First Report (HC 291), published on 20 July, what plans they have, if any, to establish a Creators Council to engage with representatives of the creative workforce.

Industry and Government engage regularly with a wide range of leading experts in the creative industries through the Creative Industries Council (CIC), a forum for Government and Industry to convene and share information, discuss concerns and opportunities and muster action. The CIC is formed of a broad range of representative bodies across the sub-sectors of the creative industries.

As outlined in our response to the above named report, we would need clear and robust evidence from the sector as to the purpose of the Creator’s Council and why it would be different from the existing CIC.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action the Information Commissioner's Office will be taking against misleading statements given by international cloud providers about the security of UK data on their platforms following the following the judgment by the European Court of Justice in the Schrems II case.

The Information Commissioner’s Office is an independent public body and is the UK’s independent regulator for data protection and freedom of information. The UK Government does not speak on its behalf.

Information on the powers available to the Information Commissioner and how they are used is available in the Regulatory Action Policy published on the Information Commissioner’s Office website. The ICO will consider any complaints from individuals that are concerned about their rights in connection with international transfers.

The UK Government’s statement on the Schrems II judgment is available on Gov.UK and the Information Commissioner’s Office have published their most recent statement on their website, which sets out the approach to be taken following the Schrems II judgement.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they plan to publish a new National Data Strategy.

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Rt Hon Oliver Dowden CBE, announced the publication of the framework National Data Strategy and its accompanying consultation on the 9th September 2020. The consultation is on a UK-wide basis and we are keen to hear from a representative cross section of society, ensuring diversity, and inclusion. The consultation will be open to all on gov.uk until the 2nd December, with alternative methods of responding to the consultation provided.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with BT regarding the planned timescales for closing the Public Switched Telephone Network in 2025; and what assessment they have made of the feasibility of this plan following the recent decision to request BT remove Huawei equipment from its network.

The retirement of the public switched telephone network (PSTN), and its replacement with Internet Protocol technology, is being led by Openreach and Virgin Media, as the relevant infrastructure owners. As this process is being led by industry, the department has no current plans to regularly update parliament on their progress.

Openreach and Virgin Media have publicly set out their plans to withdraw these services by the end of 2025. On 14 July, the UK Government announced measures relating to Huawei following the additional US sanctions placed on the company by the US Department of Commerce. The Government advised full fibre operators to transition away from purchasing new Huawei equipment. It will be for the operators themselves to make the commercial decisions necessary to comply with the Government’s decision.

In June this year, the Broadband Stakeholder Group launched the ‘Future of Voice’, a consumer-facing website to inform the public of the PSTN switchover process. The website has been developed with the support of DCMS, Ofcom, and telecoms companies.

DCMS regularly engages with the telecoms industry, Ofcom, and other Government departments on PSTN withdrawal, to discuss the impact this will have on consumers, business and public services and plans for migration to Internet Protocol technology.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to communicate the planned switch off of the Public Switched Telephone Network to residential and business consumers in the UK.

The retirement of the public switched telephone network (PSTN), and its replacement with Internet Protocol technology, is being led by Openreach and Virgin Media, as the relevant infrastructure owners. As this process is being led by industry, the department has no current plans to regularly update parliament on their progress.

Openreach and Virgin Media have publicly set out their plans to withdraw these services by the end of 2025. On 14 July, the UK Government announced measures relating to Huawei following the additional US sanctions placed on the company by the US Department of Commerce. The Government advised full fibre operators to transition away from purchasing new Huawei equipment. It will be for the operators themselves to make the commercial decisions necessary to comply with the Government’s decision.

In June this year, the Broadband Stakeholder Group launched the ‘Future of Voice’, a consumer-facing website to inform the public of the PSTN switchover process. The website has been developed with the support of DCMS, Ofcom, and telecoms companies.

DCMS regularly engages with the telecoms industry, Ofcom, and other Government departments on PSTN withdrawal, to discuss the impact this will have on consumers, business and public services and plans for migration to Internet Protocol technology.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to funding a nationwide communications campaign to raise awareness of the planned switch off of the Public Switched Telephone Network.

The retirement of the public switched telephone network (PSTN), and its replacement with Internet Protocol technology, is being led by Openreach and Virgin Media, as the relevant infrastructure owners. As this process is being led by industry, the department has no current plans to regularly update parliament on their progress.

Openreach and Virgin Media have publicly set out their plans to withdraw these services by the end of 2025. On 14 July, the UK Government announced measures relating to Huawei following the additional US sanctions placed on the company by the US Department of Commerce. The Government advised full fibre operators to transition away from purchasing new Huawei equipment. It will be for the operators themselves to make the commercial decisions necessary to comply with the Government’s decision.

In June this year, the Broadband Stakeholder Group launched the ‘Future of Voice’, a consumer-facing website to inform the public of the PSTN switchover process. The website has been developed with the support of DCMS, Ofcom, and telecoms companies.

DCMS regularly engages with the telecoms industry, Ofcom, and other Government departments on PSTN withdrawal, to discuss the impact this will have on consumers, business and public services and plans for migration to Internet Protocol technology.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide regular updates to Parliament on the progress of the planned switch off of the Public Switched Telephone Network.

The retirement of the public switched telephone network (PSTN), and its replacement with Internet Protocol technology, is being led by Openreach and Virgin Media, as the relevant infrastructure owners. As this process is being led by industry, the department has no current plans to regularly update parliament on their progress.

Openreach and Virgin Media have publicly set out their plans to withdraw these services by the end of 2025. On 14 July, the UK Government announced measures relating to Huawei following the additional US sanctions placed on the company by the US Department of Commerce. The Government advised full fibre operators to transition away from purchasing new Huawei equipment. It will be for the operators themselves to make the commercial decisions necessary to comply with the Government’s decision.

In June this year, the Broadband Stakeholder Group launched the ‘Future of Voice’, a consumer-facing website to inform the public of the PSTN switchover process. The website has been developed with the support of DCMS, Ofcom, and telecoms companies.

DCMS regularly engages with the telecoms industry, Ofcom, and other Government departments on PSTN withdrawal, to discuss the impact this will have on consumers, business and public services and plans for migration to Internet Protocol technology.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to support the telecoms sector throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UK Government recognises the ongoing importance of the telecommunications industry at this critical time. Now, more than ever, the country is reliant on fixed line and mobile communications networks. DCMS has worked with the telecoms sector to ensure extensive plans are in place, including support and guidance during the pandemic to maintain the availability of networks.

In March, the government announced a £330bn package to support businesses, including the telecoms sector, during the coronavirus pandemic. This included among others, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS).

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether their relief package for the culture and heritage sector, announced on 5 July, will include support for visual artists.

We recognise the crucial role that individuals play in making our arts and creative industries world-leading. As a result of these grants and loans, organisations will be more able to resume cultural activity, albeit in a socially distanced way, which will increase employment opportunities for freelancers, including visual artists.

We are working closely with the DCMS Arm’s Length Bodies to develop guidance indicating who can apply for the different elements of this funding, and we will publish detailed guidance as soon as possible in July.

Furthermore, this package complements the announcement made last week by the Arts Council England to reopen their project grants competition and make £59m funding available to support creativity, in particular from freelancers, creative practitioners and independent organisations.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to extend and adapt the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme to take into account the specific needs of visual artists.

Self-employed visual artists are among the millions of people who are able to benefit from the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS). The SEISS has been extended, with applications opening in August, for a second and final grant. The grant will operate in the same way as the existing scheme, with self-employed workers eligible for a single payment covering three months, at a level of 70% of average monthly earnings up to a maximum of £6,570.

Alongside this, DCMS has worked closely with its arm’s-length bodies to deliver tailored support packages at speed, including the £160m Emergency Funding Package announced by Arts Council England (ACE) in March. This includes £20 million of financial support for individuals, including visual artists, so they can better sustain themselves, and their work, in the coming months. More than 9000 individuals and organisations have been successful in applying for this emergency funding.

On 5 July, the government also announced a major £1.57 billion package to provide support for key organisations across the cultural, heritage and creative sectors. As a result of these grants and loans, organisations will be more able to resume cultural activity, thereby increasing work opportunities for freelancers and self-employed practitioners.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consultations they have held, or plan to hold, following the close of their Call for Evidence on Digital Identity.

The government launched the Digital Identity Call for Evidence on 19th July 2019 and will shortly be publishing a response. The call for evidence provided the government with a wide evidence base in support of digital identity policy-making. We will continue to use a variety of ways to seek input from interested parties including formal engagement if the need arises.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of the £160 million Arts Council England COVID-19 support for the arts has been allocated to programs that (1) commercial musicians, and (2) music businesses, with no previous record of engagement with Arts Council England, can access.

The £160 million Arts Council England funding was allocated across three programmes as follows:

  • £20 million available for individual practitioners, including £4 million distributed by seven benevolent funds supporting individuals working in arts and culture

  • £50 million made available for organisations outside the Arts Council’s National Portfolio

  • £90 million made available for the Arts Council’s National Portfolio Organisations and Creative People and Places organisations.

Individuals and organisations outside the Arts Council’s National Portfolio, including those from the commercial music sector were eligible to apply for the first two programmes. Applicants were required to have a track record of working in the publicly-funded culture sector within the last three years, but were still eligible even if they did not have prior direct contact with Arts Council England.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of their employment and business support measures for (1) workers, and (2) businesses, in the music sector.

Whilst we have not completed a specific survey for the music sector, we have analysed the wider Creative Industries sector through the DCMS Coronavirus Impact Business Survey, which provides information on the effects of the pandemic on DCMS’ sectors. Results for DCMS sectors as a whole are published on gov.uk and further analysis of the responses will be available in the coming weeks. As the music industry is a vital part of the UK’s creative economy, the Government has put in place an unprecedented support package for business and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency including:

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

  • The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme

  • The Bounceback Loan Scheme

  • Expanding eligibility for the business rates reliefs

We continue to speak with HM Treasury colleagues to ensure that the full spectrum of government support reaches the UK's world-leading music industry. To support the safe re-opening of cultural and creative sectors, DCMS has launched the Cultural Renewal taskforce. This includes several working groups to develop practical guidance on how the music production and performance sectors can operate safely with social distancing measures in place. As well as establishing these working groups, we will continue to work with the music industry to understand the difficulties they face and help them access support through these challenging times and through recovery.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what metrics they are using to assess whether (1) the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme, (2) the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, (3) the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, and (4) the Government’s fiscal response more generally, are protecting jobs and businesses in (a) sectors covered by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and (b) the music sector.

DCMS has conducted a survey of businesses in relevant sectors. The survey aims to collect data on the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on respondents, and their engagement with the available government support packages, including CLBILS and CBILS. Results will be published in due course. DCMS is also working with other government departments to access and analyse administrative data on the use of government support packages where appropriate.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of international examples of sector-specific support for (1) the live music sector, and (2) the music sector, particularly examples of good practice.

We are aware of, and monitor, examples of support for the music industry in other countries. The UK Government has put in place an unprecedented support package for business and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency including:

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

  • The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme

  • The Bounceback Loan Scheme

  • Expanding eligibility for the business rates reliefs

As well as this, to support the safe re-opening of cultural and creative sectors, DCMS has launched the Cultural Renewal Taskforce. This includes several working groups to develop practical guidance on how the music production and performance sectors can operate safely with social distancing measures in place. As well as establishing these working groups, we will continue to work with the music industry to understand the difficulties they face and help them access support through these challenging times and recovery.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what advice they are giving to (1) festivals, (2) recording studios, and (3) nightclubs, on whether they will be covered by the Government's proposed support to the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors during, and after, the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced additional measures to support businesses and organisations that have been impacted by the pandemic. So long as they fulfil the criteria for these measures, businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors will benefit from these measures.

This includes the Government stepping in to help pay people’s wages – a scheme which is one of the most generous of any in the world – and paying grants to support as many jobs as necessary. Any employer in the country who promises to retain their staff can apply for a grant to cover most of the cost of paying people’s wages. Government grants will cover 80 per cent of the salary of retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month, with this limit set well above the median income. The cost of wages will be backdated to 1st March and will be open for at least three months. The Government will consider extending the scheme for longer if necessary.

We are also deferring the next three months of VAT, a direct injection of £33 billion of cash to employers which means no business will pay any VAT in March, April or May; and they will have until the end of the financial year to repay those bills.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will now be interest free for twelve months, an extension from the initial announcement of six months. We have already introduced and announced an extension to the Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which is for small and medium-sized businesses. On 17 March, the Chancellor expanded the amount that can be borrowed from £1.2 million to £5 million.

The Chancellor has also announced measures to protect the self-employed. As long as they fulfil the necessary criteria, freelancers and the self-employed in the sectors in question will benefit from these measures. The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the self-employed working in the music sector in the UK.

The Chancellor has announced measures to protect the self-employed. So long as they fulfil the criteria for these measures, freelancers and the self employed in the music industry benefit from these measures.

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

HMRC will use the average profits from tax returns in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 to calculate the size of the grant.

Individuals should not contact HMRC now. HMRC will use existing information to check potential eligibility and invite applications once the scheme is operational. HMRC will then pay the grant directly to eligible claimants’ bank account. HMRC is urgently working to deliver the scheme; grants are expected to start to be paid out by beginning of June 2020.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what multilateral regimes they intend to (1) continue to participate in, or (2) join, to ensure a legal and smooth data transfer regime between UK and EU companies after Brexit.

In the Withdrawal Agreement the government and the EU have committed to use their best endeavours to negotiate a future relationship. The free flow of personal data is an important underpinning feature of this future relationship for both economic and security purposes and therefore it is in everyone’s interests that the exchange of personal data between EU Member States and the UK continues. The EU has an established mechanism to allow the free flow of personal data to countries outside the EU, called adequacy decisions.

The EU has committed in the Political Declaration to the Commission beginning its adequacy assessment of the UK as soon as possible after the UK’s withdrawal, endeavouring to adopt adequacy decisions by the end of December 2020 if the applicable conditions are met. The UK will in the same timeframe take steps to ensure the comparable facilitation of transfers of personal data to the EU. Data will be able to flow freely between the UK and the EU during the Implementation Period. The Political Declaration also states that the UK and the EU should make appropriate arrangements for cooperation between the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and EU Data Protection Authorities.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to achieve an EU–UK data protection agreement; and whether any such agreement will include continuing participation in the European Data Protection Board.

In the Withdrawal Agreement the government and the EU have committed to use their best endeavours to negotiate a future relationship. The free flow of personal data is an important underpinning feature of this future relationship for both economic and security purposes and therefore it is in everyone’s interests that the exchange of personal data between EU Member States and the UK continues. The EU has an established mechanism to allow the free flow of personal data to countries outside the EU, called adequacy decisions.

The EU has committed in the Political Declaration to the Commission beginning its adequacy assessment of the UK as soon as possible after the UK’s withdrawal, endeavouring to adopt adequacy decisions by the end of December 2020 if the applicable conditions are met. The UK will in the same timeframe take steps to ensure the comparable facilitation of transfers of personal data to the EU. Data will be able to flow freely between the UK and the EU during the Implementation Period. The Political Declaration also states that the UK and the EU should make appropriate arrangements for cooperation between the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and EU Data Protection Authorities.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to collaborate with the EU on matters with a transnational impact, in particular (1) data transfer, (2) cyber security, (3) fake news, and (4) online harms.

The Government set out its plans for collaborating with the EU on issues relating to cyber security and data in the Political Declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship between the UK and EU. On cyber security, the UK is committed to cooperation with the EU to deepen our shared capabilities and uphold our shared values. The Declaration sets our agreement to continue to exchange information on a voluntary, timely and reciprocal basis to help protect the United Kingdom and the EU from common threats.

Regarding data transfers, the Declaration commits the European Commission to beginning its adequacy assessment of the UK as soon as possible after the UK’s withdrawal, endeavouring to adopt Adequacy Decisions by the end of December 2020 if the applicable conditions are met. The UK will in the same timeframe take steps to ensure the comparable facilitation of transfers of personal data to the EU. It also states that the UK and the EU should make appropriate arrangements for cooperation between the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and EU Data Protection Authorities. The UK remains committed to working with international partners to promote the free flow of data across borders where it is adequately protected.


The Government’s Online Harms White Paper set out comprehensive proposals on a range of topics, including countering ‘fake news’ or disinformation. These proposals will make companies more responsible for their users’ safety online, especially children and other vulnerable groups, and will help to build trust in digital markets. The Government will seek to work with international partners to build consensus, and identify common approaches to keep citizens safe online, including on countering disinformation.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what data sharing measures they have considered for UK and EU companies whose commercial model requires such sharing in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

It is in everyone’s interests that the unrestricted exchange of personal data between EU Member States and the UK continues. The EU has an established mechanism to allow the free flow of personal data to countries outside the EU, called adequacy decisions. The EU has committed in the Political Declaration to the Commission beginning its adequacy assessment of the UK as soon as possible after the UK leaves the EU, endeavouring to adopt adequacy decisions by the end of December 2020 if the applicable conditions are met.

The UK has already taken steps to ensure that, if adequacy is not secured, there will be no additional restrictions on transfers of personal data from the UK to the EU.

In addition to adequacy decisions, there are a number of alternative mechanisms which allow the legal transfer of personal data from the EU to a third country. The most common alternative transfer mechanism for companies is standard contractual clauses (SCCs). SCCs are pre-approved by the European Commission and can be inserted into contracts to provide a legal basis for transferring personal data from the EU to a third country.

We are working with the Information Commissioner Office (ICO) to raise awareness and help businesses comply with the rules when we leave the EU. The ICO has produced guidance and resources for organisations, which can be found on the ICO's website at www.ico.org.uk.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to increase the number of applicants to pharmacy schools in England.

Universities are autonomous bodies, independent from government, and they have control over decisions about who to admit to their courses. However, overall numbers of students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are rising. We are encouraging more students into STEM, at all stages of their education, and in 2019 there were 54,000 more entries to STEM A levels than in 2010 – a 26% increase. Data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) also shows that the share of students studying science subjects at English higher education institutions has increased from 41% in 2010/11 to 46% in 2018/19.

In 2018/19, there were 3,020 full-time undergraduate enrolments to pharmacy, up from 2,715 in 2010/11[1].

Despite rising STEM student numbers, we are far from complacent and we know that employer groups continue to point to an unmet demand for higher level STEM skills. Effective careers guidance and advice is key to supporting young people in their education and career choices to undertake learning and develop skills in the areas employers are looking for. The government’s Careers Strategy sets out a long-term plan to build a world class careers system to achieve this ambition. We are increasing the information available to students to ensure they can make informed choices about what and where to study. The delivery of the Careers Strategy also ensures that STEM encounters, such as with employers and apprenticeships, are built into school career programmes.

[1] Department for Education's analysis of HESA student record

13th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the implementation of the Ivory Act 2018 is a priority.

The implementation of the Ivory Act 2018 is a priority for the Government. We are working to implement the Act as soon as practicable, including the preparation of the secondary legislation required to commence the Act.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Ivory Act 2018 will commence upon the conclusion of the ongoing judicial proceedings.

The implementation of the Ivory Act 2018 is a priority for the Government. We are working to implement the Act as soon as practicable, including the preparation of the secondary legislation required to commence the Act.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what mechanisms are proposed for mediating legal conflict with the Court of Justice of the European Union where companies are subject to both the jurisdiction of the EU and the UK.

The Withdrawal Agreement brings about the end of the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the EU in Britain.

The EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill makes clear that it is a matter for UK courts to determine UK law, and provides for legal clarity after the implementation period. It also provides for how UK courts must interpret relevant separation agreement law under our international obligations.


Companies will be subject to the court systems of the jurisdictions in which they operate, as normal.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish (1) the questions put, and (2) the statements made, by the UK representative at the World Trade Organization Council for TRIPS meeting on 4 February regarding the proposed ‘Waiver from certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement for the prevention, containment and treatment of COVID-19’ (IP/C/W/669).

The UK Government has put forward no amendments to the proposal contained in WTO document IP/C/W/669 ‘Waiver from certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement for the prevention, containment and treatment of COVID-19’


The UK has engaged in debates at the WTO TRIPS Council to promote affordable and equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines. We respect that proceedings from informal WTO sessions are not published. However, at the 4 February session the UK sought further clarification on the parameters of the proposed waiver from waiver proponents. This remains consistent with the Government’s approach to encourage evidence-based discussions on the waiver proposal.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
10th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to put forward amendments to the World Trade Organization’s proposed ‘Waiver from certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement for the prevention, containment and treatment of COVID-19’ (IP/C/W/669).

The UK Government has put forward no amendments to the proposal contained in WTO document IP/C/W/669 ‘Waiver from certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement for the prevention, containment and treatment of COVID-19’


The UK has engaged in debates at the WTO TRIPS Council to promote affordable and equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines. We respect that proceedings from informal WTO sessions are not published. However, at the 4 February session the UK sought further clarification on the parameters of the proposed waiver from waiver proponents. This remains consistent with the Government’s approach to encourage evidence-based discussions on the waiver proposal.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
10th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that the UK music sector remains internationally competitive (1) during, and (2) after, the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department for International Trade consistently champions the British music industry and the incredible talent which makes the sector such a great success story for the UK.

The Government has put in place unprecedented support for businesses and workers to protect them against the economic impact of COVID-19. In 2020/21, the Government is providing export support of around £1 million to UK music companies. Most of this is grant support offered to the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the UK’s music sector through the International Showcase Fund and the Music Export Growth Scheme.

During the pandemic, the Government has provided support for digital events so music companies can continue to do business with international customers. The Government is working closely with the Creative Industries Trade and Investment Board, which includes music representatives, to develop a creative industries trade and investment recovery strategy which will enable the UK music sector to maintain its strong international position.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have for NHS Digital to review its public cloud guidance following the judgment by the European Court of Justice in the Schrems II case.

The cloud security suite of documents is currently being reviewed as part of NHS Digital’s regular management cycle and is due for re-issue before the end of the year. NHS Digital is currently awaiting updated guidance following the judgement by the European Court of Justice from the Information Commissioner's Office. Once received it will be incorporated into its guidance for the health and social care sector.

14th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by Target Ovarian Cancer Voices of women with ovarian cancer: the coronavirus pandemic and its impact, published on 13 July; and what steps they are taking to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the diagnosis and treatment of, and support for, women with ovarian cancer.

No assessment has been made.

On 8 June 2020, the National Cancer Director and the National Clinical Director for Cancer issued a further letter of guidance to National Health Service cancer services on Second phase of NHS response to COVID-19 for cancer services. The letter notes that the work for local systems and Cancer Alliances to identify ring-fenced diagnostic and surgical capacity for cancer should now be well advanced, so that referrals, diagnostics and treatment can be brought back to pre-pandemic levels at the earliest opportunity to minimise potential harm, and to reduce the scale of the post-pandemic surge in demand. The new guidance is based on three key principles: capacity, fairness and confidence. Cancer Alliances should work with their regional teams to provide such services.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to (1) expand the use of electronic repeat dispensing in the community pharmacy sector, and (2) optimise the use of technology to make community pharmacies fully integrated with other parts of the NHS.

All community pharmacies in England providing NHS services are required to provide electronic repeat dispensing (eRD) as an essential service. We are encouraging general practitioner (GP) practices to use eRD where clinically appropriate and Academic Health Science Networks have been supporting this. As well as reducing GP workload and being more convenient for patients, eRD preserves medicine supplies and makes better use of pharmacists in managing patients’ repeat medication. During COVID-19 we have put in place arrangements to convert electronic prescriptions to eRD where clinically appropriate. Temporary changes to the need for patient consent to enable increased use of electronic repeat dispensing were announced on 4 June 2020.

Building on the foundations delivered under the Integrating Pharmacy across Care Settings programme, we are working with NHSX and NHS Digital to further expand and enhance the digital integration of community pharmacy. Community pharmacies already receive referrals from 111 (telephony or 111 online) to deliver the Community Pharmacy Consultation Service and we are considering how this capability can be extended to incorporate referrals from other areas, for example, general practice. In addition, we are developing the standards and technical requirements for IT system suppliers to develop the interoperability to support the transfer of information between community pharmacy and general practice systems. The priority data sets for this work include flu vaccinations and the emergency supply of medicines.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether pharmacy teams and other primary care health professions will have equal access to the personal protective equipment portal.

The majority of personal protective equipment (PPE) continues to be sourced by care providers themselves from wholesalers and as part of our commitment to ensure that the sector receives the PPE it needs, we are ensuring that wholesalers are equipped with the PPE needed for onward sale.

As part of our PPE distribution strategy we are exploring the most effective distribution routes for each provider type, including the potential expansion of the portal’s coverage to other sectors and types of provider.

The PPE Portal acts as an emergency top-up route for providers that cannot obtain sufficient PPE through their usual wholesaler routes. The Department has now invited around 21,000 general practitioners and small social care providers to register and order through the PPE Portal, delivering more than 13 million items of PPE.

13th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what ongoing oversight of the use of the NHSX COVID-19 contact tracing application and the tracing data so gathered the NHSX Ethics Advisory Board will carry out.

The advice and expertise of the Ethics Advisory Board (EAB) is crucial to everything we do and will continue to guide development of the app by identifying, defining, and examining the key ethical considerations, including consideration of the interests of citizens. Their advice will extend to policies and other documents under development by NHSX on the contact tracing application. This will be provided regularly and formally to the App Oversight Board. Advice may be both on questions set by the App Oversight Board, as well as issues which the EAB has proactively identified. This may include verbal advice as well as tabled papers. Minutes from EAB meetings will be published periodically and board members originating from the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation are providing direct and ongoing policy support to the App Probity Team.

13th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the NHSX COVID-19 contact tracing application is considered to be a Grade 1 medical device in law, and if so, what rules must trials of such a product follow.

The NHSX COVID-19 contract tracing application is considered Class IIa under the Medical Devices Regulations (2002).

The legal requirements relating to clinical investigations are set out in the Medical Devices Regulations 2002 (section 16 and section 29) and the Medical Devices Directive (Annexes VIII and X).

A clinical investigation of a non-CE-marked device must be designed to establish that the performance claimed by the manufacturer can be adequately demonstrated, and that the device is judged to be safe to use on patients taking into account any risks associated with the use of the device when weighed against the expected benefits.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency reviewed an application made by NHSX and authorised the supply of the non-CE-marked NHSX COVID-19 contact tracing app for a pilot on the Isle of Wight in the interests of the protection of public health under Regulation 12(5) of the Medical Devices Regulations 2002.

13th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the NHSX Ethics Advisory Board approved the Data Processing Impact Assessment, including its risk registers, for the NHSX COVID-19 contact tracing application.

The Ethics Advisory Board (EAB) is an advisory body and does not approve documentation. Notwithstanding, and in the interests of transparency, an early draft of the Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) was shared with the EAB on 29 April and subsequently developed.

Further DPIAs will meet the best practice guidance set out by the Information Commissioner’s Office and will be iterated for every stage of the rollout.

13th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, with respect to the trial on the Isle of Wight of the COVID-19 contact tracing application being developed by NHSX, (1) what questions the trial is designed to answer, and (2) whether those questions were discussed with and agreed in advance by NHSX’s Ethics Advisory Board.

The Isle of Wight phase is intended to improve our understanding of how the different components of our COVID-19 response fit together and how parts of the healthcare system interact with each other. It is also an opportunity to test that the underlying technologies and systems work. Our evaluation of the Isle of Wight phase is designed to provide us with answers on the health behaviours of people who use the app and those who do not, the attitude of individuals to the contact tracing app and their experience of using it, how successfully the app fits in to the wider health service processes, and the app’s influence on wider health seeking behaviours. The Ethics Advisory Board is an advisory body and does not approve documentation. Notwithstanding, and in the interests of transparency, an early version of our evaluation questions was shared with them for advice and constructive challenge.

13th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what conclusions the NHSX Ethics Advisory Board reached about the COVID-19 contact tracing application trial on the Isle of Wight.

The Ethics Advisory Board (EAB) of the National Health Service COVID-19 app published a letter to the Secretary of State on 24 April which sets out its thinking on the COVID-19 contact tracing application.

In its letter, the EAB sets out six principles that must be upheld to ensure the NHS COVID-19 app achieves that balance. Given the importance of securing and maintaining public trust around this issue, these principles are based around maintaining public trust in the use of data; they include ensuring value, impact, security, accountability, transparency and control.

These principles have been accepted by the Secretary of State and the Board will continue to meet regularly to provide its advice on the app’s progress.

19th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what advice they are giving to live music venues, retailers and recording studios on whether they should close due to COVID-19.

On 23 March the Government stepped up measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and save lives. To reduce social contact, the Government has ordered businesses and venues to close, except those with exemptions. With regard to music venue exemptions, small group performances for the purposes of live streaming could be permissible where Public Health England guidelines are observed, and no audience members attend the venue.

Further social distancing measures have also been enacted with the banning of all mass gatherings.

18th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the earliest date by which applicants can expect to receive funding from the SME Brexit Support Fund.

The earliest date by which applicants can expect to receive funding from the SME Brexit Support Fund, following a successful application, is within 30 days of the valid claim for reimbursement being accepted.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
18th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the SME Brexit Support Fund will open to applicants.

The SME Brexit Support Fund opened to applicants on Monday 15 March 2021.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
18th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the maximum gross amount available to applicants through the SME Brexit Support Fund.

The maximum gross amount available through the SME Brexit Support Fund is £2,000 per applicant.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
18th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether small and medium-sized enterprises (1) that were trading with the EU prior to 1 January, and (2) that trade with other countries, will be eligible for the SME Brexit Support Fund if they meet the criteria.

Small and medium-sized enterprises that were trading with the EU prior to 1 January are eligible for the SME Brexit Support Fund if they were only trading with the EU and so need to adjust to new customs, rules of origin, and VAT rules.

If a small or medium-sized enterprise traded with the EU prior to 1 January and trades with other countries (i.e., non-EU countries), then they are not eligible for the SME Brexit Support Fund as they have no need to adjust to new customs, rules of origin, and VAT rules.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
11th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the EU about carnets for goods.

The UK is a signatory to the Customs Convention on the ATA Carnet and the Istanbul Convention on Temporary Admission. Approximately 80 countries around the world (including all EU member states) accept ATA Carnets. ATA Carnets are an option for moving goods temporarily between the UK and EU. During negotiations on the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the UK and the EU, both parties proposed text on temporary admission of goods which reflect practices set out in the ATA Carnet and Istanbul Conventions. These proposals are closely reflected in the final Trade and Cooperation Agreement text.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that people who are part-employed and part self-employed can access support through both the COVID-19 Job Retention and Self-employment Income Support Schemes.

It is possible for individuals to benefit from both the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) if they meet the individual criteria for both schemes. For the CJRS, this will depend on furloughing decisions by the employer. For the SEISS, it will depend on whether an individual has at least 50% of their total income from trading profits in either 2018/19, or an average of the (up to) three years between 2016/17 and 2018/19. Further details can be found on GOV.UK.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how profits are defined under the COVID-19 Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

The new Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will help those adversely affected by COVID-19. It means the UK will have one of the most generous self-employed COVID-19 support schemes in the world. Full guidance on how HMRC work out trading profits and non-trading income for the SEISS can be found on GOV.UK.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the self-employed can still earn at the same time as claiming through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Individuals who receive a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme can continue to work, start a new trade or take on other employment including voluntary work, or duties as an armed forces reservist. Full guidance on the SEISS can be found on GOV.UK.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether Equity members who are currently contracted in TV and theatre under a weekly payroll and have other characteristics of employees but have self-employed tax and National Insurance status because of their pattern of work are eligible under the COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is only open to individuals who were employed on 19 March 2020 and on their employer’s PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020. Individuals who are not eligible for the CJRS may be able to access the other support the Government is providing.

The new Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will allow eligible individuals to claim a grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profits, paid in a single instalment covering 3 months, and capped at £7,500 altogether. Self-employed individuals, including members of partnerships, are eligible if they have submitted their Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19, continued to trade and have been adversely affected by COVID-19. Full details can be found on GOV.UK.

Individuals who are not eligible for the CJRS or the SEISS may be able to access other support the Government is providing to support individuals through the outbreak, including an increase to the Universal Credit (UC) standard allowance and Working Tax Credit basic element, and a relaxation of the UC minimum income floor for all self-employed UC claimants affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to (1) remove the £50,000 earnings cap for those self-employed people who may claim a grant through the COVID-19 Self-employment Income Support Scheme, and (2) provide support for self-employed people who run as limited companies and pay themselves in dividends, not PAYE, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some 95% of people who receive the majority of their income from self-employment could be eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), based on 2017-18 data. The scheme, including the £50,000 threshold, is designed to be targeted at those who need it the most, and who are most reliant on their self-employment income. The self-employed are a very diverse population. They have a wide mix of turnover and profits, with monthly and annual variations even in normal times. Some may see their profits unaffected by the current situation, while others have substantial alternative forms of income: for example, those who had more than £50,000 from self-employment profits in 2017-18 had an average total income of more than £200,000. The self-employed can also offset losses against profits in other years and other forms of income.

Income from dividends is a return on investment in the company, rather than wages, and is not eligible for support. Under current reporting mechanisms it is not possible for HM Revenue and Customs to distinguish between dividends derived from an individual’s own company and dividends from other sources, and between dividends in lieu of employment income and as returns from other corporate activity. Expanding the scope would require HMRC to collect and verify new information. This would take longer to deliver and put at risk the other schemes which the Government is committed to delivering as quickly as possible.

Individuals who are not eligible for the SEISS may be able to access other support Government is providing, including the Bounce Back Loans Scheme for small businesses, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and the deferral of tax payments. More information about the full range of business support measures is available on GOV.UK.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
24th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the prevalence of identity theft; and what plans they have to introduce a specific offence in this respect, separate from fraud or conspiracy.

The Government is aware of the harms caused by identity theft and that criminals will use this to commit and enable a range of offences.

Existing legislation is in place to protect people’s personal data and prosecute those that commit crimes enabled by identity theft. These include the Fraud Act 2006, the Identity Documents Act 2010 and the Data Protection Act 2018.

Separately, the Government is firmly committed to making the UK the safest place to be online, and we will bring forward legislation to do so as soon as possible

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
4th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to formally respond to the report by the Information Commissioner's Office ICO investigation into the how the police use facial recognition technology in public places, published on 31 October.

The High Court found in September 2019 that there is a clear and sufficient legal framework for police use of live facial recognition technology. The framework includes police common law powers to protect the public, data protection and human rights legislation and the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice.

The Government has no plans to formally respond to the Information Commissioner’s Office’s report.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
4th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to develop a statutory, and binding, code of practice for the use of live facial recognition technology, as recommended by the Information Commissioner.

The High Court found in September 2019 that there is a clear and sufficient legal framework for police use of live facial recognition technology. The framework includes police common law powers to protect the public, data protection and human rights legislation and the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice.

The Government has no plans to formally respond to the Information Commissioner’s Office’s report.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
4th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will move to a grants-based system for funding legal services as recommended by the Low Commission report following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government continues to recognise the importance of the legal support services and the essential role that they play in helping people resolve their legal problems.

Following our 2019 review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 reforms, the Ministry of Justice published the Legal Support Action Plan, which set out our vision for resolving legal problems earlier by ensuring that people can access the right legal support services at the right time, and in the right way for them. Whilst we do not intend to move to a fully grants based system for funding legal services, there are elements of the Legal Support Action Plan that drew on the recommendations of the Low Commission report.

COVID-19 interrupted significant elements of some of this work, as we reprioritised our focus on considering the impact of the pandemic on the legal support sector who support individuals in need of help.

As a result of this, the Ministry of Justice has secured emergency funding for the not-for-profit legal advice sector, including £5.4 million for providers of special legal advice. £3 million of this funding will go to Law Centres and this will be distributed through the Law Centres Network. The remainder of the funding, £2.4 million, will be contributed to the Community Justice Fund, administrated by the Access to Justice Foundation (ATJF), in order to provide funding for other non-specialist advice and support providers.

This funding will be additional to the £370 million of funding administrated by the National Lottery Communities Fund which qualifying third sector organisations, including those in the advice sector, will be able to bid for directly.

We have also continued existing work with the specialist advice sector and launched a new £3.1 million grant in partnership with the ATJF to enhance legal support for litigants in person over the next two years. This new grant is in addition to nearly £8m invested by the Ministry of Justice in support of litigants in person in the civil and family courts since 2015 through the Litigants in Person Support Strategy.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to using unspent funds from the legal aid budget for this financial year to fund law centres and other legal aid providers, based on what they would have received in any six month period, to ensure their viability.

Data on legal aid expenditure is released quarterly by the Legal Aid Agency, with the next release scheduled for September.

MoJ is continuing to work closely with the Legal Aid Agency and HMCTS to assess the impact of Covid-19 on legal aid provision, and we are working closely with the sector to identify whether further support is required.

We have already introduced measures to support the sector, such as paying for virtual hearings in the same way as in-person hearings, halting pursuit of outstanding debts, relaxing some evidence requirements, and encouraging legal practitioners to use existing avenues of financial help, such as the ability to apply for early payment for work already done on a case. We have already put in place measures to bring forward funding by expanding the scope and evidence requirements for payment for work in progress in Crown Court cases.

We have recently announced that we will be providing £5.4m in funding to not-for-profit providers of specialist legal advice, including Law Centres, which should go some way to helping them address immediate cashflow problems and ensure they remain able to provide support for the communities they serve.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports (1) that Law Centres are experiencing financial problems as a result of court closures and consequential loss of legal aid income due to COVID-19, and (2) that some Law Centres are facing closure as a result; and what assessment they have made of the role of Law Centres in providing (a) direct legal services, and (b) hubs for volunteer pro bono lawyers.

We recognise the valuable role that Law Centres, and the wider not-for-profit advice sector, play in local communities across the country, and we support them in this vital work.

We are aware that Law Centres may experience financial issues due to the Covid-19 pandemic and have been working at pace to implement options to support them and other not-for-profits who provide this important service.

I am pleased to say that the Government is allocating £5.4 million in funding to the not for profit providers of specialist legal advice. £3 million of this has been earmarked specifically for Law Centres.

The £5.4m Government is allocating to advice providers will go some way to help them address their immediate cashflow problems. This will help protect these vital organisations from collapse, ensuring they remain able to provide support to the communities they serve.

It will also enable them to continue to act as hubs for volunteer pro bono lawyers.