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Written Question
Mobile Phones: Fraud
8 Jun 2021

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with phone companies on increasing cooperation between (a) phone companies and (b) public authorities to counter mobile phone fraud.

Answered by Matt Warman

Law enforcement partners have stepped up their efforts to tackle this type of crime, arresting over a hundred criminals involved in some of the most despicable types of fraud and taking down thousands of phone numbers as well as fake websites and email addresses.

The DCMS and Home Office are working closely with telecommunications providers, regulators and consumer groups to protect the public from crimes such as mobile phone fraud. As part of this work, we are developing a voluntary charter of the actions telecoms companies will take to prevent fraud.

The Government is also exploring a range of measures aimed at tackling the criminal abuse of mobile telecommunications across a range of different crime types including fraud.

  • We are encouraging the public to forward suspicious text messages to 7726 (which is free of charge) and continue to encourage anyone who has been targeted by a scam to report it to Action Fraud.

  • We have supported the National Trading Standards Scams Team to roll out call blocking devices to vulnerable people, to protect some of the most vulnerable in society from nuisance calls and scams.

  • The Government has banned cold calls from personal injury firms and pensions providers unless the consumer has explicitly agreed to be contacted. It has introduced director liability for nuisance calls.

  • The Government will take further action through our Fraud Action Plan, an ambitious approach grounded in prevention, education, effective enforcement and regulatory reforms.

  • The Government has launched a dedicated web page on protecting individuals and businesses from COVID-19 related fraud, with easy-to-follow tips and a list of places you can get help and advice if you think you are being scammed.


Written Question
Hospitality Industry and Leisure: Coronavirus
18 Mar 2021

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

What steps he is taking to support the reopening of sport, hospitality and leisure venues during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered by Nigel Huddleston

In the last twelve months, billions in funding has been provided to support the hospitality and arts, entertainment and recreation sectors through a combination of grants, loans, and business rate relief. The Culture Recovery Fund and Sports Recovery packages have provided close to £2.5 billion in sector specific support.

The Events Research programme, starting in April, comprises a series of scientific pilots conducted across a range of settings to explore how reopening can be facilitated safely.


Written Question
Internet: Fraud
1 Mar 2021

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to include financial promotions in the Online Safety Bill.

Answered by Caroline Dinenage

The new online safety legislation will focus on ensuring that people are protected from harmful content and behaviour online, with a particular emphasis on protecting children.

The legislation will not focus on harmful financial promotions, as this issue will be most effectively tackled by other mechanisms.


Written Question
Members: Correspondence
14 Jan 2021

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to reply to the letter of 5 October 2020 from the hon. Member for Warley, co-signed with Lord Mann, on behalf of the all-party Parliamentary jazz appreciation group.

Answered by John Whittingdale

A response was sent out on 14 December.


Written Question
Musicians: EU Countries
14 Jan 2021

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to seek EU agreement to add musicians to the list of Independent Professionals allowed to supply services in the EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

Answered by Oliver Dowden

The Government recognises the importance of touring for UK musicians and other creative professionals. We acknowledge that there will be some additional processes for those in creative industries working across the EU now that the transition period has come to an end. However, our agreement with the EU contains Transparency and Procedural Facilitation measures that will help ensure visa processes are as prompt and smooth as possible.

During our negotiations with the EU, the UK proposed measures, reflecting the views of the music industry itself, that would have allowed musicians to travel and perform in the UK and the EU more easily, without needing work-permits. Specifically, we proposed to capture the work done by musicians, artists and entertainers, and their accompanying staff through the list of permitted activities for short-term business visitors.

In practice this would have delivered an outcome that is closer to the UK’s approach to incoming musicians, artists and entertainers from non-visa national countries, such as EU Member States and the US, who can come to perform in the UK without requiring a visa. Unfortunately, these proposals were repeatedly rejected by the EU.

The EU did not propose and wouldn’t accept a tailored deal for musicians, artists and their support staff to tour across the EU and UK.

Going forward, we will continue our close dialogue with the creative and cultural sectors to ensure that they have the support they need to thrive.The Government recognises the importance of touring for UK musicians and other creative professionals, and has engaged extensively with the creative industries and arts sector since the announcement of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement to ensure they are aware of the new requirements.


Written Question
Musicians: EU Countries
14 Jan 2021

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to negotiate a reciprocal arrangement with the EU that allows musicians from the UK to work in the EU.

Answered by Oliver Dowden

The Government recognises the importance of touring for UK musicians and other creative professionals. We acknowledge that there will be some additional processes for those in creative industries working across the EU now that the transition period has come to an end. However, our agreement with the EU contains Transparency and Procedural Facilitation measures that will help ensure visa processes are as prompt and smooth as possible.

During our negotiations with the EU, the UK proposed measures, reflecting the views of the music industry itself, that would have allowed musicians to travel and perform in the UK and the EU more easily, without needing work-permits. Specifically, we proposed to capture the work done by musicians, artists and entertainers, and their accompanying staff through the list of permitted activities for short-term business visitors.

In practice this would have delivered an outcome that is closer to the UK’s approach to incoming musicians, artists and entertainers from non-visa national countries, such as EU Member States and the US, who can come to perform in the UK without requiring a visa. Unfortunately, these proposals were repeatedly rejected by the EU.

The EU did not propose and wouldn’t accept a tailored deal for musicians, artists and their support staff to tour across the EU and UK.

Going forward, we will continue our close dialogue with the creative and cultural sectors to ensure that they have the support they need to thrive.The Government recognises the importance of touring for UK musicians and other creative professionals, and has engaged extensively with the creative industries and arts sector since the announcement of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement to ensure they are aware of the new requirements.


Written Question
Nokia: 5G
21 Dec 2020

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions his Department has had with Nokia on production capacity in the UK for the roll-out of 5G.

Answered by Matt Warman

DCMS, as the lead department for digital infrastructure, has regular discussions with Ericsson about many aspects of 5G roll out.


Written Question
Ericsson: 5G
21 Dec 2020

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions his Department has had with Ericsson on production capacity in the UK for the roll-out of 5G.

Answered by Matt Warman

DCMS, as the lead department for digital infrastructure, has regular discussions with Ericsson about many aspects of 5G roll out.


Written Question
Casinos: Alcoholic Drinks
2 Nov 2020

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the casino industry on its proposal to withdraw the sale of alcohol from casino venues to avoid the closure of those venues under the tier system of covid-19 restrictions.

Answered by Nigel Huddleston

Officials from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport are in regular contact with the Betting and Gaming Council and individual casino operators to discuss the impact of coronavirus restrictions on their businesses. Discussions are ongoing and have included consideration of potential measures to reduce risk, such as the withdrawal of alcohol sales, that may help local leaders and government in their assessment of venues that can safely remain open.

The Chancellor announced on 9 October that the government’s Job Support Scheme (JSS) would be expanded to protect jobs and support businesses required to close their doors as a result of coronavirus restrictions. Under the scheme, the Government will pay two thirds of employees’ salaries. Grants under the Local Restrictions Support Grant scheme, also increased to up to £3,000 per month for businesses required to close in local lockdowns.


Written Question
Horse Racing: Coronavirus
29 Oct 2020

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the financial effect of the tier system of covid-19 restrictions on the horse racing industry.

Answered by Nigel Huddleston

Horse Racing behind closed doors continues to operate throughout the UK in line with government guidance and British Horseracing Authority (BHA) protocols.

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has indicated that 1,565 Licensed Betting Offices (LBOs) are closed as part of the Tier 3 restrictions affecting the Liverpool City Region, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire and Warrington. The BGC have estimated a loss of nearly £2.7million per month to the horse racing industry in media rights (payable to broadcast races) and levy income, based on the current amounts generated in levy and media payments.

The government will continue to work with the sector to understand the issues faced by organisations facing the most challenging circumstances


Written Question
Zhenhua Data: Data Protection
7 Oct 2020

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the collection of data on UK individuals and others by Chinese firm Zhenhua Data.

Answered by John Whittingdale

The Information Commissioner's Office is aware of the reports regarding Zhenhua Data Technology and is making enquiries with the company. Organisations must comply with our legal system and regulatory frameworks. The GDPR and UK’s Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA18) impose strict obligations on organisations to ensure that UK citizens’ data is processed safely and securely. Organisations which fail to comply may be investigated by the Information Commissioner’s Office and where appropriate subject to enforcement action, including fines. If relevant the ICO may contact international partners through their cooperation mechanism.


Written Question
Remembrance Day: Coronavirus
25 Sep 2020

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals and advice on the conduct of parades and services on Remembrance Sunday.

Answered by Caroline Dinenage

DCMS is only responsible for organising and delivering the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph on Whitehall on 8 November.

We have taken advice from Public Health England on the appropriate controls and mitigations to ensure safe social distancing and we will continually review the situation seeking advice from health experts and making necessary changes where and when required.


Those organising local Remembrance Sunday events across the UK should follow the guidance on outdoor events prepared and issued by the Events Industry Forum, with input from DCMS and in consultation with Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive. This guidance can be found here. The Local Government Association has also issued guidance for local authorities about outdoor events here.


Written Question
Broadband: Warley
21 Sep 2020

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the progress of the roll-out of full fibre digital infrastructure in Warley constituency in the last 12 months.

Answered by Matt Warman

Good progress has been made in the Warley constituency over the past 12 months; as of September 2020, full fibre coverage stands at 31%, which is up from 0.5% in September 2019. This is above the UK figure of 16%.

Additionally, as of September 2020 86% of premises in Warley have access to gigabit-capable connectivity. In the same month last year, that figure stood at just 0.5%. UK gigabit-capable coverage stands at 26%.


Written Question
National Lottery: Coronavirus
17 Jun 2020

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 lockdown on sales of National Lottery tickets.

Answered by Nigel Huddleston

Camelot releases sales information under a timetable and format agreed with its regulator, the Gambling Commission. Data on sales is published on the Camelot website three months in arrears. This can be found at: http://www.camelotgroup.co.uk/about-us/reporting

The March 2020 sales data was published alongside Camelot's 2019/20 year-end sales announcement on 2nd June, in which they announced record yearly sales for the National Lottery.

National Lottery ticket sales during March totalled £687.1 million. Sales were down £36.4 million versus the equivalent period last year. Retail sales in particular were impacted towards the end of March and into April as a result of the lockdown measures. However, after a sharp initial fall in sales in the early stages of the lockdown they are now recovering to close to normal levels.


Written Question
Gambling: Coronavirus
11 Jun 2020

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to his oral Answer of 4 June 2020, Official Report, column 992 on Covid-19: Sporting Sector, what the timetable is for the re-opening of the betting and gaming industry as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Answered by Nigel Huddleston

This week the Prime Minister will outline next steps for a number of sectors, which are expected to take effect from 15 June, subject to the latest scientific and medical advice. Further announcements about remaining sectors of the economy will follow in due course.