Viscount Waverley Portrait

Viscount Waverley

Crossbench - Excepted Hereditary


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Division Votes
Tuesday 19th October 2021
Telecommunications (Security) Bill
voted Aye
One of 15 Crossbench Aye votes vs 2 Crossbench No votes
Tally: Ayes - 172 Noes - 156
Speeches
Wednesday 20th October 2021
COVID-19 Pandemic in Latin America

The Minister spoke about the need to approve a certificate from Colombia. Is he able to say whether the UK …

Written Answers
Monday 5th July 2021
China: Politics and Government
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to address the systemic challenges presented by the government of China’s …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
None available
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
None available

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Viscount Waverley has voted in 92 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
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Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Conservative)
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
(29 debate interactions)
Lord Bethell (Conservative)
(27 debate interactions)
Baroness Williams of Trafford (Conservative)
Minister of State (Home Office)
(26 debate interactions)
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Department Debates
Home Office
(21 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(20 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(18 debate contributions)
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View all Viscount Waverley's debates

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Viscount Waverley, 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.


Viscount Waverley has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Viscount Waverley has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Viscount Waverley has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Viscount Waverley has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


163 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
1 Other Department Questions
10th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to require COP26 attendees to show proof that they have received a COVID-19 vaccination before granting admittance to the event.

We continue to monitor the COVID situation, including recent developments on vaccines, and will adapt our plans to adopt the most appropriate preventative measures at the most appropriate time. In doing so we remain mindful of our commitment to an inclusive COP.

We are aware there are groups for whom vaccination is not medically advisable; and that global access to vaccines is not consistent – the UK is committed to ensuring a safe and inclusive COP that recognises the different approaches globally.

The health of participants and the local community is foremost in our minds.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the statement by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on 8 September that provisions of the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill do "break international law in a very specific and limited way” (HC Deb, col 509), whether that statement reflects their position; and if so, what assessment they have made of the impact of such an approach on international relations.

The government’s legal position on the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill and Northern Ireland Protocol was set out in a statement published on 10 September, and remains unchanged. That statement makes clear that clauses 42 and 43 of the Bill may be exercised in a way which is incompatible with the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement, and that the ‘notwithstanding provision’ in clause 45 partially disapplies Article 4 of the Withdrawal Agreement, regardless of whether any regulations made under clause 42 or 43 of the Bill are in fact compatible with the Withdrawal Agreement. The statement of 10 September also makes clear that it is an established principle of international law that a State is obliged to discharge its treaty obligations in good faith, and that this is, and will remain, the key principle in informing the UK’s approach to international relations. However, in the difficult and highly exceptional circumstances in which we find ourselves it is important to remember the fundamental principle of Parliamentary sovereignty.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
10th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many requests have been (1) received, and (2) accepted, by the Prime Minister for a meeting with another head of government in each of the past 12 months; from which governments they have received any such requests; and when any such meetings (a) occurred, and (b) are due to take place.

Meetings between the Prime Minister and his international counterparts are a regular part of Government business. Details are published on the gov.uk website.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
19th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to encourage local authorities to review community and charity participation in local resilience forums in order to bolster preparations for potential flood relief requirements.

The Government recognises the important role that the voluntary and community sector play in supporting the statutory services in response to emergencies, such as flood events.

Local Resilience Forums have well established processes for engaging with the voluntary and community sector.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
7th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the hacking of government department emails in the United States in December 2020; and whether they have identified who was responsible for that hacking.

Her Majesty's Government is acutely aware of the cyber security risks associated with the use of third-party digital services and software. The contracting authority for the procurement of any such product or service is responsible for assessing and managing that risk.

The reported compromise is a complex, global cyber incident, and the Government is working with international partners to understand its scale and assess any UK impact. As the investigation into this incident is ongoing I cannot comment on any operational details.

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

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
7th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on their cyber security of the use of third-party digital services and software.

Her Majesty's Government is acutely aware of the cyber security risks associated with the use of third-party digital services and software. The contracting authority for the procurement of any such product or service is responsible for assessing and managing that risk.

The reported compromise is a complex, global cyber incident, and the Government is working with international partners to understand its scale and assess any UK impact. As the investigation into this incident is ongoing I cannot comment on any operational details.

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

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
30th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to simplify their communication with SMEs about trade policy after the transition period for the UK’s departure from the EU; and what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of their communications with SMEs about trade policy after that transition period.

To help companies get ready, we have launched a major communications campaign in the UK and EU urging businesses to visit gov.uk/transition to take action now, get their personalised list of actions, and subscribe to alerts to find out when things change.

The Government will continue to review and update the guidance we have published to help ensure businesses including SMEs, which are of such importance to our economy, are as prepared as possible for the changes and opportunities the end of the year will bring.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
21st Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to strengthen (1) the role, and (2) the democratic accountability of local resilience forums.

Whilst the COVID-19 response continues, there is no immediate intention to review local resilience structures under the Civil Contingencies Act (CCA) or its associated duties placed on Category 1 and 2 responders. However, given the scale and challenges emergency responders have faced in dealing with COVID-19, we will consider any strengthening of arrangements as part of the legal requirement placed upon Cabinet Office by Regulation 59 of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 (Contingency Planning) Regulations 2005 to conduct an assessment of regulations at least every five years. The next review must be completed by March 2022.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
17th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of the civil service are currently working from home.

This information is not held centrally.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
16th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to promote public morale during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus is the biggest challenge the UK has faced in decades – and we are not alone. All over the world we are seeing the devastating impact of this disease.

As the Prime Minister said in his recent address to the nation:

“This is a struggle that humanity will win, and we in this country will win… I know that we can succeed because we have succeeded before. When the sickness took hold in this country in March, we pulled together in a spirit of national sacrifice and community. We followed the guidance to the letter. We stayed at home, protected the NHS, and saved thousands of lives… There are unquestionably difficult months to come. And the fight against covid is by no means over. I have no doubt, however, that there are great days ahead. But now is the time for us all to summon the discipline, and the resolve, and the spirit of togetherness that will carry us through.”


Details of UK Government support and guidance available to the public are published on https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
21st Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the report by the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament Russia, published on 21 July, what assessment they made of the open source studies which found evidence to suggest that Russia was attempting to influence the outcome of the EU referendum and which “pointed to the preponderance of pro-Brexit or anti-EU stories and the use of ‘bots’ and ‘trolls’”.

We have seen no evidence of successful interference in the EU Referendum. The Government has published its response to the Intelligence and Security Committee report.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
21st Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the report by the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament Russia, published on 21 July, what assessment they have made of why Russia may have attempted to influence the outcome of the EU referendum.

We have seen no evidence of successful interference in the EU Referendum. The Government has published its response to the Intelligence and Security Committee report.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
21st Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the reasons why the report by the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament Russia, sent to the Prime Minister on 17 October 2019, was not published until 21 July.

As the Government has set out previously, the report is the property of the independent committee. It is for the Intelligence and Security Committee to lay their reports before Parliament and the reconstituted Committee did so on 21 July.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
11th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to formulate a strategy for trade in services with the EU at a (1) bilateral, and (2) multilateral, level.

Through the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the UK and EU have agreed provisions on trade in services in line with our respective FTAs with Japan, but with some additional benefits for both sides. We have secured commitments in line with our objectives as set out in the UK Approach Document, meaning the agreement will promote cross border trade in services by providing service suppliers and investors with transparency and certainty about future trade with the EU at the multilateral level. More broadly, the UK is working at multilateral forums to encourage greater services trade liberalisation.

The agreement additionally includes provisions that will enable many UK businesses to continue to operate across borders without the need to establish in the EU and will afford them the clarity and transparency they need to navigate diverse Member State regimes at a bilateral level.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to reduce the administrative burden on trade with the EU; and what options there could be to reduce that burden through a 'one-in, two-out' rule.

Our trade deal with the EU includes wide-ranging provisions that seek to facilitate trade by avoiding unnecessary regulatory barriers. It provides an overarching framework for cooperation between the UK and EU on the regulatory matters affecting trade, as appropriate for two independent partners, and enables both sides to reduce costs in the longer term.

We continue to strive to ensure that the UK’s regulatory system is world-leading and achieves the right balance between supporting excellent business practices and stimulating innovation, investment and trade while protecting workers, consumers, and the environment.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government which transactions will be called in for scrutiny from the 17 sectors listed in the proposed National Security and Investment Bill.

The call-in power may only be used if the Secretary of State reasonably suspects that (i) a trigger event has occurred or is in progress or contemplation; and (ii) that trigger event has given rise to or may give rise to a national security risk. A trigger event refers to an acquisition of control over a qualifying entity or asset. The Bill’s provisions set out a clear process for the Secretary of State to call-in an acquisition. Decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

The 17 proposed sectors would be within scope of the ‘mandatory regime’ set out in the National Security and Investment Bill. This will require acquirers making investments in those sectors to notify and receive approval from the Secretary of State before completing certain types of acquisition.

The consultation on the sectors proposed to be subject to mandatory notification is currently open until 6 January.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that (1) the National Security and Investment Bill, and (2) the Telecommunications Bill, do not inhibit foreign investment in the UK.

The National Security and Investment Bill will introduce slicker investment routes and more certainty for businesses, as we remain open to trade and recover from COVID-19. This will ensure the UK remains the premier investment destination in the world, providing certainty for businesses that they will not be targeted by hostile actors.

Analysis outlined in the Impact Assessment for the National Security and Investment Bill has shown that, providing national security regimes are clear, objective, and predictable, they do not play a major role in the investment decision-making process.

The Government has been clear that this regime will be exclusively used to protect the UK from national security threats, rather than wider political considerations. The Government is making the process of notifying and screening investments simpler, quicker, and slicker by providing clearance within statutory timelines. The Government will also facilitate businesses engaging with the process by providing informal advice on the regime and not charging fees for submitting a notification.

The powers given to my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State to give designated vendor directions in the Telecommunications (Security) Bill is designed to allow for restrictions to be imposed on the use by telecoms providers of goods, services, and facilities from high-risk vendors, in the interests of national security. The restrictions that may be imposed by way of a direction do not extend to restrictions on inward investment from other countries.

The recently announced Office for Investment will work seamlessly across the Government to drive and co-ordinate the deal-enabling activities that are required to land high-impact and high-value investments.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that trade agreements will contribute to the UK's net zero carbon emissions target.

The Government is committed to negotiating free trade agreements which help support our ambition on climate change and achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

These agreements will facilitate trade in goods and services which support the deployment of low carbon, carbon capture and energy efficient technology in the UK, underpin international cooperation in research and development, and reaffirm the UK’s sovereign right to regulate to take the measures necessary to end our contribution to global warming over the next three decades

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the role (1) chambers of commerce, and (2) trade associations, can play in supporting the UK economic growth.

Chambers of commerce and trade associations play an important role in supporting the UK’s economic growth. In June, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State led a series of roundtables, bringing together businesses, business representative groups and leading academics from the UK to consider the measures needed to support the UK’s economic recovery from Covid-19. This was attended by the British Chambers of Commerce, the national representative body of 52 Accredited Chambers of Commerce across the UK and Energy UK, the trade association for British energy. There is also regular engagement with the British Chambers of Commerce at a variety of senior levels within the Department.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have a complete list of all (1) chambers of commerce, and (2) trade associations, registered in the UK; and whether the list of trade associations includes identifying each such association by sector.

We do not hold a list of all the Chambers of Commerce, however the majority of Chambers are affiliated to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC). A list of those Chambers can be found on the BCC’s website.

A list of all UK trade associations is not available from official sources. There is no compulsory requirement to register a trade association anywhere, unless it is a company limited by guarantee in which case the organisation must register with Companies House in order to comply with statutory company law.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support and advice they have provided (1) to chambers of commerce, and (2) trade associations, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State has held frequent calls with major business representative organisations. Other engagement includes the Secretary of State’s recent industry roundtables on Economic Recovery. The BEIS ministerial team continues to use these opportunities to assure the effectiveness of Government’s responses to the COVID-19 outbreak and to ensure a safe return to work across the whole UK economy as quickly as possible.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Callanan on 18 March (HL2249), what assessment they have made of the impact of HMRC rates and allowances on the ability of producers of hygiene gel to produce such gel; and what plans they have, if any, to dispense with those rates and allowances to assist such producers to meet demand.

Alcohol used in the production of retail sanitiser gel is not subject to excise duty, providing it is denatured. Producers, suppliers, and users of denatured alcohol must be authorised by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Licensed suppliers of trade-specific denatured alcohol or duty-free spirit that are supplying it for hand sanitiser do not need to restrict the volume supplied. However, they should continue to inspect authorisations and record details of supplies made.

On 23 March 2020, HMRC announced a series of easements designed to increase the amount of denatured alcohol available, as well as the number of businesses authorised to use it in the production of sanitiser gel. These measures will make it easier for manufacturers to meet the sudden increase in demand during the Coronavirus outbreak. Further information on the easements announced to support hand sanitiser production can be found at gov.uk.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there are shortages of hygiene gel distributed to retail outlets; and if so, what is the reason and what measures are being taken to resolve those shortages.

The UK is well prepared for this type of outbreak; we are taking all necessary precautions to protect the public, including engaging with industry and the business community to discuss their preparedness planning.

The Government recognises that there has been increased demand on a number of products, including hygiene gel. These shortages are caused by increased consumer demand, rather than supply chain disruption. Retailers are working with suppliers to increase stock and reassure consumers there is no need to buy higher quantities than usual.

We will work with local authorities to extend the hours that deliveries can be made to supermarkets and other food retailers to help the industry respond to COVID-19. The new measures mean retailers can increase the frequency of deliveries to their stores and move stock more quickly from warehouses across the country to replenish their shelves.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the diversity of the market in relation to 5G infrastructure in the UK; and what plans they have, if any, for the diversification of that market.

The Government recognises the importance of diversity in the 5G infrastructure supply chain. That is why the Government published a 5G Supply Chain Diversification Strategy in November 2020.

This strategy sets out three core strands of activity to address the lack of diversity in UK 5G supply chains. These are: i) Protecting incumbent suppliers to ensure the resilience of our networks in the short term; ii) Attracting new scale suppliers to the UK market to increase diversity and competitiveness in the medium term; iii) Accelerating the development and deployment of open interface technologies in the RAN in order to reduce barriers to entry and diversify the supply chain in the long run.

The Government has also established a Diversification Taskforce, comprising key industry and academic figures and led by Lord Livingstone of Parkhead, to design and execute targeted measures for each of these strands. The Government has announced an initial investment of £250m to fund these targeted measures and deliver our long-term vision of a diverse, competitive, and healthy market for 5G infrastructure.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the technical capabilities of Ofcom to implement the Telecommunications (Security) Bill under the revised powers proposed for Ofcom in that Bill.

Ofcom will have the staff, equipment and resources it needs to carry out its role following passage of the Bill. Ofcom’s annual budget is approved by its Board and must be within a limit set by the government. This will be adjusted to take account of the increased costs it will incur, due to its enhanced security role.

The National Cyber Security Centre will also provide expert advice to Ofcom in support of Ofcom’s role in the new regime.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Dec 2020
5G
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of any possible future negative impacts of the revision of procurement plans in July on the UK’s 5G roll-out targets.

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport was clear in his statement to the House of Commons on 14 July that the position on Huawei will have implications for rollout, that that was a necessary cost to ensure the security of our 5G networks and protect our national security. We expect the sector to do as much as possible to minimise the effects of this decision, and the Government remains focused on the UK becoming a world leader in 5G mobile technology, and for consumers and businesses to see the benefits of 5G as fast as possible.

Our ambition, therefore, remains for the majority of the UK population to have access to a 5G signal by 2027. To support this ambition, the Government is investing £200 million in a 5G Testbeds and Trials programme. The Mobile Network Operators are similarly focussed on rolling out commercial 5G coverage across the UK and, as a result, it is currently available in over 100 UK towns and cities.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Dec 2020
5G
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of when the UK will have a fully functional 5G infrastructure in place.

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport was clear in his statement to the House of Commons on 14 July that the position on Huawei will have implications for rollout, that that was a necessary cost to ensure the security of our 5G networks and protect our national security. We expect the sector to do as much as possible to minimise the effects of this decision, and the Government remains focused on the UK becoming a world leader in 5G mobile technology, and for consumers and businesses to see the benefits of 5G as fast as possible.

Our ambition, therefore, remains for the majority of the UK population to have access to a 5G signal by 2027. To support this ambition, the Government is investing £200 million in a 5G Testbeds and Trials programme. The Mobile Network Operators are similarly focussed on rolling out commercial 5G coverage across the UK and, as a result, it is currently available in over 100 UK towns and cities.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether commitments in the UK–Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement provide grounds for a legal challenge to the UK’s measures for the protection of personal data under the Data Protection Act (2018); and what assessment they have made of whether the UK's existing data regulations meet the requirements specified in Article 8.84 of that Agreement.

UK domestic data protection laws enshrined in the Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR are unchanged by the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which recognises the importance of protecting personal data and commits both parties to “maintain a legal framework that provides for the protection of personal information”.

Under CEPA article 8.84, the UK may adopt measures restricting data flows to achieve a legitimate public policy objective, including personal data protection.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to improve the UK’s broadband speed ranking.

The average broadband speed in the UK rose by 18% last year according to Ofcom’s annual report, which is available here, and attached: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0038/194897/uk-home-broadband-performance.pdf. The average home speed is now 64Mbps, up from 54.2Mbps the year before. This was largely due to the growing availability and take-up of superfast and ultrafast full-fibre and cable services.

To improve broadband speeds, the government is committed to providing nationwide gigabit-capable broadband as soon as possible. Gigabit-capable connectivity can provide speeds of at least 1,000Mbps, and is reliable and future-proof. 26% of the UK (or 7.5 million) premises are able to access these speeds, and 16% of the UK has access to full fibre.

BT Openreach has a target to connect 20 million premises with full fibre by the mid to late-2020s, and Virgin Media has pledged to upgrade its entire network to gigabit-capable by the end of 2021. These initiatives will provide UK citizens with a world class, future-proof digital infrastructure system, as well as helping to drive the UK up the broadband speed table at the same time.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government on what basis they decided to allocate responsibility for parliamentary questions relating to cyber and national defence to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport; and what assessment they have made of the response of foreign governments to the UK’s inclusion of such matters in a ministerial portfolio also including sport.

DCMS is responsible for cyber security policy and works closely with other government departments responsible for delivery of the government’s National Cyber Security Strategy as well as the National Cyber Security Centre. The objectives of the National Cyber Security Strategy are divided between 5 departments. DCMS is responsible for cyber security policy, as it relates to securing the economy and society against attacks, building skills, expanding the sector, supporting innovation, science and technology. The Cabinet Office has overall responsibility for delivery of the National Cyber Security Strategy, sits on the National Security Council and is responsible for the security of government systems. The Home Office leads on cyber crime and incident response while the Ministry of Defence has overall responsibility for operational cyber capabilities. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has statutory responsibility for GCHQ and, thus, for the National Cyber Security Centre - the UK’s national technical authority for cyber security. Parliamentary questions are allocated to across departments on basis of this shared responsibility.

Internationally it is not unusual for foreign governments to divide responsibility for cyber security between departments responsible for the economy, security, defence and policing. DCMS has regular productive dialogues with many countries to advance UK interests and to share information and best practice. The inclusion of cyber in DCMS’ portfolios has never been raised as an issue for international partners.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Barran on 13 July (HL6593), whether they will publish their assessment that £200 million will be sufficient to fund a 5G Testbeds and Trials programme; what was the cost of the equivalent programme for 4G; whether they have assessed how much an equivalent programme for 6G will cost; and if so, whether they publish that assessment.

While 6G mobile technology is only in the early research phase, the Government is committed to ensuring the UK is at the forefront of technology development and adoption. The Government’s current focus is on the UK becoming a world leader in 5G mobile technology. To support this ambition the Government is investing £200 million in a programme of nationally coordinated testbeds and trials, the first programme of its kind in the UK, which launched in late 2017 and will run until the end of March 2022

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has conducted economic and commercial analysis to ensure the scale of funding is proportionate to that of overall nationwide 5G deployment and provides value-for-money for UK taxpayers.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for withdrawing support for 5G telecoms networks in favour of further research into 6G technology.

6G mobile technology is in the early research phase. The Government’s focus is on the UK becoming a world leader in 5G mobile technology, and for the majority of the UK population to have access to a 5G signal by 2027. To support this ambition, the Government is investing £200 million in a 5G Testbeds and Trials programme. The Mobile Network Operators are similarly focussed on rolling out commercial 5G coverage across the UK and, as a result, it is currently available in over 80 UK towns and cities.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what guidance, if any, they provide to members of the public about the security of Huawei products.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) provides a range of guidance to the public on how to secure their devices and accounts when using online services: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/section/information-for/individuals-families.

They generally do not produce guidance for members of the public on how to secure specific devices, but encourage that they read the information provided by the manufacturer.

In May 2019, in light of US sanctions against Huawei, the NCSC published advice for Huawei customers detailing the potential impact on customers in the UK. The NCSC updates its advice when necessary.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure freedom of speech in British universities.

Ministers are working to ensure that lawful freedom of speech in higher education is supported to the fullest extent. The Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill was introduced on 12 May 2021 in the House of Commons and will strengthen existing freedom of speech duties in England. It will directly address gaps within the existing law and extend the duties to cover students’ unions as well as higher education providers. The changes will introduce clear consequences for breaches of the new duties. This will ensure that freedom of speech and academic freedom are protected and promoted within higher education.

A copy of the Bill as introduced can be found here: https://bills.parliament.uk/publications/41479/documents/212.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
21st Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether COVID-19 marshals will be used to ensure that schools and colleges are (1) facilitating social distancing, and (2) providing COVID-19 secure environments.

On 2 July the department published guidance to help schools and colleges prepare for all pupils, in all year groups, to return to education settings full-time from the beginning of the autumn term: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools and https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision/what-fe-colleges-and-providers-will-need-to-do-from-the-start-of-the-2020-autumn-term.

We have worked closely with Public Health England (PHE) to develop the specific guidance for school settings. The PHE endorsed system of controls outlined in this guidance sets out the measures that school leaders and all school staff should follow. Colleges are responsible for completing risk assessments and complying with Health & Safety Executive (HSE) duties. HSE may review risk assessments and the measures that have been put in place by colleges to make the premises COVID-19 secure. Our guidance is clear that if schools and colleges implement the actions set out, they will effectively reduce risks in their school and create an inherently safer environment. This includes minimising contact between individuals and maintaining social distancing wherever possible.

At this time, there is no plan to introduce COVID-19 marshals in schools and colleges. There cannot be a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach where the system of controls describes every scenario. Head teachers will be best placed to understand the needs of their communities and to make informed judgments about how to balance delivering a broad and balanced curriculum with the measures needed to manage risk.

19th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have (1) to manage, and (2) to mitigate, the risk of increased tidal flooding in the Thames Estuary; and what plans they have to build further flood barriers in that Estuary.

The Environment Agency (EA) is working with its partners, including councils, to deliver the Thames Estuary 2100 Plan. The Plan was published in 2012 and sets out a strategy for managing increasing tidal flood risk in the estuary until the end of the century.

The Thames Estuary is at significant risk from tidal flooding. A complex network of defences, including 8 major barriers, 330km of walls and embankments, and over 900 flood gates, outfalls and pumps, work together to protect 1.3 million people and £275 billion worth of property from tidal flooding. Climate change, population growth and ageing flood defences mean that tidal flood risk will increase over time, unless this risk is carefully managed.

The Thames Estuary 2100 Plan (approved by the Government in 2012) is internationally recognised as a leading example of a climate change adaptation strategy. It is designed to be adaptable to different projections for climate change and sea level rise. The EA is now working on the 10-Year Review of the Plan, using the latest climate evidence and data to revise the strategy for managing tidal flood risk, ensuring we can continue to protect the Thames Estuary from rising sea levels into the future.

The Thames Estuary 2100 Plan identifies various options for replacing or improving the Thames Barrier, when the current Barrier reaches the end of its life. Latest data indicates that a new barrier will need to be operational by 2070.

The EA is currently holding three potential sites for a new barrier, either at the current site, in Long Reach or Tilbury. The locations are determined mainly by navigational requirements on the river. The team are working on securing land at all of these sites to ensure that they will be available if we need them.

A decision on the location is planned for around 2040, to allow enough time for planning, approval and construction by 2070. The preferred option will depend upon how the climate changes between now and 2040, as well as future projections.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that the UK does not export plastic waste to poorer countries; and what plans they have to address ocean pollution ahead of COP26.

Recognising the difficulties experienced by some countries in managing imports of plastic waste, the Queen’s Speech on 19 December 2019 included a commitment to ban the export of plastic waste to countries that are not members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. The Environment Bill will enable us to deliver on this commitment and we will consult on the date by when the ban should be in place. The Bill also allows us to introduce electronic tracking of waste to help tackle waste crime here in the UK and prevent illegal waste from being shipped abroad.

2021 is a vital year for the ocean, climate and nature. Through the UK’s COP26 and G7 Presidencies, the Government will showcase global leadership in tackling key pressures facing the ocean, using its influence to advocate for greater action and champion global collaboration. The Government intends to publish an update to the UK Marine Strategy Part 3, outlining the programmes of measures that will continue to move the UK towards Good Environmental Status in its seas, including contaminants and marine litter.

In 2018 the Government launched the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance with our co-chair Vanuatu calling on Commonwealth countries to pledge action on plastic pollution. The Government has committed up to £70m to tackle plastic pollution, including helping developing countries prevent plastic waste entering the ocean, as well as to develop sustainable manufacturing, and has committed to start negotiations on a new global agreement on marine plastic litter and microplastics.

The Government has also committed to establish a new £500m Blue Planet Fund, to help developing countries protect the ocean from key human-generated threats, including pollution, and is a proactive Contracting Party to the London Convention (1972) and London Protocol (1996) to prevent pollution caused by dumping at sea.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the average percentage of overseas development assistance that they disburse through non-governmental organisations that reaches its intended recipients; what percentage of such funding is spent on administration costs; and what steps they are taking to increase the percentage of such funding that reaches its intended recipients.

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are important partners for DFID in ensuring that UKAid reaches intended recipients, particularly the most marginalised groups. Approximately 10% of UKAid in 2018 was channelled directly through NGO partners.

DFID’s approach to programme delivery ensures this funding is well targeted. A Business Case must set out why the programme represents value for money and how this will be measured. Before funds are dispersed, a due diligence assessment is conducted to ensure the NGO partner has the capacity to deliver. Each programme is then monitored throughout its life, with formal annual reviews ensuring that progress and value for money are sustained and that any management fees remain appropriate.

On 1 April this year, DFID published a new approach to cost transparency in NGO grants. A new budget template and guidance will ensure that DFID has full sight of, and is able to scrutinise, all costs being paid to CSO partners through grants and standardises our approach to paying overheads. However, the exact information requested on administration costs is not held centrally and could only be collated at disproportionate cost.

10th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many requests have been (1) received, and (2) accepted, by the Secretary of State for International Trade for a meeting with a trade minister from another government in each of the past 12 months; from which governments they have received such a request; and when any such meetings (a) occurred, and (b) are due to take place.

Given the number of invitations received for Ministers, this information is not readily available or held centrally.

Meetings between Ministerial departments and their international counterparts are a regular part of Government business. For security and diplomatic reasons we do not routinely publish details of these meetings.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
4th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what criteria they use to determine which (1) countries. (2) regions, and (3) markets, have a Prime Ministerial Trade Envoy appointed to them.

The Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy Programme supports British businesses overseas and attracts investment into the UK. The programme works in collaboration with other trade promotion activities, and it focuses on emerging and high growth markets where additional senior interactions can be valuable, or larger economies where multiple interactions at different levels are effective. Trade Envoys are appointed to markets where there are opportunities to increase bilateral trade.

We are constantly reviewing suitable countries, regions, and markets to identify where the appointment of a Trade Envoy can be of greatest benefit to the trade and investment aims of the UK with the Prime Minister ultimately making that decision.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the environmental impact of the UK joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The Government shares the public’s high regard for the UK’s environmental protections and has made clear it will not sign trade deals that compromise these. We will continue to ensure a high level of protection of the environment in new trade agreements. The UK has long supported the promotion of our environmental values globally and this will continue if we join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

The Government will ensure that accession negotiations with CPTPP are consistent with the UK’s environmental interests and the Government’s policies and priorities. We will be outlining our specific position on environmental standards in our Outline Approach and will publish a scoping assessment, including an assessment of the potential impacts on the environment, at the outset of negotiations.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
28th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Viscount Younger of Leckie on 18 March 2020 (HL2250), whether they will now answer the question put, namely when they intend to publish (1) each of Her Majesty's trade commissioners' latest annual reports setting out the strategy, objectives and overarching priorities for each delegated region, and (2) the budgets supporting the delivery of those objectives.

Individual Regional Trade Plans are not published.

The Department for International Trade’s Annual Report and Accounts for 2019-20 (link) were laid in Parliament on 16 July 2020. Budgets for Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioners (HMTCs) are published at a group level and are included in Global Trade and Investment Group Budget (p63, Resource DEL expenditure).

HMTC budgets for 2019-20 were published at a regional level in the National Audit Office report ‘Department for International Trade and UK Export Finance: Support for Exports’ (link). The table is replicated attached.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
13th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to create a comprehensive trade and environment strategy; and how they plan to publicise any strategy ahead of COP26.

The Government is clear that more trade does not have to come at the expense of the environment. We are actively working to promote environmental objectives through our independent bilateral and multilateral trade policy as well as through our export and investment promotion support.

For example, under the UK’s new Global Tariff, we have liberalised tariffs on over 100 environmentally friendly goods. The Government has also underscored the environment as one of the three priorities for UK leadership in the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

We will use our presidency of COP26 and the G7 this year to continue to push for ambitious international action to tackle climate change and nature loss, including through trade.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
15th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect to begin negotiations on a fully-revised free trade agreement in the case of each continuity agreement they have reached in preparation for the end of the transition period for the UK's departure from the EU.

In under two years, HM Government has signed or agreed in principle trade agreements with 58 countries. Total United Kingdom trade with these countries was worth £198 billion in 2019.

Beyond the end of the transition period, the United Kingdom continues to have an ambitious Free Trade Agreement programme. We will continue to progress our negotiations with the USA, Australia and New Zealand, as well as prepare for our accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). We will also look to refresh a number of previously signed or agreed in principle trade agreements, where we are legally obliged to do so. This will help ensure we have deals that are specific to United Kingdom trading interests.

We will need to consider the timing of these agreements alongside a suite of other policy initiatives.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
9th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made since the UK–Africa Investment Summit in January in relation to their (1) trade policy for, (2) investment in, (3) exports to, (4) trade, but not export, finance with, and (5) trade agreements with, countries in Africa; and how UK trade objectives support the objectives of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement.

At the United Kingdom-Africa Investment Summit we committed to be Africa’s trade and investment partner of choice. Nearly one year on, and despite the challenging backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, we have sustained this effort. All the deals and investor commitments made around the event have progressed, with further investments added since.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) has directly supported exports to Africa returning over £1bn to the UK economy already this year, and we have now signed 7 trade agreements covering 14 African nations total trade (exports and imports) in goods and services, worth £20.4bn in 2019. Total trade between the United Kingdom and these 14 African nations has grown by 21% since 2009. The Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which will start trading on 1 January 2021, offers great promise. We are a leading supporter of AfCFTA negotiations as recently recognised by AfCFTA champion, President Issoufou of Niger. We will support the new Secretariat in Accra, national level implementation, as well as the on-going negotiations.

These efforts will keep the UK at the forefront of African trade policy development, supporting delivery of our economic development and poverty reduction objectives, and drive the establishment of a new market for UK investors and businesses.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
7th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there are any differences between the existing EU agreements and those that the UK has negotiated within the Trade Agreement Continuity programme that affect UK exporters; and if so, when business readiness advice will be published to help those exporters understand those changes.

With our Trade Agreement Continuity programme, we have sought to replicate the effects of existing EU free trade agreements with trading partners to ensure continuity for businesses following the transition period.

Whilst we have transitioned our existing EU agreements for the most part, in some cases we have applied bespoke solutions in individual agreements for technical reasons. Exact changes are specified in each Agreement and in its accompanying Parliamentary Report.

HM Government is committed to ensuring that all British businesses can take advantage of the significant economic benefits of exporting. Our ambitious free trade agreement programme and market access work is already helping to unlock new opportunities for exporters worldwide.

We provide direct support to both new and existing exporters, to make sure firms have the confidence and expertise they need to export around the world. Access to finance is also important to business, and the export finance available from UK Export Finance, our export credit agency, helps companies win export contracts, fulfil contracts, and get paid.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
7th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what the objectives of their trade in services strategy are, beyond those regarding exports; and how they plan for those objectives to be delivered through (1) bilateral trade negotiations, and (2) plurilateral and multilateral dialogue at international institutions.

As the world’s second largest exporter of services, it is in the British national interest to champion greater services liberalisation globally, now we have left the EU.

We will use our independent trade policy to tackle barriers to trade in services and ensure open, fair market access overseas for British businesses. We will negotiate best-in-class rules for all services sectors, as well as sector specific rules for key export sectors such as financial services, professional and business services, telecommunications and transport services. We aim to secure certainty and predictability for British services exporters overseas, along with transparency on services regulation internationally. We want to secure opportunities for British services suppliers and investors to operate overseas through provisions for temporary business travel and supporting the recognition of professional qualifications.

At the same time, we will make sure that decisions about how public services, including the NHS, are delivered are made by HM Government (or the devolved administrations, as appropriate). We will do this through multilateral or plurilateral engagement at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), such as the Joint Initiatives on e-commerce and domestic regulation, and by negotiating ambitious services chapters into new free trade agreements that benefit both British businesses and the British people.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to communicate with interested UK parties in the event of trade deals not being reached with (1) Turkey, and (2) Mexico, by 31 December 2020.

As of 15th December, we have reached agreements with 58 countries, covering trade worth £198 billion, which includes the agreement with Mexico, which was signed on the 15th December.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) has published clear, accurate, and up-to-date information and guidance for business on GOV.UK and we will continue to provide guidance to business, including the latest information on agreements with partners such as Turkey, and will further supplement the detailed guidance already available online, as we approach the end of the transition period.

The Department is in regular contact with business and has also created free-to-use online tools (Trade with the UK and Check How to Export Goods) so that businesses can check product-specific and country-specific information on tariffs and regulations that currently apply to trade in goods. These tools are regularly updated to reflect any changes.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
30th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to use their co-Chair role on the Commonwealth Digital Connectivity Cluster to advance the digitisation of trade documentation.

The fourth Commonwealth Digital Connectivity Cluster meeting took place on the 8th of December. The overall theme for the Connectivity Clusters as they have been meeting is digital resilience and economic recovery. This follows the Commonwealth Statement on the Covid-19 Pandemic where Heads of Government sought to reduce barriers and promote the adoption of digital technologies as a positive enabler in order to increase resilient, inclusive and diverse trade and investment. The United Kingdom co-leads the Digital Connectivity Cluster with South Africa, where we have worked to ensure digitising trade documents is among the topics for discussion.

Digital trade facilitation and the digitisation of trade documentation specifically delivers benefits for businesses of all sizes and has acquired an even greater importance in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
26th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that rules of origin may be declared on signed commercial invoices without the need to seek certification from external sources.

HM Government is committed to seeking modern Rules of Origin that are clear, simple and facilitate trade. In the United Kingdom-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), for instance, we negotiated a system of self-certification and, in line with our commitments at the World Trade Organisation, HM Government has committed to maintain a self-certification proof of origin on a commercial invoice for Least Developed Countries. Additionally, transitioned agreements will continue to allow the option of a declaration made out on a commercial invoice where this was allowed under the EU agreement. HM Revenue and Customs continues to consider other methods to streamline customs procedures.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
26th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that manufacturers are aware of the regulatory frameworks established in new trade deals with third countries during the period when 'roll over' agreements continue to apply EU regulations.

When trade agreements are signed, the Department for International Trade publishes clear, accurate and up-to-date information about it. GOV.UK contains links to guidance on continuity agreements signed to date; these agreements aim to secure the existing trading arrangements that British businesses had through EU trade deals.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
26th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that their international trade agreements are consistent with their existing international treaty obligations on (1) intellectual property in general, and (2) the Convention on the Grant of European Patents.

The United Kingdom has a robust intellectual property regime and will remain fully compliant with the World Trade Organisation’s framework for intellectual property, the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement. We remain a full member of the World Intellectual Property Organisation and a party to international agreements on intellectual property too.

As stated in our published negotiating objectives for the negotiations with the US, Australia and New Zealand, we are committed to ensuring that any provisions agreed in future trade agreements are consistent with our existing international obligations, including the European Patent Convention (EPC), to which the United Kingdom is party.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
26th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that intellectual property standards within future trade agreements are maintained at a level at least the same as those of the UK.

The United Kingdom’s intellectual property (IP) regime is consistently rated as one of the best in the world. HM Government sees future trade agreements as opportunities to build on our global leadership in this area to develop a world-class IP chapter, reflecting the strengths of our domestic regime and supporting growth and innovation.

Getting the right outcome for British inventors, creators and consumers will be key as we develop our trading relationships with other countries. One of our priorities will be making sure that future trade agreement negotiations do not negatively impact on the standards and balance of the United Kingdom‘s regime or the ability to promote trade in intellectual property.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
25th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the absence of rules of origin in free trade agreements on the ability of SMEs to price goods accurately.

Rules of Origin are an important aspect of the United Kingdom’s free trade agreements, as they ensure that only the parties to a free trade agreement can utilise the preferential tariff rates offered and protect against circumvention. However, HM Government recognises that Rules of Origin create costs for traders (and therefore consumers).

This is why HM Government is seeking Rules of Origin that reflect the requirements of British industry, supported by predictable and low-cost administrative arrangements, which are inclusive and accessible to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). HM Government is committed to providing support and guidance to SMEs so that they can comply with Rules of Origin and understand the costs of compliance.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
25th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to prepare companies for any new import commodities codes that will be introduced after the end of the transition period for the UK's departure from the EU.

HM Government is currently running the ‘Check, Change, Go’ campaign advising business how to prepare for 1 January 2021. We have met with businesses on this issue and we are listening to their concerns. To help businesses plan for next year we have provided further advice on gov.uk pages on what new customs processes will be in place, including informing businesses that commodity codes will be staying largely the same from 1 January 2021. We will continue to make any routine updates to commodity codes and will provide more information as these updates become available.

As of 1 January 2021, businesses will be able to access this information on the Trade Tariff Tool.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
20th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure future trade deals do not impose new costs for (1) regulatory inspections and approvals, (2) trade licences, and (3) country of origin requirements on British (a) importers, and (b) exporters.

HM Government have been clear in our objectives for future trade deals that we will seek to lower costs, by removing and preventing unnecessary and unintended trade barriers in markets around the world, while upholding the safety and quality of products at home.

This includes making it easier for British manufacturers to have their products tested against trade partners’ rules prior to export, and seeking Rules of Origin that reflect the requirements of British industry, supported by predictable and low-cost administrative arrangements.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
20th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what legal protections for business that need to be applied globally in order to function are best addressed in (1) multilateral fora, and (2) bilateral free trade agreements.

DIT continues to work closely with business stakeholders and business representative organisations through regular engagement channels. Through this engagement we have the opportunity to gain insights from businesses on the trade policy issues that matter to them, including any matters they may raise concerning legal protections to operate globally. These processes help inform the policy making process and if such matters were raised we would assess whether they could be addressed in multilateral fora, such as the WTO, or in our bilateral engagement, for example through Free Trade Agreements.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
20th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to explore non-reciprocal mechanisms to allow continued market access if their negotiations with the government of Ghana to reach a continuity trade agreement are not successful.

We continue to engage with Ghana to secure their duty-free quota-free access to Britain, through a continuity trade agreement that would replicate the effect of the existing EU trade agreement and provide lasting certainty for businesses in our trading arrangements.

If a continuity agreement cannot be agreed with Ghana then, as a lower-middle income country, they will be able to get some trade preferences through our Generalised Scheme of Preferences from 31st December 2020.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
20th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress has been made as a result of the Digital Connectivity Cluster led by the UK and South Africa.

At the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London in 2018, countries reaffirmed their commitment to free trade and adopted the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda for Trade and Investment with the ambition of enhancing cooperation across the Commonwealth – boosting intra-Commonwealth trade to beyond $2 trillion by 2030. Six members came forward to lead the five ‘clusters’ (working groups): physical, digital, regulatory, supply-side and business to business connectivity. Following the launch of the Connectivity Agenda, the United Kingdom volunteered to co-lead the digital cluster with South Africa.

The Connectivity Agenda clusters have met three times so far. Members from 18 Commonwealth countries have exchanged views and experiences on the opportunities and challenges of digital transformation, digital inclusion, barriers to e-commerce and the readiness of countries to engage in digital trade. Members have also discussed developing a set of high-level principles to underpin digital connectivity. The Commonwealth Secretariat is developing a Commonwealth FinTech Toolkit and a Commonwealth Repository of Digital Policies.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
20th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they plan to provide to encourage the target growth in exports.

The Government is committed to ensuring that all UK businesses can take advantage of the significant economic benefits of exporting. According to UNCTAD global export rankings (released in September 2020) the UK overtook France to become the world’s fifth largest exporter in 2019 and was the only one of the world’s top ten exporters to increase exports in that year.

Our ambitious free trade agreement programme and market access work helps unlock new opportunities for exporters worldwide.

We also provide direct support to both new and existing exporters, to ensure firms have the confidence and expertise they need to export around the world.

Access to finance is also central to our support for business. The export finance offer from UK Export Finance, the UK’s export credit agency, helps UK companies win export contracts, fulfil contracts, and get paid.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
12th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to embed gap analysis into the process of negotiating free trade agreements in order to identify (1) the amount, (2) the duration, and (3) the terms, of trade finance currently provided by the market compared to what is needed by SME exporters.

The availability of trade finance support by UK Export Finance (UKEF) is not dependent on Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations.

UKEF, as the government’s export credit agency, offers a range of trade finance products to help Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) fulfil export contracts, complementing but not competing with the private sector.

UKEF’s trade finance solutions include the provision of export insurance, contract bond insurance, contract bond and export working capital guarantees. Details about these products can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/our-products.

In 2019/20 UKEF provided £4.4 billion in support for UK exports, while 77% of UK companies directly supported by UKEF were SMEs.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
12th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the application of the UK Global Tariff on the costs of UK (1) imports, and (2) exports.

The UK Global Tariff (UKGT) is tailored to the UK economy as a whole and balances the interests of UK consumers and producers. In designing the UKGT, the UK Government has carefully considered the evidence available, including feedback provided through the public consultation where we received over 1,300 responses from a wide range of stakeholders across the business and consumer landscape.

The UK Government will publish more analysis in the Taxation Information and Impact Note (TIIN) alongside the legislation, as standard practice.

Tariffs on UK exports will depend on the third country’s own tariff schedule and whether the UK has a trade agreement in place with them, not on the UK Global Tariff.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
12th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many civil servants are working on initiatives aimed at increasing intra-Commonwealth trade.

The Department for International Trade (DIT)’s Trade Policy Group (TPG) has a strong core of trade policy officials, with a headcount as of end September 2020 of 676 civil servants. Within TPG there are dedicated teams in charge of bilateral trade relations with Commonwealth members, including Australia, New Zealand, and India, as well as multilateral and regional teams, such as the World Trade Organisation and Africa teams.

In addition, DIT’s overseas network of posts (Global Trade and Investment Overseas) is responsible for supporting UK exports and investment across the world. It is formed of nine regions, each reporting to a trade commissioner, known as Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner (HMTC), seven of whom cover Commonwealth countries as part of their trade responsibilities. As of September 2020, there are 151 UK-based civil servants – supported by 1,320 locally engaged staff – working in all HMTC regions.

Workstreams aimed at increasing intra-Commonwealth trade are progressed by teams of varying sizes, depending on their complexity, and DIT officials also work in close co-operation with civil servants across government, including the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO), the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS), as well as in diplomatic and consular posts across the Commonwealth.

The workforce data only includes civil servants employed by DIT working in the UK and on DIT payroll, and UK based civil servants and locally employed staff working overseas paid via FCDO payroll who are currently engaged in delivering DIT objectives. It does not include staff on loan to DIT from other government departments who remain on their home departments payroll, contractors, military staff, people on secondment from other organisations, those who are on loan or secondment out of DIT, those on unpaid special leave or a career break, and people working in UK Export Finance (UKEF).

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
6th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to the government of Colombia's compliance with the UK–Andean countries trade agreement, specifically with regard to labour rights commitments.

The United Kingdom and the Andean countries, including Colombia, signed the UK-Andean Countries Trade Agreement on 15 May 2019. The agreement includes specific clauses on labour in the Trade and Sustainable Development chapter, which maintain high labour standards and protections for both the United Kingdom and our partners. The United Kingdom will use the Trade and Sustainable Development Free Trade Agreement committee to monitor these issues with the Andean partners.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
6th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their strategy for future trade relations with the Indian subcontinent.

My Department has an ambitious agenda to strengthen bilateral trade relations between the United Kingdom and the Indian subcontinent. With India herself, we are developing an Enhanced Trade Partnership with the objective of deeper trade policy cooperation and the removal of barriers to doing business. We are also facilitating trade with other countries across the subcontinent, including Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, through a generous trade preferences scheme and the potential for closer working in the future.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
6th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their strategy for future trade relations with the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth includes some of our closest friends and greatest allies. We share strong bonds and I hope the Noble Lord will welcome our commitment to work closely with Commonwealth countries to remove barriers and liberalise the global trading environment.

At the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in 2018, chaired by the United Kingdom, we committed to boosting intra-Commonwealth trade beyond $2 trillion (approximately £1.5 trillion) by 2030. Commonwealth leaders also adopted the ‘Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda for Trade and Investment’ to enhance co-operation amongst ourselves.

In October 2019, my Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade chaired the sixth Commonwealth Trade Ministers Meeting, which reaffirmed the Commonwealth’s support for free trade and the rules based multilateral trading system.

HM Government is also funding several projects including the Commonwealth Trade Facilitation Programme, the Commonwealth Standards Network and the SheTrades Commonwealth Programme, and continues to support increasing trade and investment between Commonwealth partner countries, taking advantage of the average cost of trade between us being 19% lower than the cost of trade outside the Commonwealth.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
6th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their strategy for future trade relations with Latin America.

The Department for International Trade works extensively in Latin America and the Caribbean to strengthen the United Kingdom’s trade and investment relationships, with staff based in?19 countries?across the region.

The United Kingdom has concluded trade continuity agreements with Chile, CARIFORUM, six Central American countries and the Andean Community (Colombia, Peru and Ecuador), which will allow United Kingdom business to continue trading on preferential terms.

Additionally, HM Government is working with Peru, Mexico and Chile as part of the United Kingdom’s potential accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Ministers also regularly discuss trade with their counterparts, including through dialogues such as the UK-Brazil Joint Economic and Trade Committee.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
6th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they intend to take to enforce protections for food and product safety and standards in trade deals.

We remain committed to our high food safety, environmental, product and labour standards, and will use the full range of measures available to us to uphold Britain’s high regulatory standards.

HM Government passed the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, to convert EU law – as it was applied as of exit – into the law of the land. Furthermore, my Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade established the Trade and Agriculture Commission to independently advise HM Government on how to ensure that British food safety and production standards are protected throughout trade negotiations.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
5th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what channels exist for organisations and stakeholders, who are not involved in the Trade Advisory Groups, to feed into trade negotiations and decision-making processes.

The Trade Advisory Groups (TAGs) have been created to access strategic and technical expertise from within specific sectors that are vital to the British economy.

The TAGs are just one part of HM Government’s external engagement on international trade. The Department for International Trade continues to engage regularly with a wide range of interested parties, including one-to-one meetings and roundtables.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
5th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish country by country guides that will explain the key trading and administration changes for the countries that the UK (1) has concluded continuity trade agreements with, and (2) intends to conclude continuity trade agreements with.

We have published reports alongside all signed agreements, outlining our approach to delivering continuity with all partners, and we will continue to do so for all continuity agreements yet to be signed.

We will publish further business guidance on trade agreements on GOV.UK this autumn.

Businesses and consumers are already able to find more information about continuity agreements, including product-specific and country-specific information on tariffs and regulations, using tools including Check How to Export Goods (CHEG). Additionally, the ‘Trade with the UK’ (TWUK) tool will provide businesses exporting goods into the British market with detailed and up-to-date information on topics such as tariffs, taxes and rules.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
5th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish how trade agreements reached with other countries will benefit (1) Scotland, (2) Wales, (3) Northern Ireland, (4) the north east of England, (5) the north west of England, (6) the Midlands and East Anglia, (7) the south east of England, (8) the south west of England, and (9) London.

HM Government is committed to an inclusive and transparent trade policy. We have published Scoping Assessments for agreements with the United States, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.

These Scoping Assessments set out the potential economic impacts, and we will publish impact assessments following the outcome of negotiations that will include an assessment of the impacts on every part of the United Kingdom.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
1st Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the membership of the trade advisory groups established in July includes trade union representation; and if not, why not.

The Trade Advisory Groups (TAGs) do not include trade union representation. TAGs have been created to access strategic and technical expertise from within specific sectors that are vital to the British economy.

The TAGs are just one part of HM Government’s external engagement on international trade though. The Department for International Trade continues to engage regularly with a wide range of interested parties, including one-to-one meetings and roundtables.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
1st Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government which, if any, of the Expert Trade Advisory Groups continue to exist; and how the remaining Groups will work alongside the trade advisory groups announced in July.

The following “Expert Trade Advisory Groups” continue to exist at the present time: Continuity; Customs; Financial Services; Intellectual Property; Procurement; Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs); Sustainability; and Trade for Development.

The review of how these groups will continue to operate within the Department for International Trade’s broader engagement is ongoing.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
1st Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how the trade advisory groups will interact with the Strategic Trade Advisory Group; and what the remit of each group is.

The two groups serve different purposes.

The Strategic Trade Advisory Group (STAG) provides a forum for high-level strategic discussions between HM Government, and a cross-section of interests from all parts of the UK on trade policy matters.

The Trade Advisory Groups’ principal purpose is to provide the blend of strategic and technical expertise required to ensure the United Kingdom’s trade negotiations are able to progress at pace.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
1st Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the creation of trade advisory groups, what plans they have to carry out consultation on trade agreements with (1) civil society, (2) trade unions, (3) consumers, and (4) the general public.

The Trade Advisory Groups (TAGs) do not include trade union representation. TAGs have been created to access strategic and technical expertise from within specific sectors that are vital to the British economy.

The TAGs are just one part of HM Government’s external engagement on international trade though. The Department for International Trade continues to engage regularly with a wide range of interested parties, including one-to-one meetings and roundtables.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
25th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of progress with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific paperless trade initiative.

HM Government welcomes the efforts made by the participants of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific paperless trade initiative.

Paperless trading enables businesses to confidently conduct transactions online and administrative processes are made more efficient and transparent. The COVID-19 pandemic has further illustrated the growing importance of digitising trade processes.

The United Kingdom is keen to learn from this initiative and maximise opportunities for digital trade across all sectors of the economy.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
25th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they undertake impact assessments to inform any trade deal negotiations.

HM Government undertake a wide range of impact analysis to inform the negotiations of our trade agreements. We are committed to publishing scoping assessments prior to the launch of negotiations and to publishing our impact assessments following the outcome of negotiations.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
25th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to consult (1) consumers, (2) non-governmental organisations, (3) unions, and (4) civil society groups, on their negotiations with the government of the United States.

The Department for International Trade’s (DIT) negotiating objectives for a Free Trade Agreement with the US was informed by one of the largest consultations in HM Government history, with 158,720 respondents. This included responses from unions, civil society groups, other non-governmental associations, and individual respondents.

The details on how this consultation contributed to our negotiating objectives were published on 2 March, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-uks-approach-to-trade-negotiations-with-the-us.

Throughout negotiations, the UK Negotiating team has consulted, and will continue to consult, a broad range of experts via advisory groups set up by DIT. This is in addition to a range of other engagement mechanisms, including roundtables and bilateral conversations.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
25th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to improve access to trade finance; and what assessment they have made of the need for a review of small and medium enterpresise (SME) capital weighting requirements for SME lending, differentiating the risk weighting for low risk trade finance from other forms of higher risk finance.

The Government supports trade finance through UK Export Finance (UKEF), whose mission is to ensure that no viable UK export fails for lack of finance or insurance. UKEF keeps its trade finance products under regular review and is making several improvements this year. In January 2020, UKEF and its bank partners agreed updated legal documentation for trade finance products to streamline processes and make it easier for the banks to access UKEF’s guarantee and support greater volumes of lending. More operational improvements will be rolled out in the Autumn to improve efficiency for banks accessing UKEF’s existing working capital and bond support products and ensuring more deals are approved in shorter timescales.

Following an announcement made by my Rt Hon. Friend the Chancellor, UKEF will shortly launch its General Export Facility to support exporters seeking general working capital from their banks. We expect this product to make UKEF’s support accessible to a much wider pool of exporting companies, as eligibility is widened beyond support for specific export contracts.

UKEF works closely with other parts of government, including the British Business Bank, on access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and is actively engaging with non-bank providers of trade finance to ensure that there are alternatives available to SME exporters with a viable proposition who are not able to access the finance they require from the high street banks. UKEF is exploring how partnerships with non-bank financial institutions might help improve access to trade finance for smaller exporters.

Capital requirements are a matter for the Prudential Regulation Authority and HM Treasury.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
25th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government for a list of all UK development funded capacity building projects contributing to improving the international trading environment.

Across HM Government – through our development budget – departments work together to help partner countries increase their trade and export driven economic growth, and secure benefits for those currently living in poverty.

For example, through our Trade and Investment Advocacy Fund, Manufacturing Africa programme and our funding to the World Bank, we are supporting countries to better understand the impacts of COVID-19, design their policy response accordingly, engage in the WTO and ease the passage of goods across borders.

All aid spending can be found at: bit.ly/3iCFRME.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
25th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to integrate the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into (1) trade policy objectives, and (2) trade negotiations.

The UK has long supported the delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and this will continue as an independent trading nation.

For example, we are committed to upholding the UK’s high environmental standards and HM Government has made clear that we will not compromise on these.

As set out in the Manifesto, our trade deals will also be fair for developing countries. This is why we are seeking to ensure Free Trade Agreements with our partners consider impacts on developing countries.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
15th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to involve (1) chambers of commerce, and (2) trade associations, in the implementation of their international trade policies.

The Department engages with other British businesses directly and others, including Trade Associations and the British Chambers of Commerce. This will support utilisation of trade preferences and other opportunities offered by the trade agreements we are working to secure.

In addition, Trade Advisory Groups (TAGs) have recently been launched, which include representation from Trade Associations and provide a blend of strategic and expert advice on trade matters.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
4th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to publish (1) each of Her Majesty's trade commissioners' latest annual reports setting out the strategy, objectives and overarching priorities for each delegated region, and (2) the budgets supporting the delivery of those objectives.

Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioners work as an integral part of the Department for International Trade, which produces its annual report and accounts every June or July.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the declaration form for international travel from England does not allow a British citizen to provide an overseas address.

The travel declaration form is designed for the passenger to state who they are and why they are departing England to travel overseas. The details on the form including the address are not captured or recorded centrally. If a police officer has a reasonable belief that a passenger is travelling without a reasonable excuse, a separate process of issuing a Fixed Penalty Notice is commenced which includes recording the residential address of the passenger for enforcement purposes.

We will amend the way the address is requested on the form to make it easier to complete for passengers with non-UK addresses.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the permissible reasons for UK citizens to travel internationally while the restrictions to address the COVID-19 pandemic are in place.

As the Prime Minister said in his statement on 27 January, under the stay at home regulations it is illegal to leave home to travel abroad for leisure purposes.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (England) Regulations 2020 set out the legally permitted reasons to leave home, and therefore travel internationally. These reasons include compassionate visits, where one is visiting someone who is dying, or for essential work purposes.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide funding support to Eurostar following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on passenger numbers.

I am aware the international rail sector, as with other sectors, continues to face significant challenges in terms of passenger demand.

Ministers and officials, working with other Government Departments, have engaged very regularly with Eurostar since March 2020 in relation to their financial situation. This has included supporting the company to access support schemes, where eligible and appropriate, as part of the unprecedented package of financial support for businesses that has been made available by the Chancellor.

As is the case with businesses in other sectors, officials continue to engage very closely with Eurostar as we support the safe restart and recovery of international travel.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to accelerate safe travel through UK airports, including through testing and use of other technology.

The Government has introduced mandatory pre-departure testing for international travellers to England from outside the Common Travel Area. Persons arriving in England from 04:00 on Monday 18 January must comply with the new requirement.

Travellers must take a test no more than 3 days prior to departure to England, and will only be permitted to travel if they have proof of a negative result. This action helps to protect fellow travellers from the risk of transmission of Coronavirus during travel itself.

All other border measures, such as completing the passenger locator form and the requirement to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival (or 5 days with test to release), remain in place, and must be adhered to regardless of the pre-departure test result.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to conduct additional road maintenance while there are restrictions in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Responsibility for managing the highway network in England, including maintenance decisions, rests with the relevant highway authority. For the Strategic Road Network, motorways and major A roads, that is Highways England. The rest of the network is managed by local highway authorities. It is for local highway authorities to decide whether to carry out additional maintenance, based on local needs and priorities.

In April 2020 I wrote to the local highways maintenance sector, with advice on continuing with their highways maintenance works and thanking them for their efforts. The Government’s current policy is that construction activity should continue where it can be undertaken safely, in accordance with the Public Health England and industry guidance.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to other governments about the use of technology to provide safe international travel without the need for quarantine.

The Government is in regular contact with our international partners, bilaterally and through international forums, to discuss a range of approaches to support safe international travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government is keen to learn from our international partners, and to explore systems and testing measures that other countries put in place. We will also look closely at emerging technology and evidence that supports reducing restrictions on travel.

To reduce the period of self-isolation, the ‘Test to Release for International Travel’ scheme has been announced and will come into force on 15 December. These arrangements allow for anyone arriving in England to pay for a private test on the fifth day of self-isolation and exit self-isolation if the result is negative.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
26th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they plan to check and verify documentation for 'Kent access permits' for the purpose of (1) assisting ports in allocating slots, and (2) understanding which cargoes need inspection.

The purpose of the Kent Access Permit (KAP) is to minimise the number of HGVs travelling to the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel without the correct export documentation and thus, mitigate against any disruption those ‘unready’ HGVs would cause. The KAP is obtained from the Check an HGV is Ready to Cross the Border service, where a driver or haulier must check they have the right documentation before proceeding to the ports. The Check an HGV service has not been designed to integrate with the ports operations to allocate tickets and does not link into other Government databases to inform which cargoes need inspection.

In Kent, the Check an HGV service database will be used by DVSA enforcement officials and Kent Police in conjunction with Automatic Number Plate Recognition to check whether EU bound HGVs have a valid KAP. Should it be required, a similar process will take place at the HGV holding sites in Kent using the Check an HGV Operator Application to scan vehicles number plates to check for the presence of a KAP.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the end of the transition period for the UK's departure from the EU on 31 December, what progress they have made on issuing 90,000 new driver permits.

The UK has an allocation of up to 1668 annual and 5040 short-term ECMT permits available for 2021.

It is not the Government’s intention to rely solely on ECMT permits for market access.

ECMT permits would only ever be used to supplement wider market access arrangements, either under an EU-wide agreement or a series of bilateral agreements with EU Member States.

An application window for ECMT permits was open from 2 November 2020 until 20 November 2020. Permits have not yet been allocated; we will take account of the latest negotiations before doing so.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that ports in the UK (1) remain cost-effective destinations for global container shipping services, and (2) remain able to serve the needs of British exporters and importers, taking into consideration (a) any increase in the average size of container vessels, (b) shipping lines’ rationalisation of port calls, and (c) the reduction in the number of shipping lines serving ports in northwest Europe.

As an island nation 95% of the UK’s imports and exports arrive via our ports and by sea. The UK’s economy, plus its dependency on imports, mean that the UK will remain a destination for shipping irrespective of cost, and consisting of either direct traffic, or transhipped.

The highly competitive, private sector UK ports market offers cost effective, attractive and reliable services, undertaking significant commercial investment to do so. A number of UK ports have made large investments to cater for the biggest container vessels, and to improve services to handle growing vessel sizes across a variety of markets.

Larger vessels mean fewer direct port calls, but a broadly similar level of freight being handled. Managing this remains a commercial matter for ports and shipping companies.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to review the application of Commission Regulation (EC) No 906/2009, on the application of Article 81(3) of the Treaty to certain categories of agreements, decisions and concerted practices between liner shipping companies, to shipping lines and services serving ports in the UK.

Following the European Commission's decision earlier this year, the application of the Regulation has been renewed in respect of the European Union until April 2024. The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 and the Competition (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 preserve the Regulation in the UK as a retained exemption. This means that, after the end of the Transition Period, the retained Regulation will operate as an exemption from the prohibition against anti-competitive behaviour in UK law until it expires in April 2024. The Secretary of State will have the power, after the Transition Period, to vary or revoke the retained exemption, acting in consultation with the Competition and Markets Authority.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their latest safety assessment of the wreckage of the SS Richard Montgomery; and what action they are taking to protect the Thames Estuary and Kent Coast from the threat posed by the unexploded ordinances.

The Government’s view is that the wreck is in a relatively stable condition. It is however considered prudent to take sensible steps to mitigate the risk. As part of our ongoing assessment of the wreck and long-term management of the risk, a decision has been taken to explore the potential to reduce the height of the masts. The Ministry of Defence is managing that project on behalf of the Department for Transport.

Whilst the condition of the masts is not believed to have seriously deteriorated over time, the decision to explore reducing the height of the masts was informed by the regular surveys conducted by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency. These surveys can be found on Gov.uk.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether a UK resident must quarantine when arriving into the UK from Portugal yet departing back to that country on the same day.

Coronavirus regulations mean that you must self-isolate for 14 days if you arrive in the UK from a country outside the common travel area.

Though the Government is satisfied that it is now safe to ease these measures in England and has introduced travel corridor exemptions for some countries and territories, Portugal is not presently part of the travel corridor exemptions. Therefore, people must self-isolate for 14 days when arriving into the UK from Portugal. However, if they wish to leave the UK within the 14-day period then they are able to do so.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government on what basis they decided to exclude Portugal as an ‘air bridge’ country necessitating passengers to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the UK from that country.

Decisions on the list of countries that are exempt from self-isolation requirements have been guided by the science.

The Joint Biosecurity Centre, in close consultation with Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer, has developed an approach to assessing the public health risk associated with inbound travel from specific countries and territories. This categorisation has informed the government’s decisions about relaxation of border measures.

The categorisation has been informed by an estimate of the proportion of the population that is currently infectious in each country, virus incidence rates, trends in incidence and deaths, transmission status and international epidemic intelligence as well as information on a country’s testing capacity and an assessment of the quality of the data available.

The government will keep the requirements and exemptions set out in the regulations under review.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that (1) during, and (2) after, the grounding of any aircraft due to the COVID-19 pandemic all (a) UK registered commercial aircraft comply with air worthiness certification, and (b) commercial aircraft registered outside the UK comply with valid air worthiness certification to enable entering UK air space.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is working with UK airlines to understand their plans for the storage of aircraft due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Airlines have provided to the CAA their plans to maintain aircraft whilst in storage to ensure compliance with the regulations on continuing airworthiness. The CAA will check UK airlines continue to comply with these regulations as the aircraft return to service. The CAA will also continue to audit aircraft registered in other states to check that they are in compliance with the international standards contained in the Chicago Convention through the Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft (SAFA) programme.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether prohibiting a British resident overseas to travel to be with close family is in accordance with (1) domestic, and (2) international, human rights provisions.

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before prorogation. Ministers will correspond directly with the Member.

21st Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government why a UK citizen officially resident in the European Union is not permitted to travel from the UK under COVID-19 regulations to be united with close family, but close family members are permitted to travel to the UK for this purpose.

A United Kingdom citizen who is officially resident in the European Union and who is in England temporarily would have a reasonable excuse to leave the UK, including where they are travelling to be reunited with close family.

Travel to the UK is not permitted if an individual has visited or passed through a country where travel to the UK is banned in the last 10 days, unless they are a British national, an Irish national or anyone with residence rights in the UK. This system allows those who live in the UK to return to their home country but manages the risk of importing new COVID-19 cases.

8th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether UK citizens who are resident abroad are permitted (1) to enter, and (2) to leave, the UK while the restrictions to address the COVID-19 pandemic are in place.

For those seeking to enter the United Kingdom, from countries where an international travel ban has been imposed, they will be required to quarantine for ten days in a managed quarantine facility. These new measures are for those who cannot be denied entry to the UK from travel ban countries including returning British and Irish nationals, visa holders and permanent residents. All other international arrivals must quarantine at home and take the mandatory tests.

For those looking to leave the UK, it is illegal to travel abroad without a legally permitted reason to do so. The legally permitted reasons include to carry out work that cannot be done from home, for medical appointments and for educational reason. Anyone choosing to travel should consider the public health advice in the country they are visiting.

21st Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they check the Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) that is supplied to local resilience forums for quality prior to dispatch; and what (1) standards, and (2) safety, checks they have in place for centrally distributed PPE.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) provided must be fit for purpose, meeting the necessary safety standards to ensure it provides the required level of protection. Our requirements and specification are clearly articulated and published in technical specifications.

Certification of PPE is supplied by the manufacturer having had it independently tested. Assurance is checked by the regulators, the Health and Safety Executive and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. Evidence of certification is requested for products as part of the due diligence process. Contracts that involve the manufacture of PPE have the appropriate clauses to ensure that testing and certification is undertaken before the goods are accepted.

Our priority is to protect health and social care staff, including making sure they have the equipment they need to do their job safely.

17th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to reassess the UK’s relationship with the World Health Organization after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The United Kingdom continues to have a strong and committed relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO), who have an important role to play in leading the global health response to coronavirus, and works closely with them at country, regional and global levels. The UK is currently the second largest member state donor to WHO and has already contributed £75 million to help WHO lead the international efforts to stop the spread of the virus. The Prime Minister has now announced at the United Nations General Assembly on 26 September £340 million in new core funding to be given to the organisation over the next four years.

We have long been an advocate of reform in the WHO to ensure it is flexible and responsive, including able to respond as quickly and effectively as possible to global health emergencies, and we will continue to be so.

16th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Bethell on 14 September (HL Deb, col 1007) that they "are looking at making up to half of our personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements in the UK", why they do not plan to manufacture more than half of PPE in the UK; and what plans they have to increase the amount of PPE requirements manufactured in the UK to more than half.

The Government has been working to build a resilient, diversified supply chain of personal protective equipment (PPE). We have therefore massively expanded both our supply of PPE from overseas and our domestic manufacturing capability. This has helped to build resilience for our supply of PPE into the future.

The proportion of United Kingdom-based PPE manufacturing is rising all the time and we are increasingly confident of achieving more than 50% for most lines this year.

The Government is hugely grateful to all the UK-based manufacturers that came forward during a time of unprecedented global supply chain demand. This has ensured we build and maintain a domestic base for the future.

7th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many COVID-19 tests have been conducted at UK airports since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government does not publish data in the format requested.

20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether the timely identification of lessons to be learnt from their approach to the COVID-19 pandemic which do not assign blame would help in better addressing a possible second wave of COVID-19.

COVID-19 is the biggest challenge that the United Kingdom, together with nations around the world, has faced in decades. The Government has always been clear that there will be opportunities to look back, analyse and reflect on all aspects of the response to COVID-19. As the Prime Minister has said, this will include an independent inquiry at the appropriate time.

To prepare the National Health Service for winter, the Government is providing an additional £3 billion of funding. This includes funding to allow the NHS to maintain the Nightingale surge capacity and continue to use the extra hospital capacity available within the independent sector.

Effective local management of any outbreaks is the first line of protection against a second wave that might overwhelm the NHS. To support local authorities, we made £300 million available and they already have robust plans in place to respond to outbreaks.

NHS winter preparations include delivering a very significantly expanded seasonal flu vaccination programme for priority groups.

21st Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they will distribute the surplus COVID-19 vaccines pledged by the UK for poorer countries.

The UK is committed to equitable access to safe and effective vaccines leading the G7 to commit to donate an additional 1 billion doses. We will share 100 million doses within the next year and 80% of the vaccines shared will go to COVAX. As the multilateral mechanism set up to support international co-operation on vaccines, COVAX remains best-placed to allocate vaccines to where they will be most effective. So far, COVAX has helped deliver over 87m doses to 130 countries and territories.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to address the systemic challenges presented by the government of China’s stated ambitions and assertive behaviour, as identified in the communiqué issued on 14 June by the Heads of State and Government participating in the Brussels NATO summit.

As set out in the Integrated Review the Government is investing in enhanced China-facing capabilities. This investment will enhance our understanding of China and its people, while improving our ability to respond to the systemic challenge that it poses to our security, prosperity and values and those of our allies and partners. At the same time, we will increase protection of our critical national infrastructure, institutions and sensitive technology, and strengthen the resilience of our critical supply chains, so that we can engage with confidence.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they consider that declaring acts as genocide should be a determination made by (1) the Government, (2) Parliament, or (3) the courts; and in particular, which of these bodies it considers should determine whether the events of 1915 in Armenia constituted genocide.

The events of 1915-1916 were a tragic episode in the history of the Armenian people and they must never be forgotten. The UK Government of the day condemned the massacres and this Government fully endorses that view.

It is the long-standing policy of the British Government that determination of genocide should be made by a competent court, rather than by the UK government or a non-judicial body. It should be decided after consideration of all the evidence available in the context of a credible judicial process. Competent courts in respect of genocide include international courts and domestic criminal courts meeting international standards of due process.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 9 March (HL13631), which countries participated in the diplomatic visit to Indian-administered Kashmir organised by the government of India in the week commencing 15 February.

This is a matter for the Government of India. According to information on the Government of India's Ministry of External Affairs website (https://mea.gov.in/response-to-queries.htm?dtl/33544/Official_Spokespersons_response_to_media_queries_on_the_Visit_of_Foreign_Heads_of_Missions_to_Jammu_amp_Kashmir), Heads of Mission attended from Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Cote d'Ivore, Cuba, Estonia, Finland, European Union, Eritrea, France, Ghana, Italy, Ireland, Kyrgyz Republic, Malaysia, Malawi, Netherlands, Portugal, Senegal, Spain, Sweden and Tajikistan.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 9 March (HL13631), whether a representative from the British High Commission was invited to attend the diplomatic visit to Indian-administered Kashmir organised by the government of India in the week commencing 15 February.

The British High Commissioner was invited to attend the diplomatic visit to India-administered Kashmir organised by the Government of India in the week commencing 15 February. We regularly discuss the prospect of British High Commission officials visiting India-administered Kashmir and are working closely with the Government of India to identify a suitable opportunity to visit.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many requests have been (1) received, and (2) accepted, by the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs for a meeting with a foreign affairs minister from another government in each of the past 12 months; from which governments they have received such a request; and when any such meetings (a) occurred, and (b) are due to take place.

Meetings between Ministerial departments and their international counterparts are a regular part of Government business.

For security and diplomatic reasons we do not routinely publish details of these meetings.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether a member of the British High Commission accompanied the reported "guided tours" of Kashmir given to envoys by the government of India; and if so, what conclusions were drawn.

We are aware of the diplomatic visit to India-administered Kashmir that was organised by the Government of India in the week commencing 15 February 2021. The UK did not participate in this visit. We continue to work closely with the Indian authorities to identify the best opportunity for British High Commission representatives to visit Kashmir.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to assist less economically developed countries, in particular those countries where British civil servants and consular staff are based, in (1) accessing, and (2) administering, COVID-19 vaccinations.

The UK is committed to rapid equitable access to safe and effective vaccines. The UK has been instrumental in supporting the establishment of the COVAX Facility, which is the international initiative managed by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance that provides equitable access to safe and effective vaccines for 190 economies. High and upper-middle-income countries can access the self-financing window of the COVAX Facility. Low- and middle-income countries are eligible for support from the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), to which we have committed £548 million as one of its largest bilateral donors. Our network of health advisers in relevant AMC countries are working to support host governments to apply to the COVAX AMC, and prepare for vaccine delivery.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures are in place to protect British civil servants and consular staff working abroad from COVID-19.

UK based and international staff and their families undergo robust health clearance before they are posted to our embassies and missions overseas, or before travelling on official business. This ensures that any individual health risk can be mitigated by taking into account medical history, intended country of posting and occupation. Staff health overseas is overseen by our One HMG Healthline and advice from NHS trained doctors and nurses is available 24/7. The majority of government departments who deploy staff to the FCDO's overseas missions share this approach, although a small number opt for alternative medical cover. Staff and families are also supported by the FCDO Overseas Health and Welfare Team or HR teams in their own departments. The FCDO Chief Medical Officer and her team of health advisers advise our missions and their staff on the public health and hygiene measures they need to take individually and collectively to stay COVID safe. We keep healthcare overseas and medical evacuation under regular review. Our Estates professionals provide advice to ensure our offices and residential accommodation are maintained as COVID-secure environments for all staff and their families.

We are mindful of the need to protect our consular staff who provide help and support to British Nationals around the world 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. Staff are able to provide support remotely and where face to face contact is necessary this is by appointment only. We have made adaptations to public counters and waiting rooms to make them COVID-secure and staff and visitors must adhere to stringent preventive measures including social distancing, face covering and hand hygiene. Where local COVID restrictions allow visits to British nationals in hospital or detention, we consider these on a case by case basis following a risk assessment. Consular staff handle challenging and distressing cases and are encouraged to attend regular wellbeing supervision sessions which are continuing remotely.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to use the United Nations Sustainability Goals as a framework for their COVID-19 recovery strategy.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have a key role to play in framing and shaping recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and provide a valuable framework for ensuring a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient recovery. We are proud to have led the UN Financing for Development workstream on recovering better for sustainability. As the Foreign Secretary said in his 29 September speech during the UN General Assembly, our recovery from COVID-19 must accelerate, not slow down our delivery of the Paris Agreement and the SDGs

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 prioritise (1) digitisation and (2) climate resilience capability building programmes, in their spending on international development.

The UK Government is investing in multiple programmes that aim to increase digital inclusion and digital transformation in developing countries and emerging markets with a focus on underserved and marginalised communities. The programmes aim to address the fundamental constraints to digital inclusion, build cybersecurity capacity, support local digital economies and advise partner countries about digital transformation of the government and the economy through tools such as digital identification.

Countries need to take action to anticipate the impact of climate change to avoid more people falling into poverty and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. This is a major focus of the UK's international climate finance, which helps both to avoid carbon emissions and build climate resilience. These include the Least Developed Countries Fund and the Least Developed Countries' Initiative for Effective Adaptation and Resilience. We will use the UK's Presidency of the COP26 climate conference, in Glasgow in November 2021, to secure greater international support for adaptation and resilience measures.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the potential of digital trade to aid economic recovery from COVID-19, and (2) the digital divide between the UK and developing countries; and what plans they have to increase their spending on communication and digitisation capacity building to more than 0.2 per cent of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's total budget.

Digital trade can support economic recovery by enabling more trade to continue during global lockdowns and by opening new trading opportunities which the UK also stands to benefit from. During the COVID-19 pandemic we have been supporting businesses to adapt to the challenges of operating online. For example, our 'SheTrades Commonwealth' programme is helping women-owned businesses in Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and Bangladesh to use digital platforms to market their products and maintain relationships with clients remotely.

There is a deep global digital divide. For example, only 19% of individuals in the least developed countries are estimated to have internet access, while 91% of all UK adults have recently used the internet. The UK Government is investing in programmes that increase digital inclusion in developing countries and emerging markets. This includes the Digital Access Programme which is working in five countries to address the fundamental constraints to digital inclusion, build cybersecurity capacity and support local digital economies, with a focus on underserved communities. Future spending plans on communication and digitisation capacity building, and in all other areas, will depend on the outcome of the ongoing Spending Review.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office development funding has been allocated to advance the Commonwealth Digital Connectivity Agenda for digital trade.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is working through a number of programmes to promote inclusive digital access for the most vulnerable populations, to ensure we leave no one behind in a digital world. One example is the cross-government Digital Access Programme, which works at multiple levels to catalyse affordable, inclusive, safe and secure digital access for marginalised and underserved communities in the Commonwealth countries of Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, as well as Brazil and Indonesia.

Further information on the UK Government's wider work in partnership with other Commonwealth countries and intergovernmental and affiliated organisations can be found in the recently published report, UK Commonwealth Chair-in-Office report 2018 to 2020: delivery of Commonwealth Summit commitments.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their strategy for future trade relations with the African Union.

The UK is a key trading partner for African nations and the Government has made arrangements to provide duty-free quota-free access to our market for 39 Sub-Saharan African countries, and tariff reductions to a further five countries.

The UK is supporting the African Union's ongoing negotiations on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) with targeted technical assistance and training for African trade negotiators. We continue to consider options to increase this support from the next financial year. The Minister for Africa discussed UK support for the AfCFTA with the Secretary General of the AfCFTA in June and with African Union Commissioners in Addis Ababa in July. We are also implementing programmes to help countries in the region break down barriers to trade, including the UK Trade Partnerships Programme and SheTrades Commonwealth.

1st Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the vacant leadership positions at the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) on the operational capability of the OSCE; and what discussions they are having with OSCE participating states about (1) filling those positions promptly, and (2) mediating hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

For each of the top four leadership positions at the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), deputies are acting as Officers in Charge and are ensuring their institutions continue to deliver on their mandates. Our mission in Vienna is in regular contact with them and continues to work with like-minded States to provide support when required. The process to appoint new Heads is already underway, led by OSCE Chair-in-Office, Albania. We are engaging with participating States and Albania to support this process and help identify those nominees best qualified for the roles and who share our core values on democracy, rule of law and freedom of media. Appointments are confirmed by consensus of all 57 states, ideally in early December ahead of the OSCE Ministerial Council.

At the 29 September meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council, the UK urged de-escalation of the current hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan and a resumption of dialogue. UK Ministers and officials are engaging actively with partners in support of the OSCE Minsk Group efforts to ensure a negotiated, peaceful settlement to the conflict. The Minister for the European Neighbourhood and Americas raised UK concerns over civilian casualties and fatalities with both the Armenian and Azerbaijani Foreign Ministers on 28 September, urging both to return to the negotiating table. The Prime Minister spoke to President Erdogan on 28 September.

17th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for conducting a reconciliation process for Commonwealth countries about their historic treatment by the UK; and what plans they have, if any, to undertake such a process.

We have no plans to undertake such a process. Our strong relationships with our 53 fellow and equal Commonwealth members are grounded in mutual respect and common values, and in recognition of our shared history. We continue to work together in close partnerships bilaterally, within the Commonwealth, and in other international fora across a wide range of issues, including rule of law, human rights and shared global challenges. Commonwealth collaboration helps all its members build a better future.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide state support and aid to less economically developed countries to suppress the transmission of COVID-19.

We are using UK aid to ensure that our assistance reaches the most marginalised and vulnerable people who will be the worst affected by COVID-19. The UK has so far pledged up to £774 million of aid to counter the health, humanitarian and economic risks.

This includes £306 million for supporting health systems and resilience in vulnerable countries, including: £55 million for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement appeals to provide medical supplies, equipment and facilities; £50 million in partnership with Unilever to promote hand and surface hygiene, reaching up to 1 billion vulnerable people; and £20 million to UNICEF to support governments, including provision of water and sanitation for vulnerable children.

We are also working to ensure access to new vaccines, treatments and diagnostics (VTDs) as quickly as possible, including in the world's poorest countries. The Prime Minister was clear that world leaders have a 'moral duty' to ensure that VTDs are truly available to all. We are doing this through our work with international partners including up to £250 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and our initial contribution of £48 million to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance's, COVAX Advanced Market Commitment.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of cyber attacks by foreign governments against (1) the UK, and (2) its allies.

Malicious actors, both State and non-State, are conducting activity that is detrimental to UK interests and those of our allies, whether directly targeted at us or not. Cyber attacks have grown in intensity, complexity and severity in recent years as these actors are becoming bolder and take more risks for economic, strategic, regional or financial gains. The UK Government has demonstrated that it will defend against, counter and identify those who seek to do us harm. The UK works with its international partners and in multilateral fora to call out those who are responsible for malicious and disruptive cyberattacks. Working closely with foreign agency and industry partners, Government agencies identify and mitigate vulnerabilities and manage and resolve incidents if they occur. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the Centre for the Protection of Critical National Infrastructure (CPNI) routinely assess the threat from a range of actors to our most critical sectors.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the difference between a hostile act and an act of war; and what types of action would fall under each definition.

Since the adoption of the UN Charter international law is not framed in terms of "act of war", but rather in terms of "use of force". Article 2(4) of the Charter prohibits the threat or use of force that threatens the territorial integrity or political independence of any state. However the Charter also recognises that a state has a right to use force to defend itself against an armed attack or imminent armed attack. Actions that fall short of an armed attack could still constitute an unlawful intervention in the domestic affairs of the UK, prohibited by both Article 2(7) of the UN Charter and customary international law. Any assessment would need to be made on a case-by-case basis, taking into account all of the facts.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impacts of any cyber attacks by the government of China which they consider hostile to trade economy, national security, and critical infrastructure; and what communication strategy they have planned for all stakeholders who would be affected, including the public.

Malicious cyber activity is increasing in sophistication across international boundaries. Both state-sponsored and criminal cyber actors are carrying out hostile operations against governments, critical and national services, financial institutions, businesses and individuals around the world. Government departments work closely with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the Centre for the Protection of Critical National Infrastructure (CPNI) to help industries, organisations and individuals protect themselves, their businesses and our critical national infrastructure. Campaigns like 'industry100', Cyber Essentials and Cyber Aware produce guidance and support that sets out protective measures that can be taken against a range of threats and actors, including espionage and cyber attacks.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of any increase of political instability in Libya; and whether they expect mass movement of refugees into southern Europe as a result of any such instability.

We remain deeply concerned by the situation in Libya and the risks to wider regional stability. The UK is actively engaged in diplomatic efforts to end the conflict. We continue to call on all parties to de-escalate, commit to a lasting ceasefire and return to UN-led political talks. Most recently, at the 8 July UN Security Council meeting, the Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa reiterated that external backers must stop sending arms to Libya, adhere to the Berlin Conference commitments made in January, and support the parties to achieve a ceasefire and reach an inclusive political solution. We welcome the engagement of the Government of National Accord and the Libyan National Army in the UN led 5+5 military talks. It is essential that both sides engage fully with this process.

The UK calls on all parties to the conflict to engage with the UN and the humanitarian community. This is essential to allow for civilians, including refugees and migrants and the wounded, to be evacuated to safety and for aid to reach those in need. As part of our current £75 million migration programme along the Central Mediterranean Route, we have allocated over £7 million to humanitarian assistance and protection for migrants and refugees in Libya, including targeted healthcare provision. The ongoing confrontation continues to exacerbate human migration and the UK is clear that the situation can be best improved under the stability of a united and representative government, facilitated by the UN-led process. That is why we continue to actively support the UN-led political process and an inclusive political settlement for Libya.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 6 July (HL6037), to list the countries in the EU which (1) do, or (2) do not, adequately protect the interests of UK citizens resident in those countries.

The Withdrawal Agreement protects the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU who are lawfully resident by the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020. It ensures they can continue to live, work, study and access benefits and services, such as healthcare, broadly as they do now. As is the case with other parts of EU law, the Withdrawal Agreement has direct effect in the EU and is binding on all Member States. These protections have supremacy over any national legislation in Member States that could be inconsistent with the Withdrawal Agreement now or in the future. We do not assess, at this time, that any Member States are not adequately protecting citizens' rights but we are closely monitoring the situation across the EU and we are providing the latest advice to UK nationals resident there via our Living in Guides on GOV.UK.

Furthermore, the Government wrote to the European Commission on 14 May to set out our view on where progress on implementation could improve. The European Commission responded on 28 May, agreeing to work to address them in advance of the Part Two provisions coming into effect at the end of the transition period. The Government is working closely with all Member States on correct and timely implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement, via our network of Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates. The Specialised Committee on Citizens' Rights has also started its work to oversee the implementation and application of Part Two. Any breaches that we become aware of, leading to a loss of rights for UK nationals, during the transition period or in the future, will be raised at this Committee and escalated to the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee if required.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of which countries in the EU (1) do, or (2) do not, adequately protect the interests of UK citizens resident in those countries.

The Government and the European Union have ratified the Withdrawal Agreement, which provides citizens with the certainty they need about their rights going forwards.

During the time-limited transition period, until 31 December 2020, UK nationals are able to live, work and travel in the EU broadly as they do now - and vice versa for EU citizens coming to the UK. After the transition period, UK nationals who are lawfully residing in a Member State will be able to stay - and vice versa for EU citizens lawfully residing in the UK. Member States can choose whether to require UK nationals who are lawfully resident by the end of the transition period to apply for a residence status to confer their rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. Member States may allow applications for residence to be made voluntarily during the transition period. However, any decisions made during this time has no effect until after the end of the transition period. Under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, any new residency systems that are put in place must be open until at least 30 June 2021, subject to extension in certain circumstances.

The Government is working closely with Member States on their implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement during the transition period via our network of Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates. We are also providing the latest advice to UK nationals in the EU via our Living in Guides on gov.uk. The Specialised Committee on Citizens' Rights oversees the implementation and application of Part Two of the Withdrawal Agreement. Any breaches that we are aware of leading to a loss of rights for UK nationals, during the transition period or in the future, will be raised through this forum and escalated to the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee if required.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government with which foreign leaders, or their representatives, each Department has met since the 2019 General Election.

The information is not readily available/held centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their latest policy on the Chagos Islands; and what assessment they have made of the UN General Assembly's resolution 73/295 Advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legal consequences of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965, of 22 May 2019.

We have no doubt about our sovereignty over the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), which has been under continuous British sovereignty since 1814. We have made a long-standing commitment to cede sovereignty of the territory to Mauritius when it is no longer required for defence purposes. We stand by that commitment.

We were disappointed this matter was referred to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), contrary to the principle that the Court should not consider bilateral disputes without the consent of both States concerned. The United Kingdom respects the ICJ and participated fully in the advisory proceedings in good faith. However, we do not share the ICJ's approach and have made known our views on the content of the opinion, including its insufficient regard to significant material facts and legal issues. The ICJ's opinion is advisory and not legally binding. Resolution 73/295 does not and cannot create any legal obligations for UN Member States.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they support the position of the UK's delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in regard to the suspension of the Russian delegation.

The decision to adopt rules changes that saw the return of the Russian delegation to the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) in June 2019 was a matter for the Assembly. Russia's membership of the Council of Europe provides access, valued by Russian citizens and human rights Non Governmental Organisations, to the European Court of Human Rights and is one of the few ways available to the international community to hold Russia to account for its human rights violations.

The British Government did not support Russia's unconditional return to PACE. We consistently called on Russia to fulfil all its obligations as a member state, and to adhere to Council of Europe standards on human rights, democracy and rule of law. We will continue our efforts in the Council of Europe to ensure Russia is answerable for its actions. We will also continue to make clear that we do not and will never recognise Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to invite the President of Uzbekistan to visit the UK; and if so, what (1) dates, and (2) topics for discussion, are being considered.

​The United Kingdom-Uzbekistan relationship has improved considerably since President Mirziyoyev came to power in 2016. We are actively engaged in supporting his ambitious reform programme and are alive to the opportunities which this presents. There is not currently a date for President Mirziyoyev to visit the United Kingdom, but the signing of a bilateral Partnership and Cooperation Agreement in October last year provides the foundation for future cooperation in foreign, political and security matters.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they plan to take to deliver on the international agreement on global tax reform agreed by the G7 on 5 June.

The Government is delighted that the G7 has, under the UK’s Presidency, reached an agreement on how the international tax framework should be reformed in response to the challenges created by globalisation and digitisation. These reforms would involve two pillars; changing where multinational group profits are taxed as well as requiring a minimum level of tax to be paid on profits in each jurisdiction. The Government believes that the G7 agreement provides the basis for a more comprehensive agreement at the level of the G20 and the 139 members of the OECD Inclusive Framework, and is working actively and constructively with other countries to support this aim.
Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
27th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of high street banks refusing new business account applications; and what steps they plan to take as a result.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been unprecedented demand for banking services, this accompanied with working restrictions due to social distancing has meant banks have faced significant capacity pressures which has limited their ability to meet demand for their services. Banks are doing all they can to meet this demand in these difficult circumstances.

Decisions about what products are offered to individual businesses remain commercial decisions for banks and building societies. It would be inappropriate for the Government to intervene in these decisions. But the Government has always been clear that lenders should open to new customers where it is operationally possible for them to do so.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
13th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to invest in infrastructure for local communities and businesses in order to address any impacts of the UK–EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

At the Spending Review, the government set out key infrastructure commitments that will bolster local communities and businesses. Amongst others, this included £5 billion to support UK-wide gigabit broadband roll-out and £4.2 billion intra-city transport settlements, both of which will have a significant impact on local economic growth.

The new Levelling Up Fund worth £4 billion for England, will attract up to £0.8 billion for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the usual way. This will invest in local infrastructure that has a visible impact on people and their communities and will support economic recovery. It will be open to all local areas in England and prioritise bids to drive growth and regeneration in places in need, those facing particular challenges, and areas that have received less government investment in recent years.

Furthermore, the government announced a new infrastructure bank that will support private projects alongside lending to mayors and local authorities in order to support their infrastructure ambitions. The government will set out further details on the scale, mandate and operations of the Bank at the Budget.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
30th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the regulatory framework on the trade finance gap; and what discussions they are (1) having, and (2) have had, with the Prudential Regulation Authority about reducing the trade finance gap.

The UK’s prudential regulatory framework is underpinned by internationally agreed Basel standards in which the UK plays a key role through its membership of the Basel Committee on Banking Standards (BCBS).

Through the Financial Services Bill, the Government is delegating responsibility for the implementation of the latest Basel standards to the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).

As part of that, the PRA will be required to consider and report on the likely effect of its rules on the sustainable provision of finance to businesses and consumers in the UK.

The Government maintains a regular dialogue with the PRA to ensure our future prudential regulation is appropriate and proportionate for the UK.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
26th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to extend the 24 month timescale for support provided to companies sending goods to Northern Ireland, in the event it proves insufficient.

The Trader Support Service (TSS) will provide guidance to traders to help them understand changes to the way goods move under the Northern Ireland Protocol from 1 January. Traders will be supported to understand the information they will need to collect about their goods in order for the TSS to complete declarations on their behalf.

The service will be in place for at least two years and during this period will provide guidance and training to help grow the existing intermediary market. The Government is committed to providing appropriate support and has developed the TSS to meet this commitment. The service and its future will be reviewed after two years.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
15th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the light of the economic cost of the COVID-19 pandemic, what plans they have (1) to halt, or (2) to reconsider, national infrastructure projects that have not yet received development consent orders.

Decisions on future projects will be made as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) and National Infrastructure Strategy due later in the Autumn. In the announcement[1] of the CSR the Chancellor committed to levelling up economic opportunity across all nations and regions of the country by investing in infrastructure, innovation and people.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-launches-comprehensive-spending-review

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
10th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that visa applications from COP26 attendees are dealt with efficiently.

The Home Office is working closely with Cabinet Office, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and other government departments on preparations for welcoming participants to COP 26.

The Home Office has provided the UNFCCC with information on the visa application process and will be supplying event specific guidance in the upcoming months.

Arrangements are in progress to ensure entry clearance staff will be able to cross reference applications with the UNFCCC to confirm invitations of those registered to attend the event along with an escalation process.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
7th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the current risk to the Home Office of a cyber attack; and (2) whether adequate resources are in place to respond to that risk.

Like all major government departments, the Home Office assesses threat from a range of different threat actors. The department uses this information to inform its risk assessments and action plans, both operational and tactical. Risk assessments are updated periodically and whenever a change in the perceived threat is noted.

The Home Office utilises a tiered system of risk assessment covering tactical (system level), operational (business level) and strategic (departmental level) cyber security risks. The Executive Committee has direct visibility of the Department’s strategic cyber security risk and mitigation plans.

The Home Office deploys a range of controls designed to provide defence in depth for our systems, which are modelled against the advice provided by the National Cyber Security Centre and the Government’s Minimum Cyber Security Standard. The status of these controls is under continual review by the Office of the Chief Information Security Officer, which routinely works with delivery teams to ensure that controls are practical, applicable and effective.

Robust cyber security capability requires continued funding and the availability of suitably qualified and experienced personnel. The Office of the Chief Information Security Officer is resourced for the requirements identified for FY 2021-22, balancing the need for investment against cost effectiveness for the tax payer.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
21st Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether migrants crossing the English Channel who are detained by the UK Border Agency receive a COVID-19 test.

Since we introduced quarantine measures in June, those who have come to the UK in illegally facilitated crossings have been placed in facilities where they must self-isolate for 14 days, given we cannot be certain which countries they have travelled through.

Anyone who is symptomatic will be taken to designated accommodation and tested according to Public Health England guidance.

All immigration removal centres have communicable disease contingency plans, based on guidance by Public Health England (PHE). Measures such as protective shielding, improved hygiene and use of personal protective equipment (PPE) are being used to minimise the risk of COVID-19 spreading to vulnerable groups in IRCs.

On 26 March the High Court ruled that the Home Office was taking sensible, precautionary measures in relation to COVID-19 and immigration detention.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
9th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of staff working at visa application centres, processing biometric data for applicants for UK visas, they directly employ.

  • UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) runs different types of visas application centres in the UK and overseas. Over four 4 million visa and immigration applications each year (visit, work, study, family, other)

are processed in these centres.

  • The majority of application centres overseas are run by commercial suppliers (VFS Global and TLS Contact) who employ their

own personnel. In the UK, Sopra Steria Ltd run application service points, again with their own employees. Biometric data of customers is taken by supplier staff.

  • There are several locations in the UK - UKVI Service and Support Centres (SSCs) - in which biometrics are taken and which are staffed by UKVI directly-employed personnel.
Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
9th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether staff collecting biometric data from applicants for UK visas are involved in the decision-making process for awarding visas.

Staff employed by our suppliers who collect biometric data from applicants for UKVI are not involved in the visa decision making. Staff in the SSCs are directly UKVI employed and some are trained decision makers involved in the decision making process.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
7th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how long they expect members of the British Armed Forces to remain in Mali.

The UK has forces in Mali deployed to the UN peacekeeping mission, MINUSMA, and the French-led counter-terror operation, Operation BARKHANE. Beyond these operations, the UK also has a small Defence Section based in Bamako with a resident Defence Attaché (DA).

As outlined in the recent Written Ministerial Statement HCWS622, the UK has committed to a three-year deployment to MINUSMA, with a review to be held at the 18-month point.

The UK commitment to Operation BARKHANE was last extended in June 2020. The Government keeps this deployment under review on a continual basis to ensure it supports operations in the most effective way possible.

The UK's resident DA, based in British Embassy Bamako, is in post for a two-year assignment. DA posts are reviewed on an annual basis.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
23rd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether military personnel are still assisting with COVID-19 testing; and if not, why not.

As of Monday 27 July 2020, there are 96 Military Mobile Testing Unit (MTU) crews operational to assist with Covid-19 testing. This is inclusive of 22 Strategic Reserve crews. The Armed Forces have begun the process of handing over the operation of MTUs to civilian contractors for ongoing testing in line with Military Aid to the Civil Authorities principles regarding commercial solutions.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
23rd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with reservist employers about mobilising (1) the Army Reserve, and (2) the Regular Reserves, in the event of any second wave of COVID-19.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) maintains regular contact with reservist employers (including the Army Reserve) through routine engagement activities. Should there be a requirement to mobilise more reservists for future tasks related to COVID-19, the MOD will engage with employers through the usual, well established channels.

So far, there has been a very positive response from employers to the call-out of reservists as part of the national response to COVID-19. Details of call-out procedures, including the responsibilities of employers and reservists, and the financial compensation packages available, are set out on-line on www.gov.uk.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
23rd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for mobilising (1) the Army Reserve, and (2) the Regular Reserves, in the event of any second wave of COVID-19.

As part of our normal contingency planning arrangements, the Ministry of Defence is currently scoping its potential input into the response to any potential second wave of COVID-19. A reserve call-out order is already in place for the use of Reserve forces in the response to COVID-19, which could be used to mobilise Army Reserve and Regular Reserves should a second wave occur. Defence seeks to mobilise intelligently, making the most of the expertise available through its Reserve forces, whilst giving them and their employers flexibility.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
23rd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans are in place to mobilise (1) the Army Reserve, and (2) the Regular Reserves, to deal with any (a) second wave of COVID-19, and (b) any unrest following the end of the Brexit transition period.

Reservists undertake a variety of roles within Defence and provide a valuable contribution when called upon. As part of the national response to the Coronavirus pandemic circa 2,300 reservists (circa 1,850 of which were Army reservists) have been mobilised for Covid-19 related activities this year. The authority to mobilise reservists in Covid-19 roles is active until March 2021. This enables reservists mobilised prior to March 2021, under the Covid-19 Reserves Call Out Order to contribute to any Defence response to a potential second wave of Covid-19 if there is a need to do so.

The maintenance of public order is the responsibility of the police. There are no plans to utilise Armed Forces personnel, including reservists, to deal with any unrest following the end of the transition period. Defence remains closely engaged on contingency planning related to the end of the EU Transition Period and remains available to support the civil authorities if necessary.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
17th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the security of the Baltic and North Sea following recent reports that the Russian navy will commission 40 new vessels in 2020.

The Ministry of Defence monitors the development of all new Russian vessels commissioned and makes assessments based on their operational capability. We continue to assess the impact of Russian naval investments to regional security, including the Baltic and North Seas. Russia continues to be a significant state-based threat to the UK; monitoring and responding to this threat is a core priority for the Ministry of Defence.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
15th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to send the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier to the South China Sea; and if so, (1) when the decision was made, and (2) what will be the objective.

No decision has yet been made. Cross Government consultation is in progress and we expect to finalise the details of the deployment soon. The UK has enduring interests in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region and the Royal Navy has maintained a near persistent presence there for a number of years, conducting numerous activities promoting security and defence relationships with our partners and upholding the Rules Based International System. Building on this, the Royal Navy intends to continue to operate across the region, including in the South China Sea.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
15th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment has been made of recent Russian submarine deployment into the Mediterranean and Baltic seas.

The Ministry of Defence monitors the deployments of Russian submarines and makes assessments based on their operational capability. A nuclear-powered submarine transited from its Northern Fleet base to St Petersburg where it will take part in Russia's Navy Day on 26th July, as part of a predicted annual commitment. A further Russian submarine transited from its Black Sea base port to Tartus, Syria, as part of their routine presence operations in the eastern Mediterranean. Russia continues to be a significant state-based threat to the UK; monitoring and responding to this threat is a core priority for the Ministry of Defence.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
25th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the first aid, (2) the trauma and triage, and (3) the security and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear defence, capabilities of the Army Reserve; and what plans they have, if any, to deploy the Army Reserve to help address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Defence has a number of existing contingency plans in place to provide support to civil authorities, including to the NHS. Our personnel are already providing assistance in a number of capacities and this includes those with specialist medical training. Considering the likely additional call on military assistance to mitigate COVID-19 related staff absences in civil authorities, and the increasing volume of patients requiring treatment by the NHS, Defence is consistently monitoring and enhancing its plans, training and readiness in order to support additional requests.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
21st Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what financial support they have provided to local authorities to address any additional demand on domestic abuse services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Government provided £4.3 billion to local authorities to help them respond to coronavirus (COVID-19) spending pressures. This includes increasing support for services helping the most vulnerable, such as victims of domestic abuse.

We also put in place a system for local authorities that are struggling to meet additional demand due to COVID-19, enabling them to book rooms for domestic abuse victims.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by the Earl of Courtown on 4 November 2019 (HL380), whether they intend to instruct local authorities to maintain a public register of the disclosable pecuniary interests of officers to who delegated authority has been granted by elected members, to ensure that local government officials maintain transparency and compliance with the Nolan Principles.

It is a matter for each council to put in place whatever arrangements it considers appropriate for the recording and disclosure of officers' interests. Many councils have a code of conduct which covers the handling of officer interests, or details are included in their contracts.

In addition, there is a statutory requirement under section 117 of the Local Government Act 1972 that officers should declare if they have any pecuniary interest in a contract awarded.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)