Ben Lake Portrait

Ben Lake

Plaid Cymru - Ceredigion

First elected: 8th June 2017

Shadow PC Spokesperson (Treasury)

(since July 2020)

Shadow PC Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

(since July 2020)

Shadow PC Spokesperson (Education)

(since July 2020)

Shadow PC Spokesperson (Digital, Culture, Media & Sport)

(since July 2020)

Shadow PC Spokesperson (Health and Social Care)

(since July 2020)

Shadow PC Spokesperson (Housing, Communities & Local Government)

(since July 2020)

Shadow PC Spokesperson (The Constitution and Welsh Affairs)

(since July 2020)

Down Syndrome Bill
19th Jan 2022 - 26th Jan 2022
Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill
3rd Nov 2021 - 18th Nov 2021
Welsh Affairs Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019


Department Event
Monday 4th March 2024
14:30
Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
Oral questions - Main Chamber
4 Mar 2024, 2:30 p.m.
Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Monday 4th March 2024
18:00
Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
First Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
4 Mar 2024, 6 p.m.
The draft Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023 (Consequential and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2024
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Department Event
Monday 4th March 2024
18:00
Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
First Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - Select & Joint Committees
4 Mar 2024, 6 p.m.
The draft Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023 (Consequential and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2024
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Department Event
Tuesday 5th March 2024
09:25
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Second Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
5 Mar 2024, 9:25 a.m.
The draft Waste Enforcement (Fixed Penalty Receipts) (Amendment) (England and Wales) Regulations 2023
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Department Event
Tuesday 5th March 2024
09:25
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Second Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - Select & Joint Committees
5 Mar 2024, 9:25 a.m.
The draft Waste Enforcement (Fixed Penalty Receipts) (Amendment) (England and Wales) Regulations 2023
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Department Event
Tuesday 5th March 2024
11:30
Department of Health and Social Care
Oral questions - Main Chamber
5 Mar 2024, 11:30 a.m.
Health and Social Care (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Tuesday 5th March 2024
14:30
Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
Third Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
5 Mar 2024, 2:30 p.m.
The draft Representation of the People (Variation of Election Expenses and Exclusions) Regulations 2024
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Department Event
Tuesday 5th March 2024
14:30
Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
Third Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - Select & Joint Committees
5 Mar 2024, 2:30 p.m.
The draft Representation of the People (Variation of Election Expenses and Exclusions) Regulations 2024
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Department Event
Wednesday 6th March 2024
HM Treasury
Financial Statement - Main Chamber
Budget Statement
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Department Event
Monday 11th March 2024
14:30
Department for Education
Oral questions - Main Chamber
11 Mar 2024, 2:30 p.m.
Education (including Topical Questions)
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Select Committee Meeting
Monday 11th March 2024
15:30
Public Accounts Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Progress in implementing Universal Credit
11 Mar 2024, 3:30 p.m.
At 4:00pm: Oral evidence
Peter Schofield CB - Permanent Secretary at Department for Work and Pensions
Neil Couling CBE - Change and Resilience Director General and Senior Responsible Owner for Universal Credit at Department for Work and Pensions
Helga Swidenbank - Director of Disability Services, Working Age and Move to UC at Department for Work and Pensions
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Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 13th March 2024
13:00
Public Accounts Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: DHSC Annual Report & Accounts 2022-23
13 Mar 2024, 1 p.m.
At 1:30pm: Oral evidence
Sir Chris Wormald - Permanent Secretary at Department of Health and Social Care
Shona Dunn - Second Permanent Secretary at Department of Health and Social Care
Andy Brittain - Director General, Finance at Department of Health and Social Care
Professor Dame Jenny Harries - Chief Executive at UK Health Security Agency
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Department Event
Thursday 14th March 2024
09:30
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Oral questions - Main Chamber
14 Mar 2024, 9:30 a.m.
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (including Topical Questions)
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Select Committee Meeting
Monday 18th March 2024
15:30
Public Accounts Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Non-executive director appointments
18 Mar 2024, 3:30 p.m.
At 4:00pm: Oral evidence
Sir Alex Chisholm - Permanent Secretary at Cabinet Office
Michael Jary - Government Lead Non-Executive at Cabinet Office
Simon Madden - Director, Propriety & Ethics at Cabinet Office
Elizabeth Passey - Chair at Rural Payments Agency
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Department Event
Tuesday 19th March 2024
11:30
HM Treasury
Oral questions - Main Chamber
19 Mar 2024, 11:30 a.m.
HM Treasury (including Topical Questions)
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Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 20th March 2024
13:00
Public Accounts Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Lessons learned: Delivering value from government investment in major programmes
20 Mar 2024, 1 p.m.
At 1:30pm: Oral evidence
Conrad Smewing - Director General Public Spending at HM Treasury
Nick Smallwood - CEO at Infrastructure and Projects Authority
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Select Committee Meeting
Monday 25th March 2024
15:30
Public Accounts Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Value for Money from Legal Aid
25 Mar 2024, 3:30 p.m.
At 4:00pm: Oral evidence
Antonia Romeo - Permanent Secretary at Ministry of Justice
Jane Harbottle - CEO at Legal Aid Agency
Jason Latham - Development Director at HM Courts and Tribunals Service
Jerome Glass - Director General Policy and Strategy Group at Ministry of Justice
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Department Event
Monday 22nd April 2024
14:30
Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
Oral questions - Main Chamber
22 Apr 2024, 2:30 p.m.
Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Tuesday 23rd April 2024
11:30
Department of Health and Social Care
Oral questions - Main Chamber
23 Apr 2024, 11:30 a.m.
Health and Social Care (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Monday 29th April 2024
14:30
Department for Education
Oral questions - Main Chamber
29 Apr 2024, 2:30 p.m.
Education (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Tuesday 7th May 2024
11:30
HM Treasury
Oral questions - Main Chamber
7 May 2024, 11:30 a.m.
HM Treasury (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Thursday 9th May 2024
09:30
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Oral questions - Main Chamber
9 May 2024, 9:30 a.m.
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (including Topical Questions)
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Division Votes
Tuesday 27th February 2024
Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 2 Plaid Cymru Aye votes vs 0 Plaid Cymru No votes
Tally: Ayes - 179 Noes - 294
Speeches
Thursday 29th February 2024
Welsh Affairs
It is a pleasure to contribute to this St David’s Day debate, although I add my own concerns about the …
Written Answers
Friday 1st March 2024
Environmental Land Management Schemes
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many farmers had agreements under the Environmental …
Early Day Motions
Wednesday 19th July 2023
Consumer choice and meat and poultry originating from the UK
That this House recognises that bolstering the UK's domestic food supply is critical in order to guarantee long-term food security, …
Bills
Tuesday 22nd March 2022
Shared Prosperity Fund (Wales) Bill 2021-22
A Bill to require the Secretary of State to report to Parliament on the merits of devolving management and administration …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 13th December 2021
3. Gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources
Name of donor: S4C
Address of donor: Canolfan S4C, Yr Egin, Carmarthen SA31 3EQ
Amount of donation or nature and …
EDM signed
Tuesday 27th February 2024
Conduct of the hon. Member for Ashfield
That this House censures the hon. Member for Ashfield for his comments on 23 February 2024 regarding the Mayor of …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 31st January 2024
Police (declaration) Bill 2023-24
A Bill to require police officers and certain employees of police forces to declare a membership of or affiliation to …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Ben Lake has voted in 774 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Ben Lake Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
David T C Davies (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Wales
(18 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Independent)
(14 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
(14 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(58 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(55 debate contributions)
Wales Office
(31 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Parliamentary Constituencies Act 2020
(9,036 words contributed)
Finance Act 2021
(3,839 words contributed)
Finance Act 2020
(1,943 words contributed)
Agriculture Act 2020
(1,575 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Ben Lake's debates

Ceredigion Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

Petitions with highest Ceredigion signature proportion
Petition Debates Contributed

We want the Government to amend the Grocery Supply Code of Practice (GSCP) to require retailers, without exception, to:

- Buy what they agreed to buy
- Pay what they agreed to pay
- Pay on time

We believe the current GSCP is inadequate and doesn't protect farmers from unfair behaviour.

1.Restaurants to put all information about allergens in their food on the face of the main menu so customers have full visibility on what they're ordering.
2.Servers must initiate a discussion with customers about allergies on all occasions.
3.National register for anaphylaxis deaths

The Government should appoint an Allergy Tsar to act as a champion for people with allergies to ensure they receive appropriate support and joined up health care to prevent avoidable deaths and ill health.

Make it illegal for retailers and services to decline cash payments.

All businesses (excepting internet-based ones) and public services in which monetary transactions take place should be required by law to accept cash as a method of payment

In 2019 UK Government finalised a free trade agreement (FTA) with Faroe Islands which allows for £100 million of exports of wild caught and farmed fish to Britain per annum (20% of the Faroe Islands global trade). This FTA should be suspended until all whale & dolphin hunts on Faroe Islands end

Being the first to close and still no clue as to when we can open, this seasonal industry is losing its summer profits that allows them to get through the first quarter of next year.

Even if we are allowed to open in December, 1 months profit won't be enough to keep us open in 2021. We need help

The UK hospitality industry. Responsible for around 3m jobs, generating £130bn in activity, resulting in £38bn in taxation. Yet, unlike the Arts or Sports, we do not have a dedicated Minister.

We are asking that a Minister for Hospitality be created for the current, and successive governments.


Latest EDMs signed by Ben Lake

26th February 2024
Ben Lake signed this EDM as a sponsor on Tuesday 27th February 2024

Conduct of the hon. Member for Ashfield

Tabled by: Christine Jardine (Liberal Democrat - Edinburgh West)
That this House censures the hon. Member for Ashfield for his comments on 23 February 2024 regarding the Mayor of London, which were Islamophobic, damaging, divisive and risk bringing the House collectively into disrepute; and calls on the hon. Member for Ashfield to come to the House and apologise for …
21 signatures
(Most recent: 29 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Liberal Democrat: 15
Plaid Cymru: 3
Alliance: 1
Scottish National Party: 1
Green Party: 1
26th February 2024
Ben Lake signed this EDM as a sponsor on Tuesday 27th February 2024

Conduct of the hon. Member for Ashfield and the Rt hon. Members for Fareham and South West Norfolk

Tabled by: Dawn Butler (Labour - Brent Central)
That this House is shocked and appalled by the recent conduct of certain Members in respect of their remarks relating to Islam; believes that the recent remarks made by the hon. Member for Ashfield and the Rt hon. Members for Fareham and South West Norfolk are Islamophobic and constitute a …
24 signatures
(Most recent: 29 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 13
Scottish National Party: 6
Plaid Cymru: 3
Alliance: 1
Green Party: 1
View All Ben Lake's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Ben Lake, 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.


Ben Lake has not been granted any Urgent Questions

1 Adjournment Debate led by Ben Lake

Wednesday 14th October 2020

2 Bills introduced by Ben Lake


A Bill to require the Secretary of State to report to Parliament on the merits of devolving management and administration of the money allocated to Wales via the Shared Prosperity Fund to the Welsh Government.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 6th May 2022

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to make provision about access by customers, in particular those in rural areas, to banking services; to make provision for community banking hubs; to review access to banking services through the Post Office network; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 27th February 2018
(Read Debate)

37 Bills co-sponsored by Ben Lake

Police (declaration) Bill 2023-24
Sponsor - Tonia Antoniazzi (Lab)

Universal Jurisdiction (Extension) Bill 2022-23
Sponsor - Brendan O'Hara (SNP)

Tax Reform Commission Bill 2022-23
Sponsor - Liz Saville Roberts (PC)

Markets and market traders (review of support) Bill 2022-23
Sponsor - Simon Baynes (Con)

Immigration and Nationality Fees (Exemption for NHS Clinical Staff) Bill 2022-23
Sponsor - Rob Roberts (Ind)

Elected Representatives (Prohibition of Deception) Bill 2022-23
Sponsor - Liz Saville Roberts (PC)

Clean Air Bill 2022-23
Sponsor - Geraint Davies (Ind)

Banking and postal services (rural areas) Bill 2022-23
Sponsor - Drew Hendry (SNP)

Asbestos (national register) Bill 2022-23
Sponsor - Andrew Percy (Con)

Renewable Liquid Heating Fuel Bill 2022-23
Sponsor - George Eustice (Con)

Seals (Protection) Bill 2021-22
Sponsor - Tracey Crouch (Con)

Plastics (Wet Wipes) Bill 2021-22
Sponsor - Fleur Anderson (Lab)

Energy Pricing (Off Gas Grid Households) Bill 2021-22
Sponsor - Drew Hendry (SNP)

Co-operatives (Employee Company Ownership) Bill 2021-22
Sponsor - Christina Rees (LAB)

Trade Agreements (Exclusion of National Health Services) Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Peter Grant (SNP)

Problem Drug Use Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Tommy Sheppard (SNP)

Essay Mills (Prohibition) Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Chris Skidmore (Con)

Internet Access Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Darren Jones (Lab)

Driving Offences (Amendment) Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Gerald Jones (Lab)

Jet Skis (Licensing) Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Hywel Williams (PC)

Local Electricity Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Peter Aldous (Con)

Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies (Environmentally Sustainable Investment) Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Anna McMorrin (Lab)

Public Expenditure and Taxation (Advisory Body) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Jonathan Edwards (Ind)

Plastic Pollution (No. 2) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Alistair Carmichael (LD)

Parental Leave (Premature and Sick Babies) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - David Linden (SNP)

Animals (Recognition of Sentience) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Kerry McCarthy (Lab)

Plastic Pollution Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Alistair Carmichael (LD)

Packaging (Extended Producer Responsibility) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Anna McMorrin (Lab)

Green Deal (Conduct of Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Ltd) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Alan Brown (SNP)

Automatic Travel Compensation Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Huw Merriman (Con)

European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 4) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Yvette Cooper (Lab)

European Union Withdrawal (Evaluation of Effects on Health and Social Care Sectors) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Brendan O'Hara (SNP)

Unsolicited Calls (Prevention) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Stephen Kerr (Con)

Banking and Post Office Services (Rural Areas and Small Communities) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Luke Graham (Con)

Cold Weather Payments Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Hywel Williams (PC)

Voyeurism (Offences) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Wera Hobhouse (LD)

Courts (Abuse of Process) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Liz Saville Roberts (PC)


801 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
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, when the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities plans to publish the results of its call for evidence on ethnic disparities and inequality in the UK.

The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities aims to provide its full report to the Prime Minister by the end of February 2021, as agreed following Dr Sewell’s letter to me of 26 November 2020.

The Commission intends to separately publish the results of the Call for Evidence on GOV.UK following provision of its full report to the Prime Minister.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
7th Nov 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he has had recent discussions with representatives from the Office for National Statistics regarding an analysis of excess deaths since June 2022.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority.

A response to the Hon. Member's Parliamentary Question of 7 November is attached.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make an assessment of the reasons for an increase in excess deaths since June 2022; and what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the Welsh Government on those increases.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority.


A response to the hon. Member’s Parliamentary Question of 2 September is attached. As Minister for the Cabinet Office, I authorise the update to be deposited into the House of Commons Library when ready.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will review the appropriateness of arrangements and guidance on the use of WhatsApp and other electronic communications to conduct Government business with reference to (a) security, (b) transparency and (c) accountability.

Government has arrangements and guidance in place for the management of all electronic communications. As with all guidance, this is kept under review and updated as necessary. We are currently awaiting the judgement in legal proceedings in relation to government policy in this area. As such, I am not able to comment any further at this time.

20th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential immunological risks of covid-19 status certification.

The Government committed to explore whether and how COVID-status certification might be used to reopen our economy, reduce restrictions on social contact and improve safety. As set out in the ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021,’ the Government will set out its conclusions on the COVID-status Certification Review in advance of Step 4 of the Roadmap, in order to inform the safe reopening of society and the economy.

An update on the Roadmap Reviews was published on 5 April and can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021-reviews-terms-of-reference/roadmap-reviews-update.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate his Department has made of the number of business that have relocated outside Wales since January 2021 due to problems with the flow of essential supplies between the EU and UK.

The Government maintains efforts to support businesses to adapt to the new trading environment. There are a number of online tools available to support businesses, such as the Brexit checker tool and HMRC’s Brexit transition communications resources, and helplines for those who wish to speak to someone. The Government are regularly speaking with businesses and trade representative organisations at the Brexit Business Taskforce in order to hear businesses’ feedback, work through particular issues and discuss what further steps the government may be able to take to help businesses adapt and to thrive.

The Cabinet Office does not hold information on the number of businesses, if any, that have relocated outside of Wales.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of postponing the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

I refer the hon. Member to my answer to the question on 13 January 2021.

11th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with the Electoral Commission regarding the potential postponement of the Police and Crime Commissioner elections due to be held in May 2021.

I refer the hon. Member to my answer to the question on 13 January 2021.

11th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the forthcoming Police and Crime Commissioner elections.

I refer the hon. Member to my answer to the question on 13 January 2021.

15th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Officer, what the timeframe is for the establishment of the Intelligence and Security Committee.

I refer the Hon. members to the answer given to PQ 40706 on 4 May 2020.

18th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, if she will make an assessment of the potential impact of the Internal Market Act 2020 on plans to implement a deposit return scheme in Wales.

The UK Government is working cooperatively with all the devolved administrations to deliver interoperability and alignment of deposit returns across the whole of the UK. The interaction with the provisions of the UK Internal Market Act 2020 are being fully considered as part of those discussions.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what recent discussions she has had on the potential merits of imposing a moratorium on deep sea mining with her counterparts in (a) France, (b) New Zealand, (c) Chile and (d) other countries which have introduced a ban or a moratorium on deep sea mining .

The UK is fully engaged in the ongoing negotiations at the International Seabed Authority (ISA) Council and Assembly. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office leads the UK delegation to the ISA.

The UK’s policy is not to sponsor or support the issuing of any exploitation licences for deep sea mining projects unless and until there is sufficient scientific evidence about the potential impact on deep sea ecosystems, and strong enforceable environmental Regulations, Standards and Guidelines have been developed by the ISA and are in place. The UK’s approach is both precautionary and conditional.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
3rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps she is taking to help ensure that companies that provide customer review services ensure the authenticity of such reviews.

The government introduced in Parliament the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers (DMCC) Bill on 25 April. The DMCC Bill includes a delegated power to amend the list of automatically unfair practices in the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

The government will consult during bill passage on using this power to ensure that reviews are genuine, with a view to adding practices related to fake and misleading reviews to the list of automatically unfair practices. This will give greater clarity to companies who provide review services on their responsibilities in relation to consumer reviews and will allow enforcers to take effective action quickly.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
3rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps she is taking to tackle fake negative reviews made online by individuals against small businesses.

The government introduced in Parliament the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers (DMCC) Bill on 25 April which includes a delegated power to amend the list of automatically unfair practices set out in the Bill.

Government plans to address fake and misleading reviews that by adding these practices to the banned list following consultation this year. This will include where individuals are procured by traders, or are acting on their behalf, to denigrate another business by posting fake negative reviews.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
17th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps she is taking to ensure that the minimum wage for workers aged between 16 and 18 reflects the level of inflation.

On 1 April 2023, workers under 18 saw a 9.7% increase in their National Minimum Wage rate to £5.28. The Government aims to increase the National Minimum Wage as much as possible without damaging employment prospects for younger workers. By seeking expert and independent advice from the Low Pay Commission when setting the minimum wage rates, the Government is able to ensure that the right balance is struck between the needs of workers, the affordability for businesses and the impact on the economy.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
27th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 27 February 2023 to Question 147247, what the total value of the Future Fund loans taken up by those 83 companies is.

As of 31st December 2022, there were 83 companies in the Future Fund portfolio which have loans that have not converted into equity, and which have started Administration or other insolvency proceedings. The total Future Fund loan amount for these 83 loans is equal to £70,057,178.00.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, with reference to the data by the British Business Bank on Companies in which the Future Fund has an equity stake, what the total value is of the equity interest retained by the Future Fund in the 83 companies listed as having entered into administration or insolvency proceedings.

The Future Fund is a government scheme to support UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors. The scheme, alongside other Government support schemes, aims to support companies facing financing difficulties due to the Coronavirus outbreak. The Future Fund scheme is being delivered by the British Business Bank (BBB).

In respect of the 83 companies which have gone into administration or insolvency, those companies’ loans had not converted into equity and therefore the equity value retained by the Future Fund is zero.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, how many companies registered in Ceredigion received financial support under the Future Fund.

The Future Fund is a government scheme to support UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors. The scheme, alongside other Government support schemes, aims to support companies facing financing difficulties due to the Coronavirus outbreak. The Future Fund scheme is being delivered by the British Business Bank (BBB).

The number of Convertible Loan Agreements (CLAs) issued by the Future Fund in Wales was 25 with a total value of £18.7m. Future Fund data is not provided on a constituency level.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
2nd Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether existing smart meters will need to be replaced when the UK's 2G and 3G networks are phased out in 2033.

The Government is working closely with industry to ensure a smooth transition of services when 2G/3G communication services are switched off by the end of 2033.

In premises where smart meters have reached the end of their expected lifespan, they will be replaced with a new smart meter as part of business-as-usual activity. Where smart meters are within their lifespan we expect suppliers to upgrade communications hubs, without the need to replace the smart meter itself.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
2nd Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, when the management of the Data Communications Company's smart meter network will transfer from O2 to Vodafone.

The transfer will occur from 2025 until the end of 2033, when the smart metering communications service in the Central and South regions of Great Britain will have been transitioned to a 4G service using the Vodafone network.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
29th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, with reference to the Sixth Report of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee of Session 2019-21 on Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme, HC 1346, published on 29 April 2021, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of implementing the report's recommendations on the terms and conditions of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme.

The Government responded to the Committee’s report in June 2021 explaining that it was unable to agree to the Committee’s recommendations. That response is available to read here.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
29th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, how many miners were recipients of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme in (a) Ceredigion and (b) Wales in November 2023.

As at June 2023, there were 48 members of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme in Ceredigion and 13,838 in Wales as a whole. These are the most recent available figures.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of increasing the Warm Home Discount in line with the increases to the Ofgem price cap.

From winter 2022 the Government extended and expanded the Warm Home Discount to support more households in fuel poverty, by increasing the spending envelope from £350m to £475m (in 2020 prices) and also raising the rebate to £150. This winter, we expect over 3 million households to receive the increased rebate.

As the scheme is funded by participating energy suppliers, we have struck a balance between supporting as many households as possible, providing meaningful support, and limiting the impact on wider consumer bills.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps her Department has taken to lessen the upfront cost of retrofitting for (a) lower- and (b) middle-income households.

To support households with the upfront costs of retrofitting, the Government is investing £6.6 billion over this Parliament on clean heat and improving energy efficiency in buildings, and a further £6 billion of new Government funding will be made available from 2025 to 2028.

In addition, the Energy Company Obligation and GB Insulation Scheme, worth £5 billion in total, offer free or highly subsidised retrofits to lower and middle-income households living in energy inefficient homes.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps her Department has taken to support people in the private rental sector to access retrofitting schemes.

The Government is spending £6bn this Parliament and a further £6bn to 2028 on making buildings cleaner and warmer. In addition, £5bn will be delivered through the Energy Company Obligation and the Great British Insulation Scheme up to March 2026.

In September, the Government launched a new eligibility tool on its ‘Help for Households’ GOV.UK page to help people find the support available to them via the Home Upgrade Grant and the Great British Insulation Scheme.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether the revised target for the phasing out of fossil fuel boilers in off-grid homes will apply to Wales.

In September 2023, my Rt hon Friend the Prime Minister announced the Government will push back the end date for installing oil, LPG and coal heating systems in England to 2035. As this is a devolved policy, it is for the Welsh Government to consider steps to decarbonise off gas grid homes in Wales.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of replacing electric central heating with heat pumps on levels of (a) fuel poverty and (b) carbon emissions.

The Government considers the impact of policies on fuel poor households, including those households that replace their electric heating with heat pumps.

Heat pumps are around three times more efficient than direct electric heating, implying a two-thirds reduction in electricity consumption. The impact on carbon emissions will depend on the carbon intensity of the grid. Under current assumptions the Government estimates 9 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent reduction over the lifetime of the heat pump for a typical home that was heated by direct electric heating.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
6th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether he plans to take steps to ensure that the prices charged by operators of electric vehicle charging stations reflect changes to the wholesale price of electricity.

The Government is committed to working with industry to keep costs down and deliver fair electric vehicle charging prices while also ensuring the financial health and attractiveness to investors of the sector . As part of this work, we are introducing regulations to improve the consumer experience across the public charging network. To ensure pricing transparency, these regulations will mandate use of a common pricing metric, allowing consumers to compare prices in a single format.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
4th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, how many requests have been (a) made and (b) denied for T3 aerial to enable the installation of smart meters in properties in each Local Authority in Wales.

The Department published data on the proportion of operational smart meters by local authority across Great Britain, in its Q1 2023 statistics report. This can be accessed at www.gov.uk by searching for ‘Smart meter statistics March 2023’.

Ninety one percent of the 32.4 million smart and advanced meters in homes and small businesses are operating as intended. We do not hold data on the number of non-operational meters or T3 aerial installations by local authority.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
4th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will make an estimate of the number of smart meters that have been installed but cannot connect to the network in each Local Authority in Wales.

The Department published data on the proportion of operational smart meters by local authority across Great Britain, in its Q1 2023 statistics report. This can be accessed at www.gov.uk by searching for ‘Smart meter statistics March 2023’.

Ninety one percent of the 32.4 million smart and advanced meters in homes and small businesses are operating as intended. We do not hold data on the number of non-operational meters or T3 aerial installations by local authority.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
4th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, how many and what proportion of households in each Welsh Local Authority had smart meters installed on 1 July 2023.

The Department published data on the proportion of operational smart meters by local authority across Great Britain, in its Q1 2023 statistics report. This can be accessed at www.gov.uk by searching for ‘Smart meter statistics March 2023’.

Ninety one percent of the 32.4 million smart and advanced meters in homes and small businesses are operating as intended. We do not hold data on the number of non-operational meters or T3 aerial installations by local authority.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
19th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential role of (a) heat pumps, (b) EV charging points, (c) solar PV and (d) other low carbon technologies in offsetting the energy demand of new housing developments on the grid.

Analysis from the Government’s Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan (2021) suggests that use of flexibility from low carbon technologies such as smart charging of electric vehicles and flexible heating systems could play a significant role in reducing peak demand.

The Building Regulations will continue to set a performance-based standard rather than mandating or banning the use of any technologies. We expect heat pumps will become the primary heating technology for new homes under the Future Homes Standard. In the 2021 uplift we set the performance standards for new buildings at a level that means most new homes are likely to be built with solar panels.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
19th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of accelerating work on local energy governance and planning arrangements to deliver investment to the energy grid where it is most needed.

The Government recognises the potential benefits of enabling more local energy planning to support efficient and strategic investment in the electricity distribution network. We are working closely with Ofgem to consider this in more detail as part of their ongoing governance review into local energy institutions and its proposals on regional energy system planning.

Whilst we recognise the potential opportunities around local energy plans, it is vital that any approach endorsed by government is considered carefully to ensure it is deliverable, cost-effective and aligned with wider policy.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
19th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what discussions his Department has had with network operators on resolving connections queues at the distribution level.

The Department is engaging with Ofgem and network companies to reduce connection timescales for all connection types and scales. As part of this, the Energy Networks Association and Electricity System Operator are taking action to improve the connection process for the distribution and transmission networks respectively, and Ofgem published an open letter on future reform to connections in May.

I also recently co-chaired, with Ofgem, a roundtable discussion with network companies and industry stakeholders on accelerating connections. Building on this work, the Government and Ofgem will publish a joint action plan on accelerating connections this summer.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
19th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure the adequacy and equity of arrangements for managing grid connections to enable both large-scale renewable generation projects and (a) micro-generation, (b) low carbon housing developments and (c) other distribution-level projects to be connected.

The Department is engaging with Ofgem and network companies to reduce connection timescales for all connection types and scales. As part of this, the Energy Networks Association and Electricity System Operator are taking action to improve the connection process for the distribution and transmission networks respectively, and Ofgem published an open letter on future reform to connections in May.

I also recently co-chaired, with Ofgem, a roundtable discussion with network companies and industry stakeholders on accelerating connections. Building on this work, the Government and Ofgem will publish a joint action plan on accelerating connections this summer.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what estimate his Department has made of the level of residential energy customer debt; and if he will make a comparative assessment of the implications for his policies of changes in the level of such debt in the last five years.

Ofgem publishes statistics on energy debt and arrears which can be found at: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications/debt-and-arrears-indicators

Ofgem's published figures show that domestic energy debt and arrears sat at around £2.3bn at the end of Q4 2022.

The amount owed by domestic customers to suppliers has grown since 2021, although significant Government support with energy bills helped to bring debt levels down in Q4 2022, the latest quarter for which data are available.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
14th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing a single rate for electricity standing charges levied on households across the UK.

The standing charge includes some electricity distribution costs, which vary regionally to reflect the different costs of maintaining and upgrading the distribution network in different regions. Ofgem, as the independent energy regulator overseeing network charges, has previously reviewed regional differences in network charges. Its report found that there are advantages in charges that broadly reflect the costs that different users place on the system. In particular, this cost-reflective approach to network charging supports an efficient system where overall network costs are minimised for consumers across Great Britain.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
17th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether he has made an assessment of whether Ofgem’s proposed Inflexible Offers Licence Condition will prevent energy companies from cutting off electricity capacity in one plant and offering electricity from another plant at a higher cost; and what estimate he has made of how much revenue energy companies have potentially made via balancing payments in each of the last five years.

There are many factors that have driven the rise in balancing costs over recent years, including an ongoing and growing need to take actions to maintain system security and high energy prices throughout the wholesale market which have increased the costs of these balancing actions.

It is critical in all times that consumers pay a fair price for their energy. Ofgem have consulted on new rules to protect consumers from the high balancing costs witnessed in recent years and are working to introduce these new rules later this year. It would not be appropriate for me to comment on the effectiveness of the proposals at this stage.

Balancing costs over the last five years were:

- £1.2bn in 2018/2019

- £1.3bn in 2019/2020

- £1.9bn in 2020/2021

- £3.1bn in 2021/2022

- £3.9bn in 2022/23 (note: incomplete as March 2023 data is not yet available)

Source: National Grid ESO Monthly Balancing Services Summary data.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps he is taking to ensure that Gypsy and Traveller households can access (a) Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding and (b) the Alternative Fuels Payment.

In order to protect public funds against potentially fraudulent activity, the Government require applicants to show proof of address, such as a tenancy agreement or a utility bill. The Government understands that some Gypsy and Traveller households may not be able provide this evidence, which means they won’t currently be able to receive the EBSS AF or the AFP AF. However, the Government is keen to support these households and officials are working to establish whether there is a robust method for them to provide proof of eligibility, whilst protecting public funds, so they can receive support.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
27th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, how many and what proportion of projects announced under the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund involve the installation of ground source heat pumps.

Under the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) main fund, Wave 1 has awarded around £179m of grant funding for delivery from 2022 into 2023. At the point of award, 7% of projects were expected to install ground source heat pumps (GSHPs), including shared ground loops (SGLs). Published SHDF Wave 1 Official Statistics will show which measures have been delivered.

Around £778m of grant funding was allocated to 107 projects under SHDF Wave 2.1 on 22 March 2023. At the point of award, 8% of successful projects intended to install GSHPs or SGLs.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
16th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps his Department is taking to encourage private sector funding for renewables.

The Contracts for Difference scheme is the Government’s main mechanism for supporting investment in new low-carbon electricity generation projects in Great Britain. This month we will be launching the Allocation Round 5, for which Government has set an initial budget of £205 million. Allocation rounds will now run annually to accelerate deployment and investment in renewable generation.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
16th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps his Department plans to take to install 600,000 heat pump installations by 2028.

The Heat and Buildings Strategy sets out a range of policies supporting the development of the heat pump market towards 600,000 installations per year by 2028. These policies include the Future Homes Standard, which will ensure new homes are built zero carbon-ready, a market-based mechanism for low-carbon heat and proposals to phase out fossil-fuel heating systems in off-gas-grid buildings.

The Government is also investing £6.6 billion in this parliament, with a further £6 billion committed to 2028, in schemes that support the installation of heat pumps, including the Boiler Upgrade Scheme and Home Upgrade Grant.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
16th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, when his Department plans to make an annoucement on the future use of domestic hydrogen.

The Government is working closely with industry and regulators to support a range of research, development and testing projects. This includes pioneering hydrogen heating consumer trials, designed to determine the feasibility, costs and convenience of using hydrogen as an alternative to natural gas for heating.

The knowledge and experience gained in delivering trials in communities, together with the results of our wider R&D and testing programme, will enable the Government to take strategic decisions in 2026 on the role of hydrogen in decarbonising heat.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
16th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the impact of inflation on the delivery of the Energy Company Obligation.

The Government is continually monitoring delivery and developments in the ECO market, and if the Government determine that further action is required then, it will explore all options available.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
15th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether people who are applying for Alternative Fund fuel bill support can submit receipts for fuel purchased after the date on which the portal was opened.

Yes, receipts used as evidence of alternative fuel use as part of an application to the Alternative Fuel Payment Alternative Fund must show a date of purchase between September 2022 and the end of the application window on 31 May 2023.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
1st Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will make an assessment of (a) the completeness of postcode data supplied to energy companies for administrating the Domestic Alternative Fuel Payment Scheme, (b) whether postcodes SY23 4UA and 4UB were included in that data and (c) the effectiveness of the scheme in ensuring that all eligible households have received payments.

To minimise the number of electrically heated homes which may be paid the Alternative Fuel Payment, Government has filtered households based on if their local area predominantly uses electricity for heating. It is right that Government ensures value for money for the taxpayer. This means that households in these areas which do use alternative fuels will not receive the payment automatically but are still eligible to apply through the Alternative Fund.

Xoserve published data showing which postcodes are off the gas grid: https://www.xoserve.com/media/fadn4tnc/off-gas-live-postcodes-2022.xlsx?term=Off-gas.

Neither postcode referenced is in this data set.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
27th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of enabling people on feed-in tariffs who export more than 50 per cent of their electricity to the grid to receive compensation for electricity exported above the 50 per cent threshold.

The Feed-in Tariffs legislation enables householders to move from the “deemed” 50% export rate to receive payment on all the electricity exported to the grid. This would require the householder to install a smart meter to take the export readings.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
27th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether people on feed-in tariffs will be able to move to the smart export guarantee when their contracts come to an end.

Generators will be able to move onto the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) when their Feed-in Tariffs (FIT) contract comes to an end. Under the FIT legislation, generators are already able to opt out of receiving FIT export payments and receive a SEG export tariff.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
27th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether people with feed-in tariff agreements for existing renewable energy systems are eligible for the smart export guarantee for new renewable energy generating systems.

People are eligible provided the new installation meets the eligibility requirements of the Smart Export Guarantee.

Should the new installation be an extension to an original Feed-in Tariffs (FIT) installation which takes it over the scheme’s 5MW capacity threshold, the original installation would no longer be eligible for FIT payments.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
6th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether the REDD+ Early Movers Programme uses the company Verra to verify carbon emissions reductions from avoided deforestation.

The REDD Early Movers Programme does not use the company Verra to verify carbon emission reductions.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
6th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will make an estimate of the number and proportion of installers who are registered to undertake ECO4 measures accept applications for support from park home households.

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme is a requirement placed on larger energy suppliers, and is fully focussed on supporting low income and vulnerable households in receiving energy efficiency measures.

Under ECO, suppliers/installers decide where to install measures based on property suitability and the cost-effectiveness of installing there. Government estimates that under ECO4, around 800,000 measures may be installed in around 450,000 households.

While park home households are within scope for ECO4, the Government does not become involved with the private contractual decisions of suppliers and installers, nor does it collect data on the number of accepted park home applications by these parties.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
3rd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what estimate his Department has made of the number of households in Ceredigion that cannot benefit from smart metering because of inadequate connectivity.

As many households and small businesses as possible should benefit from smart metering.

The Data Communications Company (DCC), which operates the national communications infrastructure for smart metering, is obligated under its licence to provide coverage to at least 99.25% of premises across Great Britain. The energy regulator Ofgem is responsible for ensuring the DCC complies with its obligations.

The Government does not hold information on network coverage at a constituency level.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
2nd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on developing a Route 4 Bespoke Targeting Households of the ECO4 Flex scheme.

The introduction of a Route 4 Bespoke Targeting mechanism, leading to the ECO4 Order coming into force in July 2022. Route 4 Guidance was published in December.

No recent discussions have been held with the Welsh Government on Route 4 of the ECO4 Flex scheme. However, Department officials will be happy to meet with the Welsh Government should they so wish.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
2nd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what estimate his Department made of the number of people in Wales who receive (a) Disability Living Allowance or (b) Personal Independence Payment who are also eligible for the ECO4 scheme and do not receive means tested benefits.

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme is fully focussed on providing support to low income and vulnerable households.

Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment in isolation are not eligible ECO4 benefits as they are not means tested. BEIS does not hold benefit recipient-related data. However, Government has expanded and reformed the scheme to include some low-income households not in receipt of means tested benefits who could be vulnerable to the effects of living in a cold home. 1.9 million GB householders are assumed to be eligible for support via the Local Authority-led “Flexible Eligibility” element of the scheme (ECO4 Flex).

The Government has also introduced a 35% uplift to off-gas rural areas in Wales to incentivise delivery in areas that may be harder to reach.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
1st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, pursuant to the Answer of 31 January 2023 to Question 131284 on Heat Pumps: Ceredigion, how many of the (a) 436 air source heat pumps and (b) 53 ground/water source heat pumps were installed in domestic properties that are not connected to mains gas.

Of those heat pump installations in domestic properties in Ceredigion, the Department has identified that 407 air source heat pumps and 52 ground/water source heat pumps installed were not in properties connected to mains gas.

A list of postcodes that are not connected to the mains gas grid are available here at https://www.xoserve.com/a-to-z/.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
9th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, if she will take steps with Cabinet colleagues to provide university researchers with access to designated officials across government.

Most departments have a Chief Scientific Adviser responsible for delivering high-quality science advice. They directly advise ministers and colleagues and oversee mechanisms to ensure departments take account of, and commission, scientific and engineering evidence, including through Science Advisory Councils.

Government Office for Science (GOS) works with departments on Areas of Research Interest (ARIs) to improve access to academic advice in policy making. In September 2023 GOS, published a database of departmental ARIs, which includes contact information to enable researchers to engage with policy. GOS also work with learned societies and university policy teams to improve links between government and academia.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
19th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, if she will meet with representatives of the Universities Policy Engagement Network to discuss the implications for Departments of the Ref 2028 requirement that universities demonstrate (a) impact and (b) engagement.

The design and implementation of the REF 2028 is being carried out by the devolved funding bodies of the UK nations, including Research England in England. During this process the funding bodies have engaged widely with stakeholders, including many of the members of the Universities Policy Engagement Network (UPEN), on the design of the next REF. This engagement, including a currently open opportunity to provide written comments, will continue through the autumn and the final design of the REF will take full account of stakeholders’ contributions to the engagement process.

18th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, with reference to her Department's announcement of £8 million to fund new satellite connectivity in up to 35,000 of the hardest to reach premises, whether she plans to make an assessment of the potential merits of including premises in Ceredigion constituency as part of that scheme.

The Government expects less than 100,000 premises to be unable to access a gigabit- capable connection via either a commercial or government funded rollout and require government intervention. These premises are described as Very Hard to Reach. The Capital Grant Scheme announced in April, will provide up to 35,000 premises with help to access low Earth orbit satellite equipment to improve their connectivity. The scheme will be open to premises that the department has identified as being unlikely to benefit from an improved fixed line, or fixed wireless access connection. This could be for one of several reasons including being in a remote location far from neighbouring premises. We expect premises to be located across the UK, and the government will publish a full list of eligible postcodes prior to the launch of the scheme, along with detailed eligibility criteria.

11th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what recent assessment she has made of the UK’s global ranking in the (a) development and (b) use of human-specific technologies in medical research.

The Government has not made an assessment on the UK’s global ranking in the development and use of human-specific technologies in medical research as there is no specific ranking. The Government is actively supporting and funding the development and dissemination of techniques that replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in research (the 3Rs). UK Research and Innovation provides the core funding for the National Centre for 3Rs, which drives the uptake of 3Rs technologies. Since it was established, the NC3Rs has invested £77 million in research and almost £27 million in contracts through its CRACK IT Challenges innovation scheme.

28th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, how much and what proportion of the funding released for Project Gigabit has been spent on projects in Wales.

We are currently completing the market engagement that will enable us to develop the intervention areas for our Project Gigabit procurements in Wales, with the aim of launching these by the summer.

Projects under the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme continue to deliver in Wales, and in February 2023, Building Digital UK contacted all suppliers to identify and propose potential voucher projects where delivery could be faster and provide better than procurements.

As reported in our most recent Project Gigabit quarterly update, almost 2,800 vouchers have already been used to deliver gigabit-capable connections to homes and businesses in hard-to-reach areas of Wales. The combined value of these vouchers amounts to £7 million in public subsidy.

Our earlier Superfast contract in Wales is also delivering gigabit-capable infrastructure in Wales. The project is nearing completion and will lead to up to a further 37,000 premises getting access to gigabit-capable broadband.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
1st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when the application portal will open for the extension to the Energy Bills Support Scheme for people living in park homes.

The application portal for the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding is scheduled to open by 27 February. In addition to this portal, a dedicated customer helpline will be available to assist customers who do not have online access with further details to be released in February.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
26th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many park home households have received grant support for energy efficiency installations under the ECO4 scheme.

The Energy Company Obligation scheme (covering Great Britain) has been one of the Government’s key domestic energy efficiency policies, improving 2.4 million homes since it began in 2013. The Government estimates that under ECO4, around 800,000 measures may be installed in around 450,000 households, including 155,000 households with EPC ratings of E, F or G by March 2026. While park home households are within the scope of ECO4, the Government does not hold estimates of how many are eligible for support under the scheme.

Under ECO4, which began in April 2022, 1 park home household had been in receipt of energy efficiency measures by the end of September 2022.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
26th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of park home households who are eligible for grant support under the ECO4 scheme.

The Energy Company Obligation scheme (covering Great Britain) has been one of the Government’s key domestic energy efficiency policies, improving 2.4 million homes since it began in 2013. The Government estimates that under ECO4, around 800,000 measures may be installed in around 450,000 households, including 155,000 households with EPC ratings of E, F or G by March 2026. While park home households are within the scope of ECO4, the Government does not hold estimates of how many are eligible for support under the scheme.

Under ECO4, which began in April 2022, 1 park home household had been in receipt of energy efficiency measures by the end of September 2022.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
26th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many households have been awarded funding for energy efficiency installations under the ECO4 scheme in (a) Ceredigion constituency and (b) Wales.

BEIS estimates that under the ECO4 scheme, 48 households have had measures installed in Ceredigion constituency and 398 households have had measures installed in Wales, to the end of September 2022.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
26th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many ECO4 installations have been (a) approved for funding and (b) completed since June 2022.

As ECO is not a Government grant, but an obligation placed upon larger energy suppliers to install energy efficiency and heating measures in the homes of low-income and vulnerable households, it is the decision of ECO-obligated suppliers to determine which installations they contract for and approve. Government does not get involved with the private contractual decisions of these parties and does not know how much funding has been approved.

BEIS publishes information on the number of ECO4 installations by month in Table 2.5b accompanying the latest Household Energy Efficiency Statistics release.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an estimate of the number of households that are eligible for the Warm Home Discount Scheme in Wales.

The Government estimates that around 180,000 to 200,000 households in Wales will have received a Warm Home Discount rebate by the end of March this year. The Government does not yet have precise figures as the Warm Home Discount helpline remains open and continues to take calls to identify further households eligible for a rebate. More precise figures will be available after the scheme year has ended.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
19th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether households that depend solely on (a) air source or (b) ground source heat pumps for their heating will be eligible for support under the Alternative Fuel Payment scheme.

The Alternative Fuel Payment scheme is designed to help those households who do not use electricity or gas to heat their homes to meet energy costs this winter. Alternative fuels include heating oil, coal, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and biomass.

Heat pumps run on electricity. Therefore households with heat pumps will already receive support with their running costs through the Energy Price Guarantee, rather than the Alternative Fuel Payment.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
13th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential impact of the Royal Mail Group's proposal to move to five-day letter delivery on the rural economy.

The Government’s objective continues to be ensuring the provision of a sustainable, accessible, and affordable universal postal service. The Government has no current plans to change the statutory minimum requirements of the universal postal service which are set out in section 31 of the Postal Services Act 2011.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
7th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether people living in flats in sheltered accommodation and who are off the gas grid will be eligible for the Alternative Fuel Payment.

The Alternative Fuel Payment of £200 will provide support for those in properties using fuels such as heating oil, liquified petroleum gas, coal or biomass for heating. Households which are off the gas grid and which use alternative fuel as their main source of heating will be eligible.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
6th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he expects households which will be eligible for the Alternative Fuel Payment but which will not receive the payment automatically because they do not have a relationship with an electricity supplier to be enabled to make an online application.

These customers will be able to make an application as soon as possible in the new year.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
6th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans for households eligible for the Alternative Fuel Payment to receive the £200 as a credit on their electricity bill; and whether this payment will be delivered as a lump-sum.

The vast majority of Alternative Fuel Payment eligible households in Great Britain will receive payment automatically via their electricity supplier as a £200 lump sum with no need to take any action. The Government expects this payment will be made in the new year.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
2nd Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much of the additional funding allocated to the Eco+ scheme announced on 28 November will be allocated to Wales.

The ECO+ scheme places legal obligations on the larger energy suppliers to deliver energy bill savings to consumers through the installation of energy efficiency measures. It will be worth an extra £1 billion in addition to the current ECO4 scheme. This £1 billon will be used to set mandatory targets for obligated suppliers, which will apply across Great Britain. There are no restrictions on the number of eligible homes that can receive support in Wales within the £1bn funding envelope.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
28th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much and what proportion of the £484 million announced by the Government in funding for the R&D sector announced by the Government on 21 November 2022 will be allocated to Wales.

The Government’s priority is to support the UK’s world class R&D sector. The Government has put in place this additional funding to shore up talent and invest in R&D infrastructure across the whole of the UK, while also aiming to secure the UK fusion sectors’ commercial leadership and capabilities.

R&D investment in the Devolved Administrations (DAs) and regions of the UK is key to levelling up and we have liased with the relevant bodies to ensure proper coverage of the DAs. The Government are committed to levelling-up and we have liased with the relevant bodies to ensure proper coverage of the DAs. The specific approach for funding distribution between DAs and final allocations for the DAs will be announced in the near future.

8th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Answer of 13 May 2021 to Question 1041 on Animal Experiments: Surveys, whether the research for an update to the Public Attitudes to Animal Research survey has been carried out; and when his Department plans to publish the results of that research.

The Government understands the importance of this research. The Department is considering when and how best this could be undertaken.

20th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to improve measurement and reporting of (a) home energy efficiency ratings by EPC bands and (b) the number of existing homes moving between EPC bands.

In line with the Government’s agenda to make data easily accessible, Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) data is available on the DLUHC Open Data Communities website to allow people to carry out their own analyses. However, DLUHC does not track movement between EPC Bands.

The Government updated the methodology used for EPC calculations in new homes to improve its accuracy in June 2022 and is working on an update to the methodology used in existing homes.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of setting targets for the number of existing homes improved to EPC band C or above.

Chris Skidmore MP is currently conducting an independent review of the Government’s approach to meeting its net zero 2050 target, including the Government's approach to improving the energy performance of homes. This is to ensure the Government delivers its legal commitment to reach net zero by 2050 in a way that is pro-business and pro-growth.

The Government remains committed to improving the energy performance of homes and reducing Fuel Poverty. The Government is investing £12 billion in Help to Heat schemes to make sure homes are warmer and cheaper to heat.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many households have moved from below EPC band C to EPC band C or above, in each of the last five years.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave the Hon. Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun on 28th September 2022 to Question 51773.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the Competition and Markets Authority on its Market Study into road fuel and the potential merits of including a breakdown of the costs of inland fuel transportation and their impact on retail price.

The Competition and Markets Authority launched a market study into the supply of road fuel in the UK on 08 July. This followed my rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State’s request to the CMA for advice on a number of features of the market for road fuel. The Government fully supports the CMA in its further work on this important issue. As part of its market study, the CMA welcomes views from stakeholders of all kinds on the issues it should be considering. Details on how to submit views to the CMA are available on the webpage for the market study, accessible at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/cma-cases/road-fuel-market-study.

9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many trees will need to be burnt each year to reach the target of removing 58 MtCO2 in the Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage plan laid out in his Net Zero Strategy.

The Government’s Net Zero Strategy includes illustrative scenarios on how to meet net zero in 2050, and those modelled pathways include an illustrative range of carbon removals of 52-58MtCO2 via Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS). This will require a variety of biomass feedstocks, including from forestry. The Government has not yet estimated the quantity of forestry resources needed within that mix. More details on how biomass technologies will be used to meet the UK’s Net Zero targets will be released in the forthcoming Biomass Strategy later this year.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the total cost to the public purse of supporting the bioenergy with carbon capture and storage sector in the UK by 2050.

The Government has not estimated the total cost to the public purse of supporting bioenergy with carbon capture and storage out to 2050. The Government will set out more information on the use of biomass and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage as part of the Biomass Strategy that will be published later this year.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has taken steps to ensure that households that are reliant on (a) oil heating and (b) solid fuel qualify for financial support under the Energy Company Obligation: Help to Heat scheme.

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) does not provide direct financial support. Homes currently reliant on oil and solid fuel heating in off gas-grid areas can benefit from insulation or certain types of low carbon heating measures, such as heat pumps.

In order to qualify, these households must be on relevant means-tested benefits or identified by their local authority or energy supplier as vulnerable. For owner occupier households, the homes must also be energy efficiency Band D-G. For the private rented sector and social housing, the homes must be energy efficiency Band E-G.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of financial support offered under the Energy Company Obligation: Help to Heat programme to (a) low-income and (b) rural households in Wales.

The Government has committed to expanding the Energy Company Obligation from £640 million to £1 billion a year over four years from 2022, continuing the focus on low-income households. Across England, Scotland and Wales, this will deliver installations of an estimated 800,000 measures, in 450,000 homes, of which 360,000 homes will be upgraded to Energy Performance Certificate Band C.

There are specific incentives for the upgrading of off gas-grid rural homes in Wales and Scotland.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment has he made of the effectiveness of the energy price cap in incentivising households to increase electrification.

The Government recognises that how certain costs are apportioned between electricity and gas can incentivise certain types of behaviour. As set out in its British Energy Security Strategy, the Government will rebalance the costs placed on energy bills away from electricity to incentivise electrification across the economy, and to accelerate consumers and industry's shift away from volatile global commodity markets over the decade. Proposals on how to do so will be published in 2022.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment has he made of the adequacy of the energy price cap scheme for electricity-only consumers; and if he will make a comparative assessment of the level of the cap for (a) dual-fuel and (b) electricity-only consumers.

The energy price cap is set by Ofgem. Ofgem calculates different price cap rates for credit meters, pre-pay meters and multi-register meters (Economy 7-type electricity metering).

In order to help people with the costs of energy, the Government has announced a package of support measures, including a £200 rebate for households delivered via their energy bill this autumn. This is in addition to the range of support for low-income, fuel poor and vulnerable households.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the £39.8 billion Research and Development budget for 2022-2025, what proportion of that funding will be allocated to research using (a) advanced cultures of human cells and tissues, (b) artificial intelligence, (c) organ-on-a-chip technology and (d) other new approach methodologies.

We have set out how BEIS’ record £39.8 billion R&D budget will be allocated across our partner organisations over the next three years in our ‘BEIS R&D: partner organisation allocation 2022/2023 to 2024/2025’ report published on 14 March.

BEIS will now be working with all partner organisations to determine detailed allocations within their envelopes, including at council level for UK Research and Innovation. Details of funding for specific programmes will be agreed by BEIS and partner organisations and set out in due course.

22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment has he made of the adequacy of the existing energy price cap in incentivising households to increase electrification for heating.

The price cap is a temporary measure until competition in the market improves and ensures domestic consumers on default tariffs pay a fair price for their energy. It is designed to tackle the loyalty penalty, where disengaged consumers are overcharged for their energy. It is not the objective of the price cap to incentivise choices in particular heating options.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what comparative assessment he has made of the (a) adequacy and (b) equity of the existing price cap scheme for electricity-only consumers relative to dual-fuel users.

The methodology and calculation of the price cap is a matter for Ofgem.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
18th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of requiring online marketplaces to detail country of origin information on goods.

The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (CCRs) require traders to provide consumers with specified pre-purchase information including the main characteristics of goods, services or digital content. This does not necessarily include the country of origin.

Consumers are free to enquire to the seller about the origin of products. Under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs), traders are banned from giving consumers false information or using misleading statements or presentation about the geographical or commercial origin of products. The Regulations carry criminal penalties and are enforced by local trading standards officers.

10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the feasibility of installing BioLPG boilers in off-grid homes in relation to (a) the UK’s 6th Carbon Budget and )b) alternative net-zero measures including electric heat-pumps.

The UK Government recognises that biofuels such as bioLPG may play a role in future off-gas-grid decarbonisation, particularly for properties that are not suitable for a heat pump.

However, further evidence is needed to consider what role these biofuels could play and to develop the policy framework which would support such a role.

The forthcoming Biomass Strategy will consider evidence on the likely supply and sustainability of biomass feedstocks, including those used to produce biofuels, available to the UK, the total lifecycle emissions for different biomass uses, and the best uses of biomass across the economy to achieve our net zero target.

As Building Regulations are an area of devolved competence, it would be for the Welsh Government to consider steps to enable the decarbonisation of off grid homes in Wales.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions his Department has had with representatives of Electricity Network Operators on (a) upgrading the electricity network to ensure that it can cope with the combined requirements of electric vehicle charging, heat pumps and other household appliances and (b) the cost of that potential upgrade.

Network regulation, including ensuring that the electricity network has the capacity to meet increased electricity demand from Low Carbon Technologies such as electric vehicles and heat pumps is a matter for Ofgem, the independent energy regulator. Ofgem uses the RIIO price control framework to incentivise electricity network companies to invest in the grid, providing a safe, secure and reliable network for all consumers at the lowest possible cost. Ofgem is currently formulating the next electricity distribution price control (RIIO-ED2) due to commence in April 2023.

Government maintains regular engagement with Ofgem and electricity network companies to support them in providing consumers with a network capable of delivering future electricity requirements.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what analysis his Department has undertaken into the costs involved in upgrading the electricity network to ensure it is able to cope with people charging their vehicles, running a heat a pump and household items at the same time.

Network regulation, including ensuring that the electricity network has the capacity to meet increased electricity demand from Low Carbon Technologies such as electric vehicles and heat pumps is a matter for Ofgem, the independent energy regulator. Ofgem uses the RIIO price control framework to incentivise electricity network companies to invest in the grid, providing a safe, secure and reliable network for all consumers at the lowest possible cost. Ofgem is currently formulating the next electricity distribution price control (RIIO-ED2) due to commence in April 2023.

Government maintains regular engagement with Ofgem and electricity network companies to support them in providing consumers with a network capable of delivering future electricity requirements.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the amount of carbon dioxide that (a) was captured by the Drax power station’s bioenergy with carbon capture and storage programme in last 12 months and (b) would have been captured by the trees used as wood pellets in the event that they had not been cut down.

The government does not hold this information

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the average gross stack emissions of CO2 per MWh for power generated by Drax is when fuelled by (a) coal and (b) wood.

The Government does not hold this information.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the impact of banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 on people living off the electricity grid; and what assessment he has made of the support required by those people for the transition to electric vehicles.

The Government wants to ensure everyone, including those without access to the electricity grid can still benefit from the transition to zero emission vehicles. The On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS) is available to all UK local authorities to provide public chargepoints for their residents including those without access to the electricity grid.  Drivers may also choose to charge their vehicle at their workplace, or when they do their shopping.

Government had already committed £1.5 billion to support the early market and remove barriers to zero emission vehicles ownership. Building on the £1.9 billion from Spending Review 2020, the Government has committed an additional £620 million to support the transition to electric vehicles.

Government is also providing grants for homeowners, businesses and local authorities to install chargepoints and is also supporting the deployment of rapid chargepoints. The Government will provide £1.3 billion over the next four years to support the continued roll-out of chargepoints on motorways and major A roads, in homes and businesses and on-street.

The forthcoming EV Infrastructure Strategy will also set out Government’s vision for the future of EV charging. A strong focus will be on the needs of those who cannot rely on off-street charging. Local authorities and Chargepoint operators should work together to provide sufficient levels of provision in order to meet demand.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to not amend the Energy Company Obligation Scheme (ECO) as energy prices rise.

Last summer, the Government consulted on extending the Energy Company Obligation Scheme from 2022-26 and expanding it to be £1billion per year. The Government keeps all costs on bills under review and will issue a response to the consultation in due course.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of impacts to the wider supply chain and delivery of fuel poverty measures if proposals to temporarily delay the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) are implemented.

The Government recognises the importance of the Energy Company Obligation scheme in tackling fuel poverty and maintaining the supply chain. In July 2021, the Government consulted on extending the scheme from 2022-26 and expanding it to £1 billion per year, supporting low income and vulnerable households across Great Britain. The Government will issue a response to the consultation in due course.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to finalise the development of comprehensive regulatory frameworks for hydrogen; and what his timetable is for developing those frameworks.

In line with the commitments made in the Hydrogen Strategy, Government is working with industry and regulators to consider the regulatory frameworks required to support the development of the hydrogen value chain, including where change may be necessary. This engagement will be formalised through the Hydrogen Regulators Forum, which will meet for the first time in January 2022. The Forum will have representation across the relevant regulatory areas (environmental, safety, markets, competition and planning).

Initial conclusions, proposals and next steps on regulation will be published as part of the Hydrogen Strategy progress update in early 2022.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his timetable is for publishing the Low Carbon Hydrogen Standard.

The Government consultation on a Low Carbon Hydrogen Standard closed on 25 October. The Government intends to publish its response, confirming the design of the standard, in early 2022.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help ensure that a decision on blending 20 per cent hydrogen into the gas grid is delivered in 2023.

BEIS is working closely with the Health and Safety Executive, Ofgem and industry to understand the safety case, operability and value for money case for blending hydrogen into the grid. We are following emerging evidence from industry trials such as HyDeploy. We will be able to make a decision once there is sufficient evidence on both technical safety and financial viability. Although we will be prioritising the economic assessment of hydrogen blending, we envisage the end of 2023 being the earliest point a decision could be made.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of placing all credible hydrogen production projects under Track-1 of the Cluster Sequencing Process.

The Cluster Sequencing process will bring forward the UK’s first full-chain carbon capture and storage proposals. The Track-1 decision has identified the HyNet and East Coast Cluster proposals as those with the potential to pioneer this technology in the UK, including through the deployment of CCS-enabled low carbon hydrogen capacity. Phase-2 of this process, which opened in November, focuses on individual projects and is open to submissions from any hydrogen production project based in the UK provided they can demonstrate they have a CO2 transport solution and access to a Track-1 or reserve cluster CO2 store and meet the other eligibility criteria.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Government plans to secure further covid-19 vaccination doses via COVAX.

We have already secured the doses we need for everyone in the UK who requires a booster this Autumn/Winter therefore procurement through COVAX is not needed to support the current booster campaign: I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given to the Hon. Member for Slough on 1st November 2021 to Question 63848

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support small- and medium-sized enterprises to transition to net zero.

Ahead of COP26, BEIS has launched the Together for Our Planet Business Climate Leaders’ campaign, which has encouraged over 1,900 small and micro businesses across the UK to join the Race to Zero by making the SME Climate Commitment.

To help SMEs overcome barriers to investing in energy efficiency the Government launched the Boosting Access for SMEs to Energy Efficiency innovation competition. The competition offered up to £6m to fund the development of new, innovative market solutions that can provide businesses with tailored energy efficiency advice, as well as simplifying the energy efficiency investment processes through the creation of one-stop-shop platforms.

The British Business Bank a new mission to drive sustainable growth and prosperity across the UK, and to enable the transition to a net zero economy, by supporting access to finance for smaller businesses. Between 2014 and the third quarter of 2020 a total of £160m has been invested into clean technology businesses by equity funds backed by the British Business Bank.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of using hydrated vegetable oil to decarbonise off-grid residential properties which use standard residential heating oil.

The Government is consulting on new regulations to phase out heating systems using high carbon fossil fuels in homes, businesses and public buildings in England off the gas grid, during the 2020s.

Although the Government view, heat pumps as being the primary technology for decarbonising these homes and businesses, not all off-grid properties will be suitable for a heat pump and that biofuels such as bio-LPG and hydrotreated vegetable oil biodiesel (HVO) may play a role in future off-gas-grid decarbonisation. However, further evidence is needed to consider what role these biofuels could play, and to help, develop the policy framework which would support such a role.

A Call for Evidence was recently published by the department to inform the development of a Biomass Strategy. This strategy will review the amount of sustainable biomass available to the UK, including liquid biofuels, and how this could be best used across the economy to achieve the net zero target.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions officials in his Department have had with (a) officials in the Department for Work and Pensions and (b) the Welsh Government on the distribution of the Investment Reserve arising from the Miners’ Pension Scheme.

No such discussions have taken place.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment has he made of the efficacy of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme for its members.

The Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme was considered by the BEIS Select Committee earlier this year. In the Government’s response, we highlighted that the Government continues to believe that the arrangements agreed in 1994 work well and are fair and beneficial to both Scheme members and taxpayers. That response is available to view here. The Rt. Hon. Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the then Minister responsible, met the Scheme Trustees in June to discuss the Committee’s report and the future of the Scheme. We await their thoughts.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will hold discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the potential merits of reducing the amount of VAT payable on green home improvements for people living off-grid installing ground or water-source heat pumps.

Tax is a matter reserved for my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer. All tax policy changes are considered at the Budget, however I understand that there are currently no plans to change these provisions at this time.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the impact of banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 on people living off the electric grid; and what assessment he has made of the support required by those people living off-grid to assist in the transition to using electric vehicles.

The Government had already committed £1.5 billion to support the early market and remove barriers to zero emission vehicles ownership. Alongside the new phase out dates we have pledged a further £2.8 billion package of measures to support industry and consumers to make the switch to cleaner vehicles.

The Government wants to ensure everyone, including those without access to the electricity grid can still benefit from the transition to zero emission vehicles. The On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS) is available to all UK local authorities to provide public chargepoints for their residents including those without access to the electricity grid.  Drivers may also chose to charge their vehicle at their workplace, or when they do their shopping.

The forthcoming EV Infrastructure Strategy will also set out Government’s vision for the future of EV charging. A strong focus will be on the needs of those who cannot rely on off-street charging. Local authorities and Chargepoint operators should work together to provide sufficient levels of provision in order to meet demand.

8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the level of financial and other support required by households dependant on liquefied petroleum gas to transition to green alternatives.

The Government committed to phasing out the installation of fossil fuels in homes and buildings off the gas grid this decade. Alongside the publication of the Heat and Building Strategy, we are planning to consult on new regulations to meet this commitment.

We accept that for some the cost of installing a heat pump may be prohibitive, which is why we are providing support through schemes like the Renewable Heat Incentive and forthcoming Clean Heat Grant. The Home Upgrade Grant scheme will provide support to low income off grid households installing energy efficiency upgrades and low carbon heating.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the Government's proposed Clean Heat Grant to meet the needs of people living in areas where conditions are not suitable for open-loop ground-source heat pumps.

Heat pumps are a cost-effective way of decarbonising heat and can be widely used in existing homes and buildings, including those not connected to the gas grid.

The Clean Heat Grant will provide upfront capital grants to support the installation of both air source and ground source heat pumps, in domestic and small non-domestic properties. The Government recognise that some properties may not be suitable for heat pumps and will therefore also provide targeted support for biomass boilers through the Clean Heat Grant, where these are installed in off gas grid, rural properties.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of (a) the average time taken by HM Land Registry to decide on an application and (b) trends in that time so taken in the last three years.

HM Land Registry (HMLR) processed over 70,000 requests to search or change the Land Register every day in 2020/21.

Searches constitute approximately 80% of requests. Over 90% of these are delivered instantly via digital services, with almost all of the remainder delivered within three days.

Applications to change the Register make up the other 20% of requests and vary widely in type and complexity. Over the last quarter, on average, across all applications, changes took less than 5 weeks to be processed. Over a third are completed within a week. However, the most complex applications (around 1.5% of cases) took around 26 weeks on average.

Precise comparisons with three years ago are not straightforward due to differences in processes for customers and categorisation of case type. Overall, average processing times are trending higher than the last three years, partly due to COVID-19 restrictions, and partly because HMLR has chosen to rebalance its resources to prevent waiting times for complex applications increasing further. Whilst this has increased the overall average waiting time for all applications to change the Register, HMLR believes that this is the right balance to ensure it is serving all its customer needs.

Because applications to change the Register occur after the transaction is completed, the time taken to process them should not impact a property sale. However, if this is not the case, customers can ask for their application to be fast tracked and processed within 10 working days for no extra charge. HMLR reported in its 2020/21 Annual Report and Accounts that it is processing nearly four times as many requests to fast track applications for its customers as it did prior to the pandemic, reflecting the unique circumstances facing the organisation and the property market overall.

HM Land Registry is making significant investment in long-term transformation to significantly improve customer waiting times in the future through greater digitisation and automation, and building more expert land registration capacity.

5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps his Department has taken to progress the Energy White Paper published in December 2020.

Delivering the Energy White Paper’s policy commitments is a key priority for the Department and subject to regular reporting as part of the implementation of my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan.

Since the White Paper’s publication, we have launched the Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy. Also, earlier this year, the Department announced up to £95 million of Government investment for two new offshore wind port hubs to be constructed on the Humber and Teesside. In addition, GE Renewable Energy have announced an investment in a major new offshore wind turbine blade manufacturing plant, the first investment at the Teesworks Offshore Manufacturing Centre. We will deliver other commitments in due course, including the publication of the Heat and Buildings Strategy. The Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan and Energy White Paper also confirmed our commitment to publish the UK’s first ever Hydrogen Strategy, which we will bring forward soon.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to evaluate the potential merits for wider society of smart meter infrastructure as part of the Smart Energy Savings Innovation Competition.

The Smart Energy Savings (SENS) competition is supporting the development, trialling and evaluation of innovative products and services that use smart meters to help consumers to reduce their energy consumption.

As part of the SENS competition, the Government has commissioned a full evaluation of products and services supported by the project. This will be published in due course, following the conclusion of consumer trials in 2022.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Energy White Paper published in December 2020, what recent steps his Department has taken to support the progress of Energy Local Clubs.

We do not have the specific information requested on the number of households involved in Energy Local Clubs. However, the Government recognises that community energy can play a role in supporting the UK’s national net zero targets and the Net Zero Strategy will set out further information on how we intend to work with community groups to achieve net zero.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many households in (a) Ceredigion, (b) Wales and (c) the UK receive their energy from an Energy Local Club.

We do not have the specific information requested on the number of households involved in Energy Local Clubs. However, the Government recognises that community energy can play a role in supporting the UK’s national net zero targets and the Net Zero Strategy will set out further information on how we intend to work with community groups to achieve net zero.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many households in (a) Ceredigion, (b) Wales and (c) the UK have joined Energy Local Clubs since 2019.

We do not have the specific information requested on the number of households involved in Energy Local Clubs. However, the Government recognises that community energy can play a role in supporting the UK’s national net zero targets and the Net Zero Strategy will set out further information on how we intend to work with community groups to achieve net zero.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Answer of 28 April 2021 to Question 184534 on Biofuels and Carbon Capture and Storage, how many times did (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Department meet with representatives of (i) Drax Power Ltd and (ii) environmental NGOs to discuss biomass; and what plans he has for future discussions with environmental NGOs on that topic.

Sustainable biomass is making an important contribution in our efforts to decarbonise the economy. Ministerial colleagues and I have met with a number of organisations to discuss biomass, on a number of occasions during the period in question, and we will continue to engage on this issue. This is a broad and wide ranging area which may also have featured in other ministerial meetings.

The Department regularly publishes a list of ministerial meetings which can be accessed here, https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/beis-ministerial-gifts-hospitality-travel-and-meetings.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Answer of 28 April 2021 to Question 184534 on Biofuels and Carbon Capture and Storage, on how many occasions (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Department met representatives of Drax Power Ltd in (i) July, (ii) August and (iii) September 2020; and (A) what was discussed and (B) who attended each of those meetings.

Ministerial colleagues and I have met with a number of organisations to discuss biomass, on a number of occasions during the period in question. This is a broad and wide ranging area which may also have featured in other ministerial meetings.

The Department regularly publishes a list of ministerial meetings which can be accessed here, https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/beis-ministerial-gifts-hospitality-travel-and-meetings

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Answer of 28 April 2021 to Question 184534 on Biofuels and Carbon Capture and Storage, whether biomass with carbon capture and storage was discussed during his meetings with representatives of Drax Power Ltd in 2020.

Sustainable biomass is making an important contribution in our efforts to decarbonise the economy. Ministerial colleagues and I have met with a number of organisations to discuss biomass, and biomass with carbon capture and storage on a number of occasions during the period in question. This is a broad and wide ranging area which may also have featured in other ministerial meetings.

The Department regularly publishes a list of ministerial meetings which can be accessed here, https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/beis-ministerial-gifts-hospitality-travel-and-meetings.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Answer of 28 April 2021 to Question 184534 on Biofuels and Carbon Capture and Storage, on how many occasions did (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Department meet with representatives of Drax during (i) October, (ii) November and (iii) December 2021: and if he will publish details of what was (A) discussed at each meeting and (B) who attended.

Sustainable biomass is making an important contribution in our efforts to decarbonise the economy. There are currently no plans to meet with Drax in October, November or December 2021.

The Department regularly publishes a list of ministerial meetings which can be accessed here, https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/beis-ministerial-gifts-hospitality-travel-and-meetings

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of proposals for a high voltage direct current transmission line from Morocco to the UK.

The UK is supportive of electricity interconnection with other markets. We have not undertaken a specific assessment of the merits of a transmission line from Morocco to the UK. The regulation of specific interconnector projects within the existing regulatory framework is a matter for Ofgem as the independent regulator.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the (a) effect on employment levels and (b) costs associated with retaining primary steelmaking capacity at Port Talbot.

The Government recognises the importance of steelmaking at Port Talbot to the supply chains for many key advanced UK manufacturing sectors, as well as for direct and indirect jobs in South Wales.

We are firmly committed to supporting a sustainable, long-term future for steelmaking in the UK. We continue to work closely with Tata, the Welsh Government and trade union representatives as the company shapes its future business strategy for the plant.

4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his Department's plans are to (a) ensure the long-term future of the steel industry in Wales and (b) decarbonise Welsh steelmaking.

The Government recognises the vital role the sector plays in all the areas of the UK and our economy.  On 12 March, my noble Friend the Minister for Investment (Lord Grimstone) launched the Steel Procurement Taskforce to explore what government and industry can do to address challenges the sector has reported facing and it is due to report its findings in the autumn.

Decarbonising UK industry is a core part of the Government’s ambitious plan for the green industrial revolution. The Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy, published on 17 March, commits to work with the newly constituted Steel Council to consider the implications of the recommendation of the Climate Change Committee to ‘set targets for ore-based steelmaking to reach near-zero emissions by 2035’.

In order to support these efforts, the Government has announced a £250 million Clean Steel Fund to support the UK steel sector to transition to lower carbon iron and steel production, through investment in new technologies and processes.

4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the ability of the Welsh hydrogen sector to support hydrogen-based steelmaking in Wales.

The Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy, published on 17 March, commits to working with the newly constituted Steel Council to consider the implications of the recommendation of the Climate Change Committee to ‘set targets for ore-based steelmaking to reach near-zero emissions by 2035’.

Hydrogen-based steelmaking, CCUS and electrification are some of the technological approaches being examined as part of this process. The Steel Council offers the forum for government, industry and trade unions to work in partnership on the shared objective of creating an achievable, long-term plan to support the sector’s transition to a competitive, sustainable and low carbon future.

In order to support these efforts, the Government has announced a £250 million Clean Steel Fund to support the UK steel sector UK Steel sector, including in Wales to transition to lower carbon iron and steel production, through investment in new technologies and processes. The decarbonisation of the steel sector and industry more widely will also be supported through the £1 billion CCUS Infrastructure Fund (CIF) and £240m Net-Zero Hydrogen Fund.

4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what comparative assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of using (a) hydrogen and (b) carbon capture, utilisation and storage to decarbonise steel production at Port Talbot.

Decarbonising UK industry is a core part of the government’s ambitious plan for the green industrial revolution. The Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy, published on 17 March, commits government to work with the Steel Council to consider the implications of the recommendation of the Climate Change Committee to ‘set targets for ore-based steelmaking to reach near-zero emissions by 2035’.

The UK is engaged in key international initiatives focused on industry decarbonisation and we are engaging with a range of stakeholders in Germany, Sweden and China (as well as other countries) to better understand the latest plans to decarbonise steel production.

Hydrogen, electrification, and carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) are the main technological options being examined as part of this process. The industry decarbonisation pathways technical annex of the strategy (pg. 153-155) presents two possible options for the decarbonisation of the iron and steel industry: Our wide-ranging support also includes: providing over £500m in recent years to help with the costs of energy; a £315m Industrial Energy Transformation Fund, which aims to support businesses with high energy use to cut their bills and reduce carbon emission; and our £250m Clean Steel Fund that will support the decarbonisation of the steel sector.

4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when the South Wales Industrial Cluster will publish its first progress report.

The South Wales Industrial Cluster is supported by £20 million of UK Government funding through the Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge to support the rollout of decarbonisation technologies. It is not required to publish progress reports, although it may decide to do so as part of its public engagement activities. However, the cluster is required to attend quarterly monitoring meetings with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to ensure that progress is in line with agreed scope and milestones and that any risks are being managed appropriately.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made any recent representations to Amazon UK on (a) the adequacy of working conditions for its delivery drivers, (b) requests from their delivery drivers for a meeting with Amazon’s leadership team and (c) the potential merits of reviewing the delivery targets for Amazon UK delivery drivers.

The Government actively encourages businesses to ensure their supply chains are robust, especially by ensuring partners treat workers fairly and in accordance with the law. The specific issues raised by the Hon. Member for Ceredigion about Amazon and their contractors are internal matters of a private company on which I cannot comment.

I am thankful to our valuable retail workers who continued to work over the last year in warehouses, supply chains and as delivery drivers throughout this challenging period, ensuring consumers have safe access to goods. I look forward to continuing to work with Amazon, in particular through the Retail Sector Council.

11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to establish a commission similar to the Scottish Government's Just Transition Commission to make practical recommendations on how the UK can make a transition to a net zero economy that is equitable to everyone.

Delivering net zero and levelling up our country are at the forefront of Government’s plans to build back better from the pandemic.

In order to support this, HM Treasury is conducting a review into the costs of reaching Net Zero, which will assess how to do so in a way that works for households, businesses and public finances, as well as maintaining our international competitiveness.

In addition, BEIS has established the Green Jobs Taskforce working with industry, unions and skills providers, together with the Department for Education and the Department for Work and Pensions, to advise on how we can develop plans for new, long-term, good quality green jobs, and support workers in high-carbon sectors.

This work will feed into our Net Zero Strategy, which will set out our vision for transitioning to a net zero economy, making the most of new growth and employment opportunities across the UK.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 23 March 2021 to Question 169005 on Biofuels, how many meeting requests (a) he and (b) his Ministers have received to discuss biomass or bioenergy with carbon capture and storage from (a) NGOs, (b) Drax and (c) industry representatives since 1 September 2020; and if he will make a statement.

Sustainable biomass is making an important contribution in our efforts to decarbonise the economy. The Ministerial team have met with a number of organisations to discuss biomass, and biomethane at least 8 times during the period in question. This is a broad and wide ranging area which may also have featured in other ministerial meetings.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy regularly publishes a list of ministerial meetings which can be accessed here, https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/beis-ministerial-gifts-hospitality-travel-and-meetings.

The previous answer referred to the forthcoming Biomass Call for Evidence. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has now launched a Call for Evidence to seek the views of interested parties on the future role of sustainable biomass. The Call for Evidence, which closes on 15 June, can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/role-of-biomass-in-achieving-net-zero-call-for-evidence.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 23 March 2021 to Question 169005 on Biofuels, how many meetings (a) he and (b) his Ministers have had on biomass with (i) NGOs, (ii) Drax and (iii) industry representatives since 1 September 2020; and if he will make a statement.

Sustainable biomass is making an important contribution in our efforts to decarbonise the economy. The Ministerial team have met with a number of organisations to discuss biomass, and biomethane at least 8 times during the period in question. This is a broad and wide ranging area which may also have featured in other ministerial meetings.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy regularly publishes a list of ministerial meetings which can be accessed here, https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/beis-ministerial-gifts-hospitality-travel-and-meetings.

The previous answer referred to the forthcoming Biomass Call for Evidence. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has now launched a Call for Evidence to seek the views of interested parties on the future role of sustainable biomass. The Call for Evidence, which closes on 15 June, can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/role-of-biomass-in-achieving-net-zero-call-for-evidence.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 23 March 2021 to Question 169004 on Committee on Climate Change, what steps his Department has taken to increase civil society and charity sector representation on the Committee on Climate Change; and if he will make a statement.

The Climate Change Committee (CCC) is an independent, statutory body made up of highly esteemed academics and experts across a range of key sectors.

In appointing members to the Committee, UK Government and the Devolved Administrations ensure the CCC can draw on experience in and knowledge of a range of backgrounds, so that it is able to provide advice on climate mitigation and adaptation.

In order to do so, the Climate Change Act 2008 requires that national authorities, in UK Government and Devolved Administrations, must have regard to the desirability of securing that the Committee (taken as a whole) has experience in or knowledge of the following: business competitiveness; climate change policy at national and international level, and in particular the social impacts of such policy; climate science, and other branches of environmental science; differences in circumstances between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and the capacity of national authorities to take action in relation to climate change; economic analysis and forecasting; emissions trading; energy production and supply; financial investment; technology development and diffusion.

The names of the members of the Climate Change Committee (CCC), with a description of their careers and interests can be found here on the CCC’s website: www.theccc.org.uk/about.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 23 March 2021 to Question 169004 on Committee on Climate Change, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that industry representation on the Committee on Climate Change does not advance policies favourable to their specific interests; and if he will make a statement.

The Climate Change Committee (CCC) is an independent, statutory body made up of highly esteemed academics and experts across a range of key sectors. BEIS carries out thorough due diligence exercises on each new board member prior to approving their appointment to identify conflicts of interest so that they can be managed appropriately on appointment. In some cases, it will not be appropriate to offer a role if the conflict is too great.

All Committee Members and staff are required to recognise and disclose activities that might give rise to actual or perceived conflicts of interest. The CCC has a formal policy process on conflicts of interest which is reviewed annually. The process for existing Committee members to raise conflicts of interest is managed by the Committee secretariat at the start of every Committee meeting. All members are asked to identify and declare material interests, at the earliest opportunity. The secretariat will review each case to determine whether an individual needs to step down from the Committee to avoid an actual or perceived serious conflict of interest arising or to decide on how to manage whilst remaining in role.

The CCC’s conflicts of interest policy, along with a register of interests for Committee members, and the minutes of each Committee meeting are published in the Transparency section of the CCC’s website at: https://www.theccc.org.uk/about/transparency/.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 23 March 2021 to Question 169003 on the Committee on Climate Change, if he will provide details of the due diligence exercises he undertook on each of the Board Members of the Committee on Climate Change to ensure there is no conflict of interest; and when that process was last reviewed.

BEIS carries out thorough due diligence exercises on each new board member of the Climate Change Committee (CCC), prior to approving their appointment, to identify conflicts of interest so that they can be managed appropriately on appointment. As part of due diligence checks, Government considers anything in the public domain related to potential members’ conduct or professional capacity. This includes undertaking searches of previous public statements and social media, blogs or any other publicly available information. In some cases, it will not be appropriate to offer a role if the conflict is too great.

After appointment, all Committee members and staff are required to recognise and disclose activities that might give rise to actual or perceived conflicts of interest. The CCC has a formal policy process on conflicts of interest which is reviewed annually.

The CCC’s conflicts of interest policy, along with a register of interests for Committee members – both of which are annually updated – and the minutes of each Committee meeting are published in the Transparency section of the CCC’s website at: https://www.theccc.org.uk/about/transparency/.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department takes to ensure decisions taken on biomass are evidence-based.

In the Government’s response to Climate Change Committee’s (CCC) latest annual progress report to Parliament, we announced that we will publish a new Biomass Strategy in 2022. This will review what amount of sustainable biomass could be available to the UK, and how this resource could be best utilised across the economy to help achieve our net zero greenhouse gas emissions target by 2050.

The Strategy will also assess the UK’s current biomass sustainability standards, which are some of the most stringent in the world, to see where and how we can improve them even further.

As part of the strategy development, we will be launching a “Call for Evidence” on the role of biomass to help achieve Net Zero, enabling interested stakeholders to contribute their views on biomass. The final strategy will be based on evidence gathered during the call for evidence and other sources. Other decisions on biomass are also evidence based, drawing on a variety of sources and analysis which is rigorously quality assured as part of our policy making process.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will list the members and board members of the Committee on Climate Change that are (a) involved in academia, (b) former politicians, (c) involved in corporate affairs and (d) members of the not-for-profit sector, broken down by (i) charities and (ii) not-for-profit organisations.

The names of the members of the Climate Change Committee (CCC), with a description of their careers and interests, can be found here on the CCC’s website: www.theccc.org.uk/about.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) staff and (b) board members at the Climate Change Committee do not have a conflict of interest.

BEIS carries out thorough due diligence exercises on each new board member prior to approving their appointment to identify conflicts of interest so that they can be managed appropriately on appointment. In some cases, it will not be appropriate to offer a role if the conflict is too great.

The Climate Change Committee has a formal policy process on conflicts of interest which is reviewed annually. All Committee Members and staff are required to recognise and disclose activities that might give rise to actual or perceived conflicts of interest.

The process for existing Committee members to raise conflicts of interest is managed by the Committee secretariat at the start of every Committee meeting. The secretariat will review the case to determine whether the individual needs to step down from the Committee to avoid an actual or perceived serious conflict of interest arising or to decide on how to manage whilst remaining in role.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions his Department has had with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the potential merits of including the sale of unsafe goods within the scope of the Online Safety Bill.

The UK Government is committed to tackling the sale of unsafe consumer products online. The UK’s national regulator, the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), works with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in considering the challenges and opportunities of e-commerce.

There is already an extensive regulatory framework aimed at ensuring the safety of goods, including those sold online. The OPSS is currently reviewing that framework to ensure it is fit for purpose, protects consumers, and enables businesses to innovate and grow. This is the best way to achieve a coherent and comprehensive framework for product safety. The OPSS will continue to work with DCMS and will consider any wider implications of the approach to other online harms in any future policy proposals on product safety.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the timescale is for publication of the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) new voluntary commitment for online marketplaces; and what plans the OPSS has for protection of consumers using online marketplaces not signing up to the voluntary commitment.

The Government is committed to ensuring that only safe products can be sold in the UK and the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) is working to ensure that major online marketplaces play their part in protecting UK consumers from unsafe goods.

As part of this work, the OPSS is developing a new voluntary commitment for online marketplaces to agree actions they will take to reduce the risks from unsafe products being sold online. This will enable online marketplaces to demonstrate their commitment to the safety of their consumers in the UK by publicly promising to work with UK regulators and details will be published in due course.

The OPSS is also conducting a review of the Product Safety framework to ensure it is fit for purpose, protects consumers, and enables businesses to innovate and grow. The review will consider the impact on product safety of new technologies and new business models, including e-commerce.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans the Government has for protection of protect consumers from the sale of unsafe goods on social media marketplaces.

The Government is committed to ensuring that only safe electrical goods can be sold in the UK. All distributors have a duty to act with due care to ensure products they are selling are safe, this includes online retailers.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) proactively engages with major online marketplaces to ensure that they are playing their part in protecting UK consumers from unsafe products. The OPSS have recently taken action to ensure that a number of non-compliant products being sold by overseas 3rd party sellers have been removed from sale, including electrical appliances.

In order to ensure that the UK’s Product Safety framework is flexible and fit for the future, the OPSS is conducting a review. The review will ensure we have a framework that delivers safety for consumers while supporting businesses to innovate and grow and will consider the impact on product safety of new business models, including e-commerce and social media marketplaces.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals to protect consumers from unsafe electrical goods being sold online.

The Government is committed to ensuring that only safe electrical goods can be sold in the UK. All distributors have a duty to act with due care to ensure products they are selling are safe, this includes online retailers.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) proactively engages with major online marketplaces to ensure that they are playing their part in protecting UK consumers from unsafe products. The OPSS have recently taken action to ensure that a number of non-compliant products being sold by overseas 3rd party sellers have been removed from sale, including electrical appliances.

In order to ensure that the UK’s Product Safety framework is flexible and fit for the future, the OPSS is conducting a review. The review will ensure we have a framework that delivers safety for consumers while supporting businesses to innovate and grow and will consider the impact on product safety of new business models, including e-commerce and social media marketplaces.

21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many (a) Pfizer/BioNTech and (b) Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines have been procured by the UK Government; how many of each vaccine have reached the UK to date; and if he will publish the number of doses of each vaccine which have been distributed to (a) England, (b) Wales, (c) Scotland and (d) Northern Ireland to date.

The Government has procured 40 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech and 100 million doses of the AstraZeneca/University of Oxford vaccines.

The UK was the first country in the world to start a vaccination programme using these vaccines. Due to our swift and decisive action there has been a regular and steady supply of vaccine doses arriving into the UK since early December 2020.

As of 20 January 2021, almost five million people across the UK have been vaccinated with the first dose of the vaccine. We continue to work to meet our target of vaccinating all four priority groups, as advised by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, by the middle of February.

Vaccines are a precious resource in very high demand across the world; therefore, for security reasons it is not possible to provide detail about the size of our supplies and exact detail about deliveries.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many of the covid-19 Pfizer vaccines procured by the Government have arrived in the UK; and how many doses of those vaccines have been distributed to (a) England, (b) Wales, (c) Scotland and (d) Northern Ireland.

The UK was the first country in the world to start a vaccination programme using the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Our swift and decisive action has ensured a regular and steady supply of vaccine doses arriving into the UK since early December 2020.

We have sufficient doses to maintain our vaccination programme as it continues to accelerate, and as of 25 December, we have received 22 deliveries of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to the UK. We have plans in place with the company to ensure sufficient supply throughout 2021.

Vaccination will be managed by the health services in each nation: NHS England and NHS Improvement, NHS Wales, NHS Scotland, and Health and Social Care Northern Ireland. We have procured vaccines on behalf of all parts of the country. The Government is working with the devolved administrations and overseas territories to ensure it is deployed fairly across the entire UK.

26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the economic effect on Royal Mail of (a) Amazon and (b) other private delivery companies.

The Government’s aim in relation to post is to secure a sustainable, efficient and affordable universal postal service. The UK has one of the most competitive postal services markets in the world.

On 26 November 2020, Ofcom, the independent regulator for the postal services sector, published a review of postal users’ needs and an annual monitoring update on postal services. The Government is reviewing both reports.

26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to meet with (a) disabled people and (b) disability organisations to co-produce information for employers on the rights of disabled employees during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has published extensive guidance on employment and safer working throughout the Covid-19 outbreak. This can be found on GOV.UK and through the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Further guidance on employment rights and aspects of good practice has been published by other bodies such as ACAS and the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). Government has also produced guidance around some new situations which have arisen from the Covid-19 outbreak, for example for those identified as clinically extremely vulnerable and on self-isolation. This suite of guidance covers the employment rights of disabled people alongside other groups in the workforce.

I have asked BEIS officials to discuss this employment rights guidance with disability groups to ensure the published material continues to meet the needs of disabled workers and their employers.

The Government continues to support disabled employees to access assistive technology and other forms of support they need to remain in work, including during the Covid-19 outbreak. Through the Disability Confident scheme, we are engaging employers and providing them with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to attract, recruit, retain and develop disabled people in the workplace. Our new Employer Help site provides advice on recruitment and employment of disabled people, explaining how Disability Confident and Access to Work can help businesses to ensure their practices are fair and inclusive.

25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether her Department plans to publish guidance for (a) employers and (b) employees on the rights of disabled workers during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has published extensive guidance on employment and safer working throughout the Covid-19 outbreak. This can be found on GOV.UK and through the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Further guidance on employment rights and aspects of good practice has been published by other bodies such as ACAS and the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). Government has also produced guidance around some new situations which have arisen from the Covid-19 outbreak, for example for those identified as clinically extremely vulnerable and on self-isolation. This suite of guidance covers the employment rights of disabled people alongside other groups in the workforce.

I have asked BEIS officials to discuss this employment rights guidance with disability groups to ensure the published material continues to meet the needs of disabled workers and their employers.

The Government continues to support disabled employees to access assistive technology and other forms of support they need to remain in work, including during the Covid-19 outbreak. Through the Disability Confident scheme, we are engaging employers and providing them with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to attract, recruit, retain and develop disabled people in the workplace. Our new Employer Help site provides advice on recruitment and employment of disabled people, explaining how Disability Confident and Access to Work can help businesses to ensure their practices are fair and inclusive.

23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he (a) has taken and (b) plans to take to assess the potential merits of local electricity supply.

The issue is being considered. For example, Ofgem are reviewing the use of supply licences that are restricted by geographic location, and Ofgem's Access & Forward-Looking Charges Review aims to improve the signals sent to all network users, which could support more localised supply.

20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of a California-style zero emission vehicle mandate to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles.

We recognise that we need to go further than the existing regulatory regime to reduce CO2 emissions from road transport to deliver our climate goals. We are considering our options as part of the Transport Decarbonisation Plan.

9th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of grid capacity required for electrification to deliver net zero by 2050.

As we move towards Net Zero in 2050, an increase in electricity demand is anticipated, in part due to the electrification of transport and heat. The electricity system will need increased generation capacity to meet higher peak demand and, ensure security of supply. National Grid Electricity System Operator, in their 2020 Future Energy Scenarios (FES)[1], estimate that peak demand will increase from 59GW in 2019 to 76 – 96GW by 2050. In order to meet this peak demand, they estimate that total installed generation capacity will have to increase from 112GW in 2019, to 224 – 334GW in 2050[2].

These changes will also require upgrades to grid capacity. Electricity networks are regulated by the independent regulator, Ofgem, through the price control, which provides the framework for network investment. Ofgem is working to set the next price control to enable investment for Net Zero.

[1] https://www.nationalgrideso.com/future-energy/future-energy-scenarios/fes-2020-documents

[2] Total installed capacity and total storage capaicty including vehicle-to-grid. Includes all network connected generation.

14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the forthcoming energy white paper is planned to include detailed policy on the next steps of the Government’s plans for delivering net zero by 2050.

The Energy White Paper will contribute to the delivery of net zero by setting out how we will make the transition to clean energy and support a green economic recovery in the process, while keeping energy bills affordable.

In addition to the White Paper, the Government will publish decarbonisation plans for key sectors such as agriculture and industry as part of its green agenda in the run up to COP26. The Government has already published the first part of its Transport Decarbonisation Plan, setting out an ambitious strategy to drive our transport emissions towards net zero.

14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department with Ofgem to attract investment in (a) innovation and (b) development of the electricity network as part of the Government's 2050 net zero commitment.

Monopoly energy network companies, which transport energy to homes and businesses, are regulated by the independent energy regulator, Ofgem, to ensure that they adequately maintain a safe and secure network whilst investing for the future and ensuring a fair price for consumers. In order to do this, Ofgem uses price controls to determine the revenues network companies may recover, the investment they may make and the performance standards they must deliver.

The regulatory price control is by law a matter for Ofgem who ensure, through the regulatory framework, that energy networks are able to deliver our net zero target, and Government will continue to engage with Ofgem on this. Ofgem has also established a Net Zero Advisory Group, with members from across government and the public sector, to advise on how price controls can best enable decarbonisation, including by bringing forward appropriate investment.

Since the start of the current electricity distribution price control (RIIO-ED1) in 2015, around £270m of innovation funding has been allocated to Electricity Distribution Network Operators, which is already supporting the move to net zero. Ofgem has also announced the introduction of a new Strategic Innovation Fund for the upcoming energy network price controls (RIIO-2). This fund, alongside funding to individual companies, will provide £450m for research and development into crucial green energy projects, with the potential to fund more if required.

14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of new jobs that will be created as a result of the Government’s commitment to net zero by 2050.

As my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister set out in his speech on 30 June, we intend to build back greener. Many of the actions we need to take to reach our UK climate targets - net zero - will support our economy to recover from COVID-19, generate new economic opportunities and support new green jobs. The UK has shown that growing our economy and cutting emissions can be achieved at the same time – growing our economy by 75% while cutting emissions by 43% over the past three decades.

There are already 460,000 people employed in the low carbon economy and its supply chains across the UK. By one estimate, the UK low-carbon economy could grow more than four times faster than the rest of the economy by 2030 and support up to 2 million jobs. As one example, the recently announced £2 billion Green Homes Grant will upgrade more than 600,000 homes across the country, save households hundreds of pounds a year on their energy bills and could support up to 80,000 green jobs.

14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking with Ofgem to help ensure that the UK attracts international investment as part of the Government’s ongoing work on net zero by 2050.

The Government’s Green Finance Strategy set out our overall approach to accelerating green finance and catalysing private investment to support delivery of the UK’s climate objectives.

Ofgem consults widely with industry and others on the methodology for future network investment through its price control process. This process is a matter for Ofgem, and by law Government has no role in network regulation.

With significant investment required going forward, it is essential there is a stable regulatory regime which provides both the sector and investors with the confidence to invest. At the same time, Ofgem has a statutory duty to ensure that value is delivered for consumers, and Government supports Ofgem’s core priority to help the UK achieve net zero by 2050, including securing the necessary investment in networks, at the lowest cost to consumers.

14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will ask Ofgem to include representatives from the electricity network supply chain in their Net Zero Advisory Group.

Ofgem has recently published the Terms of Reference for the Net Zero Advisory Group (link here). The Group aims to strengthen strategic coordination amongst key government departments and public sector organisations involved in the energy system transition. Where appropriate, the Group may invite internal or external experts to specific meetings and seek views from these parties outside of the meetings. The Terms of Reference may be reviewed and updated periodically.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect on businesses in the hospitality and entertainment sectors of energy companies classifying those companies as high risk as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; and what steps he is taking to ensure the equitable treatment of those sectors by energy companies.

The hospitality sector is a vital part of our economy, and the Government has introduced a wide range of economic measures to support businesses of all sizes through this difficult period.

Contractual terms offered to businesses are a commercial matter for energy suppliers. An offer of a supply contract will depend upon the type of business, estimated and volatility consumption, the customer’s credit score and length of contract required. We would encourage businesses to look at terms from multiple suppliers to find the best deal.

17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans the Government has to establish a sector council for energy networks to bring together Government, industry and other stakeholders to advise on the UK's energy system development.

The Government and Ofgem, as the independent regulator, are responsible for the policy and regulatory framework in which the energy system develops. We regularly engage with industry and other stakeholders on the development of the energy system, for example through Ofgem’s RIIO price control process.

Network companies also engage with industry and other stakeholders in developing future energy scenarios and network system plans. Examples of this include the Electricity System Operator’s Future Energy Scenarios and the annual Ten-Year Development Statements published by the Gas and Electricity System Operators.

9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the hydrogen strategies published by (a) Germany, (b) Denmark and (c) the European Commission.

The Government is committed to the development of hydrogen as a strategic decarbonised energy carrier. We are closely monitoring international hydrogen developments and participate in a range of international fora, including the International Partnership for Hydrogen for Fuel Cells in the Economy, Mission Innovation and Clean Energy Ministerial. These forums offer opportunities to discuss international activity on hydrogen, including strategies put forward by Germany, Denmark, and the European Commission. This contributes to understanding of, for example, respective drivers for interest, levels of ambition, innovation priorities and policy support frameworks. This is informing our own strategic approach to the development of hydrogen in the UK context, including opportunities for partnership and economic benefit.

9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support the development of sustainable hydrogen production facilities.

The Government is committed to exploring the option of hydrogen as a strategic decarbonised energy carrier. In line with this we are currently investing up to £121 million in hydrogen innovation, supporting a range of projects exploring the production and potential of low carbon hydrogen across the value chain. This includes a £33 million Hydrogen Supply programme that is supporting development of low and zero carbon hydrogen supply solutions. A mixture of hydrogen production technologies will be required to help reach our net zero target, and the learning provided from these programmes will be key. In addition, we are developing sustainable business models to support hydrogen production and will be engaging with Industry on the £100m Low Carbon Hydrogen Fund later this year.

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made a recent assessment of the potential merits of the proposed Swansea Bay tidal lagoon.

The Government undertook a thorough analysis of Tidal Lagoon Power’s proposed tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay and their plans for a follow-on programme of lagoons in June 2018. The statement made to Parliament by the then Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy set out the government’s position. In that statement, he stated that neither the Swansea Bay project nor TLP’s follow on programme of lagoons represented value for money. Our understanding is that the costs of the project remain at approximately £1.3 billion.

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he had made an assessment of the potential merits of a regulated asset based model to finance the proposed Swansea Bay tidal lagoon.

Contracts for Difference are the main policy vehicle supporting the delivery of low carbon electricity. They provide long-term price stabilisation for low carbon plant, allowing investments to come forward at a lower cost of capital and therefore lower cost to consumers. This was the basis under which the proposed Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project was considered and assessed.

The analysis clearly showed that the project did not represent value for money for consumers and tax payers.

26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether it remains his policy to invest £9.2 billion to improve the energy efficiency of (a) homes and (b) public buildings.

Tackling climate change and reaching our legally-binding emission reduction targets continue to be a top priority for the Government.

We remain committed to our aspiration for as many homes as possible to reach Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Band C by 2035 where practical, cost-effective, and affordable. Improving the energy efficiency of existing homes will play a critical role in delivering our greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, including Net Zero by 2050 as well as lifting households out of fuel poverty.

We continue to enable greenhouse gas emission reductions in public buildings through the Public Sector Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme, and the fund for England will stand at £385 million by the end of 2020/21.

BEIS remains committed to energy efficiency and decarbonising buildings, in line with the Manifesto commitment to invest £9.2 billion in low carbon buildings. The funding decisions are a matter for my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer.

26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to help stimulate demand for energy efficiency retrofitting schemes.

The Government is planning to publish a Heat and Buildings Strategy in due course, which will set out the immediate actions we will take for reducing emissions from buildings.

These actions include the deployment of energy efficiency measures and low carbon heating as part of an ambitious programme of work required to enable key strategic decisions on how we achieve the mass transition to low-carbon heat and set us on a path to decarbonising all homes and buildings.

The Department remains committed to delivering the aspiration set out in the Clean Growth Strategy (CGS), that as many homes as possible, where practical, cost-effective and affordable, will be upgraded to Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Band C by 2035.

26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the availability of skilled workers to complete energy efficiency retrofitting for housing stock throughout the UK.

A good supply of skilled workers is essential in order to meet our aspiration for as many UK homes as possible to be EPC band C by 2035, where practical, cost-effective and affordable. The Government has sponsored the development of Trustmark and PAS 2035 to ensure high standards among energy efficiency installers. We will continue to work with installers and training providers in order to grow the sector.

12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether (a) temporary and (b) agency workers will accrue holiday pay while on furlough; whether agencies and umbrella companies are able to reclaim holiday pay through the furlough grant; what steps companies can take to support their workers who come from agencies and umbrella companies if those agency or umbrella companies do not agree to furlough employees.

The Government has been clear that employment rights remain unchanged under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). Therefore, all workers’, including agency and temporary workers’, right to holiday accrues to the extent and in the same way it did prior to being placed on to furlough under the CJRS, as provided by the individual’s statutory and contractual rights.

Employers are able to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant to cover wages paid to their workers, up to 80% of the worker’s usual pay. This includes holiday pay, but where holiday pay owed exceeds the amount in the grant, the employer is required to make up the difference.

Further guidance to help employers manage holiday pay during Coronavirus is available on gov.uk.

In this unprecedented time, we would urge employers and agencies to take socially responsible decisions and listen to the concerns of their workforce. Employers and workers, including agency workers, should come to a pragmatic agreement about these arrangements. We have been clear that employers should carefully consider the guidance.

However, access to the scheme is not an employment right and it is up to the employer to decide whom to furlough.

28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of extending (a) maternity and (b) paternity leave in response to the covid-19 outbreak and associated social distancing guidance.

During this difficult time parents retain their entitlements to Maternity and Paternity Leave, allowing parents to bond and care for their new child and for mothers to recover from birth. We have no plans to extend Maternity or Paternity Leave at this stage.

25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the effect on rural communities of changes in fuel prices.

The Government believes that it is essential that consumers get a fair deal and that a competitive market is the best way to keep prices low. At a national level most movements of average pump price are driven by global prices for oil and exchange rates.

The Rural Fuel Duty Relief scheme administered by HMRC provides support for rural motorists by compensating fuel retailers in specific rural areas with high road fuel prices. These areas were chosen because, before the scheme was introduced, pump prices in those areas were significantly higher than the UK average. Further information on this scheme is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/excise-notice-2001-rural-fuel-duty-relief-scheme/excise-notice-2001-rural-fuel-duty-relief-scheme.

23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the findings published by the ONS on 16 January 2020 that the number of (a) people employed in the low carbon and renewable energy economy and (b) businesses in that sector have declined since 2014; and what the implications of those findings are for her policy on the UK reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

It is misleading to compare estimates from the Low Carbon and Renewable Energy Economy Survey from 2014 with this year’s survey because of changes in the sample methodology and size between 2014 and 2015.

There are now over 460,000 people working in low carbon businesses and their supply chains across the country, up from the revised 2017 estimate of 447,000. Turnover in the direct low carbon economy was estimated at £46.7 billion in 2018, up from £40.4 billion in 2015.

23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what her Department's policy is on encouraging the development of a domestic manufacturing base for renewable energy technologies.

In the Clean Growth Strategy and Industrial Strategy, the Government set out its ambition to have a strong, industrialised UK supply chain, proving its capability and increasing its capacity in order to win export orders. Delivering economic benefit is a Government priority and we are working together with industry to deliver growth, build a thriving UK supply chain and seize commercial opportunities in the UK and abroad.

Through the measures set out in the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, the offshore wind sector will invest up to £250 million over 10 years into a new Offshore Wind Growth Partnership aimed at helping UK companies become more competitive and productive in the context of a growing global market.

The UK has a strong track record in the supply of offshore wind development services, engineering design, and the supply of inter array cables and offshore substations. Approximately 75% of the value of operations and maintenance contracts for UK offshore wind farms are won by UK businesses.

6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department’s research on charity lottery sales and prize limits will assess the case for removing sales limits.

As set out in the response to WPQ 203179, the annual sales limits for charity lotteries were reviewed 12 months after the reforms were implemented in 2020. The review concluded it was too soon to reach any firm view on the impact of the reforms, and that more data on the growth of the sector was needed before considering any further changes.

The department will continue to look closely at this, and work closely with the Gambling Commission to keep the sector and research regarding charity lottery sales and prize limits under review.

I have committed to commissioning independent research, and we are currently considering a range of options in discussion with the Gambling Commission.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment her Department has made on the potential role of open banking technology in helping to tackle problem online gambling.

The government is exploring how technology and data can be harnessed in a number of areas to better prevent harmful gambling online. We are reviewing the Gambling Act 2005 and will publish our white paper in the coming weeks.

12th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment she has made of the levels of digital connectivity in rural areas of Wales.

At present, 96.7% of premises in Wales can access a superfast (>=30Mbps) broadband connection, with 57.4% able to access a gigabit-capable connection.

As part of the UK Government’s £5 billion Project Gigabit, a Public Review was conducted last year to establish broadband suppliers build plans across Wales, and the results were published in November. We are working closely with the Welsh Government and plan to launch procurements in Wales in the coming months.

In addition to our procurements, nearly 2,800 vouchers have been issued under the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme to help communities in rural and hard-to-reach areas of Wales.

In December 2022, DCMS also launched a series of Alpha trials to test the use of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites to improve broadband connectivity in very hard to reach locations. Up to 15 sites will be selected to trial the technology across the UK and to date four sites have been announced, including two in Snowdonia National Park.

The £1 billion Shared Rural Network (SRN) programme is already delivering 4G coverage uplifts in Wales and across the whole of the UK. Currently, 4G coverage in Wales stands at 62% from all four operators and will rise to a minimum of 80% through the SRN. Coverage from at least one operator currently stands at 90% and will increase to 95% in Wales once the programme completes. For further details on the SRN and how it will enable rural businesses and communities to thrive please visit https://srn.org.uk/forecast-coverage-improvements/.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
18th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when she plans to bring forward legislative proposals for the Media Bill, as announced in the Queen's Speech 2022; and what assessment she has made of the potential merits of ensuring Welsh language free-to-air coverage of national sporting events.

The Government will introduce the Media Bill when Parliamentary time allows.

The listed events regime is designed to ensure that the nation’s favourite sporting events – like Wimbledon and the Olympics – are available to be shown on free to air television and can be enjoyed by as wide an audience as possible.

In its Broadcasting White Paper, the government announced its intention to make qualification for the listed events regime a Public Service Broadcaster (PSB) specific benefit. This will more clearly enshrine the important role our PSBs, including S4C the Welsh language public service broadcaster, play in distributing important and valuable content to UK audiences.

13th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many projects have been submitted for Gigabit Voucher Scheme funding in Ceredigion constituency as part of the Broadband Upgrade Fund.

A total of 11 projects were submitted in the Ceredigion constituency as part of the Broadband Upgrade Fund.

The final stage of the Broadband Upgrade Fund concluded in January 2021.

Since the closure of the Broadband Upgrade Fund, the government has launched a £210m Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS) to support rural communities with the cost of installing new gigabit-capable connections. The scheme provides a micro-grant of up to £1,500 for residents and up to £3,500 for businesses towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband.

Seven premises in the Ceredigion constituency have claimed and received payment for a voucher through the scheme, with a further 338 premises awaiting completion, for a combined value of over £490,000.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the impact of the freeze in the licence fee on the funding allocated to S4C through partnership agreements with the BBC.

The UK Government has a strong record of demonstrating its commitment to minority language broadcasting to ensure that our broadcasting sector services all audiences of the UK nations and regions. This has been reflected in the strong settlement for S4C, providing £88.8 million per annum for the first two years, then rising in line with inflation thereafter, which includes a new commitment of £7.5 million per annum to support S4C’s digital development, ensuring S4C’s offering remains sustainable in the digital age.

The licence fee settlement will also provide the BBC with billions in annual public funding, allowing it to deliver its mission and public purposes and to continue doing what it does best.

As the BBC is operationally and editorially independent from the government, how the BBC uses their funding is therefore a question for them, including any partnerships with minority language broadcasters. However, the Secretary of State has been clear she wants to see the BBC deliver the best quality services and output possible with the public funding they receive.

The BBC’s Royal Charter also contains a general duty to "support the regional and minority languages of the United Kingdom through its output and services and through partnerships with other organisations".

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions his Department has held with charity lottery operators on the positive impacts of the charity lottery reforms which came into effect in July 2020.

The Government legislated to increase society lottery sales and prize limits in March 2020, and these reforms came into effect in July 2020. The changes were:

  • to increase the individual per draw sales limit from £4 million to £5 million;

  • to increase the individual per draw prize limit from £400,000 to £500,000 (retaining the rule that the maximum prize is the greater of £25,000 or 10% of proceeds);

  • to increase the annual sales limit from £10 million to £50 million.

The aim of these changes was to allow both society lotteries and the National Lottery to thrive, by enabling society lotteries to continue to grow, whilst ensuring the unique position of the National Lottery is maintained.

We are currently reviewing the impact of these changes, and have engaged with a range of stakeholders, including society lotteries, to gain an understanding of how they have benefited from the new limits.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether any of the planned Extended Area Services masts in Ceredigion will be made available for use by the Shared Rural Network.

As part of the government funded element of the Shared Rural Network (SRN) programme £185m in funding will be made available to the Home Office and the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to upgrade Extended Area Service (EAS) masts being built as part of the Emergency Services Network (ESN). This will help eliminate ‘total not-spots’ - the hard to reach areas where there is currently no coverage from any operator. The Home Office will make sites available, where possible, for the MNOs to deploy on them although we recognise that, in some cases, upgrades may not be possible due to technical, financial or other reasons.

There are 12 EAS sites in Ceredigion and these are all being considered for commercial connectivity via the SRN. We are currently working with the Home Office and MNOs to facilitate sharing as quickly as possible and the majority of the procurements have now been completed. In addition I am pleased to update that the Home Office and DCMS are exploring the possibility of the site in Llanafan being part of a EAS/SRN pilot scheme which will test the processes we, the Home Office and the MNOs have put in place to allow sharing on these sites to begin.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
19th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many properties connected to the Public Switched Telephone Network are not included in any fibre broadband network plans that will be implemented before 2025 in (a) Wales and (b) Ceredigion.

The upgrade of the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is an industry-led initiative which is regulated by Ofcom. Providers are moving from the old PSTN to new digital Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology.

VoIP landlines do not require fibre broadband to function but simply a stable connection speed of 0.5Mbps. For current landline-only customers it will be possible to order a VoIP landline without purchasing a general internet connection.

According to Ofcom there are over 16 million lines on the Openreach network which are being upgraded to VoIP services. For more specific information relating to Wales and your constituency, I would advise you to contact Openreach or Virgin Media O2, who are leading the migration process of their networks.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
19th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate her Department has made of the number of properties connected to the Public Switched Telephone Network that do not have access to a fixed or wireless internet connection in (a) Wales and (b) Ceredigion.

The upgrade of the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is an industry-led initiative which is regulated by Ofcom. Providers are moving from the old PSTN to new digital Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology.

VoIP landlines do not require fibre broadband to function but simply a stable connection speed of 0.5Mbps. For current landline-only customers it will be possible to order a VoIP landline without purchasing a general internet connection.

According to Ofcom there are over 16 million lines on the Openreach network which are being upgraded to VoIP services. For more specific information relating to Wales and your constituency, I would advise you to contact Openreach or Virgin Media O2, who are leading the migration process of their networks.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when she plans to make a decision on whether to close, continue or expand the Young Audience Content Fund.

The Young Audiences Content Fund is a three-year pilot project due to end on 31 March 2022. As part of the pilot Contestable Fund programme, a full evaluation will determine its impact on the provision and plurality of public service content. A decision on its future will be announced in due course.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will bring forward proposals to strengthen online protections for children by requiring technology firms to tackle cross-platform risks as part of the Online Safety Bill which would place a duty on the companies to (a) assess cross-platform risks when designing their sites and (b) share information with other companies on (i) offender behaviour, (ii) threats to children’s safety and (iii) new features which could lead to child abuse.

The Online Safety Bill will create a safer online ecosystem and address cross-platform harms to children. Companies in scope likely to be accessed by children will need to put in place appropriate systems and processes which protect children from encountering harmful content by means of their service. This could include protecting children from being directed to harmful content or activity on other sites.

The regulator will undertake research and horizon-scanning to identify cross-platform emerging issues, backed up by robust information-gathering powers. In addition, the super-complaints process will enable organisations to submit evidence of systemic issues that are causing harm to certain groups across more than one service.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will bring forward proposals to (a) bring pornography sites which do not host user-uploaded content within the scope of the Online Safety Bill and (b) strengthen age verification processes for those sites.

The strongest protections in the draft Online Safety Bill, published in May 2021 for pre-legislative scrutiny, are for children. Where pornography sites host user generated content or facilitate online user interactions, they are in scope of the Online Safety Bill.

The Online Safety Bill will capture the most visited pornography sites, social media platforms, video-sharing sites, forums and via image or video search engines. Companies will be required to protect children from harmful content such as online pornography or face tough enforcement action by the regulator.

The government recognises the concerns that have been raised about protecting children from online pornography on services which do not currently fall within the scope of the Bill. The government will use the draft Bill’s pre-legislative scrutiny to explore ways to provide wider protections for children from online pornography.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many authors received compensation through the Public Lending Right in (a) Wales, (b) Scotland, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) England in 2019.

For the Public Lending Right (PLR) Scheme year 2019/20, PLR payments were made to 20,911 registered authors in the United Kingdom. The British Library, which administers the PLR Scheme on behalf of the department, does not maintain a record of payments to authors by country of residence in the United Kingdom.



Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the total cost to the public purse was of the Public Lending Right in (a) 2019 and (b) 2020.

The Public Lending Right was allocated £6.6 million for the PLR Scheme year 2019/20; and £6.6 million for the PLR Scheme year 2020/21.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how her Department defines a rural area when determining the eligibility of premises for the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme.

Project Gigabit, and therefore the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, is designed to be responsive to the market so that we focus taxpayers' money on places that are too expensive to build on a commercial basis.

The voucher scheme is designed to target government subsidy towards those living and working in the hard to reach, commercially unavailable areas of the country and we are reliant upon independent sources of reference. In terms of the rural classification, this is defined using agreed standard measures according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) or equivalent.

For premises in England and Wales, rural is defined as those premises with the classifications D1-F2 inclusive as defined within the Office for National Statistics publication "The 2011 Rural-Urban Classification For Small Area Geographies”.

Ruralility for premises in Northern Ireland are based on classifications E-H inclusive as defined by the “Review of the Statistical Classification and Delineation of Settlements”, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).

For premises in Scotland, rurality is determined by classifications 3-8 inclusive, as defined within Scottish Government Urban Rural Classification 2013-2014.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the potential impact that the privatisation of Channel 4 TV Corporation will have on its aim of promoting cultural identity in the UK nations and regions.

Channel 4’s network of relationships across the whole of the UK, and its strong representation of the entire nation on screen are attributes to be celebrated and maintained into its future, and that is not at odds with private investment. In fact, Channel 4’s access to networks out of London and its ability to speak to such a diverse range of audiences are likely to be an attractive asset to nurture and develop for any potential buyer. Whatever decision is made about Channel 4’s ownership, we are clear that any changes will not compromise our commitment to the independent production sector or the wider creative economy, including our creative powerhouses across the UK. The government has also been clear that, whatever decision is made about Channel 4, we want it to remain a public service broadcaster, with public service obligations.

Channel 4 is one of this country’s greatest assets but we must think long-term about the challenges ahead and make sure it has the capital it needs to continue to contribute to the UK’s success in public service broadcasting for years to come.

We have consulted on the best ownership model to support this aim, and we are in the process of examining all the evidence we have received.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the potential impact that the privatisation of Channel 4 TV Corporation will have on its investment in training schemes, including the Factual Fast Track scheme and the Production Training Scheme.

Channel 4’s network of relationships across the whole of the UK, and its strong representation of the entire nation on screen are attributes to be celebrated and maintained into its future, and that is not at odds with private investment. In fact, Channel 4’s access to networks out of London and its ability to speak to such a diverse range of audiences are likely to be an attractive asset to nurture and develop for any potential buyer. Whatever decision is made about Channel 4’s ownership, we are clear that any changes will not compromise our commitment to the independent production sector or the wider creative economy, including our creative powerhouses across the UK. The government has also been clear that, whatever decision is made about Channel 4, we want it to remain a public service broadcaster, with public service obligations.

Channel 4 is one of this country’s greatest assets but we must think long-term about the challenges ahead and make sure it has the capital it needs to continue to contribute to the UK’s success in public service broadcasting for years to come.

We have consulted on the best ownership model to support this aim, and we are in the process of examining all the evidence we have received.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the potential impact that the privatisation of Channel 4 TV Corporation will have on the Channel's (a) recent steps to establish hubs outside London and (b) ability to commission more from production companies in the nations and regions.

Channel 4’s network of relationships across the whole of the UK, and its strong representation of the entire nation on screen are attributes to be celebrated and maintained into its future, and that is not at odds with private investment. In fact, Channel 4’s access to networks out of London and its ability to speak to such a diverse range of audiences are likely to be an attractive asset to nurture and develop for any potential buyer. Whatever decision is made about Channel 4’s ownership, we are clear that any changes will not compromise our commitment to the independent production sector or the wider creative economy, including our creative powerhouses across the UK. The government has also been clear that, whatever decision is made about Channel 4, we want it to remain a public service broadcaster, with public service obligations.

Channel 4 is one of this country’s greatest assets but we must think long-term about the challenges ahead and make sure it has the capital it needs to continue to contribute to the UK’s success in public service broadcasting for years to come.

We have consulted on the best ownership model to support this aim, and we are in the process of examining all the evidence we have received.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions she has had with the Welsh Government on increasing the Public Lending Right.

There has been no recent discussion with the Welsh Government on increasing the Public Lending Right (PLR). My department will shortly consult with sector stakeholders, including the Welsh Government, on a revised PLR rate per loan for the PLR Scheme year 2020/21. It is intended that the revised PLR rate per loan be introduced in January 2022.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions her Department has had with Openreach on (a) progress on the update of the Llanon exchange and (b) the timeline for completion of that work.

The department regularly engages with Openreach on the progress of their commercial rollout. Details of specific exchanges can be found on the Openreach website at the following address: https://www.openreach.com/fibre-broadband/where-when-building-ultrafast-full-fibre-broadband.

It is the government's view that the best way to achieve nationwide gigabit coverage is to create a competition-friendly environment in areas where deployment is commercially viable while focussing government funds on the 20% of the country where commercial deployment is unlikely. The Government is investing £5 billion as part of Project Gigabit to ensure the hardest-to-reach areas in the UK receive coverage. This will ensure communities are not left behind as the country benefits from a faster, further-reaching commercial investment. More generally across the UK, over half of premises can access gigabit-capable networks, up from just one in ten in November 2019. By the end of the year, 60% will have access, and by 2025 the government is targeting a minimum of 85% gigabit-capable coverage.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions her Department has had with Openreach on (a) progress on the update of the Talybont exchange and (b) the timeline for completion of that work.

The department regularly engages with Openreach on the progress of their commercial rollout. Details of specific exchanges can be found on the Openreach website at the following address: https://www.openreach.com/fibre-broadband/where-when-building-ultrafast-full-fibre-broadband.

It is the government's view that the best way to achieve nationwide gigabit coverage is to create a competition-friendly environment in areas where deployment is commercially viable while focussing government funds on the 20% of the country where commercial deployment is unlikely. The Government is investing £5 billion as part of Project Gigabit to ensure the hardest-to-reach areas in the UK receive coverage. This will ensure communities are not left behind as the country benefits from a faster, further-reaching commercial investment. More generally across the UK, over half of premises can access gigabit-capable networks, up from just one in ten in November 2019. By the end of the year, 60% will have access, and by 2025 the government is targeting a minimum of 85% gigabit-capable coverage.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions her Department has had with Openreach on (a) progress on the update of the Aberaeron exchange and (b) the timeline for completion of that work.

The department regularly engages with Openreach on the progress of their commercial rollout. Details of specific exchanges can be found on the Openreach website at the following address: https://www.openreach.com/fibre-broadband/where-when-building-ultrafast-full-fibre-broadband.

It is the government's view that the best way to achieve nationwide gigabit coverage is to create a competition-friendly environment in areas where deployment is commercially viable while focussing government funds on the 20% of the country where commercial deployment is unlikely. The Government is investing £5 billion as part of Project Gigabit to ensure the hardest-to-reach areas in the UK receive coverage. This will ensure communities are not left behind as the country benefits from a faster, further-reaching commercial investment. More generally across the UK, over half of premises can access gigabit-capable networks, up from just one in ten in November 2019. By the end of the year, 60% will have access, and by 2025 the government is targeting a minimum of 85% gigabit-capable coverage.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions her Department has had with Openreach on (a) progress on the update of the New Quay exchange and (b) the timeline for completion of that work.

The department regularly engages with Openreach on the progress of their commercial rollout. Details of specific exchanges can be found on the Openreach website at the following address: https://www.openreach.com/fibre-broadband/where-when-building-ultrafast-full-fibre-broadband.

It is the government's view that the best way to achieve nationwide gigabit coverage is to create a competition-friendly environment in areas where deployment is commercially viable while focussing government funds on the 20% of the country where commercial deployment is unlikely. The Government is investing £5 billion as part of Project Gigabit to ensure the hardest-to-reach areas in the UK receive coverage. This will ensure communities are not left behind as the country benefits from a faster, further-reaching commercial investment. More generally across the UK, over half of premises can access gigabit-capable networks, up from just one in ten in November 2019. By the end of the year, 60% will have access, and by 2025 the government is targeting a minimum of 85% gigabit-capable coverage.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions her Department has had with Openreach on (a) progress on the update of the Bow Street exchange and (b) the timeline for completion of that work.

The department regularly engages with Openreach on the progress of their commercial rollout. Details of specific exchanges can be found on the Openreach website at the following address: https://www.openreach.com/fibre-broadband/where-when-building-ultrafast-full-fibre-broadband.

It is the government's view that the best way to achieve nationwide gigabit coverage is to create a competition-friendly environment in areas where deployment is commercially viable while focussing government funds on the 20% of the country where commercial deployment is unlikely. The Government is investing £5 billion as part of Project Gigabit to ensure the hardest-to-reach areas in the UK receive coverage. This will ensure communities are not left behind as the country benefits from a faster, further-reaching commercial investment. More generally across the UK, over half of premises can access gigabit-capable networks, up from just one in ten in November 2019. By the end of the year, 60% will have access, and by 2025 the government is targeting a minimum of 85% gigabit-capable coverage.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions her Department has had with Openreach on (a) progress on the update of the Lampeter exchange and (b) the timeline for completion of that work.

The department regularly engages with Openreach on the progress of their commercial rollout. Details of specific exchanges can be found on the Openreach website at the following address: https://www.openreach.com/fibre-broadband/where-when-building-ultrafast-full-fibre-broadband.

It is the government's view that the best way to achieve nationwide gigabit coverage is to create a competition-friendly environment in areas where deployment is commercially viable while focussing government funds on the 20% of the country where commercial deployment is unlikely. The Government is investing £5 billion as part of Project Gigabit to ensure the hardest-to-reach areas in the UK receive coverage. This will ensure communities are not left behind as the country benefits from a faster, further-reaching commercial investment. More generally across the UK, over half of premises can access gigabit-capable networks, up from just one in ten in November 2019. By the end of the year, 60% will have access, and by 2025 the government is targeting a minimum of 85% gigabit-capable coverage.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions her Department has had with Openreach on (a) progress on the update of the Cardigan exchange and (b) the timeline for completion of that work.

The department regularly engages with Openreach on the progress of their commercial rollout. Details of specific exchanges can be found on the Openreach website at the following address: https://www.openreach.com/fibre-broadband/where-when-building-ultrafast-full-fibre-broadband.

It is the government's view that the best way to achieve nationwide gigabit coverage is to create a competition-friendly environment in areas where deployment is commercially viable while focussing government funds on the 20% of the country where commercial deployment is unlikely. The Government is investing £5 billion as part of Project Gigabit to ensure the hardest-to-reach areas in the UK receive coverage. This will ensure communities are not left behind as the country benefits from a faster, further-reaching commercial investment. More generally across the UK, over half of premises can access gigabit-capable networks, up from just one in ten in November 2019. By the end of the year, 60% will have access, and by 2025 the government is targeting a minimum of 85% gigabit-capable coverage.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions her Department has had with Openreach on (a) progress on the update of the Borth exchange and (b) the timeline for completion of that work.

The department regularly engages with Openreach on the progress of their commercial rollout. Details of specific exchanges can be found on the Openreach website at the following address: https://www.openreach.com/fibre-broadband/where-when-building-ultrafast-full-fibre-broadband.

It is the government's view that the best way to achieve nationwide gigabit coverage is to create a competition-friendly environment in areas where deployment is commercially viable while focussing government funds on the 20% of the country where commercial deployment is unlikely. The Government is investing £5 billion as part of Project Gigabit to ensure the hardest-to-reach areas in the UK receive coverage. This will ensure communities are not left behind as the country benefits from a faster, further-reaching commercial investment. More generally across the UK, over half of premises can access gigabit-capable networks, up from just one in ten in November 2019. By the end of the year, 60% will have access, and by 2025 the government is targeting a minimum of 85% gigabit-capable coverage.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans she has to promote Welsh cultural and language programming as part of her Department's planned changes to broadcasting requirements for public service broadcasters.

The government is committed to the future of Welsh language broadcasting and recognises the significant cultural impact of programming in Welsh for Welsh speakers across the UK. That commitment will inform any changes made to broadcasting requirements for public service broadcasters.

The government is also currently determining the licence fee settlement with S4C which will provide it with sufficient funding to support its unique cultural and social position for Welsh Language speakers.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 21 June 2021 to Question 16192 on Broadband: Voucher Schemes, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential effect of a commercial plan taking five years or more to deliver to premises on the success of Project Gigabit.

DCMS remains committed to encouraging as much commercial build as possible, while using the £5bn Project Gigabit to fund build in areas that are not commercially viable for suppliers to connect. The government’s target, laid out in the National Infrastructure Strategy published last year, is for 85% of UK premises to have gigabit capable connectivity by 2025. Our current analysis expects commercial suppliers to connect at least 80% of UK premises, with Project Gigabit delivering at least a further 5% in this timeframe.

A key component of Project Gigabit are the pre-procurement processes (Open Market Reviews / Public Reviews) to survey the market on their commercial build plans ahead of our major procurements. These will help us to identify premises in every part of the UK that the market does not intend to target commercially. This ensures that public money is not being used to subsidise gigabit capable connections that we know would otherwise be supplied commercially, which would limit the funding available for Project Gigabit to subsidise homes and businesses that are genuinely uncommercial.

DCMS will be continually monitoring the market’s progress against their commercial build so we will be able to react to any changes in their plans and update the targeting of our interventions to ensure they remain focused on the areas that need our support.

15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 15 June 2021 to Question 12253 on Broadband: Voucher Schemes, what length of time his Department defines as a reasonable timeframe for premises to benefit from a commercially delivered gigabit programme.

At the start of Project Gigabit we are prioritising areas that are not likely to receive commercial rollout, to ensure that the £5bn investment supports those communities that will otherwise not have access to gigabit capable connections.

Therefore, the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS) currently excludes premises that are likely to benefit from commercial plans. As Project Gigabit develops, assessments of commercial plans will continue to be made at a local level as part of the Project Gigabit pre-procurement processes (Open Market Review and Public Review). These processes will be used by the Department to determine whether commercial plans will deliver to premises within a reasonable time frame and define what that time frame is.

15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many premises in Ceredigion attempted to register for the Broadband Upgrade Fund but were deemed ineligible for that Fund.

All visitors to the Broadband Upgrade Fund were encouraged to check their eligibility using a postcode tool on the home page. This instantly confirmed whether or not they were eligible. Only those who were deemed eligible were then able to register their interest through the site. Address details for ineligible premises were not collected so we are unable to confirm how many Ceredigion residents and businesses used the postcode tool and were deemed ineligible.

We do know that across all Broadband Upgrade Fund Pilot areas, a total of 17,717 premises were checked that were not eligible. This is reflective of the fact that the Broadband Upgrade Fund Pilot attracted significant media attention from outlets with a cross regional and national audience.

15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 15 June 2021 to Question 12253 on Broadband: Voucher Schemes, when his Department next plans to conduct a performance review of the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme.

We monitor the performance of the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme as part of the day to day operation of the scheme. We also conduct a detailed performance review every 6 months. The next product review is due at the end of September/beginning of October. We are aiming to prepare the review towards the end of September which should see the evidence ready to be presented for assessment at the beginning October. However, this timeline may be subject to change.

10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many pre-registered packet applications his Department has received under the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme for projects located in Ceredigion.

We currently have been able to find 5 registered projects submitted in Ceredigion.

The transition from community interest through to final project approval can take a number of months so we are expecting more projects to come through as a result of the Broadband Upgrade Fund pilot scheme.

8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what length of time his Department constitutes in the near future for the purposes of determining premises eligible for support under the Gigabit Voucher Scheme.

Ofcom, the market regulator, has identified areas where network providers are likely to build gigabit-capable connectivity via the Wholesale Fixed Telecoms Market Review (WFTMR) they conducted in 2020. The decisions were a result of an extensive consultation programme with the market, and we have taken their view as a starting point for the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme. By using Ofcom’s classifications for assessing the likelihood of commercial investment in an area, it ensures the voucher scheme is consistent across the UK.

The data that is used to assess the eligibility criteria for the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS) changes according to the dynamic nature of commercial activity so postcodes or premises can come in and out of scope for a variety of reasons. We will continue to build on that view as we gather more data from Open Market Reviews and Public Reviews that are taking place over the coming months. As our understanding of network providers’ build plans develops, voucher eligibility will be reviewed. We will complete regular performance reviews of the voucher scheme and make adjustments where necessary.

As set out in the ‘Project Gigabit: Phase One Delivery Plan’, the GBVS is one part of the wider Project Gigabit, and it works alongside gigabit procurements as we work towards the target of gigabit-capable connectivity. Ineligibility for a voucher doesn’t mean that government support won’t be available in the future via other interventions; if it becomes clear that premises are unlikely to benefit from a commercially delivered gigabit programme within a reasonable timeframe, then DCMS will take action to address this market failure.

8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many proposals were received from alternative network providers to improve broadband connectivity in Ceredigion through the Broadband Upgrade Fund.

A total of 50 approved areas of interest in Ceredigion were created by suppliers through the broadband Upgrade Fund website.

8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many premises in Ceredigion registered for the Broadband Upgrade Fund.

1,840 eligible premises in Ceredigion were registered through the Broadband Upgrade Fund website.

8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans his Department has to review the effectiveness of the Broadband Upgrade Fund.

The Broadband Upgrade Fund Pilot provided an opportunity to test an innovative approach to demand stimulation in the broadband market. The final stage of the Broadband Upgrade Fund completed in January 2021, and many suppliers are still in the process of engaging with communities to put together project proposals to submit to BDUK for approval. A full assessment of the effectiveness of the Broadband Upgrade Fund Pilot will be undertaken once there has been sufficient opportunity for proposals to turn into gigabit-capable connections.

This evaluation will look at the effectiveness of campaign elements, and the number of projects and gigabit-capable connections delivered that can be attributed to the Broadband Upgrade Fund.

25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies of the recommendations of the Senedd’s Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee’s report, Exploring the devolution of broadcasting.

The government responded to the recommendations made by the Senedd Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee report on 6 April.

In the response, the government reaffirmed its manifesto commitments to continue to support S4C and support the Welsh Government’s ambition for one million Welsh speakers by 2050.

However, the response made clear that broadcasting policy will remain a reserved matter and that there are no plans to establish an independent funding commission for the TV licence.

In addition, the government continues to consider carefully the future of the public service broadcasting landscape, including the regional Channel 3 licences, and the appropriate regulatory structure for commercial radio.

25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Gambling Commission's investigation into BetIndex Ltd, the operators of Football Index, was initiated in response to rulings made by the Advertising Standards Authority regarding their breaches of Advertising Codes.

The Gambling Commission requires operators to act in a way that meets the licensing objectives to be fair and open. They are also required to present their products in a way that is compliant with Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) rules regarding advertising and marketing. Where the ASA determines that an operator has breached these rules, the Commission can also consider whether further regulatory action is required as a result.

Following the rulings from the ASA in August and September 2019, Football Index was required to make clear both in a banner on each webpage and within the text that it was a betting product and should not be considered an investment vehicle. The Gambling Commission’s formal review into the licence under section 116 of the Gambling Act commenced in May 2020, and looked wider than breaches of the advertising codes.

The Gambling Commission suspended the licence of BetIndex Ltd, the operator of Football Index, on 11 March after learning of BetIndex’s plans to restrict customer access to account funds. Further information, including additional background to its regulatory action, is available at: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/news-action-and-statistics/News/betindex-update

24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions his Department has had with the Gambling Commission on the Football Index's presentation of its product as a football stock market.

The Gambling Commission has suspended the licence of BetIndex Ltd, the operators of Football Index, and a live investigation is ongoing. Further information, including an update on the status of customer funds, can be found on the Commission’s website: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/news-action-and-statistics/news/2021/BetIndex-update.aspx

The government is taking the collapse of Football Index and the concerns of those affected by it very seriously, and the Secretary of State and I have met the Gambling Commission to receive urgent updates. We are particularly keen to understand both how this situation came about and what lessons we can learn from these events.

It is a condition of a gambling operating licence that customers should be able to withdraw funds from their accounts. The Commission acted to suspend BetIndex’s licence on learning that the operator planned to freeze access to funds. Operators who hold customer funds must tell customers whether funds are protected in event of insolvency and the level of the protection offered. Football Index provides a medium level of customer funds protection, which means customer funds are kept in accounts separate from business accounts, and arrangements are made to ensure assets in the customer accounts are distributed to customers in the event of insolvency.

The government has launched a Review of the Gambling Act 2005 and has called for evidence on a range of issues across the sector, including the powers and resources of the Gambling Commission. The call for evidence closes on 31 March, and we will be led by the evidence received.

24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 24 March 2021 to Question 170705 on Football Index, whether his Department received an indication from the Gambling Commission on when that body will (a) conclude its investigation and (b) publish a report of its findings.

The Gambling Commission has suspended the licence of BetIndex Ltd, the operators of Football Index, and a live investigation is ongoing. Further information, including an update on the status of customer funds, can be found on the Commission’s website: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/news-action-and-statistics/news/2021/BetIndex-update.aspx

The government is taking the collapse of Football Index and the concerns of those affected by it very seriously, and the Secretary of State and I have met the Gambling Commission to receive urgent updates. We are particularly keen to understand both how this situation came about and what lessons we can learn from these events.

It is a condition of a gambling operating licence that customers should be able to withdraw funds from their accounts. The Commission acted to suspend BetIndex’s licence on learning that the operator planned to freeze access to funds. Operators who hold customer funds must tell customers whether funds are protected in event of insolvency and the level of the protection offered. Football Index provides a medium level of customer funds protection, which means customer funds are kept in accounts separate from business accounts, and arrangements are made to ensure assets in the customer accounts are distributed to customers in the event of insolvency.

The government has launched a Review of the Gambling Act 2005 and has called for evidence on a range of issues across the sector, including the powers and resources of the Gambling Commission. The call for evidence closes on 31 March, and we will be led by the evidence received.

17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with the Gambling Commission on the gambling platform Football Index.

The Gambling Commission has suspended the licence of BetIndex Ltd, the operators of Football Index, while it carries out an investigation.

The Secretary of State and I have met the Gambling Commission twice to discuss this issue, and have requested and received urgent reports.

11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to (a) support consumer choice and (b) protect against overcharging during the rollout of gigabit capable broadband to rural properties in Wales.

In its Statement of Strategic Priorities, the department set out a clear strategy to deliver the rapid rollout of gigabit capable broadband by promoting network competition. We expect that - in time - consumers in up to 80% of the country will be able to choose between two or more gigabit capable networks. Competition will protect consumers against overcharging.

In addition, during the next market review period from April 2021 to March 2026, Ofcom is proposing to continue to regulate BT Openreach’s network across the whole of the UK to ensure that retail Internet Service Providers like Sky and TalkTalk can continue to access their network at a regulated price to provide retail choice to consumers using this network.

Around 20% of the country is harder to reach and only likely to be able to support one gigabit capable network, which is why the government is proposing to invest £5 billion to ensure that these areas get gigabit capable broadband. The department’s proposed contracts require the successful bidders to make their government subsidised network available to retail Internet Service Providers on a similar basis to that required by Ofcom in relation to BT Openreach.

11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what (a) key dates by which key milestones will be met and (b) other metrics his Department has developed to measure progress of the UK Rural Gigabit Connectivity Programme in Wales.

In relation to gigabit coverage, at UK level key milestones and metrics include:

  • One in three UK premises can now access gigabit-capable broadband (38%), up from 12% in 2019.

  • By the end of 2021 more than half of the country will be connected to gigabit-capable networks.

  • We are on track to build up to an annual build rate of 4.5 million premises or more, higher than build rates in comparable countries.

As part of the Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme, the government has funded the following projects which are delivering gigabit connections to public sector sites in Wales:

  1. Projects with the Welsh Government (i) in the Cardiff Capital Region covering approximately 180 public sector sites and (ii) across ten local authorities covering approximately 100 rural public sector sites;

  2. A project with Denbighshire across the six local authorities in North Wales covering approximately 350 public sector sites;

  3. A project with Pembrokeshire to cover approximately 70 public sector sites.

This totals approximately 700 public sector sites to be delivered between 2019-2021.

In addition, residents and businesses in rural areas of Wales have been able to apply for vouchers under the Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme to support the cost of installing new gigabit-capable connections. As at February 2021, in Wales there are 351 connected premises worth £646,000 and a further 932 premises in the pipeline worth £1.79m. This scheme is closing on 31 March 2021 and it is proposed that a replacement scheme will continue from April 2021 as part of the UK Gigabit Programme

The government is now taking forward further work with industry to target a minimum of 85% gigabit-capable coverage by 2025, as part of our £5 billion Gigabit programme and our 100% target. Within this, the UK government is working with the Welsh Government to develop gigabit-capable interventions in Wales. This includes exploring opportunities to utilise the current Superfast Cymru (Wales) project to extend gigabit capable coverage to premises which do not currently have superfast broadband capability, in addition to the 39,000 premises in Wales which will get gigabit capable coverage under this programme by the end of 2022.

11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the potential merits for (a) the heritage sector, (b) the Welsh economy and (c) rural jobs of lifting the cap on Sideways Loss Relief for heritage attractions for the 2020-21 financial year.

The UK’s heritage assets are important to tourism and are internationally admired, but any change in the current Sideways Loss Relief system, such as an increase in the cap to £100,000, must be thoroughly considered and protected against abuse.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has been working hard to support our sectors through this period of uncertainty, including the heritage sector. DCMS will continue to explore this proposal with HMT as we move forward into future fiscal events.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much funding he plans to allocate to Wales under the UK Rural Gigabit Connectivity Programme.

The UK Rural Gigabit Connectivity (RGC) programme launched in May 2019, with voucher and public sector site elements.

Through RGC, the UK government has continued the roll-out of gigabit capable full-fibre in Wales, with nearly £3.7m committed:

a) 351 connected (£646k) and 932 pipeline (£1.79m) rural vouchers

b) £1.25m to for 103 public sites in 11 Local Authority areas - Welsh Government will oversee the project that covers public sites in Anglesey, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Gwynedd, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire, Powys, and Swansea.

In addition to rural vouchers, in Wales there was the previous gigabit voucher scheme with 562 connected (£1.24m) and 66 pipeline (£147k).

In addition to the RGC public site project, in Wales there are a number of other Local Full Fibre Network Challenge Fund projects that are connecting public sites with nearly £24.5m committed:

  • across North Wales with the six local authorities for 350 public sites

  • in Pembrokeshire for 70 public sites

  • along the South Wales Strategic Road Network

  • across the Cardiff Capital Region with the ten local authorities for 174 public sites

9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has had discussions with his counterparts in the Scottish and Welsh Governments on the implementation of the Outside-In programme in Scotland and Wales.

Matt Warman, Minister for Digital Infrastructure, met with Paul Wheelhouse Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands - Scottish Government on 16 December 2020, to discuss the UK Gigabit programme and the implementation of the Outside-In programme in Scotland.

He highlighted that UK government has started the roll-out of gigabit capable full fibre in Scotland with more than £22m invested already in a number of projects including:

a) The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme with over £4.9m committed

b) Local Full Fibre Network project awarded £4.3m in the Highlands for 152 public sites

c) Local Full Fibre Network project awarded £1.9m in Unst and Yell (Shetland) for 21 public sites

d) Local Full Fibre Network project awarded £5.9m in Tay Cities for 228 public sites

e) Rural Gigabit Connectivity project awarded £1.4m in Dumfries and Galloway for 35 public sites

f) Rural Gigabit Connectivity project awarded £2.1m for NHS Scotland for 51 public sites

g) Rural Gigabit Connectivity project awarded £2m in the Highlands for 37 public sites (in addition to the Local Full Fibre Network sites above)

Similarly the UK government has also started the roll-out of gigabit capable full-fibre in Wales with more than £29m committed in a number of projects including:

a) Support to the Superfast Wales project, which is delivered by the Welsh Government, and has provided almost 733,000 properties across Wales with access to fast fibre broadband. The contract intervened where the Private Sector had no plans to do so (at the time of procurement). The current phase, which runs to June ‘22, will reach up to 39k more prems.

b) The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme with over £3.8m committed

c) Local Full Fibre Network project awarded £8m in North Wales with 6 local authorities for 350 public sites

d) Local Full Fibre Network project awarded £1.2m in Pembrokeshire for 70 public sites

e) Local Full Fibre Network project awarded £12m to the Welsh Government for the South Wales Strategic Road Network project

f) Local Full Fibre Network project awarded £3.16m to the Welsh Government for the Cardiff Capital Region project for 174 public sites in the ten authorities in SE Wales

g) Rural Gigabit Connectivity project awarded £1.25m to the Welsh Government for 103 public sites in 11 Local Authority areas

The UK government, through BDUK, has commenced regular collaborative engagement with Scottish and Welsh Government Officials on the planning for the UK Gigabit programme. They have set up a number of workstreams to ensure the optimal mix of approaches to Outside-In in Scotland and Wales is achieved.

The Minister also met with Lee Waters MS, the Deputy Minister for Economy & Transport on 1 May 2020, to discuss the Shared Rural Network. They discussed the benefits of the programme and acknowledged that the SRN was positive but Mr Waters had some concerns about the length of time for the full benefits of the programme. Both ministers agreed to meet again in the near future to discuss how they can collectively create an environment in which they can accelerate developments whilst maximising existing resources and infrastructure to reduce overall cost on the public purse. The Minister is committed to continue working collaboratively with his Scottish and Welsh counterparts on the implementation of the Outside-In programme in Scotland and Wales.

28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement on the ability of UK journalists to travel frequently across national borders in the EU without visa requirements.

For short stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period, the EU has legislated so that UK nationals will not need a visa when travelling to and within the Schengen Area for tourism and other limited purposes. This should include business meetings, visitors coming for journalistic or media purposes and short-term study. Some Member States may also allow additional activities without a visa beyond those stipulated in the Schengen rules. However, Member States can require a visa for what they regard as a paid activity. UK nationals should check with their host state(s) before travelling.

26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on Central Libraries Funding.

My department regularly discusses with the Welsh Government issues related to our respective library services. Public library policy and funding of libraries and their services is a devolved matter and is for each government to determine.

17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Government’s response to the online harms white paper, what steps his Department has taken in respect of Welsh language internet users on the (a) design of the proposed regulatory framework, (b) use and futureproofing of AI in tackling hate speech and other evolving online harms and (c) development of best practice guidance for digital product and platform designers.

We have been working with the Devolved Administrations, including the Welsh Government, throughout the development of our proposals and will continue to do so throughout the legislative process.

As set out in the Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper, we also expect the regulator to ensure that devolved considerations are effectively built into their work.

24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what level of Barnett consequential funding the Welsh Government will receive in respect to the Sports Winter Survival Package for England.

The Barnett formula will apply in the normal way for the devolved administrations, as set out in the Statement of Funding Policy.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Welsh Government's covid-19 funding guarantee will be revised as a result of the £300 million Sports Winter Survival Package fund for sports in England.

The devolved administrations have been provided with an upfront guarantee this year of £16 billion above their Spring Budget 2020 funding to support their response to Covid-19. There are no plans to revise the Welsh Government's covid-19 funding guarantee as a result of the £300 million Sports Winter Survival Package fund for sports in England.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the (a) Barnett formula funding for Wales deriving from the Sport Winter Survival Package and (b) the projected £35 million loss that Welsh Rugby Union has estimated this financial year, whether he has plans to provide further financial support for Welsh Rugby Union.

The Barnett formula will apply in the normal way for the devolved administrations, as set out in the Statement of Funding Policy, and it will be for the Welsh Government to decide how to allocate any additional funding it receives as a result.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much funding the Government plans to allocate to the implementation of the Shared Rural Network in each of the UK's nations.

Shared Rural Network programme will ensure that the £1 billion jointly committed by government and industry will increase 4G mobile coverage throughout the UK to 95% geographic coverage by the end of 2025. Technical work is underway to determine how to most efficiently reach targets and the department is unable to provide any further details on funding allocations at this stage. Government funds will be directed to areas where there is no current coverage while industry funds will be directed towards filling gaps where there is only partial coverage.

3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether local authorities in Wales are eligible to become strategic partners with the Government for the purposes of identifying public sector buildings to be included in the Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme.

Building Digital UK (BDUK) continues to extend opportunities to Local Authorities across the UK, including Wales, to become strategic partners by sharing their public sector buildings for possible inclusion within the Rural Gigabit Connectivity (RGC) programme, which runs until March 2021.

BDUK welcomes dialogue with Local Authorities on digital connectivity, and also encourages them to work closely with neighbouring Authorities to collectively identify hub sites that may be eligible for programme inclusion.

BDUK is already in dialogue with Welsh Government on a proposal to upgrade ~110 public sector sites, which will act as hub sites. Welsh Government is overseeing the development of the proposal for a project that involves Anglesey, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Gwynedd, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire, Powys, and Swansea.

Should other Local Authorities in Wales be interested in participating in the programme, they can express their interest by completing a Hub Site Submission sheet which is available at this address: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rgc-programme-key-information. Once complete, this should be sent to rgc@dcms.gov.uk.

Although the completion of a Submission sheet is not a guaranteed commitment that BDUK will invest in that particular area, it is a mandatory part of the selection process. If a completed sheet looks to be in alignment with the aims and objectives of the RGC programme, BDUK will contact the Local Authority.

BDUK also has Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) projects underway in Wales, which are upgrading public buildings in North Wales, Cardiff City Region and Pembrokeshire. We are also jointly funding, with Welsh Government, the deployment of a fibre optic backbone along the South Wales Motorway and Trunk Road network between Newport and Pembrokeshire.

26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent estimate the Government has made of the number of premises in Ceredigion that do not have access to an internet service with a download speed of at least 10Mbps.

The broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) provides every UK household with the legal right to request a broadband connection that provides download speeds of at least 10Mbps and an upload speed of at least 1Mbps, where this is not already available or is not due to be made available within a year through a publicly funded intervention.

Ofcom’s Connected Nations Report, published in December 2019, found that 5132 (or 13.7%) of premises in Ceredigion have a fixed broadband connection that is delivering speeds below the USO specification. However, some of these premises are likely to be able to access a 4G mobile data service that provides USO level speeds or higher.

As the Universal Service Obligation only launched on 20 March 2020, no assessment of its progress in Ceredigion has yet been made. However, as the Universal Service Provider, BT is required to report at least every six months on progress to Ofcom, who are implementing and monitoring the broadband USO on behalf of the Government.

In addition to the USO, the Government is also investing to bring gigabit capable broadband to harder to reach areas through the existing £200 million Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme and, from next year, through its new £5 billion UK Gigabit Programme.

26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment the Government has made of progress towards at least 10Mbps download speeds under the Universal Service Obligation at qualifying premises in Ceredigion.

The broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) provides every UK household with the legal right to request a broadband connection that provides download speeds of at least 10Mbps and an upload speed of at least 1Mbps, where this is not already available or is not due to be made available within a year through a publicly funded intervention.

Ofcom’s Connected Nations Report, published in December 2019, found that 5132 (or 13.7%) of premises in Ceredigion have a fixed broadband connection that is delivering speeds below the USO specification. However, some of these premises are likely to be able to access a 4G mobile data service that provides USO level speeds or higher.

As the Universal Service Obligation only launched on 20 March 2020, no assessment of its progress in Ceredigion has yet been made. However, as the Universal Service Provider, BT is required to report at least every six months on progress to Ofcom, who are implementing and monitoring the broadband USO on behalf of the Government.

In addition to the USO, the Government is also investing to bring gigabit capable broadband to harder to reach areas through the existing £200 million Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme and, from next year, through its new £5 billion UK Gigabit Programme.

4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 4 May 2020 to Question 41576, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on enabling furloughed workers employed by faith-based organisations to participate in activities usually undertaken by volunteers in their faith community.

DCMS is working with other Government departments and the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector to identify areas where volunteers can contribute to the COVID-19 response.

The purpose of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is to support people who would otherwise have been made redundant. To prevent fraudulent claims, the Government has made clear that furloughed individuals cannot continue to work or volunteer for their organisation.

10th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 6 February 2020 to Question 8437 on World Wide Web Foundation, whether the Government has plans to sign up to the Contract for the Web.

Government supports many of the aims of the Contract for the Web and we continue to engage with the World Wide Web Foundation on these issues.

27th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions she has had with representatives of the World Wide Web Foundation on signing the Contract for the Web.

Ministers and officials have regular meetings and discussions with stakeholders, such as the World Wide Web Foundation, on a range of issues, including their work in relation to the Contract for the Web. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the Gov.uk.

10th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of increasing the eligibility threshold for means-tested free school meals for Universal Credit recipients in line with (a) inflation and (b) national living wage increases.

Over 2 million pupils are currently eligible for benefits based free school meals (FSM). Close to 1.3 million additional infants receive free and nutritious meals under the Universal Infant Free School Meal (UIFSM) policy.

The department believes that the current eligibility threshold level, which enables pupils in low income households to benefit from FSM while remaining affordable and deliverable for schools, is the right one. The department does not have plans to change the current eligibility conditions for FSM. The department continues to keep eligibility under review to ensure that these meals are supporting those who most need them. The department also continues to monitor the consequences of the rising cost of living and is working with other government departments to provide support to disadvantaged families.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
19th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department has taken to help increase the supply of trained electrical workers in the UK.

Education is a devolved matter, and the response outlines the information for England only.

The government’s skills reforms in England provide a ladder of opportunity that enables young people and adults to get good jobs and progress in their careers. We are building a skills system that is employer focused, high quality and fit for the future. It is also flexible enough to lead to more people completing high-quality courses that meet employers’ needs.

£3.8 billion has been invested in the skills agenda over this parliament .We are using this to expand and strengthen higher and further education, ensuring skills training is aligned to the needs of employers to enable communities to thrive. With this investment, we are putting employers at the heart of our skills system. This is why we are working with industry to shape our training offers, creating more routes into skilled employment in key economic sectors including electrical.

Our high-quality apprenticeships are supporting people of all ages with the opportunity to earn and learn the skills needed to start, or progress in, an exciting career in the construction sector. Employers in the electrical sector can access a range of high-quality apprenticeship standards to meet their skills needs, such as the Level 3 Domestic Electrician standard and the Level 6 Electronic Technical Support Engineer standard.

T Levels are strengthening vocational options for young people finishing their GCSEs. These two-year, technical qualifications are designed with relevant employers and are equivalent in size to three A levels. T Levels in Construction and Engineering & Manufacturing can lead to careers in the electrical engineering sector.

The Free Courses for Jobs offer, which was launched in April 2021, allows eligible adults to access over 400 Level 3 qualifications (A level equivalent) for free. Qualifications are available that support electrical workers.

Skills Bootcamps are free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks giving people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills, with an offer of a job interview with an employer on completion. Skills Bootcamps are available in a variety of skill areas including technical and engineering with courses on offer in electrification, electrical wind turbine technician and electric/hybrid vehicle maintenance and repair. These can help support a career in the electrical engineering industry.

High-quality careers information, advice and guidance is key to helping people to make informed decisions about their future, including being able to find out about and consider the different options available to them, including those in construction. The Careers & Enterprise Company (CEC) is supporting schools and colleges to embed best practice in the delivery of careers information, advice and guidance. This allows young people to be aware of the full range of training and careers available to them and to have access to a broad range of employers and workplaces, including those in the construction sectors. This will be delivered through the national roll-out of Career Hubs, Career Leader training, and the Enterprise Adviser Network.

The National Careers Service website gives people access to a range of useful digital tools and resources to support them, including ‘Explore Careers’ which includes more than 130 industry areas and more than 800 job profiles. This includes a range of key sector careers available, a description of what those roles entail, qualifications and entry routes. The content team regularly researches and updates content and welcomes updates from industry to ensure content is accurate and up to date.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
13th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make an assessment of the potential impact of introducing paid kinship care leave for new kinship carers on (a) those carers and (b) the children in their care.

Education is a devolved matter, and the response outlines the information for England only.

Kinship carers play an extremely important role in both their kin children’s lives and in the Children’s Social Care system.

On 2 February 2023, the department published its consultation and Children’s Social Care implementation strategy, ‘Stable Homes, Built on Love’, which sets out how the department will achieve broad, system wide transformation. Through this strategy, the department has made a commitment to implement or explore each of the Review’s recommendations on kinship care.

The department has committed to work across government to explore possible additional workplace entitlements for kinship carers with a special guardianship order or child arrangement order.

The department is also committed to publishing a national kinship care strategy by the end of 2023, which builds on feedback the department received following the publication of ‘Stable Homes, Built on Love’. This will provide an update on reform activity. The strategy will set out a long term vision for kinship care and detail how the department can better support children and carers. The department sees this as a pivotal moment for kinship care and is an opportunity to make real and lasting change.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
20th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department plans to make further assessments of the adequacy in the rise in maintenance loans in the context of rising levels of inflation.

Education is a devolved matter, and the response outlines the information for England only.

The government reviews living costs support on an annual basis and has continued to increase maximum loans and grants for living and other costs each year. On 11 January 2023, the department announced a one-off reallocation of funding to add £15 million to this year's student premium, to support additional hardship requests. There is now £276 million of student premium funding available this academic year to support students who need additional help. This extra funding will complement the help universities are providing through their own bursary, scholarship, and hardship support schemes.

The department works with the Office for Students to make it clear that universities can draw on this funding to boost their own hardship funds and support students in need. We welcome the fact that many Universities have allocated additional money to hardship, scholarship and bursary funds to support students. Universities will have detail available about these funds on their websites.

In the 2022/23 academic year, there has been an increase of 2.3%, and there will be a further increase of 2.8% for the 2023/24 academic year. Decisions on student finance have had to be taken alongside other spending priorities to ensure the system remains financially sustainable and the costs of higher education are shared fairly between students and taxpayers, not all of whom have benefited from going to university. Students who have been awarded a loan for living costs for the 2022/23 academic year that is lower than the maximum, and whose household income for the tax year 2022-23 has dropped by at least 15% compared to the income provided for their original assessment, can apply for their entitlement to be reassessed.

Loans for living costs are a contribution towards students’ living costs while attending university. The highest levels of support are targeted at students who need it the most, such as students from low-income families.

To help with the cost of living all households will save on their energy bills through the Energy Price Guarantee and the £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme discount. Students who buy their energy from a domestic supplier are eligible for the energy bills discount. The Energy Prices Act 2022, passed on 25 October 2022, includes the provision to require landlords to pass benefits they receive from energy price support, as appropriate, onto end users. Further details of the requirements under this act are set out in the legislation.

A Treasury-led review is being undertaken to consider how to support households with energy bills after April 2023.

Any student who has concerns should speak to their university about securing additional support.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
20th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to provide English students with additional maintenance support in response to the rising cost of living.

Education is a devolved matter, and the response outlines the information for England only.

The government reviews living costs support on an annual basis and has continued to increase maximum loans and grants for living and other costs each year. On 11 January 2023, the department announced a one-off reallocation of funding to add £15 million to this year's student premium, to support additional hardship requests. There is now £276 million of student premium funding available this academic year to support students who need additional help. This extra funding will complement the help universities are providing through their own bursary, scholarship, and hardship support schemes.

The department works with the Office for Students to make it clear that universities can draw on this funding to boost their own hardship funds and support students in need. We welcome the fact that many Universities have allocated additional money to hardship, scholarship and bursary funds to support students. Universities will have detail available about these funds on their websites.

In the 2022/23 academic year, there has been an increase of 2.3%, and there will be a further increase of 2.8% for the 2023/24 academic year. Decisions on student finance have had to be taken alongside other spending priorities to ensure the system remains financially sustainable and the costs of higher education are shared fairly between students and taxpayers, not all of whom have benefited from going to university. Students who have been awarded a loan for living costs for the 2022/23 academic year that is lower than the maximum, and whose household income for the tax year 2022-23 has dropped by at least 15% compared to the income provided for their original assessment, can apply for their entitlement to be reassessed.

Loans for living costs are a contribution towards students’ living costs while attending university. The highest levels of support are targeted at students who need it the most, such as students from low-income families.

To help with the cost of living all households will save on their energy bills through the Energy Price Guarantee and the £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme discount. Students who buy their energy from a domestic supplier are eligible for the energy bills discount. The Energy Prices Act 2022, passed on 25 October 2022, includes the provision to require landlords to pass benefits they receive from energy price support, as appropriate, onto end users. Further details of the requirements under this act are set out in the legislation.

A Treasury-led review is being undertaken to consider how to support households with energy bills after April 2023.

Any student who has concerns should speak to their university about securing additional support.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
28th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what marginal rate of taxation a student will be paying every year for the next five years who is repaying a loan on plan 4, earning over the repayment threshold and paying the basic rate of income tax.

The amount that a borrower is required to repay is calculated on the basis of income subject to National Insurance contributions (for UK-resident PAYE borrowers) or income subject to tax (for borrowers required to complete a Self-Assessment Tax form or borrowers resident overseas).

For Plan 1, Plan 2 and Plan 4 undergraduate student loans, borrowers currently repay 9% of earnings over the relevant repayment threshold. This is in addition to tax paid, irrespective of the rate of tax. Current repayment thresholds are £20,195 for Plan 1, £27,295 for Plan 2 and £25,375 for Plan 4 student loans.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
28th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what marginal rate of taxation a student will be paying every year for the next five years who is repaying a loan on plan 2, earning over the repayment threshold and paying the basic rate of income tax.

The amount that a borrower is required to repay is calculated on the basis of income subject to National Insurance contributions (for UK-resident PAYE borrowers) or income subject to tax (for borrowers required to complete a Self-Assessment Tax form or borrowers resident overseas).

For Plan 1, Plan 2 and Plan 4 undergraduate student loans, borrowers currently repay 9% of earnings over the relevant repayment threshold. This is in addition to tax paid, irrespective of the rate of tax. Current repayment thresholds are £20,195 for Plan 1, £27,295 for Plan 2 and £25,375 for Plan 4 student loans.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
28th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what marginal rate of taxation a student will be paying every year for the next five years who is repaying a loan on plan 1, earning over the repayment threshold and paying the basic rate of income tax.

The amount that a borrower is required to repay is calculated on the basis of income subject to National Insurance contributions (for UK-resident PAYE borrowers) or income subject to tax (for borrowers required to complete a Self-Assessment Tax form or borrowers resident overseas).

For Plan 1, Plan 2 and Plan 4 undergraduate student loans, borrowers currently repay 9% of earnings over the relevant repayment threshold. This is in addition to tax paid, irrespective of the rate of tax. Current repayment thresholds are £20,195 for Plan 1, £27,295 for Plan 2 and £25,375 for Plan 4 student loans.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
14th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether unspent funds from the Multiply Programme will be returned to HM Treasury.

Local authorities in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland can access up to £430 million across the three years of the Multiply programme. Multiply is provided as a Section 31 ringfenced grant in England. The grant arrangements for Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland are set out in the United Kingdom Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) prospectus.

There is flexibility for places to approach the delivery of interventions in response to their local needs so they can effectively support a critical skill area.

The department’s prospectus for Multiply set out a menu of interventions for local areas to draw from. Each local authority in England has submitted an investment plan, which outlines their annual predicted spend. Payments in Year 1, the 2022/23 financial year, have been made on that basis.

The department will monitor delivery against these investment plans, including facilitating peer support across local areas and sharing best practice. It is important that local interventions deliver value for money. Any underspends will be recovered by the department. Further information on how underspends will be managed is set out in our technical guidance available to all local areas.

HM Treasury rules stipulate that the department cannot carry underspends between financial years. This also applies to the wider programme.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
13th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to provisions in the Schools Bill, what steps he has taken to ensure that sufficient safeguards are in place around the (a) use and (b) protection of the data collected as part of the proposed requirements to create a register of home schooled children; what assessment he has made of the compatibility of those provisions with GDPR; and to whom that register will be accessible.

Education is a devolved matter, and the response outlines the information for England only.

The proposed ‘children not in school’ registers are intended to help with the identification of children being educated otherwise than at school, so that local authorities can undertake their existing responsibilities, to ensure all children are receiving a suitable education.

All local authorities will be required to process personal data they collect and store on their register in accordance with the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018. This legislation requires each local authority, as a data controller, only to collect and store the minimum personal data necessary and to protect and restrict access to the personal data by implementing appropriate technical and organisational measures.

Policy changes which require personal data processing, such as the ‘children not in school’ registers, are subject to scrutiny by the data protection officer (DPO) and their team, as part of the Data Protection Impact Assessment. The DPO will discuss requirement with the Information Commissioner’s Officer as part of their duties under the ‘prior notification’ obligations in Article 36 of the UK GDPR. This will ensure there are safeguards in place to protect the data on local authority registers.

19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding (a) projects and (b) institutions in Wales have received through Erasmus+ in each year since 2015.

The National Agency collect and publish data on projects funded as part of Erasmus+ by devolved administration, which can be found here: https://www.erasmusplus.org.uk/statistics.

The table below shows the value of Erasmus+ projects funded in Wales from call year 2015 to 2017. This is the latest data available and can be found in table 14 here: https://www.erasmusplus.org.uk/file/14125/download.

Value of Erasmus+ projects funded in Wales (in euros)

2015 Call

2016 Call

2017 Call

Total value of projects funded

€6,847,551

€8,513,375

€8,821,941

The Turing scheme will be backed by at least £100 million, providing funding for around 35,000 students in universities, colleges and schools to go on placements and exchanges overseas, starting in September 2021 and across the UK. Successful applications will receive funding for administering the scheme and students taking part will receive grants to help them with the costs of their international experience.

We are also pleased to confirm that the new scheme will be administered by the same consortium of British Council and Ecorys which have been delivering Erasmus+ in the UK for a number of years, drawing on their experience of working with education providers across the UK, and ensuring continuity.

We will be making further information available very shortly to enable providers to prepare to bid for funding when applications open in the coming weeks.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of the £100 million allocated to the Turing scheme will be spent on the administration costs of facilitating that scheme.

The National Agency collect and publish data on projects funded as part of Erasmus+ by devolved administration, which can be found here: https://www.erasmusplus.org.uk/statistics.

The table below shows the value of Erasmus+ projects funded in Wales from call year 2015 to 2017. This is the latest data available and can be found in table 14 here: https://www.erasmusplus.org.uk/file/14125/download.

Value of Erasmus+ projects funded in Wales (in euros)

2015 Call

2016 Call

2017 Call

Total value of projects funded

€6,847,551

€8,513,375

€8,821,941

The Turing scheme will be backed by at least £100 million, providing funding for around 35,000 students in universities, colleges and schools to go on placements and exchanges overseas, starting in September 2021 and across the UK. Successful applications will receive funding for administering the scheme and students taking part will receive grants to help them with the costs of their international experience.

We are also pleased to confirm that the new scheme will be administered by the same consortium of British Council and Ecorys which have been delivering Erasmus+ in the UK for a number of years, drawing on their experience of working with education providers across the UK, and ensuring continuity.

We will be making further information available very shortly to enable providers to prepare to bid for funding when applications open in the coming weeks.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what financial assistance will be available for (a) institutions and (b) projects for the administration costs of bidding for funding under the Turing scheme.

The Turing scheme will be backed by at least £100 million, providing funding for around 35,000 students in universities, colleges and schools to go on placements and exchanges overseas, starting in September 2021. We will be making further information available very shortly to enable providers to prepare to bid for funding when applications open in spring 2021 for placements taking place from September 2021. Successful applications will receive funding for administering the scheme and students taking part will receive grants to help them with the costs of their international experience.

I am pleased to confirm that the new scheme will be administered by the same consortium of British Council and Ecorys which have been delivering Erasmus+ in the UK for a number of years, drawing on their experience of working with education providers across the UK, and ensuring continuity.

Further details of the scheme will be published shortly.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many participants there were in the Erasmus+ programme in 2020-21; and how many of those participants were from Wales.

The government is committed to international education exchanges. The Turing scheme will be backed by over £100 million, providing funding for around 35,000 students in universities, colleges and schools to go on placements and exchanges overseas, starting in September 2021.

We will be making further information available very shortly to enable providers across the UK to prepare to bid for funding when applications open in the coming weeks for placements to take place from September 2021. This will include information on how applications will be assessed, and funding allocated and we plan to have a call for bids much like Erasmus+. Successful applications will receive funding for administering the scheme and students taking part will receive grants to help them with the costs of their international experience.

This scheme will be demand-led and will be open to bids from providers across the UK. As such, there is no projection as to the number of students from each nation or specific limits for any specific region.

On tuition fees, we expect these to be waived for Turing scheme participants consistent with the arrangements for Erasmus+.

On participant numbers, the National Agency collects data on Erasmus+ participation by devolved administration, available here: https://www.erasmusplus.org.uk/statistics.

Data for the programme year 2020/2021 is not currently available.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will provide details of the funding arrangements for (a) universities, (b) colleges and (c) schools under the proposed Turing scheme; and whether those institutions will be required to participate in a competitive bidding process for that scheme.

The government is committed to international education exchanges. The Turing scheme will be backed by over £100 million, providing funding for around 35,000 students in universities, colleges and schools to go on placements and exchanges overseas, starting in September 2021.

We will be making further information available very shortly to enable providers across the UK to prepare to bid for funding when applications open in the coming weeks for placements to take place from September 2021. This will include information on how applications will be assessed, and funding allocated and we plan to have a call for bids much like Erasmus+. Successful applications will receive funding for administering the scheme and students taking part will receive grants to help them with the costs of their international experience.

This scheme will be demand-led and will be open to bids from providers across the UK. As such, there is no projection as to the number of students from each nation or specific limits for any specific region.

On tuition fees, we expect these to be waived for Turing scheme participants consistent with the arrangements for Erasmus+.

On participant numbers, the National Agency collects data on Erasmus+ participation by devolved administration, available here: https://www.erasmusplus.org.uk/statistics.

Data for the programme year 2020/2021 is not currently available.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of students from Wales that will participate in the Turing scheme in (a) 2021-22 and (b) future years.

The government is committed to international education exchanges. The Turing scheme will be backed by over £100 million, providing funding for around 35,000 students in universities, colleges and schools to go on placements and exchanges overseas, starting in September 2021.

We will be making further information available very shortly to enable providers across the UK to prepare to bid for funding when applications open in the coming weeks for placements to take place from September 2021. This will include information on how applications will be assessed, and funding allocated and we plan to have a call for bids much like Erasmus+. Successful applications will receive funding for administering the scheme and students taking part will receive grants to help them with the costs of their international experience.

This scheme will be demand-led and will be open to bids from providers across the UK. As such, there is no projection as to the number of students from each nation or specific limits for any specific region.

On tuition fees, we expect these to be waived for Turing scheme participants consistent with the arrangements for Erasmus+.

On participant numbers, the National Agency collects data on Erasmus+ participation by devolved administration, available here: https://www.erasmusplus.org.uk/statistics.

Data for the programme year 2020/2021 is not currently available.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding his Department plans to allocate under the Turing scheme to (a) projects and (b) institutions in Wales in (i) 2021-22 and (ii) future years.

The government is committed to international education exchanges. The Turing scheme will be backed by over £100 million, providing funding for around 35,000 students in universities, colleges and schools to go on placements and exchanges overseas, starting in September 2021.

We will be making further information available very shortly to enable providers across the UK to prepare to bid for funding when applications open in the coming weeks for placements to take place from September 2021. This will include information on how applications will be assessed, and funding allocated and we plan to have a call for bids much like Erasmus+. Successful applications will receive funding for administering the scheme and students taking part will receive grants to help them with the costs of their international experience.

This scheme will be demand-led and will be open to bids from providers across the UK. As such, there is no projection as to the number of students from each nation or specific limits for any specific region.

On tuition fees, we expect these to be waived for Turing scheme participants consistent with the arrangements for Erasmus+.

On participant numbers, the National Agency collects data on Erasmus+ participation by devolved administration, available here: https://www.erasmusplus.org.uk/statistics.

Data for the programme year 2020/2021 is not currently available.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether UK students will liable for fees in their host countries under the Turing programme.

The government is committed to international education exchanges. The Turing scheme will be backed by over £100 million, providing funding for around 35,000 students in universities, colleges and schools to go on placements and exchanges overseas, starting in September 2021.

We will be making further information available very shortly to enable providers across the UK to prepare to bid for funding when applications open in the coming weeks for placements to take place from September 2021. This will include information on how applications will be assessed, and funding allocated and we plan to have a call for bids much like Erasmus+. Successful applications will receive funding for administering the scheme and students taking part will receive grants to help them with the costs of their international experience.

This scheme will be demand-led and will be open to bids from providers across the UK. As such, there is no projection as to the number of students from each nation or specific limits for any specific region.

On tuition fees, we expect these to be waived for Turing scheme participants consistent with the arrangements for Erasmus+.

On participant numbers, the National Agency collects data on Erasmus+ participation by devolved administration, available here: https://www.erasmusplus.org.uk/statistics.

Data for the programme year 2020/2021 is not currently available.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions his Department had with the Welsh Government on the allocation and distribution of Wi-Fi vouchers from telecommunication companies for disadvantaged children in 2020.

Mobile networks are currently providing internet access for pupils in England to engage with remote learning. All devolved nations have set up separate initiatives to support their schools.

Last year, the Department ran a pilot in partnership with British Telecom (BT) to provide children and young people free access to a BT WiFi hotspot. Through this, 10,000 BT codes were sent to local authorities and academy trusts for them to pass onto disadvantaged families so that they could access a BT WiFi connection until 31 December 2020. The pilot was not extended because, following testing, it did not suitably meet children and young people’s needs for a reliable and consistent internet connection to access remote education.

The Department has kept colleagues in the devolved administrations updated throughout the COVID-19 outbreak response on our progress with providing laptops and internet access for remote education.

6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the agreement with mobile network operators to provide free data for key educational sites will include Wales; and what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on that agreement.

The mobile networks are currently providing internet access for pupils in England to engage with remote learning, and the devolved nations have set up separate initiatives to support their schools. The Department has kept colleagues in the devolved administrations updated throughout the COVID-19 response on its progress with providing laptops and the internet for remote education.

3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what financial support he plans to allocate to (a) exam invigilators and (b) moderators appointed by examination boards who have been unable to work during the covid-19 outbreak; and what discussions he has had with representatives from the Welsh Government on that support.

Invigilators are mostly employed directly by school and other exam centres, while moderators are employed by exam boards.

The Department’s guidance states that where schools or local authorities had expected to use their public funding to engage workers, and had budgeted for this, but work is no longer needed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we encourage them to follow the approach for casual workers set out in paragraph 20 of the Procurement Policy Note 02/20 and 4/20 on contingent workers. This will ensure that directly hired casual workers have access to the same levels of support as casual agency workers on live assignment during the COVID-19 outbreak. The guidance sets out that in certain circumstances, public bodies can make payments of up to 80% of previously agreed rates to contingent workers. Whilst we encourage schools to follow this guidance, including for invigilators where appropriate, it is advisory and does not mandate or prescribe what schools should do in individual circumstances.

The exam boards that employ moderators are independent organisations. As such, they are responsible for deciding on payment arrangements and discussing with HMRC as appropriate. The situation is complex given the status of different examiners, but we know that the boards are providing information and updates to those involved.

Given that invigilators and moderators are employed by either exam centers or exam boards and covered by general Government guidance as set out above, we have not discussed this specific issue with the Welsh Government.

10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the Government's policy is on the (a) fee and (b) immigration status of students from the EU starting courses at UK universities in 2021.

We recognise how important it is that students and providers have information on eligibility for student support before applications for courses open. Applications for courses starting in the academic year 2021/22 do not open until September 2020. We will provide sufficient notice for prospective EU students on fee arrangements ahead of the 2021/22 academic year and subsequent years in the future.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has considered the suspension of student loan repayments in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The repayment of student loans, which includes borrowers from Wales, is governed by the Education (Student Loans) (Repayment) Regulations 2009 (as amended). Department officials are in regular contact with the Devolved Administrations and will continue to liaise with them on Student Loan Repayment policy.

The current system protects borrowers if they see a reduction in their income. Repayments are made based on a borrower’s monthly or weekly income, not the interest rate or amount borrowed, and no repayments are made for earnings below the repayment thresholds. Repayments are calculated as a fixed percentage of earnings above the relevant repayment threshold - if income drops, so do repayments made. Any outstanding debt is written off at the end of the loan term with no detriment to the borrower.

If, at the end of the year, the borrower’s total income is below the relevant annual threshold, they may reclaim any repayments from the Student Loans Company made during that year.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has held discussions with the Welsh Government on suspending student loan repayments in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The repayment of student loans, which includes borrowers from Wales, is governed by the Education (Student Loans) (Repayment) Regulations 2009 (as amended). Department officials are in regular contact with the Devolved Administrations and will continue to liaise with them on Student Loan Repayment policy.

The current system protects borrowers if they see a reduction in their income. Repayments are made based on a borrower’s monthly or weekly income, not the interest rate or amount borrowed, and no repayments are made for earnings below the repayment thresholds. Repayments are calculated as a fixed percentage of earnings above the relevant repayment threshold - if income drops, so do repayments made. Any outstanding debt is written off at the end of the loan term with no detriment to the borrower.

If, at the end of the year, the borrower’s total income is below the relevant annual threshold, they may reclaim any repayments from the Student Loans Company made during that year.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with (a) the National Union of Students, (b) Universities UK, (c) University and College Union, (d) Unison and (e) Unite on university use of non-disclosure agreements.

The government consulted on the misuse of confidentiality clauses in employer/employee relationships in 2019, and in response announced that we will legislate to prevent the misuse of Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in the workplace – including those being used to cover up harassment and discrimination. This will strengthen protections for individuals and create a create a fairer workplace for all.

In responding to that consultation, the University and College Union (UCU) and other unions expressed concern about the misuse of NDAs to 'gag' staff after experiencing poor behaviour in the workplace, including bullying, discrimination or sexual misconduct.

The department does not hold data on the use of NDAs in higher education and therefore has not made any specific analysis of their use. While there are a range of legitimate reasons why universities may use NDAs, including, for example, the protection of commercially sensitive information related to university research, we recognise their misuse is an area of concern.

We have clear expectations that universities should only use NDAs where necessary and appropriate. Any misuse of these agreements to hide workplace harassment or withhold details of student complaints is completely unacceptable and can not only distress individuals but also risk bringing the reputation of our world-leading higher education system into disrepute.

Sexual misconduct and harassment are unacceptable in higher education, as elsewhere, and government expects higher education providers to have robust and appropriate policies and procedures in place to effectively handle disclosures and reports of such behaviour by students and staff.

The Office for Students (OfS) is currently consulting on its approach to regulation and its expectations for providers in addressing sexual misconduct and harassment in their institutions. This consultation closes on 27 March. Government officials meet at least quarterly with both the OfS and Universities UK specifically to discuss making progress on tackling harassment in higher education.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with (a) vice-chancellors and (b) student union presidents of universities that have been used non-disclosure agreements.

The government consulted on the misuse of confidentiality clauses in employer/employee relationships in 2019, and in response announced that we will legislate to prevent the misuse of Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in the workplace – including those being used to cover up harassment and discrimination. This will strengthen protections for individuals and create a create a fairer workplace for all.

In responding to that consultation, the University and College Union (UCU) and other unions expressed concern about the misuse of NDAs to 'gag' staff after experiencing poor behaviour in the workplace, including bullying, discrimination or sexual misconduct.

The department does not hold data on the use of NDAs in higher education and therefore has not made any specific analysis of their use. While there are a range of legitimate reasons why universities may use NDAs, including, for example, the protection of commercially sensitive information related to university research, we recognise their misuse is an area of concern.

We have clear expectations that universities should only use NDAs where necessary and appropriate. Any misuse of these agreements to hide workplace harassment or withhold details of student complaints is completely unacceptable and can not only distress individuals but also risk bringing the reputation of our world-leading higher education system into disrepute.

Sexual misconduct and harassment are unacceptable in higher education, as elsewhere, and government expects higher education providers to have robust and appropriate policies and procedures in place to effectively handle disclosures and reports of such behaviour by students and staff.

The Office for Students (OfS) is currently consulting on its approach to regulation and its expectations for providers in addressing sexual misconduct and harassment in their institutions. This consultation closes on 27 March. Government officials meet at least quarterly with both the OfS and Universities UK specifically to discuss making progress on tackling harassment in higher education.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the prevalence of use of non-disclosure agreements by universities.

The government consulted on the misuse of confidentiality clauses in employer/employee relationships in 2019, and in response announced that we will legislate to prevent the misuse of Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in the workplace – including those being used to cover up harassment and discrimination. This will strengthen protections for individuals and create a create a fairer workplace for all.

In responding to that consultation, the University and College Union (UCU) and other unions expressed concern about the misuse of NDAs to 'gag' staff after experiencing poor behaviour in the workplace, including bullying, discrimination or sexual misconduct.

The department does not hold data on the use of NDAs in higher education and therefore has not made any specific analysis of their use. While there are a range of legitimate reasons why universities may use NDAs, including, for example, the protection of commercially sensitive information related to university research, we recognise their misuse is an area of concern.

We have clear expectations that universities should only use NDAs where necessary and appropriate. Any misuse of these agreements to hide workplace harassment or withhold details of student complaints is completely unacceptable and can not only distress individuals but also risk bringing the reputation of our world-leading higher education system into disrepute.

Sexual misconduct and harassment are unacceptable in higher education, as elsewhere, and government expects higher education providers to have robust and appropriate policies and procedures in place to effectively handle disclosures and reports of such behaviour by students and staff.

The Office for Students (OfS) is currently consulting on its approach to regulation and its expectations for providers in addressing sexual misconduct and harassment in their institutions. This consultation closes on 27 March. Government officials meet at least quarterly with both the OfS and Universities UK specifically to discuss making progress on tackling harassment in higher education.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 3 February 2020 to Question 9128 on Educational Exchanges, if he will publish the publish his proposals for the potential domestic alternatives.

?As I stated in my answer to question 9128, the UK government is preparing for every eventuality and is considering a wide range of options with regard to the future of international exchange and collaboration in education and training, including a potential domestic alternative.

Now is not the time to set out any more detail on the potential alternatives as we prepare to enter negotiations with the EU. If the appropriate time arises, then we will do so.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 17 January 2020 to Question 2672 on access to educational and cultural exchange programmes for Welsh students, what (a) representations and (b) data his Department has received from Wales’ Education Minister on the effect of the Erasmus programme on Welsh students who have taken part in that programme.

The government highly values international exchange and cooperation in education and training and recognises the benefits that such cooperation brings. As we prepare to leave the EU, the department has engaged widely with stakeholder groups across the UK, which we will continue to do. We have received representations from many sector bodies such as Universities UK, the Association of Colleges, the Russell Group, MillionPlus and the National Union of Students.

As the Prime Minister, has made clear, the government wants to work to continue to build academic cooperation between the UK and the EU. As we enter negotiations on our future relationship with the EU, we want to ensure that UK students and European students can continue to benefit from each other’s world-leading education systems.

As stated in my answer to 2672 on 17th January 2020, the Secretary of State for Education and I regularly discuss matters relating to education and EU exit with the Welsh Government including on Erasmus+.

My officials also hold regular meetings on the topic of Erasmus+ with officials from the Welsh Government to ensure close cooperation on this matter.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of the (a) economic and (b) social effects of Erasmus+ membership for UK students.

As stated in the Political Declaration, the UK is open to participation in certain EU programmes, such as the next Erasmus+ programme (2021-27), if it is in our interest to do so.

The proposed regulations for the next 2021-27 Erasmus+ programme are still being discussed in the EU and have yet to be finalised. Future participation in EU programmes will be a subject of our negotiations on the future UK-EU relationship. Any economic and social effects on Erasmus+ membership for UK students given the UK’s exit from the EU will be considered as part of wider discussions about the UK’s relationship with the EU.

The Government supports initiatives for our young people to gain international experience, both through study and work placements abroad, to increase their language skills and cultural awareness, and improve their life chances and employability. We want to ensure that UK and European students can continue to benefit from each other’s world-leading education systems. We are considering a wide range of options with regards to the future of international exchange and collaboration in education and training, including potential domestic alternatives.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 17 January 2020 to Question 2671 on access to educational and cultural exchange programmes, what plans his Department has for the future of international exchange and collaboration in education and training after the UK leave the EU.

The UK government wants to ensure that UK and European students can continue to benefit from each other’s world-leading education systems. We highly value international exchange and cooperation in education and training. Even after we leave the EU on the 31 January, the Withdrawal Agreement ensures that students, young people, and learners will be able to participate fully in the remainder of the current Erasmus+ programme and organisations should continue to bid for programme funding until the end of 2020.

As noted in the political declaration, the UK is open to participate in certain EU programmes, such as the next Erasmus+ programme (2021-2027), if it is in our interest to do so. The proposed regulations for the next programme are still being discussed in the EU and have yet to be finalised. Future participation in EU programmes will be a subject of our negotiations on the future of UK-EU relationship.

The UK government is preparing for every eventuality and is considering a wide range of options with regards to the future of international exchange and collaboration in education and training, including potential domestic alternatives. Officials from the Department of Education are liaising with their colleagues in the devolved administrations on a potential domestic alternative should it be needed.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 17 January 2020 to Question 2671 on access to educational and cultural exchange programmes, what steps his Department has taken to maintain international exchange and collaboration in education and training in the event that the UK does not participate in the Erasmus+ programme.

The UK government wants to ensure that UK and European students can continue to benefit from each other’s world-leading education systems. We highly value international exchange and cooperation in education and training. Even after we leave the EU on the 31 January, the Withdrawal Agreement ensures that students, young people, and learners will be able to participate fully in the remainder of the current Erasmus+ programme and organisations should continue to bid for programme funding until the end of 2020.

As noted in the political declaration, the UK is open to participate in certain EU programmes, such as the next Erasmus+ programme (2021-2027), if it is in our interest to do so. The proposed regulations for the next programme are still being discussed in the EU and have yet to be finalised. Future participation in EU programmes will be a subject of our negotiations on the future of UK-EU relationship.

The UK government is preparing for every eventuality and is considering a wide range of options with regards to the future of international exchange and collaboration in education and training, including potential domestic alternatives. Officials from the Department of Education are liaising with their colleagues in the devolved administrations on a potential domestic alternative should it be needed.

13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on ensuring that students at Welsh universities have access to educational and cultural exchange programmes after the UK leaves the EU.

The government highly values international exchange and cooperation in education and training and recognises the benefits that such cooperation brings.

As my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, has made clear, the government wants to continue to build academic cooperation between the UK and the EU. As we enter negotiations on our future relationship with the EU, we want to ensure that UK and European students can continue to benefit from each other’s world-leading education systems.

The UK as a whole participates in the current Erasmus+ programme and the Department for Education is the National Authority for the programme in the UK. The department oversees the work of the UK National Agency, which is responsible for the management and delivery of the programme across the UK, including in the devolved administrations.

My right hon. Friend, Secretary of State for Education and I regularly discuss matters relating to education and EU exit with the devolved administrations including on Erasmus+.

The department officials also hold regular meetings on the topic of Erasmus+ with officials from the devolved administrations to ensure close cooperation on this matter.

13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that students have access to educational and cultural exchange programmes after the UK leaves the EU.

The government highly values international cultural exchange and cooperation in education and training and recognises the benefits that such cooperation brings.

As my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, has made clear, the government wants to work to continue to build academic cooperation between the UK and the EU. As we enter negotiations on our future relationship with the EU, we want to ensure that UK students and European students can continue to benefit from each other’s world-leading education systems.

As stated in the Political Declaration, the UK is open to participating in certain educational and cultural EU programmes, such as the next Erasmus+ programme (2021-27), if it is in our interest to do so.

The UK government is preparing for every eventuality and is considering a wide range of options with regards to the future of international exchange and collaboration in education and training, including potential domestic alternatives.

26th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many farmers had agreements under the Environmental Land Management Scheme as of 26 February 2024.

As of 26 February, the Rural Payments Agency had offered 14,035 Sustainable Farming Incentive (including SFI Pilot, SFI 2022 and SFI 2023) agreements with 12,903 accepted and 48,665 agreements under the Countryside Stewardship and Environmental Stewardship schemes. Farmers can have more than one agreement in schemes.

In addition, from the launch of the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme (July 2021) to the end of 2022/23 (March 2023), there were over 5,000 farmers and land managers engaged in the programme and over 2,500 projects approved.

Further to this, there are also 22 projects in Round One of the Landscape Recovery Scheme, with a combined total of 266 landowners and 51 tenant farmers. There are 34 projects in Round Two of the Landscape Recovery Scheme; however, the number of landowners and tenant farmers cannot be confirmed yet, as they are currently being enrolled onto the scheme.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of removing restrictions on use of the term probiotic (a) on food labels and (b) in marketing for foods containing probiotic microorganisms.

‘Probiotic’ is a term commonly used to describe the effect of one or other strains of live bacteria used in food and food supplements. Food information rules require that the name given to a food, or an ingredient of a food, should be its legal name or, in the absence of this, its customary name. In the case of ingredients described as ‘probiotic’ this will be the specific strain of live bacteria used. There are no other specific restrictions within general food information rules.

Regulations governing the use of nutrition and health claims on foods, for which the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has responsibility, protect consumers from being misled by ensuring that any health claims made are backed by substantiated scientific evidence. A health claim is any claim that states, suggests or implies a relationship exists between the product or one of its constituents and health.

Under the Regulation, the term ‘probiotic’ can be considered a non-specific health claim. It can already be used, providing it is accompanied by an approved health claim for the specific strain of live bacteria. No further assessment of merit has been undertaken although the Department for Health and Social Care continues to engage with industry on any potential future application for new assessment. To date DHSC has not received any application for approving claims on specific strains of live bacteria. Companies would be required to include the specific strain in the ingredient listing.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has had recent discussions with his counterpart in the Welsh Government on taking steps to help tackle livestock worrying.

Defra has regular discussions with the Devolved Administrations about a range of animal welfare topics, including livestock worrying.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Answer of 18 September 2023 to Question 198983, when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals on livestock worrying.

The Government takes the issue of livestock worrying very seriously, recognising the distress this can cause farmers and animals, as well as the financial implications. We will be taking forward measures to modernise current livestock worrying legislation as soon as parliamentary time allows. In the meantime, we will continue to work on messaging and awareness about controlling all breeds of dog around livestock.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 3 July 2023 to Question 191637 on Livestock: Vaccination, what the Veterinary Medicines Directorate's expected timescale is for when the manufacturing issues impacting the supplies of (a) Heptavac P Plus and (b) Bravoxin 10 vaccines will be resolved.

The production of veterinary medicines is complex and highly regulated. The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) liaises closely with pharmaceutical companies and distributors of medicines to detect potential problems to support the continued availability of veterinary medicines where possible,

We understand that there is large global demand for Heptavac P Plus and Bravoxin 10 vaccines at present, compounded by manufacturing issues resulting in intermittent supply. The VMD has been working with the company concerned to support the release of further batches of vaccine to the UK market. We encourage farmers to discuss their vaccine regime with their veterinary surgeon should they have any concern. Veterinary surgeons may also speak with the Marketing Authorisation Holder MSD Animal Health for latest advice on product availability.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of supplies of the Cevac Chlamydia vaccine.

The production of veterinary medicines is complex and highly regulated, and materials and processes must meet rigorous safety and quality standards. Manufacturers can experience difficulties from time-to-time for various reasons, from malfunctioning equipment on the production line, to packaging materials that fail to meet the required specification. The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) liaises closely with pharmaceutical companies and distributors of medicines to detect potential problems at the earliest point possible in order to support the continued availability of veterinary medicines where possible.

In regards to availability of Cevac Chlamydia vaccine, the VMD understand there to be sufficient supply to meet the current national demand, and are in close liaison with the Marketing Authorisation Holder should this status change. As always, to avoid placing undue pressure on supply chains, we encourage veterinary surgeons to continue with normal ordering patterns and to maintain appropriate and proportionate stocks of veterinary medicines.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress she has made on tackling the matter of dogs attacking livestock.

Guidance is available to educate owners about handling their dogs responsibly in the vicinity of livestock, in order to prevent the occurrence of attacks or chasing. The Countryside Code highlights that it is best practice to keep dogs on a lead around livestock.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will work with supermarkets to ensure that customers can filter for and select cuts of meat with (a) Welsh and (b) UK origin when shopping online.

Defra meets regularly with food retailers and producers to discuss a range of issues and explore the range of measures they can take to ensure the availability of food of UK origin. Current laws require origin labelling for foods where the consumer would be misled if the origin of the food were not given. In addition there are rules for compulsory origin labelling of beef, veal, lamb, mutton, pork, goat and poultry meat, fish and shellfish, honey, olive oil, wine and most fruit and vegetables. Where origin information is not required, it can still be provided as long as it does not mislead. The same level of information on a food label must be available online to the consumer, before a purchase is made.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero on the potential merits of using water efficiency technologies to help reduce household carbon emissions.

We are working with the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero to maximise the synergies between the Government goals to reduce water demand and achieve net zero. We consulted on introducing a mandatory water efficiency label for water using products across all UK nations and assessed that such a label could save £125 million on water bills and £147 million on energy bills over 10 years. Hot water use is the second largest use of energy in a home after space heating. For example, installing a water-efficient showerhead could save a family of four about £30 on their combined energy and water bill each year.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of using water-saving technologies to help reduce the number of households in fuel poverty.

We are working with the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero to maximise the synergies between the Government goals to reduce water demand and achieve net zero. We consulted on introducing a mandatory water efficiency label for water using products across all UK nations and assessed that such a label could save £125 million on water bills and £147 million on energy bills over 10 years. Hot water use is the second largest use of energy in a home after space heating. For example, installing a water-efficient showerhead could save a family of four about £30 on their combined energy and water bill each year.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential role of water efficiency measures in helping achieve the Government's net zero aims.

We are working with the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero to maximise the synergies between the Government goals to reduce water demand and achieve net zero. We consulted on introducing a mandatory water efficiency label for water using products across all UK nations and assessed that such a label could save £125 million on water bills and £147 million on energy bills over 10 years. Hot water use is the second largest use of energy in a home after space heating. For example, installing a water-efficient showerhead could save a family of four about £30 on their combined energy and water bill each year.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to reduce the amount of plastic entering (a) water courses and (b) the sea.

The UK is proud to have supported the proposal by Rwanda and Peru that led to the ambitious resolution to start negotiating a legally binding treaty to end plastic pollution being agreed at the United Nations Environment Assembly in March 2022. The UK is a founding member of the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution, a coalition of like-minded Governments that are committed to a common ambition to end plastic pollution by 2040, underpinned by strategic goals and deliverables.

To do this, we will introduce additional single-use plastic item bans, extended producer responsibility, and deposit return schemes for plastic packaging and improve consistency in recycling. Through the UK’s Blue Planet Fund, we are also working bilaterally with partner countries to strengthen policies and regulations needed to eradicate plastic pollution and mismanaged waste.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to monitor and assess the impact of plastic waste in the ocean on marine life.

The UK monitors levels of marine litter on its beaches, sea surface and seafloor as part of the UK Marine Strategy. The UK Marine Strategy provides a legal framework for assessing and monitoring the status of our seas and to put in place the measures needed to achieve Good Environmental Status (GES). The UK had not reached Good Environmental Status (GES) for levels of marine litter under its most recent assessment in 2019. To help address this, we are introducing additional single-use plastic item bans, extended producer responsibility and deposit return schemes for plastic packaging, whilst also improving consistency in recycling and advocating for high ambition outcomes under a new global treaty on plastic pollution.

The UK also contributes to regional monitoring of the North-East Atlantic as a contracting party to The Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) Convention. The latest OSPAR assessments which will contribute to OSPARs Quality Status Report of the North East Atlantic, to be published summer 2023, show there has been a significant decrease in beach litter over the last 6 years in the North-East Atlantic. In the Greater North Sea, the probability of seafloor litter collected has increased. There has been a significant decrease in marine litter on the sea surface between 2009 – 2018, so progress has been made towards the threshold level for impact on marine life.

25th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the financial impact on pet owners and assistance dog users transporting their pets to the EU of the cost of Animal Health Certificates; what progress has been made on reaching an agreement with the European Commission on granting Great Britain Part 1 listed status for the purposes of travelling with pets; and whether she has discussed this matter with the Welsh Government.

The pet health and documentary requirements for pet travel to the EU are set out under the EU Pet Travel Regulations. The UK is listed as a ‘Part 2’ third country under those regulations.

We recognise the undue financial and administrative impact that these EU requirements are having on pet owners and assistance dog users. We are continuing to seek agreement from the European Commission on awarding GB ‘Part 1’ listed status and recognition of the UK’s tapeworm-free status and continue to engage on these matters.

The costs of completing and issuing an Animal Health Certificate are commercial decisions, set by individual veterinary practices.

Defra continues to work with the Devolved Administrations including the Welsh Government on pet travel matters including pet travel documentation.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the potential impact of increasing the area of UK seas covered by a permanent ban on bottom towed fishing gears on her Department's support of the Global Ocean Alliance target to protect at least 30 per cent of the global ocean by 2030.

Domestically, since 2010 we have created over 100 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) which now protect over 38% of UK waters. In English waters we have built a comprehensive network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and are now focused on making sure they are properly protected. Nearly 60% of our 178 English MPAs are already protected from damaging fishing activity and all MPAs in English waters will be protected from such activity by 2024.

Internationally, the UK continues to champion the 30by30 ocean target, now supported by over 120 countries, including through its leadership of the Global Ocean Alliance and as ocean co-chair of the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People. It is important that areas contributing to the 30by30 target are effectively managed, and that each site is afforded a level of protection appropriate to its conservation objectives. The UK remains committed to making a significant contribution to this global target in our own waters, and we are encouraging other countries to do the same.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, in the context of the Environment Plan’s target to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by 2042, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of that proposed plastic reduction target on reducing the level of plastic pollution.

The ambition in the 25 Year Environment Plan to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by 2042 is for England only as this is a devolved matter.

No overall assessment has been made; however, if we can achieve the ambition, including through policies set out in the Resources and Waste Strategy for England, it will significantly reduce the amount of plastic pollution.

My department is carrying out an evaluation of the policies in the Resources and Waste Strategy to establish their effectiveness and identify where we might need to go further to achieve our ambitions.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is taking steps with Cabinet colleagues to ensure the maintenance of (a) species protection, (b) conservation orders, (c) nature restoration and (d) other key nature protections within new investment zones.

We have been clear about the importance of environmental protection across the United Kingdom, not least through our world leading Environment Act, which includes a legally binding target to halt the decline of nature by 2030.  We are committed to meeting this target and will not undermine our obligations to the environment in pursuit of growth.

Defra and DLUHC are working closely together on Investment Zone policy to support our growth objectives and maintain HM Government’s strong position on the environment.

21st Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that the UK protects nature in accordance with its commitments at the Convention of COP-15.

In the United Kingdom domestic biodiversity policy is devolved. The four nations work together to develop a collective response to United Kingdom wide goals and targets, such as the post-2020 global framework, expected to be agreed at the Convention on Biological Diversity's (CBD) Fifteenth Conference of the Parties, COP15 in Montreal in December.

We have taken unprecedented steps to protect and restore biodiversity in England, not least through our world leading Environment Act, which requires a new, legally binding target to be set in England to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030, and introduces Biodiversity Net Gain, Local Nature Recovery Strategies and a strengthened biodiversity duty on public authorities to work together to protect our native species.

We have also committed to protecting 30% of our land and sea by 2030 to better support and recover biodiversity, announcing a landmark designation programme to help realise this.

21st Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of the not passing of the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals Bill) on (a) pets, (b) puppy smuggling, (c) livestock and (d) live exports.

The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill (“the Bill”) was reintroduced to the House of Commons in May.

The Bill is part of a wider package of measures to improve animal welfare for a wide range of animals as set out in our Action Plan for Animal Welfare, which was published in May 2021.

The Bill will have a positive impact in relation to pets, puppy smuggling, livestock and live exports, and it will continue its passage as soon as Parliamentary time allows.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his policy is on the proposed bans on the export of live animals for slaughter and the import of hunting trophies; and if he will make a statement.

HM Government recognises the long-standing public concern with live animals being exported for slaughter and fattening, and plans to proceed with a ban on the export of livestock and horses from England, Wales and Scotland for slaughter and fattening, as set out in its response to the public consultation last year. This will be done as soon as soon as Parliamentary time allows.

We have pledged to ban the imports of hunting trophies from thousands of species. HM Government is committed to a ban that is among the strongest in the world and leads the way in protecting endangered animals. We welcome the Private Member’s Bill, led by Henry Smith MP, that will deliver this.

Scott Mann
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress he has made on (a) tackling the issue of dogs attacking livestock and (b) introducing protections for dogs, cats and ferrets being imported into the UK.

The Government takes the issue of livestock worrying very seriously, recognising the distress this can cause farmers and animals, as well as the financial implications.

New measures to crack down on livestock worrying in England and Wales are to be introduced through the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, which was introduced in Parliament on 8 June 2021 and reintroduced following the Queen's speech. The Bill has passed Committee stage in the House of Commons and will progress to Report stage as soon as Parliamentary time allows.

The new measures will enhance enforcement mechanisms available to the police and expand the scope of livestock species and locations covered by the law. Improved powers will enable the police to respond to livestock worrying incidents more effectively – making it easier for them to collect evidence and, in the most serious cases, seize and detain dogs to reduce the risk of further incidents. The scope of livestock species covered by the legislation will be extended to include animals such as llamas, emus, enclosed deer and donkeys. New locations will include roads and paths, as long as the livestock have not strayed into a road.

All reported instances of livestock worrying should be taken seriously, investigated and, where appropriate, taken through the courts and met with tough sentences. The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill includes a range of ancillary orders available to the court following conviction, such as control, disqualification and destruction orders. These orders are aimed at targeting and reducing reoffending.

With regards to protections for imported animals, the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill also allows us to protect the welfare of pets by introducing restrictions to crack down on the low welfare movements of cats, dogs and ferrets into Great Britain and includes powers to introduce new restrictions on pet travel and the commercial import of pets on welfare grounds, via secondary legislation.

In August 2021, the Government launched an eight-week consultation on our proposed restrictions to the commercial and non-commercial movement of pets into Great Britain, which could be introduced under these Bill powers. We are currently analysing the responses to the consultation and will publish a summary response in due course. This will allow us to take on board the views of the public and interested groups on puppy smuggling and low welfare imports in order to shape our future policy.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to adapt its policy on forestry in the event of a two degrees Celsuis of warming.

We understand that climate change is a significant challenge facing our woodlands and are taking steps to improve the resilience of trees and woodlands, as set out in the England Trees Action Plan.

A Woodland Resilience Implementation Plan is being developed to improve the ecological condition of our woodlands and increase their resilience to climate change, pests and diseases. We will also support the Forestry and Climate Change Working Group in implementing its adaptation plan, including launching a climate change competition to highlight best practice and the need to adapt new and existing woodlands to the effects of climate change.

Most of our native species have a large geographic range covering much of Europe, so should be able to cope with a changing climate. There is a high level of genetic diversity within our native woodlands, supporting evolutionary adaptation processes and we are advising woodland managers to think hard about the current and future climates and woodland resilience when planting and managing woodland. We have provided: Ecological Site Classification; a climate matching tool to help woodland managers with planning resilient woodlands; and Forest Research will shortly publish a new UK Forestry Standard Practice Guide on adapting forest and woodland management for the changing climate.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether determinations under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 have been completed at known polychlorinated biphenyls and para-nitrochlorobenzene locations including (a) Sutton Walls, Herefordshire, (b) Cefn Mawr factory site, (c) Maendy Quarry, (d) Tyr Llwyd old quarry, (e) Llwyneinion acid tar lagoon, Ruabon, and f) Stoneyhill quarry, Telford.

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates only to locations in England, (a) and (f).

These landfill sites are regulated by their respective local authorities, rather than the Environment Agency.

(a) In July 2010, Herefordshire County Council requested the EA undertake a comprehensive assessment of the former Sutton Walls landfill site. The site was deemed to meet potential Special Site criteria under Part 2a of the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) 1990, as there was a risk to potable water supplies. The EA used Contaminated Land Capital Funds to inspect the site. The investigation found that there were no significant contaminant linkages associated with the site and the EA advised HCC that the site did not meet the definition of contaminated land under Part 2a of the EPA 1990.

(f) In 2008, Telford & Wrekin Council (TWC) carried out an investigation of Stoneyhill landfill, in accordance with its obligations under Part 2a of the EPA 1990. The EA offered support and advice through this investigation. The investigation found no significant pollution to controlled waters so TWC concluded that the site did not meet the definition for being contaminated land under Part 2a of the EPA 1990.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which environmental impact assessments detailing polychlorinated biphenyls leakage levels from historic landfill sites into South Wales watercourses have been made publicly available.

This is a devolved matter, and so, it would not be appropriate to respond on this issue.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the closest polychlorinated biphenyls sediment level testing location is for the rivers (a) Ely, (b) Taff, (c) Usk, including beside old Newport Monsanto factory, (d) Severn Estuary, (e) Dee below old Cefn Mawr Monsanto Factory, (f) Cardiff Bay and (g) Newport Glebeland ditches.

This is a devolved matter, and so, it would not be appropriate to respond on this issue.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of exempting organic wine from certificate of organic importation requirements.

We have no plans to exempt organic wine imports from the requirement for Certificates of Inspection that apply to all organic products imported into Great Britain (GB). These regulations exist to ensure that products sold as organic in GB meet the legal requirements and ensure consumer confidence in the integrity of the sector. Granting exemptions to these regulations for specific categories of product would be inappropriate and detrimental to consumer confidence.

Certification of organic products and organic operators (producers, processors, exporters and importers) is a long-established practice across the world. Organics is a method of production set in legislation. Certification of products and operators is an essential element for confirmation of the provenance and organic status of products and adherence of operators to organic requirements. Maintenance of consumer confidence that products marketed as organic are organic is vital.

Any business importing organic products into GB must be registered and certified by a UK control body. Organic imports from non-EU/EEA/Swiss third countries continue to require a GB Certificate of Inspection which must be approved before the organic products leave the third country. From 1 July 2022 organic imports from the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also require a GB Certificate of Inspection.

The Government is working to streamline bureaucratic processes inherited from the EU regulatory system to allow for a more flexible and responsive way to handle our regulatory obligations while reducing costs for producers and the burden on the public purse. For example, Defra has laid new legislation that streamlines updating the lists of recognised third countries and third country control bodies for organics goods being imported into GB. We have further streamlined the import process by accepting electronic (PDF) Certificates of Inspection.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many hectares of conifer woodland have been felled or removed and not replanted with conifers in England in each year since 2010.

Government does not hold this information, however the Forestry Commission produces Official Statistics on woodland in England that is felled and not replanted as a part of the restoration and creation of open habitats. These are provided as a total for all woodland including both conifer and broadleaf on an annual basis in the Forestry Commission Key Performance Indicators. These statistics are available from 2010-21 onwards and the areas from the published statistics are shown below:

Year (ending 31 March)

Open habitats restored or created in woodland in England (hectares)

2011

893

2012

735

2013

460

2014

906

2015

343

2016

550

2017

285

2018

335

2019

181

2020

-80

2021

408

Source: Forestry Commission administrative data

Note: the net reduction in 2019-20 in open habitat restoration or creation was due to a land transfer from Forestry England to Forestry and Land Scotland.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many hectares of conifer woodland have been felled or removed and replaced with broadleaf woodland in England in each year since 2010.

Government does not hold this information, however the Forestry Commission produces Official Statistics on plantations on ancient woodland sites (PAWS) that have been restored to native broadleaf woodland in England (hectares). These are provided as a total for all plantation woodland on ancient woodland sites including both conifer and broadleaf on an annual basis in the Forestry Commission Key Performance Indicators. These statistics are available from 2010-21 onwards and the areas from the published statistics are shown below:

Year (ending 31 March)

Plantations on ancient woodland sites (PAWS) restored in woodland in England (hectares)

2011

361

2012

2,893

2013

1,791

2014

4,402

2015

3,639

2016

5,239

2017

2,471

2018

1,420

2019

2,191

2020

1,295

2021

1,735

Source: Forestry Commission administrative data

Note: Figures are incomplete for 2010-11 as there is no data for PAWS restored in the nation’s forests managed by Forestry England for that year.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many hectares of broadleaf woodland has been planted at an appropriate spacing and with protections from damage from grey squirrels and deer in each year since 2010.

The Forestry Commission does not hold that data. However, it produces Official Statistics on new planting of woodland in England annually for each financial year in thousands of hectares. Most new planting in the period since 2010 has been supported by Forestry Commission-facilitated grants. Such grant-supported new planting is subject to inspection and there is an expectation that recipients of ongoing maintenance payments will support the careful establishment of their woodland, including appropriate protection from pests such as grey squirrels or deer, which may include tree guards. The areas for new planting of broadleaved woodland are published on Forestry Statistics.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the UK-wide housing measures introduced to protect poultry and captive birds against avian flu introduced by the Animal Health and Plant Health Agency apply to game birds.

An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) came into force across Great Britain on 3 November 2021, and in Northern Ireland on 17 November 2021. Additional housing measures, introduced across the UK from 29 November 2021, make it a legal requirement for all bird keepers across the UK (whether they have pet birds, commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock) to keep their birds indoors and follow strict biosecurity measures to limit the spread of avian influenza.

Game birds are susceptible to avian influenza and the AIPZ measures, including the housing measures, apply to game birds and all other kept birds. Where housing measures are in force and it is not possible to meet the basic welfare requirements of particular game bird species by housing or fully netting areas, alternative steps must be taken to prevent contact either directly or indirectly with wild birds.

Game birds that have already been released are classified as wild birds and the measures introduced within the AIPZ do not therefore apply.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of establishing a national nature service, as proposed by the Wildlife and Countryside Link, to (a) create jobs and (b) help meet nature recovery targets; whether he has had discussions with (i) Cabinet colleagues and (ii) his counterparts in the devolved Administrations on those proposals; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is taking forward reforms to put employers at the heart of the skills system to ensure it is responsive to the needs of local economies, as set out in the Skills for Jobs White Paper. The increased investment that we plan to drive into nature's recovery over the coming years will create green jobs in various sectors, and a demand from employers for the requisite skills. In preparation for this, Defra is working with relevant sectors and stakeholders to understand its future skills needs in more detail.

The Government is already taking action to create and retain jobs to support nature’s recovery, and to develop a pipeline of talent, in order to support delivery of our commitments in this area. For example, our £80 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund is enabling environmental charities and their partners across England to create and retain around 2,500 jobs by 2023, including training, apprenticeship and upskilling opportunities that meet the needs of the sector. Additionally, our England Tree Action Plan and Net Zero Strategy tree planting targets will support an estimated 2,000 jobs across England in 2030, including new professional foresters, supervisors, operatives, and adjacent occupations.

Furthermore, Defra is working with DfE on their draft Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy which will increase opportunities for children and young people to engage with nature and develop their skills. We are also working with BEIS, DWP and DfE on Government's wider green jobs and skills policy.

Policy for the natural environment, and skills and education, are devolved matters and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions his Department has had with British Wool on wool prices.

British Wool is a public body who work on behalf of the wool industry to collect, grade, monitor, market and sell British wool to the international wool textile industry.

Defra officials meet regularly with British Wool, who share regular reports on auction sales and wool values. Although prices fell below 50p per kg for the first time from March 2020 onwards following the outbreak of Covid 19 they have recently recovered to 77.5p per kg.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent studies his Department has undertaken on green alternatives to liquefied petroleum gas.

The Government is committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050 and, as part of the work to meet that commitment, has taken great strides to promote green alternatives to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and other fossil fuels in a range of sectors. This has included gathering evidence on a number of different potential technologies including electrification, hydrogen and biofuels.

For the transport sector, the Government has not undertaken any recent studies into the alternatives to LPG specifically. Our recent Transport Decarbonisation Plan set out how we plan to cut emissions in the transport sector. This includes the phase-out of the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and, from 2035, the requirement for all new cars and vans to be 100% zero emission at the tailpipe. Renewable alternatives to LPG, including for example bio-LPG, are supported through the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation, which has been in place since 2008. In regard to hydrogen as an alternative, the Government has recently published the first ever UK Hydrogen Strategy, which builds on the Government’s ambition for 5GW low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030.

On heating in particular, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy commissioned research into the alternatives to using fossil fuels for heating off the gas grid. These can be found here and include Electric and bioenergy heating in off-gas grid homes: evidence gathering & Electric heating in rural off-gas grid dwellings: technical feasibility.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on relaxing the rules of origin requirements for (a) cigars and (b) cigarillos.

Rules of Origin are a standard feature of all free trade agreements. The Rules of Origin in the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement ensure the vast majority of UK exports will benefit from zero tariffs, while protecting industry from unfair competition from products from other countries being imported through the EU.

Overall, businesses have been adjusting well to the new rules and continue to trade effectively. The Government appreciates that increasing business understanding of the rules is a key factor in facilitating tariff-free trade.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement establishes a Specialised Committee on Customs and Rules of Origin, through which we can work with the EU to resolve implementation issues. EU exporters facing problems accessing the UK market may also wish to engage with the European Commission regarding difficulties faced due to Rules of Origin.

The Government is confident that the general provisions and product specific rules secured in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement will support UK-EU trade across the vast majority of sectors, with valuable facilitations agreed which reflect the nature of UK-EU goods trade.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will bring forward measures to prevent companies from destroying new and unused stock of electrical and other non-perishable goods.

We are aware of the recent news regarding Amazon and the alleged destruction of unsold stock and are closely monitoring the situation.

Businesses that handle waste, including companies such as Amazon, are obliged to follow the waste hierarchy, under our Waste Regulations 2011, which requires action to prevent waste as the priority option. Failure to meet the legal obligation to take all reasonable steps to apply this can lead to enforcement action from the Environment Agency in England.

No business should be sending unwanted electricals to landfill or incineration. We have a producer responsibility system in place to ensure all waste electricals are collected and treated properly, in line with the waste hierarchy.

We are in contact with Amazon regarding this issue and have been absolutely clear that more goods must be reused or recycled to support the government’s ambition to build a more circular economy. Ministers and officials will shortly be meeting with Amazon to discuss this further.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 21 April 2021 to Question 180582 on Bees: Imports, what steps his Department is taking to minimise the risk that exports from the affected region in southern Italy could enter Northern Ireland via the Republic of Ireland.

The region of Italy affected by Small hive beetle is not permitted to export honey bees, whether to EU member states or to the UK.

Imports which are permitted to enter the Republic of Ireland from other EU member states are subject to requirements involving advance notification and health certification to confirm that consignments are free of key pests and diseases including Small hive beetle.

Similar requirements apply to imports from any EU country including the Republic of Ireland into any part of the UK. We carry out checks on EU honey bee imports into the UK to ensure that consignments are compliant with the rules.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 31 March 2021 to Question 174243, what steps he is taking to control the risk of small hive beetle being imported from the EU to Great Britain via Northern Ireland.

The Government recognises that some beekeepers are concerned about the new trading arrangements and the risks of exotic pests entering Great Britain, in particular Small hive beetle.

Small hive beetle would present a serious threat to our honey bees if it were to arrive in the UK. This invasive pest has only been detected in one part of Europe, namely southern Italy, and exports of bees from the affected region into either Great Britain or Northern Ireland are not permitted.

Imports of honey bees into any part of the UK are only accepted from approved countries, and are subject to rules relating to notification and health certification to ensure that imports are free of key pests and diseases.

Movements of honey bee queens, packages and colonies from Northern Ireland to Great Britain remain permitted. There is, and will remain, unfettered access for Northern Ireland goods including honey bees to the rest of the UK market.

We continue to work with colleagues in the Devolved Administrations as part of our monitoring of the new trading arrangements.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government plans to negotiate a veterinary agreement on sanitary and phytosanitary rules with the EU to reduce the barriers for UK food exporters.

The sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) chapter of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) puts in place a framework (including an SPS Specialised Committee) that allows the UK and the EU to take informed decisions to reduce their respective SPS controls, with a commitment to avoid unnecessary barriers to trade. It is in both Parties' interests to use this framework to reduce the rate of SPS checks required.

We are open to discussions with the EU on additional steps we can take to further reduce trade friction, but these cannot be on the basis of future alignment with EU rules as this would compromise UK sovereignty over our own laws.

Defra's reach and engagement with the agri-food sector is extensive and well established. We have maintained and built on conversations with stakeholders over the last four years, to ensure a strong two-way dialogue at both a ministerial and official level. We engage directly with the largest exporting businesses (the top ten of whom alone account for around 25% of exports). We also reach businesses through trade associations. The Secretary of State meets fortnightly with the F4 group, representing the four main business representative organisations across the agri-food chain: the Food and Drink Federation, National Farmers' Union, UK Hospitality and the British Retail Consortium.

In order to hold productive discussions on specific issues, Defra holds regular forums with the different food and drink sectors. For example, we engage the farming sector through groups such as the Arable and Livestock Chain Advisory Groups, manufacturers through the Food and Drink Manufacturers Roundtable and meat processors through the M4 forum. Defra also holds a Retailer Forum and has regular calls with Wholesale stakeholders.

Regular meetings such as the F4 and F4 sub-groups have allowed for productive two-way engagement with stakeholders across the supply chain. They are an important source of intelligence and industry feedback is that this approach of bringing stakeholders and policy experts together is making good progress towards resolving issues.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to (a) reduce instances of livestock worrying and (b) implement the recommendations made by the National Police Chiefs' Council in February 2018 on addressing the challenges of enforcing the Dogs (protection of Livestock) Act 1953.

My Department takes the issue of livestock worrying very seriously, recognising the distress this can cause farmers and animals, as well as the financial implications.

All reported crimes should be taken seriously, investigated and, where appropriate, taken through the courts and met with tough sentences. The Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 provides a specific offence of allowing a dog to worry livestock with a maximum fine of £1,000.

The report published by the National Chiefs’ Police Council, as well as other recent reports on livestock worrying, have recommended reforming the 1953 Act to address current enforcement challenges and ensure it remains fit for purpose. We are currently engaging closely with key stakeholders to improve our understanding of the scale of the issue and the views of both livestock keepers and dog owners. That includes considering the effectiveness of this law and opportunities to reduce the occurrence of livestock worrying.

In addition to the 1953 Act, the police can and do take action under the Dogs Act 1871 where there are dogs that are out of control and dangerous to other animals. Section 2 of the 1871 Act allows a complaint to be made to a Magistrate’s court by any individual, the police or local authorities, where a dog is “dangerous and not kept under proper control”. The court may make any Order it considers appropriate to require the owner to keep the dog under proper control, or if necessary, that it be destroyed. The court may specify measures to be taken for keeping the dog under proper control, such as muzzling and remaining on a lead when in public.

Guidance is available to educate owners about handling their dogs responsibly in the vicinity of livestock, in order to prevent the occurrence of attacks or chasing.

The statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Dogs provides owners with information on how to provide for their dog’s natural needs as required by the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The Code of Practice explains how to handle dogs responsibly in the vicinity of other animals, including livestock, in order to prevent the occurrence of attacks or chasing. It also clearly sets out that all dogs need to be trained to behave well, ideally from a very young age and should be introduced gradually and positively to different environments, people and animals. If owners become aware of changes in behaviour, or their dog is fearful of, or aggressive, towards other dogs and people, they should avoid the situations which lead to this and seek veterinary advice. The Code asks owners to ensure that they prevent their dogs from chasing or attacking any other animals, including livestock and horses; for example, through use of a lead or avoidance of such situations.

Natural England has recently published a refreshed version of the Countryside Code: advice for countryside visitors (www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-countryside-code/the-countryside-code-advice-for-countryside-visitors). Both the short and long versions of the Countryside Code make specific reference to keeping dogs under control and in sight to make sure they stay away from wildlife, livestock, horses and other people unless invited. The Code helpfully sets out certain legal requirements, encouraging visitors to always check local signs as there are situations when you must keep your dog on a lead for all or part of the year. An associated campaign will run throughout 2021, which will include a broader conversation with stakeholders about what a ‘post Covid’ Code for the 21st century would look like and how to promote more awareness and positive behaviour.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to minimise the risk of importing small hive beetle into the UK.

Small hive beetle is an invasive, non-native pest which the Government recognises as presenting a serious threat to our honey bee population.

We are working with the National Bee Unit, beekeepers and other stakeholders to stop this pest from entering the UK. We have an extensive surveillance programme in place for exotic pests. National Bee Unit inspectors currently conduct around 6,500 apiary inspections each year. Our Sentinel Apiary Programme ensures that there is enhanced surveillance at high-risk apiaries near ports and airports. Inspectors also provide training and guidance on pest recognition to beekeepers.

Almost all imports of honey bees into the UK come from EU countries. In Europe, the only region where the presence of Small hive beetle has been confirmed is in the far south of Italy. Imports of honey bees from the affected region of Italy are currently prohibited.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the risk to the health of domestic bee colonies of the importation of honey bees.

The Government is committed to preventing pests and diseases reaching our borders. We are promoting biosecurity internationally, at UK borders and inland.

Imports of honey bees are only accepted from approved countries, and are subject to rules relating to notification and health certification to ensure that imports are free of key pests and diseases. Post-import checks are also carried out, including follow-up inspections and laboratory testing for evidence of statutory controlled pests. These checks are done using a risk-based approach.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of additional Official Veterinarians required to (a) meet the demand for Export Health Certificates for goods leaving Great Britain and (b) perform physical checks on imports into Great Britain from the EU in the event that the EU does not agree to extend the current grace periods.

As part of the pragmatic and proportionate implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol, the Government is taking several temporary operational steps to avoid disruptive cliff edges as engagement with the EU continues through the Joint Committee. These recognise that appropriate time must be provided for businesses to implement new requirements and support the effective flow of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

For supermarkets and their suppliers, as part of the operational plan the UK committed to at the UK-EU Joint Committee on 24 February, the current scheme for temporary agrifood movements to Northern Ireland (STAMNI) will continue until 1 October in which they do not need to complete health certificate paperwork for agri-food produce. Certification requirements will then be introduced in phases alongside the roll-out of the digital assistance scheme.

Once STAMNI arrangements end, we estimate demand for Export Health Certificates (EHCs) for movements to Northern Ireland may increase by between 70,000 and 150,000 per year. Up to 70 FTE Official Veterinarians (OVs) may be required to certify these EHCs. The actual number of EHCs and OV requirement will depend on multiple factors, many of which we cannot quantify with certainty. The number of OVs qualified to certify exports of products of animal origin has increased from 600 in February 2019 to more than 1,700 currently.

Defra has provided £14 million funding to local authorities in England to support Port Health Authorities with the recruitment and training of over 500 new staff, including Official Veterinarians, for the purpose of undertaking new checks on EU imports of animal products, including physical checks.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of additional Official Veterinarians required to (a) meet the demand for Export Health Certificates in Great Britain once the current authorised trader grace period for movements from Great Britain to Northern Ireland comes to an end on 1 April 2021 and (b) perform physical checks when full sanitary controls are applied on imports into Great Britain from the EU from July 2021.

As part of the pragmatic and proportionate implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol, the Government is taking several temporary operational steps to avoid disruptive cliff edges as engagement with the EU continues through the Joint Committee. These recognise that appropriate time must be provided for businesses to implement new requirements and support the effective flow of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

For supermarkets and their suppliers, as part of the operational plan the UK committed to at the UK-EU Joint Committee on 24 February, the current scheme for temporary agrifood movements to Northern Ireland (STAMNI) will continue until 1 October in which they do not need to complete health certificate paperwork for agri-food produce. Certification requirements will then be introduced in phases alongside the roll-out of the digital assistance scheme.

Once STAMNI arrangements end, we estimate demand for Export Health Certificates (EHCs) for movements to Northern Ireland may increase by between 70,000 and 150,000 per year. Up to 70 FTE Official Veterinarians (OVs) may be required to certify these EHCs. The actual number of EHCs and OV requirement will depend on multiple factors, many of which we cannot quantify with certainty. The number of OVs qualified to certify exports of products of animal origin has increased from 600 in February 2019 to more than 1,700 currently.

Defra has provided £14 million funding to local authorities in England to support Port Health Authorities with the recruitment and training of over 500 new staff, including Official Veterinarians, for the purpose of undertaking new checks on EU imports of animal products, including physical checks.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress he has made on the review of the concurrent fisheries functions which allow a Minister of the Crown to regulate British fishing boats, apart from Welsh fishing boats, in the Welsh zone.

Defra is committed to working with the Welsh Government and the other Devolved Administrations on a review of concurrent fisheries functions in UK law and retained EU law and we will seek to commence discussions shortly.

The Fisheries Act 2020 provides a framework for each administration to license its own vessels wherever they fish, but also provides that a vessel fishing in another administration’s waters should be subject to the same licence conditions as are applied by that administration to its own vessels in its waters.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of rural proofing for Government policies.

The Government will soon publish its first annual report on rural proofing in England, setting out what departments are doing to address the challenges and opportunities facing rural communities and businesses.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the role of rural shops during the covid-19 outbreak; what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on support for those shops during the outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

Rural shops are an important element of the social and community infrastructure of rural areas and many have played a valuable role in supporting their communities during the outbreak, remaining open to sell essential items. Those required to close by Covid-19 regulations have been able to access Government support schemes.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the operation of new trading arrangements for the export of Welsh red meat to the EU.

Officials in the devolved administrations were closely involved in preparations for the export of animals and products of animal origin to the EU from 1 January.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with his French counterpart on the operation of new trading arrangements for the export of red meat to the EU.

We speak regularly to EU Member states and the European Commission to ensure we share a common understanding of the rules that apply to exports to the EU, of animals and products of animal origin.

The Chief Veterinary Officer met French counterparts for technical discussions on 20 January.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of Official Veterinarians required to meet the demand for Export Health Certificates in the UK; and how many Official Veterinarians the Government employs.

1633 Official Veterinarians (OVs) are authorised to undertake export health certification of products of animal origin (POAO). A further 197 Government vets have completed training for POAO exports. We estimate there are sufficient OVs to certify exports, although localised shortages may still arise in certain circumstances.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has issued guidance for consumers on distinguishing whether products that are labelled as produce of Morocco are from the disputed territory of Western Sahara.

The underlying principles of food labelling rules are that information provided on food should enable consumers to make informed choices and that any misleading information, including on the origin or provenance of food, is prohibited. In order to comply with the legal requirement not to mislead consumers established in Article 7.1 of the retained Regulation 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers, produce grown in Western Sahara which requires origin labelling or has it indicated on a voluntary basis, should be labelled as origin Western Sahara, not as origin Morocco.

The UK-Morocco Association Agreement applies in the same way as the EU-Morocco agreements. It treats products originating in Western Sahara subject to controls by customs authorities of Morocco in the same way as the EU-Morocco Association Agreement, in line with the European Court of Justice's ruling on that issue and the subsequent amendment of the EU-Morocco Association Agreement.   It means that products originating in Western Sahara subject to controls by customs authorities of Morocco benefit from the same trade preferences as those granted by the UK to products covered by the UK-Morocco Association Agreement.

The UK is clear that the application of parts of the UK-Morocco Association Agreement to certain products originating in Western Sahara, in line with European Court of Justice's ruling on that issue, is without prejudice to our position on the status of Western Sahara, which we regard as undetermined.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the emergency authorisation of products containing neonicotinoid thiamethoxam.

The application for emergency authorisation of the neonicotinoid product Cruiser SB, containing thiamethoxam, was made in respect of use in England only, because there is no significant commercial sugar beet production elsewhere in the UK. This application was not discussed between Defra and the Welsh Government, but Welsh officials were kept informed of the application and the decision.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to raise the minimum age for dogs to be imported into the UK from 15 weeks to six months after the transition period ends.

Now that the transition period has ended, we have the opportunity to manage our own rules applying to pet travel movements into Great Britain. We are listening to the concerns of stakeholders around future requirements and the Government is developing a range of options to ensure there are robust controls on disease and animal welfare while allowing pet owners to continue to be able to travel with the minimum of disruption.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of (a) the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and (b) similar schemes in preventing environmental and ecological destruction arising from the production of palm oil.

The Government-convened UK Sustainable Palm Oil Initiative produced four briefings in March this year, each providing information on a palm oil standard including its approach to sustainability and providing information on impact. This was a continuation of work produced under the UK Roundtable on Sourcing Sustainable Palm Oil in 2015, which aimed to provide technical assistance to support UK industry users of palm oil to transition to fully sustainable palm oil supply chains.

The briefings included the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil Standard. In addition, the briefings also covered the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil Standard, Malaysian Palm Oil Standard and International Sustainability and Carbon Certification. A fifth briefing was also produced to provide information on 'No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation' policies.

The briefings are available at: https://www.efeca.com/our-work/resources/palm-oil-briefings-and-annual-progress-reports/

It is not for Government to comment on the effectiveness of specific certification schemes. RSPO is set through an independent process, which does not involve Governmental input; we do not provide advice on any specific standard. Our forthcoming due diligence legislation will provide a common standard across all commodities, based on legality in producer countries.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to promote the (a) use and (b) consumption of alternatives to palm oil by UK (i) businesses and (ii) consumers.

Oil Palm is a very efficient crop, producing more oil per hectare than other vegetable oil crops. Substitution with other oils (e.g. soybean, rapeseed, sunflower) which typically require significantly more land to produce may lead to greater deforestation as more land is converted to agricultural use. The Government is therefore committed to reducing the environmental impact of palm oil production while at the same time building demand for sustainable palm oil in the UK.

In 2012 the Government established the UK Roundtable on Sourcing Sustainable Palm Oil which brings together key UK businesses and supports them to transition to fully sustainable palm oil supply chains. Latest reports show that the UK has achieved 70% certified sustainable palm oil in 2019 – up from 16% in 2010.

In addition, the Government recently tabled amendments to the Environment Bill to introduce new legislation to tackle illegal deforestation in UK supply chains. The amendments passed in the Commons Committee Stage last month.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 24 November 2020 to Question 118087 on glass recycling, whether his Department plans to undertake an assessment of market shifts in materials as a result of a deposit return scheme before the consultation on the regulations is opened.

We plan to consult on our proposed Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2021.We do not plan to conduct further research ahead of this consultation, but will seek views in our consultation on potential market shifts in materials as a result of the proposed materials to be included in scope of the DRS.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has assessed the potential effect of including glass in a future deposit return scheme on levels of plastic packaging.

Waste is a devolved matter. As part of the Government's ambitious commitments to reforming producer responsibility systems, we have committed to introduce a deposit return scheme (DRS) for drinks containers. A first consultation on the issue was held in 2019 where we consulted jointly with the Welsh Government and on behalf of Northern Ireland.

Officials have been developing proposals for a deposit return scheme for drinks containers using further evidence and ongoing engagement with stakeholders. They have met with the glass industry on several occasions to discuss the inclusion of glass in a DRS. British Glass is also a member of our DRS Industry Working Group and sits on Defra’s Packaging and Collections Working Group which provides input on Defra’s major waste reforms.

We have conducted further cost benefit analysis on the inclusion of glass in a DRS. The interim findings demonstrate that the inclusion of glass in the long term has a higher value than not including glass given the potential for increased collection and recycling rates and the resulting greater reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. This will be presented in an Impact Assessment alongside the second consultation.

Our analysis has not included an assessment of market shifts in materials. Further research would be needed to distinguish the effects on consumer purchasing habits in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as a result of the introduction of a DRS.

The proposed scope of a DRS will be presented in a second consultation in 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for his policies of the increase in the amount of (a) PET bottles and (b) aluminium cans on the market in countries where glass beverage containers are included in deposit return schemes.

Waste is a devolved matter. As part of the Government's ambitious commitments to reforming producer responsibility systems, we have committed to introduce a deposit return scheme (DRS) for drinks containers. A first consultation on the issue was held in 2019 where we consulted jointly with the Welsh Government and on behalf of Northern Ireland.

Officials have been developing proposals for a deposit return scheme for drinks containers using further evidence and ongoing engagement with stakeholders. They have met with the glass industry on several occasions to discuss the inclusion of glass in a DRS. British Glass is also a member of our DRS Industry Working Group and sits on Defra’s Packaging and Collections Working Group which provides input on Defra’s major waste reforms.

We have conducted further cost benefit analysis on the inclusion of glass in a DRS. The interim findings demonstrate that the inclusion of glass in the long term has a higher value than not including glass given the potential for increased collection and recycling rates and the resulting greater reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. This will be presented in an Impact Assessment alongside the second consultation.

Our analysis has not included an assessment of market shifts in materials. Further research would be needed to distinguish the effects on consumer purchasing habits in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as a result of the introduction of a DRS.

The proposed scope of a DRS will be presented in a second consultation in 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of trends in the level of glass beverage bottles on the market in countries where glass beverage containers are included in a deposit return scheme.

Waste is a devolved matter. As part of the Government's ambitious commitments to reforming producer responsibility systems, we have committed to introduce a deposit return scheme (DRS) for drinks containers. A first consultation on the issue was held in 2019 where we consulted jointly with the Welsh Government and on behalf of Northern Ireland.

Officials have been developing proposals for a deposit return scheme for drinks containers using further evidence and ongoing engagement with stakeholders. They have met with the glass industry on several occasions to discuss the inclusion of glass in a DRS. British Glass is also a member of our DRS Industry Working Group and sits on Defra’s Packaging and Collections Working Group which provides input on Defra’s major waste reforms.

We have conducted further cost benefit analysis on the inclusion of glass in a DRS. The interim findings demonstrate that the inclusion of glass in the long term has a higher value than not including glass given the potential for increased collection and recycling rates and the resulting greater reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. This will be presented in an Impact Assessment alongside the second consultation.

Our analysis has not included an assessment of market shifts in materials. Further research would be needed to distinguish the effects on consumer purchasing habits in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as a result of the introduction of a DRS.

The proposed scope of a DRS will be presented in a second consultation in 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on emissions from waste collection of including glass in a deposit return scheme.

Waste is a devolved matter. As part of the Government's ambitious commitments to reforming producer responsibility systems, we have committed to introduce a deposit return scheme (DRS) for drinks containers. A first consultation on the issue was held in 2019 where we consulted jointly with the Welsh Government and on behalf of Northern Ireland.

Officials have been developing proposals for a deposit return scheme for drinks containers using further evidence and ongoing engagement with stakeholders. They have met with the glass industry on several occasions to discuss the inclusion of glass in a DRS. British Glass is also a member of our DRS Industry Working Group and sits on Defra’s Packaging and Collections Working Group which provides input on Defra’s major waste reforms.

We have conducted further cost benefit analysis on the inclusion of glass in a DRS. The interim findings demonstrate that the inclusion of glass in the long term has a higher value than not including glass given the potential for increased collection and recycling rates and the resulting greater reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. This will be presented in an Impact Assessment alongside the second consultation.

Our analysis has not included an assessment of market shifts in materials. Further research would be needed to distinguish the effects on consumer purchasing habits in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as a result of the introduction of a DRS.

The proposed scope of a DRS will be presented in a second consultation in 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the glass industry on the scope of his Department's proposed deposit return scheme.

Waste is a devolved matter. As part of the Government's ambitious commitments to reforming producer responsibility systems, we have committed to introduce a deposit return scheme (DRS) for drinks containers. A first consultation on the issue was held in 2019 where we consulted jointly with the Welsh Government and on behalf of Northern Ireland.

Officials have been developing proposals for a deposit return scheme for drinks containers using further evidence and ongoing engagement with stakeholders. They have met with the glass industry on several occasions to discuss the inclusion of glass in a DRS. British Glass is also a member of our DRS Industry Working Group and sits on Defra’s Packaging and Collections Working Group which provides input on Defra’s major waste reforms.

We have conducted further cost benefit analysis on the inclusion of glass in a DRS. The interim findings demonstrate that the inclusion of glass in the long term has a higher value than not including glass given the potential for increased collection and recycling rates and the resulting greater reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. This will be presented in an Impact Assessment alongside the second consultation.

Our analysis has not included an assessment of market shifts in materials. Further research would be needed to distinguish the effects on consumer purchasing habits in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as a result of the introduction of a DRS.

The proposed scope of a DRS will be presented in a second consultation in 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of a deposit return scheme on glass recycling rates.

Waste is a devolved matter. As part of the Government's ambitious commitments to reforming producer responsibility systems, we have committed to introduce a deposit return scheme (DRS) for drinks containers. A first consultation on the issue was held in 2019 where we consulted jointly with the Welsh Government and on behalf of Northern Ireland.

Officials have been developing proposals for a deposit return scheme for drinks containers using further evidence and ongoing engagement with stakeholders. They have met with the glass industry on several occasions to discuss the inclusion of glass in a DRS. British Glass is also a member of our DRS Industry Working Group and sits on Defra’s Packaging and Collections Working Group which provides input on Defra’s major waste reforms.

We have conducted further cost benefit analysis on the inclusion of glass in a DRS. The interim findings demonstrate that the inclusion of glass in the long term has a higher value than not including glass given the potential for increased collection and recycling rates and the resulting greater reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. This will be presented in an Impact Assessment alongside the second consultation.

Our analysis has not included an assessment of market shifts in materials. Further research would be needed to distinguish the effects on consumer purchasing habits in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as a result of the introduction of a DRS.

The proposed scope of a DRS will be presented in a second consultation in 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with local authorities on materials to be included in his Department's proposed deposit return scheme.

Waste is a devolved matter. As part of the Government's ambitious commitments to reforming producer responsibility systems, we have committed to introduce a deposit return scheme (DRS) for drinks containers.

Officials have been developing proposals for a deposit return scheme for drinks containers using further evidence and ongoing engagement with stakeholders. This has included several meetings with representatives from local authorities. The Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee, the Local Government Association and a Local Authority representative from both Northern Ireland and Wales are also members of our DRS industry working group which has met to discuss materials to be included in a DRS.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances in non-essential packaging on (a) the environment and (b) UK ecosystems.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Swansea West on 16 November, PQ UIN 113464.


A number of PFAS are already banned or highly restricted. The UK is a Party to the Stockholm Convention, which has already agreed restrictions on the use of certain PFAS; there are also restrictions in place under the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) regulation.

At the end of the Transition Period the UK will put in place its own domestic chemicals regulatory framework. Existing restrictions under REACH will be brought into UK law. Our commitments under the Stockholm Convention will continue to apply. Future UK decisions to control the environmental and human health impacts of substances will be taken under our independent regime and will be based on rigorous assessment of the scientific evidence, including looking at approaches taken by chemical regimes across the world.

We are working to improve our understanding of the emissions and risks of PFAS in the UK, and how we manage these chemicals will be considered in our forthcoming Chemicals Strategy. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) also regularly reviews new information on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and will be considering the upcoming review by the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) of the European Food Safety Authority's (EFSA) latest scientific opinion on PFAS in food.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of banning the use of per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances in (a) food packaging and (b) other non-essential packaging.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Swansea West on 16 November, PQ UIN 113464.


A number of PFAS are already banned or highly restricted. The UK is a Party to the Stockholm Convention, which has already agreed restrictions on the use of certain PFAS; there are also restrictions in place under the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) regulation.

At the end of the Transition Period the UK will put in place its own domestic chemicals regulatory framework. Existing restrictions under REACH will be brought into UK law. Our commitments under the Stockholm Convention will continue to apply. Future UK decisions to control the environmental and human health impacts of substances will be taken under our independent regime and will be based on rigorous assessment of the scientific evidence, including looking at approaches taken by chemical regimes across the world.

We are working to improve our understanding of the emissions and risks of PFAS in the UK, and how we manage these chemicals will be considered in our forthcoming Chemicals Strategy. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) also regularly reviews new information on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and will be considering the upcoming review by the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) of the European Food Safety Authority's (EFSA) latest scientific opinion on PFAS in food.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether it is his policy for England and Wales to be included on the World Organisation for Animal Health's list of countries at negligible risk of BSE at the 2021 General Session.

England and Wales have been included on the World Organisation for Animal Health’s list of countries with a controlled BSE risk since 2008. Due to the need to prioritise efforts in gaining access to third country markets, work associated with EU Exit, and in recent months responding to the current COVID-19 pandemic, it has not been possible to develop and submit a dossier for England and Wales to be included on the list of countries at negligible risk prior to the deadline for the 2021 General Session. England and Wales will remain on the list of countries with a controlled BSE risk, and we will consider submitting a dossier in early 2021 to be included on the list of countries at negligible risk of BSE.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on sales of wool.

Defra does not regularly collect or monitor information on sales of wool. The British Wool Marketing Board (BWMB) is a public, non-financial corporation, that collects, grades, monitors, markets and sells British wool on behalf of its producers to the international wool textile industry for use in flooring, furnishings and apparel.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on tackling the difference between the cost of milk production and the price paid for milk.

We want all milk producers to get a fair price for their produce and are committed to tackling the unfairness that can exist in the dairy supply chain.

Through the Government’s Agriculture Bill, introduced on 12 September, we will launch a range of initiatives to improve the position of milk producers. We will introduce and enforce statutory codes of practice to address unfair trading practices which can occur between milk producers and purchasers.

We remain committed to a full consultation on dairy contracts to take account of the range of stakeholder views. We have worked closely with officials in all Devolved Administrations to develop this consultation and are committed to creating a statutory code that is sustainable and effective in each nation.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, whether he plans to take steps to support milk processors.

Defra is working closely with the dairy industry to manage the impact of Covid-19. Though demand for milk and some dairy products has increased in supermarkets, farmers supplying milk to processors that sell into the food service sector have seen a significant reduction in demand.

About 5 per cent of total milk production goes to the service trade and there is therefore a small proportion of milk production that currently has no home. The vast majority of Britain’s dairy farmers continue to supply their contracts at the usual price. In order to support affected farmers, we have set aside some elements of competition law to make it easier for processors to come together and voluntarily work out how to ease production down in order to create the space in the market for excess milk and to support a recovery in the spot price.

We have asked the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (which supports the interests of dairy farmers) and Dairy UK (which represents the processors) to coordinate a proposal and discussions are already underway. We stand ready to support them throughout this pandemic. This approach will allow the market for milk to adjust to the change in demand for milk while allowing production to be restored when shops, restaurants and pubs are able to open again.

The Government’s Covid-19 Business Interruption Loans scheme is available to the dairy industry. Defra has held urgent discussions with the major banks to ensure they understand that farmers, milk buyers and milk processors are eligible for this scheme and communications are being prepared to increase awareness across the dairy industry.

We will continue to engage closely with representatives from all parts of the dairy supply chain to support the sector throughout this challenging period.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has plans to provide financial support to dairy farmers whose milk payments have been deferred by milk processors.

Defra is working closely with the dairy industry to manage the impact of Covid-19. Though demand for milk and some dairy products has increased in supermarkets, farmers supplying milk to processors that sell into the food service sector have seen a significant reduction in demand.

About 5 per cent of total milk production goes to the service trade and there is therefore a small proportion of milk production that currently has no home. The vast majority of Britain’s dairy farmers continue to supply their contracts at the usual price. In order to support affected farmers, we have set aside some elements of competition law to make it easier for processors to come together and voluntarily work out how to ease production down in order to create the space in the market for excess milk and to support a recovery in the spot price.

We have asked the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (which supports the interests of dairy farmers) and Dairy UK (which represents the processors) to coordinate a proposal and discussions are already underway. We stand ready to support them throughout this pandemic. This approach will allow the market for milk to adjust to the change in demand for milk while allowing production to be restored when shops, restaurants and pubs are able to open again.

The Government’s Covid-19 Business Interruption Loans scheme is available to the dairy industry. Defra has held urgent discussions with the major banks to ensure they understand that farmers, milk buyers and milk processors are eligible for this scheme and communications are being prepared to increase awareness across the dairy industry.

We will continue to engage closely with representatives from all parts of the dairy supply chain to support the sector throughout this challenging period.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when field trials of cattle vaccination and accompanied DIVA tests will commence.

In order to start the field trials, we need permission from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) in the form of Animal Test Certificates (ATC). We submitted applications on 17 October and have more recently answered a number of detailed follow up questions and submitted further information requested by VMD. Subject to award of the ATCs, invitations to tender for delivery of elements of the field trials will commence as soon as possible.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when his Department plans to roll out the use of the actiphage test for bovine TB in cattle.

The tuberculin skin test continues to be the foundation of our bovine TB eradication programme, supplemented by the interferon-gamma blood test to remove residual infection in affected herds.

Actiphage is a non-validated test. Defra allows the use of non-validated tests in chronic and persistent TB breakdown herds in England under certain conditions. Private veterinarians are able to apply to APHA for permission to use these tests, provided they comply with the protocol published on the APHA Vet Gateway - http://apha.defra.gov.uk/vet-gateway/non-valid-tb-testing/index.htm.

There is currently insufficient information on the diagnostic performance of the Actiphage test. In order for it to be validated, further studies with larger sample sizes taken from a range of cattle herds of different TB status would be required to assess its diagnostic accuracy.

Validation of a new test to international (World Animal Health Organisation - OIE) standards would enable consideration to be given to its statutory use as part of the Government’s bTB testing programme.

A factsheet on the Actiphage test is available on the TB hub website:

https://tbhub.co.uk/resources/downloads/

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for the UK's net imports of carbon dioxide per head of the potential increase in imported beef from sub-Saharan Africa.

Defra has published experimental statistics which estimate imported greenhouse gas emissions compared with emissions from domestic production.

Emissions from beef cattle are predominantly methane (CH4) from enteric fermentation. Methane emissions from beef cattle depend on species, pasture types, feed type, and animal weight amongst other factors. This data is not routinely published for sub-Saharan African countries making it difficult to carry out an explicit assessment for this region.

The Government is clear that increased trade should not come at the expense of the environment and we will develop a trading framework that supports foreign and domestic policy, sustainability, environmental and development goals.

27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans she has to protect the UK's beef from imports from countries with lower regulatory standards.

Any future trade agreements must work for consumers, farmers, and businesses. Leaving the EU presents fantastic new trading opportunities for British food, which is world renowned for its quality and high standards on safety, animal welfare and environmental protection. UK success in the global marketplace depends on us continuing to maintain this reputation, competing at the top of the value chain. We are clear that in all of our trade negotiations, we will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards.

With regard to beef specifically, current EU regulations which prohibit the use of artificial growth hormones in both domestic production and imported products have been transposed into law across the UK.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what legal advice she has received on whether the Free Trade Agreement between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Kingdom of Denmark in respect of the Faroe Islands (CP 32) presented to Parliament in February 2019 is compatible with the UK’s commitments to protecting animal welfare and in particular with the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021.

We have not received legal advice on this matter.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether her Department has identified potential growth markets for British wool exports; and what steps she is taking to increase British wool exports to those markets.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) is developing a UK-wide, cross-government Export Strategy, driving economic recovery and the levelling-up agenda. On the 1st October, DIT launched the Export Support Service, allowing UK businesses to get answers to practical questions about exporting to Europe. DIT also has expert trade advisers locally and overseas, which support both wool and textile exporters, providing access to UK Export Finance and a range of online services unlocking opportunities globally.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what plans her Department has to increase British wool exports.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) is developing a UK-wide, cross-government Export Strategy, driving economic recovery and the levelling-up agenda. On the 1st October, DIT launched the Export Support Service, allowing UK businesses to get answers to practical questions about exporting to Europe. DIT also has expert trade advisers locally and overseas, which support both wool and textile exporters, providing access to UK Export Finance and a range of online services unlocking opportunities globally.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps she has taken to promote British wool exports overseas.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) is developing a UK-wide, cross-government Export Strategy, driving economic recovery and the levelling-up agenda. On the 1st October, DIT launched the Export Support Service, allowing UK businesses to get answers to practical questions about exporting to Europe. DIT also has expert trade advisers locally and overseas, which support both wool and textile exporters, providing access to UK Export Finance and a range of online services unlocking opportunities globally.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions her Department has had with the Welsh Government on (a) the cancellation of and (b) a replacement scheme for the Tradeshow Access Programme.

A range of stakeholders have been, and continue to be, engaged by Department for International Trade (DIT) officials on plans for a revised trade show support programme, and DIT will announce further details when discussions with HM Treasury are concluded.

DIT Ministers and officials engage regularly with the Devolved Administrations, including the Welsh Government, on a wide range of trade and investment support available across the UK.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 14 June 2021 to Question 10566 on Trade Agreements: Australia, if she will publish her Department’s assessment of the impact of the UK-Australia trade deal on future EU imports into the UK of (a) beef and (b) lamb.

Following the conclusion of negotiations, a full impact assessment will be published prior to scrutiny by Parliament.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of a free trade agreement with Australia on farmers and food producers in Wales.

The economic analysis, published on 17 June 2020, seeks to identify the potential scale of the long-term additional benefit to the UK from having a deal with Australia.

This deal is for the whole union. The Department for International Trade’s (DIT) Scoping Assessment found that Wales benefits in all modelled scenarios. Welsh foods and drinks producers will benefit from the removal of tariffs and non-tariff barriers. Any deal the Government signs with Australia will include protections for the agriculture industry and will not undercut UK farmers or compromise high standards.

DIT is establishing a trade hub in Wales as part of a new strategy to boost exports and bring the benefits of the Government’s global trade policy to the whole of the UK. Providing exporters with a direct feed into UK trade policy, to take better advantage of opportunities in fast-growing markets like the Indo-Pacific region.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the potential cumulative effect on UK emissions of providing (a) duty-free and (b) tariff-free access to agricultural goods from Australia.

The Government has always been clear that any free trade agreement it signs will not threaten the UK’s ability to meet its environmental commitments or its membership of international environmental agreements. The Government is seeking a deal with Australia that will further environmental and climate policy priorities and the UK will not compromise on high environmental protection.

The Government carried out a public consultation and scoping assessment for its free trade agreement negotiation with Australia, which can be found on the Government’s website (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uks-approach-to-negotiating-a-free-trade-agreement-with-australia/uk-australia-free-trade-agreement-the-uks-strategic-approach). This preliminary scoping assessment considered illustrative scenarios. Following the conclusion of negotiations, a full impact assessment will be published prior to implementation.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of a free trade agreement with Australia on (a) Ceredigion and (b) Wales.

The economic analysis, published on 17 June 2020, seeks to identify the potential scale of the long-term additional benefit to the UK from having a deal with Australia.

This deal is for the whole union. The Department for International Trade’s (DIT) Scoping Assessment found that Wales benefits in all modelled scenarios. Top Welsh goods exports to Australia, including medicinal and pharmaceutical products, currently face tariffs of up to 5%, and will benefit from the liberalisation of tariffs on these products. Welsh foods and drinks producers will also benefit from the removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers.

DIT is establishing a trade hub in Wales as part of a new strategy to boost exports and bring the benefits of the government’s global trade policy to the whole of the UK. Providing exporters with a direct feed into UK trade policy, to take better advantage of opportunities in fast-growing markets like the Indo-Pacific region.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to promote British wool exports.

Trade promotion campaigns in key markets; partnership working with stakeholders, such as the UK Fashion and Textiles Association, at tradeshows, like Premier Vision; leveraging of the DIT’s teams in 110 countries; financing and insurance from UK Export Finance; and the global promotion of the GREAT campaign; are some of the many measures being taken to support British wool exports.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of (a) support and (b) advice for businesses exporting to the EU.

The Department supports exporters across the UK, including through overseas posts, great.gov.uk, international events and missions. A Europe Trade Hub provides in-market support to British businesses exporting to European markets, and businesses can also access sector-specific expertise. The Department conducts an independent annual Export Client Survey with c.6000 businesses to assess services: for example, of those using Posts in 2018/19, 73% were satisfied / very satisfied. Additionally, Government is conducting roundtables and webinars to understand UK business needs better. Companies in Wales also receive support from the Welsh Government, in line with devolved responsibilities.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of banning the import of palm oil into the UK.

The Government does not propose to ban the import of palm oil. 70% of the UK’s palm oil imports were from sustainable sources in 2019. An import ban on unsustainable palm oil risks substitution with other oils which typically require significantly more land to produce and may lead to greater deforestation. We continue to work with producer countries to tackle the underlying issues of deforestation, biodiversity loss, and climate change. Last month, the Government tabled a new ‘due diligence’ requirement under the Environment Bill to tackle illegal deforestation.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to prevent the import of unsustainably produced palm oil into the UK.

The Government does not propose to ban the import of palm oil. 70% of the UK’s palm oil imports were from sustainable sources in 2019. An import ban on unsustainable palm oil risks substitution with other oils which typically require significantly more land to produce and may lead to greater deforestation. We continue to work with producer countries to tackle the underlying issues of deforestation, biodiversity loss, and climate change. Last month, the Government tabled a new ‘due diligence’ requirement under the Environment Bill to tackle illegal deforestation.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions her Department has had with UK businesses that are seeking to export hydrogen technology internationally.

Understanding the UK’s hydrogen capability and matching it with relevant high value export opportunities forms part of the work of the Department for International Trade’s Renewable Energy sector team. The Department has been engaging with UK suppliers from within the hydrogen industry, sector specific research centres and UK Government departments to understand the UK capability. UK Export Finance, regional offices and the department’s overseas network are all part of the support offer available.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 24 February 2020 to Question 744 on Agriculture: Expert Trade Advisory Groups, when the Agri Food Expert Trade Advisory Group last met.

The Agri Food Expert Trade Advisory Group is one of the formal engagement mechanisms to allow stakeholders the opportunity to feed into trade policy, ensuring the UK position is well-informed and reflects the interests of the whole of the UK. The Group meets regularly and last met on Wednesday 12 February 2020.

11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether there is an Expert Trade Advisory Group for agriculture.

The Department for International Trade has established a number of cross-government Expert Trade Advisory Groups (ETAGs), including a dedicated Agri Food ETAG set up jointly with the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs. ETAGs enable the Government to draw on external knowledge and expertise to ensure that the UK’s trade policy is backed up by evidence at a detailed level.

27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what plans she has to increase the import of Ugandan beef into the UK.

Uganda is eligible to trade with enhanced access to the UK via the Everything But Arms (EBA) tier of the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences. The EBA tier grants duty-free quota-free market access on all products except arms and ammunitions to all least developed countries (LDCs). The UK will provide the same level of access as the current EU trade preference scheme. The UK’s scheme will come in to effect after the EU transition period, which will encourage imports from developing countries, including Uganda.

16th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when his Department plans to publish a report following a review of the regulatory provision contained in regulations 3 to 16 of the Merchant Shipping (Work in Fishing Convention)(Medical Certification) Regulations 2018.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency have conducted a survey on the Merchant Shipping (Work in Fishing Convention) (Medical Certification) Regulations 2018, the results are being analysed and the report is due to be published in Spring 2024.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of making Intelligent Speed Assistance software mandatory for motorcycles sold in the UK.

There has not been an assessment of making Intelligent Speed Assistance software mandatory for motorcycles sold in the UK.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
22nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he has taken to help ensure the accuracy of the information published online setting out the carbon footprint of different modes of transport; and whether his Department has made an estimate of the reduction of emissions for the aviation sector in the UK delivered through use of sustainable aviation fuel by (a) 2030, (b) 2040 and (c) 2050.

The Department for Transport publishes journey emissions comparisons as part of its annual Transport and the Environment publication. These are Official Statistics, held to the standards laid out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

Detailed information for users regarding the strengths and weaknesses of these statistics, as well as information on the underlying methodology from the Department for Transport, and the Green House Gas conversion factors published by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero used to produce these statistics, are available at the links given below:

Department for Transport, Journey emissions comparisons: Methodology and guidance:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/transport-energy-and-environment-statistics-notes-and-definitions/journey-emissions-comparisons-methodology-and-guidance

Department for Energy Security and Net Zero Greenhouse gas reporting: conversion factors 2022, methodology:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/greenhouse-gas-reporting-conversion-factors-2022

The Jet Zero Strategy, published in July 2022, set out the Government’s approach to achieving net zero for the UK aviation sector by 2050. Four analytical scenarios were produced as part of the strategy, setting out a range of emissions pathways for the sector, under various assumptions on the likely uptake of different decarbonisation technologies, including SAF.

Further detail on the Jet Zero Strategy and the underpinning analysis can be found here: Jet Zero strategy: delivering net zero aviation by 2050 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

More recently, the Government has published a second consultation on a SAF mandate, to be introduced from 2025.

Further detail on the SAF mandate can be found here: Pathway to net zero aviation: developing the UK sustainable aviation fuel mandate - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

13th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits for road safety of extending the list of vehicles and trailers required to undergo a HGV, bus or trailer MOT to include trailers with an unladen weight of less than 1,020kg and caravans.

In 2019, my Department published the Trailer Safety Report, which recommended further research to better understand the safety risks of light trailers, such as those with an unladen weight of less than 1,020kg and caravans. My Department therefore commissioned the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to undertake randomised roadworthiness checks of these trailers and caravans over a full calendar year to capture seasonal use. Due to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, the survey period was extended to the summer of 2021. Another calendar year of roadside checks from May 2022 to May 2023 is on-going. My Department will use the data from these roadside checks when considering whether further action is appropriate, but there are no current plans to require trailers with an unladen weight of less than 1,020kg and caravans to undergo an MOT.

13th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether her Department plans to extend the list of vehicles and trailers required to undergo a HGV, bus or trailer MOT to include trailers with an unladen weight of less than 1,020kg and caravans.

My Department does not currently have any plans to require trailers with an unladen weight of less than 1,020kg and caravans to undergo an MOT.

24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on supporting the roll-out of rapid charging points for electric vehicles in rural areas of Wales.

Government works closely with the devolved administrations on supporting the transition to zero emission vehicles across the whole of the UK. Regular discussions about rapid chargepoints as well as other measures to support electric vehicles are held on an ongoing basis with the Welsh Government. Officials have been working together to align the upcoming electric vehicle infrastructure strategy from UK government with the approach set out in the Welsh government’s electric vehicle charging strategy for Wales.

2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to review the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation to encourage investment in hydrogen production.

Further to a public consultation earlier this year, we have introduced legislation which would expand support under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) to renewable hydrogen used in fuel cell rail and non-road transports, and in maritime vessels. To further encourage investment in renewable hydrogen production, we also proposed in the consultation to reward renewable hydrogen more flexibly under the RTFO. A Government Response on proposals to improve flexibility will be published very soon.

20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reason the Government does not recognise Botswana as having an approved proof of covid-19 vaccination.

We are taking a phased approach to the rollout of our inbound vaccination programme to other countries and territories to reopen travel in a safe and sustainable way. Vaccine certification b