Ben Lake Portrait

Ben Lake

Plaid Cymru - Ceredigion

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)


Department Event
Monday 4th July 2022
14:30
Department for Education
Oral questions - Main Chamber
4 Jul 2022, 2:30 p.m.
Education (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Monday 4th July 2022
16:30
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
First Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
4 Jul 2022, 4:30 p.m.
The draft Animal Welfare (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2022
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Department Event
Tuesday 5th July 2022
HM Treasury
Estimates Day - Main Chamber
(1st allotted day). There will be a debate on estimates relating to the Department for Work and Pensions, insofar as it relates to the spending of the Department for Work and Pensions on the cost of living measures on the office of the Secretary of State for Wales, insofar as it relates to the spending of the office of the Secretary of State for Wales on measures to support the Welsh economy, and its consequences for funding the devolved institutions and on the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, insofar as it relates to the spending of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on action on climate change and decarbonisation
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Department Event
Tuesday 5th July 2022
HM Treasury
Motion - Main Chamber
Ways and Means Resolution relating to the Energy (Oil and Gas) Profits Levy
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Department Event
Wednesday 6th July 2022
HM Treasury
Estimates Day - Main Chamber
(2nd allotted day). There will be a debate on estimates relating to the Department for Education and on the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, insofar as it relates to the spending of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office on the strategy for international development. At 7.00pm, the House will be asked to agree all Outstanding estimates
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Department Event
Wednesday 6th July 2022
14:30
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Fourth Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
6 Jul 2022, 2:30 p.m.
The draft Plant Health etc. (Miscellaneous Fees) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2022
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Department Event
Tuesday 19th July 2022
11:30
Department of Health and Social Care
Oral questions - Main Chamber
19 Jul 2022, 11:30 a.m.
Health and Social Care (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Thursday 8th September 2022
09:30
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Oral questions - Main Chamber
8 Sep 2022, 9:30 a.m.
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Monday 12th September 2022
14:30
Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
Oral questions - Main Chamber
12 Sep 2022, 2:30 p.m.
Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Tuesday 13th September 2022
11:30
HM Treasury
Oral questions - Main Chamber
13 Sep 2022, 11:30 a.m.
Treasury (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Monday 19th September 2022
14:30
Department for Education
Oral questions - Main Chamber
19 Sep 2022, 2:30 p.m.
Education (including Topical Questions)
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Division Votes
Wednesday 29th June 2022
Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 3 Plaid Cymru No votes vs 0 Plaid Cymru Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 273 Noes - 205
Speeches
Tuesday 28th June 2022
Oral Answers to Questions
Small businesses in Ceredigion have told me how increasing electricity and fuel costs are having a direct impact on their …
Written Answers
Tuesday 28th June 2022
Energy and Fuels: Prices
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy …
Early Day Motions
Thursday 16th June 2022
Publication of the Repertory of Welsh Manuscripts and Scribes c.800 – c.1800
That this House congratulates Dr Daniel Huws, former Keeper of Manuscripts and Records at the National Library of Wales, in …
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
Monday 27th June 2022
Palé Hall Llandderfel
That this House congratulates Palé Hall in Llandderfel, Bala on being the only venue to score ten out of ten …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 5th February 2020
Trade Agreements (Exclusion of National Health Services) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to exclude requirements relating to National Health Services procurement, delivery or commissioning from international trade agreements; to require …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Ben Lake has voted in 444 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
Rishi Sunak (Conservative)
Chancellor of the Exchequer
(14 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(14 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(14 debate interactions)
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Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(56 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(39 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Finance Act 2021 - Government Bill
(4,402 words contributed)
Agriculture Act 2020 - Government Bill
(3,771 words contributed)
Finance Act 2020 - Government Bill
(2,265 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).

Petition Debates Contributed

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

14th June 2022
Ben Lake signed this EDM on Monday 27th June 2022

Domestic sale and advertisement of animal experiences abroad

Tabled by: Martyn Day (Scottish National Party - Linlithgow and East Falkirk)
That this House notes the urgent need for a ban on the domestic sale and advertisement of cruel animal experiences abroad, such as elephant rides and captive dolphin shows, to be brought into legislation; acknowledges the cruel methods used to train elephants for entertainment, such as repeated beatings with hooks, …
21 signatures
(Most recent: 27 Jun 2022)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 14
Plaid Cymru: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Green Party: 1
Independent: 1
20th June 2022
Ben Lake signed this EDM on Monday 27th June 2022

Windrush Day 2022

Tabled by: Bell Ribeiro-Addy (Labour - Streatham)
That this House celebrates the 74th anniversary of the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush at Tilbury Dock on the 22nd June 1948; recognises that Windrush has become a key symbolic moment in the history of both the Black British contribution to Britain and the broader post-war Commonwealth migration that reshaped …
39 signatures
(Most recent: 27 Jun 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 22
Scottish National Party: 9
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 2
Liberal Democrat: 1
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Democratic Unionist 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.


Last Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 6th May 2022
(Read Debate)

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.


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

538 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
6 Other Department Questions
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how eligible individuals who do not hold a British passport can validate their application to become sponsors under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Further to the oral statement by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up on 14 March, guidance for local authorities has been published on Gov.uk at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-guidance-for-councils . There are also published FAQs available online at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-scheme-frequently-asked-questions as well as information for sponsors at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-sponsor-guidance . Information is available on safeguarding checks at these links, as well as on eligibility for the scheme. Phase One of the Homes for Ukraine scheme opened for applications on 18 March and is accessible via links from homesforukraine.campaign.gov.uk . Those who had recorded their interest in the scheme were also contacted on that date. Details on future phases of the scheme will be announced in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what discussions has he had with representatives of insurance providers to ensure continued insurance coverage for customers participating in the Homes for Ukraine programme.

The Department has engaged with key partners in the insurance sector and full guidance for sponsors will be available shortly.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when his Department plans to publish details of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund application process.

UK-wide funding for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) will ramp up to at least match receipts from EU structural funds, which on average reached around £1.5 billion per year. Spending Review 2021 fulfils this commitment, with the announcement of over £2.6 billion for the UKSPF over the next three years, with funding reaching £1.5 billion in 2024-25.

The UKSPF will focus on restoring a sense of community, local pride and belonging across the country. The UKSPF will act as a primary lever in levelling up people and places in all parts of the UK to empower places to identify, and build on, their own strengths and needs at a local level.

The Government will publish further details on the fund in due course.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when his Department plans to publish the updated prospectus, assessment guidance and application form for the second round of the Community Ownership Fund.

We are currently reviewing the first bidding round of the Community Ownership Fund and in order to implement the lessons learned, the second round will open in the spring.

We will be launching an updated prospectus, assessment guidance and application form ahead of the second round opening and will also be offering additional support to interested groups to help as many projects as possible to benefit from the fund.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the Elections Bill on the (a) conduct and (b) administration of devolved elections in Wales.

The measures in the Elections Bill will considerably strengthen the delivery of UK Parliament General Elections and other reserved polls. Devolution means that there are already different arrangements for devolved and reserved elections.


We have been and will continue working closely with the Devolved Administrations, the Electoral Commission and the wider electoral sector across the UK on our plans for implementing the measures in the Bill to provide clarity for voters, administrators and those regulated by electoral law.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
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.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
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
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
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
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what support his Department has provided companies in Wales with regard to the disruption to the flow of essential products between the EU and the UK since 1 January 2021.

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
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
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.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of 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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
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.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
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.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
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.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
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.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
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.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
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.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
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.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many projects have been submitted to the Gigabit Voucher Scheme in the Broadband Upgrade Fund pilot areas since that scheme began.

A total of 37 projects were submitted to the Broadband Upgrade Fund across the pilot areas of Cornwall, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire, Cumbria and Northumberland.

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.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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, 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.

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.

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, 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

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.

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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

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
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
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
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
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
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
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
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
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
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
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
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
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
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
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
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
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
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
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
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
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
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
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
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
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
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
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, 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.

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.

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.

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
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
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)
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)
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)
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)
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
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, 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
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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, 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
Minister of State (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
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Minister of State (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 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
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Minister of State (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)
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)
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, 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)
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)
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
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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 (Department for International Trade)
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 (Department for International Trade)
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 (Department for International Trade)
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.

13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what support her Department is providing to UK maritime businesses to attend overseas trade shows.

I refer the Hon. Member for Ceredigion to the answer I gave to the Rt Hon. Member for North Durham on 16 July 2021, UIN: 28979.

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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
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.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
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.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will review the Blue Badge renewal process.

The Department is currently working with the supplier of the Digital Service to identify possible improvements to the online application and re-application process as part of its National Disability Strategy commitments.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
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.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
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.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
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 between countries and territories varies considerably. We need to ensure that certificates/apps meet our published minimum requirements on content, that carriers are clear about the certification we shall accept, and that we are taking into account public health and wider considerations.

Our policy to date has not been to exclude any countries or territories, but rather to work internationally as we continue to explore expanding the policy to more countries and territories where it is safe to do so.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when his Department plans to publish the interim report outlining the initial findings of the e-scooter trials.

The Department is currently considering and quality assuring the initial findings and will look to publish as soon as possible, once finalised.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the Climate Change Committee’s recommendation in its June 2021 Progress Report to develop a demand management framework for aviation.

The Jet Zero Consultation set out our vision for the aviation sector to reach net zero by 2050. The consultation presented a draft strategy to decarbonise the sector, focussing on the rapid development of technologies in a way that maintains the benefits of air travel and maximises the opportunities that decarbonisation can bring for the UK.

Analysis developed for the Jet Zero Consultation shows that there are scenarios that can achieve net zero aviation by 2050 without capping demand. Indeed, our ‘high ambition’ scenario is in line with the Climate Change Committee’s Balanced Pathway, with similar levels of residual emissions by 2050.

As a responsible government, we recognise that we will need to keep our strategy under review and intend to assess progress on the sector’s emission reduction pathway and update our strategy where necessary through five-year reviews.

We plan to publish the final Jet Zero Strategy early next year.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to introduce a decibel limit as part of the MOT test.

The MOT already includes a non-metered check of exhaust noise. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) oversees authorised garages to ensure MOT standards are correctly applied. The DVSA has no plans to implement a dB limit and a metered check of it, primarily due to the practical challenges of such a check, but this is kept under review as technology changes.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether official in his Department have held discussions with the Welsh Government on Highways England's proposal to to undertake infilling work to the bridge at Pont Llanio, Ceredigion.

No discussions have taken place with either the Welsh Government or with representatives of Ceredigion County Council as there are no proposals by Highways England to undertake infilling work to the bridge at Pont Llanio, Ceredigion.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether official in hi department have held discussions with representatives of Ceredigion County Council on the Highways England proposal to to undertake infilling work to the bridge at Pont Llanio, Ceredigion.

No discussions have taken place with either the Welsh Government or with representatives of Ceredigion County Council as there are no proposals by Highways England to undertake infilling work to the bridge at Pont Llanio, Ceredigion.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the total value is of contracts awarded under the High Speed Two project to suppliers based in Wales.

Across Wales, 26 suppliers have already worked on HS2, a figure which continues to grow and can be seen on HS2 Ltds supply chain map (click here) and the total value of the contracts awarded to suppliers based in Wales so far is £12,524,479.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether EU nationals whose driving licences are valid in the UK will need to amend or exchange their driving licenses after the transition period.

Department for Transport officials are engaging in bilateral discussions with individual EU Member States to agree the arrangements that will apply from 1 January 2021. These discussions are still ongoing. We intend to publish the future arrangements that are agreed with Member States in respect of driving licences before the end of the transition period.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 14 September 2020 to Question 85098 on a hydrogen hub, what assessment his Department has made of the role of hydrogen passenger vehicles in hydrogen transport.

The Government’s £23m Hydrogen for Transport Programme is increasing the uptake of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and growing the number of publicly accessible hydrogen refueling stations. The programme is delivering new refueling stations, upgrading some existing stations as well as deploying hundreds of new hydrogen vehicles. Our FCEV Fleet Support Scheme has also increased the number of hydrogen passenger vehicles in use, by supporting both public and private sector fleets to become early adopters of FCEV cars and vans. We are investing in hydrogen buses and 62 are being delivered through our Low and Ultra Low Emission Bus Schemes.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to bring forward plans for a hydrogen hub.

The Transport Secretary is exploring options for green hydrogen in transport across freight, buses, trains, maritime and aviation and how the UK can lead the world in its deployment and use. Further details will follow in due course.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to bring forward plans for hydrogen trains.

The Government supports using hydrogen powered trains on the railway to help deliver our target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The Department is working with Network Rail and the rail industry to determine which parts of the network will be best suited to electrification, and which to hydrogen as well as battery. This work will support the Department’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan, to be published at the end of this year.

The Government is supporting development of hydrogen technology through innovation funding and research, including work on safety and wider issues that will have to be considered to allow the smooth entry into service on the network of hydrogen trains.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to bring forward plans for a nationwide hydrogen refuelling network.

The UK has one of the largest hydrogen refuelling networks in Europe, with thirteen publicly accessible stations. We have taken a strategic approach in its delivery to date, funding stations and the local fleets that they will serve together. This is ensuring station utilisation as the hydrogen transport market develops. The Government’s £23m Hydrogen for Transport Programme is further increasing the uptake of fuel cell electric vehicles and growing the number of publicly accessible hydrogen refuelling stations. The programme is delivering new refuelling stations, upgrading some existing stations and deploying hundreds of new hydrogen vehicles.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing a trust account model for flight bookings made through online travel agents.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a number of challenges. Going forward, the department is keen to work with the regulator, industry and consumer groups on potential options for strengthening our schemes and models.

The Department has recently acted to ensure that if ATOL-protected holidaymakers who have package holidays including a flight accept refund credit notes rather than a cash refund for their cancelled holiday as a result of COVID-19, they will be protected by the ATOL scheme if necessary even if the company they have booked with later collapses.

By providing confidence to holidaymakers that their refund credit notes are protected if they choose them over refunds, this will mean customers are able to support the travel sector’s recovery from the pandemic by accepting a refund credit note.

17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with representatives of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on (a) introducing regulations to ensure that customer funds cannot be withheld by airlines and (b) ensuring airlines comply with CAA's requirements when issuing refunds for cancelled flights.

The Department and the Civil Aviation Authority has been clear that airlines should not deny consumers their legal right to a refund, if it is requested.

On 1 July 2020 the Civil Aviation Authority provided an update on its website about its review into the refund policies of airlines during the coronavirus pandemic. They are reviewing the refund policies of all UK airlines, as well as a number of international airlines that operate flights to and from the UK. The review is considering how airlines are handling refunds for flight-only bookings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department has also recently acted to ensure that if ATOL-protected holidaymakers who have package holidays including a flight accept refund credit notes rather than a cash refund for their cancelled holiday as a result of COVID-19, they will be protected by the ATOL scheme if necessary even if the company they have booked with later collapses.

By providing confidence to holidaymakers that their refund credit notes are protected if they choose them over refunds, this will mean customers are able to support the travel sector’s recovery from the pandemic by accepting a refund credit note.



17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that refunds for cancelled (a) flights and (b) holidays are more easily accessible.

On 1 July 2020 the Civil Aviation Authority provided an update on its website about its review into the refund policies of airlines during the coronavirus pandemic. They are reviewing the refund policies of all UK airlines, as well as a number of international airlines that operate flights to and from the UK. The review is considering how airlines are handling refunds for flight-only bookings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the Competition Markets Authority launched its COVID-19 Taskforce in April to identify, monitor and respond to competition and consumer problems arising from coronavirus and the measures taken to contain it. Where there is evidence that businesses have breached competition or consumer protection law, the CMA will take enforcement action if warranted.

The Department has been clear that airlines should not deny consumers their legal right to a refund, if it is requested and this should be done in a timely manner.

The Department has also recently acted to ensure that if ATOL-protected holidaymakers who have package holidays including a flight accept refund credit notes rather than a cash refund for their cancelled holiday as a result of COVID-19, they will be protected by the ATOL scheme if necessary even if the company they have booked with later collapses.

By providing confidence to holidaymakers that their refund credit notes are protected if they choose them over refunds, this will mean customers are able to support the travel sector’s recovery from the pandemic by accepting a refund credit note.

17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that online travel agents are able to access customer refunds from airlines to ensure they meet their legal obligation to refund customers within seven days.

On 1 July 2020 the Civil Aviation Authority provided an update on its website about its review into the refund policies of airlines during the coronavirus pandemic. They are reviewing the refund policies of all UK airlines, as well as a number of international airlines that operate flights to and from the UK. The review is considering how airlines are handling refunds for flight-only bookings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the Competition Markets Authority launched its COVID-19 Taskforce in April to identify, monitor and respond to competition and consumer problems arising from coronavirus and the measures taken to contain it. Where there is evidence that businesses have breached competition or consumer protection law, the CMA will take enforcement action if warranted.

The Department has been clear that airlines should not deny consumers their legal right to a refund, if it is requested and this should be done in a timely manner.

The Department has also recently acted to ensure that if ATOL-protected holidaymakers who have package holidays including a flight accept refund credit notes rather than a cash refund for their cancelled holiday as a result of COVID-19, they will be protected by the ATOL scheme if necessary even if the company they have booked with later collapses.

By providing confidence to holidaymakers that their refund credit notes are protected if they choose them over refunds, this will mean customers are able to support the travel sector’s recovery from the pandemic by accepting a refund credit note.

9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to increase the (a) production and (b) use of hydrogen buses.

The Government has supported the use of a range of low carbon bus technologies, including hydrogen buses and supporting infrastructure, through funds including the Low Emission and Ultra-Low Emission Bus Schemes.

In February, the Government announced a £5 billion funding package for buses and cycling, which includes support for the purchase of at least 4,000 zero-emission buses. The details of these programmes, including technology options and how funding will be distributed, will be announced in due course.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential benefit of extending the Renewal Transport Fuel Obligation to incentivise the production of green hydrogen.

Renewable hydrogen supplied in the UK is eligible for support under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), a certificate trading scheme. It is categorised as a development fuel, which potentially benefits from a higher tradeable certificate value.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of changing fiduciary rules for pension fund managers to prioritise de-risking exposure to stranded assets.

The Law Commission confirmed in two reports – in 2014 and 2017 – that trustees have a fundamental fiduciary duty to their members. Government agree that trustees have primacy in investment decisions.

Fiduciary Duties of Investment Intermediaries (LC350) - July 2014 https://www.lawcom.gov.uk/project/fiduciary-duties-of-investment-intermediaries/

Pension Funds and Social Investment (LC374) – June 2017

https://www.lawcom.gov.uk/project/pension-funds-and-social-investment/

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason people with fetal valproate spectrum disorder, which is a life-long disability, are required to re-apply for personal independence payment and disability living allowance.

Entitlement to Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is assessed on the basis of the needs arising from a health condition or disability, rather than the health condition or disability itself. Award rates and their durations are set on an individual basis, based on the claimant’s needs and the likelihood of those needs changing, including where childhood developmental milestones are reached. Award reviews allow for the correct rate of DLA or PIP to remain in payment, including where needs have increased as a consequence of a congenital, degenerative or progressive condition.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps is taking to increase participation in the Access to Work programme amongst disabled people in Wales.

Over the last 12 – 18 months, significant work has gone into increasing awareness and take up of Access to Work (AtW) amongst disabled people in Wales.

Upskilling sessions have taken place with Work Coaches, Armed Forces Champions, Schools Advisors and Prison Work Coaches, to support them in their discussions with disabled customers about moving closer to or into the workplace.

We have supported external organisations in Wales, including the NHS, Headway and Epilepsy UK, providing greater awareness of the AtW scheme. The DWP Health Model Offices in Wales is trialling a “Health Adjustment Passport”, using the passport to start conversations about disability with prospective employers, including support available through AtW.

The AtW team are supporting “DWP Wales Area Health Plans” to provide even more intensive support to reduce the disability employment gap and increase take up of AtW.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to reform the Disability Confident Scheme to ensure that employers meet a minimum criteria and are independently assessed before becoming a member of that Scheme.

As announced in the National Disability Strategy (NDS), DWP is undertaking a review of the Disability Confident scheme, involving the Business Leaders Group (BLG), Professional Advisers Group (PAG) and other key stakeholders, including representatives from the devolved governments. The review, which began in September 2021, seeks to review and strengthen the scheme overall and in particular levels 2 and 3. Our objective is ensuring it is clear, robust and sufficiently challenging in support of disability employment. The review is due to conclude at the end of the financial year. Following the conclusion of the review, all packs and guidance will be updated and made available via GOV.UK.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of requiring people whose benefit payments are paid into a Post Office card account to set up an alternative arrangement on people in (a) Ceredigion and (b) other rural areas.

The Department expects that benefit claimants and pensioners will benefit from the additional services that transactional accounts offer compared to Post Office card accounts

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate she has made of the level of child poverty in (a) Wales and (b) Ceredigion.

This Government is wholly committed to tackling poverty. Throughout the pandemic, our priority has been to support the most vulnerable including through spending an additional £7.4billion to strengthen the welfare system, taking our total expenditure on welfare support for people of working age to an estimated £112 billion in 2020/21. Additionally, in December 2020 we introduced our Covid Winter Grant Scheme, providing funding to Local Authorities in England to enable them to support people with food and essential utility bills during the coldest months. It will now run until June as the Covid Local Support Grant, with a total investment of £269m.

National Statistics on the number and percentage of children in low income are published annually in the “Households Below Average Income” publication. Data for Ceredigion is unavailable due to insufficient sample size.

Latest statistics for the levels of children who are in low income in Wales, covering 2019/20, can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income-for-financial-years-ending-1995-to-2020,“children-hbai-timeseries-1994-95-2019-20-tables” in table 4.16ts (relative low income, before and after housing costs) and in table 4.22ts (absolute low income, before and after housing costs).

In the three years to 2019/20 the absolute levels of child poverty, before housing costs, for Wales, was 16%, down 8 percentage points since the three years to 2009/10

The Department now publishes supplementary official statistics on the number of children in low income families at constituency level. Children in Low Income Families data is published annually.

In 2019/20 the absolute levels of child poverty, before housing costs, in Ceredigion was 16%. The latest figures on the number of children who are in low income in Ceredigion and in Wales covering 2019/20, can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-in-low-income-families-local-area-statistics-2014-to-2020/children-in-low-income-families-local-area-statistics-fye-2015-to-fye-2020.

Due to methodological differences, the figures in these two publications are not comparable.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the £20 uplift in universal credit on levels of child poverty in (a) Wales and (b) Ceredigion.

No assessment has been made.

This Government is wholly committed to supporting those on low incomes, including by increasing the living wage, and by spending an estimated £112 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2020/21. This included around £7.4 billion of Covid-related welfare policy measures.

We introduced our Covid Winter Grant Scheme providing funding to Local Authorities in England to help the most vulnerable children and families stay warm and well fed during the coldest months. It will now until June as the Covid Local Support Grant, with a total investment of £269m.

As the economy recovers, our ambition is to help people move into and progress in work as quickly as possible based on clear evidence around the importance of employment, particularly where it is full-time, in substantially reducing the risks of poverty. We are investing over £30 billion in our ambitious Plan for Jobs which is already delivering for people of all ages right across the country.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure the Access to Work fast track scheme is available to all disabled workers who need reasonable adjustments to be able to work during the covid-19 outbreak.

Access to Work already prioritises applications from disabled people who have a job to start within 4 weeks of their application. Recognising the impact Covid has had on disabled people, Access to Work has expanded the prioritisation to include those in the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable group and keyworkers. Applications will be fast tracked to ensure that the employer and the disabled person are supported in the workplace from the outset.

Background

Access to Work (ATW) is a demand-led, discretionary grant to de-risk the recruitment and retention of disabled people for employers. The grant contributes to the disability related extra costs of working faced by disabled people and those with a health condition that are beyond reasonable adjustment, but it does not replace an employer’s duty under the Equality Act to make reasonable adjustments. The grant provides personalised support and can provide workplace assessments, travel to/in work, support workers, specialist aids and equipment for individuals to enable disabled people and those with a health condition to move into or retain employment. And can fund up to £60,700 worth of flexible, personalised support per person per year.

Recognising the challenges Covid-19 has for employers and disabled people, Access to Work has introduced a new more flexible offer to support disabled people to move into and retain employment. The new offer complements support provided by employers and contains a flexible mix of support that can be adapted to meet the needs of new Covid-19 working arrangements. The offer includes:

  • support to work from more than one location,
  • a package of home working support which can be blended with workplace support,
  • mental health wellbeing support for people returning to work after a period of furlough or shielding,
  • travel-to-work support for those who may no longer be able to safely travel by public transport due to the nature of their disability, and
  • prioritising Access to Work applications from disabled people in the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable Group.

If Access to Work were to extend the categories of prioritisation further, the ability to prioritise applications would be lost as the majority of Access to Work applications would be in the prioritised category, resulting in all applications being treated the same.

25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to integrate the Access to Work fast track scheme into the Kickstart scheme.

Job placements created through the DWP’s Kickstart Scheme are normal jobs, and so young people finding work through the Kickstart Scheme can get advice from their Work Coach about making the transition into employment. This may include support with the Access to Work process.

Young people who are successful in securing a job offer through Kickstart, and submit their application to Access to Work within 4 weeks of their start date, will have their application automatically prioritised by Access to Work.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to integrate the Access to Work fast track scheme into the Job Entry Targeted Support scheme.

Participants finding work through Work and Health Programme Job Entry: Targeted Support can get support from their employment adviser to make transition into employment including support with Access to Work process.

Participants who are successful in securing a job offer, and submit their application to Access to Work within 4 weeks of their start date will have their application automatically prioritised by Access to Work.

Background

Access to Work already prioritises applications from key workers, people who are in the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable Group and disabled people who have a job to start within the next 4 weeks. If Access to Work was to extend the prioritisation further then the ability to prioritise applications would be lost as the majority of Access to Work applications would be in the prioritised category, which would result in all applications being treated the same and the prioritisation would be lost.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the removal of the spare room subsidy on levels of household income.

There has been no such assessment.

The policy allows for the provision of an additional bedroom in certain circumstances, such as to support the needs of disabled people as well as exempting households in receipt of pension age Housing Benefit.

If a claimant’s ability to mitigate any shortfall between their housing support and rent has changed Discretionary Housing Payments can be considered by their local authority. We announced last year an additional £40 million for Discretionary Housing Payments for 2020/21 in England and Wales

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to include provisions in the draft Mental Health Act Reform Bill in response to feedback provided by respondents to the Reforming the Mental Health Act white paper on how the reforms plan to meet the needs of children and young people.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Ealing, Southall (Mr Virendra Sharma MP) on 13 June 2022 to Question 14460.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in the Welsh Government on making Evusheld available to immunocompromised people.

On 17 March 2022, Evusheld was granted conditional marketing approval by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). However, the MHRA highlighted uncertainty over the appropriate dose needed for protection against the Omicron variant. Understanding its efficacy is necessary prior to any procurement or deployment decisions. Officials in the Antivirals and Therapeutics Taskforce regularly engage with the Welsh Government.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 8 June 2022 to Question 1109 on Evusheld, whether his Department has a timeline setting out a date by which they expect to receive advice from clinicians on the most appropriate option for the use of Evusheld.

While there is no specific timetable, we expect to receive clinical advice shortly.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help promote innovation in dementia diagnosis.

For many, assessments and diagnoses begin in memory clinics which provide access to a multi-disciplinary team. In 2021, NHS England commissioned resources to support memory services to improve and innovate. These resources include an e-learning course developed by University College London to support memory services to manage a change in practice, ensuring the delivery of a personalised assessment and diagnosis via a blended service model. Leeds Beckett University has also developed a guide to supporting continuous development, improvement and innovation in memory services. These resources where circulated to services and stakeholders in March 2022.

In 2022/23, NHS England will provide funding to support general practitioners in specific areas to pilot approaches to diagnosing dementia for people living with advanced dementia in a care home setting. We will set out plans for dementia in England for the next 10 years later this year, which will include a focus on dementia diagnosis.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on increasing diagnosis rates for dementia.

We have had no specific discussions as this is a devolved matter.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to provide patients suffering from chronic pain with the option of accessing medicinal cannabis.

The Department routinely corresponds with the Welsh Government and patient representatives on making medicinal cannabis accessible to patients suffering from chronic pain. The Government has allowed specialist doctors to prescribe cannabis-based products, where clinically appropriate and in the best interests of patients. However, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that cannabis-based products for medicinal use are not offered to manage chronic pain in adults and that cannabidiol (CBD) only be offered as part of a clinical trial.

NICE recognises the lack of evidence to support the use of these medicines and recommends that further research is carried out on the clinical and cost effectiveness of CBD as an additional treatment for adults with fibromyalgia or for persistent treatment resistant neuropathic pain. The National Institute for Health Research welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including chronic pain. As for all other medicines, it is the responsibility of the manufacturers to generate the evidence required for assessment by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and NICE.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase trials of non-inhaled medical cannabis for people living with chronic cancer or non-cancer pain.

The Department routinely corresponds with the Welsh Government and patient representatives on making medicinal cannabis accessible to patients suffering from chronic pain. The Government has allowed specialist doctors to prescribe cannabis-based products, where clinically appropriate and in the best interests of patients. However, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that cannabis-based products for medicinal use are not offered to manage chronic pain in adults and that cannabidiol (CBD) only be offered as part of a clinical trial.

NICE recognises the lack of evidence to support the use of these medicines and recommends that further research is carried out on the clinical and cost effectiveness of CBD as an additional treatment for adults with fibromyalgia or for persistent treatment resistant neuropathic pain. The National Institute for Health Research welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including chronic pain. As for all other medicines, it is the responsibility of the manufacturers to generate the evidence required for assessment by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and NICE.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government plans to take to ensure (a) adequate covid-19 surveillance and (b) the UK's ability to respond to future waves of covid-19 in the context of the withdrawal of funding from the Zoe covid symptom checker, the CoMix social contacts survey and the Siren and Vivaldi studies.

The Government will continue monitoring the virus through maintaining scaled back surveillance studies such as the Office for National Statistics’ COVID-19 Infection Survey, SIREN, Vivaldi and other data sources including genomic sequencing. As a result of these developments, the Department and the UK Health Security Agency are no longer in a position to fund the ZOE COVID study and CoMix social contact study. The Government will keep all surveillance activities under review to ensure we have the capabilities to monitor waves of COVID-19 and defend against future variants.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on changes to self-isolation requirements for individuals testing positive for covid-19.

The Government is working with the Welsh Government and devolved administrations to coordinate an approach to COVID-19 in the United Kingdom. There are ongoing discussions across multiple Government departments.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of levels of funding available for research into (a) treatments and (b) diagnostic tests for dementia; and what steps he is taking to increase research funding for those purposes.

There has not been a recent assessment of funding available for research into dementia treatments and diagnostic tests. We are investing £375 million in neurodegenerative disease research over the next five years. This funding will support research on dementia treatments and diagnosis. Further actions to boost dementia research include a new £9 million call inviting research proposals to the National Institute for Health Research on digital approaches for the early detection and diagnosis of dementia, launched in November 2021. We are working on ways to significantly boost further research on dementia, and we will be setting out our plans on dementia for England for future years later this year.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information is provided by the Department and NHS England to midwives on the use of sodium valproate in pregnancy in order to help them prepare an expectant mother of the teratogenic effects.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have commissioned the Paediatric Neurosciences Clinical Reference Group to develop care pathways and a service specification to improve for patient support and co-ordination for children affected by teratogen exposure. A multi-disciplinary group including patient representatives and expert clinicians with experience in responding to and managing teratogen exposure has been established. The group will report its recommendations to NHS England and NHS Improvement in March 2022.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology’s guidance recommends that all women with epilepsy of childbearing age are counselled on the risk of sodium valproate. In the first instance, this will take place with the woman’s neurologist and general practitioner. The Royal College recommends that such counselling is provided by a clinician competent in the management of epilepsy, usually a neurologist and or an obstetrician with a special interest in epilepsy. Midwives may take a supporting role, unless they specifically work in this context and have obtained additional training.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what practical steps he is taking to ensure that the experiences and interests of children with fetal valproate syndrome and their families are represented as an integral part of patient involvement at every level of the NHS in England.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have commissioned the Paediatric Neurosciences Clinical Reference Group to develop care pathways and a service specification to improve for patient support and co-ordination for children affected by teratogen exposure. A multi-disciplinary group including patient representatives and expert clinicians with experience in responding to and managing teratogen exposure has been established. The group will report its recommendations to NHS England and NHS Improvement in March 2022.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology’s guidance recommends that all women with epilepsy of childbearing age are counselled on the risk of sodium valproate. In the first instance, this will take place with the woman’s neurologist and general practitioner. The Royal College recommends that such counselling is provided by a clinician competent in the management of epilepsy, usually a neurologist and or an obstetrician with a special interest in epilepsy. Midwives may take a supporting role, unless they specifically work in this context and have obtained additional training.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has had recent discussions with his counterpart in the Welsh Government on the Down Syndrome Bill.

Engagement with the Welsh Government is continuing at Ministerial and official level to ensure the alignment of policy and improvements in outcomes for people with Down‘s syndrome across the United Kingdom.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps his Department has taken to help ensure that specific information on Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) is available on NHS Choices and NHS Inform websites through a dedicated FND page.

The NHS Choices website has been rebranded as NHS.UK and is managed by NHS Digital. Information on functional neurological disorder is available on NHS.UK and can be found at the following link:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/medically-unexplained-symptoms/.

NHS Digital receive regular requests for new content on the NHS.UK website which are prioritised. NHS Digital are currently reviewing their process for how content is maintained and expanded.

NHS Digital are not responsible for the content on NHS Inform as this is managed by NHS Scotland.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has received confirmation from EU counterparts that UK citizens who are fully vaccinated against covid-19 will not find their travel to EU countries affected as a result of their having received a dose of the AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine from batch numbers 4120Z001, 4120Z002 or 4120Z003.

The Serum Institute of India (SII) manufactures both Vaxzevria and Covishield, branded vaccines which are the same as the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. All SII-made doses approved by the United Kingdom regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and administered in the UK were branded as the ’COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca’ which is now known commercially as ‘Vaxzevria’. The MHRA has not approved doses branded as ‘Covishield’ and none have been administered in the UK. All AstraZeneca vaccines given in the UK are the same product and appear on the NHS COVID Pass as Vaxzevria.

The European Medicines Agency has authorised the Vaxzevria vaccine and it is therefore recognised by the European Union.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with (a) groups representing people affected by eating disorders and (b) other stakeholders on proposals to require calorie labelling on menus.

Ministers and officials in the Department have engaged with BEAT, the eating disorder charity, as well as other groups representing the views of people living with eating disorders, on several occasions since the Government published “Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives” last July. Discussions have included out-of-home calorie labelling. We have also been careful to consider the views of a wide range of experts in response to our public consultation on introducing mandatory out-of-home calorie labelling and we will continue with this engagement going forward.

The final impact assessment for introducing mandatory calorie labelling in the out-of-home sector considered the potential effect on people living with eating disorders. The impact assessment is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/903712/Calorie_Labelling_-_Impact_Assessment.pdf

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of veterinarians available to fulfil the the duties of Official Veterinarians and Meat Hygiene Inspectors as required by the Food Standards Authority to deliver veterinary official controls in meat establishments.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) works with a Service Delivery Partner (SDP) to provide Official Veterinarian (OV) resource and some of the Meat Hygiene Inspector (MHI) resource to deliver Official Controls in 244 abattoirs in England and Wales.

Appropriate contingency arrangements have been implemented to enable the FSA to maintain service delivery throughout this period. The FSA continues to work with our SDP which recruits suitably qualified personnel from a variety of sources to ensure that appropriate numbers of OVs and MHIs continue to be available.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Feb 2021
What recent discussions he has had with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation on the covid-19 vaccination of immuno-suppressed individuals.

As per the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s (JCVI) advice, many immunosuppressed individuals qualify for vaccination in priority groups four or six. For those whom the vaccination is not advised, a general practitioner or relevant clinician will host a consultation. It is important that clinically extremely vulnerable people should continue following government advice on reducing risk. The United Kingdom is leading the way on vaccine research. As soon as sufficient evidence becomes available, the JCVI will provide advice on strategies to protect immunosuppressed individuals and consider if certain vaccines are preferred for particular groups.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding has been allocated to research on the effectiveness of the (a) Pfizer/Biontech vaccine and (b) AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine for immuno-suppressed people; and which organisations have received funding to conduct that research.

UK Research and Innovation is providing around £2 million towards the Immunity programme, as part of the National Core Studies, to support research on vaccine responses in groups of immune-supressed individuals, including those with inflammatory disorders, high risk cancer patient groups, and patients with severe kidney and liver disease.

Public Health England will be monitoring vaccine effectiveness to examine how it varies by subgroup such as by age or clinical risk groups including immunosuppression. Evidence will be generated through routine data sources, including routine testing data and GP electronic health records, as well as through enhanced surveillance.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent progress he has made on monitoring the effectiveness of the (a) Pfizer/BioNTech and (b) Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccines on people who are immunocompromised.


Public Health England is monitoring the impact of COVID-19 vaccines on a broad range of outcomes including symptomatic disease, infection and hospitalisations as set out in the COVID-19 vaccine surveillance strategy

Vaccine effectiveness assessments are reported regularly to the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to inform vaccine policy recommendations. This will include assessment of vaccine effectiveness in immunocompromised individuals using general practice’s electronic health record data. Once sufficient evidence becomes available the JCVI will consider options for a protection strategy for immunosuppressed individuals, including whether any specific vaccine is preferred in this population.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the supplier of Pethidine medication on increasing availability of that medication in the UK.

There are two suppliers of pethidine 50 milligram tablets and we are aware that both suppliers experienced supply issues during 2020 due to manufacturing difficulties. One of the suppliers now has stock available and does not anticipate any further issues. Supply should be sufficient to cover entire market demand.

The Department has worked closely with both suppliers during this time to try and expedite resupply and communicated the supply issue to the National Health Service in August 2020. During the time where both suppliers were out of stock, we worked with specialist importer companies to source unlicensed pethidine 50 milligram tablets from abroad to ensure patients could continue to access treatment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government’s covid-19 vaccine distribution strategy takes into account whether certain covid-19 vaccines should be prioritised for certain groups.

The Government has now accepted the recommendations from the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to authorise three COVID-19 vaccines for use from Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford University/AstraZeneca, and Moderna. This follows months of rigorous clinical trials and a thorough analysis of the data by experts at the MHRA who have concluded that both vaccines met its strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.

The National Health Service began to deploy the AstraZeneca vaccine from the week commencing 4 January. Through the Vaccines Taskforce, we have 100 million doses ordered for delivery over the coming months of this particular COVID-19 vaccine, enough to vaccinate millions of people.

Both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccines have proven in clinical trials to give very high protection against severe disease, which is the primary aim of the first phase of the programme and both vaccines have demonstrated good safety profiles. The logistical challenges posed by the storage and distribution requirements for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine mean that in some populations, the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine is the only vaccine which can be deployed rapidly and without substantial vaccine wastage. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation does not advise a preference for either vaccine in any specific population. For operational, logistical and programmatic reasons, such as to enable more extensive and timely vaccine coverage, one vaccine may be offered in certain settings in preference over another vaccine.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the capacity is for (a) pillar I and (b) pillar II covid-19 tests.

Testing capacity in the United Kingdom across all pillars between 26 November and 2 December was at 4,684,727 tests. Data on individual capacity across all pillars throughout England is published each week alongside other Test and Trace statistics at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/nhs-test-and-trace-statistics-england-weekly-reports

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average daily per patient cost is of hospital treatment.

The Department does not hold the information requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average cost is of transporting a patient from hospital to their home or suitable care facility.

The information is not available in the format requested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish a data protection impact assessment of the app being developed by Google and Apple for tracking and tracing covid-19.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care announced on 18 June that NHSX has begun the next phase of development in building an app that supports the end-to-end NHS Test and Trace service. This app will use the Google/Apple exposure notification system. We will carry out a Data Protection Impact Assessment in due course.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on trends in the level of post-viral complications in relation to people with ME.

Public Health England has made no assessment on the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak on trends in the level of post-viral complications in relation to people with myalgic encephalomyelitis.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will issue guidance on the support grandparents who are not shielded can provide to single parents during the covid-19 outbreak.

There are currently no plans to issue guidance on the support that grandparents who are not shielded can provide to single parents. Grandparents who are not shielding should follow the latest advice on staying alert and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic which can be found on the GOV.UK website at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether covid-19 is recognised as an industrial disease when contracted by health care professionals.

The classification of COVID-19 in relation to occupational exposure is determined by the circumstances of each individual case. All such dangerous occurrences, cases of disease and work-related fatalities, must be reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) under RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013).

Guidance on how such events are to be reported and classifications determined, has been made publicly available on the HSE website.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the implications for his policies of the 19 March 2020 WHO interim guidance on the prevention and control of infection in health care when covid-19 is suspected.

The guidance on personal protective equipment (PPE) is part of COVID-19: infection prevention and control guidance. This is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-infection-prevention-and-control

The United Kingdom PPE guidance continues to recommend the highest level of protection for health and social care teams treating COVID-19 patients. The guidance is updated regularly, in line with emerging evidence.

The World Health Organization has stated that the national guidelines currently used in the UK and other countries are consistent with their recommendations and it does not fall short of their standards. Further information is available to view at the following link:

https://www.who.int/news-room/commentaries/detail/modes-of-transmission-of-virus-causing-covid-19-implications-for-ipc-precaution-recommendations

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department's guidance on covid-19 personal protective equipment aligns with the 27 February 2020 WHO interim guidance on that equipment.

The guidance on personal protective equipment (PPE) is part of COVID-19: infection prevention and control guidance. This is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-infection-prevention-and-control

The United Kingdom PPE guidance continues to recommend the highest level of protection for health and social care teams treating COVID-19 patients. The guidance is updated regularly, in line with emerging evidence.

The World Health Organization has stated that the national guidelines currently used in the UK and other countries are consistent with their recommendations and it does not fall short of their standards. Further information is available to view at the following link:

https://www.who.int/news-room/commentaries/detail/modes-of-transmission-of-virus-causing-covid-19-implications-for-ipc-precaution-recommendations

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the implications for his policies of the 27 February 2020 WHO interim guidance on the use of personal protective equipment for covid-19.

The guidance on personal protective equipment (PPE) is part of COVID-19: infection prevention and control guidance. This is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-infection-prevention-and-control

The United Kingdom PPE guidance continues to recommend the highest level of protection for health and social care teams treating COVID-19 patients. The guidance is updated regularly, in line with emerging evidence.

The World Health Organization has stated that the national guidelines currently used in the UK and other countries are consistent with their recommendations and it does not fall short of their standards. Further information is available to view at the following link:

https://www.who.int/news-room/commentaries/detail/modes-of-transmission-of-virus-causing-covid-19-implications-for-ipc-precaution-recommendations

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will update the Covid-19: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Plan, published on 10 April 2020, to state that care providers in Wales and Scotland may be supplied with PPE.

The Government’s Personal Protective Equipment is United Kingdom-wide, making sure that frontline workers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all have the PPE they need to stay protected while taking care of patients. We are working closely with the devolved administrations to co-ordinate the distribution of PPE across the UK.

We continue to prioritise ensuring that the National Health Service and social care sector have the equipment and support they need. The safety of all frontline staff is our top priority.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government prior to the purchase of testing equipment for covid-19.

The United Kingdom Government is committed to operating on a UK-wide basis in its response to COVID-19 and is working closely with the devolved administrations to coordinate and align testing efforts where possible.

As part of our UK-wide testing strategy, we are committed to ensuring the UK gets its fair share of proprietary test kits to deliver the full capability that we are making available.

The four nations are working together closely to ensure a joined-up and aligned approach to the UK’s testing response at both a strategic and operational level, including on the provision and supply of testing kits to key workers. This will ensure that all testing needs across the UK can be considered.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what medical equipment his Department has procured for the Welsh Government in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

Personal protective equipment supplies are being coordinated at a United Kingdom-wide level and allocation is made based on clinical need across the whole country, which ensures a planned and coordinated response to this global pandemic. Furthermore, the Department, working with NHS England, has sourced a large number of oxygen and ventilation devices for the UK. These devices have been distributed across the devolved administrations and crown dependencies. Devices have included oxygen concentrators, ventilators, patient monitors and syringe drivers.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether there are agreements in place between the UK Government and the Welsh Government to prevent competitive bidding for medical equipment needed to respond to the covid-19 outbreak.

Health is a devolved matter. There is not an agreement between the UK and Welsh Government to prevent competitive bidding.

The UK Government continues to work well with the devolved administrations. We have no record of competitive bidding practices taking place with the Welsh Government.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve early diagnosis rates of (a) brain, (b) lung, (c) stomach, (d) oesophageal, (e) liver and (f) pancreatic cancer.

Cancer is a priority for this Government and survival rates are at a record high1. Since 2010 rates of survival from cancer have increased year-on-year.

We recognise, however, that there is more to do, The NHS Long Term Plan sets out an ambition that, by 2028, the proportion of cancers diagnosed at stages 1 and 2 will rise from around half to three-quarters of cancer patients. The National Health Service is finding and treating more complex cancers at an early stage in line with the ambitions set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

NHS England has committed funding of over £1.3 billion over the next five years to deliver the commitments on cancer in the NHS Long Term Plan. This includes £200 million investment in diagnostic equipment, the implementation of optimal timed diagnosis pathways and new Rapid Diagnostic Centres and actions to increase staff in key cancer and diagnostic professions.

Notes:

Between 2002 and 2017 one-year survival for all cancers combined increased from 62.6% to 73.3%. Between 2002 and 2013 five-year survival for all cancer combined increased from 44.5% to 53.6% (Years quoted are years of diagnosis. Source: Office for National Statistics)

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government plans to take to improve coordination of research into (a) brain, (b) lung, (c) stomach, (d) oesophageal, (e) liver and (f) pancreatic cancers.

Together with NHS England and NHS Improvement and the National Cancer Research Institute, the Department joined the Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce recent research roundtable event to consider how the number of high-quality research applications can be increased for these difficult-to-treat cancers.

The Department convened an independent Task and Finish Working Group on Brain Tumour Research, chaired by Professor Chris Whitty, which reported in February 2018. Following this report the Department is participating actively in the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission. In May 2018 the Government announced £40 million over five years for brain tumour research.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has forreplacement for the four-hour A&E target time to improve the efficiency of (a) health services and (b) patient care.

At the Government’s request, NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with clinical leaders across the system to review our standards as part of the clinically-led review of access standards. The recommendations of the review will be carefully studied, and any recommended changes will be based on clinical evidence to ensure the best outcome for patients. We will update on this in due course.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether her Department has made recent progress on ensuring the safe return of Jim Fitton from detention in Iraq.

Following the verdict, consular officials in Iraq and the UK are continuing to provide consular assistance to Mr Fitton and his family. We cannot, of course, interfere in the judicial process of another country, just as we would not expect interference in our own. The British Ambassador in Baghdad has and will continue to, raise our interest in Mr Fitton's case with the Iraqi Government. This included raising with the authorities the UK's strong opposition to the death penalty - both the possibility of it being applied in Mr Fitton's case and in all circumstances as a matter of principle. Whilst he is detained, we will continue to register our interest in Mr Fitton and that the conditions of the prison are in line with international standards. Mr Fitton's safety and welfare remain of the upmost importance.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to Answer of 22 September 2021 to Question on Western Sahara: Self Determination of States, whether the inclusion of independence as an option in the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara was raised during discussions with the parties.

The UK supports UN-led efforts to reach a just, lasting, and mutually acceptable political solution, based on compromise, that provides for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara. We strongly support the work of the new Personal Envoy, Staffan de Mistura, and look forward to the start of the renewed political process.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the Answer of 20 April 2021 to Question 91447 on Western Sahara: Politics and Government, whether her predecessor raised the inclusion of independence as an option in the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara during discussions with the Moroccan Foreign Minister.

The UK supports UN-led efforts to reach a lasting and mutually acceptable political solution that provides for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara. We regularly discuss the situation in Western Sahara with the parties and encourage them to re-engage with the UN-led political process.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to support British nationals and eligible Afghans to leave Afghanistan, transit third countries and reach the UK; and what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in (a) Pakistan, (b) Uzbekistan and (c) Tajikistan on that matter.

The former Foreign Secretary visited Qatar and Pakistan from 1-3 September. Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon visited Uzbekistan and Tajikistan from 1-3 September. The former Foreign Secretary had a telephone conversation with the Foreign Minister of Pakistan on 15 and 27 August, the Tajik Foreign Minister on 2 September, and the Uzbek Foreign Minister on 6 September. Lord Ahmad has additionally called the Deputy Foreign Minister of Tajikistan on 23 and 25 August and the Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan on 25 August and the Deputy Foreign Minister on 8 September. Discussions focused on securing safe passage for those fleeing Afghanistan and advancing the government's international priorities. In addition, FCDO Rapid Deployment Teams have been sent to Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to reinforce our Embassy staff to process arrivals from Afghanistan.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, on how many occasions he has had discussions on the matter of Afghanistan with his counterparts in (a) Pakistan, (b) Uzbekistan and (c) Tajikistan in the last six months.

The former Foreign Secretary visited Qatar and Pakistan from 1-3 September. Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon visited Uzbekistan and Tajikistan from 1-3 September. The former Foreign Secretary had a telephone conversation with the Foreign Minister of Pakistan on 15 and 27 August, the Tajik Foreign Minister on 2 September, and the Uzbek Foreign Minister on 6 September. Lord Ahmad has additionally called the Deputy Foreign Minister of Tajikistan on 23 and 25 August and the Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan on 25 August and the Deputy Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan on 8 September.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether the Government plans to offer covid-19 vaccinations to British citizens living abroad.

There are no plans to roll out the UK's NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme to British nationals living overseas. As a residence-based system, the NHS does not provide healthcare (including vaccinations) outside the UK.

Wherever possible, British nationals should aim to be vaccinated in the country where they live. We are providing information through the Travel Advice pages and 'Living In' guides on gov.uk to inform British nationals of healthcare options available to them, including on the availability of COVID-19 vaccines. The UK is also playing a leading international role to ensure global access to COVID-19 vaccines. For example, we have contributed £548 million to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment to ensure that the 92 most vulnerable economies have access to COVID-19 vaccines. The UK has also committed to sharing 100 million vaccine doses by June 2022, with the majority going to COVAX.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the accuracy of allegations that Turkey used chemical weapons in Iraqi Kurdistan.

We have not made an assessment of the allegations.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many discussions he has had with his Iraqi counterparts on Turkish military interventions in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The UK continues to follow the situation in Iraqi Kurdistan closely. The Foreign Secretary met with Iraqi President Saleh, Prime Minister Kadhimi and Foreign Minister Hussein during his visit to Iraq on 8-9 June, and welcomed recent discussions between Iraqi and Turkish Defence Ministers regarding Ankara's military operations against the PKK in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. He also reiterated the importance of dialogue and cooperation between Iraq and Turkey to combat terrorism, ensure regional security, and protect civilians. The UK continues to engage with Turkey on a broad range of regional issues.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions has he had with his Turkish counterparts on Turkish military intervention in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The UK continues to follow the situation in Iraqi Kurdistan closely. The Foreign Secretary met with Iraqi President Saleh, Prime Minister Kadhimi and Foreign Minister Hussein during his visit to Iraq on 8-9 June, and welcomed recent discussions between Iraqi and Turkish Defence Ministers regarding Ankara's military operations against the PKK in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. He also reiterated the importance of dialogue and cooperation between Iraq and Turkey to combat terrorism, ensure regional security, and protect civilians. The UK continues to engage with Turkey on a broad range of regional issues.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of (a) parliamentary and (b) public engagement on the UN Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction process to negotiate a treaty covering the high seas.

Further to my answer given on 21 May 2021 to questions 851 and 852, Lord Goldsmith, the Minister of State for the Pacific and the Environment, who leads on UK international ocean policy, regularly discusses the BBNJ Agreement in his engagement with parliamentarians and public stakeholders and in his speeches on biodiversity and ocean protection. The draft text is complex and technical and the UK delegation actively engages key stakeholders including in the NGO, marine science, academic and bio-industry community in the UK. The negotiations themselves take place at the United Nations in New York, are broadcast on UN TV and accredited observer organisations can participate. UK and international environmental organisations are fully aware of the UK's role and objectives.

21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what reports the Government has received on the incident at Jau Prison in Bahrain on 17 April 2021.

Since the incident on April 17, we have been monitoring the situation and are in contact with the Ombudsman, who has published its investigation into the event. We understand from the authorities that this was an organised and violent disruption, that prison staff took necessary measures to respond to, to mitigate the threat to the prison's overall security, staff and other inmates. We encourage those with concerns over mistreatment during the incident to share these details with the relevant oversight bodies, in order to allow them to conduct their ongoing monitoring.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the incident at Jau Prison on 17 April 2021, what representations he will make to his Bahraini counterpart on (a) inviting the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture to visit and (b) allowing (i) Human Rights Watch, (ii) Amnesty International and (iii) other human rights organisations and monitoring bodies to enter Bahrain.

We understand that the Government of Bahrain has taken steps to engage with the United Nations, and we continue to encourage this engagement. We understand that the Ombudsman has reached out to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, noting that they are keen to work cooperatively on accusations raised by the Non-governmental organisations (NGOs). We encourage both Amnesty and Human Rights Watch to accept this offer of engagement.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the incident at Jau Prison on 17 April 2021, what plans he has to make representations to his Bahraini counterpart on (a) the welfare of political prisoners in Bahrain, (b) ensuring that victims of the incident at the prison receive adequate and timely medical care and (c) ensuring that prisoners are able to access phone calls.

We have regularly discussed the challenge of managing the Covid-19 pandemic in prisons with senior members of the Bahraini Government. We continue to monitor these conditions through our regular contact with the oversight bodies.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the incident at Jau Prison on 17 April 2021, what representations he has made to his Bahraini counterpart to ascertain the welfare and whereabouts of (a) Sayed Alawi Alwadaei and (b) Saeed Abdulemam.

We have been informed that prison policy is to disperse those involved in this sort of activity amongst the other inmates. Both Sayed Alawi Alwadaei and Saeed Abdulemam have been moved to the new facilities at the Jau Reform and Rehabilitation Centre, which have been inspected by the Ombudsman and the Prisoners and Detainees Rights Commission (PDRC) and the National Institute for Human Rights (NIHR). We understand that they have access to medical services, and they do not have any health care issues.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
20th Apr 2021
What recent discussions he has had with his Moroccan counterpart on the UN designated Non-Self-Governing Territory of Western Sahara.

We continue to closely monitor the situation in Western Sahara. We call upon the parties to show restraint in order to avoid further escalation, to return to the ceasefire agreement, and to re-engage with the UN-led political process.

I also spoke to Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita in January, including to discuss Western Sahara. I reaffirmed the UK’s commitment to the UN-led process, to find a lasting and mutually acceptable solution that provides for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.

We strongly support the UN Secretary-General’s efforts to appoint a Personal Envoy for Western Sahara. We call upon the parties to engage constructively with the UN.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 9 March to Questions 151798 and 160767 on Western Sahara: Trade Agreements, whether the consultations included seeking the consent of the UN recognised representatives of the Saharawi people, the Polisario.

The European Commission's report, which includes the list of stakeholders consulted, including the Polisario Front, can be found here: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=SWD:2018:346:FIN&from=FR(opens%20in%20a%20new%20tab)

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 9 March 2021 to Questions151799 and 160768 on Western Sahara: Politics and Government, if will he ask the UN Secretary-General when the UN Commission announced in 2016 on the situation in Guerguerat plans to publish a report.

UN reports on Western Sahara can be found on the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) website: https://minurso.unmissions.org/secretary-general-reports

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what his Department's future funding plans are for the Voluntary Service Overseas programme.

The impact of the global pandemic on the UK economy has forced us to take the tough but necessary decision to temporarily reduce our aid budget.

We are now working through the implications of these changes for individual programmes, including for the Volunteering for Development grant. No decisions have yet been made. We understand the need to communicate with VSO in a timely manner regarding this grant.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 17 February 2021 to Question 151799, Western Sahara: Politics and Government, whether the UN commission announced in 2016 on the situation in Guerguerat, Western Sahara, conducted the investigation; and if he will ask the UN Secretary-General when he plans to publish the report of that investigation.

UN reports on Western Sahara, including on the situation in Guerguerat in 2016, can be found on the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) website: https://minurso.unmissions.org/secretary-general-reports

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 17 February 2021 to Question 151798, on Western Sahara: Trade Agreements, if he will ask the European Commission for what reason the (a) UN recognised representatives of the Saharawi people, the Polisario Front, were not formally consulted and (b) consent of those representatives was not sought.

The European Commission's report, which includes the list of stakeholders consulted, including the Polisario Front, can be found here: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=SWD:2018:346:FIN&from=FR(opens%20in%20a%20new%20tab)

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to secure the return of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe from Iran to the UK.

We are using every tool in our diplomatic arsenal to secure the immediate and permanent release of arbitrarily detained dual British nationals in Iran. We raise Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's case at the most senior levels in the Iranian Government: the Foreign Secretary continues to press Foreign Minister Zarif for her release, and the Prime Minister has raised her detention with President Rouhani. Our Ambassador in Tehran constantly raises dual British national detainees with the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The FCDO remains in regular contact with both Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her family, and we continue to provide them with all support possible. We are doing everything we can to enable Nazanin to return home and to secure the release of all British dual nationals arbitrarily detained in Iran so that they can be reunited with their loved ones.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether the UN commission announced in 2016 on the situation in Guerguerat, Western Sahara issued a report.

UN reports on Western Sahara can be found on the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) website: https://minurso.unmissions.org/secretary-general-reports

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer to Question 142046, on Western Sahara: Trade Agreements, whether the EU (a) consulted the UN recognised representatives of the Saharawi people and (b) asked for consent.

The European Commission's report, which includes the list of stakeholders consulted, can be found here: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=SWD:2018:346:FIN&from=FR(opens%20in%20a%20new%20tab)

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of whether the trade of natural resources originating in Western Sahara by the Kingdom of Morocco without the consent of the Saharawi people is consistent with international law.

The UK notes the UN legal view from 2002, which stated that commercial activity in Western Sahara (including the exploration for, and exploitation of natural resources) is not inherently illegal but must not disregard the interests and wishes of the people of Western Sahara. We also note the European Court of Justice ruling of December 2016 on the applicability of the EU-Morocco Association Agreement to Western Sahara. The Association Agreement was subsequently amended to comply with the ruling following EU consultations with a wide spectrum of Western Saharan representatives, stake-holders, civil society, and other organisations. The UK-Morocco Association Agreement replicates the effects of the existing EU-Morocco Association Agreement, including on the current territorial application and products originating in Western Sahara subject to controls by customs authorities of Morocco.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of imposing sanctions against Bahrain in response to alleged human rights abuses by Bahraini security officials.

We regularly raise human rights issues and individual cases with the Government of Bahrain, at senior levels, both in private and public, most recently during my visit to Bahrain in November 2020. We urge that all allegations of this nature are reported to the appropriate Bahraini national oversight body and encourage them to carry out swift and thorough investigations into any such claims.

On 6 July, the UK Government established the Global Human Rights ('Magnitsky') sanctions regime by laying regulations in Parliament under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018. This sanctions regime gives the UK a powerful new tool to hold to account those involved in serious human rights violations or abuses. It is not appropriate to speculate who may be designated under the sanctions regime in the future, as to do so could reduce the impact of the designations.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Bahraini counterpart on potential human rights violations by Bahraini authorities.

We regularly raise human rights issues and individual cases with the Government of Bahrain, at senior levels, both in private and public, most recently during my visit to Bahrain in November 2020. We urge that all allegations of this nature are reported to the appropriate Bahraini national oversight body and encourage them to carry out swift and thorough investigations into any such claims.

On 6 July, the UK Government established the Global Human Rights ('Magnitsky') sanctions regime by laying regulations in Parliament under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018. This sanctions regime gives the UK a powerful new tool to hold to account those involved in serious human rights violations or abuses. It is not appropriate to speculate who may be designated under the sanctions regime in the future, as to do so could reduce the impact of the designations.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what diplomatic steps he is taking to end environmental and ecological destruction arising from the production of palm oil.

The Government is using a combination of diplomatic engagement, policy measures and development assistance to work towards ensuring all palm oil is being produced sustainably. Through the Partnerships for Forests programme, we provide support to develop industry standards for deforestation-free palm oil production, and work with companies, civil society groups and governments to develop and test new ways of growing palm oil, which provides sustainable jobs and livelihoods and protects forests. FCDO also funds the Tropical Forest Alliance, which brings together over 160 companies, governments and civil society group, working to end deforestation associated with palm oil and other agriculture commodities.

The Government recently set out a legislative proposal for a Due Diligence Obligation, which would prohibit larger UK companies from using commodities that have not been produced in line with national laws in the countries of origin. This follows recommendations made by the independent Global Resource Initiative Task Force. Building on this, for the COP26 climate change meeting in Glasgow in 2021, we are working to bring together countries that produce and that buy palm oil, to forge a stronger partnership that will lead to more international action to tackle deforestation associated with palm oil and other agricultural commodities, and support sustainable trade and production.

30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with the (a) Indonesian and (b) Dutch Government on the independence movement in West Papua.

The Foreign Secretary discussed Papua with Foreign Minister Retno on 14 October. The UK Government fully respects the territorial integrity of Indonesia, which includes Papua and West Papua provinces. Within this framework we support the efforts of the authorities and civil society to address the needs and aspirations of the people both provinces. The Foreign Secretary has not discussed Papua with the Dutch Government.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Indonesian counterpart on self-determination in the territory of West Papua.

The Foreign Secretary discussed Papua with Foreign Minister Retno on 14 October. The UK Government fully respects the territorial integrity of Indonesia, which includes Papua and West Papua provinces. Within this framework we support the efforts of the authorities and civil society to address the needs and aspirations of the people both provinces.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
13th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his US counterpart regarding on-going legal cases in the US where prosecutors are seeking evidence from UK citizens.

Ministers at the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office have regular engagement with their counterparts in the US, which cover a broad range of issues, some of which may include legal matters.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
16th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Israeli counterpart on the protection of West Bank Palestinians during the olive harvest season.

The UK condemns any incidence of violence by settlers against Palestinians. We recognise that there can be an increase in assaults on Palestinian farmers, the destruction of olive trees and the stealing of produce coinciding with the Palestinian olive harvest, which began earlier this month. We have expressed our concerns to the Israeli Government on a number of occasions.

Under international law, Israel, as the occupying power, has an obligation to take all measures in its power to protect the Palestinian population from acts of violence. We continue to stress the importance of the Israeli security forces providing appropriate protection to the Palestinian civilian population. We welcome the efforts of Israeli authorities to address settler violence, and urge them to thoroughly investigate every instance and bring those responsible to justice.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of DfID's merger with his Department on UK humanitarian aid to Gaza.

The creation of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office allows us to bring together the UK's international effort and maximise our influence around the world, including in Gaza. Our recent £840,000 funding contribution is enabling the World Health Organization and UNICEF to purchase and co-ordinate the delivery of medical equipment, treat critical care patients, train frontline public health personnel and scale up laboratory testing capacity. The Foreign Secretary also recently announced a further £2.7 million funding to UN agencies to provide food assistance, medical supplies and personal protection for the most vulnerable Palestinians.

The UK Government remains deeply concerned by the situation in Gaza. The current situation is unsustainable. In addition to our commitment to funding, our Embassy in Tel Aviv and Consulate-General in Jerusalem frequently urge the Israeli and Palestinian authorities to take steps to improve conditions in Gaza. The UK will continue to work to help address the humanitarian situation and improve the lives of the people of Gaza.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 8 June 2020 to Question 55878 on Israeli Settlements: Companies, what assessment he has made of the applicability of United Nations Security Council Resolution 465 to those companies.

The UK supports existing UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs), including UNSCR 465, and will do so until an agreement is negotiated by the parties. Our position on settlements is clear: they are illegal under international law and damaging to renewed efforts to launch peace negotiations. As I made clear in my answer of 8 June 2020 (55878), ultimately it is the decision of an individual or company whether to operate in settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The British Government is clear that it neither encourages nor offers support to such activity.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the Moroccan Ambassador on the detention of Sahrawi civilians in that country in prisons with recorded cases of covid-19.

We have regular discussions with Morocco on human rights and prison conditions. UK-Morocco engagement is currently focused on our collective efforts to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic. The Moroccan authorities released over 5,000 prisoners in April as a means of reducing overcrowding and limiting the spread of Covid-19.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
28th Jun 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on the economic effect of the rise in (a) fuel and (b) energy costs on small businesses.

Businesses are experiencing increased costs driven by global events. One of these extra costs is fuel. At Spring Statement, we announced a 12-month cut to duty on petrol and diesel of 5p per litre, for the benefit of businesses as well as individuals. More broadly, we are helping SMEs through tax cuts to national insurance and business rates.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the propriety of the business practices of Tax Credits Ltd and its relationship with HMRC.

HMRC takes its obligations on customer confidentiality seriously and does not comment on the specific circumstances of any of its customers, whether they are companies, organisations, or individuals.
Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
26th May 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to his statement providing an Economy Update on 26 May 2022, what the Barnett consequential for Wales is; if he plans for funds to be made available to the Welsh government; and if he will make a statement.

As the Chancellor set out in his statement to the House, in recognition of the challenges people are facing as a result of the rising cost of living, the UK Government is providing an additional £15 billion of support.

The majority of this support is being provided directly to households across the UK and is on top of the support announced in February and at Spring Statement. In addition, the Welsh Government is receiving around £25m from the Household Support Fund through the Barnett formula.

The full details of the support announced, including Barnett consequentials for the devolved administrations, were set out in the Chancellor’s statement of the 26 May and the accompanying press release.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending the time-limited zero-rate of VAT to the purchasing of certain types of energy saving materials by individuals looking to improve their homes for themselves.

At Spring Statement 2022 the Chancellor announced that the VAT relief for the installation of energy saving materials (ESMs) would be expanded in Great Britain from 1 April 2022.

The relief continues to apply to the installation, including materials and labour costs, of ESMs, rather than the purchase of the materials themselves. However, complex eligibility conditions, introduced in 2019 following an EU Court of Justice ruling, have been removed.

Further to this, wind and water turbines have been reinstated as materials which qualify for the relief, and all qualifying installations will now also benefit from a temporary VAT zero-rate until April 2027. Overall, this represents an additional £280 million of support for investment in ESMs over the next 5 years, building on the £9.7 billion that the Government has committed to invest since March 2021 to increase the energy efficiency and decarbonisation of our homes and buildings.

Targeting the VAT relief to professional installations ensures that Government support incentivises best practice in the choice and installation of ESMs. Going further would impose significant additional pressure on the public finances, to which VAT makes an important contribution.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he has taken to allow recipients of income through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to alter the rate of income tax paid on that income over time.

The Government has supported UK households throughout the pandemic with nearly £400 billion of COVID support, including through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) which provided over £28 billion in grants to 2.9 million individuals.

The Government does not think it is right to allow SEISS recipients to alter the rate of tax paid on that income over time. The tax paid on a SEISS grant will depend on an individual’s profits, any other taxable income, and allowances to which a person is entitled. The grants are taxable at the recipient’s rate of Income Tax in the year they were received.

The Government has implemented an unprecedented package of support for taxpayers struggling with paying tax liabilities. HMRC has scaled up its longstanding Time to Pay policy, which allows any business or individual in temporary financial difficulty to schedule their tax debts into affordable, sustainable, and tailored instalment arrangements.
Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of covid-19 support scheme-related fraud by NUTS1 region.

The Government has provided around £400 billion of direct support for the economy since the start of the pandemic, which has helped to safeguard jobs, businesses and public services in every region and nation of the UK.

This package has included a wide range of different COVID-19 support schemes for businesses, delivered by a variety of Government departments, either directly, via their arms-length bodies, or via local authorities.

Departments are required to disclose details of material fraud, evasion and error within their annual report and accounts. From 2021-22, departments must provide an evidenced estimate of the level of fraud and error specifically in respect of the COVID-19 related schemes they administer and the level of debt as a result of that fraud and error.  There is currently no requirement to break down this data by region and therefore it is not possible to provide an estimate of covid-19 support scheme-related fraud by NUTS1 region.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of (a) the implications for his policies of the Bank of International Settlement’s report, Sustainable finance: trends, valuations and exposures, published September 2021 and (b) the risks to UK investors and public finances of a green finance bubble.

Greening the financial system is fundamental to meeting the UK’s net zero commitment and so it is positive that we are seeing increasing inflows of investments into green assets.

The Bank of International Settlements (BIS) report into sustainable finance encourages authorities to monitor green financial assets and improve transparency for the sector.

UK financial authorities have strong risk-management processes in place to monitor financial markets. The Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee (FPC) continually assesses the resilience of the financial system, and UK financial authorities work closely to manage risks at both the domestic and international level.

The Chancellor’s ambition is for the UK to be the best place in the world for green and sustainable finance. The UK is already taking bold action to achieve this, introducing economy-wide sustainability disclosure requirements to give companies the data they need to embed sustainability into everything they do. The Government has gone further by taking a leading role in pressing for global action in international fora such as the G7 and G20, and at COP26.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment has the Treasury made of the efficacy of introducing a price-cap on software to be used under the Making Tax Digital for Income Tax regime.

The Government expects software compatible with Making Tax Digital (MTD) for Income Tax Self-Assessment to be available at a range of prices, as we have seen with software for MTD for VAT. We have committed to free market-provided products which meet customers’ basic MTD needs. Many software options will combine MTD for Income Tax Self-Assessment functions with other tools, such as invoicing, giving businesses the opportunity for wider digital benefits.

For MTD for VAT, software developers are currently providing 22 free products, supporting the smallest businesses and landlords with straightforward affairs. HMRC has liaised extensively with the software market to ensure a range of software products, which includes affordable and free options, are made available to businesses. Some software providers have also indicated that current MTD for VAT software is likely to be upgraded for free for MTD for Income Tax Self-Assessment.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which provisions within the capital super-deduction allowance specifically incentivise investment in the green transition.

The super-deduction provides businesses with the biggest two-year tax cut in modern British history, providing upfront support to encourage businesses to invest in the equipment they need, including more efficient equipment to support the transition to net zero.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the existing tax regime in respect of electricity consumption for electric vehicle charging.

The Government has no plans to review the current rate of VAT applied to electric vehicle charging (EV).

In order to keep costs down for families, the supply of electricity for domestic use, including the consumption for electric vehicles charging at home, attracts the reduced rate of VAT (five per cent). However, electricity supplied at EV charging points in public places is subject to the standard rate of VAT (twenty per cent).

HMRC is currently reviewing the way in which businesses are able to reclaim the VAT incurred for the charging of electric vehicles. As part of this, VAT Notice 700/64 (Motoring Expenses) was updated on 6 January to provide further clarification. The review is ongoing and will conclude later this year.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 29 November 2021 to Question 78496, whether his Department's engagement with the devolved Administrations included how the new Health and Social Care levy should be described by payroll messaging facilities in those nations.

The Government's ongoing engagement with the Devolved Administrations includes raising awareness of HMRC non-statutory guidance to employers, for example, being explicit on payslips that the increase in National Insurance liabilities pays for additional health and social care funding. This engagement will continue until, and beyond, the introduction of the Health and Social Care levy in April 2022.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much and what proportion of the consequential funding for Wales resulting from the £300 million uplift to the Culture Recovery Fund the Welsh Government has received as of 13 December 2021.

The Barnett formula applies to changes in departmental DEL budgets, not when departments make spending or policy announcements.

The UK government has provided the Welsh Government with an additional £3.8 billion of Barnett-based funding this year. It is for the Welsh Government to decide how to allocate this funding across its devolved responsibilities, including how to provide support to the culture sector.

If the Treasury provides additional funding to departments in areas that are devolved in Wales, then the Welsh Government will receive additional funding through the Barnett formula.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
8th Dec 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the (a) Welsh Government, (b) Scottish Government and (c) Northern Ireland Executive on HMRC’s request that employers use, and software developers facilitate, the payslip messaging functionality in 2022-23 explaining the National Insurance Contributions increase.

I refer the Hon Member to the answer that was given on 29 November 2021 to PQ UIN 78496.

The engagement with the devolved administrations mentioned includes the Northern Ireland Executive.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps the Valuation Office Agency is taking to incorporate the potential effects of climate change into valuations, including (a) rising sea levels, (b) flooding and (c) storm surge damage.

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) monitors how the potential effects of climate change are being reflected in current open market value transactions. By looking at how market reactions may evolve, the VOA ensures valuations are appropriately aligned. The VOA follows current guidance from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors on relevant topics, such as flooding, and continues to monitor developments in the associated fields of climate change and renewable energy measures.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 29 November 2021 to Question 78497 on Energy: Conservation, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of extending the 5 percent reduced rate to the supply of certain energy-saving materials.

The Government maintains a reduced rate of VAT of 5 per cent on the installation of many energy saving materials, subject to certain conditions.

Going further would impose additional pressure on the public finances, to which VAT makes a significant contribution. VAT raised around £130 billion in the year 2019-20, and helps to fund key spending priorities, including on health, education, and defence.

The Government keeps all taxes under review.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many people in Ceredigion in receipt of (a) tax credits, (b) child benefit and(c) guardian’s allowance payments hold only a Post Office card account.

This information is not available.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
19th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for what reason VAT is payable on domestic cavity wall insulation and other energy efficiency measures; and if he will make a statement.

Under UK VAT rules, most goods and services are subject to the standard rate of VAT of 20 per cent. While there are exceptions to the standard rate, these have always been limited by both legal and fiscal considerations.

One exception is the 5 per cent reduced rate that applies to the installation of certain energy-saving materials, including insulation for walls, in residential accommodation. Further information can be found in VAT Notice 708/6 Energy-saving materials and heating equipment, which is available at: www.gov.uk.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the (a) Welsh and (b) Scottish Governments on the use of payroll messaging facilities and the new Health and Social Care levy in their nations.

HM Treasury Ministers and officials have had several discussions with the devolved administrations, including the Welsh and Scottish Governments, on the implementation of the Health and Social Care Levy.

These discussions cover a range of issues and will continue until and beyond its introduction from April 2022.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Nov 2021