Lord West of Spithead Portrait

Lord West of Spithead

Labour - Life peer

6 APPG memberships (as of 25 Aug 2021)
Cyber Security, Flags and Heraldry, Norfolk Island, Philately, Reserves and Cadets, St George's Day
1 Former APPG membership
Ship Building
National Security Strategy (Joint Committee)
3rd Dec 2015 - 27th Apr 2017
National Security Strategy (Joint Committee)
12th Jun 2014 - 30th Mar 2015
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Security and Counter-terrorism)
29th Jun 2007 - 6th May 2010


Scheduled Event
Thursday 14th October 2021
Oral questions - Main Chamber
Government orders for the remaining five Type 26 frigates, the three Fleet Solid Support Ships, the new flagship, the underwater research vessel and the Type 32 frigates
View calendar
Division Votes
Thursday 10th June 2021
Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development etc.) (England) (Amendment) Order 2021
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 122 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 260 Noes - 229
Speeches
Wednesday 15th September 2021
Sovereign Defence Capability: Meggitt Takeover

My Lords, I thank the Minister for his Answer. I thought that the Government had made very clear that they …

Written Answers
Wednesday 15th September 2021
Shipping: Security
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they plan to publish the new national strategy for maritime security.
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
None available
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
None available

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Lord West of Spithead has voted in 123 divisions, and 16 times against the majority of their Party.

25 Mar 2021 - Covid-19 Pandemic and the Coronavirus Act 2020 - View Vote Context
Lord West of Spithead voted No - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 4 Labour No votes vs 6 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 119 Noes - 279
3 Mar 2021 - Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill - View Vote Context
Lord West of Spithead voted No - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 1 Labour No votes vs 4 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 103 Noes - 300
9 Feb 2021 - Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill - View Vote Context
Lord West of Spithead voted No - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 4 Labour No votes vs 18 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 143 Noes - 311
9 Feb 2021 - Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill - View Vote Context
Lord West of Spithead voted No - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 3 Labour No votes vs 15 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 127 Noes - 296
13 Jan 2021 - Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill - View Vote Context
Lord West of Spithead voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 2 Labour No votes vs 140 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 299 Noes - 284
13 Jan 2021 - Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill - View Vote Context
Lord West of Spithead voted No - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 3 Labour No votes vs 133 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 259 Noes - 283
13 Jan 2021 - Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill - View Vote Context
Lord West of Spithead voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 2 Labour No votes vs 137 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 339 Noes - 235
13 Jan 2021 - Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill - View Vote Context
Lord West of Spithead voted No - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 1 Labour No votes vs 132 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 262 Noes - 269
11 Jan 2021 - Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill - View Vote Context
Lord West of Spithead voted No - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 7 Labour No votes vs 15 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 153 Noes - 309
11 Jan 2021 - Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill - View Vote Context
Lord West of Spithead voted No - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 2 Labour No votes vs 11 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 119 Noes - 263
11 Jan 2021 - Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill - View Vote Context
Lord West of Spithead voted No - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 2 Labour No votes vs 12 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 111 Noes - 255
9 Nov 2020 - Agriculture Bill - View Vote Context
Lord West of Spithead voted No - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 1 Labour No votes vs 4 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 130 Noes - 290
15 Sep 2020 - Agriculture Bill - View Vote Context
Lord West of Spithead voted No - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 2 Labour No votes vs 4 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 130 Noes - 225
15 Sep 2020 - Agriculture Bill - View Vote Context
Lord West of Spithead voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Labour No votes vs 115 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 258 Noes - 208
20 Jul 2020 - Business and Planning Bill - View Vote Context
Lord West of Spithead voted No - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 2 Labour No votes vs 3 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 128 Noes - 244
15 Jun 2020 - Abortion (Northern Ireland) (No. 2) Regulations 2020 - View Vote Context
Lord West of Spithead voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 9 Labour No votes vs 105 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 355 Noes - 77
View All Lord West of Spithead Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Baroness Goldie (Conservative)
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
(36 debate interactions)
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Conservative)
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
(24 debate interactions)
Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
(20 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Ministry of Defence
(30 debate contributions)
Department for Transport
(11 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Lord West of Spithead's debates

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Lord West of Spithead, 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 West of Spithead has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Lord West of Spithead has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Lord West of Spithead has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Lord West of Spithead has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


199 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
2 Other Department Questions
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Senior Deputy Speaker what was the original estimated cost of the refurbishment of the Elizabeth Tower; when was that refurbishment originally intended to be completed; and what is the expected final cost of that refurbishment.

The Senior Deputy Speaker has asked me, as Chair of the Finance Committee, to respond on his behalf.

Scaffolding was removed around the roof level of the Elizabeth Tower in October 2020. More scaffolding is expected to be removed towards the end of this year and continuing into 2022.

Covid-19 has restricted the progress of the refurbishment. The completion date will be later than the planned 2021 date, and is now expected in 2022. Further information on the revised completion date will be announced once the schedule of works is finalised.

The original outline business case for the Elizabeth Tower assessed the costs at £29.7m. In 2017, the final business case for the Elizabeth Tower was approved at a value of £61m, subsequently revised in February 2020 to £79.7m. The additional costs due to the impact of COVID-19 are currently being assessed.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Senior Deputy Speaker when will (1) the scaffolding be removed from, and (2) the refurbishment be completed of, the Elizabeth Tower.

The Senior Deputy Speaker has asked me, as Chair of the Finance Committee, to respond on his behalf.

Scaffolding was removed around the roof level of the Elizabeth Tower in October 2020. More scaffolding is expected to be removed towards the end of this year and continuing into 2022.

Covid-19 has restricted the progress of the refurbishment. The completion date will be later than the planned 2021 date, and is now expected in 2022. Further information on the revised completion date will be announced once the schedule of works is finalised.

The original outline business case for the Elizabeth Tower assessed the costs at £29.7m. In 2017, the final business case for the Elizabeth Tower was approved at a value of £61m, subsequently revised in February 2020 to £79.7m. The additional costs due to the impact of COVID-19 are currently being assessed.

11th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Callanan on 25 February (HL13332), what are the timescales for the cross government review being led by the Deputy National Security Advisor into future governance for the development of resilient Position, Navigation and Timing arrangements for UK users, including promotion of Global Navigation Satellite System and other Position, Navigation and Timing sources.

A team in the Cabinet Office has developed a Position Navigation and Timing (PNT) strategy that seeks to define the high-level requirements for resilient PNT systems. This work has included engaging subject matter experts across a full range of Government departments, including those leading in maritime, aviation, energy and communications sectors. Views have also been taken from selected PNT industry members to ensure peer review and robust challenge. The review of current governance arrangements, which aims to ensure that coordination of PNT across government is put on sustainable footing, is nearing completion and is expected to be concluded shortly.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
11th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to involve experts across different organisations in the development of a resilient, high integrity Position, Navigating and Timing (PNT) System-of-Systems.

A team in the Cabinet Office has developed a Position Navigation and Timing (PNT) strategy that seeks to define the high-level requirements for resilient PNT systems. This work has included engaging subject matter experts across a full range of Government departments, including those leading in maritime, aviation, energy and communications sectors. Views have also been taken from selected PNT industry members to ensure peer review and robust challenge. The review of current governance arrangements, which aims to ensure that coordination of PNT across government is put on sustainable footing, is nearing completion and is expected to be concluded shortly.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
12th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people aged (1) below 50, (2) 50 to 59, (3) 60 to 69, (4) 70 to 79, and (5) over 80, years, had died as a result of COVID-19 as of 31 December 2020; and how many in each age group had a serious underlying health condition.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

19 January 2021

Dear Lord West,

As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am responding to your Parliamentary Question asking how many people aged (1) below 50, (2) 50 to 59, (3) 60 to 69, (4) 70 to 79, and (5) over 80 years, have died as a result of COVID-19 as of 31 December 2020; and how many in each age group had a serious underlying health condition (HL12082).

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is responsible for publishing numbers of deaths registered in England and Wales. As part of the ‘Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales’ publication[1], we produce the number of deaths involving COVID-19 by age group. Table 1 below shows the number of deaths due to COVID-19 registered in England and Wales between 28 December 2019 and 1 January 2021, the relevant period used in our regular mortality reports, for the age bands below 50, 50-59, 60-69, 70-79, and 80 years and over.

The mortality statistics produced by the ONS are based on the information recorded when a death is certified and registered. A doctor will only record a health condition on the death certificate if it was in the sequence of events leading to death, or was a contributory factor in the death; the death certificate does not list all health conditions the person suffered from. Therefore, we can say in how many deaths a particular condition was involved (i.e. mentioned on the death certificate) but not how many deaths in total were of individuals suffering from such conditions. Similarly, where several conditions are mentioned on the death certificate, we cannot necessarily say whether each one was ‘serious’ in itself. For example, a chronic condition such as diabetes might have contributed to the death in combination with COVID-19, but be unlikely to have caused death on its own.

Information on deaths involving COVID-19 and pre-existing health conditions was published in July for the period 1 March to 30 June 2020 [2]. Table 2 shows the number of deaths involving COVID-19 occurring in England and Wales between 1 March and 30 June 2020, registered up to 4 July 2020, for the age bands below 50, 50-59, 60-69, 70-79, and 80 years and over, divided into those did or did not have one or more pre-existing conditions mentioned on the death certificate. The analysis of pre-existing conditions in the deaths involving COVID-19 is planned to be updated in the next six weeks.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sir Ian Diamond

Table 1. Deaths due to COVID-19 registered between 28 December 2019 and 1 January 2021, England and Wales[3],[4],[5],[6]

Age band

Deaths

Below 50 years

1,499

50 to 59 years

3,470

60 to 69 years

7,837

70 to 79 years

18,699

80 years and over

49,325

Source: ONS

Table 2. Deaths involving COVID-19 by whether a pre-existing condition was mentioned on the death certificate, deaths occurring 1 March to 30 June 2020, England and Wales[7],[8],[9],[10]

Age band

One or more pre-existing condition

No pre-existing condition

Below 50 years

807

192

50 to 59 years

1,950

350

60 to 69 years

4,333

523

70 to 79 years

10,394

926

80 years and over

28,375

2,485

Source: ONS

[1]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsregisteredweeklyinenglandandwalesprovisional/latest

[2]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsinvolvingcovid19englandandwales/deathsoccurringinjune2020

[3] Includes deaths registered between 28 December 2019 and 1 January 2021. These figures represent death registrations, there can be a delay between the date a death occurred and the date a death was registered. More information can be found in our impact of registration delays release.

[4] Does not include deaths where age is either missing or not yet fully coded.

[5] Does not include deaths of those resident outside England and Wales or those records where the place of residence is either missing or not yet fully coded.

[6] All figures for 2020 and 2021 are provisional.

[7] Includes deaths occurring between 1 March and 30 June 2020, registered up to 4 July 2020.

[8] Based on all deaths involving COVID-19 (ICD-10 codes U07.1 and U07.2) not only deaths ‘due to’ COVID-19 (i.e. where COVID-19 was the underlying cause of death).

[9] Includes deaths of non-residents.

[10] All figures for 2020 and 2021 are provisional.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
16th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord True on 12 November (HL9797), whether (1) the Cabinet Office, or (2) the Prime Minister’s Office, hold any records concerning Operation Mincemeat; and if so, whether these records are publicly available.

The Cabinet Office (which includes the Prime Minister’s Office) does not hold any records on HMS Dasher or Operation Mincemeat. In line with standard practice, historic records are transferred to The National Archives. A number of files relating to both HMS Dasher and Operation Mincemeat are held by The National Archives, including under references CAB 154/66; CAB 154/112; CAB 79/60/18; CAB 79/60/20; CAB 79/60/24; CAB 79/60/26; CAB 79/60/27; and CAB 146/442.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
16th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord True on 12 November (HL9797), whether CAB93/7 contains any records relating to the loss of HMS Dasher; whether (1) the Cabinet Office, or (2) the Prime Minister’s Office, hold any other records concerning HMS Dasher; and if so, whether any of these records are publicly available.

The Cabinet Office (which includes the Prime Minister’s Office) does not hold any records on HMS Dasher or Operation Mincemeat. In line with standard practice, historic records are transferred to The National Archives. A number of files relating to both HMS Dasher and Operation Mincemeat are held by The National Archives, including under references CAB 154/66; CAB 154/112; CAB 79/60/18; CAB 79/60/20; CAB 79/60/24; CAB 79/60/26; CAB 79/60/27; and CAB 146/442.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
21st May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the EU on access to Galileo as part of negotiations on the future UK–EU relationship.

The UK and the EU discussed the Galileo programme during the Withdrawal Agreement negotiations. The EU’s offer then on Galileo did not meet the UK’s defence and industrial requirements.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
14th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Agnew of Oulton on 13 May (HL3564), whether any single authority or body was responsible for monitoring and assessing individual departmental plans to ascertain the level of national readiness for a pandemic; and if not, why not.

Planning for a pandemic inevitably engages the work of many different departments. Each department is responsible for ensuring its own preparedness, and that of its relevant sectors, to manage the impacts of a pandemic. The Cabinet Office's role includes coordinating the regular assessment of the UK’s overall risk landscape for both internal and public purposes, the Resilience Capabilities Programme, managing central government response including by convening COBR, providing crisis management training through the Emergency Planning College, and working with Departments to test emergency response plans.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
8th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the extra costs in terms of (1) people, and (2) storage, to allow the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to handle Top Secret and Strap material from the agencies on a regular basis, rather than occasionally under the Osmotherly rules.

As has been the case under successive administrations, the Government does not comment on departmental security matters.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the exclusion of nuclear power from the Green Financing Framework means that they no longer see nuclear power as a crucial part of delivering the net zero carbon emissions policy by 2050.

The Government has been clear that nuclear has a key role in delivering net zero, confirming in the Energy White Paper in December 2020 that it is committed to bringing forward “at least one large-scale nuclear project” this parliament and entering negotiations with EDF on Sizewell C. The White Paper also included plans for £385m in an Advanced Nuclear Fund with up to £215m investment to develop a domestic Small Modular Reactor (SMR) design by the early 2030s.

The role of nuclear in delivering net zero was reiterated in the Green Financing Framework policy document to which the noble Lord refers, which said that “nuclear power is, and will continue to be, a key part of the UK’s low-carbon energy mix”. The policy document is available at:

http://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-government-green-financing

Furthermore, eligibility under the Framework is not a determinant of what the government considers to be ‘green’ – that is the role of the UK Taxonomy, which the Government has committed to developing by 2023. In June the Government announced the formation of a Green Technical Advisory Group to advise on the Taxonomy’s development. As part of this, an Energy Working Group will consider how to address nuclear power in the Taxonomy.

HM Treasury intends, where possible, to adhere to best practices in the market and will review the Green Financing Framework’s alignment with updated versions of the ICMA Green Bond Principles as and when they are released, as well as the UK Taxonomy as it develops. As such, this Framework may be updated and amended.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what licensing requirements network operators need to have for repair solutions when landing cables in the UK and going under UK waters.

Offshore renewable projects are required to hold a Marine License for the repair and maintenance of subsea cables, except when undertaking emergency works.

There are no licensing requirements on other electricity infrastructure operators for the maintenance and repair of subsea cables.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the similarities in design between the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant in Guangdong, China, and the plant being built at Hinkley Point C; and whether any changes to the Hinkley Point C design are being planned as a result of the recent problems at Taishan.

The site at Hinkley Point C will operate two European Pressurised Water Reactors (EPR), the same reactor design as the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant.

Any reactor deployed in the UK must meet the UK’s robust and independent regulatory requirement with the developer of Hinkley Point C applying relevant lessons learnt from other EPR projects during the construction of Hinkley Point C. The developer is working with the Office for Nuclear Regulation to ensure construction of the plant is delivered on time and to the required quality standards.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many of the current nuclear plants they expect to be operating in 2030.

There are currently 15 nuclear reactors operating at 8 stations across England and Scotland, all operated by EDF. On the basis of current scheduled closure dates, all 14 of the advanced gas cooled reactors (AGR) will close between 2022 and 2030. Of the current generating fleet, only Sizewell B power station with its pressurised water reactor (PWR) is expected to continue generation past 2030. The developer of Hinkley Point C is forecasting that it will also be generating before 2030.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect Sizewell B to return to service.

Sizewell B was brought offline on 16 April 2021 for planned refuelling and maintenance work. The outage has been extended to 30 August 2021 to allow for additional work to be carried out. The reactor will not be returned to service without the permission of the regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they expect Dungeness B to close this year.

The decision to close a nuclear power station is a matter for the operator (EDF) and the regulator (Office for Nuclear Regulation). The current scheduled closure date for Dungeness B is 2028.

Currently EDF forecast the station’s reactors to return to service in July and August 2021.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they expect EDF to close (1) Hinkley Point B, and (2) Hunterston B, permanently by next year; and if so, on what grounds they would be closed.

The decision to close a nuclear power station is a matter for the operator (EDF) and the regulator (Office for Nuclear Regulation). On 27 August 2020 EDF announced that Hunterston B power station would end generation by January 2022. On 19 November 2020 EDF announced that Hinkley Point B would end generation by July 2022. The grounds for closure are because of end-of-life of components which cannot be replaced, which is expected as a station ages.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their target for the percentage of the UK’s electricity to be met by nuclear sources in 2030.

We do not have a specific target for the amount of nuclear we will need in 2030 to meet our electricity demand. As set out in the Energy White Paper (EWP) and the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan, the government believes in the importance of a diverse mix of energy sources to support a low carbon, secure and affordable electricity system. This includes nuclear and recognises the important role which can be played by both large and small scale reactors.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what research and development support they are giving to further phases of the Marrinav project.

The MarRinav project was funded through the European Space Agency NAVISP scheme, which the UK contributes to. The industrial consortia are proposing additional activity to follow on from MarRinav but this has not been submitted for approval and evaluation at the time of this response.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of Japan about facilitating a transfer of ownership of Horizon and its sites to another development company or other relevant commercial business.

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

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

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the UK Positioning, Navigation and Timing Strategy Group led by the Deputy National Security Adviser has produced a strategy; and if so, (1) when the strategy will be published, and (2) who will be responsible for the implementation of the strategy.

The UK PNT Strategy Group is in the process of developing a national PNT Strategy. Publication and an SRO for implementation are subject to a wider governance review being led by the current Senior Responsible Officer.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the governance arrangements for sharing Positioning, Navigation and Timing data in the UK; and what assessment they have made of the need for an organisation that would promote the benefits of the Global Navigation Satellite System in a similar way to the Civil Global Positioning Service Interface Committee in the United States.

The Deputy National Security Advisor is currently the Senior Responsible Officer for PNT. Future governance arrangements for the development of resilient PNT arrangements for UK users, including the promotion of GNSS and other PNT sources are the subject of a cross-Whitehall review being undertaken by the Cabinet Office.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the distinction between commercial and military offshore unexploded ordnance disposal by deflagration, and (2) the effectiveness of deflagration in the offshore disposal of unexploded ordnance.

The Government recognise the potential for significant impact of underwater noise from unexploded ordnance (UXO) clearance on vulnerable marine species and is taking active steps to manage and reduce the risk. Two phases of a Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) funded project to characterise and contrast the acoustic fields generated by UXO clearance using high order detonation and using low-order deflagration have been completed and reported on.

It is our understanding that there is no appreciable distinction between the deflagration technique used by commercial and military clearance of marine UXO.

A third phase has now been initiated to further improve the information base, allowing further assessment of the clearance options. A potential 4th phase of the work involving offshore field work is also being actively explored in which comparative noise measurements would be made during actual UXO clearance campaigns using both deflagration and high order detonations. This would require cooperation and active support from industry (windfarm developers) and the regulatory authorities.

The outcomes from the 3rd and 4th phases would allow an informed discussion and consideration of the adequacy of evidence by regulatory authorities and the Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the closure of the Barnoldswick Rolls-Royce factory.

Rolls-Royce has not proposed the closure of the Rolls-Royce factory at Barnoldswick. The company is undergoing a global restructuring and footprint review; they announced in August that they would be reducing manufacturing activity across the company’s sites globally, including in Barnoldswick. Rolls-Royce also announced that they will retain key capabilities in Barnoldswick, including a fan blade product development and technical centre.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will publish a new cross-departmental National Space Strategy.

The UK’s space sector can strengthen our national capabilities, create high-skilled jobs and drive future economic growth across the UK. In order to support this, the Queen’s Speech on 19 December set out the Government’s intent to establish a new National Space Council and launch a comprehensive UK Space Strategy. The Council will consider its strategy in due course.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how governance of the UK’s equity investment in OneWeb will be structured to maintain the competitive market and level playing field for all UK satellite operators.

The Government is mindful of its responsibility to the?Space sector. The commercial operation of?OneWeb will be kept separate from?the Government’s duties to ensure the transparent and effective operation of markets.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the current generation of OneWeb satellites are solely for communications services; and what plans they have for a second generation of satellites capable of providing secure positioning data.

The current generation of?OneWeb?satellites deliver?satellite communications services. We are currently assessing the wider use of their capabilities.

Dedicated work is ongoing across Government to determine the UK’s positioning, navigation and timing requirements and assess options for meeting them.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to expand the Hydrogen Advisory Council as part of the formation of a wider UK hydrogen strategy.

We are committed to developing hydrogen as a decarbonised energy carrier and are developing our strategic approach to growing the UK hydrogen economy.?In order to support this, we established?the?Hydrogen Advisory Council, which first met on 20th July 2020. The Council will enable Government to work in?partnership with Industry to ensure the UK is at the forefront of low carbon hydrogen production and supply, which will have a key role to play in supporting clean growth and tackling climate change.

The Council will initially focus on actions to enable the scale up of hydrogen production, and its membership reflects this. The Council will oversee a range of workstreams in support of its objectives.?If deemed appropriate, some of the workstreams may be delivered by working groups, membership of which may come from the organisations represented on the Council and/or more widely according to need.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with ACU Strategic Partners about the future construction of nuclear power stations.

The Government engages in discussions with numerous companies in the nuclear sector. I am unable to comment on any specific discussions due to commercial sensitivities.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they estimate the construction of Sizewell C nuclear power station will begin; and what funding model will be used for that construction.

It is for individual developers to consider milestones, such as estimates of when construction will commence. Any funding model would be agreed as part of a negotiation, should the Government enter into one.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to utilise OneWeb in their future defence and commercial strategies; and how many jobs they estimate will result from their investment in OneWeb in the UK.

OneWeb and its capabilities will be considered as part of the Space Strategy under the direction of the National Space Council. As the?OneWeb?offering matures, we will monitor its utility to critical national infrastructure,?as we do with a variety of capabilities and providers.

The agreement we have secured with Bharti?secures 70 existing UK jobs in?OneWeb,?and?we?will be looking to?expand the company and its supply chain in the UK.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Callanan on 8 July (HL Deb, col 1119), how long they estimate it will take OneWeb to provide the UK with sovereign-controlled satellite capabilities.

We are working with the company and our partners, and the capability will be available once the constellation reaches minimum viable service.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they estimate the development consent order for the proposed nuclear power station at Wylfa Newydd will be approved.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State is considering the Examining Authority’s Recommendation Report regarding development consent for the proposed Wylfa Newydd nuclear power station. This Report is being reviewed alongside the further information received following the Government’s post-examination consultation on the application. The deadline for the Secretary of State’s decision is 30 September 2020.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what classified output from the EU’s Galileo satellite system will be made available to the Five Eyes intelligence community.

It is possible under EU rules for third countries, including the Five Eyes intelligence community, to request access to the Galileo secure navigation signal, known as the Public Regulated Service (PRS), from the EU. The EU has excluded the UK from the security-related sensitive aspects of Galileo, including the PRS, since January 2018. This led to the UK stating that we do not intend to use the Galileo PRS for defence or security as we are unable to assure ourselves of the system because of this exclusion from the security-related elements.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the speech by the Prime Minister on 24 July 2019, what steps they have taken to establish a UK satellite navigation system.

The UK’s Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Programme is currently in its Engineering, Design and Development Phase to research and understand what would best suit the UK’s positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) requirements. The Programme is taking the appropriate time to investigate the requirements, design specifications and costs as fully as possible. This includes assessing value for money, scope for innovation, new markets and how much a system could meet the UKs assured PNT requirements.

We recently proceeded with a number of technical contracts from April to September to deliver key engineering work whilst protecting skills and technical GNSS sector jobs. We are now considering workstreams past September in addition to looking at wider PNT requirements, bringing together expertise from across Whitehall, industry and the PNT community to consider the requirements across military, civil and Critical National Infrastructure sectors.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the feasibility study carried out by the UK Space Agency concluded that it was feasible for the UK to establish its own satellite navigation system.

The UK’s Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) is still undergoing the Engineering Design and Development Phase which will determine the requirements for delivering the capability, looking at cost, design specifications, scope for innovation and potential for new markets.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what part, if any, the UK is playing in the EU’s Galileo satellite system.

During the implementation period, UK companies and other UK entities can continue to take part in the EU’s space programmes, except in the security-related sensitive aspects of Galileo where UK participation has been excluded by the European Commission since January 2018. UK companies continue to deliver contracts for the EU’s space programmes, such as the construction of Galileo payloads by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL). The UK now does not have a level of access to Galileo that would enable us to assure the system and use it for purposes such as defence and security. As such, the UK will not seek to continue participation in the Galileo programme at the end of the implementation period.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the classified output from their proposed UK satellite navigation system would be shared with the Five Eyes intelligence community.

Five Eyes partners are aware of proposals for a UK Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). The Programme is currently in its Engineering, Design and Development Phase to research and understand what would best suit the UK’s positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) requirements. The services that a system would offer and their potential users are being determined as part of that work.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Duncan of Springbank on 3 February (HL829), what was the peak electricity requirement in 2019; and how much they estimate it will be in 2032.

The peak electricity requirement for Great Britain in 2019 was estimated by National Grid in their Future Energy Scenarios to be 989 -1051 TWh/year and in 2032 it is estimated to be 755 – 1000 TWh/year. Actual peak demand for 2019 will be available at the end of February 2020.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Duncan of Springbank on 3 February (HL829), whether they expect the UK to require less energy in 2032 than at present.

National Grid’s Future Energy Scenarios (2019) estimate that GB is likely to require less energy in 2032 than at present. For 2019 the forecast energy requirement is estimated to be between 989 and 1051 TWh/year, in 2032 the amount of energy required falls to 755 – 1000 TWh/year. Actual peak demand for 2019 will be available at the end of February 2020.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what level of low carbon produced electricity they expect to be required by 2050.

It is likely that electricity demand will grow significantly by 2050 as other sectors of the economy such as transport and heat are electrified, potentially doubling from today’s levels. In order to meet this increasing demand, whilst reducing emissions to low levels, there will need to be a substantial increase in low carbon generation – the Committee on Climate Change estimate a four-fold increase may be needed.

The forthcoming Energy White Paper will address the transformation of our energy system in the context of delivering net-zero by 2050.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they expect the requisite level of low carbon electricity will be produced in 2050.

The generation mix in 2050 will be affected by the approach to decarbonisation in other sectors, technology costs, the emergence of new technologies and the flexibility of the electricity system. It is not for government to prescribe the proportion of generation that will come from any specific technology in 2050; rather the role of government is to enable the market to deliver the levels of deployment required whilst minimising both emissions and systems costs.

The Energy White Paper will address the transformation of our energy system in the context of delivering net-zero by 2050.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what method produces the greatest quantity of low carbon electricity in the UK at present.

UK electricity generation data are published by the department in Energy Trends tables 5.1 and 6.1. Wind produced the most low carbon electricity in the latest published 12 month period, from October 2018 to September 2019.

Provisional figures for 2019 will be published in Energy Trends on Thursday 26th March.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much power can currently be supplied to the UK National Grid by nuclear power stations; and what percentage of the total power available to the National Grid that represents.

In 2018, nuclear power stations provided 9.3 GW of installed capacity to the GB electricity system, equating to 9.2%. They also provided 65 TWh of electricity which is 20.1% of the electricity generated in Great Britain and 19.5% of the electricity generated in the UK.

Currently, 7.2 GW of the installed nuclear capacity is generating power for the grid.

27th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the current peak energy requirements of the UK; and what such requirements are predicted to be in 2032.

National Grid has estimated energy demand for four different future scenarios in the latest version of the future energy scenarios 2019, these are presented in Figure 4.1 on pages 46 and 47. Current (2020) estimated peak annual energy requirements for Great Britain range from 900 to 1,100TWh, depending on the scenario. The same scenarios are used to predict total annual energy requirements for 2032 of between 700 and 1,000TWh.

12th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the (1) Australian, and (2) Canadian, subsea cable maintenance regimes.

The Government maintains an interest in subsea cable operating regimes to inform our national arrangements.

By their nature, subsea telecommunications cables are international, and the UK engages with international partners on a range of issues pertaining to cables, including environmental, fishing, trade and regulatory aspects.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made as to whether  Global Marine Group is the only UK-based company that (1) lays, and (2) maintains, communications cables; and what discussions, if any, they have had with the firm about this capability.

Cable laying and operation is a global enterprise which includes UK-based companies. The Government has regular contact with the industry including Global Marine Group. The government understands that the US-owned Global Marine Group is the only UK-based company that can both lay and maintain subsea telecommunications cables.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
30th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) how many repairs to subsea cables have needed to be undertaken, and (2) what was the average time taken to complete such repairs, in each of the last five years.

The government takes the security and resilience of cables very seriously and we focus on the full range of threats and risks, including supply chain and repair arrangements. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is the lead department for the energy sector, including subsea energy cables. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is the lead department for telecommunications policy, including the security and resilience of telecommunications subsea cables.

Subsea cables are privately owned and operated. Operators have arrangements in place to ensure a prompt response to damage or disruption. These arrangements draw upon national and international cable laying and repair companies. The departments work closely with the operators, regulators and others to assess risks and ensure that the appropriate mitigation measures, including the provision of specialist capabilities (such as installation and repair), are in place to enable an effective response to actual or potentially disruptive incidents. We keep these capabilities and the regulatory framework under review and engage with industry as part of this.

Information on cable repairs is not held but departments regularly engage with industry to keep informed.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
30th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with organisations responsible for repairing critical subsea cable infrastructure.

The government takes the security and resilience of cables very seriously and we focus on the full range of threats and risks, including supply chain and repair arrangements. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is the lead department for the energy sector, including subsea energy cables. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is the lead department for telecommunications policy, including the security and resilience of telecommunications subsea cables.

Subsea cables are privately owned and operated. Operators have arrangements in place to ensure a prompt response to damage or disruption. These arrangements draw upon national and international cable laying and repair companies. The departments work closely with the operators, regulators and others to assess risks and ensure that the appropriate mitigation measures, including the provision of specialist capabilities (such as installation and repair), are in place to enable an effective response to actual or potentially disruptive incidents. We keep these capabilities and the regulatory framework under review and engage with industry as part of this.

Information on cable repairs is not held but departments regularly engage with industry to keep informed.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
29th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the UK supply chain for submarine cable maintenance; and what steps they are taking to protect that supply chain.

The government takes the security and resilience of cables very seriously and we focus on the full range of threats and risks, including supply chain and repair arrangements. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is the lead department for the energy sector, including subsea energy cables. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is the lead department for telecommunications policy, including the security and resilience of telecommunications subsea cables.

Subsea cables are privately owned and operated. Operators have arrangements in place to ensure a prompt response to damage or disruption. These arrangements draw upon national and international cable laying and repair companies. The departments work closely with the operators, regulators and others to assess risks and ensure that the appropriate mitigation measures, including the provision of specialist capabilities (such as installation and repair), are in place to enable an effective response to actual or potentially disruptive incidents. We keep these capabilities and the regulatory framework under review and engage with industry as part of this.

Information on cable repairs is not held but departments regularly engage with industry to keep informed.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to introducing mandatory UK sovereign repair coverage 24/7, 365 days a year, to protect critical subsea cable infrastructure.

The government takes the security and resilience of cables very seriously and we focus on the full range of threats and risks, including supply chain and repair arrangements. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is the lead department for the energy sector, including subsea energy cables. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is the lead department for telecommunications policy, including the security and resilience of telecommunications subsea cables.

Subsea cables are privately owned and operated. Operators have arrangements in place to ensure a prompt response to damage or disruption. These arrangements draw upon national and international cable laying and repair companies. The departments work closely with the operators, regulators and others to assess risks and ensure that the appropriate mitigation measures, including the provision of specialist capabilities (such as installation and repair), are in place to enable an effective response to actual or potentially disruptive incidents. We keep these capabilities and the regulatory framework under review and engage with industry as part of this.

Information on cable repairs is not held but departments regularly engage with industry to keep informed.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government which organisations have responsibility for the maintenance of subsea cables into the UK; and what steps they have taken to ensure that such services are available in a time of crisis.

The government takes the security and resilience of cables very seriously and we focus on the full range of threats and risks, including supply chain and repair arrangements. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is the lead department for the energy sector, including subsea energy cables. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is the lead department for telecommunications policy, including the security and resilience of telecommunications subsea cables.

Subsea cables are privately owned and operated. Operators have arrangements in place to ensure a prompt response to damage or disruption. These arrangements draw upon national and international cable laying and repair companies. The departments work closely with the operators, regulators and others to assess risks and ensure that the appropriate mitigation measures, including the provision of specialist capabilities (such as installation and repair), are in place to enable an effective response to actual or potentially disruptive incidents. We keep these capabilities and the regulatory framework under review and engage with industry as part of this.

Information on cable repairs is not held but departments regularly engage with industry to keep informed.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the risk to subsea communication and energy cables, and the likely impact on the UK economy, of a disruption to subsea cable infrastructure.

The government takes the security and resilience of cables very seriously and we focus on the full range of threats and risks, including supply chain and repair arrangements. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is the lead department for the energy sector, including subsea energy cables. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is the lead department for telecommunications policy, including the security and resilience of telecommunications subsea cables.

Subsea cables are privately owned and operated. Operators have arrangements in place to ensure a prompt response to damage or disruption. These arrangements draw upon national and international cable laying and repair companies. The departments work closely with the operators, regulators and others to assess risks and ensure that the appropriate mitigation measures, including the provision of specialist capabilities (such as installation and repair), are in place to enable an effective response to actual or potentially disruptive incidents. We keep these capabilities and the regulatory framework under review and engage with industry as part of this.

Information on cable repairs is not held but departments regularly engage with industry to keep informed.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government which department is responsible for overseeing the maintenance of subsea communication and energy cables.

The government takes the security and resilience of cables very seriously and we focus on the full range of threats and risks, including supply chain and repair arrangements. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is the lead department for the energy sector, including subsea energy cables. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is the lead department for telecommunications policy, including the security and resilience of telecommunications subsea cables.

Subsea cables are privately owned and operated. Operators have arrangements in place to ensure a prompt response to damage or disruption. These arrangements draw upon national and international cable laying and repair companies. The departments work closely with the operators, regulators and others to assess risks and ensure that the appropriate mitigation measures, including the provision of specialist capabilities (such as installation and repair), are in place to enable an effective response to actual or potentially disruptive incidents. We keep these capabilities and the regulatory framework under review and engage with industry as part of this.

Information on cable repairs is not held but departments regularly engage with industry to keep informed.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the significance of BBC Monitoring to (1) UK, and (2) global, security will be a factor when they make decisions about the future funding level of the licence fee at the next spending review.

The BBC is responsible for the funding, staffing and administration of Monitoring, which is provided under a specific agreement between the BBC and government. The monitoring service is funded through the licence fee and there are no plans to change this arrangement.

It is the Licence Fee Settlement, not the spending review, which will determine the BBC’s public funding for at least 5 years from April 2022. On 10 November the government announced the formal opening of the process and subsequently the Secretary of State has received evidence from the BBC about its financial needs.

Negotiations for the 2022 Licence Fee Settlement are ongoing and the Secretary of State will update the house in due course.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are planning any legislation to ensure that laws relating to cyber-insecure products are aligned with product safety laws; and what steps they are taking to (1) warn customers about cyber-insecure products, or (2) remove cyber-insecure products from circulation.

As announced in the Queen’s Speech, the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill will make sure all consumer connected products sold in the UK, adhere to minimum cyber security standards. This legislation will align with existing product safety laws.

The government has published advice on how to use smart devices safely in the home (https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/smart-devices-in-the-home) and has regularly highlighted the issue of insecure devices, for example with the National Cyber Security Centre's guidance on how to secure internet-connected cameras in the home. In addition, the Cyber Aware campaign offers consumers advice on how to keep their devices secure.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to their commitment in The Conservative and Unionist Party Manifesto 2019, published on 24 November 2019, to invest "£500 million in youth services for young people", what plans they have to make this investment; and why this investment did not appear in the Spending Review 2020, published on 25 November.

The Youth Investment Fund remains a manifesto commitment for transformative levelling up across the country over the course of the parliament. In the recently announced Spending Review,, £30m of this was committed as capital investment for 2021-22. This will provide an important additional investment in new and refurbished safe spaces for young people, so they can access support from youth workers, and positive activities out of school, including sport and culture. Further details of the timetable for allocation will be announced in due course.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
5th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Benyon on 1 July (HL1216), what is the breakdown by type and ownership of the "15 vessels from the Royal Navy Overseas Patrol Squadron and Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authorities".

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) can call upon the Royal Navy Overseas Patrol Squadron who have three batch 1 Patrol Vessels (HMS Tyne, HMS Severn and HMS Mersey) available for fishery protection duties. In addition, patrol vessels under the Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authorities (IFCAs) provide coverage around England’s coast. The IFCAs operate a range of craft which the MMO can call upon to assist with fulfilling its at-sea duties of: boarding vessels and inspections, intelligence gathering and the issuing of directions to vessels. The vessels range from small Rigid Inflatable type boats suitable for estuarine and close inshore through to more substantial craft more able to work ‘near’ offshore waters. The table details the IFCA vessels currently able to be called upon.

IFCA

Vessel Name

Location

Type of Vessel

North Western

North West Protector

Whitehaven

FPV

North Western

Protector Charlies

Whitehaven

RIB

North Western

Protector Bravo

Whitehaven

RIB

North Western

Bay Protector

Liverpool

RIB

North Western

Protector Gamma

Barrow

RIB

North Western

Zodiac Bravo

Carnforth

RIB

Northumberland

St Aidan

North Shields

FPV

Northumberland

Robert Arckless MBE

Amble

RIB

North Eastern

NE Guardian III

Whitby

FPV

North Eastern

Bravo 1

Whitby

RIB

North Eastern

Protector III

Whitby

RIB

Eastern

Sebastian Terelinck

Sutton Bridge

FPV

Eastern

Three Counties

Sutton Bridge

Survey Vessel

Eastern

John Allen

Wisbech

FPV

Eastern

Sea Spray

Levington

RIB

Kent and Essex

Nerrisa

Ramsgate

FPV

Kent and Essex

Tamesis

Brightlingsea

FPV

Kent and Essex

FPV Vigilant

Brightlingsea

RIB

Sussex

Watchful

Shoreham

FPV

Sussex

Merlin

Shoreham

RIB

Southern

Stella Barbera

Southampton

RIB

Southern

Protector

Portland

RIB

Southern

Endeavour

Poole

RIB

Devon and Severn

David Rowe

Brixham

RIB

Devon and Severn

Enforcer

Brixham

RIB

Cornwall

St Piran

Newlyn

FPV

Cornwall

Lyonesse

Newlyn

RIB

Cornwall

Avalon

Newlyn

RIB

Cornwall

Tiger Lily

Newlyn

Survey Vessel

Isles of Scilly

Vigilant

St Mary’s Bay

RIB

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many ships are used by (1) the Marine Management Organisation, and (2) Marine Scotland, to enforce fishery rules in United Kingdom waters, broken down by type of vessel.

Fisheries protection is a devolved matter. Nonetheless, Defra, the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive continue to work together to share information and ensure a coordinated approach to monitoring, compliance and enforcement across UK waters. In England, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has significantly increased its maritime surveillance assets dedicated to fisheries protection. This includes two offshore MMO patrol vessels for at-sea surveillance, supplemented by up to 15 vessels from the Royal Navy Overseas Patrol Squadron and Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authorities.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the reasons for the decline in fish populations, in particular eels, in UK rivers.

Freshwater fisheries and aquaculture policy are devolved in the UK.

In England, the status of fish populations, and reasons for any declines, are assessed through an extensive monitoring programme covering a wide range of species, undertaken by the Environment Agency.

The reasons for the eel's decline are complex and not fully understood but human impacts and oceanic factors are assumed to have major impacts on the stock. These factors will likely affect local production differently throughout the eel's continental range. Human factors may include fisheries (legal and illegal), habitat loss and blockage to migratory pathways, mortalities at hydropower turbines and water pumps, contaminants, non-natives and various climate change factors.

The state of the European eel stock across the UK and the level of man-made impacts are assessed every three years, with a UK report prepared and reported to the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) for international assessment of this stock. The next report for 2018-2020 is expected later this year.

23rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to compensate people who (1) harvest, and (2) sell, oysters whose businesses have been affected by the EU restrictions on importing UK shellfish.

There is no scientific or technical justification for the European Commission banning the import of Live Bivalve Molluscs (LBMs), including oysters, from class B waters. We are seeking urgent resolution on the European Commission’s decision.

In England funding is available through the Maritime and Fisheries Fund for applications from seafood businesses looking to adapt their businesses to new requirements. This includes oyster harvesters and sellers looking to adapt their business models. In England, this funding is delivered by the Marine Management Organisation. Seafood businesses in the rest of the UK should contact their fisheries administrations to see what development support may be available to them.

The Seafood Response Scheme is not specifically focused at mitigating the issues resulting from EU restrictions on LBM trade. Oyster farming/harvesting businesses that meet the eligibility criteria will, however, be eligible to apply.

23rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to encourage consumption of British shellfish in (1) hospitals, (2) schools, and (3) other public institutions.

The Government will always champion greater consumption of our excellent British food and drink, including seafood, within public sector settings. The Government's public sector food procurement mandatory and best practice guidance, including the Balanced Scorecard and Government Buying Standards for Food (GBSF), encourages the procurement of UK seasonal and locally produced food.

Defra will be consulting on a refreshed version of the GBSF this summer. We will be seeking views on how the standards could be used to promote even greater uptake of locally produced food by public procurers and their suppliers.

Defra is also working closely with the Crown Commercial Service to develop the Future Food Framework which will create significant new opportunities for small businesses to contribute to regional public sector bodies. The trial will include a focus on local fisheries as one of the key food categories. The pilot is due to launch in the South West in 2022 with a national rollout planned for 2023.

Defra is also partnering with Seafish (the public body that supports the UK seafood industry) to encourage greater domestic consumption of seafood, to support and enhance our domestic fishing industry. The Love Seafood campaign will run throughout this spring and will promote the wide range of fish and shellfish caught in UK waters.

1st Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) possible sites in the United Kingdom for the dismantling of ships and the disposal of any hazardous materials that they might contain, and (2) the potential global demand for, and value of, such operations.

Defra conducted an assessment of UK ship recycling facilities in 2015 as part of the preparation of a public consultation on the UK’s implementation of European Union Regulation 1257/2013 on ship recycling. Defra wrote to all of the UK ship recycling facilities that held valid permits and approvals required under existing legislation to undertake ship recycling activities in the UK at that time to make them aware of the new EU Ship Recycling Regulation and to discuss compliance with its requirements. A total of 18 suitably authorised facilities were identified.

Defra has made no assessment of the global demand for, and value of, ship recycling facilities. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published a report on ship recycling in April 2019 which includes an assessment of the global market for ship recycling. It is available on the OECD iLibrary website (www.oecd-ilibrary.org).

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether overseas territories which are eligible for Official Development Assistance will be able to apply for large-scale project funding that is equivalent to that provided through Darwin Plus.

Those UK Overseas Territories that are Official Development Assistance eligible are now able to apply for funding via the main Darwin Initiative programme, rather than through the Darwin Plus scheme.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they plan to publish the new national strategy for maritime security.

Following the publication of the first UK National Strategy for Maritime Security in 2014, the cross-government process to refresh the National Strategy for Maritime Security is underway and is being led by the Department for Transport.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
16th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many vessels by (1) size, and (2) type, are operated by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

The Maritime and Coastguard operates one tug, the IVEOLI BLACK, which is 70 metres in length at 2,283 gross tonnage. In addition, they have two training vessels, the MCA HUNTER at 14 metres and the MCA HAWK at 9.75 metres.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the expected final (1) completion date, and (2) cost, of Crossrail; and what lessons are there, if any, for the HS2 project.

Crossrail comes under the remit of the Mayor of London.

In August 2020, Crossrail Limited announced that the central section of the railway will open in the first half of 2022. Following the opening of the central section, full services across the Elizabeth line from Reading and Heathrow in the west and between Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east, will be introduced.

Crossrail Ltd.’s overall cost forecast of completing the programme is up to £18.9 billion. This includes Network Rail On-Network Costs for the surface works but excludes the new trains and depot.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they are providing to UK ports to develop their shore power facilities.

Shore power has a role to play in immediately reducing emissions from vessels visiting ports. Shore-side low and zero carbon fuelling, including bunkering of such fuels, are in scope of the £20m Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, which will fund feasibility studies and initial technology trials, to support the transition to zero emission shipping and cleaner, greener ports. As set out in the Transport Decarbonisation Plan, published on 14 July, we will consult in winter 2021 on how Government can support the wider deployment of shore power, including consideration of regulatory interventions, for both vessels and ports, that could drive deployment as we transition to a net zero world, and bring forward appropriate measures.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to conduct a review to ensure adequate monitoring and protection of the UK’s exclusive economic zone, territorial seas and coastline.

The monitoring and protection of UK waters is a priority for maritime security leads across Whitehall including the Ministry of Defence, Home Office and the Department. As part of this joined up, multilayered approach, the Joint Maritime Security Centre (JMSC) monitors UK waters using a range of maritime domain awareness technology such as sensors, radar and aerial surveillance. This capability, as well as the level of data and awareness it provides, is reviewed regularly by officials and Ministers.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to contribute to accelerating the decarbonisation of the maritime industry; and whether they expect to contribute to this initiative through (1) the UK Infrastructure Bank, or (2) alternative means.

To support the decarbonisation of the maritime sector, Government is investing £20 million in a Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition. This competition will support the UK design and development of clean maritime technologies as part of the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution. Launched on 22 March 2021, this programme builds on the vision set out in the Department’s Clean Maritime Plan and underlines our commitment to addressing emissions from this sector. Further plans for the decarbonisation of the maritime sector will be set out in the Transport Decarbonisation Plan, which will be published this spring.

The UK Infrastructure Bank’s core objectives are to help tackle climate change, particularly meeting our net zero emissions target by 2050, and to support regional and local economic growth through better connectedness, opportunities for new jobs and higher levels of productivity. The Bank will be operationally independent and will invest to meet these objectives.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Lord Agnew of Oulton on 12 March (HL Deb, col 1977), what steps they are taking to contribute to decarbonisation of the maritime sector.

For a greener maritime sector, Government is investing £20 million into a Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, to support the UK design and development of clean maritime technologies. This programme builds on the vision set out in the Department’s Clean Maritime Plan and underlines our commitment to addressing emissions from this sector.

Further plans for the decarbonisation of the maritime sector will be set out in the forthcoming Transport Decarbonisation Plan.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 23 February (HL13331), whether there are any high frequency coast stations in the UK.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency operates Very High Frequency (VHF) and Medium Frequency (MF) coast stations, in line with our declared commitments for the provision of maritime safety and search and rescue services in the United Kingdom’s Search & Rescue Region.

There are no declared High Frequency (HF) coast stations in the UK, other than access to specific HF frequencies via the Ministry of Defence network for aeronautical rescue.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have identified a clear timeline for allowing the cruise industry to restart.

The Prime Minister set out the Roadmap out of lockdown on 22 February which will take place over four steps. The Roadmap includes plans for a successor to the Global Travel Taskforce, which will consider a safe and sustainable return to international travel.

The timelines for international cruise restart will be determined through the Taskforce, which will report on 12 April. The report’s recommendations will be aimed at facilitating a return to international travel as soon as is possible, while still managing risk from imported cases and variants of concern. Following that, the Government will determine when international travel should resume, which will be no earlier than 17 May.

We will seek to align domestic cruises with the resumption of wider domestic tourism and indoor hospitality.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 5 February (HL12745), whether, in the event of the failure of satellite-based and radio-based navigation provisions, ships’ officers should use navigation methods that were in place before the introduction of those provisions.

Merchant ships’ navigation officers, under part of their certificates of competency, are provided practical training both ashore and on board to detect and adequately respond to failures of satellite-based and radio-based navigation systems. These responses already include reverting to use of navigation methods other than the satellite and radio-based navigation provisions.

In addition, merchant ships’ navigation watchkeeping procedures contain explicit instructions to routinely employ alternative navigations systems - such as radar for harbour and coastal waters, and celestial navigation for oceans – so as to not rely solely on the satellite and radio-based navigation provisions.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Goldie on 10 December 2020 (HL10934), what assessment they have made of whether UK ocean-going merchant ships will be able to use the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) in the event of the failure of satellite-based communications, and whether those ships will be able to use the GMDSS to communicate in the event that commercial coast stations are closed.

UK-registered ocean-going merchant ships operate under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention which contains common rules for radio equipment installations. The International Maritime Organization’s view is that it is important to maintain medium frequency (MF)/ high frequency (HF) communication systems in case of failure of satellite systems.

The UK relies on the IMO’s assessment of the availability of maritime HF communications in its ongoing review and modernisation of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS). The availability of coast stations for general communications is considered adequate.

Should a coast station close, nation State search and rescue services will continue to respond to HF GMDSS Distress, Urgency and Safety radio traffic. Should the IMO consider the provision of service through HF GMDSS coast stations to be a concern and that could only be addressed at the international level, then it would take action.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 15 January (HL11793), what assessment they have made of the resilience of UK merchant ships’ ability to receive position, navigation and timing data in the event of a failure of satellite provision.

Merchant ships’ navigation officers, under part of their certificates of competency, are provided adequate practical training both ashore and on board to detect and respond to failures of satellite-based position, navigation and timing provisions.

They are, therefore, equipped to employ alternate methods and equipment, such as visual and radar lines of positions, and celestial navigation techniques for the coastal and oceanic phases of ships’ voyages respectively.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
5th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Goldie on 10 December 2020 (HL10934), what tests they have conducted with British merchant ships contacting UK maritime authorities using (1) High Frequency, or (2) Single Side Band, radio communications from the (a) North Atlantic, (b) South Atlantic, (c) Indian, and (d) Pacific, oceans since the closure of Portishead radio station.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has not conducted any specific testing of radiocommunications with UK merchant ships.

Under the Safety of Life At Sea Convention, it is the responsibility of operators of merchant ships to ensure that those ships carry communications equipment that is consistent with the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), which provides an internationally operated maritime communications service.

UK-registered and regulated ships must have radio installations capable of GMDSS communications to shore for their sea areas of operation. In ocean regions they may choose to have either High Frequency (HF) radio or satellite communications, and in polar regions HF is mandatory.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to remain a member of the EU–US Open Skies Agreement.

The EU-US Air Transport Agreement will cease to apply to the United Kingdom on 31 December 2020, after the end of the transition period. The UK and US have concluded negotiations on a new bilateral Air Transport Agreement, which will apply from that point and ensures the continuity of air services between our two countries.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of the United States about remaining part of the EU–US Open Skies Agreement.

The EU-US Air Transport Agreement will cease to apply to the United Kingdom on 31 December 2020, after the end of the transition period. The UK and US have concluded negotiations on a new bilateral Air Transport Agreement, which will apply from that point and ensures the continuity of air services between our two countries.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
29th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, as part of the package of measures to ensure freight capacity support announced by the Secretary of State for Transport on 24 April, consideration was given to building a new Penzance to Scilly Islands ferry to be used to ensure the ongoing supply of critical freight.

The package of measures announced on Friday 24 April provides support for the continuation of vital services to the Isles of Scilly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The building of a new vessel was not part of those considerations and would be a decision for the operators to take.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
29th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to building a new Penzance to Scilly Islands ferry at the Appledore shipyard.

The package of measures announced on Friday 24 April provides support for the continuation of vital services to the Isles of Scilly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The building of a new vessel was not part of those considerations and would be a decision for the operators to take.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, if any, of the difference in carbon footprint of using a ship versus aircraft for travel to and from the Isles of Scilly.

No assessment has been made by the Government on the difference in carbon footprint of using a ship versus aircraft for travel to and from the Isles of Scilly.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, if any, of the implications for the Isles of Scilly of no longer having a ferry.

A regular passenger service is provided commercially by the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group during the summer season. The Scillonian III vessel is currently being prepared for the new season and is scheduled to resume service on 23 March 2020.

No assessment has been made by Government on the implication for the Isles of Scilly of the ferry service ceasing.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of exempting seafarers from the requirement for anyone travelling to the UK from a country on the travel ban list to quarantine in a government-approved facility for 10 days during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Seamen and masters, maritime pilots and inspectors and surveyors of ships, where they have travelled to the United Kingdom in the course of their work and live in the UK, do not need to self-isolate. If they live overseas, they must self-isolate in their accommodation while in England, except while undertaking the exempt activity or travelling as part of their work. They are permitted to enter the UK and do not need to quarantine in a Government approved hotel, even if they have been in any country on the travel ban ‘red list’ in the previous 10 days. This is to reflect the critical role that seafarers play in ensuring the continued supply of goods in and out of the UK.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many GP surgeries in the Folkestone area are not delivering a full range of services; whether this is occurring in other parts of the country; and whether such surgeries not delivering a full range of services is puruant to any NHS strategy.

General practitioner (GP) practices in Kent and elsewhere across the country have been allowed to reduce delivery of some services as part of the health system’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some contractual requirements were suspended from March 2020 onwards to free up time in general practice, with GPs advised that they could defer some types of routine care, where needed. To reduce pressures on GPs we have simplified requirements for medical evidence and found alternative ways to provide information required for various services.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Lord Agnew of Oulton on 13 May (HL3564) and Lord True on 1 June (HL4540), whether there is a record of total government spending on preparations to counter the risk of a pandemic.

The United Kingdom’s influenza pandemic preparedness is based on a ‘defence in depth’ strategy to minimise spread of infection and treat individual cases. In addition to plans to surge National Health Service provision, including critical care, the strategy involves measures to reduce the demand on those NHS services by reducing the risk of transmission and minimising serious illness, including through the stockpiling of personal protective equipment and antivirals.

As this strategy is multi-faceted and it involves many organisations and departments, including the NHS, it is not possible to identify a single source of expenditure that accurately represents our pandemic preparedness. Since 2016-17, NHS England’s funding has increased every year in real terms. NHS England’s mandate is £129.7 billion this year, reaching £137.5 billion in 2023-24.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures that were recommended following the Swine flu pandemic in 2009 relating to future pandemics were subsequently implemented in the UK.

The United Kingdom Government commissioned a publicly available, independent review of the 2009 pandemic response chaired by Dame Deirdre Hine, reflecting on what aspects of the response worked well and what would have had to change in the event of a more severe pandemic. The report of this review made 28 recommendations to the Government on how the response to a future influenza pandemic might be strengthened.

These recommendations, along with robust clinical, scientific and operational advice, were considered and reflected in The UK Pandemic Preparedness Strategy 2011. This Strategy sets out how the UK will treat individual cases of influenza and minimise the spread of infection in the event of a future pandemic.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the deployment of tens of thousands of Chinese troops to the disputed border with India in Ladakh.

We continue to support a peaceful resolution of border issues between India and China, which are a bilateral matter. We welcome ongoing discussions between India and China aimed at reducing tension along the Line of Actual Control.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the statement by the Courage Foundation on the investigation by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons into the alleged use of chemical weapons in Douma, Syria, published on 11 March; and what steps they intend to take in response.

We welcome the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Fact-Finding Mission's thorough and evidenced report on the incident in Douma on 7 April 2018. The Fact-Finding Mission concluded that a toxic chemical, likely chlorine, was used as a weapon. We have confidence in the report's methodology and conclusions.

The Director-General of the OPCW has confirmed that that the OPCW Technical Secretariat took all views and evidence into account in reaching its conclusions. The Director-General answered fully questions put to him at sessions of the United Nations Security Council in December 2020, May 2020 and November 2019.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the publication date for the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy; and whether publication will occur before 31 May 2021.

The Integrated Review will cover all aspects of international and national security policy - defence, diplomacy, development and national resilience. Uniting development and diplomacy in one department brings together Britain's international effort to have even greater impact and influence on the world stage as we recover from the coronavirus pandemic. The Review will assess what will be needed to deliver our new strategy, in addition to seizing the opportunities offered by the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. The publication date will be announced in due course.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of Russia about its plans to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty.

Her Majesty’s Government have continually highlighted their willingness to discuss Russia’s concerns around the Open Skies Treaty (OST) via the appropriate channel of the Open Skies Consultative Commission (OSCC) in Vienna. The UK responded to the government of Russia bilaterally on 31 December, reasserting our commitment to the OST and welcoming further discussion at the OSCC. States parties to the Treaty, including Russia, discussed the issue on 19 January, when the UK expressed its disappointment at the Russian decision, and again at the recent OSCC meeting on 25 January when the UK called on Russia to engage constructively with other signatories. The senior responsible official in London also speaks regularly with Russian diplomats about issues surrounding the Open Skies Treaty, and the UK Delegation to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) maintain regular dialogue with their Russian counterparts

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to continue to fund the eradication of invasive mice on Gough Island.

Over 90% of UK's biodiversity is in the Overseas Territories. Gough Island is a UNESCO natural World Heritage site and the UK Government continues to support the RSPB's efforts to eradicate invasive non-native mice from the Island to save critically endangered seabirds from extinction. The RSPB has announced that the final eradication stage can now proceed in 2021. The UK Government has provided over £2 million in funding to support this project and will give further consideration to providing additional funding for the next financial year

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the importance of limiting the number of nuclear warheads held by Russia and the USA.

The Foreign Secretary holds regular discussions with his US counterpart on a range of issues, including on arms control and strategic stability. These discussions are reflected and supported by daily cooperation at official level between the UK and the US, as well as by wider cooperation with NATO Allies. As a fellow Permanent Member of the UN Security Council, we engage with Russia on matters of international peace and security, including arms control. Through our Embassy in Moscow we have had a number of discussions with the Russian authorities on this topic.

US strategic arms, along with those of Russia, are limited by the New START Treaty. We recognise the contribution New START has made to international security and strategic stability by increasing transparency and mutual confidence among the two largest Nuclear Weapons States. However, New START does not include new Russian systems, nor does it place any limits on China's growing nuclear arsenal. We therefore support extension of New START while a successor agreement is negotiated.

14th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have had any discussions with (1) the government of Russia, and (2) the government of the United States, about a New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

The Foreign Secretary holds regular discussions with his US counterpart on a range of issues, including on arms control and strategic stability. These discussions are reflected and supported by daily cooperation at official level between the UK and the US, as well as by wider cooperation with NATO Allies. As a fellow Permanent Member of the UN Security Council, we engage with Russia on matters of international peace and security, including arms control. Through our Embassy in Moscow we have had a number of discussions with the Russian authorities on this topic.

US strategic arms, along with those of Russia, are limited by the New START Treaty. We recognise the contribution New START has made to international security and strategic stability by increasing transparency and mutual confidence among the two largest Nuclear Weapons States. However, New START does not include new Russian systems, nor does it place any limits on China's growing nuclear arsenal. We therefore support extension of New START while a successor agreement is negotiated.

20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that the government of the United States has plans to conduct a demonstration nuclear test explosion.

The US Government has assured us that they have no intention of conducting a demonstration nuclear test explosion. On 16 July, in a White House speech, President Trump noted that '[s]ince 1992, the US observed a moratorium on such testing and have relied on the scientific and technological expertise of our weapons complex to ensure our deterrent is safe, secure, and effective. True to our word, we maintain our moratorium'.

18th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of Turkey's drilling for energy in Cyprus’ sovereign waters; and whether they have received any request to join an EU maritime force in those waters.

The UK has been clear from the start that we deplore Turkish drilling in the waters around Cyprus. We will continue to call for de-escalation. We have consistently stated our support for the sovereign right of the Republic of Cyprus to exploit the oil and gas in its internationally agreed Exclusive Economic Zone. We continue to consider that Cyprus' oil and gas should be developed for the benefit of all Cypriots. Ultimately, the most enduring way of resolving difficult issues such as this is to achieve a Cyprus settlement and we encourage all parties to redouble their efforts in pursuit of that.

We judge that it is critical for stability in the Mediterranean and for the integrity of the rules-based international system that disputes such as this are resolved, not through force, militarisation or coercion, but through dialogue and in accordance with international law. We will continue to work with the Republic of Cyprus and the wider region to that end. The UK has not been invited to participate in an EU Mediterranean maritime operation in the waters around Cyprus.

18th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have any agreement with the government of Cyprus that the UK would aid Cyprus if its sovereignty were threatened.

The UK, as a Guarantor Power, has a responsibility for protecting the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus. The UK's principal responsibility under the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee is to recognise and guarantee the independence, territorial integrity and security of the Republic of Cyprus. The Government fulfils this responsibility through supporting the UN-facilitated settlement process, which is aimed at achieving a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with political equality as defined by the relevant Security Council resolutions. We are also the largest troop contributor to the UN Peacekeeping Force on the island, UNFICYP.

21st May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of the United States about the possible renewal of the New START Treaty next year.

We recognise the contribution the New START Treaty has made to international security by increasing transparency and mutual confidence amongst the two largest Nuclear Weapons States. The Treaty has delivered a reduction of strategic nuclear arsenals, enhanced notably by its robust verification mechanism. However, we are also clear that New START has limitations. It does not include new Russian systems. Nor does it place any limits on China's growing nuclear arsenal. We therefore support the US Government's trilateral strategic arms control initiative.

We have regular discussions with the Government of the United States on these issues and have made clear that we support the continued implementation of New START. We have also encouraged the US to extend the Treaty while negotiating any successor agreement.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to whether the government of China should be party to any future New START Treaty.

We recognise the contribution the New START Treaty has made to international security by increasing transparency and mutual confidence amongst the two largest Nuclear Weapons States. The Treaty has delivered a reduction of strategic nuclear arsenals, enhanced notably by its robust verification mechanism. We support its continued implementation and have encouraged the US to extend New START while negotiating any successor agreement. However, we are also clear that New START has limitations. It does not include new Russian systems. Nor does it place any limits on China's growing nuclear arsenal. We therefore support the US Government's trilateral strategic arms control initiative.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they have taken to try and establish confidence building measures between nuclear powers since the termination of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

During our coordination of the P5 Process, the UK hosted a range of discussions between the five Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Nuclear Weapon States, including a dialogue aimed at increasing our mutual understanding of each other's nuclear doctrine, and hosting a conference of the five Nuclear Weapon States in London on 12-13 February 2020. At that meeting, all five states underlined the importance of reducing nuclear risk and promoting stability, and agreed that dialogue on strategic risk reduction should continue.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the UK’s responsibilities as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, in particular with regard to the military enforcement of UN resolutions; and what assessment, if any, they have made of the military capability required by a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

As one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, the UK takes its responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security very seriously. Through the Council we work hard to achieve constructive solutions to international crises, to promote British values and to confront threats to UK security.

While there are no requirements placed on permanent members of the Security Council by the UN Charter to maintain a particular level of military capability, the UK is fully committed to spending at least 2% of GDP on defence. We have participated in a number of missions authorised to use force by the Security Council, including the UN Protection Force in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. We are the fifth largest contributor to the UN's peacekeeping budget, and contribute around 600 peacekeepers to UN operations. The UK is the lead contributor to the UN mission in Cyprus. In March 2020 we concluded a four-year troop deployment to South Sudan. Later this year, we will deploy a Long Range Reconnaissance Task Group to MINUSMA, the UN peacekeeping operation in Mali.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of China about that government's naming of 80 reefs, seamounts, shoals and ridges and other geographical features in the South China Sea, 55 of those submerged at all states of the tide; and what assessment they have made of that government's claims to sovereignty on underwater features more than 12 nautical miles from Chinese land.

The position of Her Majesty's Government is to oppose any activity which raises tensions or seeks to alter the facts on the ground in the South China Sea. We take no position on sovereignty disputes in the South China Sea and encourage all parties to settle their disputes peacefully through the existing legal mechanisms, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). We have frequent discussions with Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and several other nations on the South China Sea, including as part of high-level political dialogues. Officials have raised our concerns about recent incidents in the South China Sea, including the creation of new administrative territories, with Chinese authorities.

China is a party to UNCLOS and ratified it in 1996. The UK challenges China where their interpretation differs from ours. For example, the UK has objected to China's claims based on "historic rights" in the South China Seas on the basis that such claims are not founded in law, insofar as it would be inconsistent with international law as reflected in UNCLOS.

The UK's position with regard to the classification of maritime features is that States may classify as islands those features which meet the definition of islands in Article 121(1) of UNCLOS. The UK's position is also that, as provided in Article 121(3) of UNCLOS, rocks which cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of their own shall have no exclusive economic zone or continental shelf. In addition, the UK's position is that under UNCLOS, low tide elevations which are situated beyond the breadth of the territorial sea from the mainland or an island, are not entitled to a territorial sea, and cannot be appropriated by any State.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the government of China has ratified the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea; and if so, what assessment they have made of that government’s compliance with that convention.

The position of Her Majesty's Government is to oppose any activity which raises tensions or seeks to alter the facts on the ground in the South China Sea. We take no position on sovereignty disputes in the South China Sea and encourage all parties to settle their disputes peacefully through the existing legal mechanisms, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). We have frequent discussions with Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and several other nations on the South China Sea, including as part of high-level political dialogues. Officials have raised our concerns about recent incidents in the South China Sea, including the creation of new administrative territories, with Chinese authorities.

China is a party to UNCLOS and ratified it in 1996. The UK challenges China where their interpretation differs from ours. For example, the UK has objected to China's claims based on "historic rights" in the South China Seas on the basis that such claims are not founded in law, insofar as it would be inconsistent with international law as reflected in UNCLOS.

The UK's position with regard to the classification of maritime features is that States may classify as islands those features which meet the definition of islands in Article 121(1) of UNCLOS. The UK's position is also that, as provided in Article 121(3) of UNCLOS, rocks which cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of their own shall have no exclusive economic zone or continental shelf. In addition, the UK's position is that under UNCLOS, low tide elevations which are situated beyond the breadth of the territorial sea from the mainland or an island, are not entitled to a territorial sea, and cannot be appropriated by any State.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of (1) Vietnam, (2) The Philippines, (3) Malaysia, (4) Indonesia, (5) Brunei, and (6) other nations, about the government of China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.

The position of Her Majesty's Government is to oppose any activity which raises tensions or seeks to alter the facts on the ground in the South China Sea. We take no position on sovereignty disputes in the South China Sea and encourage all parties to settle their disputes peacefully through the existing legal mechanisms, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). We have frequent discussions with Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and several other nations on the South China Sea, including as part of high-level political dialogues. Officials have raised our concerns about recent incidents in the South China Sea, including the creation of new administrative territories, with Chinese authorities.

China is a party to UNCLOS and ratified it in 1996. The UK challenges China where their interpretation differs from ours. For example, the UK has objected to China's claims based on "historic rights" in the South China Seas on the basis that such claims are not founded in law, insofar as it would be inconsistent with international law as reflected in UNCLOS.

The UK's position with regard to the classification of maritime features is that States may classify as islands those features which meet the definition of islands in Article 121(1) of UNCLOS. The UK's position is also that, as provided in Article 121(3) of UNCLOS, rocks which cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of their own shall have no exclusive economic zone or continental shelf. In addition, the UK's position is that under UNCLOS, low tide elevations which are situated beyond the breadth of the territorial sea from the mainland or an island, are not entitled to a territorial sea, and cannot be appropriated by any State.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what diplomatic action they have taken in response to unlawful actions by China in the South China Sea.

We regularly encourage all parties, including China, to settle their disputes peacefully through the existing legal mechanisms, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and to uphold the 2016 Arbitration ruling. The British Government's position is to oppose any action which changes the facts on the ground in the South China Sea, raises tensions, or hinders the chance of peaceful settlement of the disputes. We regularly make this position clear to the Chinese authorities and will continue to do so. We have also set out our position publicly alongside partners such as France and Germany, with whom we made a joint statement in August 2019.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the final judgement of the China Tribunal set out in its report Independent Tribunal into Forced Organ Harvesting from Prisoners of Conscience in China Final Judgement and Summary Report, published on 17 June 2019, which concluded “forced organ harvesting has been committed for years throughout China on a significant scale and that Falun Gong practitioners have been one – and probably the main – source of organ supply’, whether their proposals for new Magnitsky-style legislation will include known organ harvesting perpetrators; and if not, why not.

The Foreign Secretary has announced that the UK will establish a global human rights sanctions regime under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018. We will lay secondary legislation to establish this sanctions regime in the coming months. It would be inappropriate to comment on potential designations before these regulations come into force.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many vessels by type are operated by HMRC.

No vessels are operated by HMRC.

Responsibility for customs and revenue work at the border was transferred from HMRC to the UK Border Agency (UKBA) – now Border Force – in 2009. From that time, Border Force has been responsible for the prevention of smuggling, frontier controls on the movement of goods, and clearing goods and people across the UK border, collecting taxes and duties where appropriate.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
27th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the Making Tax Digital programme on the productivity of the self-employed.

The Government expects the Making Tax Digital programme to have a positive impact on the productivity of self-employed businesses, as set out in the Financial Secretary to the Treasury’s written ministerial statement on 21 July (HCWS400) and HMRC and HM Treasury’s publication “Building a trusted, modern tax administration” of the same date.

About 1.4 million businesses, some of whom are self-employed, have already joined Making Tax Digital (MTD) for their VAT affairs and many of these are already experiencing productivity gains associated with more digital ways of working, as set out in HMRC’s Evaluation of the MTD for VAT service published in March.

The Enterprise Research Centre (2018) found that for micro-businesses, web-based accounting software delivered productivity increases of over 10%.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
23rd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures they have in place for anyone (1) without access to computers, and (2) who is not online, when the Making Tax Digital programme comes into operation

The Government understands that some people with disabilities, those in rural locations with poor broadband services, and those who are digitally excluded for other reasons may find it more difficult to comply with Making Tax Digital (MTD) requirements. MTD exemptions have operated successfully since the introduction of MTD for VAT in April 2019 for businesses with taxable turnover in excess of the VAT threshold. These exemptions will continue to be available to businesses within the expanded scope of MTD.

There will be no specific allowances or payment made to those using MTD for time spent complying with MTD requirements. However, the Government accepts that there will be time spent in familiarisation with the new MTD obligations (digital record keeping and quarterly submission of information). The Lloyds Bank UK Consumer Digital Index 2019 found that those who are the most digitally engaged save a day a week in administration by going digital. Once businesses are used to operating the new MTD processes, the Government anticipates that they will find that MTD makes it easier for them to get things right, reducing errors and saving time in administering their tax affairs.

MTD is not a response to any changes in HMRC workforce. It is a key part of the Government’s long term goal for HMRC to become one of the most digitally advanced tax authorities in the world, and forms part of the Government's 10-year strategy to build a trusted, modern tax administration system. As well as helping to tackle the part of the tax gap arising due to error and failure to take reasonable care, MTD will help to make the tax administration system more resilient and effective in responding to future shocks, while also providing businesses with access to real-time data and a more accurate overview of their financial position.

The Government will not be funding specialist software or training, but will continue to work to ensure that any additional costs to business are minimised. Free Income Tax software will be available for businesses with the simplest tax affairs. For VAT, there are already over a dozen free packages available as part of a highly competitive market with over 500 products for different business needs. On training, the HMRC customer support model includes a multi-layered approach stretching across agents, third party software support, through to telephony support, webchat, and HMRC’s Extra Support service, as well as signposting to information and guides and to local or third party providers of digital skills courses or support already offered by external providers.

For those with slow speeds and no access to other commercial alternatives, the broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) came into force in March 2020. The USO gives people in the UK the right to request a decent and affordable broadband connection. The Government has pledged £5 billion to support the rollout of gigabit-capable networks to the hardest to reach 20% of the country.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
23rd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what (1) allowances will be available, or (2) payment will be made, to anyone who is self-employed for the time spent complying with the requirements of the Making Tax Digital programme.

The Government understands that some people with disabilities, those in rural locations with poor broadband services, and those who are digitally excluded for other reasons may find it more difficult to comply with Making Tax Digital (MTD) requirements. MTD exemptions have operated successfully since the introduction of MTD for VAT in April 2019 for businesses with taxable turnover in excess of the VAT threshold. These exemptions will continue to be available to businesses within the expanded scope of MTD.

There will be no specific allowances or payment made to those using MTD for time spent complying with MTD requirements. However, the Government accepts that there will be time spent in familiarisation with the new MTD obligations (digital record keeping and quarterly submission of information). The Lloyds Bank UK Consumer Digital Index 2019 found that those who are the most digitally engaged save a day a week in administration by going digital. Once businesses are used to operating the new MTD processes, the Government anticipates that they will find that MTD makes it easier for them to get things right, reducing errors and saving time in administering their tax affairs.

MTD is not a response to any changes in HMRC workforce. It is a key part of the Government’s long term goal for HMRC to become one of the most digitally advanced tax authorities in the world, and forms part of the Government's 10-year strategy to build a trusted, modern tax administration system. As well as helping to tackle the part of the tax gap arising due to error and failure to take reasonable care, MTD will help to make the tax administration system more resilient and effective in responding to future shocks, while also providing businesses with access to real-time data and a more accurate overview of their financial position.

The Government will not be funding specialist software or training, but will continue to work to ensure that any additional costs to business are minimised. Free Income Tax software will be available for businesses with the simplest tax affairs. For VAT, there are already over a dozen free packages available as part of a highly competitive market with over 500 products for different business needs. On training, the HMRC customer support model includes a multi-layered approach stretching across agents, third party software support, through to telephony support, webchat, and HMRC’s Extra Support service, as well as signposting to information and guides and to local or third party providers of digital skills courses or support already offered by external providers.

For those with slow speeds and no access to other commercial alternatives, the broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) came into force in March 2020. The USO gives people in the UK the right to request a decent and affordable broadband connection. The Government has pledged £5 billion to support the rollout of gigabit-capable networks to the hardest to reach 20% of the country.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
23rd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Making Tax Digital programme has been introduced due to reductions in the HMRC workforce.

The Government understands that some people with disabilities, those in rural locations with poor broadband services, and those who are digitally excluded for other reasons may find it more difficult to comply with Making Tax Digital (MTD) requirements. MTD exemptions have operated successfully since the introduction of MTD for VAT in April 2019 for businesses with taxable turnover in excess of the VAT threshold. These exemptions will continue to be available to businesses within the expanded scope of MTD.

There will be no specific allowances or payment made to those using MTD for time spent complying with MTD requirements. However, the Government accepts that there will be time spent in familiarisation with the new MTD obligations (digital record keeping and quarterly submission of information). The Lloyds Bank UK Consumer Digital Index 2019 found that those who are the most digitally engaged save a day a week in administration by going digital. Once businesses are used to operating the new MTD processes, the Government anticipates that they will find that MTD makes it easier for them to get things right, reducing errors and saving time in administering their tax affairs.

MTD is not a response to any changes in HMRC workforce. It is a key part of the Government’s long term goal for HMRC to become one of the most digitally advanced tax authorities in the world, and forms part of the Government's 10-year strategy to build a trusted, modern tax administration system. As well as helping to tackle the part of the tax gap arising due to error and failure to take reasonable care, MTD will help to make the tax administration system more resilient and effective in responding to future shocks, while also providing businesses with access to real-time data and a more accurate overview of their financial position.

The Government will not be funding specialist software or training, but will continue to work to ensure that any additional costs to business are minimised. Free Income Tax software will be available for businesses with the simplest tax affairs. For VAT, there are already over a dozen free packages available as part of a highly competitive market with over 500 products for different business needs. On training, the HMRC customer support model includes a multi-layered approach stretching across agents, third party software support, through to telephony support, webchat, and HMRC’s Extra Support service, as well as signposting to information and guides and to local or third party providers of digital skills courses or support already offered by external providers.

For those with slow speeds and no access to other commercial alternatives, the broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) came into force in March 2020. The USO gives people in the UK the right to request a decent and affordable broadband connection. The Government has pledged £5 billion to support the rollout of gigabit-capable networks to the hardest to reach 20% of the country.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
23rd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to fund appropriate standards of broadband connection for those who live in areas with poor broadband connectivity to ensure that they can participate in the Making Tax Digital programme.

The Government understands that some people with disabilities, those in rural locations with poor broadband services, and those who are digitally excluded for other reasons may find it more difficult to comply with Making Tax Digital (MTD) requirements. MTD exemptions have operated successfully since the introduction of MTD for VAT in April 2019 for businesses with taxable turnover in excess of the VAT threshold. These exemptions will continue to be available to businesses within the expanded scope of MTD.

There will be no specific allowances or payment made to those using MTD for time spent complying with MTD requirements. However, the Government accepts that there will be time spent in familiarisation with the new MTD obligations (digital record keeping and quarterly submission of information). The Lloyds Bank UK Consumer Digital Index 2019 found that those who are the most digitally engaged save a day a week in administration by going digital. Once businesses are used to operating the new MTD processes, the Government anticipates that they will find that MTD makes it easier for them to get things right, reducing errors and saving time in administering their tax affairs.

MTD is not a response to any changes in HMRC workforce. It is a key part of the Government’s long term goal for HMRC to become one of the most digitally advanced tax authorities in the world, and forms part of the Government's 10-year strategy to build a trusted, modern tax administration system. As well as helping to tackle the part of the tax gap arising due to error and failure to take reasonable care, MTD will help to make the tax administration system more resilient and effective in responding to future shocks, while also providing businesses with access to real-time data and a more accurate overview of their financial position.

The Government will not be funding specialist software or training, but will continue to work to ensure that any additional costs to business are minimised. Free Income Tax software will be available for businesses with the simplest tax affairs. For VAT, there are already over a dozen free packages available as part of a highly competitive market with over 500 products for different business needs. On training, the HMRC customer support model includes a multi-layered approach stretching across agents, third party software support, through to telephony support, webchat, and HMRC’s Extra Support service, as well as signposting to information and guides and to local or third party providers of digital skills courses or support already offered by external providers.

For those with slow speeds and no access to other commercial alternatives, the broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) came into force in March 2020. The USO gives people in the UK the right to request a decent and affordable broadband connection. The Government has pledged £5 billion to support the rollout of gigabit-capable networks to the hardest to reach 20% of the country.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much funding was allocated for preparations to counter the National Security Risk Assessment Tier 1 risk of pandemic in each year from 2010 to 2019.

Her Majesty’s Government announces government spending through various fiscal events. Departments have jurisdiction to set their own budgets according to their budgetary priorities. It is for individual Departments to determine how much funding to allocate to pandemic preparedness, taking into account their specific circumstances and requirements.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
16th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Agnew of Oulton on 13 July (HL1749), how many vessels by (1) size, and (2) type, are operated by UK Border Force.

Border Force Maritime Command’s fleet includes five cutters and six coastal patrol vessels as well as niche capability in the form of tactical watercraft (TWC) and dedicated mobile RHIB capability. Each cutter carries a jet driven RHIB capable of delivering a boarding team. The type of asset deployed will reflect the operational task and may be deployed as a standalone asset or as a combination, to allow for a broad range of tactical options, that can respond to a specific threat or event.

Border Force Vessels undertake strategic patrols, tactical surveillance and enforcement activity in support of Border Force and other government agencies providing a law enforcement capability at sea.

As a minimum a Cutter and two CPV’s will be permanently deployed to the south east to the 30-mile stretch of coast covering the Dover Straits with additional vessels deployed as operationally required.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
5th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many vessels by type are operated by UK Border Force.

Border Force Maritime Command’s fleet includes five cutters and six coastal patrol vessels as well as niche capability in the form of tactical watercraft (TWC) and dedicated mobile RHIB capability. Each cutter carries a jet driven RHIB capable of delivering a boarding team. The type of asset deployed will reflect the operational task and may be deployed as a standalone asset or as a combination, to allow for a broad range of tactical options, that can respond to a specific threat or event.

Border Force Vessels undertake strategic patrols, tactical surveillance and enforcement activity in support of Border Force and other government agencies providing a law enforcement capability at sea.

As a minimum a Cutter and two CPVs will be permanently deployed to the south east to the 30-mile stretch of coast covering the Dover Straits with additional vessels deployed as operationally required.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have suspended the registration of births during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The General Register Office for England and Wales (GRO) has advised that birth registration appointments should, where possible, be deferred while the current measures to slow the spread of Covid-19 are in place. Where there is an urgent need for a birth to be registered, GRO and Local Authority registrars are considering how this can be achieved on a case-by-case basis within public health guidance and local authority policy.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the absence of a birth certificate would prevent a mother travelling abroad with her new-born baby.

The absence of a birth certificate for a new born does not prevent a passport application being submitted to enable travel, however alternative evidence will need to be provided.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how long the suspension of registration of births will continue; and what measures have been put in place to allow babies born during the COVID-19 pandemic to travel on their mother’s passport until such time as a birth certificate and passport can be obtained.

The General Register Office for England and Wales (GRO) has advised that birth registration appointments should, where possible, be deferred while the current measures to slow the spread of Covid-19 are in place.

There are no plans to allow babies to travel on their mother’s passport. The absence of a birth certificate for a newborn does not prevent a passport application being submitted, however alternative evidence will need to be provided.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
16th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Goldie on 13 July (HL1582), whether the Multi Role Ocean Surveillance Ship will be used as a subsea cable repair ship; and, if so, whether any such ships will be in the 30-year cross-government shipbuilding pipeline to be published later this year.

The Multi Role Ocean Surveillance Ship will primarily undertake survey work and will also enable us to better protect our undersea cables and energy supplies. It will form part of the 30-year cross-government shipbuilding pipeline which will be published in the National Shipbuilding Strategy Refresh later this year.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
12th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether subsea cable repair ships should be classified as warships.

For a subsea cable repair ship to be classed as a warship, it would need to meet the definition of a warship under Article 29 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
12th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what investment they are providing to support the growth of green shipbuilding in the UK.

The Secretary of State for Defence, in his role as Shipbuilding Tsar, is working across Government to support the shipbuilding enterprise. The National Shipbuilding Strategy Refresh will set out our comprehensive support for green shipbuilding, which offers a significant opportunity for driving the renaissance of the sector.

On 22 March 2021 the Department for Transport launched the £20 million Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, which has now closed. This will fund feasibility studies and initial technology trials in clean maritime technologies including green shipbuilding, placing the UK at the forefront of the design and manufacturing of zero emission vessels.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
8th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to nationalise Sheffield Forgemasters; and what assessment they have made of the importance of Sheffield Forgemasters to the supply of the UK's nuclear submarine fleet.

Sheffield Forgemasters is a strategic supplier to Defence; therefore, officials are in regular dialogue with company representatives. I have seen the media speculation about the company, and it would be inappropriate to comment further.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
5th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the majority of work on the three new Fleet Solid Support ships will be undertaken at UK shipyards.

The contract for the manufacture of the Fleet Solid Support ships will be awarded to a UK business, either solely or as part of a consortium. A significant proportion of the build work will be carried out in the UK.

The competition seeks to maximise the economic and social contribution shipbuilding can make in the UK, including encouraging investment in domestic shipyards, whilst balancing the need to deliver value for money and an overall compliant solution to meet the Royal Fleet Auxiliary's needs.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
5th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ring fence money for the next five Type 26 frigates in the forthcoming spending review.

Resources have been allocated by the Ministry of Defence to build and support the next five Type 26 Frigates. Funding lines are continually reviewed as part of routine programme management to ensure value for money is maximised for the taxpayer, drive the schedule and manage risk and opportunity.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
29th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the proposed naval cable monitoring and repair ship is intended to replace the sophisticated ships currently looking after undersea cables.

The Multi Role Ocean Surveillance Ship will be included in the 30-year cross-Government shipbuilding pipeline which will be published in the National Shipbuilding Strategy later this year. This new capability will enhance our ability to protect our underwater critical national infrastructure and our ability to detect threats in the North Atlantic and beyond.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
29th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to include the building of subsea cable repair ships within the National Shipbuilding Strategy.

The Multi Role Ocean Surveillance Ship will be included in the 30-year cross-Government shipbuilding pipeline which will be published in the National Shipbuilding Strategy later this year. This new capability will enhance our ability to protect our underwater critical national infrastructure and our ability to detect threats in the North Atlantic and beyond.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
28th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the new acceptance date for delivery of HMS Glasgow.

On current plans, HMS GLASGOW will be floated-up in BAE System's Govan shipyard in the second half of 2022 and then transferred to its Scotstoun shipyard. There, she will be fitted-out with complex weapons and other systems. After completion of sea trials and Royal Navy training and preparations, she is currently expected to enter service in 2027.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
17th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to increase the size of the Royal Navy Overseas Patrol Squadron.

The Royal Navy has no plans at present to expand the size of the Overseas Patrol Squadron once the fifth Batch 2 Offshore Patrol Vessel is declared in service later this summer.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
24th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they anticipate that the number of Royal Navy frigates will drop below 10 this decade.

Her Majesty's Government does not anticipate that the number of Royal Navy frigates will drop below ten this decade. Frigate numbers are forecast to grow from 2025, when the first Type 26 and Type 31 frigates are scheduled to be delivered.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
11th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether HMS Medway has visited St Vincent since the volcano eruptions on 9 and 12 April.

HMS Medway has not visited St. Vincent since the eruptions on 9 and 12 April, and the Ministry of Defence have not received any requests for UK military support from the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
11th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) in what location, and (2) at what notice, was HMS Medway when the volcano erupted in St Vincent on 9 and 12 April.

Between 9 and 12 April HMS Medway was at Naval Station Mayport, United States, undergoing unscheduled repair work for hull damage sustained from a tug during a berthing incident. As a result, she was not available for tasking.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
26th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many countries were visited by ships from the Ocean Wave task group of 1997.

A total of 18 ships were included in the Ocean Wave task group of 1997. Ships from the task group visited 30 countries and three British Overseas Territories during the deployment.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
26th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many ships were included in the Ocean Wave task group of 1997.

A total of 18 ships were included in the Ocean Wave task group of 1997. Ships from the task group visited 30 countries and three British Overseas Territories during the deployment.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
25th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the trained personnel strength of the Royal Marines on (1) 1 April 2010, (2) 1 April 2016, and (3) what do they estimate will be the trained personnel strength on 1 April 2025.

As at 1 January 2021, the current Full Time Trained Strength of the Royal Marines is 5,968. On 1 April 2010 and 1 April 2016, the Full Time Trained Strength of the Royal Marines was 7,082 and 6,921 respectively.

The recent Defence Command Paper announced that the Royal Marines will transition into the Future Commando Force and adopt new and autonomous capabilities. As a result, force structures will change but decisions are yet to be made on the future size of the Royal Marines.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
24th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they next plan to order F35B aircraft; and how many they plan to order.

The Defence Command Paper confirms our intention to continue the growth of our F-35B Lightning Force, beyond the 48 we have already ordered. We will now undertake a period of detailed analysis to evaluate the scale and timeline for procurement of our second tranche of F-35B Lightning Aircraft, associated infrastructure, equipment and support requirements.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
24th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many frigates they plan to be in commission on (1) 1 April 2026, and (2) 1 April 2027.

Shipbuilding investment will double over the life of this Parliament rising to over £1.7 billion a year; this investment will allow us to increase the number of Frigates and Destroyers beyond the 19 we currently have by the end of the decade. Orders for the Type 26 and Type 31 Frigates have already been placed and will be introduced from around the mid-late 2020s.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
24th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Baroness Goldie on 23 March (HL Deb, col 811), what meetings they have had with the board of BA Systems to discuss the Type 26 frigate programme.

Ministerial colleagues and Ministry of Defence officials have regular meetings with BAE Systems board members on a range of matters, including the Type 26 Frigate programme.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
24th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Baroness Goldie on 23 March (HL Deb, col 811), whether the review of reserves by Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton will cover the provision of soldiers for 'Military Aid to the Civil Power', including (1) resilience, and (2) disaster relief, following the recent cut in the size of the armed forces.

The Reserve Forces 2030 (RF30) review was initiated by the Chief of the Defence Staff in February 2020. Lord Lancaster was invited to prepare an independent report on the reserve forces and how their likely future employment will contribute to defence and wider Government out to 2030.

The RF30 review has yet to be published, but is a welcome and thorough review of reserves’ contribution to the Armed Forces including resilience. The MOD will carefully consider all of the review’s recommendations and report back to Parliament in due course.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
10th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Goldie on 9 March (HL13634), when the (1) second, and (2) third, ship will enter service

On current plans, HMS Cardiff and HMS Belfast will enter service in the late 2020s.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
8th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Goldie on 16 December 2020, to which specific year or years "early 2020s" refers.

As the contract award for the Batch 2 Type 26 Frigates is subject to commercial negotiation and Her Majesty's Treasury approval, I am unable at this stage to provide a more precise timescale.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
8th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have ordered any new ships for the Royal Navy since the Prime Minister's statement on the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy on 19 November 2020.

There have been no new contracts since 19 November, but with the construction of the Type 26 progressing on the Clyde and the Type 31 frigates beginning later this year, we will have, for the first time in 30 years, two classes of frigate simultaneously under construction in UK shipyards.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
1st Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many Royal Naval ships were in commission on (1) 1 March 2009, (2) 1 March 2015, and (3) 1 March 2021.

The following figures reflect Royal Navy ships and submarines in commission on the dates shown:

1 March 2009 - 86

1 March 2015 - 74

1 March 2021 - 78

These figures exclude HMS VICTORY.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what recent discussions they have had with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission about (1) changes to employment contracts, and (2) the redundancy terms of EU-based staff.

The Ministry of Defence has been in regular contact with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission regarding the changes to the contractual arrangements for 30 UK staff based in Belgium and France. The Commission have advised that 21 staff have elected to remain in Europe, seven will return to new positions in the UK, and two have chosen to retire. As a result of this engagement, including between the Secretary of State for Defence and the Commission, the support package for all staff has been considerably enhanced.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the Type 45 Power Improvement Project will be completed in all ships of the class.

I refer the noble Lord to the reply given by my hon. Friend, the Minister for Defence Procurement (Jeremy Quin), in the House of Commons on 8 June 2020 to the hon. Member for Dunfermline and West Fife (Douglas Chapman), in response to Question numbers 53459 and 53460.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the statement by the Prime Minister on 19 November 2020 that they are “taking forward … plans for eight Type 26 and five Type 31 frigates, and support ships to supply our carriers” (HC Deb, col 488), why they have not yet ordered the remaining planned Type 26 frigates.

I refer the noble Lord to the reply I gave him on 16 December 2020, in response to Question HL11193.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the first Type 26 frigate was ordered; when the first steel was cut; what is the planned launch date of that frigate; and when it is expected to be accepted into service by the Royal Navy.

The £3.7 billion contract to manufacture the first batch of three Type 26 Frigates was awarded in June 2017 and steel cut on the first ship, HMS GLASGOW, in July 2017.

I have interpreted the Noble Lord's use of the term 'launch date' to mean when HMS GLASGOW will be in the water. On current plans, HMS GLASGOW will be floated-up in BAE System's Govan shipyard in the second half of 2022 and then transferred to its Scotstoun shipyard. There, she will be fitted-out with complex weapons and other systems. After completion of sea trials and Royal Navy training and preparations, she is currently expected to enter service in 2027.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
11th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what role the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Associations play in delivering the Armed Forces Covenant.

The Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Associations (RFCAs) create and maintain excellent links to business and the wider community through their regional engagement groups. As such, the RFCAs have an important role in delivering wider engagement with society and encouraging businesses and other institutions to sign the Armed Forces Covenant. Through their network of Employer Engagement Directors, RFCAs are well placed to discuss with businesses and other stakeholders, the tangible benefits which can accrue from demonstrating support to the Armed Forces Community, including recognition through the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Award.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
11th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the review of the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Associations (RFCAs) has concluded that unpaid non-executive positions of the RFCAs, including chairmanships, should remain unpaid; whether any of the review's conclusions on such unpaid executive positions reflect the voluntary ethos of the RFCAs; and whether the review has considered (1) a potential role for unpaid independent advisory councils in shadowing the current regional and national arrangements of the RFCAs, and (2) the extent to which the current organisation of the RFCAs offers value for money.

The 2019 Review of the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Associations (RFCAs) was published on 24 March 2020 and placed in the Library of the House. The Review can be found at the following address: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/review-of-the-reserve-forces-cadets-associations-2019

The Review identified a clear need for fully independent non-executive directors with appropriate corporate competencies to bring a level of constructive challenge currently lacking due to the insular way business is conducted. In addition, it also recommended that some roles should be advertised on the Cabinet Office Public Appointments website and consideration should be given to remunerating RFCA Board and Regional Council members to attract applicants with a diverse mix of military and professional knowledge, skills and experience.

The Review is not explicit on the role of independent advisory councils but recommends that the wider RFCA membership should be retained in an advisory ‘associate’ capacity and any independent regional Chairs of any organisations/sub-committees that sit under the overarching National Board should be appointed in accordance with Government public appointments policy.

The Review also found that the RFCAs deliver a great deal on tight resources, proving strong value for money but also identified a number of areas for improvement. The Ministry of Defence has established a programme team to take forward the Review’s recommendations in conjunction with the RFCAs.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
27th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Goldie on 25 January (HL12037), whether the use of "different harmony guidelines" applies to personnel in squadrons of F35B combat aircraft embarked in carriers.

I refer the Noble Lord to the answer I gave on 25 January 2021 to Question 12037.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
27th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Goldie on 25 January (HL12036), how many F35B aircraft they will possess by 2026; and whether they will be able to deploy the 35 aircraft that are required for high end operations.

We do not recognise the 35 figure the Noble Lord quotes in any Departmental planning. I refer the Noble Lord to the answer I gave on 25 January to Question HL12036 and the answer I gave on 16 December 2020 to Question HL11192.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
27th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Goldie on 25 January (HL12034), how many aircraft carriers they plan to deploy in cases of a national emergency after 2023.

The number of carriers deployed in response to a national emergency will very much depend on the situation at the time. The level of response would be determined by an operational assessment. The QEC long-term carrier policy and reason for bringing two carriers into service is to ensure that there will always be at least one carrier available, either at sea or in port, at very high readiness to deploy.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
27th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Baroness Goldie on 25 January (HL Deb, col 1377), what discussions there have been as part of the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy on separating the capital costs of nuclear deterrent submarine replacements from the defence budget.

There have been no discussions on removing the capital costs of the Dreadnought submarine build programme from the defence budget. The Dreadnought programme is rightly funded as part of the Ministry of Defence’s budget, as it has always been.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
27th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the long separation periods allowed by Royal Navy harmony rules allow greater periods deployed without rotation of personnel.

Royal Navy Harmony rules govern the time personnel spend deployed using the two measurable factors of Separated Service and Minimum Time Ashore. In most cases, the maximum period of Separated Service allowed is 660 days over a rolling three-year period, while Minimum Time Ashore limits the duration of any individual posting to a deployed unit.

The use of three-year rolling Separated Service rather than an annual limit does allow for longer periods deployed. However, career management of individual personnel allows rotation within units and ensures that periods of deployment are alternated with assignments ashore.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
19th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Goldie on 19 January (HL12039), whether any of those witnesses have ever served in the British Armed Forces on a (1) carrier, or (2) warship, conducting military operations.

The witnesses of the Carrier Strike oral evidence hearing to the Public Accounts Committee on 28 September 2020, have not served in the British Armed Forces on a carrier, or warship, conducting military operations.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
11th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the statement by the Prime Minister on the Integrated Review of Foreign, Defence, Security and Development policy on 19 November (HC Deb, col 495), how many F-35B combat aircraft could be embarked in a national emergency on each of the two new carriers by 2023.

It has been longstanding policy that by bringing two aircraft carriers into service we will ensure that there will always be at least one carrier available 100 per cent of the time, either at sea or in port at very high readiness to deploy. The Carrier Enabled Power Projection (CEPP) programme remains on track to deliver the second operational squadron of F-35 by December 2023. This will provide two squadrons (a total of up to 24 aircraft) available to embark as directed by operational tasking.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
11th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether personnel in squadrons of F35B combat aircraft embarked in the carriers will be working to the same harmony rules.

Jointly manned UK Lightning air squadrons will operate to the same harmony guidelines. The overall principle is that we will manage all embarked UK air squadrons - which will include Fixed and Rotary Wing forces and personnel from all three Services - to ensure that the different harmony guidelines which the Services routinely apply, do not adversely affect operational output.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
11th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to form a (1) third, and (2) fourth, F35B combat aircraft squadron.

The guiding principle of the Integrated Review is to identify the threat and the appropriate capability to meet it. Any decisions on the future direction of the Lightning programme as a result of the Integrated Review will be firmly based on those principles.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
11th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether 48 F35B combat aircraft would meet the requirement for 35 embarked aircraft that were originally considered essential for initial war-entry Carrier Strike operations.

48 Lightning aircraft will be available when the Carrier Enabled Power Projection Full Operational Capability milestone is reached in 2026. The future composition of the UK Lightning Force will be determined by the requirements identified in the Integrated Review.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
11th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have held with the government of France about their new planned nuclear strike carrier.

We have had no formal discussions with the government of France specifically about its plans for a new nuclear strike carrier to replace the Charles de Gaulle in 2038.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
11th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what witnesses with maritime warfare expertise they provided to the Public Accounts Committee's oral evidence session on delivering Carrier Strike on 28 September 2020.

The witnesses to the Public Accounts Committee oral evidence session on Delivering Carrier Strike on 28 September 2020 were Sir Stephen Lovegrove, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Defence; Air Marshal Richard Knighton CB, Senior Responsible Officer (SRO) for Carrier Enabled Power Projection and Deputy Chief of Defence Staff - Military Capability, Charlie Pate, Director General Finance; Sir Simon Bollom, Chief Executive Officer, Defence Equipment Services.

Their full biography can be found at the links below.

Sir Stephen Lovegrove

https://www.gov.uk/government/people/stephen-lovegrove

Charlie Pate

https://www.gov.uk/government/people/charlie-pate

Air Marshall Richard Knighton

https://www.gov.uk/government/people/richard-knighton

Sir Simon Bollom

https://www.gov.uk/government/people/simon-bollom

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
8th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the likelihood that tensions between Russia and NATO will lead to military confrontation; what plans they have put in place to deal with such a scenario; and whether such plans include (1) re-establishing military to military dialogue, (2) establishing stabilising measures in contact zones in the (a) High North, (b) Black Sea, and (c) Baltic Sea, regions, and (3) codifying confidence-building measures in border areas.

The UK is committed to holding Russia to account for its aggression and destabilising behaviour, collectively with our Allies and partners. We can only have a different relationship with Russia if it changes its behaviour in line with the rules based international system.

The UK and NATO continuously track and assess hostile state activity. NATO has a range of crisis management mechanisms and contingency plans in the event of military confrontation with Russia. These are supported by the UK as a core member of the Alliance. For the purposes of transparency and in order to reduce the risk of miscalculation, the UK engages Russia through diplomatic and military channels, and supports conflict resolution and confidence-building measures through the OSCE. NATO also has channels in place, both military and civilian, for the purposes of risk reduction.

UK and NATO military activity in the High North, Baltic, and Black Sea regions is conducted in a safe and professional manner in accordance with international law and United Nation Convention on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS). A bilateral Incidents at Sea Treaty promotes practical mechanisms to reduce risk during interactions between UK and Russian units.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
7th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Baroness Evans of Bowes Park on 23 November (HL Deb, cols 30–31), whether they still intend to order at least 90 F-38B aircraft.

We are committed to 48 F-35B Lightning by 2025, with two operational frontline Squadrons formed by 2023. Further decisions on procurement beyond the 48 aircraft will follow the ongoing Integrated Review.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
7th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will extend the current order of 48 F38B aircraft to ensure that the aircraft carriers due to be operational by 2023 will be equipped with a full airwing.

We are committed to 48 F-35B Lightning by 2025, with two operational frontline Squadrons formed by 2023. Further decisions on procurement beyond the 48 aircraft will follow the ongoing Integrated Review.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
7th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will place the order for the remaining five Type 26 frigates; how long each ship will take to build; at what intervals they will be delivered; and whether BAE Systems will be expected to reduce the price for each subsequent ship as the programme develops.

The procurement of the Batch 2 Type 26 Frigates will be subject to a separate approval and contract, which is expected to be awarded in the early 2020s. Dates for the construction of each ship, and its price, will be set during commercial negotiations with BAE Systems.

It is anticipated that our batch buy procurement strategy will enable lessons learned to be implemented in the building of later ships resulting in lower unit cost and achieving overall better value for money.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
1st Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the statement on the Integrated Review of Foreign, Defence, Security and Development policy by the Prime Minister on 19 November (HC Deb, col 495), when they plan to order the three fleet solid support ships.

I refer the noble Lord to the reply given by my hon. Friend, the Minister for Defence Procurement (Jeremy Quin), in the House of Commons on 30 November 2020 to the right hon. Member for Wentworth and Dearne (John Healey) in response to Question 120779.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
30th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the reasons behind the recent increase in the number of applications to join the Royal Navy; and whether this rise reflects an increase in that service’s overall personnel capacity.

The Royal Navy (RN) does not collect information on the reasons behind individual applications to join the Service.

There has been an increase in initial training capacity during 2020/21 and the RN is currently on track to deliver approximately 95% of its regular recruiting target. This will facilitate full crewing of all current and future operational platforms and the Future Commando Force. Recruiting targets for 2021/22 are more ambitious and the RN will draw upon the increased interest in joining to meet those higher targets.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
30th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the UK’s ability to communicate with deep sea (1) military, and (2) civilian, vessels in the event of a total satellite blackout.

For Defence related communications to Military deep-sea vessels the Ministry of Defence would revert to Line of Sight (where feasible) or atmospheric bounce Radio services of a specific wavelength and frequency.

These capabilities are tested at periodical intervals in line with the Defence Exercise Programme.

For communications with civilian vessels, the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) provides an internationally operated maritime communications service. Regulated UK vessels have radio installations capable of GMDSS communications to shore for their areas of operation. In ocean regions they may choose to have either High Frequency (HF) radio or satellite communications, but in polar regions HF is mandatory.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
30th Nov 2020
AWE
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to renationalise management of the Atomic Weapons Establishment.

I refer the noble Lord, to the written statement I laid in the House on 2 November, HLWS537 .

AWE plc will become a Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB), wholly owned by the MOD, on the 1st July 2021 following the appointment of a new Board. While NDPBs are distanced from Government, the Secretary of State for Defence will be accountable to Parliament for the degree of independence and levels of expenditure delegated to the AWE plc NDPB.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Baroness Goldie on 4 November (HL Deb, col 695), what discussions they have had with the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue nations about the potential for future interactions with the Five Power Defence Arrangements.

The UK Government has made no representations to Quadrilateral Security Dialogue nations about future interactions with the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA). Any representations of this nature would require the involvement and consensus of all five FDPA members. As we look towards FPDA's 50th Anniversary in 2021, the UK looks forward to continuing and enhancing our FPDA engagement as a demonstration of our steadfast commitment to the Arrangements.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
14th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the implications for the Tempest programme of the announcement of an American sixth generation fighter.

The 2018 Combat Air Strategy confirmed the UK's commitment to a strong and sustainable Combat Air Sector. The Strategy reinforced the importance of effective international partnering in delivering next generation combat air and building on mutual strengths. The Strategy also confirmed that we will seek to maximise interoperability, especially with the United States, wider NATO, European and global allies and partners. The Department will shortly submit the future combat air outline business case, which will down-select the acquisition route.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
15th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Goldie on 14 September (HL7741), whether the Merchant Navy Reserve was disbanded on (1) 15 December 2003 upon the implementation of SI 2003/2861, or (2) another date.

The Explanatory Note to The Merchant Shipping (Merchant Navy Reserve) (Revocation) Regulations 2003 (SI 2003/2861), that came into force on 15 December 2003, states that, following a series of Ministry of Defence reviews, the Merchant Navy Reserve scheme was disbanded on 23 May 2000.

I would like to take this opportunity to clarify the advice provided in my earlier answer. All Merchant Navy Reservists would have had the opportunity to apply to join the Royal Naval Reserve (RNR). However, the Merchant Navy Reserve did not fold, as an organisation, in to the RNR.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many Golden Jubilee Medals, issued in 2003, were awarded to (1) the Reserve Forces, and (2) the Merchant Navy Reserve.

Based on the available records, it is assessed that in the region of 2,513 Queen's Golden Jubilee Medals were issued to Reservists in 2003.

No Queen's Golden Jubilee Medals were issued to the Merchant Navy Reserve (MNR) as the medal was instituted after the MNR was formally disbanded in May 2000 and folded into the Royal Naval Reserve.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
18th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports of Turkish military actions against a French warship on a NATO mission.

We are concerned by the reporting of the Maritime incident in the Mediterranean on 10 June. It is important that we first establish the facts and we welcome the NATO Maritime Command investigation of the incident. We continue to encourage bilateral engagement between France and Turkey in parallel.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
9th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Baroness Goldie on 18 May (HL4067) and 20 May (HL4194), what plans they have to release the response to the request made on 3 May 1943 by the Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen to Flag Officer in Command Greenock to supply a further list of recovered bodies, following the sinking of the HMS Dasher.

This information is potentially available in records relating to Western Approaches Command War Diary for 1943, Information and Instructions (General Regulations) for shipping at Greenock, the Records of the Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen within the records of the Board of Trade, Casualty Branch files, or a file containing information about the sinking given to next of kin. All of those files, under references ADM 116/4539, ADM 199/631, ADM 358/3214, ADM 358/1512 and ADM 1/15419, are open to the general public at The National Archives, Kew. The Naval Historical Branch holds no records of this nature in their collections.

No papers and reports relating to the loss of HMS DASHER are embargoed. They are freely available at The National Archives.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
21st May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to maintain present planned levels of defence spending, as part of their commitment to NATO’s deterrence and defence capability.

Her Majesty's Government is committed to spending at least 2% of GDP on Defence each year of this Parliament, as per the Defence Investment Pledge. The UK is one of only a handful of nations that meets, and in our case exceeds, the 2% target and remains the largest European Defence spender in NATO.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
14th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Baroness Goldie on 11 May (HL3566 and HL3735), whether COVID-19 safety measures have caused any delay to ASTUTE hulls 5, 6 and 7; and what were the expected planned approximate dates for the commissioning of ASTUTE hulls 5,6 and 7.

We are working closely with our industry partners to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on our submarine programmes. The planned in-service dates of submarines are withheld as disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the Armed Forces.

The individual commissioning dates of the remaining three Astute class submarines are yet to be determined.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Goldie on 5 May (HL3163), whether only 23 servicemen out of the 379 servicemen lost on board HMS Dasher when it sank on 27 March 1943 were recovered from the sea.

Records show that, of the servicemen tragically lost on board HMS DASHER when she sank on 27 March 1943, 22 were recovered from the sea and a further serviceman who was recovered alive subsequently succumbed to his injuries.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
6th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether all papers and reports relating to the loss of HMS DASHER are embargoed for release until 2043; and if so, why.

No papers and reports relating to the loss of HMS DASHER are embargoed. They are freely available at The National Archives, Kew.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
29th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to accelerating shipbuilding programmes in the UK to assist with economic revival following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Secretary of State for Defence continues to work closely with the maritime industry in his capacity as Shipbuilding Tsar. Current Government shipbuilding programmes are progressing, with the shipbuilding industry following Government social distancing guidance. Future shipbuilding plans remain under close review.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
29th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what the commissioning dates are for (1) HMS Audacious, and (2) Astute hulls 5, 6 and 7.

HMS AUDACIOUS was commissioned into the Royal Navy on 3 April 2020.

The commissioning dates for the remaining Astute Class submarines are yet to be determined.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether surface warship and submarine shipbuilding is continuing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is crucial that defence operations and programmes, on which our national security relies, continue uninterrupted. We are working closely with our industry partners to ensure that essential work in the shipyards continues while adhering to the latest safety guidelines to protect the workforce.

Where specific work is required, instructions have been implemented locally by management to confirm that due consideration and briefing has been put in place to manage the risk in an appropriate way, protect employees and ensure priority activities are still undertaken as far as is possible.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by the Secretary of State for Defence on 9 May 1996 (HC Deb, vol 277, cols 225–6W), how many bodies were recovered after the sinking of HMS Dasher on 27 March 1943; how many of those lie in marked graves, whether as a sailor known unto God, or named; and where those gravestones are.

HMS DASHER tragically sank in March 1943 following an explosion onboard where no enemy action was involved. Records show that 23 servicemen are buried in marked graves at the following locations, Ardrossan Cemetery (13), Greenock Cemetery (7), Frizington Roman Catholic Cemetery (1), Mearns Cemetery (1) and at Paisley (Hawkhead) Cemetery (1).

It is Government policy that, where a wreck of a ship is the final resting place for our Service men and women, they should be allowed to lie undisturbed. As DASHER is the last known resting place for 356 servicemen, the wreck is designated as a controlled site under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986; this means the site can only be accessed under a licence granted by the Secretary of State for Defence. The lives of those lost are commemorated on war memorials around the country.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by the Secretary of State for Defence on 9 May 1996 (HC Deb, vol 277, cols 225–6W), how families can claim the bodies of those that died as a result of the sinking of HMS Dasher on 27 March 1943; what steps they have taken to support families that could not claim their relatives bodies as a result of war time security measures; and what further information they have provided to those families about the whereabouts of their relatives’ bodies.

HMS DASHER tragically sank in March 1943 following an explosion onboard where no enemy action was involved. Records show that 23 servicemen are buried in marked graves at the following locations, Ardrossan Cemetery (13), Greenock Cemetery (7), Frizington Roman Catholic Cemetery (1), Mearns Cemetery (1) and at Paisley (Hawkhead) Cemetery (1).

It is Government policy that, where a wreck of a ship is the final resting place for our Service men and women, they should be allowed to lie undisturbed. As DASHER is the last known resting place for 356 servicemen, the wreck is designated as a controlled site under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986; this means the site can only be accessed under a licence granted by the Secretary of State for Defence. The lives of those lost are commemorated on war memorials around the country.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
24th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when HMS Vanguard will re-join the Fleet; and what is the final cost of the present refit and refuelling.

I am withholding details of when HMS VANGUARD will re-join the Fleet as disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the Armed Forces. I am also withholding the estimated cost of the present refit and refuelling, as its disclosure would prejudice commercial interests.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
24th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they remain committed to maintaining a force of 19 operational destroyers and frigates by the 2030s, as stated in their report National Shipbuilders Strategy, published in September 2017.

We remain committed to ensuring that the Royal Navy will have the ships required to fulfil Defence commitments now and in the future.

The Prime Minister has committed to undertake the deepest review of Britain's security, defence and foreign policy. This review will examine how we strengthen and prioritise our alliances, diplomacy and development and will consider all aspects of our defence and security capabilities, including our approach to procurement and maintaining our technological edge.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
11th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many frigates that are available for operations they estimate will be in the Royal Navy order of battle in (1) 2024, (2) 2025, and (3) 2026.

We remain committed to ensuring that the Royal Navy will have the ships required to fulfil Defence commitments now and in the future.

The Prime Minister has committed to undertake the deepest review of Britain's security, defence and foreign policy. This review will examine how we strengthen and prioritise our alliances, diplomacy and development and will consider all aspects of our defence and security capabilities, including our approach to procurement and maintaining our technological edge.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the remaining five Type 26 frigates of the planned purchase of eight will be ordered.

The procurement of the Batch 2 Type 26 Frigates will be subject to a separate approval and contract which is expected to be awarded in the early 2020s.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the agreement on the EU Concept for Military Command and Control, agreed by the EU Military Committee on 23 April 2019, has any application to the UK.

The EU Concept for Military Command and Control applies to all forces under the operational control of the EU operation and mission commanders including those provided by EU Member States and third country partners. However, UK personnel remain under UK sovereign command at all times.

If the UK continues to contribute to EU military operations and missions as a third country partner, the Concept would continue to apply to the UK as it does to all other third country participating nations.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the number of Royal Navy frigates in commission will rise above the present total of 13; and whether that number will drop below 13 at any stage in the next ten years.

The Government remains committed to a surface fleet of at least 19 Frigates and Destroyers, and the Royal Navy will have the ships required to fulfil their Defence and Policy commitments. The intent remains to grow the Destroyer and Frigate force by the 2030s, and the Type 31 Frigates will provide the opportunity to do this. It is not uncommon to have planned, temporary, small fluctuations in overall numbers during the transition from any class of ship or submarine to another.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to increase the number of frigates in the Royal Navy; and if so, when they intend to start expanding that fleet.

The Government remains committed to a surface fleet of at least 19 Frigates and Destroyers, and the Royal Navy will have the ships required to fulfil their Defence and Policy commitments. The intent remains to grow the Destroyer and Frigate force by the 2030s, and the Type 31 Frigates will provide the opportunity to do this. It is not uncommon to have planned, temporary, small fluctuations in overall numbers during the transition from any class of ship or submarine to another.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether a fleet solid support ship will be available for HMS Queen Elizabeth's first operational deployment East of Suez.

HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH's first operational deployment will be in 2021. The Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers will operate as part of a Maritime Task Group that will be tailored to meet the required tasks. The precise composition of a Task Group will depend on the operational circumstances at that time; and we will be able to draw from a range of modern and highly capable vessels.

For operational security reasons, it is our policy to not comment on specific capabilities as this would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the Armed Forces.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)