Jonathan Edwards Portrait

Jonathan Edwards

Independent - Carmarthen East and Dinefwr

Shadow PC Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Jul 2016 - 23rd May 2020
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Foreign Intervention)
8th May 2015 - 23rd May 2020
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Treasury)
18th Jun 2010 - 23rd May 2020
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Transport)
18th Jun 2010 - 23rd May 2020
Welsh Affairs Committee
11th Mar 2019 - 6th Nov 2019
Committee on Exiting the European Union
31st Oct 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union
31st Oct 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills)
18th Jun 2010 - 14th Jul 2016
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government)
18th Jun 2010 - 30th Mar 2015
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Jun 2010 - 30th Mar 2015
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Wales)
18th Jun 2010 - 30th Mar 2015
Welsh Affairs Committee
10th Mar 2014 - 30th Mar 2015
Welsh Affairs Committee
12th Jul 2010 - 6th Jan 2014


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Wednesday 20th October 2021
Environment Bill
voted No
One of 2 Independent No votes vs 1 Independent Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 309 Noes - 185
Speeches
Thursday 21st October 2021
Oral Answers to Questions

The Welsh Government, Hybu Cig Cymru and the farmers unions have all expressed concerns about the direction of UK trade …

Written Answers
Thursday 21st October 2021
Channel 4: Hearing Impairment
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions she has had with Channel 4 …
Early Day Motions
Tuesday 20th July 2021
Mark Cavendish: 34 Tour de France stage wins
That this House congratulates Mark Cavendish from the Isle of Man on his incredible achievement of winning 34 Tour De …
Bills
Public Expenditure and Taxation (Advisory Body) Bill 2017-19
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …
Tweets
Wednesday 20th May 2020
07:44
MP Financial Interests
Saturday 11th January 2020
EDM signed
Friday 22nd October 2021
John Ystymllun
That this House remembers the life and legacy of John Ystumllyn, the first recorded black person in North Wales following …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 18th June 2019
Universal Credit Sanctions (Zero Hours Contracts) Bill 2017-19
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Jonathan Edwards has voted in 235 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Jonathan Edwards 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
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(16 debate interactions)
Dominic Raab (Conservative)
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
(15 debate interactions)
Michael Gove (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities
(14 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
View all Jonathan Edwards's debates

Carmarthen East and Dinefwr Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with highest Carmarthen East and Dinefwr signature proportion
Petitions with most Carmarthen East and Dinefwr signatures
Jonathan Edwards has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Jonathan Edwards

20th October 2021
Jonathan Edwards signed this EDM as a sponsor on Friday 22nd October 2021

Broadcasting of Wales’ rugby Autumn Internationals

Tabled by: Ben Lake (Plaid Cymru - Ceredigion)
That this House expresses its concern following the announcement that live coverage of Wales' rugby Autumn International fixtures will not be available on terrestrial television for the first time ever; notes that sport should belong to everyone, not just those who can afford it; further notes the significant role that …
3 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Oct 2021)
Signatures by party:
Plaid Cymru: 1
Scottish National Party: 1
Independent: 1
21st October 2021
Jonathan Edwards signed this EDM as a sponsor on Friday 22nd October 2021

Crown Estate (Devolution to Wales) Bill

Tabled by: Liz Saville Roberts (Plaid Cymru - Dwyfor Meirionnydd)
That this House welcomes the presentation of the Crown Estate (Devolution to Wales) Bill, laid on 21 June 2021, that would devolve management of the Crown Estate and its assets in Wales to the Welsh Government; recognises that since 2017, management of the Crown Estate and its assets in Scotland …
4 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Oct 2021)
Signatures by party:
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 1
View All Jonathan Edwards's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Jonathan Edwards, 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.


Jonathan Edwards has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Jonathan Edwards has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Jonathan Edwards


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 establish an independent advisory body to make recommendations on the equitable distribution of public expenditure across the United Kingdom, the calculation of block grants to devolved administrations, the implications of the devolution of tax-raising powers for the United Kingdom fiscal framework, and the resolution of fiscal disputes arising between governments in the United Kingdom; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 2nd October 2019
(Read Debate)
Next Event - 2nd Reading: House Of Commons
Date TBA

342 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
2 Other Department Questions
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the delivery date for the first round of the (a) Levelling Up Fund and (b) Community Renewal Fund.

In the first round of the Levelling Up Fund, we will prioritise projects which are able to demonstrate investment or begin delivery on the ground in the 2021-22 financial year. We would expect all funding provided from the Fund to be spent by 31 March 2024, and, exceptionally, into 2024-25 for larger schemes.

I understand that lead local authorities and applicants are eager to hear investment decisions and begin delivery of UK Community Renewal Fund projects. We have received a fantastic response to the launch of the Community Renewal Fund, along with the Levelling Up Fund. Given the significant level of interest, officials are continuing to assess Community Renewal Fund bids in line with the published assessment process.

Officials will shortly provide further guidance to enable lead local authorities to plan for the delivery phase of the Community Renewal Fund. This guidance will include confirmation of the timeline for project delivery, grant funding agreements and publication of the monitoring and evaluation framework. This combined with direct local support provided by the Cities and Local Growth Unit, will I hope alleviate any challenges faced by successful projects.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when did the Advisory Military Sub Committee last meet.

The Advisory Military Sub Committee last met on the 4th February 2020.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to establish the UK's delegation to the Civil Society Forum as set out in the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement; and what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on membership of the Civil Society Forum.

At the first Partnership Council on 9 June, we noted the importance of the Civil Society Forum, and agreed with the EU on the necessary preparations ahead of its first meeting later this year.

We are engaging with the devolved administrations on membership of the Forum, as we do on all relevant matters of TCA implementation. We will seek public views and will issue a call for participants within the next few months to ensure a balanced representation of business and civil society groups across the UK.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to allow Members of Parliament an explicit vote in advance of any major UK military action.

The government has no such plans.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with the EU on ensuring the continuation of seamless pet travel following the transition period.

Guidance on pet travel is set out on gov.uk.

Any changes to this guideline is dependent on the category that is given to Great Britain at the end of the Transition Period, with this being conditional on the ongoing discussions being had with the EU Commission.

DEFRA has submitted an application to the European Commission to become a ‘Part I’ listed third country in relation to the non-commercial movement of pet dogs, cats and ferrets into the EU, which the Commission is considering.

Discussions with the European Commission are ongoing. Updates will be announced in the usual way.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the Advisory Military Sub Committee is next scheduled to meet.

The AMSC meets regularly to discuss cases, and will be meeting in due course.

7th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he has taken in response to the Boundary Commission for England's 2018 recommendations on parliamentary constituency boundaries.

The final reports of the four Boundary Commissions in the 2018 Boundary Review were submitted to the Government and laid before Parliament in September 2018.

The Government will continue to monitor closely the current legal proceedings in relation to the Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland’s final report.

As we set out in our manifesto, the Government will ensure we have updated and equal parliamentary boundaries, making sure every vote counts the same.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of using biofuel heating oil to decarbonise off gas grid dwellings; and if he will make a statement.

As set out in the 2020 Energy White Paper, the Department will consult later this year on new regulations to phase out fossil fuel heating in off-grid homes, businesses, and public buildings.

We recognise that liquid biofuels 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. The Department will publish a new Biomass Strategy in 2022, which 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 our net zero target. It 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.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to change the rules relating to the exhaustion of intellectual property rights.

The Government is currently consulting on what the UK’s future IP exhaustion regime should be, and if there is to be a change, how any change should be implemented. This consultation closes on 31 August 2021. At the present time, no decisions have been made as to whether a change from the current system is in the best interests of the UK.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make a statement on how the Government plans to use copyright policy to protect the livelihoods of creators.

The UK has one of the best copyright frameworks in the world and the Government remains committed to ensuring that it continues to protect the livelihoods of creators. Copyright legislation is kept under review and has been updated many times over the years; the Government does not rule out future changes where this is supported by the evidence.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with (a) Facebook, (b) Twitter, (c) Instagram and (d) other social media platforms on increasing protections for consumers shopping online from fraudulent commercial activity.

There is a robust legislative framework to protect consumers. This includes providing consumers the right to a refund within 14 days for most online purchases, for any reason. The Government keeps this legal framework under review to ensure consumers remain adequately protected.

Consumers should report any problems to the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133, www.citizensadvice.org/. The helpline offers free advice to consumers on their rights and can refer on complaints to Trading Standards for further appropriate enforcement action.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of protections for consumers shopping online via (a) Facebook, (b) Twitter, (c) Instagram and (d) other social media platforms.

There is a robust legislative framework to protect consumers. This includes providing consumers the right to a refund within 14 days for most online purchase, for any reason. The Government keeps this legal framework under review to ensure consumers remain adequately protected.

Consumers should report any problems to the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133, www.citizensadvice.org/. The helpline offers free advice to consumers on their rights and can refer on complaints to Trading Standards for further appropriate enforcement action.

In order to ensure consumers have the right protections when using large digital platforms, the Government has also agreed to set up a new Digital Markets Unit in the Competition and Markets Authority. We will consult on the powers of the unit later this year.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to introduce an alternative scheme to complement the Smart Export Guarantee to encourage small scale low carbon generation in rural areas.

The Smart Export Guarantee is available for low carbon generation situated across all areas of Great Britain, therefore the Government does not consider an alternative rural scheme is necessary.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to tackle infrastructure weaknesses that are a barrier to the roll out of smart meters in rural areas.

Second generation smart meters use a dedicated national smart metering communications network, which uses a variety of technologies to deliver connectivity to premises. These include cellular mobile technology plus wireless mesh radio, and long-range radio technology.

The Data Communications Company (DCC), which operates the national communications infrastructure for smart metering, is obligated under the conditions of its licence to provide communications coverage to at least 99.25% of premises across Great Britain.

The DCC is required by its licence conditions to assess opportunities to increase the overall level of coverage beyond its contractual requirements where it is practicable and cost proportionate.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what proportion of homes classified as rural have installed a smart meter.

Smart meters are replacing traditional gas and electricity meters in Great Britain as part of an essential infrastructure upgrade to make the energy system more efficient and flexible, enabling the cost-effective delivery of net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

The rollout is making good progress, with 22.2 million smart and advanced meters in homes and small businesses across Great Britain, as of the end of September 2020.

Data for smart meter installations is routinely collected at a Great Britain level.

The latest data on the rollout of smart meters is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/smart-meters-statistics.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of blending hydrogen with natural gas in the gas grid on (a) carbon emissions from domestic heating and (b) consumer prices.

BEIS officials are working with industry to understand the potential for blending hydrogen with natural gas in the grid. This work includes investigating the range of carbon emissions that could be saved in different blending scenarios, depending on the scale of blending and source of hydrogen.

BEIS officials will be working closely with Ofgem and industry to explore the potential for a future billing methodology – that fairly considers hydrogen blends whilst protecting consumers. Any GB-wide changes will depend on hydrogen blending being proven safe and affordable.

We do not expect an impact on consumer bills when trialling hydrogen blending in the gas grid.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department will take to ensure the electricity network in (a) rural and (b) other areas is able to meet increasing demand from the charging of electric vehicles.

Mechanisms are in place to ensure networks are prepared for the significant new demand for electricity from the transition to electric vehicles (EVs). The Government is working with partners in the Devolved Administrations to ensure that there are strong and coordinated plans in place to support the rollout of charging infrastructure across the country.

Ensuring the adequacy of local electricity networks is the responsibility of Distribution Network Operators (DNOs), and they are incentivised to do so through the regulatory framework set by Ofgem, the independent regulator. My officials regularly meet DNOs covering both rural and other areas to discuss the impacts of the EV transition. I recognise the particular issues that rural areas may face, such as longer distances between substations.

EVs also offer new opportunities for consumers to be part of a smarter and more flexible energy system. Smart charging can help reduce constraints on the network by shifting charging to off-peak periods. In 2019 the Government consulted on mandating that all private charge points sold or installed in the UK must have smart functionality and meet device level requirements. We intend to lay the relevant legislation later this year.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which stakeholders the Office for Product Safety and Standards plans to consult as its review of the Product Safety framework; and when that consultation will commence.

The Government has commenced its review of the UK Product Safety framework. The aim of our review is to ensure we have a Product Safety framework that is simple, flexible and fit for the future and delivers safety for consumers while supporting businesses to innovate and grow. The review is at an early stage of gathering evidence on current, emerging and anticipated challenges and opportunities for product safety.

In the coming months we will be engaging with a wide range of stakeholders, including groups representing businesses and manufacturers, along with consumer and safety organisations. Engagement will inform if and how the UK Product Safety framework could be improved to work better for everyone.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with Post Office Ltd on support for sub post offices during the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021.

Following the announcement of the lockdown, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer has put in place additional support to the most affected businesses, worth £4.6 billion across the United Kingdom. Post Offices are eligible to be awarded financial support through these measures. Post Offices are also able to access other existing business support schemes, such as VAT deferrals.

In addition, Post Office Ltd’s Hardship Scheme remains open for Postmasters who are experiencing severe financial issues. Postmasters have been reminded of the application process and eligibility criteria. Further information on the Hardship scheme can be found at: https://www.onepostoffice.co.uk/secure/covid-19-situation/post-office-hardship-scheme/.

We continue to work closely with Post Office Ltd, the National Federation of SubPostmasters and other stakeholders to understand the impact that COVID-19 has had on the operation of the Post Office and how the Government can support Postmasters through this period.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment has he made of the implications for his Department’s policy of the antitrust charges brought against Facebook by the Federal Trade Commission.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is the independent non-Ministerial department responsible for investigating competition issues in the UK. The Government has ensured that the CMA has significant powers to investigate and act if it finds that companies are behaving anti-competitively in a market.

In July 2020, the CMA published the final report of its market study into online platforms and digital advertising. In the recent response to the market study, the Government agreed with the CMA’s findings that Google and Facebook are dominant in the search and social media markets and that this is leading to higher prices for goods and services, less innovation and less choice for consumers.

The Government also announced the intention to establish and fund a Digital Markets Unit (DMU) within the CMA from April 2021, to create a new pro-competition regime for digital markets. A consultation on the DMU will be published in early 2021 and the Government will legislate to put it on a statutory footing as soon as Parliamentary time allows.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will undertake a review of the adequacy of access to bereavement leave for (a) people who are self-employed and (b) other workers; and if he will make a statement.

The Government recognises that the death of a close family member, friend, or colleague can be deeply upsetting.

We introduced Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay for employed parents in April this year.

So far, the Government has focused on supporting employed parents as they do not generally have the same level of flexibility and autonomy over the time they take off work and we continue to keep all support for employed and self-employed parents under review.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions his Department has had with employers on the adequacy of access to bereavement or compassionate leave for employees on zero-hour contracts.

The Government recognises that bereavement can be a deeply upsetting experience. We believe that individuals are best placed to understand their own specific needs and we encourage their employers to respond in an appropriate and sensitive way.

Recognising that the death of a child is particularly tragic, we introduced Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay in April this year.

All employees are also able to take reasonable time off for an emergency involving a dependant. This can be used to deal with some of the practicalities that surround a bereavement, including registering the death, making funeral arrangements and attending the funeral.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on levels of demand for electricity of the transition to electric vehicles by 2030.

Each year BEIS publishes updated energy projections (UEPs), analysing and projecting future energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in the UK. The most recently published assessment (EEP 2019) included assumptions on the transition to electric vehicles and accounted for policies which were considered firm and funded by autumn 2019. Forthcoming energy projections will be updated to account for the latest policy decisions, including ending the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2030.

We expect the transition to electric vehicles to create significant new demand for electricity but also offer opportunities for flexible management of the electricity system. Smart charging during off-peak periods, when electricity demand is low, can reduce peak demand and avoid triggering unnecessary network reinforcement. It can also maximise use of renewable electricity and can benefit consumers with cheaper electricity.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of local electricity grids in rural areas to meet the potential demand as a result of a transition to electric vehicles.

Ensuring the adequacy of local electricity grids is the responsibility of Distribution Network Operators (DNOs), and they are incentivised to do so through the regulatory framework set out by Ofgem, the independent regulator. Network investment is therefore a matter for Ofgem. However, I recognise the importance of electricity distribution network investment in meeting our objectives for the electrification of transport, taking into account the particular issues that rural areas may face such as longer distances to substations. BEIS officials regularly meet DNOs covering both rural and urban areas to discuss the impacts of the electric vehicle transition and the benefits that local area energy planning can bring in coordinating transport and electricity policy and investment.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with electricity network distribution operators on investment in rural electricity grids to meet potential demand as a result of a transition to electric vehicles.

Ensuring the adequacy of local electricity grids is the responsibility of Distribution Network Operators (DNOs), and they are incentivised to do so through the regulatory framework set out by Ofgem, the independent regulator. Network investment is therefore a matter for Ofgem. However, I recognise the importance of electricity distribution network investment in meeting our objectives for the electrification of transport, taking into account the particular issues that rural areas may face such as longer distances to substations. BEIS officials regularly meet DNOs covering both rural and urban areas to discuss the impacts of the electric vehicle transition and the benefits that local area energy planning can bring in coordinating transport and electricity policy and investment.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions his Department has held with HM Treasury on the potential merits of coordinating the development of key skills required for (a) civil and (b) military nuclear programmes in order to reduce the cost of that skills development to the public purse.

The Department has not had any recent discussions with HM Treasury on the potential merits of coordinating the development of key skills required for civil and military nuclear programmes.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 9 November to Question 110779, whether his Department has held discussions since 2016 with the Ministry of Defence on ways to develop (a) skills and (b) capacities for nuclear submarines through exploring potential synergies with civil nuclear programmes.

The Department has had no discussions since 2016 with the Ministry of Defence on the Government’s action to develop skills and capacities for nuclear submarines through exploring potential synergies with civil nuclear programmes.

There is an industry-led Nuclear Skills Strategy Group, of which the Department, as well as the Ministry of Defence and the Department of Education, are members. This group considers skills challenges and opportunities for the wider industry and its supply chain organisations.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 9 November to Question 110780, whether his Department has held discussions with the (a) manufacturers and (b) developers of small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) on developing the industrial synergies between SMRs and submarine propulsion nuclear reactors.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 9 November 2020 to Question 110780.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the economic benefits of the current bereavement leave entitlement.

The Government recognises that the death of a child is a tragic event. There are around 7,500 child deaths a year in Great Britain, including around 3,000 stillbirths. This is devasting for the parents involved and this is why the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy introduced Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay in April this year.

At the time we introduced this entitlement we published an Impact Assessment (https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/249/impacts) which contains a cost benefit analysis of the policy, setting out the costs to the Exchequer and business as well as the monetary benefits to employees and business and the social benefit to employees.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential (a) health and (b) economic benefits of introducing a statutory right to two weeks bereavement leave for employees in the event of the death of a dependant.

In April this year we introduced a new statutory entitlement to Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay for parents who lose a child under the age of 18. Whilst this entitlement is not available to employees who suffer a bereavement in other circumstances, all employees have a ‘day 1’ right to take unpaid time off work for an emergency involving a dependant. Time off for Dependants can also be used to deal with practical issues, including registering the death and making funeral arrangements.

All employees also have access to 5.6 weeks of paid Annual Leave a year.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many people have been eligible for (a) parental bereavement leave and (b) statutory parental bereavement pay since April 2020.

The Government recognises that the death of a child is particularly tragic, and this is why the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy introduced Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay in April this year.

The Government estimates that this entitlement will help to support over 10,000 parents of these children a year.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department has taken to raise public awareness of (a) Parental Bereavement Leave and (b) Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has made a number of media announcements to raise awareness of the new entitlement to Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay, including during the passage of the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 through Parliament and when the new entitlement came into force on 6 April 2020.

The new entitlement has attracted significant media attention since it was first proposed, including many articles in the national press and trade publications, and a multitude of broadcast coverage when the Statutory Instrument that was required to implement the detail of the policy was laid in January this year. Guidance for bereaved parents and their employers has also been published on GOV.UK. We continue to emphasise and champion Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay publicly, whenever the opportunity arises.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Defence, on the potential merits of coordinated development of key skills required for (a) civil and (b) military nuclear programmes.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has had no recent discussions with my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence on the potential merits of coordinated development of key skills required for civil and military nuclear programmes.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the (a) manufacturers and (b) developers of small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) in respect of the developing the industrial synergies between SMRs and submarine propulsion nuclear reactors.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, has had no discussions with manufacturers or developers of small modular reactors (SMRs) in respect of developing the industrial synergies between SMRs and submarine propulsion nuclear reactors.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, If he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a public body with powers to set the price of licences required to stream music similar to the Copyright Royalty Board in the US.

The prices of music streaming licences are the result of private, commercial negotiations and the Government plays no role in them.

The Government recognises the importance of understanding how rights holders are remunerated in the global streaming environment. The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is working closely with the UK Council of Music Makers on a research project to investigate the flow of money from streaming to creators. This is due to report in summer 2021.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has had recent discussions with streaming music companies on enhancing cultural plurality for listeners.

The Government has not had recent discussions with music streaming companies on enhancing cultural plurality for listeners, nor has the Government been approached on this matter.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the amount of royalties paid by music streaming companies as a proportion of revenue in the latest period for which figures are available.

Streaming contracts are private commercial agreements between the parties concerned.

The Government recognises the importance of understanding how rights holders are remunerated in the global streaming environment. To this end, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is working closely with the UK Council of Music Makers on a research project to investigate the flow of money from streaming to creators. This will run for 12 months and is due to report in summer 2021. This project will help improve our understanding of the issue.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has had recent discussions with music streaming companies on the rates of remuneration for minority language artists.

Streaming contracts are private agreements between the parties concerned and the Government plays no role in them.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of setting an increased fixed statutory level for which music streaming companies remunerate publishers.

Ultimately, such remuneration is a private, contractual matter.

The Government recognises the importance of understanding how rights holders are remunerated in the global streaming environment. To this end, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is working closely with the UK Council of Music Makers on a research project to investigate the flow of money from streaming to creators. This will run for 12 months and is due to report in summer 2021. This project will help improve our understanding of the issue.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many loans under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme have been allocated to businesses since that scheme was announced.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) opened for applications on 23 March. On 3 April it was significantly expanded along with changes to the scheme’s features and eligibility criteria to allow more SMEs to access the scheme. As of Tuesday 21 April, it has provided over £2.8 billion of lending to SMEs. Total lending under CBILS has doubled in the week from 14 April to 21 April, with an increase of £1.45 billion.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions his Department has had with banks operating the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme on the interest rates for those loans.

Interest rates charged under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) are set at the discretion of each lender. However, under the terms of the State Aid agreement, the Government fully expects that the benefit of the guarantee under the CBILS is reflected in the interest that is charged on the CBILS facility, both during the period of the Business Interruption Payment and thereafter for the remainder of the facility.

The Government held discussions with the banking industry prior to the launch of CBILS. The Business Secretary has had calls with UK senior executives at Natwest, Barclays, Aldermore, Lloyds, HSBC and Santander and will continue to hold a regular dialogue with each of the biggest CBILS lenders to address feedback on how the scheme has been working and closely monitor its implementation to ensure that companies feel the full benefits of this support.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the loan guarantee offered by the Government for the construction of Hinkley Point C remains valid despite the delays in its construction.

On 12 June 2018, the then Minister for Business and Industry stated that the £2 billion debt guarantee for Hinkley Point C, made through the UK Guarantees Scheme, had been cancelled by EDF.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate she has made of the number of (a) unrestored and (b) restored former open cast sites across the UK.

The Department does not hold records relating to the status of surface mine sites as overall planning approval and specific agreement to a restoration plan, detailing how the land will be landscaped once the site has been mined, is a matter for individual Local Planning Authorities (LPA). The LPA is also responsible for the monitoring of any restoration work and ensuring the planning applicant has the financial backing to complete the work.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether her Department has had any discussions with representatives from the Libyan National Army on energy policy.

The UK regards the Government of National Accord as the UN-endorsed government in Libya. There have been no discussions between members of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and representatives of the Libyan National Army on energy policy.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions she has had with Channel 4 on the restoration of their subtitle service for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The department has been in contact with both Channel 4 and Ofcom on this issue. It is important that television content is accessible for all UK audiences and as such all public service broadcasters are required to ensure adequate provision of access services, including subtitling, for their broadcast channels. Ofcom, as the independent regulator, is closely monitoring the situation, including the actions being taken to restore normal service as quickly as possible and to keep viewers informed.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with the Drinking Water Inspectorate on health and safety check requirements for the approval of fibre optic products for use in trials of feeding those cables through water pipes.

The Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) has been involved in planning the Fibre in Water trial project from a very early stage and will remain key to its success throughout. The project will only allow trials using products which the DWI has fully certified as safe to use, and which meet critical requirements for security and resilience. The project will be steered by a joint governance board including DCMS, Defra, BEIS, Ofwat and Ofcom representatives with safe and resilient supply of both services as a central success factor.

18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what support will be provided to people who (a) do not currently have an internet connection and (b) are unable to access a broadband connection, if the Public Switched Telephone Network is switched off in 2025.

The Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is privately-owned and the withdrawal is industry-led. Fixed-line operators - such as Openreach and Virgin Media - will cease to provide legacy copper services in a phased approach; with the network expected to switch-off entirely in 2025. The PSTN is increasingly unreliable and operators are concerned about their ability to repair, maintain and source spare parts.

Operators will be replacing the PSTN with ‘voice over internet protocol’ (VoIP) technology, which carries voice calls over a digital connection. For many consumers the change will involve plugging their existing landline phone into their router rather than into a wall socket. The change is expected to offer consumers clearer and better quality phone calls.

It should be noted that the closure of the PSTN will not affect fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) broadband (also known as ‘superfast broadband) where copper cables extend to roadside cabinets before a fibre cable carries the connection to the telephone exchange. Fibre-to-the-cabinet broadband is currently available in 97% of the country and operators continue to roll out services across the country.

While PSTN withdrawal is an industry-led process, the Government and Ofcom are working together on matters relating to the withdrawal process. This includes close engagement with the emergency services, as well as other organisations providing critical national services.

Ofcom has a statutory duty to further and protect the interest of consumers, including those who are vulnerable. As part of this duty, Ofcom has rules in place, known as general conditions, which all providers must follow, that mandate communication providers to have procedures and policies in place to identify and support vulnerable consumers.

Ofcom has also published a Vulnerability Guide for providers, setting out their expectations and good practice on how vulnerable telecoms consumers should be supported. This includes steps providers can take to identify vulnerable consumers, and an expectation that all providers implement specialist teams in order to provide extra support.

The telecoms industry - via the Broadband Stakeholder Group - have been collaborating on this issue, and in June 2020 launched a consumer-facing website as a resource to inform the public of the process. This website was developed with the support of telecoms companies, Ofcom and DCMS and is funded by TechUK. The website can be accessed here: https://www.futureofvoice.co.uk/.

We would advise consumers who have questions about the PSTN withdrawal process, or would like further information, to contact their telecoms service provider who will be able to provide specific support.

18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what impact assessment he has made the proposed closure of the Public Switched Telephone Network in 2025 on those who (a) do not have internet and (b) are unable to access a broadband connection.

The Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is privately-owned and the withdrawal is industry-led. Fixed-line operators - such as Openreach and Virgin Media - will cease to provide legacy copper services in a phased approach; with the network expected to switch-off entirely in 2025. The PSTN is increasingly unreliable and operators are concerned about their ability to repair, maintain and source spare parts.

Operators will be replacing the PSTN with ‘voice over internet protocol’ (VoIP) technology, which carries voice calls over a digital connection. For many consumers the change will involve plugging their existing landline phone into their router rather than into a wall socket. The change is expected to offer consumers clearer and better quality phone calls.

It should be noted that the closure of the PSTN will not affect fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) broadband (also known as ‘superfast broadband) where copper cables extend to roadside cabinets before a fibre cable carries the connection to the telephone exchange. Fibre-to-the-cabinet broadband is currently available in 97% of the country and operators continue to roll out services across the country.

While PSTN withdrawal is an industry-led process, the Government and Ofcom are working together on matters relating to the withdrawal process. This includes close engagement with the emergency services, as well as other organisations providing critical national services.

Ofcom has a statutory duty to further and protect the interest of consumers, including those who are vulnerable. As part of this duty, Ofcom has rules in place, known as general conditions, which all providers must follow, that mandate communication providers to have procedures and policies in place to identify and support vulnerable consumers.

Ofcom has also published a Vulnerability Guide for providers, setting out their expectations and good practice on how vulnerable telecoms consumers should be supported. This includes steps providers can take to identify vulnerable consumers, and an expectation that all providers implement specialist teams in order to provide extra support.

The telecoms industry - via the Broadband Stakeholder Group - have been collaborating on this issue, and in June 2020 launched a consumer-facing website as a resource to inform the public of the process. This website was developed with the support of telecoms companies, Ofcom and DCMS and is funded by TechUK. The website can be accessed here: https://www.futureofvoice.co.uk/.

We would advise consumers who have questions about the PSTN withdrawal process, or would like further information, to contact their telecoms service provider who will be able to provide specific support.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on ensuring adequate levels of funding for Welsh language free-to-air television channel S4C.

The UK government is committed to the future of Welsh language broadcasting and of S4C.

As set out in the government response to the Independent Review of S4C, completed in 2018, S4C will be fully funded from the licence fee from 2022 onwards. As part of the Licence Fee Settlement there will be a full and proper consideration of S4C's needs separate to those of the BBC.

The Government is committed to greater transparency in this settlement and the Secretary of State will lay his final determination before Parliament to allow time for debate before the settlement takes effect. Negotiations for the 2022 Licence Fee Settlement are ongoing, and the Government will not be commenting further on the process or the Government’s position on the licence fee negotiations at this time.

15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the merits of increasing the voucher support in successor schemes to the Broadband Upgrade Fund for small communities under 100 dwellings.

The Broadband Upgrade Fund was a pilot conducted in the three areas of the UK from June 2020 to January 2021, running in parallel with the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme. It was set up to test whether we could collate demand for broadband in an area that suppliers could observe in order to see if this would attract new suppliers to build in rural areas.

The final stage of the Broadband Upgrade Fund only recently completed, in January 2021. 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. Following this assessment the Department will determine whether this approach is incorporated into the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme.

The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme has existed since March 2018, and has provided eligible areas across the UK with vouchers to cover the installation of costs of bringing gigabit connectivity to people’s homes and businesses. So far more than 66,000 vouchers worth up to £127 million have been issued to premises across the UK.

Following the government’s announcement on 19 March 2021, rural homes and businesses across the UK currently struggling with slow broadband speeds will continue to be able to benefit from this unique form of funding without needing to wait for coverage under the new Project Gigabit procurement contracts. The government is investing up to £210 million to build on the success of its Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme and the new scheme is due to go live on 8 April 2021.

The new vouchers will be worth up to £1,500 for residents and up to £3,500 for businesses. There will be an online postcode checker available so people can check if their home or business is eligible. They can then search for and select a supplier that they wish to work with to set up a group project for their community. Suppliers registered to the scheme will guide each beneficiary through the process of application, and then, if eligible, through to connection. Group projects can be for as few as two premises only so are ideal for groups of less than 100 dwellings. If communities can group together to aggregate the value of their vouchers they can often accumulate enough funding to cover most or all of the costs for installation.

8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on that government's proposals to support (a) historic houses and (b) the wider heritage sector during the recovery from the covid-19 outbreak.

Heritage is a devolved matter and as such, the Secretary of State has not met with the Welsh Government to discuss the above. He has however held meetings with the UK-wide organisation the National Trust on heritage sector recovery.

DCMS officials have worked with representatives of Cadw and Historic Houses (representing 26 properties in Wales) throughout the pandemic, including the Heritage COVID Working Group which both are invited to.

I also met with the President and Director General of the Historic House Association. This organisation represents more than 1,600 private and charitably owned historic country houses, including 26 houses in Wales. At this meeting, the short, medium and long term recovery of the sector were discussed.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to include the sale of unsafe electrical goods on online marketplaces within the proposed online safety Bill.

The Government is committed to tackling the sale of unsafe consumer products online, including unsafe electrical goods.

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 and on tackling the most serious illegal content.

It will not have a focus on product safety as it is important not to duplicate other work across government. As the country’s national product safety regulator, the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) has a clear remit to lead the Government’s efforts to tackle the sale of unsafe goods online.

5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to introduce the Online Safety Bill.

In December we published the full government response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation. This set out the new expectations on companies to keep their users safe online.

The Online Safety Bill, which will give effect to the new regulatory framework, will be ready this year.

1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of supporting minority language (a) artists, (b) music labels and (c) publishers through (i) creating a minority language music grant and (ii) producing guidance for those groups on working with streaming services.

No assessment on this has been made, however we are continuing to meet with music stakeholders to understand the issues affecting their industry and provide support and guidance.

The Secretary of State provided a major £1.57 billion support package for key cultural organisations to help them through the coronavirus pandemic. This support package will benefit the live music sector by providing support to venues and many other organisations to stay open and continue operating. The Cultural Recovery Fund is devolved, Wales has received £59 million from the Fund under the Barnett formula.

Freelancers working in the cultural and creative sectors in Wales will be able to apply for their share of a £7 million fund – which is targeted specifically at those in the freelance sector hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. Further support for artists is available through the Arts Council of Wales.

Culture policy is a devolved matter, we would also recommend that this issue is raised with Welsh Government Ministers and Creative Wales.

29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the powers available to the Information Commissioner's Office to enforce its decisions against search engines located outside of the UK.

The UK’s data protection laws include extra-territorial scope and allow the Information Commissioner's Office to engage in international cooperation mechanisms to facilitate effective enforcement and to provide mutual assistance through notification, complaint referral, investigative assistance and information exchange.

Both the General Data Protection Regulations 2018 and the Data Protection Act 2018 provide for extra territorial scope, which applies to organisations offering goods or services, or monitoring the behaviour of data subjects within the UK, regardless of whether the processing actually takes place in the UK or not. In certain circumstances, this may allow the ICO to take action against companies located outside of the UK. Where enforcement is required to secure the data protection rights of UK users, the ICO will apply its powers as appropriate.

The Information Commissioner has an international team responsible for engaging with data protection and information regulators globally. The Information Commissioner’s investigative teams will, where appropriate, coordinate their investigative and evidence gathering activity; this may be either jointly or individually depending on the circumstances of the case. They also have operational protocols and memoranda of understanding with their international partners in support of this engagement.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what guidance the Government has issued to dating (a) applications and (b) websites to help ensure that people do not use those services to arrange to meet up in person in contravention of social distancing measures during the covid-19 outbreak.

Over the past few weeks the Digital Tech Policy directorate within DCMS have been holding Coordinating Communications and Support teleconferences with key stakeholders.

Below is a list of key bodies that were engaged with throughout the series of calls. Dating apps and website companies are amongst their membership.

TechUK - the leading representative body for the tech sector in the UK, Tech Nation, Tech Cluster Group, Digital Catapult, CBI (digital team), Coadec

Others include: Tech Advocates, British Computer Society, Internet Association, Institute for Coding, The Software Alliance

The government has issued clear guidance to businesses and the general public on how to respond to the current situation and this guidance is kept up to date on GOV.UK. We would expect everyone to be aware of social distancing guidance and to be doing their best to follow it.

5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Six Nations and Rugby Authorities to ensure that Welsh rugby games will continue to be broadcast in the Welsh language.

I have not had any discussions with Six Nations or any Rugby Authorities regarding the broadcasting of rugby games in the Welsh Language.

The Rugby League Challenge Cup Final, the Rugby World Cup Final and other games in the Rugby World Cup, and the Six Nations Rugby tournament are all included on the listed events regime, which ensures availability of live or delayed coverage respectively for qualifying free to air channels.

27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with (a) UEFA and (b) the Football Association of Wales over the staging of Wales’ Euro 2020 games in Azerbaijan and Italy.

I have spoken to a number of sports governing bodies to ensure they are aware of the latest position from Government and guidance from the health authorities.

We will continue this dialogue and update the relevant stakeholders immediately should advice from the public health authorities change at any point and I know my counterparts in devolved authorities have similarly close engagement. Anyone wishing to travel to Azerbaijan or Italy should consult the foreign travel advice provided by the FCO.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the Turing Scheme; whether that scheme will be UK-wide; whether universities will be required to make an application to be eligible for participation in the scheme; and if he will make a statement.

The government fully recognises the benefits of international exchanges in education and training. We have worked closely with the Welsh Government as well as the other Devolved Administrations in designing the Turing Scheme and I plan to continue doing so as we move towards delivery.

With over £100 million allocated for the 2021/22 academic year, Turing will be a UK-wide scheme which students from the entire UK will be able to benefit from. More details of the scheme will be made available shortly, and in the coming weeks universities, colleges, and schools, as would have been the case with Erasmus+, will be invited to bid for funding to support student mobilities taking place from September 2021. In the meantime, education providers across the UK should begin preparations with international partners as soon as possible.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing compensation to schools that have been required to cancel planned foreign trips as a result of the covid-19 pandemic and have no insurance cover; and what discussions he has had with his counterparts in the devolved Administrations on that compensation.

Schools who have had to or are in the process of cancelling overseas or domestic trips should check with their travel agents or credit card companies regarding securing refunds in the first instance.

If unable to recoup their full costs from the above sources, those academies and schools signed up to the Risk Protection Arrangement (RPA) for schools (an alternative to commercial insurance) should contact the RPA scheme administrators, whilst those academies/schools not covered by this scheme should contact their individual insurance companies.

The Department is continuing to discuss the issue of school trip cancellation and cost recovery with key government partners and representative bodies of the travel and insurance sectors.

Furthermore, we continue to advise schools to review any/all future trip and travel plans that they may have in light of current government advice on travel and social distancing.

Insurance for schools is a matter for devolved administrations.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of a UK-EU veterinary agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary rules on movements of animals and food products on Welsh (a) exports and (b) imports.

We continue to engage with the EU on steps we can take to reduce trade frictions. At the first meeting of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) Partnership Council on 9 June, the UK emphasised the importance of cooperating to avoid unnecessary SPS barriers, and reiterated that we are open to an SPS agreement based on equivalence.

The UK proposed a mechanism to agree equivalence during the TCA negotiations, which the EU did not countenance. We are open to discussions with the EU on additional steps to further reduce trade friction, but these cannot be on the basis of future alignment with EU rules. This would compromise UK sovereignty over our own laws.

Our TCA also provides an alternative framework for agreeing trade facilitations going forward. Over time, this will help to reduce the burden on businesses from border controls and certification requirements. We will seek to reduce checks safely through the regular dialogue both sides have committed to in the agreement.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with EU representatives on the UK-EU veterinary agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary rules on movements of animals and food products.

We continue to engage with the EU on steps we can take to reduce trade frictions. At the first meeting of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) Partnership Council on 9 June, the UK emphasised the importance of cooperating to avoid unnecessary SPS barriers, and reiterated that we are open to an SPS agreement based on equivalence.

The UK proposed a mechanism to agree equivalence during the TCA negotiations, which the EU did not countenance. We are open to discussions with the EU on additional steps to further reduce trade friction, but these cannot be on the basis of future alignment with EU rules. This would compromise UK sovereignty over our own laws.

Our TCA also provides an alternative framework for agreeing trade facilitations going forward. Over time, this will help to reduce the burden on businesses from border controls and certification requirements. We will seek to reduce checks safely through the regular dialogue both sides have committed to in the agreement.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the level of shortages of (a) fishmongers, (b) butchers and (c) poultry processors in the UK.

This year Defra is working closely with industry to ensure that our sectors have the labour they need for 2021 and beyond. Defra is regularly speaking with industry and making use of all available information to understand the national labour supply picture. We will keep labour market data under very careful scrutiny to monitor any pressures in key sectors.

Fishmongers, butchers, and poultry processors are eligible for the Skilled Worker route under the points-based immigration system. The Skilled Worker route is open to all nationals who wish to come to the UK for the purpose of working in a skilled job they have been offered. Migrants need to meet mandatory criteria - a job offer from an approved sponsor, a job offer at the appropriate skills level, English language skills and criminality checks.

In 2021 and beyond, food and farming businesses will continue to be able to rely on EU nationals living in the UK with settled or pre-settled status. Over five million EU citizens and their families have been granted settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme to date, and the application deadline is 30 June 2021.

The Government encourages all sectors to make employment more attractive to UK domestic workers through offering training, careers options, wage increases and to invest in increased automation technology.

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, what recent discussions he has had with (a) UK food exporters and (b) his counterparts in the EU on negotiating a veterinary agreement on sanitary and phytosanitary rules with the EU.

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)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of a negotiated veterinary agreement on sanitary and phytosanitary rules with the EU on reducing 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)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to his Department's planned consultation on ending live animal exports for slaughter and the proposals in that consultation on temperature limits, what assessment his Department has made of the (a) cost implications for farmers and (b) effect on the supply chain; and whether businesses would be expected to use weather forecasts to assess whether or not they would be able to transport live animals.

We have published a consultation stage impact assessment which estimates the potential impact on businesses of proposals to end live animal exports for slaughter and fattening and introduce further improvements to animal welfare during transport. We want to gather further evidence through the consultation process to further refine the impact assessment.

We are working closely with the Animal and Plant Health Agency on how any proposals would be implemented and enforced.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the total volume was of live animal exports from the EU to each (a) nation and (b) region of the UK in each financial year since 2015.

The following table shows the volume of live animal exports from the EU to the UK in each financial year since 2015.

Financial year

tonnes

2015/16

77,800

2016/17

56,100

2017/18

59,000

2018/19

52,800

2019/20 (provisional)

50,700

The data provided for live animal imports includes farm animals (cattle, sheep, pigs etc.) as well as non-farm animals (exotic animals, race horses etc). Both breeding and non-breeding animals are included. Country and regional level trade data is not readily available, and has not been provided.

Data source: HMRC Overseas Trade Statistics

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the outcome of trade negations with the EU on the volume of live animal exports from (a) Wales and (b) the UK to the EU.

My department has not made an assessment of how the volume of live animal exports might change based on the possible outcome of the trade talks with the EU. Trade negotiations with the EU are ongoing, and we will always look to agree the best deal for British producers and businesses. We want to maintain a relationship with the EU which is based on friendly cooperation between sovereign equals, and centred on free trade. We are continuing to work closely with traders and are implementing processes to ensure that exporters understand the requirements they need to meet to continue trading within the EU following the end of the Transition Period, including for live animal exports.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the financial effect of ending live animal exports for slaughter and fattening that begin in or transit through England or Wales on farmers in (a) Wales and (b) England.

We have prepared a provisional impact assessment to estimate the potential impact on businesses of our proposals to end live animal exports for slaughter and fattening and introduce further improvements to animal welfare during transport. This will be made available during the consultation period.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the total value was of UK live animal exports by (a) country and (b) region to (i) the EU and (ii) all other countries in each financial year since 2015.

The following table shows UK exports of live animals to EU and non-EU countries in each financial year since 2015.

Financial year

EU

Non-EU

2015/16

£302m

£138m

2016/17

£359m

£185m

2017/18

£356m

£178m

2018/19

£337m

£201m

2019/20 (provisional)

£352m

£211m

The data provided for live animal exports includes farm animals (cattle, sheep, pigs etc.) as well as non-farm animals (exotic animals, race horses etc). Both breeding and non-breeding animals are included. Country and regional level trade data is not readily available, and has not been provided.

Data source: HMRC Overseas Trade Statistics

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the total value was of UK meat exports by (a) country and (b) region to (i) the EU and (ii) all other countries in each financial year since 2015.

The following table shows UK exports of meat to EU and non-EU countries in each financial year since 2015.

Financial year

EU

Non-EU

2015/16

£1.2bn

£242m

2016/17

£1.3bn

£325m

2017/18

£1.5bn

£342m

2018/19

£1.5bn

£384m

2019/20 (provisional)

£1.5bn

£562m

Data source: HMRC Overseas Trade Statistics

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer 25 November 2020 to Question 118511 on Dogs: Imports, what discussions he has had with Eurotunnel on their decision to reduce the number of animals allowed to travel in each vehicle from 20 to five.

The regulations governing the non-commercial movements of cats, dogs and ferrets stipulate that people cannot bring more than 5 pets per person into the UK unless they are attending or training for a competition, show, sporting event (and written evidence of registration is required). However, dogs imported into the UK for rescue or rehoming must be moved under the commercial 'Balai Directive' regulations, which has different requirements. These regulations place no limits on consignment sizes. Any decisions made by the carriers (such as ferries and trains) to restrict consignment sizes in ways not required by the regulations are commercial decisions to which the Government is not party.

It is for carriers, in this case Eurotunnel, to decide whether to introduce any additional conditions on passengers that go beyond the legal requirements in the regulations, including those that relate to travelling with pets.

Anybody wishing to move animals into the UK during these unprecedented times must plan all journeys carefully, ensuring that the proposed journey is realistic and complies with all relevant regulations and legislation around the movement of animals throughout the animals' entire journey, including welfare in transport, as well as relevant COVID-19 legislation.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the limit on bringing more than five dogs to the UK on the efforts to rescue and re-home dogs.

The regulations governing the non-commercial movements of cats, dogs and ferrets stipulate that people cannot bring more than 5 pets per person into the UK unless they are attending or training for a competition, show, sporting event (and written evidence of registration is required). However, dogs imported into the UK for rescue or rehoming must be moved under the commercial ‘Balai Directive’ regulations, which has different requirements. These regulations place no limits on consignment sizes. Any decisions made by the carriers (such as ferries and trains) to restrict consignment sizes in ways not required by the regulations are commercial decisions to which the Government is not party.

Anybody wishing to move animals into the UK during these unprecedented times must plan all journeys carefully, ensuring that the proposed journey is realistic and complies with all relevant regulations and legislation around the movement of animals throughout the animals’ entire journey, including welfare in transport, as well as relevant COVID-19 legislation.

The end of the Transition Period may open up new opportunities for managing our own commercial and non-commercial import and pet travel arrangements. The Government will be considering our pet travel and import arrangements (including for puppies and kittens) as part of cracking down on puppy smuggling in line with our manifesto commitment.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Oct 2020
What recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on preparations for meat exports to the EU after the transition period.

We are implementing processes to ensure that meat can continue to be exported to the EU from 1 January 2021, in line with EU import rules. We are hosting webinars to help traders familiarise themselves with those export processes, including for the Association Independent Meat Suppliers and International Meat Trade Association. We have also developed a Groupage Export Facilitation Scheme to support the export of products from complex but stable supply chains, including certain meat products and preparations.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when the Government next plans to undertake negotiations with the EU on animal health and identification marks.

We want a relationship with the EU which is based on friendly cooperation between sovereign equals, and centred on free trade. In the circumstances, we have no plans to ask for special arrangements on the use of health or identification marks for British exports to the EU. The Food Standards Agency is finalising its new guidance to the food industry covering which health and identification marks should be used on products of animal origin after the end of the Transition Period. We anticipate that this will be published shortly.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what timetable he has set for the new online system to process Animal Export Health Certificates to be completed.

The Export Health Certificates (EHC) Online service has been available for trade with third countries since June 2020. It replaces the current manual process for applying for EHCs.

The 150 most frequently used third country EHCs (representing 80% of current throughput) are available via the EHC Online service. There will be further releases of third country EHCs on the online service before the end of 2020.

APHA plan to make EHCs for EU trade available via EHC Online from mid-October. This will offer traders visibility of the documentation they will be required to use at the end of the transition period.

The EHC Online service has been developed with the capability to meet future demand in export trade. Defra estimate that up to an additional 300,000 Export Health Certificates may be required annually to facilitate EU trade. The EHC Online system has been designed and stress tested to process transactions in excess of this.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what forecast he has made of the number of applications the new animal health export certificates online system to process per (a) week, (b) month and (c) year.

The Export Health Certificates (EHC) Online service has been available for trade with third countries since June 2020. It replaces the current manual process for applying for EHCs.

The 150 most frequently used third country EHCs (representing 80% of current throughput) are available via the EHC Online service. There will be further releases of third country EHCs on the online service before the end of 2020.

APHA plan to make EHCs for EU trade available via EHC Online from mid-October. This will offer traders visibility of the documentation they will be required to use at the end of the transition period.

The EHC Online service has been developed with the capability to meet future demand in export trade. Defra estimate that up to an additional 300,000 Export Health Certificates may be required annually to facilitate EU trade. The EHC Online system has been designed and stress tested to process transactions in excess of this.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number additional veterinary professionals who will be required to process animal health export certificates prior to consignment after the end of the transition period.

We estimate around 200 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) Official Vets (OVs) are required to certify export of products of animal origin from Great Britain after the end of the Transition Period. In practice, many qualified vets operating in the private certification market certify health certificates alongside other more traditional veterinary activities. We have increased the number of those holding the relevant qualification to certify exports of products of animal origin from circa 600 in February 2019 to more than 1200 today, with further funded training announced on 1 October 2020.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to publish guidance to UK meat exporters wishing to export fresh and frozen groupage products to retail and non retail customers on the requirements for such export after the transition period.

To help traders prepare for changes to export arrangements for animals and products of animal origin from 1 January 2021, we are hosting a series of webinars from mid-October. Specimen Export Health Certificates (EHCs) and accompanying guidance notes for trade between Great Britain and the EU have been made available on gov.uk, to enable exporters and certifiers to familiarise themselves with the detailed requirements. A Groupage Export Facilitation Scheme (GEFS) was developed in consultation with industry to help facilitate the export of certain commodities with complex but stable supply chains, including composite products, meat products and meat preparations, for use from 1 January 2021.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions the Government has had with the EU on the preservation of Soil Association certification for organic products after the transition period; and if he will make a statement.

The Government proposed an organics equivalence agreement in its Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) proposals. Organics is currently included in the UK’s proposed CFTA legal text as a technical annex and the negotiations are ongoing.

In addition, the six UK control bodies, including Soil Association Certification, have applied to the EU for recognition as equivalent for the purpose of trade. We understand that these applications by the individual organic control bodies are progressing.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what support the Government plans to provide for farmers to de-carbonise agricultural vehicles.

The Government is committed to take action to mitigate climate change and to adapt to its impact. We have committed significant funding for agri-tech innovation, including research and development to move us towards net zero farming systems. We will offer financial assistance to enable farmers, foresters, and growers to invest in the equipment, technology, and infrastructure that they need, to improve their productivity, manage the environment sustainably, and deliver other public goods.

In addition, The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) supports the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from fuel supplied for use in transport. The RTFO is a certificate trading scheme which rewards those supplying low carbon fuels in the UK for use in road vehicles and some other forms of transport, including tractors.

Low carbon fuels supplied under the RTFO saved 2.88 million tonnes of CO2 emissions in just the last three quarters of 2018. The Government has nearly doubled targets for supply from 2018 to 2020, and set further targets out to 2032, providing investment certainty.

Agricultural fuel and energy use represent around 1% of the total UK emissions, and constitutes just 10% of agricultural sector emissions.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will publish a revised no-deal tariff schedule for agricultural products during a transition period after the UK leaves the EU.

After the UK leaves the EU with on 31 January 2020, we will enter a temporary implementation period which will apply until the end of December 2020. The UK will continue to import goods tariff free from within the EU and will continue to apply the EU’s Common External Tariff to goods imported from outside the EU during this period.

At the end of the implementation period the Government will introduce a long-term tariff regime. Further information on this will be provided on GOV.UK at the appropriate time.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to help (a) sustain conservation efforts and (b) preserve biodiversity in conservation areas dependent upon tourism in developing countries in response to the covid-19 pandemic.

Tackling climate change and biodiversity loss remain a high priority for this Government. As we help developing countries tackle COVID-19 and its economic impact, we continue to pursue our environmental and climate change goals. The Government recognises that action on COVID-19 and on climate change and the environment are crucial to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and that investing in nature can bring multiple benefits, such as building resilience, creating jobs, restoring ecosystems, improving health outcomes, as well as protecting biodiversity.

DFID has a number of programmes that tackle the underlying drivers and systems that contribute to environmental degradation, for example our significant support for sustainable forestry and land use. The UK is also a strong supporter of the Global Environment Facility, and we are working closely with them on a COVID-19 action plan.

DFID does not currently fund programmes that support ecotourism specifically.DFID officials are working with Defra counterparts to take forward the £100 million Biodiverse Landscape Fund announced by the Prime Minister, which may include support for ecotourism.

12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Egypt Country Programme in achieving its objectives for civil society.

The Department for International Development does not have a Country Programme in Egypt.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the UK Action Against Corruption Programme in Egypt.

The National Crime Agency, which delivers the UK Action Against Corruption Programme (UK ACT), makes independent decisions about which cases to work on. We are not aware that the programme has a significant case load in Egypt, although the programme did fund the Egypt Asset Recovery Task Force between 2013 and 2016.

DFID commissioned and published, in October 2019, an evaluation of the effectiveness of the programme, available at https://devtracker.dfid.gov.uk/projects/GB-1-201021/documents. This does not assess the effectiveness of the programme in Egypt.The evaluation concluded: “Overall evaluation evidence shows that the UK ACT Programme has made a contribution to reducing, to some extent, the incentives of corrupt individuals from developing countries to use the UK to launder money and reducing the incentives of UK companies and nationals to engage in bribery in developing countries”.

Since DFID starting funding the National Crime Agency and its predecessors in 2006, the programme has frozen, confiscated or returned almost £800 million of assets stolen from developing countries. DFID also publishes annual reviews of the progress of the programme, also available on DevTracker.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of (a) CDC and (b) other organisations' investment decisions.

DFID undertakes a review every year of CDC’s performance against agreed objectives. These Annual Reviews are available via DFID’s online Development Tracker www.devtracker.dfid.gov.uk

In addition, in 2019, the Independent Commission on Aid Impact, carried out a major independent review of CDC’s investments in low income countries. Their report and DFID and CDC’s joint response are available on www.icai.independent.gov.uk/report/cdc

DFID similarly undertakes a review every year of the performance against objectives of each multilateral organisation that we provide funding to. These Annual Reviews are also available on www.devtracker.dfid.gov.uk.

We consider the capability and strategy of each organisation when deciding whether to provide funding that the organisation will then allocate and manage.

17th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether representatives of CDC will be present at the UK-Africa Investment Summit.

CDC assisted in planning for, and attended, the Summit. Graham Wrigley, CDC’s Chairman, also moderated one of the business panels.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps he is taking to help support the decarbonisation of transport infrastructure in India.

DFID is partnering with India to tackle climate change and transition to a clean growth pathway that will benefit us all, by providing advice and technical assistance. DFID’s Supporting Structural Reforms in the Indian Power Sector programme is working to improve the efficiency, reliability and sustainability of electricity supply in India, enabling a reduction in carbon emissions. Since 2015 DFID has invested in over 1GW of renewable energy projects in India – returns from these investments come back to the UK taxpayer. To date £55m has been returned.

The UK ended traditional aid to India in 2015 and no financial assistance is provided to the Government of India.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many applications were made for membership of the Trade Advisory Groups; how many of those applications were rejected; and if she will publish a list of organisations who have applied for a position on a Trade advisory Group.

Members of Trade Advisory Groups (TAGs) were selected by my Department to make sure that TAGs included representation from across the United Kingdom and from a cross-section of businesses.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of the proposed future UK-Australia trade deal on the (a) UK's and (b) EU's ability to agree a veterinary agreement on sanitary and phytosanitary rules on movements of animals and food products.

The UK-Australia deal protects the rights and freedom of both countries to regulate to uphold standards. Both the UK and Australia agree the importance of independent sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) regimes.

The agreement allows the UK to cooperate with both Australia and the EU on avoiding unnecessary SPS barriers to trade in agri-food goods without constraining the UK’s right to regulate in these areas.

The UK’s sovereignty will be fully respected as an independent trading nation.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to impose restrictions on the direct and indirect sale of weapons to Myanmar following the military coup in that country.

There are sanctions against Myanmar (Burma) already, including an arms embargo and a ban on the export of equipment that might be used for internal repression.

HM Government will not issue export licences for items prohibited by these sanctions.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions she has had with the Welsh Government on adding the Welsh Government to the list of public authorities permitted to disclose information under Clause 2 of the Trade (Disclosure of Information) Act 2020.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) led engagement with the Welsh Government during the passage of the Trade (Disclosure of Information) Bill.

DIT and the Cabinet Office have committed to working closely with devolved administrations. This will ensure that relevant analysis and information obtained through Clause 2 can be shared to support the delivery of devolved functions. This has been communicated at Ministerial level to devolved administrations.

Our close working with Welsh Government colleagues led them to recommend legislative consent during the passage of the Trade (Disclosure of Information) Bill, and to the Welsh Parliament to grant a legislative consent motion.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will publish an impact assessment of the effect of the UK-Singapore trade agreement on Wales.

Consistent with other transitioned agreements, the Department will lay a Parliamentary Report, with Explanatory Memorandum, alongside the UK–Singapore text in Parliament. These reports are intended to aid businesses, consumers and parliamentarians in understanding any significant differences made to our trade relationship with partner countries and the reasons for any changes, and their impact.

Our Parliamentary Reports contain detailed information about the volume of trade, composition of imports and exports, and wider economic impact of these agreements. However, they do not assess the impact on specific regions or nations of the UK.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether the membership of the Trade and Agriculture Commission will contain representatives from the (a) Welsh Government, (b) Scottish Government and (c) Northern Ireland Executive.

The Secretary of State for International Trade signalled her intention to establish a new Trade and Agriculture Commission on 29 June. The Commission will have a fixed term to consider trade policies that Government should adopt to secure opportunities for UK farmers, producers and exporters. The Commission will ensure the sector remains competitive and that animal welfare and environmental standards in food production are not undermined. At the end of its work, the Trade and Agriculture Commission will produce an advisory report which will be presented to Parliament by the Department for International Trade.

Details around the Commission’s membership and Terms of Reference are currently being finalised and we will inform Parliament as soon as all these details are confirmed.

17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to ensure that there are representatives of the devolved Administrations on the Trade Remedies Authority.

The Trade Remedies Authority (TRA) Board will be crucial to safeguarding the TRA’s impartiality and making sure that it acts in the interest of all parts of the United Kingdom.

We are engaging with the devolved administrations, in line with HM Government’s commitments during the passage of the Trade Bill in 2017-18, and recently sought their proposals on recruiting TRA Board Members with knowledge of the United Kingdom as a whole, a broad range of skills and diverse experience. However, it is essential that members are appointed on merit, rather than due to their affiliations with any particular part of the United Kingdom or special interest group.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many second-hand diesel cars were exported from the UK in 2019.

Statistics are not available for the number of second-hand diesel cars exported from the UK in 2019. However, the value of those exports in 2019 was £278 million.

21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 20 January 2020 to Question 3171 on Trade Promotion: Wales, what recent discussions she has had with the Scottish Government Minister for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs on trade promotion.

My Rt Hon Friend the Minister of State for Trade Policy (Conor Burns) has spoken to the Scottish Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation on a range of issues, including a telephone call on 15 January. He also met the trade ministers from all the Devolved Administrations on 23 January at the Ministerial Forum.

The DIT Directors General for Trade and Investment met with all the Devolved Administrations in London on 17 January.

14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether she has met representatives of the Welsh Government to discuss Welsh trade with India.

The department recognises and promotes the great opportunities that India presents to Welsh exporters. To demonstrate this, last summer the department, together with the Welsh government, kicked off the successful India roadshow in Cardiff. This event provided support and advice to firms interested in exploring exporting and investment opportunities in India.

In September last year I met with the Noble Baroness Morgan of Ely, the Welsh Government Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language, to discuss how we might further develop our mutual work on trade promotion.

14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what representations she has received from the Welsh Government on the development of freeports in the UK.

Freeports are a key priority for this government and we are committed to developing an ambitious offer that will attract inward investment, drive productivity and help rejuvenate deprived communities across the UK.

The government is committed to ensuring that Freeport policy works for the whole of the UK and has been working with all of the Devolved Administrations to develop a UK wide offer. My Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade has corresponded directly with her counterparts in the Welsh Government and meetings have also been held at an official level. We look forward to continue working with the Welsh Government as the policy develops.

14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress has been made on the development of a Ministerial forum with the devolved Administrations international trade.

The Department for International Trade has been making good progress establishing the Ministerial Forum for Trade with the devolved administrations. We hope to hold the first meeting this month.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 13 January 2020 to Question 1338 on Overseas Trade: Wales, whether she has met representatives of Trade and Invest Wales on promoting Wales’ trading interests.

In September 2019, I met with the Noble Baroness Morgan of Ely, Welsh Government Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language, in Newport. We discussed how we might work together more closely on trade promotion and create greater synergies across our sector teams. Present at the meeting, accompanying Baroness Morgan, was Andrew Gwatkin, Director – International Relations and Trade for Welsh Government.

In addition, UK officials regularly engage with Welsh Government, to increase awareness of the Department for International Trade’s offer available to businesses in the devolved nations through communications, bilateral visits, and the Executive and Partnership Forums.

14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 13 January 2020 to Question 1337 on Exports: Wales, which Welsh companies will be represented at the UK-Africa Investment Summit; and what steps her Department has taken to advertise that Summit to Welsh businesses.

Under Section 43 of the Freedom of Information Act (Commercial Interests), we are prevented from publishing in advance a list of businesses attending the Summit.

The UK-Africa Investment summit will create new lasting partnerships that will deliver more investment and jobs. This will benefit people and businesses in Africa and across the whole of the UK. We have undertaken UK-wide promotion of the Summit and the Board of Trade has discussed ways to ensure all Devolved Nations are represented in longer term engagement with Africa.

14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 13 January 2020 to Question 1337 on Exports: Wales, what recent discussions she has had with the Welsh Government Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language on trade promotion.

In September 2019, I met with the Noble Baroness Morgan of Ely, Welsh Government Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language, in Newport. We discussed working more closely on trade promotion and creating greater synergies across our sector teams. Accompanying Baroness Morgan, was Andrew Gwatkin, Director – International Relations and Trade for Welsh Government. Mr Gwatkin also attended the Executive Forum with the Department for International Trade’s Directors General on 17 September 2019.

8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions she has had with representatives of Trade and Invest Wales on promoting Wales' trading interests at the UK-Africa Investment Summit in January 2020.

The UK-Africa Investment Summit will bring together UK and African business representatives, African leaders and delegations from 21 countries, international institutions, and young entrepreneurs. The Summit will create new lasting partnerships that will deliver more investment, jobs and growth, benefitting people and businesses across both Africa and in all four nations of the UK. This department engages with business across the whole of the UK to ensure that they have tools required to trade overseas; the Summit will be used as a platform to announce a number of commercial deals involving UK businesses and their partners across Africa. The Government will also announce further funding to reduce the cost of trading within Africa, and support businesses from across Britain and Africa to trade more and grow faster.

In September 2019, I met with the Noble Baroness Morgan of Ely, Welsh Government Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language, in Newport. We discussed how we might work together more closely on trade promotion and create greater synergies across our sector teams.

8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the potential for changes to product standards in respect of trade agreements with (a) Australia and (b) New Zealand after the transition period.

The Government has been clear that we will not compromise on our world class environmental and consumer protection, animal welfare, and food standards. Any future trade agreements, including with Australia and New Zealand, must uphold our high standards and work for UK consumers and business.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to promote Welsh exports at the UK-Africa Investment Summit in January 2020.

The UK-Africa Investment Summit will bring together UK and African business representatives, African leaders and delegations from 21 countries, international institutions, and young entrepreneurs. The Summit will create new lasting partnerships that will deliver more investment, jobs and growth, benefitting people and businesses across both Africa and in all four nations of the UK. This department engages with business across the whole of the UK to ensure that they have tools required to trade overseas; the Summit will be used as a platform to announce a number of commercial deals involving UK businesses and their partners across Africa. The Government will also announce further funding to reduce the cost of trading within Africa, and support businesses from across Britain and Africa to trade more and grow faster.

In September 2019, I met with the Noble Baroness Morgan of Ely, Welsh Government Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language, in Newport. We discussed how we might work together more closely on trade promotion and create greater synergies across our sector teams.

13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he is having with the Welsh Government ahead of the publication of his Department's electric vehicle charging infrastructure strategy.

I have regular discussions with Ministerial colleagues from different Devolved Administrations (DAs) about various aspects of the government’s support for the transition zero emission driving. During the development of our EV infrastructure strategy, officials have been working closely with colleagues in the DAs to ensure that there are strong and coordinated plans in place for electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the country.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the DVLA on the issuing of V5C documents for classic cars in need of restoration.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has well-established processes in place for dealing with applications from keepers of classic vehicles that have been restored. This may include an inspection to ensure that the vehicle exists in its entirety and has the required identification features stamped in to identify the vehicle as original. The DVLA may also seek the advice of independent experts in the field. A vehicle registration certificate will be issued when appropriate.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what representations he has received from the Welsh Government in support of the proposal for a West Wales Parkway station near Swansea for the South Wales Mainline.

I am not aware of any formal representations received from the Welsh Government in relation to the proposal for a West Wales Parkway station. However, my department is in regular communication with them regarding the progression of this scheme.”

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress his Department has made on developing the proposal for a West Wales Parkway station near Swansea for the South Wales Mainline.

An integrated approach is required between the new station proposal and the development of the train services that will call at it. For a West Wales Parkway station these services will be provided by the devolved Wales & Borders operator. We are engaged with Transport for Wales via their ‘Swansea Bay & West Wales Metro Development Strategy Board’ to determine the optimal location for the station and the pattern of enhanced services that will call at it. A number of options are currently being evaluated prior to selecting a single option for further development.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with his counterparts in EU countries on driving licence reciprocation.

We have confirmed agreement from all EU/EEA countries that UK motorists will continue to be able to drive in their territories on the basis of a UK Photocard licence, without the need for an additional International Driving Permit. All EU/EEA Member States, except for Italy, have also confirmed reciprocal arrangements for exchanging licences, meaning that a retest will not be required for resident UK nationals. We continue to explore options with Italy on this issue. Most of our agreements are permanent arrangements and a small number require formal agreements which will be concluded before the end of this year. Where these agreements are needed, the UK has secured interim arrangements with the relevant Member States.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on public safety of the increased charging of electrical vehicles as the number of EVs in the UK increases.

The safety of electric vehicles and their charging is very important to the Government and kept under regular review. The safety of charging events is primarily determined by the design and installation of electric chargepoints. There is a wide pool of regulations and standards, as well as enforcement mechanisms, covering this. The Department regularly engages with the bodies who enforce those regulations to ensure safety outcomes for the general public.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to temporarily waive the two year limit on Compulsory Basic Training for motorbikes and scooters during the covid-19 lockdown and until inspections are able to recontinue.

The two-year validity period of a compulsory basic training (CBT) certificate is set out in legislation. It is in place to ensure learner moped and motorcycle riders can ride safely on their own, with L-plates, while they practise for a full moped or motorcycle test. The Government has no plans, on road safety grounds, to waive that two-year validity period.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when Compulsory Basic Training and inspection for motorbikes and scooters drivers will recontinue.

Compulsory basic training (CBT) for learner moped and motorcycle riders is suspended during the current lockdowns in England, Scotland and Wales. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will follow the relevant administrations’ instructions and advice about when easing of the current COVID-19 restrictions will allow CBT to restart safely. The DVSA will tell all motorcycle approved training bodies when that is.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his Answer of 28 January 2021 to Question 142892, if he will publish the correspondence from the First Minister of Wales.

The Department has received correspondence from the First Minister of Wales but does not intend to publish this correspondence.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish all communication between his Department and the DVLA on work practices during the covid-19 outbreak.

As the information requested on all the communication between the Department for Transport and the DVLA on work practices during the covid-19 outbreak is so wide in scope, it can only be produced at disproportionate cost. This is due to the amount of work that would be required to collate the information requested.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what representations he has received from (a) the Welsh Government, (b) Public Health Wales and (c) Swansea Bay University Health Board on covid-19 levels at the DVLA offices in Swansea.

As of 24 January, the number of DVLA staff working both on-site and working from home who have tested positive for Covid-19 since March 2020 is 546. There are currently no live cases in the DVLA’s contact centre and six live cases across the whole of our workforce of more than 6,000 staff.

The number of working days lost at the DVLA due to staff contracting Covid-19 is 4,132. It is not possible to provide a figure of working days lost for the number of people self-isolating due to Covid-19 in the time available for responding to this question as the data needs to be extracted. The DVLA will therefore write to you with this further detail.

Department for Transport Ministers have received correspondence from the First Minister of Wales. Throughout the pandemic, the DVLA has worked closely with Public Health Wales, Swansea Bay University Health Board and the local environmental health team on Covid-19 related issues, including the safety measures put in place at the DVLA’s offices in Swansea.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many staff working for the DVLA in Swansea have contracted covid-19.

As of 24 January, the number of DVLA staff working both on-site and working from home who have tested positive for Covid-19 since March 2020 is 546. There are currently no live cases in the DVLA’s contact centre and six live cases across the whole of our workforce of more than 6,000 staff.

The number of working days lost at the DVLA due to staff contracting Covid-19 is 4,132. It is not possible to provide a figure of working days lost for the number of people self-isolating due to Covid-19 in the time available for responding to this question as the data needs to be extracted. The DVLA will therefore write to you with this further detail.

Department for Transport Ministers have received correspondence from the First Minister of Wales. Throughout the pandemic, the DVLA has worked closely with Public Health Wales, Swansea Bay University Health Board and the local environmental health team on Covid-19 related issues, including the safety measures put in place at the DVLA’s offices in Swansea.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many working days have been lost at the DVLA due to staff (a) contracting and (b) self-isolating as a result of covid-19.

As of 24 January, the number of DVLA staff working both on-site and working from home who have tested positive for Covid-19 since March 2020 is 546. There are currently no live cases in the DVLA’s contact centre and six live cases across the whole of our workforce of more than 6,000 staff.

The number of working days lost at the DVLA due to staff contracting Covid-19 is 4,132. It is not possible to provide a figure of working days lost for the number of people self-isolating due to Covid-19 in the time available for responding to this question as the data needs to be extracted. The DVLA will therefore write to you with this further detail.

Department for Transport Ministers have received correspondence from the First Minister of Wales. Throughout the pandemic, the DVLA has worked closely with Public Health Wales, Swansea Bay University Health Board and the local environmental health team on Covid-19 related issues, including the safety measures put in place at the DVLA’s offices in Swansea.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allowing a MOT extension for drivers who are in high risk groups and shielding as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department is not currently planning to issue MOT exemptions, but the situation is being kept under review. The Road Traffic Act 1988 does not permit the issuing of MOT extensions on the basis of the circumstances of the vehicle owner. Vulnerable people or those self-isolating should use a pick-up and drop-off service, which is offered by many MOT test stations.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will extend driving theory test certificates expiring in 2020-21 by 12 months due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The maximum duration of two years between passing the theory test and a subsequent practical test is in place to ensure a candidate’s road safety knowledge is current. This validity period is set in legislation and the Government has no current plans to lay further legislation to extend it.

Ensuring new drivers have current relevant knowledge and skills is a vital part of the training of new drivers, who are disproportionality represented in casualty statistics. Taking all this into consideration, the decision has been made not to extend theory test certificates and learners will need to pass another theory test if their certificate expires.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the need to invest in research into flow batteries as a part of the transition to electric vehicles.

The government has committed £318m into the Faraday Battery Challenge to support the research, development and scale-up of world-leading battery technology in the UK. The Faraday Battery Challenge is focused on developing cost-effective, high-performance, durable, safe and recyclable batteries to capture the growing electric vehicle market. We are also supporting research into flow batteries for grid applications.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the need to invest in research into universal interchangeable batteries as part of the transition to electric vehicles.

The government is supporting a wide range of research, development and scale-up of world-leading battery technology in the UK through the £318m Faraday Battery Challenge. The Faraday Battery Challenge aims to ensure the UK builds on its strengths and leads the world in the design and manufacture of electric vehicles. Challenges with interchangeable battery technologies include need to standardise battery size and location in a vehicle, requirement for more batteries than vehicles and concerns around safety. Trial programmes in other countries have failed in recent years and improving battery range and fast charging technology is reducing the commercial case for a battery swapping system. The technology could work well in countries with relatively low vehicle numbers and smaller vehicle types. We will keep this under review.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the (a) staffing resources available to the DVLA to process hard-copy documents and (b) additional resources it requires to clear the backlog of unprocessed documents.

All Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) staff who can work from home continue to do so as office space has been prioritised for operational staff who have to be on-site to process paper applications. The DVLA’s online services have worked well throughout the pandemic and this remains the quickest and easiest way of making applications.

The DVLA is employing shift patterns, staggered start times, weekend working and other measures to ensure that social distancing can be maintained. Due to this, the number of staff who can be on-site at any one time is greatly reduced but the working day has been significantly extended. This means that almost all DVLA operational staff are now working on-site but not all at the same time. Staff are allocated to different work streams at different times depending on where the need is greatest.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the number of unprocessed hard-copy documents on purchased cars by the DVLA.

Between March and the end of August, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has issued nearly seven million vehicle registration certificates. On 21 September, there were just over 32,000 hard copy vehicle registration certificates awaiting processing. Vehicle registration certificates are currently being processed within around ten days of receipt at the DVLA. These include notification of change of vehicle keeper and also a change of name and address of the current keeper.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the average waiting time is for the DVLA to process hard-copy documents on purchased cars.

Between March and the end of August, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has issued nearly seven million vehicle registration certificates. On 21 September, there were just over 32,000 hard copy vehicle registration certificates awaiting processing. Vehicle registration certificates are currently being processed within around ten days of receipt at the DVLA. These include notification of change of vehicle keeper and also a change of name and address of the current keeper.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions has he had with the Confederation of Passenger Transport on the challenges facing the coach industry as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department is in regular contact with the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT). Baroness Vere of Norbiton, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, hosted a roundtable with the CPT and coach operators on the 15 July, and on 13 August the Minister spoke with the CPT’s CEO to discuss wider issues facing the coach sector. Officials continue to meet with the CPT regularly to discuss a range of issues including the challenges facing the coach industry.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many driving licence applications are awaiting processing; and what estimate he has made of the length of time it will take to process any backlog of applications; and if he will make a statement.

There is no backlog for driving licence applications made online. Online services have continued to operate as normal throughout the pandemic. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has a reduced number of staff on-site to comply with social distancing requirements in Wales. Postal applications have to be dealt with in person on our site in Swansea and will therefore take longer to process than applications made online.

Since 4 June changes have been made to automatically extend the validity of 10 year photocard driving licences expiring between 1 February and 31 August, by a further seven months. Drivers do not need to take any action to benefit from this change and DVLA will write to them when their licence is due for renewal.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to follow the guidance published by the EU Commission on 13 May 2020 on lifting travel restrictions and allowing tourism businesses to reopen.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is advising against all but essential international travel due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The Government keeps travel advice constantly under review, so that it reflects our latest assessment of risks to British people.

11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent representations he has received from the Welsh Government on the need for quarantine restrictions for people entering the UK via international airports.

The Government will require international arrivals not on a short list of exemptions to self-isolate in their accommodation for fourteen days on arrival into the UK. We are working closely with the devolved administrations, including the Welsh Government, to coordinate implementation across the UK.

4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to facilitate the testing of hydrogen-fuelled road transport in the UK.

While the global market for hydrogen vehicles is at an earlier stage of development than plug-in electric vehicles, the UK is well placed to be a leader in hydrogen and fuel cell powered transportation due to our high-quality engineering and manufacturing capability. Our approach to delivering long-term ambitions are technology neutral, supporting hydrogen where the market favours its use. The Government’s £23m Hydrogen for Transport Programme is 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. The £48m Ultra Low Emission Bus Scheme, and its predecessor the £41m Low Emission Bus Scheme supported hydrogen buses and refuelling infrastructure in London, Birmingham and Brighton.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he is holding discussions with the airline industry on the emergence of above-market-rate ticket prices for repatriation flights.

Ministers and officials are meeting regularly with the aviation sector. The Government is absolutely focused on working with the sector to ensure that UK citizens can make their way home.

We have agreed with airlines that they will keep as many commercial routes open as they can, for as long as they can. We are working with international partners to facilitate this.

In some countries where commercial routes are no longer an option, we have worked with airlines to charter their aircraft to help stranded British travellers return home.

The government is paying for these flights but we have a responsibility to the taxpayer. Therefore, we are asking passengers to pay a share of the overall cost. Flights are costed differently based on country of origin however the ticket cost only reflects a proportion of the overall costs. Foreign Office officials will be able to offer support to British travellers unable to pay including an emergency loan as a last resort.

17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 13 March 2020 to Question 27569 on Motor Vehicles: Compressed Natural Gas, how many of the 61 zero and low emission heavy good vehicles participating in the Low Emission Freight and Logistics Trial are registered in Wales.

Vehicle registration data is not captured as part of the project reporting for the Low Emission Freight and Logistics Trial. The two consortium leads running Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles as part of the trials operate vehicles from various depots, including Swindon, Bristol, and Milton Keynes.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has plans to undertake an assessment of the potential effect of the fall in oil prices on the take up of low emissions vehicles.

The Department for Transport has not assessed the impact of recent changes to fuel prices on the uptake of Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs). Fuel prices are one variable that can impact on Ultra Low Emission Vehicle uptake among many, including vehicle pricing, manufacturer supply, consumer demand for vehicles, infrastructure provision and the regulatory regime surrounding vehicles. Fuel prices are also volatile and short-term changes may not indicate a change in long-term prices. DfT regularly update long-term projections of ULEV uptake and take into account a wide range of variables, including the best available data on fuel prices produced by BEIS.

The Government is investing £2.5 billion? to support the market for electric vehicles. Budget 2020 included £532m extra funding to keep the Plug-in Vehicle Grants for another three years, and favourable benefit-in-kind rates for zero emission vehicles extended out to 2025. Additionally, we are providing £500 million to support the rollout of a fast-charging network for electric vehicles, ensuring that drivers will never be further than 30 miles from a rapid charging station.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 4 March 2020 to Question 25168, what discussions he has had with his Welsh counterparts on hydrogen-powered trains on Welsh railways.

The DfT is working with Network Rail and the rail industry to determine which parts of the network are best suited to use of hydrogen trains, as well as battery and electrification. DfT is also supporting the development of hydrogen technology through innovation funding and research to overcome barriers to its deployment. This work supports deployment of hydrogen technology across the GB railway.

I have not had conversations with my Welsh colleagues on this subject.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 9 March 2020 to Question 25169, what steps his Department have taken to encourage the uptake of compressed natural gas vehicles.

The £20m Low Emission Freight and Logistics Trial (LEFT) has supported 61 zero and low emission heavy goods vehicles into operation on UK roads, including some using compressed natural gas (CNG) as an alternative to diesel.

Emissions testing is a key aspect of project evaluation that will ensure we have a clear and independent view on the environmental impact of these vehicles. The programme is on-going with the final report expected to be published by the summer.

In the 2018 Budget, the Government confirmed that it would maintain the difference between alternative fuel (including CNG) and main road fuel duty rates until 2032 (subject to a review in 2024) to support the decarbonisation of the UK transport sector.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 11 February 2020 to Question 13504 on Agricultural Machinery: Exhaust Emissions, how many companies registered in Wales have registered for the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation scheme.

The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) has been successful in promoting a market for sustainable renewable fuels. Long term targets set in legislation have given companies the confidence to invest in Wales and across the UK.

Companies that supply at least 450,000 litres of fossil fuels are obligated to supply a certain amount of renewable fuel under the RTFO. Companies can also register voluntarily to be able to receive RTFO certificates. Currently, there are 50 UK registered suppliers, with one supplier having a registered address in Wales.

The Department is encouraging further investment in renewable fuels in the UK through its multimillion pound innovation competitions. Competitively awarded grants have been provided to support the construction of several commercial-scale plants in the UK. This includes the Future Fuels for Flight and Freight Competition (F4C) which was launched in 2017 and makes up to £20 million in capital funding available. Among the shortlisted projects of the competition, one of the companies is looking to locate in Wales.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 11 February 2020 to Question 13504 on Agricultural Machinery: Exhaust Emissions, what steps his Department is taking to extend the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation scheme in Wales.

The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) has been successful in promoting a market for sustainable renewable fuels. Long term targets set in legislation have given companies the confidence to invest in Wales and across the UK.

Companies that supply at least 450,000 litres of fossil fuels are obligated to supply a certain amount of renewable fuel under the RTFO. Companies can also register voluntarily to be able to receive RTFO certificates. Currently, there are 50 UK registered suppliers, with one supplier having a registered address in Wales.

The Department is encouraging further investment in renewable fuels in the UK through its multimillion pound innovation competitions. Competitively awarded grants have been provided to support the construction of several commercial-scale plants in the UK. This includes the Future Fuels for Flight and Freight Competition (F4C) which was launched in 2017 and makes up to £20 million in capital funding available. Among the shortlisted projects of the competition, one of the companies is looking to locate in Wales.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to encourage the domestic production of biofuels.

The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) has been successful in promoting a market for sustainable renewable fuels. Long term targets set in legislation have given companies the confidence to invest in Wales and across the UK.

Companies that supply at least 450,000 litres of fossil fuels are obligated to supply a certain amount of renewable fuel under the RTFO. Companies can also register voluntarily to be able to receive RTFO certificates. Currently, there are 50 UK registered suppliers, with one supplier having a registered address in Wales.

The Department is encouraging further investment in renewable fuels in the UK through its multimillion pound innovation competitions. Competitively awarded grants have been provided to support the construction of several commercial-scale plants in the UK. This includes the Future Fuels for Flight and Freight Competition (F4C) which was launched in 2017 and makes up to £20 million in capital funding available. Among the shortlisted projects of the competition, one of the companies is looking to locate in Wales.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many electric cars were purchased in each NUTS region in 2019.

The number of new registrations of battery electric cars in the first nine months of 2019 in the UK are provided in the table below.

NUTS Code

NUTS Name

New Registrations: January to September 2019

UKC

North East

375

UKD

North West

1,533

UKE

Yorkshire and The Humber

1,789

UKF

East Midlands

1,225

UKG

West Midlands

3,591

UKH

East of England

2,820

UKI

London

3,308

UKJ

South East

5,552

UKK

South West

2,274

UKL

Wales

566

UKM

Scotland

1,818

UKN

Northern Ireland

313

Unknown

7

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the effect of the Public Service Vehicle Accessibility (PSVAR) Regulations on school transport in Carmarthenshire.

The Government supports the creation of an inclusive transport network, and enabling disabled children to travel to school alongside their non-disabled peers is important for making this a reality.

Officials engage regularly with colleagues at the Welsh Government, as well as other stakeholders, concerning the application of the Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations (PSVAR) and the impact of exemptions issued, on home to school transport services across Great Britain.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 16 January 2020 to Question 1713 on the Rescue Boat Grant Fund, when his Department plans to make an announcement on the future of the Rescue Boat Grant Fund.

The Rescue Boat Grant Fund has already provided £4.7 million of grants from 2014 - 2018.

We are continuing to review the impact of the Rescue Boat Grant Fund and expect to make a decision on its future shortly.

9th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the evidential basis is of his Department's analysis that there will be a demand for 18 trains per hour on the High Speed Two line.

The demand modelling for HS2 is set out in the Economic Case. The Government commissioned Doug Oakervee to provide advice on how and whether to proceed with HS2; the Government will set out the next steps for High Speed 2 in due course.

9th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on productivity of reallocating funding from High Speed Two into Travel to Work area transport routes.

The Government commissioned Doug Oakervee to provide advice on how and whether to proceed with HS2. The Government will set out the next steps for High Speed 2 in due course including its consideration of alternatives.

9th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has for (a) continuation and (b) replacement of the Rescue Boat Grant Fund after March 2020.

The Rescue Boat Grant Fund has already awarded £4.7 million to 103 charities around the UK.

We have already extended the Fund by making a further £1 million available for 2019-20 and I expect to announce the successful applicants shortly.

A decision on the future of the Fund will be taken in due course.

9th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the Oakervee Review into High Speed Two will be published in full.

The Government has made clear its intentions to publish the report of the Oakervee review and the Transport Secretary has met Doug Oakervee to discuss the review. The Government will set out the next steps for High Speed 2 in due course.

9th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish his response to the Berkeley minority report into High Speed Two.

The Government commissioned Doug Oakervee to provide advice on how and whether to proceed with HS2 and his report will inform our decisions. We will of course give consideration to Lord Berkeley’s personal views. The Government will set out the next steps for High Speed 2 in due course.

9th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the benefit-cost ratio from High Speed Two.

Subject to decisions about whether and how to proceed with HS2, the Government will make public a Full Business Case for HS2 Phase 1 including the underlying economic modelling for the benefit-cost ratio.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment has she undertaken of the effect biological cleaning systems can have on (a) personal sensitisation, (b) sanitising work and (c) social places as part of work to reduce the spread of the covid-19 virus.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has taken the context of this question to mean that the term biological cleaning systems are the use of industrial enzymes (microbial and other animal sources) that are added to certain specialised healthcare and industrial cleaning products, typically used to pre-treat/clean equipment surfaces prior to finally cleaning or disinfection. HSE is not aware of the use of any biological cleaning systems like these being used to reduce the spread of COVID-19. HSE does provides guidance on Cleaning, hygiene and handwashing to reduce coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission (hse.gov.uk) as well as Disinfecting using fog, mist and other systems during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (hse.gov.uk).’

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she had with the Welsh Government on the process of selecting a provider to deliver the Restart Scheme in Wales.

Providers on DWP’s Commercial Agreement for Employment and Health Related Services framework were invited to bid to deliver the Restart Scheme in Contract Package Areas across England and Wales. We conducted a fair and transparent call off exercise to secure the delivery of the Restart Scheme.

Bidders were required to show how they proposed to tailor their offer to local labour market conditions, including their plans for close working with employers, local government and other service providers to identify skills gaps and growth sectors and complement the wider landscape of support.

A Stakeholder Engagement and Local Integration question which was locally tailored to the specific nuances of the individual Contract Package Area was developed in conjunction with local partners. As part of the selection process the responses for Wales were evaluated by Welsh Regional Engagement Teams from Welsh Local Authorities to ensure local expertise was incorporated into the evaluation.

DWP officials have continued to meet with Welsh Government officials to provide updates on the Restart Scheme.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Mar 2021
What assessment she has made of the effectiveness of statutory sick pay.

Statutory Sick Pay provides a minimum level of income for employees who are unable to work and we have made temporary changes to support people to follow public health advice on coronavirus.

Individuals can receive further financial support through the welfare system and the Test and Trace support payment scheme depending on individual circumstances.

30th Nov 2020
What assessment her Department has made of the effect on disabled people of excluding legacy benefits from the universal credit covid-19 uplift.

Legacy benefits were increased by £600m (1.7%) from April 2020 and will receive a further £100m (0.5%) increase from April 2021 as part of the Government’s annual up-rating exercise.

Claimants on legacy benefits can make a claim for UC if they believe that they will be better off. Those in receipt of the Severe Disability Premium, will be able to make a new claim to Universal Credit from January 2021.

13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the Government's policy is on bringing forward from 2046 the planned increase in the retirement age to 68 for state pension purposes.

Following the 2017 independent review of State Pension age by John Cridland, the Government accepted his recommendation to bring forward the increase to State Pension age to 68 from 2044-46 to 2037-39. Government committed to carry out a further review of State Pension age before legislating to do so, to enable consideration of the latest life expectancy projections. The statutory deadline for the publication for this next Government Review is 2023.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many families are affected by the two-child limit on social security benefits in Carmarthen East and Dinefwr constituency.

In Carmarthen East and Dinefwr 60 families on Universal Credit were affected by the policy in April 2020.

Notes:

  • Families affected means households reporting a third or subsequent child on or after 6 April 2017 and not receiving a child element/amount.
  • This data is for households that had an open UC claim in April 2020, and so will have been included in this year’s Two Child Policy Publication.
  • Percentages rounded to nearest percent and number of families rounded to nearest 10.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether it is the Government's policy to increase the state pension age to 68.

The Labour government passed the Pensions Act 2007 which legislated for State Pension age to increase to 68 by 2046.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of retaining the weekly £20 increase to universal credit payments beyond April 2021; and if she will make a statement.

The Government introduced a package of temporary welfare measures worth around £9.3 billion this year to help with the financial consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The £20 weekly increase to the Universal Credit Standard Allowance rates was introduced as a temporary measure for the 20/21 tax year, in recognition of these consequences.

Future decisions on spending will be made at the next appropriate fiscal event and Parliament will be updated accordingly.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with (a) the Welsh Government and (b) Welsh local authority leaders on her Department's staff being asked to (i) travel to work in county boroughs which are in local covid-19 lockdown and (ii) hold face-to-face assessments in county boroughs which are in local covid-19 lockdown.

Since the start of Covid-19 as key workers, DWP employees have played a crucial role in the national effort, in line with government guidelines.

In accordance with Government social distancing guidance we have provided digital kit to our staff to enable more flexible working – in particular working from home. This has enabled us to ensure that Jobcentres are Covid secure for those customers who are best supported face to face, whilst still providing services over the phone and online.

As we double the number of Work Coaches, we will continue to expand our multi-channel engagement with claimants, including booking appointments across our network to support people face-to-face where they need it.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect on her staff's wellbeing of being asked to return to the office during the covid-19 outbreak.

The wellbeing of our employees is paramount. Since the start of the pandemic, we have adapted our wellbeing offer at pace to bring our colleagues targeted solutions to support their wellbeing. This has focused on colleagues working in the office as well as those required to work from home.

As key workers, our staff have continued to attend our offices throughout the pandemic but we have also provided digital kit to our staff to enable more flexible working, in particular working from home. This has enabled us to ensure that our offices are COVID-19 secure and we can maintain social distancing.

An individual Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) risk assessment is available for colleague to work through with their line manager to address their individual concerns.

All BAME colleagues have also had the opportunity to participate in a small group talking session, facilitated by trauma managers/counsellors. This has provided BAME colleagues with the opportunity to talk through any concerns they may have had about returning to work, which may have been heightened by COVID-19, and to work with specialists to put strategies in place to combat.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish any Health and Safety Impact Assessments her Department used when taking the decision to ask staff to travel into Jobcentre Plus offices which are located in Welsh County Boroughs in local lockdown.

Since the start of Covid-19 as key workers, DWP employees have played a crucial role in the national effort, in line with government guidelines.

In accordance with Government social distancing guidance we have provided digital kit to our staff to enable more flexible working – in particular working from home. This has enabled us to ensure that Jobcentres are Covid secure for those customers who are best supported face to face, whilst still providing services over the phone and online.

As we double the number of Work Coaches, we will continue to expand our multi-channel engagement with claimants, including booking appointments across our network to support people face-to-face where they need it.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make it her policy (a) only to permit urgent face-to-face jobcentre appointments to take place in Welsh county boroughs which are in local covid-19 lockdown and (b) to require her staff to work from home where possible during the covid-19 outbreak.

Since the start of Covid-19 as key workers, DWP employees have played a crucial role in the national effort, in line with government guidelines.

In accordance with Government social distancing guidance we have provided digital kit to our staff to enable more flexible working – in particular working from home. This has enabled us to ensure that Jobcentres are Covid secure for those customers who are best supported face to face, whilst still providing services over the phone and online.

As we double the number of Work Coaches, we will continue to expand our multi-channel engagement with claimants, including booking appointments across our network to support people face-to-face where they need it.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what comparative assessment she has made of the effectiveness of her Department carrying out face-to-face and virtual assessments during the covid-19 outbreak.

No comparative assessment has been made of virtual and face-to-face Jobcentre appointments.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the provisions of the Equality Act 2010 in relation to levels of disabled access to Centres for Disability Assessments.

The Department takes our responsibility to ensure all our customers have access to our services without disadvantage very seriously. Every DWP office has been assessed to ensure that we are compliant with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010. Where suitable physical adaptations to buildings are not possible, the Department provides an alternative method of delivering our services where we are made aware that a customer has potential access issues, such as an appointment would be rearranged at a ground floor location or by a home visit.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many complaints the Health and Disability Assessments centres in (a) Carmarthen and (b) Swansea have received on disabled access in buildings in each of the last five years.

The information requested is not available.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what guidance her Department has issued to staff at Health and Disability Assessment centres in (a) Carmarthen and (b) Swansea on disabled access at appointments for claimants.

Guidance requires Centre for Health and Disability Assessments (CHDA) personnel to consider the needs of individuals when arranging assessment appointments. If an individual believes they will have any difficulties attending their appointment they should discuss this with CHDA as soon as possible, using the contact details on their appointment letter.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether disabled claimants have access to face-to-face support in Jobcentres when Health and Disability Assessments centres are not accessible to those claimants.

Centre for Health and Disability Assessments (CHDA) is advised to consider the needs of individuals when arranging assessment appointments. If an individual believes they will have any difficulties attending their appointment they should discuss this with CHDA as soon as possible, using the contact details on their appointment letter.

There are a range of provisions in place to ensure assessments are accessible to individuals, in line with the standards under the Equality Act 2010. If a particular Assessment Centre is not accessible to an individual, CHDA can make alternative arrangements for them to visit a different Assessment Centre or arrange for them to be assessed at home. Each case is assessed on the individual merits of the case. Travel expenses to the Assessment Centre will be paid.

14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many doses of the Astrazeneca Covishield branded vaccines batches have been purchased by the Government and and how many have been used.

No doses of the AstraZeneca Covishield branded vaccines have been purchased by the Government. All AstraZeneca vaccine doses approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and administered in the United Kingdom were branded as the ’COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca’ which is now known commercially as ‘Vaxzeria’. The MHRA has not approved doses branded as ‘Covishield’ and none have been administered or rebranded as Vaxzevria in the UK. All AstraZeneca vaccines are the same product and appear on the NHS COVID Pass as Vaxzevria.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether doses of the Astrazeneca Covishield have been rebranded as Vaxzevria upon distribution to UK citizens.

No doses of the AstraZeneca Covishield branded vaccines have been purchased by the Government. All AstraZeneca vaccine doses approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and administered in the United Kingdom were branded as the ’COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca’ which is now known commercially as ‘Vaxzeria’. The MHRA has not approved doses branded as ‘Covishield’ and none have been administered or rebranded as Vaxzevria in the UK. All AstraZeneca vaccines are the same product and appear on the NHS COVID Pass as Vaxzevria.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government with regard to the international travel implications for British citizens who have received Covishield branded Astrazeneca covid-19 vaccinations.

The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when Ministers last met the (a) Food Standards Agency and (b) bodies representing businesses operating in the post farm gate meat processing sector to discuss issues relating to (i) the livestock industry in general and (ii) the functioning of abattoirs.

There have been no specific meetings on these issues.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support he is providing to innovative research into using psilocybin to treat depression.

The Department, through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has funded or supported various studies into the use of psilocybin to treat depression. The NIHR’s Research Programmes has invested £1.1 million in the study ‘A Feasibility RCT of Single-Dose Psilocybin in Unipolar Depressive Disorder Resistant to Standard Treatments’.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what tests are applied to the new supplier when a contract awarded by the Food Standards Agency for the delivery of Official Veterinary Controls is negotiated; and what role is played by the (a) Treasury and (b) Cabinet Office when awarding such contracts or negotiating intra-contractual rate rises and one-off payments.

Contracts for the delivery of Official Controls are awarded in accordance with the Public Contracts Regulations. All tenderers complete a standard pre-qualification envelope which is based on the Cabinet Office template.

As part of the Tender Evaluation process the Food Standards Agency (FSA) undertook a robust and detailed analysis of the financial model each bidder submitted, including the coherence between the financial model and the technical bid submitted and the underlying cost and assumptions of the financial model. The financial submission also included sensitivity analysis against the core financial bid assumptions that were validated by the FSA as part of the tender evaluation.

In accordance with Cabinet Office Spend Controls process, the FSA submitted an Outline Business Case prior to commencing the formal tender process and a Full Business Case prior to awarding the contract to the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury for approval to proceed. Both Businesses Cases underwent robust analysis by the Spend Controls Teams prior to being approved. In line with standard Government processes on such contracts, intra-contractual rate rises and one-off payments defined as special payments require HM Treasury and Cabinet Office consultation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions Ministers and officials in his Department have had with (a) the Food Standards Agency and (b) other Departments on the (i) award and (ii) operation of the current three-year contract for the provision of Official Veterinarians and Meat Hygiene Inspectors in England and Wales.

No recent discussions have taken place between Departmental Ministers and the Food Standards Agency on either the award or the operation of the current contract for the provision of Official Veterinarians and Meat Hygiene Inspectors in England and Wales.

As a non-ministerial Government Department, Food Standards Agency discusses a range of issues with the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury directly.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to increase competition in the market for Food Standards Agency-related veterinary services.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has a programme of operational transformation in place to modernise the model for delivery of official controls, including veterinary services, in approved meat premises. This programme will define the future specification for contracted services, with an aim to altering the markets that the FSA procures from to help improve competition levels. The FSA is committed to providing an update on this work later in 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Food Standards Agency on the awarding of contracts to companies under investigation by HMRC.

No discussions have taken place with regards to any contracts awarded by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) around companies under investigation by HM Revenue and Customs.

All FSA contracts that are above the public procurement thresholds are awarded following competitive procurement processes, which are conducted in accordance with the public contracts regulations and in line with the Cabinet Office spend controls process. Additionally, financial due diligence is completed to ensure existing and future suppliers are financially stable, in line with the outsourcing playbook.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the required period for self-isolation as a result of new variants of covid-19.

On the advice of the four United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers, the self-isolation period for all positive cases and contacts remains at 10 days. This decision is based on the scientific evidence. There is no evidence of a change in the incubation period or infectious period for any variant, therefore the advice regarding the isolation period remains unchanged.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what representations he has received from the Welsh Government in relation to basing the supply of covid-19 vaccines to Wales on relative need as opposed to a population share.

Departmental officials and the Welsh Government regularly discuss the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in Wales. Allocation is based upon the Barnett formula, which uses relative population to allocate vaccines fairly across the four nations. The Welsh Government have agreed the use of this formula.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the value of the Food Standards Authority contract for veterinary controls of meat establishments in each of the last ten years.

The following table shows the value of each contract for veterinary official controls in meat plants since 2012. Contract periods were tendered with slightly differing geographic and technical requirements and therefore a difference in costs is realised.

Years

Contract Value

Notes

2020-2023

£83,700,000

Includes sustainable profit margin, inflationary increase in charge rates for each of the three years of the fixed contract term, includes other activities such as FBO audits, dairy inspections and unannounced inspections. Contracts only cover England and Wales.

2017-2020

£69,000,000

Including additional funding, audits were not included in this contract. Contract only covered England and Wales.

2012-2017

£73,932,444

Fixed hours contracts. Audits were part of this contract until 2015. Contracts covered Scotland, England and Wales.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has undertaken of the cost effectiveness of the procurement of privatised services by the Food Standards Authority to deliver veterinary official controls in meat establishments.

The contract to deliver veterinary services or official controls for approved meat establishments was most recently tendered in 2019 with a three year contract awarded in 2020. Assurances were given at contract award recommendation stage to a selected private service delivery partner as this option met the tender exercise strategic objectives of:

- Maintaining operational performance - the supplier provided the best technical submission so will provide the best operational performance;

- Delivering a financially sustainable contract - new contractual provisions support a more commercially robust contract, as a result of improved Food Standards Agency (FSA) understanding of costs and financial pressures in the market; and

- Delivering value for money to the FSA - the recommended supplier is the most cost effective to the FSA.

During contract retender an in-house comparator model was forecast to cost approximately £7.8 million more for the same delivery model which would have carried less flexibility and increased risk for the FSA, meaning it was not a feasible option at the time of contract retender.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much has been spent on the distribution of the Pfizer covid-19 vaccine in England to date; and what level of Barnett consequential funding the Welsh Government will receive as a result.

The cost of the distribution of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to locations in England which is managed by Public Health England, is estimated at £1.85 million from 4 December 2020 to the end of week commencing 15 February 2021.

The United Kingdom Government has procured vaccines on behalf of all parts of the country. The Barnett formula has been used to calculate vaccine supply allocations to the devolved administrations. This ensures Wales has access to 4.78% of any COVID-19 vaccine doses procured by the UK. Wales has received £5.2 billion upfront funding from the UK Government since the start of the pandemic, on top of the devolved administrations’ Spring Budget 2020 funding.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what provision is being made to enable people without a mobile phone to order a covid-19 test.

People do not need a mobile phone to book a test. Tests can be booked online through the GOV.UK website or by calling 119 in England and Wales or 0300 303 2713 in Scotland and Northern Ireland from any telephone.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what the Government's plans are to protect (a) human rights and (b) women's rights in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of UK troops in September 2021.

The UK remains committed to supporting Afghanistan on its path to a more peaceful and positive future. We will continue to work closely with the UN, Afghanistan and our international partners to intensify peace efforts as NATO forces drawdown.

The UK has assisted in the significant improvement in the rights of all Afghans, including women and minorities. Life expectancy increased from 56 years in 2002 to 65 in 2020. There are 8.2 million more children in school now than in 2002, including 3.7 million girls. However, only a negotiated and inclusive settlement will safeguard the rights and freedoms that Afghans want and deserve. We will continue to make clear to all sides that any Afghan-led political settlement must preserve progress, including protection for women and minorities.

Afghanistan is a focus country under the UK National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. This plan shows how the UK aims to reduce the impact of conflict on women and girls and to promote their inclusion in conflict resolution. It is part of wider efforts to ensure that the UK's foreign policy consciously and consistently delivers for women and girls. The UK has also provided technical assistance for the implementation of Phase 2 of Afghanistan's National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (which runs from 2019 - 2022).

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Australian counterpart on temporarily extending visas for UK citizens in Australia while quarantine measures are in place in the UK.

The Foreign Secretary speaks to his Australian counterpart frequently and on a wide range of issues, including on our responses to COVID-19. They spoke most recently on 15 February. The Foreign Secretary has not raised temporarily extending visas for UK citizens in Australia. British citizens in Australia are free to return to the UK with proof of a negative pre-departure Covid-19 test carried out within 72 hours prior to departure, but are subject to mandatory 10-day home quarantine upon arrival.

4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the British embassy in Myanmar is taking to protect UK citizens following the military coup in that country.

As of 1 February, the Myanmar Military have declared a state of emergency and assumed control of the country. The British Embassy in Yangon is following the situation closely and will continue to update travel advice. British nationals in Myanmar are advised to exercise caution, stay at home where possible and continue to check the travel advice and Embassy social media pages. Any British national requiring urgent consular assistance should contact the British Embassy, our phone lines are open 24 hours a day. All information and contact details can be found on the Gov.uk website: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/myanmar

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans he has to seize the assets of senior Myanmar military individuals held in the UK following the military coup in that country.

The UK condemns the coup and the state of emergency imposed by the Myanmar military on 1 February, and the arbitrary detention of civil society representatives and democratically elected politicians, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint.

We are currently working closely with international partners to ensure a coordinated and impactful response. The UK will consider all the tools at its disposal. Before the coup, the UK had already imposed targeted sanctions on 16 individuals responsible for human rights violations in Myanmar. We played a leading role in securing sanctions on 14 individuals whilst we were in the EU. These have all been transitioned into UK law. In July 2020, we sanctioned the Commander-in-Chief and his Deputy, in our first tranche of sanctions under the Global Human Rights Sanctions regime. We have now sanctioned all six individuals named in the UN Fact Finding Mission Report.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with the (a) Football Association of Wales and (b) UEFA on the (i) suitability of Baku as a host location for the European Football Championships in summer 2021 and (b) safety of the Welsh (A) team and (B) fans whilst in Azerbaijan.

The safety of sports teams and fans travelling is paramount and for this reason we keep our travel advice under constant review. We urge anyone considering travel to consult our advice before doing so. We are also in regular contact with the Football Association of Wales (FAW) and with the Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan, including in preparation for last year's successful visit of the Welsh National Team to Baku for a Euro qualifier. However, it is for the Football Association of Wales to make the decision about whether the Welsh Team play in Baku.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the political and security situation in the eastern Mediterranean as a result of increased tensions between Turkey, Greece and Cyprus.

We are concerned by the continuing instability within the Eastern Mediterranean region. We continue to urge all countries involved to de-escalate and to engage in dialogue. The Foreign Secretary raised this with the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, on 8 July. He has also discussed this with the Foreign Ministers of Germany, France and Turkey. I have raised this with my Turkish, Greek and Cypriot counterparts in recent weeks. We believe it is critical for stability in the Eastern Mediterranean that disputes are resolved through constructive dialogue in accordance with international law, including as reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with the EU on increased tensions in the eastern Mediterranean between Turkey, Greece and Cyprus.

We are concerned by the continuing instability within the Eastern Mediterranean region. We continue to urge all countries involved to de-escalate and to engage in dialogue. The Foreign Secretary raised this with the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, on 8 July. He has also discussed this with the Foreign Ministers of Germany, France and Turkey. I have raised this with my Turkish, Greek and Cypriot counterparts in recent weeks. We believe it is critical for stability in the Eastern Mediterranean that disputes are resolved through constructive dialogue in accordance with international law, including as reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether his Department plans for it to remain Government policy that it should meet the poverty reduction obligations as set out in the International Development Act 2002 after his Department merges with the Department for International Development.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office will continue to be guided by our responsibilities under the International Development Act, including a commitment to poverty reduction. The work of UK aid to reduce poverty will remain central to the new department's mission.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 5 May 2020 to Question 41027 on Taliban: Peace Negotiations, what discussions he has with his German counterpart on the formation of the US negotiating position in the US-Taliban peace negotiations.

We engaged intensively with the United States, Afghan Government and our NATO allies and partners in the run-up to and throughout the bilateral talks between the US and the Taliban in Doha. The US-Taliban agreement was a positive step, but it was also the first step in a long and difficult road towards peace. Our UK diplomatic commitment is helping push towards a sustainable and inclusive peace process, the only route to lasting peace and security in Afghanistan.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 5 May 2020 to Question 41027 on Taliban: Peace Negotiations, what discussions he had with his French counterpart on the formation of the US negotiating position in the US-Taliban peace negotiations.

We engaged intensively with the United States, Afghan Government and our NATO allies and partners in the run-up to and throughout the bilateral talks between the US and the Taliban in Doha. The US-Taliban agreement was a positive step, but it was also the first step in a long and difficult road towards peace. Our UK diplomatic commitment is helping push towards a sustainable and inclusive peace process, the only route to lasting peace and security in Afghanistan.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 5 May 2020 to Question 41027, what discussions he had with the Secretary of General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, on the formation of the US negotiating position in the US-Taliban peace negotiations.

We engaged intensively with the United States, Afghan Government and our NATO allies and partners in the run-up to and throughout the bilateral talks between the US and the Taliban in Doha. The US-Taliban agreement was a positive step, but it was also the first step in a long and difficult road towards peace. Our UK diplomatic commitment is helping push towards a sustainable and inclusive peace process, the only route to lasting peace and security in Afghanistan.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Chinese counterpart on the harassment of the West Capella, a ship operated by a UK-registered company.

The British Government's position is to oppose any action which raises tensions in the South China Sea. We regularly make this position clear to the Chinese authorities and encourage all parties, including China, to settle their disputes peacefully through the existing legal mechanisms, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and to uphold existing Arbitration rulings.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has received on the Government of the People's Republic of China using economic and political leverage against governments that have raised diplomatic concerns on China’s potential role in the covid-19 pandemic.

The Foreign Secretary has not received any specific representations of this nature. Coronavirus is a global challenge and we are focused on working with our international partners - including China - to stop the spread of the virus and save lives. The Foreign Secretary is in regular contact with his counterparts in a wide range of countries to discuss the international response to the pandemic.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 2 April 2020 to Question 34327 on Taliban: Peace Negotiations, what involvement he had with the formation of the US position in the US-Taliban peace negotiations.

As stated in our answer of 2 April to Question 34327, we were in close consultation and engaged intensively with the US throughout the US-Taliban talks in Doha.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to encourage the closure of wildlife wet markets throughout the world.

Wet markets exist all around the world. All wet markets should follow best practice on hygiene and safety to avoid health issues, whether in China or elsewhere and that should include safe sourcing of animal and other products. The UK has always been at the forefront of international efforts to ensure global trade in wild animals is sustainable and well regulated, including through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). We are investing over £36m between 2014 and 2021 and last year pledged a further £30 million over three years to crack down on the abhorrent illegal trade in animals and plants.

We welcome China's decision on 24 February to put in place a ban on the sale of wildlife for food, and urge China to ensure this is strictly enforced until such times that they can ensure that all meat for sale is sustainably and legally sourced and poses no threat to human health. We have been in regular contact with the Chinese authorities since the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, including a phone conversation between the Foreign Secretary and Foreign Minister Wang-Yi on 20 March.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what the Government's policy is on the claim of Yemen’s Southern Transitional Council for self-rule.

The announcement of self-rule by the Southern Transitional Council is a dangerous move which risks prolonging the conflict. The UK supports the Saudi-brokered Riyadh Agreement between the Government of Yemen and the Southern Transitional Council. The Riyadh Agreement is the best means of restoring security and stability to Southern Yemen and the UK urges the parties to resume their efforts towards implementation. We are encouraging the parties to refrain from unconstructive acts and statements, and we are working with them to agree a way forward.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the United Arab Emirates authorities on their support for Yemen’s Southern Transitional Council.

UK representatives are in regular contact with representatives of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) about the situation in Yemen and the importance of ensuring that Yemen's Southern Transitional Council remains committed to the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement. We note that since the Southern Transitional Council's 'self-rule' declaration, the UAE have reiterated their support for implementation of the Riyadh Agreement.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Chinese counterparts on the closure of Chinese wildlife wet markets.

Wet markets exist all around the world. All wet markets should follow best practice on hygiene and safety to avoid health issues, whether in China or elsewhere and that should include safe sourcing of animal and other products. The UK has always been at the forefront of international efforts to ensure global trade in wild animals is sustainable and well regulated, including through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). We are investing over £36m between 2014 and 2021 and last year pledged a further £30 million over three years to crack down on the abhorrent illegal trade in animals and plants.

We welcome China's decision on 24 February to put in place a ban on the sale of wildlife for food, and urge China to ensure this is strictly enforced until such times that they can ensure that all meat for sale is sustainably and legally sourced and poses no threat to human health. We have been in regular contact with the Chinese authorities since the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, including a phone conversation between the Foreign Secretary and Foreign Minister Wang-Yi on 20 March.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many British nationals have been repatriated in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

As of 29 April, we have brought back more than 20,000 people on 99 flights organised by the Foreign Office from 21 different countries and territories and have helped more than 19000 British passengers return home from 60 cruise ships.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that repatriated British nationals are (a) tested for covid-19 and (b) subject to a quarantine period upon their arrival in the UK.

All passengers returning on repatriation flights should follow the UK's latest public health advice, as laid out by the Prime Minister last month. We will not be flying back people who are symptomatic or have COVID-19. All British nationals returning to the UK must comply with current social distancing rules, and self-isolate should they develop symptoms.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that British nationals in foreign countries are tested for covid-19.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has lobbied foreign governments to provide COVID-19 tests and treatment without charge to British nationals currently based on their territory, as the UK is doing for foreign nationals here. Although access to the NHS is usually based on residence in the UK, in January the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) decided that overseas visitors would not be charged for testing for COVID-19 (even if the test is negative) nor for treatment for COVID-19 in the UK. We advise British nationals overseas to follow the advice of the local health and government authorities, and this includes following their testing regime.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 19 March 2020 to Question 28707, on Taliban: Peace Negotiations, whether the UK had diplomatic representatives involved in the US-Taliban peace negotiations.

Following the change to date for answer of this PQ, I submitted a response by email on 2 April, with the following response. The Table Office have agreed this approach.

The UK did not have diplomatic representation at US-Taliban talks in Doha. We were in close consultation throughout the process. We engaged intensively with the US, Afghan Government and our NATO allies and partners. The UK continues to support Afghanistan on its path towards a more peaceful and positive future.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what estimate has he made of the number of UK citizens living in countries which have closed their borders due to the covid-19 pandemic who are seeking repatriation.

We are working intensively with the Governments of those countries that have closed their borders to people travelling to and from the UK, to enable airlines to bring back British people to the UK, if that is what they want. The welfare of British nationals remains our top priority, and we are focused on supporting those around the world who are being affected by the restrictions being put in place. If British Nationals require assistance they can contact us by phone 24/7 for help or advice from anywhere in the world by calling the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (www.gov.uk/government/ organisations/foreign-commonwealth-office) on 0207 008 1500, or the nearest British embassy, High Commission or Consulate (www.gov.uk/world/ embassies).

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of UK nationals stranded in countries that have closed their borders, by country.

Consular Assistance is given on a case by case basis and if British Nationals require assistance they can contact us by phone 24/7 for help or advice from anywhere in the world by calling the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (www.gov.uk/government/organisations/foreign-commonwealth-office) on 0207 008 1500, or the nearest British embassy, High Commission or Consulate (www.gov.uk/world/embassies). We do not register British nationals abroad, and do not therefore have numbers of British nationals in each country.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 9 March 2020 to Question 25069, what involvement he had in the peace negotiations with the Taliban.

The UK continues to work closely with the Afghan government, the US and our NATO allies in support of peace efforts and for a better future for Afghan people. The US-Taliban agreement of 29 February was a positive milestone in efforts to make progress towards peace in Afghanistan.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the ceasefire between coalition forces and the Taliban in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement.

The recent reduction in violence is a welcome respite for Afghans. It is clear that there is no military solution to the conflict.

The US-Taliban agreement is a positive milestone. It is important that talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government start soon to maintain momentum.

The UK is committed to supporting the Afghan people, including through our contribution to NATO Resolute Support Mission.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
6th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with representatives from the Economic Community of West African States on the security situation in those countries.

The UK welcomes the recent statement by the UN and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) of their commitment to work together towards peace, security and stability across West Africa and the Sahel. The UK regularly engages with ECOWAS and its member states on tackling terrorism and the underlying causes of conflict in the region. We will continue to identify opportunities for co-ordination and partnership, in particular as ECOWAS assumes responsibility within the framework of the African Standby Force High Readiness element from July.

5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his European counterparts on further sanctions against Russia as a result of that country's actions in Idlib, Syria.

Building on new Syria sanctions announced on 17 February, we have been working with European and other partners to increase international pressure to ensure that the brutal offensive conducted by Russia and the Syrian regime force in Idlib ends and a lasting ceasefire is established.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Arms Trade Treaty in controlling the movement of arms in Africa.

The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) is the only legally binding international conventional arms control treaty. It seeks to establish the highest possible common international standards for regulating the trade in conventional arms. By promoting consistent standards and enhancing transparency, the ATT can tackle the illicit transfer of arms, including in Africa. However, the Treaty can only achieve its goal if it is fully and universally implemented. Twenty-six African states are States Parties to the ATT; the UK continues to call on states that have not yet done so to accede to the Treaty. The UK strongly supports the ATT's Voluntary Trust Fund (VTF), which supports Treaty implementation. The UK has donated £311,000 to the fund and has served as a member of the VTF Selection Committee since the fund's inception.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his US counterpart on peace negotiations with the Taliban.

It is our longstanding position that a political solution to the conflict is the only way to achieve lasting stability in Afghanistan and the wider region. The UK welcomes both the agreement between the US and the Taliban, and the Joint Declaration between the United States and the Afghan Government. It is vital that the next step is a credible and inclusive peace process. The UK remains in close contact with the US about the situation in Afghanistan, peace efforts and the continuing NATO commitment to the Afghan National Security Forces.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether any UK Government officials will attend the funeral of former president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak.

The UK was represented at the funeral by our Deputy Ambassador.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential for UK military hardware to be supplied by the United Arab Emirates to forces operating in Libya.

HMG takes its arms export responsibilities seriously and operates one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world. We can and do respond quickly and flexibly to changing or fluid international situations. We are able to review licences and suspend or revoke as necessary when circumstances require.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 24 February 2020 to Question 606, whether Official Development Assistance allocated to Syria has included financial transfers via Syrian Government institutions and affiliated agencies.

The UK has committed over £3.1 billion Official Development Assistance (ODA) in response to the Syria Crisis, our largest ever response to a single humanitarian crisis. No British Government funding is provided through financial transfers via Syrian Government institutions and affiliated agencies. UK ODA funding is spent through carefully vetted partners and is closely monitored to ensure that our assistance reaches those most in need and to provide that assurance to the British taxpayer.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether the UK Government supports the removal through democratic means of Bashar Al-Assad in Syria.

The UK's position on the Assad regime is unchanged: it has lost its legitimacy due to its atrocities against the Syrian people. Only an inclusive, non-sectarian government can unite the country and protect the rights of all Syrians. Our priority is to end the conflict in Syria through a negotiated political settlement on the basis of UN Security Council Resolution 2254. We continue to strongly support the UN-led Constitutional Committee, and all efforts to create a safe, neutral environment that enables Syria to hold free and fair elections through which Syrians can choose their own government.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what information his Department holds on Russian state support for the Wagner Group.

We are aware of media reports alleging Russian state links to the Wagner Group, and maintain an interest in this matter.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of recent reports of Israeli airstrikes in Gaza.

We are concerned by the recent escalation in Gaza, including indiscriminate rocket fire which places civilians at risk. Indiscriminate attacks against civilians are unacceptable and unjustifiable. The perpetual cycle of violence does not serve anyone's interests, and must end. Israel has a legitimate right to self-defence, and the right to defend their citizens from attack. In doing so, it is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and are calibrated to avoid civilian casualties. We call upon Hamas and other terrorist groups to permanently end their incitement and rocket fire against Israel. We urge all parties to adhere to the ceasefire arrangement.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Italian counterpart on the Libyan National Army.

The Foreign Secretary is in regular contact with his French and Italian counterparts about the situation in Libya and met to discuss Libya in Brussels on 7 January. The Prime Minister met President Macron and Prime Minister Conte at the Libya conference in Berlin on 19 January. Our governments agreed a set of conclusions at Berlin which the UN Security Council endorsed in Resolution 2510 of 12 February. This calls on all the parties, including the Libyan National Army, to support a lasting ceasefire and engage in a renewed political process under UN auspices.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his French counterpart on the Libyan National Army.

The Foreign Secretary is in regular contact with his French and Italian counterparts about the situation in Libya and met to discuss Libya in Brussels on 7 January. The Prime Minister met President Macron and Prime Minister Conte at the Libya conference in Berlin on 19 January. Our governments agreed a set of conclusions at Berlin which the UN Security Council endorsed in Resolution 2510 of 12 February. This calls on all the parties, including the Libyan National Army, to support a lasting ceasefire and engage in a renewed political process under UN auspices.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Egyptian counterpart on that country’s logistical support to the Libyan National Army.

The Government is in frequent contact with Egypt about the situation in Libya. The Foreign Secretary discussed it with the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, in London on 21 January. The UK and Egypt supported the conclusions of the Berlin conference on Libya on 19 January that called for an end to external military support to the parties in Libya. The UN Security Council endorsed the Berlin conference conclusions in Resolution 2510 of 12 February.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential for UK military hardware to be used by Turkish forces in Syria as a result of their increasing engagement in that region.

We continue to monitor the situation in Syria very closely and keep the licensing position under review. As the Foreign Secretary told the House of Commons on 15 October 2019, no further export licences to Turkey for items which might be used in military operations in Syria will be granted while we do so. We take into account any developments in operations as part of our licensing process.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) political and (b) humanitarian situation in Syria.

We are gravely concerned about the political and humanitarian situation in Syria, particularly in Idlib as a result of regime and Russian military action. As of 12 February, the UN reports that at least 832,000 people have been displaced since 1 December 2019, and many more are at risk of imminent further displacement. We are calling on all parties to adhere to previously agreed ceasefires and abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law. The former Minister for the Middle East and North Africa discussed the crisis in north-west Syria with Turkish counterparts as well as UN agencies and humanitarian NGOs, during a visit to Turkey on 5-6 February. We are committed to supporting the victims of this appalling conflict. The Syria crisis has been the UK's biggest ever humanitarian response, with the UK committing £2.81bn of support to Syria and the region since 2012, including a commitment of £400m at the Brussels III Conference in 2019.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether his Department has had discussions with representatives of the Indian Government on recent shootings related to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

The British High Commission in New Delhi and our network of Deputy High Commissions across India are following reports on the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens, as well as the Government of India's response. We raise our concerns with the Government of India. Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon discussed the CAA, and public response to the legislation, with India's Minister of State for External Affairs on 19 December 2019. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials also raised the issue with the High Commission of India in London on 14 January.

The UK has long regarded protest as a key part of democratic society. Democratic governments must have the power to enforce law and order when a protest crosses the line into illegality, though we encourage all states to ensure their domestic laws are enforced in line with international standards. Any allegation of human rights violations is deeply concerning and must be investigated thoroughly, promptly, and transparently.

India has a proud history of inclusive government and religious tolerance. After his re-election, Prime Minister Modi promised to continue this. We trust the Government of India will provide reassurances to its citizens who are expressing concern about the impact this legislation may have. We will continue to monitor the situation.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the accuracy of reports of long-term persecution of the Uyghur Muslims, Falun Gong practitioners and other ethnic and religious minority groups in China.

We remain concerned about the persecution of Uyghur Muslims, Falun Gong practitioners, as well as Christians, Buddhists and others, in China on the grounds of their religion or belief. We have particularly serious concerns about the human rights situation in Xinjiang including the extra-judicial detention of over a million Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in “political re-education camps”. This is underpinned by extensive evidence. We are also concerned about the systematic restrictions on Uyghur culture and the practice of Islam, and extensive and invasive surveillance targeting minorities outside of the “camps”.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterparts in the Chinese Government on the finding by the China Tribunal that the Chinese Government are guilty of humanitarian crimes against Uyghur Muslims.

We remain deeply concerned about the persecution of Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Falun Gong practitioners and others on the grounds of their religion or belief in China. We regularly raise our concerns about human rights and freedom of religion or belief with the Chinese authorities at senior levels. Most recently our UK Ambassador to China raised our concerns with Vice Foreign Minister Qin Gang on 24 December 2019. We also regularly discuss the situation in Xinjiang with likeminded partners including at the UN. We have issued or joined a number of statements registering our concern in recent months: on 29 October 2019 at UN Third Committee, the UK read out a joint statement signed by 22 others drawing attention to the human rights violations and abuses in Xinjiang and called on China to uphold its obligations to respect human rights. On 26 September 2019 during an Urgent Question, the Foreign Secretary set out the UK’s position on the persecution of groups in China on the grounds of religion or belief. As the Foreign Secretary stated in the House, we are concerned that Chinese Government guidelines on unapproved religious activity, education and travel may restrict the peaceful observation of those rights.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 20 January 2020 to Question 3169 on Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said, what the composition was of the three UK delegations to the coronation of the Sultan of Oman; and if he will publish the documents relating to that coronation.

There were no foreign governments present when His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tariq assumed his position. On 12 January 2020, three delegations from the United Kingdom offered condolences to His Majesty Sultan Haitham.

HRH The Prince of Wales was accompanied by his Deputy Private Secretary, Scott Furssedonn-Wood; Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Muscat, Hamish Cowell CMG; and the Director-General for Political Affairs at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Richard Moore CMG.

The Prime Minister was accompanied by Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Muscat and other officials from No. 10.

The Secretary of State for Defence was accompanied by the Chief of the Defence Staff, the Defence Senior Adviser for the Middle East, officials from the British Embassy in Muscat and officials from the Ministry of Defence.

There are no official documents relating to His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tariq assuming his position.

27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterparts in the Chinese Government on the long-term persecution of (a) the Uyghur Muslims, (b) Falun Gong practitioners and (c) other ethnic and religious minority groups in China.

We remain deeply concerned about the persecution of Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Falun Gong practitioners and others on the grounds of their religion or belief in China. We regularly raise our concerns about human rights and freedom of religion or belief with the Chinese authorities at senior levels. Most recently our UK Ambassador to China raised our concerns with Vice Foreign Minister Qin Gang on 24 December 2019. We also regularly discuss the situation in Xinjiang with likeminded partners including at the UN. We have issued or joined a number of statements registering our concern in recent months: on 29 October 2019 at UN Third Committee, the UK read out a joint statement signed by 22 others drawing attention to the human rights violations and abuses in Xinjiang and called on China to uphold its obligations to respect human rights. On 26 September 2019 during an Urgent Question, the Foreign Secretary set out the UK’s position on the persecution of groups in China on the grounds of religion or belief. As the Foreign Secretary stated in the House, we are concerned that Chinese Government guidelines on unapproved religious activity, education and travel may restrict the peaceful observation of those rights.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether (a) legal and (b) other provisions are in place to ensure that UK nationals do not unknowingly take part in China’s illegal organ trade.

There are no legal provisions in place that prevent UK nationals from unknowingly participating in China’s organ transplant system. Following the Westminster Hall Debate on Forced Organ Extraction on 26 March 2019, the former Minister for Asia and the Pacific commissioned from officials additional information on five countries/territories named by MPs during the Westminster Hall Debate as having such provisions. These findings were sent to the Home Office. Numbers of patients travelling to China for transplants are not collated.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he holds information on the number of UK nationals who have travelled to China for organ transplants in the last five years.

There are no legal provisions in place that prevent UK nationals from unknowingly participating in China’s organ transplant system. Following the Westminster Hall Debate on Forced Organ Extraction on 26 March 2019, the former Minister for Asia and the Pacific commissioned from officials additional information on five countries/territories named by MPs during the Westminster Hall Debate as having such provisions. These findings were sent to the Home Office. Numbers of patients travelling to China for transplants are not collated.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for the Government's policies of the ruling of the United Nations Human Rights Committee on climate change refugee repatriation.

The British Government has taken note of the views of the UN Human Rights Committee's in the case concerned, which are not legally binding. We also note that the Committee made wider comments, including on the responsibilities of receiving states in relation to non-refoulement where the effects of climate change have been a driver of migration. However under the 1951 Refugee Convention, climate change does not of itself constitute a basis for requesting/granting refugee status.

Evidence shows that climate extremes and environmental degradation are often amplifiers of other principal migration drivers (economic, social and political), but decisions to migrate are rarely mono-causal. We recognise the complexity of causes of migration and the importance of providing people with options for sustainable livelihoods that do not compel them to migrate. More broadly, as climate change increases its impact on migration it is imperative that efforts are redoubled to limit warming and to help vulnerable people to adapt to change. Climate change is a reality that requires greater and more coordinated adaptation and mitigation planning.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to his Egyptian counterpart on the detention and death of Moustafa Kassem in Egypt.

​Our thoughts are with Mr Kassem's family. The US Government has taken particular interest in Mr Kassem's case, since he was an American citizen. We regularly raise prison conditions and other human rights issues with the Egyptian Government, as we did through our contribution to Egypt's Universal Periodic Review in November 2019.

20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will (a) attend the vigil marking the fourth anniversary of the disappearance of Giulio Regeni on 25 January 2020 and (b) make representations to his Eqyptian counterpart on the case of Shaimaa al-Sabbagh on the forthcoming fifth anniversary of her death.

​We have the deepest sympathy for Giulio Regeni's family and their quest for justice for his appalling murder. We continue to follow the investigation into his death and to work closely with the Italian Government. We have raised with the Egyptian authorities at a senior level the need for a transparent and impartial investigation, in full co-operation with Italy, so that Mr Regeni's killers can be brought to justice.

In 2015 the then Foreign Secretary conveyed to his Egyptian counterpart our deep concern over the death of Shaimaa El-Sabbagh. We continue to raise human rights concerns with the Egyptian authorities, both privately and in forums such as the UN Humans Rights Council. Most recently, we raised human rights with the Egyptian delegation at a senior level in the margins of the UK-Africa Investment Summit.

20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether his Department has offered any assistance to Sudanese authorities with respect to the five African lions in Khartoum’s Al-Qureshi park.

​We are aware of press reports regarding the lions in Khartoum’s Al-Qureshi park and pleased that a local community committee has recently provided food and assistance. We urge the Sudanese authorities to ensure the continued welfare of the animals.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether there was a Government representative at the coronation of Sultan Haitham bin Tariq of Oman.

Following the death of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said on 10 January, a three day official condolence period began on 12 January. The UK was represented on the first day with three delegations led by HRH The Prince of Wales, the Prime Minister and the Defence Secretary, each of whom had an audience with His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tariq al Said.

14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 13 January 2020 to Question 1339 on Jawaharlal Nehru University: Violence, what representations he has made to his Indian counterpart on violence at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Reports of attacks against students at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) are concerning. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials raised the ongoing protests across India with the Indian High Commission in London on 14 January. We will continue to monitor the situation and raise our concerns with Indian officials where appropriate.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of sanctions against the Iranian regime.

Our strategic aim remains to de-escalate tensions; to hold Iran to account for its destabilising regional activity; and to keep the diplomatic door open for Iran to negotiate a peaceful way forwards. Sanctions are only one of a number of tools available to the international community to achieve these goals. Sanctions relief in return for commitments by Iran is a core part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) – it is essential that Iran engage in good faith with the dispute resolution mechanism under the deal and return to full compliance with its commitments. We continue to support the JCPoA and have always said we regret US withdrawal from the deal and the re-imposition of US sanctions on Iran.

14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of whether Oman’s proposed project to develop a natural gas pipeline between Oman and Iran would violate international sanctions against Iran.

We are not aware of any developments on the proposed natural gas pipeline. Any project would have to seek their own legal advice about how to ensure international sanctions are not violated.

8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether his Department has held discussions with representatives of the Indian government on violence at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Reports of attacks against students at Jawaharlal Nehru University are concerning. The British High Commission in New Delhi and our network of Deputy High Commissions maintain a continuous assessment of the human rights situation across India, and raise our concerns with Indian officials where appropriate.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterparts in the Gulf states on the relocation of UK military personnel out of Iraq.

The Defence Secretary updated Parliament on this issue as part of his statement on 7 January. The safety and security of HMG personnel is of paramount importance and we keep our force protection measures under constant review.

9th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with HMRC on a VAT exemption for new build dwellings under the Welsh Government's One Planet development policy.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer and other Treasury ministers engage with the Welsh Government and all of the devolved administrations regularly on a range of subjects, including VAT.

The Government currently maintains a zero rate of VAT on new-build residential properties.

The Government is committed to greening the economy; and investing in new affordable housing is a priority.

The Government is investing £12.2 billion over five years through the Affordable Homes Programmes; this is the largest cash investment in affordable housing for a decade and will provide up to 180,000 new homes across the country.

9th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has received representations from the Welsh Government in respect of a VAT exemption on new build homes in Wales under the terms of the One Planet Development policy.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer and other Treasury ministers engage with the Welsh Government and all of the devolved administrations regularly on a range of subjects, including VAT.

The Government currently maintains a zero rate of VAT on new-build residential properties.

The Government is committed to greening the economy; and investing in new affordable housing is a priority.

The Government is investing £12.2 billion over five years through the Affordable Homes Programmes; this is the largest cash investment in affordable housing for a decade and will provide up to 180,000 new homes across the country.

27th Apr 2021
What recent discussions he has had with his international counterparts on the potential merits of co-ordinated taxation of multinational companies.

The UK has been at the forefront of global efforts to update the international corporation tax framework in response to challenges created by digitisation, and it has played an active role at the OECD in helping to develop a comprehensive two-pillar solution.

The Chancellor has made it a priority of the UK’s G7 presidency to support progress towards a final agreement by mid-2021 and he has regular discussions with his counterparts on these issues.

11th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether there will be a 100 per cent Barnett consequential in respect of the £175 million provided for freeports in England.

The Barnett formula will apply in the usual way in relation to funding provided to the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government to introduce Freeports in England.

There are ongoing discussions with the devolved administrations to establish at least one Freeport in each of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as soon as possible.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much funding has been allocated to establishing free ports in the UK; and how much of that funding will be allocated to (a) Wales, (b) England, (c) Scotland and (d) Northern Ireland.

We want to ensure that the whole of the UK can benefit from Freeports and we remain in ongoing discussions with the Welsh government to establish a Freeport in Wales as soon as possible.

Successful bidders in England will be able to access a share of £175m. This is capital spending to support the development of Freeport sites and should be matched by a mix of private sector investment, council borrowing and co-funding. The expectation is that all Freeports who have their business case accepted will get similar shares of the available £175 million fund. The amount accessed will depend on the submission of an outline business case (OBC).

It is for the Welsh Government to decide how much seed funding to provide to a Freeport in Wales. Through the application of the Barnett formula at the 2020 Spending Review, the Welsh Government is receiving around £123 per head in 2021-22 for every £100 per head spent by the UK Government on devolved matters in England. It is similarly for the Scottish Government and Northern Ireland Executive to determine how much seed funding to allocate to Freeports in Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively.

There are also a variety of benefits from Freeports, including on tax, customs, planning and innovation, and the seed funding is only one part of the offer available to ports and businesses.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much seed funding will be allocated to each of the eight new free ports in England.

We want to ensure that the whole of the UK can benefit from Freeports and we remain in ongoing discussions with the Welsh government to establish a Freeport in Wales as soon as possible.

Successful bidders in England will be able to access a share of £175m. This is capital spending to support the development of Freeport sites and should be matched by a mix of private sector investment, council borrowing and co-funding. The expectation is that all Freeports who have their business case accepted will get similar shares of the available £175 million fund. The amount accessed will depend on the submission of an outline business case (OBC).

It is for the Welsh Government to decide how much seed funding to provide to a Freeport in Wales. Through the application of the Barnett formula at the 2020 Spending Review, the Welsh Government is receiving around £123 per head in 2021-22 for every £100 per head spent by the UK Government on devolved matters in England. It is similarly for the Scottish Government and Northern Ireland Executive to determine how much seed funding to allocate to Freeports in Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively.

There are also a variety of benefits from Freeports, including on tax, customs, planning and innovation, and the seed funding is only one part of the offer available to ports and businesses.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much money has accrued to the public purse from (a) previous and (b) current offshore wind auctions by the Crown Estate relating to Welsh territorial waters.

The Crown Estate’s Offshore Wind Leasing Round 4 has not yet concluded and therefore this information is not known. The revenue raised will depend on the outcome of the upcoming plan-level Habitats Regulations Assessment, as well as how developers subsequently progress potential projects through to construction.

The Crown Estate publishes its financial returns in relation to all its activities in Wales on an annual basis. As set out in The Crown Estate’s most recent Wales Highlights Report, total revenue from offshore renewables in Wales in 2019-20, totalled £3.4 million, up from £3 million in 2018-19. Figures are not published for individual leasing rounds. [https://www.thecrownestate.co.uk/media/3558/wales-highlights-2020.pdf]

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much revenue has been raised by the Crown Estates' Offshore Wind Leasing Round 4 in (a) total and (b) Welsh territorial waters.

The Crown Estate’s Offshore Wind Leasing Round 4 has not yet concluded and therefore this information is not known. The revenue raised will depend on the outcome of the upcoming plan-level Habitats Regulations Assessment, as well as how developers subsequently progress potential projects through to construction.

The Crown Estate publishes its financial returns in relation to all its activities in Wales on an annual basis. As set out in The Crown Estate’s most recent Wales Highlights Report, total revenue from offshore renewables in Wales in 2019-20, totalled £3.4 million, up from £3 million in 2018-19. Figures are not published for individual leasing rounds. [https://www.thecrownestate.co.uk/media/3558/wales-highlights-2020.pdf]

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
26th Jan 2021
What plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals to introduce changes to the minimum age for withdrawing a private pension.

In 2014 the government announced it would increase the minimum pension age from age 55 to age 57 from 2028.

This increase reflects trends in longevity and encourages individuals to remain in work, while also helping to ensure pension savings provide for later life.

The 2014 announcement set out the timetable for this change well in advance to enable people to make financial plans and will be legislated for in due course.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what his policy is on the minimum age for withdrawing a private pension; and what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals to introduce legislation on that minimum age.

In 2014 the government announced it would increase the minimum pension age from age 55 to age 57 from 2028, reflecting trends in longevity and encouraging individuals to remain in work, while also helping to ensure pension savings provide for later life.

That announcement set out the timetable for this change well in advance to enable people to make financial plans and will be legislated for in due course.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what modelling has been undertaken of the effect on businesses in Wales of changes to customs processes and procedures required as a consequence of (a) a trade agreement and (b) no trade agreement with the EU.

In October 2019, HMRC published their updated impact assessment for the movement of goods for if the UK leaves the EU without a deal (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hmrc-impact-assessment-for-the-movement-of-goods-if-the-uk-leaves-the-eu-without-a-deal/hmrc-impact-assessment-for-the-movement-of-goods-if-the-uk-leaves-the-eu-without-a-deal-third-edition). Should a deal be agreed with the EU, the Government will publish an impact assessment alongside introducing legislation to give effect to that deal.

The UK is leaving the EU’s customs union and single market at the end of this year, which will inevitably mean extra processes required for UK-EU trade. Most customs processes are electronic and done away from the border, including getting an EORI number and making plans for completing customs declarations, where traders will need a customs agent or their own software. Many businesses have already begun factoring in these new processes as part of their preparations for life outside the customs union and the Government urges others to do the same.

30th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the proposed changes to the formula for calculating the Retail Price Index, set out in his Department's response to the Consultation on the Reform of RPI Methodology, on the risk of insolvency for employers, as a result of the need to address the shortfall in funding of their workplace pension schemes.

On 25 November, the Government and UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) published their response to the consultation on the timing of reform to the Retail Prices Index (RPI). Owing to shortcomings in its calculation, UKSA intends to bring the methods and data sources of the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) into RPI.

The consultation launched at the Budget on 11 March 2020. Originally, the consultation was set to run for six weeks, closing on 22 April 2020. However, due to the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Chancellor and UKSA Board decided to extend the consultation to 21 August 2020. At the close of the consultation, the Government and UKSA had received 831 written responses. As Economic Secretary to the Treasury, in July 2020 I chaired two roundtables comprising representatives of index-linked gilt holders, to hear their views on the impact of the timing of reform. The details of these meetings can be found in Annex D of the response document.

As detailed in the response document, the holders of a majority of index-linked gilts are seeking to match inflation-linked liabilities. This means that they use the returns from index-linked gilts to hedge against inflation-linked liabilities. Such investors include some defined benefit (DB) pension schemes. How such schemes’ funding positions will be impacted by reform will depend on the extent to which they are hedged and the nature of their liabilities. For some DB pension schemes, a deterioration in their funding position means that existing deficits may increase, or that surpluses may be reduced. The vast majority of index-linked gilt investors who responded to the consultation noted a strong preference for UKSA’s proposal to be implemented as late as possible, i.e. in 2030, in order to allow index-linked gilt holders as much time as possible to adjust to the reform of the RPI and to minimise any potential negative impacts they may face.

As part of the response, the Chancellor announced that while he sees the statistical arguments of UKSA’s intended approach to reform, in order to minimise the impact of reform on the holders of index-linked gilts, he will be unable to offer his consent to the implementation of such a proposal before the maturity of the final specific index-linked gilt in 2030. As it stated in the response, it is UKSA policy to address the shortcomings of RPI in full at the earliest practical time. The change proposed can legally and practically be made by UKSA in February 2030.

For further information please see the consultation response at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/a-consultation-on-the-reform-to-retail-prices-index-rpi-methodology.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that people entering into new index-linked deals are made aware of the proposed changes to the formula for calculating the Retail Price Index, set out in his Department's response to the Consultation on the Reform of RPI Methodology.

On 25 November, the Government and UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) published their response to the consultation on the timing of reform to the Retail Prices Index (RPI). Owing to shortcomings in its calculation, UKSA intends to bring the methods and data sources of the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) into RPI.

The Government and UKSA engaged directly with a number of users and stakeholders to discuss the consultation. The consultation response document has been published and is available on the Government and UKSA’s websites, as below:

- https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/a-consultation-on-the-reform-to-retail-prices-index-rpi-methodology

- https://uksa.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/news/response-to-the-joint-consultation-on-reforming-the-methodology-of-the-retail-prices-index/

Under legislation, how RPI is changed is a matter for UKSA alone. This reflects the important principle established in the Act that UKSA’s judgement on statistics should be independent of Government. After expert advice from the National Statistician and following public consultation, UKSA intends to address the shortcomings in RPI by bringing in the methods and data sources of CPIH. This intended approach was made public in September 2019. Following consultation, UKSA confirmed publicly that the change proposed can legally and practically be made by UKSA in February 2030. It is the role of UKSA – as set out in legislation - to promote and safeguard official statistics.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the proposed changes to the formula for calculating the Retail Price Index, set out in his Department's response to the Consultation on the Reform of RPI Methodology, on the remuneration of members of defined benefits pension schemes.

On 25 November, the Government and UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) published their response to the consultation on the timing of reform to the Retail Prices Index (RPI). Owing to shortcomings in its calculation, UKSA intends to bring the methods and data sources of the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) into RPI.

The Government and UKSA are mindful of the widespread use of RPI in the economy, and, as such, sought views in the consultation on the broader impacts of reform. The Government and UKSA received approximately 550 responses from members of defined benefit (DB) pension schemes whose benefits are linked to RPI.

It is apparent that some DB pension scheme members will be affected by UKSA’s reform of RPI. The effect of reform on the members of such schemes will depend on whether their benefits are linked to RPI under the trust deed and rules of the scheme.

The announcement in the response by the Chancellor and Authority Chair means that reform will not be implemented before 2030. The Government keeps the occupational pensions system under review and will continue to do so.

For further information please see the consultation response at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/a-consultation-on-the-reform-to-retail-prices-index-rpi-methodology.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which stakeholders he or his ministerial colleagues have met since December 2019 to discuss changing the formula for calculating the Retail Price Index.

The Retail Prices Index (RPI) is a measure of inflation with a number of shortcomings. To address these shortcomings, the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) has made a proposal to reform RPI by bringing the methods and data sources of the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) into RPI. Owing to the use of RPI in specific index-linked gilts, prior to 2030 the Chancellor’s consent to this proposal is required before it can be implemented.

As outlined in the consultation document (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/a-consultation-on-the-reform-to-retail-prices-index-rpi-methodology), factors related to the impact of the proposal on the holders of index-linked gilts are likely to be relevant to the Chancellor’s decision on whether he would offer his consent to such a proposal before 2030. At the Budget in March, the government and UKSA launched a consultation to seek views on whether UKSA’s proposal should be implemented at a date other than 2030, and, if so, when between 2025 and 2030.

The consultation closed for responses on 21 August. The government and UKSA will respond to the consultation in the autumn. As Economic Secretary to the Treasury, in July 2020 I chaired two roundtables comprising representatives of index-linked gilt holders to hear their views on the impact of the timing of reform. Further details of these meetings will be published as part of the response to the consultation.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has undertaken of the effect that changing the calculation formula for Retail Price Index will have on private pension income.

The Retail Prices Index (RPI) is a measure of inflation with a number of shortcomings. To address these shortcomings, the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) has made a proposal to reform RPI by bringing the methods and data sources of the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) into RPI. Owing to the use of RPI in specific index-linked gilts, prior to 2030 the Chancellor’s consent to this proposal is required before it can be implemented.

At the Budget in March, the government and UKSA launched a consultation to consider whether UKSA’s proposal should be implemented at a date other than 2030, and, if so, when between 2025 and 2030. The consultation closed for responses on 21 August. As part of the consultation, the government has sought views on the broader impacts of the proposed reform of RPI.

The government and UKSA will respond to the consultation in the autumn.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will outline the Barnett consequentials for the Welsh Government resulting from the £546m England only adult winter social care plan announced by the Department of Health and Social Care.

To help the Welsh Government manage their Covid-19 response, the UK Government made an unprecedented upfront funding guarantee on 24 July 2020. This guarantees the Welsh Government will receive at least £4bn in additional resource funding this year on top of the funding set out at the Spring Budget.

It is for the Welsh Government to decide how to allocate this funding across their devolved responsibilities.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of support for small to medium sized brewers during the covid-19 outbreak.

To support brewers and drinkers, in March the Government froze beer duty for the third consecutive Budget.

The Government appreciates that brewers, particularly small or craft brewers, are facing a challenging trading period due to COVID-19. However, they can benefit from the unprecedented package of business support offered by the Government.

In addition, if brewers need more help, they can use HMRC’s Time To Pay service to seek deferrals of any of their taxes, including beer duty. HMRC will waive late payment penalties and interest where a brewer cannot pay taxes due to COVID-19.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what impact assessment his Department has undertaken on consumer choice as a result of changing Small Brewers Relief.

Small Brewers Relief will not be removed for small and medium sized breweries under the Government’s proposed reforms.

Over 80% of all breweries will not experience any changes, therefore the Government considers small brewers will continue to prosper.

Medium-sized brewers will benefit from the smoother transition to the main duty rate offered by the Government’s reforms, and so the Government expects their viability to increase.

Accordingly, the Government expects consumer choice to increase as smaller breweries find it easier to expand and are not limited by arbitrary ‘cliff-edges’.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect on community golf clubs of prohibiting the use of red diesel.

At Budget 2020, the Chancellor announced that the Government will remove the entitlement to use red diesel from April 2022, except in agriculture, fish farming, rail and for non-commercial heating (including domestic heating). This change will ensure that most businesses using diesel in the UK pay the standard fuel duty rate on diesel, which more fairly reflects the harmful impact of the emissions they produce. These reforms are also designed to ensure that the tax system incentivises users of diesel to improve the energy efficiency of their vehicles and machinery, invest in cleaner alternatives or use less fuel.

The Government recognises that this will be a significant change for some businesses. It launched a consultation in July to make sure it has not overlooked any exceptional reasons why other sectors should be allowed to continue to use red diesel beyond April 2022. As part of this, the Government is seeking information from affected users on the expected impact of these tax changes.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect of removing Small Brewers Relief on the viability of small and medium sized brewers.

Small Brewers Relief will not be removed for small and medium sized breweries under the Government’s proposed reforms.

Over 80% of all breweries will not experience any changes, therefore the Government considers small brewers will continue to prosper.

Medium-sized brewers will benefit from the smoother transition to the main duty rate offered by the Government’s reforms, and so the Government expects their viability to increase.

Accordingly, the Government expects consumer choice to increase as smaller breweries find it easier to expand and are not limited by arbitrary ‘cliff-edges’.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many small and medium sized Brewers in each (a) nation and (b) region qualified for Small Brewers Relief in financial year 2019-20.

HMRC publishes annual statistics on Small Brewers Relief, this includes the total number of people claiming the relief and the cost of the relief. Information on the location of Brewers receiving the relief is not readily available.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the cost to the public purse has been of the Small Brewers Relief scheme in each of the last five years.

HMRC publishes annual statistics on Small Brewers Relief, this includes the total number of people claiming the relief and the cost of the relief. Information on the location of Brewers receiving the relief is not readily available.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect on the construction industry of prohibiting the use of red diesel.

At Budget 2020, the Chancellor announced that the Government will remove the entitlement to use red diesel from April 2022, except in agriculture, fish farming, rail and for non-commercial heating (including domestic heating). This change will ensure that most businesses using diesel in the UK pay the standard fuel duty rate on diesel, which more fairly reflects the harmful impact of the emissions they produce.

These reforms are also designed to ensure that the tax system incentivises users of diesel to improve the energy efficiency of their vehicles and machinery, invest in cleaner alternatives or use less fuel. The Government has previously received feedback from developers of alternative fuels and technologies that they view the low cost of running a diesel engine with red diesel as a barrier to entry for greener alternatives.

The Government recognises that this will be a significant change for some businesses, including in the construction and plant machinery sector, and it is therefore taking steps to help manage the impact on those affected. Firstly, businesses will have until April 2022 to prepare before any changes take effect.

To support the development of alternative energy sources that businesses can switch to, the Government committed at Budget 2020 to at least doubling the size of the £500 million Energy Innovation Programme, accelerating the design and production of innovative clean energy technologies.

Finally, the Government launched a consultation in July to make sure it has not overlooked any exceptional reasons why other sectors should be allowed to continue to use red diesel beyond April 2022. As part of this, the Government is seeking information from affected users, including the construction and plant machinery sector, on the expected impact of these tax changes.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect of prohibiting the use of diesel on construction companies with contracts running beyond April 2022.

At Budget 2020, the Chancellor announced that the Government will remove the entitlement to use red diesel from April 2022, except in agriculture, fish farming, rail and for non-commercial heating (including domestic heating). This change will ensure that most businesses using diesel in the UK pay the standard fuel duty rate on diesel, which more fairly reflects the harmful impact of the emissions they produce.

These reforms are also designed to ensure that the tax system incentivises users of diesel to improve the energy efficiency of their vehicles and machinery, invest in cleaner alternatives or use less fuel. The Government has previously received feedback from developers of alternative fuels and technologies that they view the low cost of running a diesel engine with red diesel as a barrier to entry for greener alternatives.

The Government recognises that this will be a significant change for some businesses, including in the construction and plant machinery sector, and it is therefore taking steps to help manage the impact on those affected. Firstly, businesses will have until April 2022 to prepare before any changes take effect.

To support the development of alternative energy sources that businesses can switch to, the Government committed at Budget 2020 to at least doubling the size of the £500 million Energy Innovation Programme, accelerating the design and production of innovative clean energy technologies.

Finally, the Government launched a consultation in July to make sure it has not overlooked any exceptional reasons why other sectors should be allowed to continue to use red diesel beyond April 2022. As part of this, the Government is seeking information from affected users, including the construction and plant machinery sector, on the expected impact of these tax changes.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect of prohibiting the use of red diesel on the plant machinery sector.

At Budget 2020, the Chancellor announced that the Government will remove the entitlement to use red diesel from April 2022, except in agriculture, fish farming, rail and for non-commercial heating (including domestic heating). This change will ensure that most businesses using diesel in the UK pay the standard fuel duty rate on diesel, which more fairly reflects the harmful impact of the emissions they produce.

These reforms are also designed to ensure that the tax system incentivises users of diesel to improve the energy efficiency of their vehicles and machinery, invest in cleaner alternatives or use less fuel. The Government has previously received feedback from developers of alternative fuels and technologies that they view the low cost of running a diesel engine with red diesel as a barrier to entry for greener alternatives.

The Government recognises that this will be a significant change for some businesses, including in the construction and plant machinery sector, and it is therefore taking steps to help manage the impact on those affected. Firstly, businesses will have until April 2022 to prepare before any changes take effect.

To support the development of alternative energy sources that businesses can switch to, the Government committed at Budget 2020 to at least doubling the size of the £500 million Energy Innovation Programme, accelerating the design and production of innovative clean energy technologies.

Finally, the Government launched a consultation in July to make sure it has not overlooked any exceptional reasons why other sectors should be allowed to continue to use red diesel beyond April 2022. As part of this, the Government is seeking information from affected users, including the construction and plant machinery sector, on the expected impact of these tax changes.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of whether exempting tier 3 and 4 engines from the ban on red diesel would promote industry to upgrade their machinery to low emission engines.

At Budget 2020, the Chancellor announced that the Government will remove the entitlement to use red diesel from April 2022, except in agriculture, fish farming, rail and for non-commercial heating (including domestic heating). This change will ensure that most businesses using diesel in the UK pay the standard fuel duty rate on diesel, which more fairly reflects the harmful impact of the emissions they produce.

These reforms are also designed to ensure that the tax system incentivises users of diesel to improve the energy efficiency of their vehicles and machinery, invest in cleaner alternatives or use less fuel. The Government has previously received feedback from developers of alternative fuels and technologies that they view the low cost of running a diesel engine with red diesel as a barrier to entry for greener alternatives.

The Government recognises that this will be a significant change for some businesses, including in the construction and plant machinery sector, and it is therefore taking steps to help manage the impact on those affected. Firstly, businesses will have until April 2022 to prepare before any changes take effect.

To support the development of alternative energy sources that businesses can switch to, the Government committed at Budget 2020 to at least doubling the size of the £500 million Energy Innovation Programme, accelerating the design and production of innovative clean energy technologies.

Finally, the Government launched a consultation in July to make sure it has not overlooked any exceptional reasons why other sectors should be allowed to continue to use red diesel beyond April 2022. As part of this, the Government is seeking information from affected users, including the construction and plant machinery sector, on the expected impact of these tax changes.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the merits of creating a specific fund to support the construction industry in transitioning to (a) alternative cleaner machinery and (b) low carbon fuel sources.

At Budget 2020, the Chancellor announced that the Government will remove the entitlement to use red diesel from April 2022, except in agriculture, fish farming, rail and for non-commercial heating (including domestic heating). This change will ensure that most businesses using diesel in the UK pay the standard fuel duty rate on diesel, which more fairly reflects the harmful impact of the emissions they produce.

These reforms are also designed to ensure that the tax system incentivises users of diesel to improve the energy efficiency of their vehicles and machinery, invest in cleaner alternatives or use less fuel. The Government has previously received feedback from developers of alternative fuels and technologies that they view the low cost of running a diesel engine with red diesel as a barrier to entry for greener alternatives.

The Government recognises that this will be a significant change for some businesses, including in the construction and plant machinery sector, and it is therefore taking steps to help manage the impact on those affected. Firstly, businesses will have until April 2022 to prepare before any changes take effect.

To support the development of alternative energy sources that businesses can switch to, the Government committed at Budget 2020 to at least doubling the size of the £500 million Energy Innovation Programme, accelerating the design and production of innovative clean energy technologies.

Finally, the Government launched a consultation in July to make sure it has not overlooked any exceptional reasons why other sectors should be allowed to continue to use red diesel beyond April 2022. As part of this, the Government is seeking information from affected users, including the construction and plant machinery sector, on the expected impact of these tax changes.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much of the £2 billion Green Homes Grant in England is new funding; how much the Welsh Government will receive in Barnett consequentials; and if will make a statement.

As part of the Plan for Jobs, the Chancellor announced over £3 billion of new funding for green buildings, including a £2 billion Green Homes Grant scheme to upgrade people’s homes.

This funding is subject to Barnett. We are working with DAs to make sure they have information about likely changes in Barnett funding so they can plan their own spending.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much funding in Barnett consequentials the Welsh Government will receive as a result of funding allocated to the Sheffield light rail project.

The Barnett formula is being applied in the normal way to any planned changes in the Department for Transport’s budget, as set out in the Statement of Funding Policy.

Full details of any Barnett consequentials for the Welsh Government will be set out at future fiscal events, estimates rounds and spending reviews.

The UKG has so far announced almost £7 billion in Barnett consequentials to the devolved administrations in response to Covid-19.

This means £2.1 billion for the Welsh Government to support people, business and public services in Wales. This includes over £200m of Barnett consequentials in relation to Covid-19 funding announced by the UK government for railway services in England.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much funding from the public purse will be allocated to Wales under the Barnett consequentials following expenditure on the Manchester light rail project.

The Barnett formula is being applied in the normal way to any planned changes in the Department for Transport’s budget, as set out in the Statement of Funding Policy.

Full details of any Barnett consequentials for the Welsh Government will be set out at future fiscal events, estimates rounds and spending reviews.

The UKG has so far announced almost £7 billion in Barnett consequentials to the devolved administrations in response to Covid-19.

This means £2.1 billion for the Welsh Government to support people, business and public services in Wales. This includes over £200m of Barnett consequentials in relation to Covid-19 funding announced by the UK government for railway services in England.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the Barnett consequentials are for Wales from the West Midlands light rail project.

The Barnett formula is being applied in the normal way to any planned changes in the Department for Transport’s budget, as set out in the Statement of Funding Policy.

Full details of any Barnett consequentials for the Welsh Government will be set out at future fiscal events, estimates rounds and spending reviews.

The UKG has so far announced almost £7 billion in Barnett consequentials to the devolved administrations in response to Covid-19.

This means £2.1 billion for the Welsh Government to support people, business and public services in Wales. This includes over £200m of Barnett consequentials in relation to Covid-19 funding announced by the UK government for railway services in England.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the Barnett consequentials are for Wales from the Nottingham light rail project.

The Barnett formula is being applied in the normal way to any planned changes in the Department for Transport’s budget, as set out in the Statement of Funding Policy.

Full details of any Barnett consequentials for the Welsh Government will be set out at future fiscal events, estimates rounds and spending reviews.

The UKG has so far announced almost £7 billion in Barnett consequentials to the devolved administrations in response to Covid-19.

This means £2.1 billion for the Welsh Government to support people, business and public services in Wales. This includes over £200m of Barnett consequentials in relation to Covid-19 funding announced by the UK government for railway services in England.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the equity of interest rates charged by credit card companies deferring payments on loans as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

On 14 April, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published guidance that sets out what it expects firms to do for customers facing payment difficulties due to the exceptional circumstances arising from COVID-19.

In relation to credit cards, the guidance states that firms should exercise forbearance in the form of suspending, reducing, waiving, or cancelling any further interest or charges, deferring payment of arrears, or accepting token payments for a reasonable period of time.

The guidance also covers credit card rates, with the expectation that firms review their prices to consider whether they are consistent with the obligation to treat customers fairly and to ensure that they do not pose unjustifiable burdens on customers who may be experiencing temporary payment difficulties.

The Government is committed to doing whatever it takes to get our nation through the impacts of COVID-19 and will continue to work closely with the FCA and industry. The Government stands ready to announce further action wherever necessary.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, whether he has plans to provide emergency funding to the Welsh Government; and what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on accessing the HM Treasury Reserve as set out in the Statement of Funding Policy published in November 2015.

As of the 18th March the UK government has provided the Welsh Government with £1.6 billion of funding to support people, businesses and public services affected by COVID-19.

The funding provided is in addition to the UK-wide support to tackle the impact of COVID-19, such as extending Statutory Sick Pay, making it easier and quicker to access benefits, and providing a Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

The UK government will continue to work closely with the devolved administrations as the situation develops to ensure they have the funding needed to tackle the impacts of COVID-19.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how the £360 million Barnett allocation for Wales arising from Budget 2020 was calculated.

As set out in the Statement of Funding Policy, the Barnett formula was applied where Budget measures changed UK government Departmental Expenditure Limits. Barnett consequentials were generated for the Welsh Government where measures related to programmes that are devolved in Wales.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the Barnett consequential payment will be to Wales arising from the £3,000 grant to be made available to English businesses as part of the Government’s response to the covid-19 outbreak.

From the measures announced to support to people, businesses and public services affected by COVID-19 the devolved administrations will receive over £5.2 billion. In total the UK Government has provided the Welsh Government with £1.6 billion to date.

The funding provided is in addition to the UK-wide support to tackle the impact of COVID-19, such as extending Statutory Sick Pay, making it easier and quicker to access benefits, and providing a Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
7th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the Financial Conduct Authority on Barclays' overdraft pricing changes planned for March 2020.

Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with many organisations in the public and private sectors on a variety of issues.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is operationally independent from Government and carries out its functions, including its work on the High-cost Credit Review and reforms to overdrafts, within the framework of statutory objectives and duties agreed by Parliament.

In June 2019, the FCA announced new rules governing how firms can charge for overdrafts as part of their High-cost Credit Review. These include mandating that firms cannot charge more for unarranged overdrafts than arranged overdrafts, banning fixed daily and monthly charges, and a package of measures to improve the transparency of pricing.

Overall the FCA expects these changes to make overdrafts simpler, fairer, and easier to manage and will protect the millions of consumers that use overdrafts, particularly more vulnerable consumers. According to their analysis, 7 out of 10 overdraft users will be better off or see no change to their fees.

In instances where consumers see increased fees on their overdrafts firms are required to develop strategies to reduce repeat use harm and incorporate monitoring and identification systems into their processes. Firms must make appropriate interventions if they identify that a customer is in financial difficulty, including presenting options for reducing use. If constituents think these changes to overdrafts will put them in financial difficulty, or are worried about higher charges, they should contact their bank.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the schedule is of payments to the EU under terms of the Withdrawal Agreement.

The OBR’s most recent estimate of the financial settlement, taking account of Article 50 extension to 31st October 2019, estimated that the vast majority of payments (85%) will be made by 2025. The OBR will publish an updated forecast at the Budget.

The Government’s objective is to publish information that gives an accurate and comprehensive picture of the financial settlement including, for example, forecast payments to and receipts from the EU. As part of this, the Government presents to Parliament each year the European Union Finances statement, and the 2018 version includes an annex devoted to EU withdrawal and detailed information on the financial settlement. The Government will continue to produce the EU Finances statement now that we have left the EU.

21st Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of regulatory divergence from the EU on (a) foreign direct investment into Wales, (b) the Welsh manufacturing sector, (c) the Welsh food and beverages industry, (d) Holyhead port, (e) Fishguard port and (c) other Welsh ports.

We are leaving the EU, the Single Market, and the Customs Union, and seeking an ambitious, Canada-style free trade agreement. This entails change, but we will be a sovereign and independent country not a rule taker. We will maintain high standards – not because we are told to but because it is what the British people expect.

We will be driven by British interests and will listen to British business in making any decisions. But over 90% of global growth is expected to come from outside the EU over the next decade, so there are real opportunities for the UK. That will require a hard-headed assessment of what we want our economy to look like and what we need to do to deliver it.

We will give due consideration to the impacts of the final deal on all our regions and nations.

The government will continue publishing Impact Assessments to accompany legislation, where appropriate.

We will also set up a Red Tape Challenge to use our new freedom after Brexit to ensure that British rules work for British companies, and to listen to business’s ideas for regulatory reform.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to (a) ensure the sustainability and (b) increase the export opportunities of the financial services sector in Wales.

A strong financial services sector in Wales and the rest of the UK is important to achieve strong and sustainable economic growth and ensure consumers and businesses can access the financial services they need.

In order to sustain and promote the sector in Wales, HM Treasury announced the appointment of Richard Theo, CEO and Co-Founder of Wealthify, as fintech envoy for Wales in May 2018. The government is committed to ensuring that the whole country, including Wales, benefits from fintech, and supporting regional fintech hubs to thrive. The Fintech Envoy for Wales plays an important role in supporting the Welsh fintech sector and provides a valuable source of information and intelligence to support policy-making to achieve this objective.

Wales exported an estimated £2.9m in financial and related professional services in 2017. The government is committed to maintaining the global appeal of the UK’s financial services sector to continue to support exports and the whole economy.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential effect of the decision to spend official development assistance on a collaboration with the City of London on efforts to rebalance the UK economy, particularly in the field of international investment services.

The Government has recently announced a number of initiatives which will support billions of pounds of private sector investment in Africa – essential to delivering the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Initiatives announced include a collaboration with the City of London on a competition for fund managers to identify new investment products for Africa, making it easier and more appealing for global investors to put money into African projects at scale. This and other initiatives build on the City’s role as a global hub for development finance, supporting jobs and growth abroad, as well as in the UK.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has made an assessment of the prospects of the UK meeting the conditions for exchanging personal data under the EU Prüm framework for automated data exchange by 1 October 2021; and what plans she has for future UK participation in personal data exchange with EU authorities.

Under the terms of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), within nine months of entry into force of the Agreement the UK’s DNA and fingerprint capabilities under the Prüm framework will be evaluated.

The UK continues to exchange biometric data with connected EU Member States and judges it has met the requisite conditions for exchanging personal data. These are set out in Title II of Part 3 of the TCA.

More broadly, the UK continues to exchange personal data with our European partners for the purposes of law enforcement, including under the terms of the TCA, ensuring such data is appropriately protected.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 10 June 2021 to Question 7767 on Large Goods Vehicle Drivers: Vacancies, what assessment she has made of whether HGV drivers should be added to the Shortage Occupation List.

Upon advice from the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), the Government broadened the eligibility of Skilled Worker visas from graduate jobs only to include jobs skilled to RQF level 3 (roughly equivalent to A-levels) and lowered the salary threshold to £25,600.

The MAC found the job of HGV driver does not meet this threshold, so it is not eligible to be sponsored for a Skilled Worker visa and cannot be added to the Shortage Occupation List.

Like other sectors the focus should be on training and recruiting from the UK based workforce in the first instance, especially given the impact of the pandemic resulting in more looking for secure new employment. Immigration policy will be considered alongside strategies to do this, not separately or as an alternative to doing so.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to occupation code 3415, Musicians, of the Skilled worker visa shortage occupations list published 6 April 2021, how many musicians she estimates the UK is short of.

The Home Secretary wrote to the Chair of the Migration Advisory Committee on 23 October 2020 setting out the Governments response to their review of the Shortage Occupation List (SOL).

The UK labour market is changing as a result of Covid, with many facing uncertainty or a need to find new employment. We are therefore taking time to assess how it has changed before making further changes to the shortage occupation list as our immigration policies should be considered alongside our strategy for the UK Labour Market, not separately or as an alternative to them. A copy of the full letter can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/letter-to-the-mac-on-the-shortage-occupation-lists-report.

The Migration Advisory Committee review of the SOL, published on 29 September 2020, sets out the rationale for recommending jobs which should be added to the SOL. This is based on several factors and not just the number of vacancies. A full copy of the report can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/review-of-the-shortage-occupation-list-2020

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to occupation code 3411, Artists, of the Skilled worker visa: shortage occupations list published 6 April 2021, how many artists the UK is short of.

The Home Secretary wrote to the Chair of the Migration Advisory Committee on 23 October 2020 setting out the Governments response to their review of the Shortage Occupation List (SOL).

The UK labour market is changing as a result of Covid, with many facing uncertainty or a need to find new employment. We are therefore taking time to assess how it has changed before making further changes to the shortage occupation list as our immigration policies should be considered alongside our strategy for the UK Labour Market, not separately or as an alternative to them. A copy of the full letter can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/letter-to-the-mac-on-the-shortage-occupation-lists-report.

The Migration Advisory Committee review of the SOL, published on 29 September 2020, sets out the rationale for recommending jobs which should be added to the SOL. This is based on several factors and not just the number of vacancies. A full copy of the report can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/review-of-the-shortage-occupation-list-2020

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to occupation code 3414, Dancers and choreographers, of the Skilled worker visa shortage occupations list published 6 April 2021, how many dancers and choreographers the UK is short of.

The Home Secretary wrote to the Chair of the Migration Advisory Committee on 23 October 2020 setting out the Governments response to their review of the Shortage Occupation List (SOL).

The UK labour market is changing as a result of Covid, with many facing uncertainty or a need to find new employment. We are therefore taking time to assess how it has changed before making further changes to the shortage occupation list as our immigration policies should be considered alongside our strategy for the UK Labour Market, not separately or as an alternative to them. A copy of the full letter can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/letter-to-the-mac-on-the-shortage-occupation-lists-report.

The Migration Advisory Committee review of the SOL, published on 29 September 2020, sets out the rationale for recommending jobs which should be added to the SOL. This is based on several factors and not just the number of vacancies. A full copy of the report can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/review-of-the-shortage-occupation-list-2020

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of extending the seasonal agricultural workers scheme to ensure sufficient workers are available for the 2021 poultry season in the run up to Christmas 2021.

There are currently no plans to expand the scope of the Seasonal Workers Pilot beyond the edible horticulture sector.

UK employers should in the first instance look to the domestic labour market before looking to facilitate recruitment from overseas.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what progress her Department has made on supporting the use of the EU Settled Status app by Polish workers.

The ‘EU Exit: ID Document Check’ app allows applicants to prove their identity remotely using their biometric identity document and a smartphone device. Millions of applicants have used the app to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme over the last two years, including over 900,000 Polish nationals.

In early 2021 we were made aware the new Polish passport, issued from late 2020 onwards, contained an advanced security protocol, Password Authenticated Connection Establishment (PACE), which was not supported by our app. We have now made the necessary changes to our app to support this new security protocol and are now in the final stages of testing with a view to releasing the upgrade by the end of May.

The vast majority of Polish passports are not affected by this issue and thou-sands of Polish nationals are still using the app every week to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. Any applicant who is unable to use the app to verify their identity can still apply to the scheme by completing an online application and sending their identity document through the post.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the Government's policy is on offering British citizenship to Afghan interpreters who have served the armed forces as a part of the UK withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The UK Government recognises the vital role of interpreters in operations in Afghanistan.

There are two dedicated schemes designed to help them relocate to the UK: the ex-gratia scheme and the new Afghan relocations and assistance policy. Over 1,300 former Afghan interpreters, and their family members, have been relocated to the UK under these schemes since 2014.

There is no fee for the initial application and Afghan interpreters who relocate to the UK under these schemes can apply for settlement free of charge after five years’ residence here.

Afghan interpreters who are granted settlement can stay here permanently and can choose to apply to become British citizens after one year of settlement in the UK.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Mar 2021
What discussions she has had with Dyfed Powys Police on the cost of policing the asylum seeker accommodation in Penally.

Any police force facing significant additional costs due to unplanned or unexpected events can apply for additional funding from the Police Special Grant.  Dyfed Powys Police made an application, and we will be providing them with up to £2.5m of additional funding.

Penally has provided emergency capacity in response to pressures put on the asylum estate during COVID. As pressures have eased, we have decided not to extend emergency planning permission beyond this month.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with the (a) Chief Constable and (b) Police and Crime Commissioner on the additional policing costs relating to the Penally asylum seekers' centre in Pembrokeshire.

The Home Office has worked closely with Dyfed-Powys Police and we have provided £2.5m of funding in relation to the additional costs of policing the site.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of revising the £1.129 million threshold at which police forces can recoup costs for policing centres housing asylum seekers.

All police forces should have reasonable contingency within their budgets for unplanned or unexpected events, but in some cases we recognise that these events may place force finances under additional pressure, and in those instances the Police and Crime Commissioner may apply for additional funding through the Police Special Grant.

Any force applying for Special Grant funding must meet the criteria set out in the published guidance, including that forces are expected to meet additional costs up to an amount equal to one per cent of their core grant funding.

Special grant guidance - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
9th Nov 2020
If she will make an assessment of the potential merits of establishing an independent inquiry into the policing of the miners' strike in 1984-85.

There are no plans to undertake an assessment of the potential merits of establishing an independent inquiry into the policing of the miners’ strike in 1984-85 in England and Wales.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment his Department has made of the proportionality of the level of fees for GP medical assessments for firearm licenses.

GPs are asked to provide medical information when a person applies to their local police force for a firearm or shotgun certificate, as police must be satisfied that those in possession of firearms do not pose a danger to public safety. Fees charged by GPs to provide medical information for firearms licensing applications are a matter between the applicant and their GP.

The Government is continuing to engage with police, medical and shooting representatives to ensure that the system for medical checks operates as effectively as possible.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what proportion of firearm license applications were refused following medical assessment in the most recent period for which figures are available.

Firearms licensing is an operational matter for police forces and they are not required to provide data to the Home Office about the reasons why individual applications are refused, including on medical grounds.

The police carry out a number of checks to ensure that those in possession of firearms do not pose a danger to public safety, including in relation to medical suitability based on information provided by the applicant’s GP.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
28th Sep 2020
If she will make an assessment of the potential merits of establishing an independent inquiry into the policing of the miners' strike in 1984-85.

There are no plans to undertake an assessment of the potential merits of establishing an independent inquiry into the policing of the miners’ strike in 1984-85 in England and Wales.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
5th Jul 2021
What recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the Armed Forces Bill.

The Welsh Government was consulted during the development of the Armed Forces Bill.

The Government continues to work with all the Devolved Administrations, as demonstrated recently by certain Government’s amendments to the Bill that followed requests from the Welsh and Scottish Governments.

We continue to engage on developing the statutory guidance that will support the legislation to strengthen the Armed Forces Covenant.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) progress by other countries in developing marine autonomous unmanned surface vehicles and (b) ability of Royal Navy submarines to avoid detection by those vehicles.

The Ministry of Defence audits the integrity of our submarine fleet regularly for all threats and acts to ensure that it maintains the highest possible standards. The oceans are, and will remain, complex and challenging environments in which to conduct large-scale anti-submarine warfare despite technological advancements.

I am unable to make specific comment on the UK's assessment of other countries' autonomous unmanned surface vehicles for the purposes of safeguarding national security as disclosure would be likely to prejudice the defence of the UK and the capability and effectiveness of the Armed Forces.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what estimate he has made of the number of countries that (a) have developed and (b) are developing marine autonomous unmanned surface vehicles to detect submarines.

The Ministry of Defence audits the integrity of our submarine fleet regularly for all threats and acts to ensure that it maintains the highest possible standards. The oceans are, and will remain, complex and challenging environments in which to conduct large-scale anti-submarine warfare despite technological advancements.

I am unable to make specific comment on the UK's assessment of other countries' autonomous unmanned surface vehicles for the purposes of safeguarding national security as disclosure would be likely to prejudice the defence of the UK and the capability and effectiveness of the Armed Forces.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the suitability of the F-35 Lightening II for long periods of supersonic flight.

When required, the Lightning can cruise at supersonic speed for long periods. However operationally, like most modern combat fast jets, supersonic speeds would only be used in limited tactical situations and would only be required for short bursts; the vast majority of its tactical employment is predicated around subsonic operating speeds. As a result, it is highly unlikely that Lightning would need to be routinely flown at supersonic speed for sustained periods.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what plans he has to review the process his Department uses to monitor the effects of Royal Air Force airstrikes.

The Department has robust procedures for assessing the effects of RAF airstrikes. We are not complacent and keep these under review; we understand the challenges posed when UK or other coalition forces are not present on the ground. In addition, we maintain a constructive dialogue with non-governmental organisations on these matters.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent discussions he has had with his French counterparts on the progress of Operation Barkhane.

The Ministry of Defence discusses a range of issues with French counterparts, including the support the UK Armed Forces provide to the French led counter-terrorist mission, Operation BARKHANE.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether he plans to expand the British Army training mission in Nigeria.

There are no current plans to expand the British Army training mission in Nigeria.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment his Department has made of the length of time that the armed forces will be deployed in Mali.

The UK's commitment to the UN's peacekeeping mission in Mali is constantly reviewed to ensure that our Armed Forces are used in the most effective way.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the required lethality for the proposed Mark 7 nuclear warhead.

The Mk7 aeroshell is planned to be common to both the UK replacement warhead and the US W93. The Government is confident that the UK's replacement warhead will continue to deliver an effective, independent, minimum, credible deterrent. We are withholding information about the effectiveness of the UK replacement warhead for the purposes of safeguarding national security.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many UK armed forces are deployed in (a) Cyprus and (b) the eastern Mediterranean.

Operational demands will cause numbers to change at short notice and/or to pass through on route to other operations in the Middle East and beyond.

There are around 2,150 members of the UK Armed Forces permanently assigned to Cyprus on our Sovereign Base Area. In addition, around 250 personnel are deployed in Cyprus as part of Operation TOSCA - the British contribution to the UN peacekeeping force.

There are currently no UK Armed Forces personnel deployed in the eastern Mediterranean outside Cyprus.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what discussions he has had with his Greek counterpart on the recent deployment of two French frigates to the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Secretary of State for Defence has not discussed the recent deployment of French frigates to the Eastern Mediterranean with the Greek Defence Minister.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what his policy is on the use of Brecon Beacons national park for military training.

It is Ministry of Defence (MOD) policy to prioritise training on property that is owned, leased or licensed by the MOD.

Training on Private Land (TOPL) is the alternative solution when the MOD is unable to allocate suitable training facilities on the MOD training estate and the proposed activities are compatible with private land uses.

TOPL at the Brecon Beacons is used by several units including the Infantry Battle School. The majority of training is for navigation and endurance covering large distances whilst assessing individuals map reading ability.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to increase staff levels at the Submarine Delivery Agency.

Throughout 2018-19 we have made steady recruitment progress to bolster our people capabilities in the Submarine Delivery Agency (SDA) resulting in a net increase to our core workforce by around 11% by April 2019. We will continue to identify skills gaps and prioritise effectively by both sourcing existing skilled staff from within the Ministry of Defence and by using the SDA's authority and freedoms to recruit and retain the best people to enhance the organisation's competencies and capability.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether he has received a request from his French counterpart to provide support to French military forces deployed in Burkina Faso.

Her Majesty's Government is concerned by the deteriorating security situation in the Sahel and more broadly in surrounding areas such as Burkina Faso. We remain in dialogue with French military counterparts and continue to provide non-combat assistance to the French-led counter terror mission Operation BARKHANE with our deployment of three CH47 chinook helicopters.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether the Government is providing support to the Burkina Faso Government’s anti-terrorist operations.

Her Majesty's Government is concerned about the security situation in Sahel and the spread of insecurity across the region, including to countries such as Burkina Faso. The Ministry of Defence provides direct support to the region in the form of three CH47 chinook helicopters, who provide non-combat assistance in the French-led counter terror mission Operation BARKHANE, and we deliver training to G5 Sahel militaries through the EU Training Mission Mali. The UK Government also supports the G5 Sahel Joint Force, which combats terrorist activities in Burkina Faso and the wider region.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether the Government has received a request for the UK to join a peacekeeping force in Libya.

The UK and other participants of the Berlin Conference issued a declaration calling upon the United Nations to facilitate ceasefire negotiations between the parties in the conflict, including through the immediate establishment of technical committees to monitor and verify the implementation of the ceasefire. The UK has received no formal request to join a peacekeeping force in Libya.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what proportion of his Department's funding for research and development he allocated to firms in Wales in 2018.

Research and Development (R&D) is critical to the delivery of battle-winning capability for our Armed Forces.

In 2017-18, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) net expenditure on R&D activity (identified as meeting the Frascati international definition for new, novel and innovative R&D) totalled £1.6 billion, much of it with UK industry and supply chain SMEs, sustaining many UK jobs.

In 2017-18 the MOD's expenditure with UK Industry in Wales was £960 million. Defence expenditure with UK industry supported approximately 6,300 Welsh jobs in 2017-18.[1]

Actual figures relating to R&D spend in the regions are not held by the Department and as such could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Further related information is available online at the following locations.

MOD regional expenditure with UK industry and supported employment: 2017-18

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/mod-regional-expenditure-with-uk-industry-and-supported-employment-201718UK gross domestic expenditure on research and development Statistical bulletins:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/governmentpublicsectorandtaxes/researchanddevelopmentexpenditure/bulletins/ukgrossdomesticexpenditureonresearchanddevelopment/previousReleasesUK government expenditure on science, engineering and technology Statistical bulletins:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/governmentpublicsectorandtaxes/researchanddevelopmentexpenditure/bulletins/ukgovernmentexpenditureonscienceengineeringandtechnology/previousReleases

[1] Source: MOD regional expenditure with UK industry and supported employment: 2017/18

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what representations he has received from the Welsh Government following the determination of priority places under the Community Renewal Fund.

The UK Government is providing an additional £220 million funding through the UK Community Renewal Fund to help local areas prepare for the launch of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in 2022. The UK Government regularly engages with a wide range of stakeholders as part of its ongoing work, including with our counterparts in the Welsh Government.

22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the determination of priority places under the Community Renewal Fund.

The UK Government is providing an additional £220 million funding through the UK Community Renewal Fund to help local areas prepare for the launch of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in 2022. The UK Government regularly engages with a wide range of stakeholders as part of its ongoing work, including with our counterparts in the Welsh Government.

5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the Covid-19 Response, Spring 2021 roadmap, published on 22 February 2021, when Welsh language chapels in England will be able to host gatherings for the singing of hymns, cymanfa ganu.

Places of Worship have remained open for communal worship throughout the current Covid-19 restrictions. Singing during this period has been limited to one person, exceptionally three to minimise the risks around aerosol transmission of the virus. From 29 March this guidance will be amended to allow larger numbers to perform, though numbers should still be limited to the minimum necessary and the principles of safe singing must be observed. There are currently no plans to allow communal singing to resume before Step 4 of the roadmap, which would be no earlier than 21 June.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
11th Jan 2021
With reference to the Spending Review 2020, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

At Spending Review, the Government confirmed we will publish a UK-wide investment framework in 2021 for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and will confirm spending profiles at the next Spending Review.

Ahead of this, Government has made clear that it intends to continue to work in partnership with the devolved administrations and local communities. We have demonstrated this commitment by confirming that devolved administrations will have a place within the governance structures for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what plans he has to introduce a mileage allowance which reflects the additional costs incurred by magistrates living in rural areas in undertaking their duties.

All magistrates can claim a mileage allowance as set out in the magistrates’ expenses policy. The rates for this allowance (per mile) are:

Car

Motorcycle

Bicycle

Passenger

Single 45p rate for the first 10,000 miles, 25p thereafter

24p

20p

5p

These rates were introduced in April 2021 after a wider review of magistrates’ expenses. They reflect the recommended rates set by HMRC for tax purposes. The new rates are also used by the wider public sector, including the judiciary and the Civil Service.

As these rates are deemed by HMRC to be the appropriate amount to offset the cost of using private vehicles for business purposes, the Ministry of Justice has no plans to introduce an additional mileage allowance for magistrates.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 16 March to Question 167184, whether he has received any representations from (a) individuals and (b) legal professionals who are concerned that a case could be brought under the Equality Act 2010 as a result of people being denied access to businesses due to non-compliance with covid-19 related restrictions.

The Ministry of Justice is not aware of receiving any representations from (a) individuals or (b) legal professionals who are concerned that a case could be brought under the Equality Act 2010 as a result of people being denied access to businesses due to non-compliance with covid-19 related restrictions. The Government’s equality assessment of the Coronavirus Act 2020 can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-act-2020-equality-impact-assessment/coronavirus-act-2020-the-public-sector-equalities-duty-impact-assessment

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Mar 2021
Whether he has had discussions with the (a) Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and (b) Home Secretary on declaring problem drug use a public health emergency.

The Prime Minister’s Crime and Justice Taskforce (CJTF) was established last year to consider matters relating to the prevention of crime and the effectiveness of the Criminal Justice System, including combating drug misuse. The Home Secretary, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and the Lord Chancellor are core members of this Taskforce.

In January, the Government announced £80 million to fund drug treatment in England in 2021/22 – the biggest increase in 15 years.

The majority of the funding will be allocated to Local Authorities, through universal grants, to enhance drug treatment, focused on reducing drug related crime and drug related deaths.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether any legal cases have been brought under the Equality Act 2010 as a result of people being denied access to businesses due to non-compliance with covid-19 related restrictions; and how many of those cases have been upheld.

The Ministry of Justice is not aware of any legal cases having been brought under the Equality Act 2010 as a result of people being denied access to businesses due to non-compliance with covid-19 related restrictions.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the potential for legal cases to be brought under the Equality Act 2010 as a result of people being denied access to businesses due to non-compliance with covid-19 related restrictions.

The Ministry of Justice has not made an assessment of the potential for legal cases to be brought under the Equality Act 2010 as a result of people being denied access to businesses due to non-compliance with covid-19 related restrictions.

The Government’s equality assessment of the Coronavirus Act 2020 can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-act-2020-equality-impact-assessment/coronavirus-act-2020-the-public-sector-equalities-duty-impact-assessment

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Chancellor of the Exchequer and (b) the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on ensuring an adequate level of funding for Welsh language free-to-air television channel S4C.

I have regular discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport about a wide range of issues including broadcasting matters and the funding settlement for S4C. Furthermore, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and I have had a number of constructive discussions about the licence fee settlement for S4C with the Minister of State for Media and Data.

S4C is the only Welsh language TV channel in the world and the UK Government understands this incredibly distinctive position.

DCMS has received S4C’s submission of need and negotiations are ongoing.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, whether he has had discussions with the Welsh Trade and Investment Hub on producing economic impact assessments of trade deals proposed by the UK Government.

I work closely with my colleagues in the Department for International Trade to ensure that businesses and consumers across Wales feel the benefits of our world-class Free Trade Agreements and take advantage of new opportunities as we unlock access to new markets. The Government carried out preliminary scoping assessments for each FTA negotiation with a full impact assessment published prior to implementation.

The Trade and Investment Hubs are central to promoting British exports from all parts of the UK, to help level up the country and build back better. The hub in Cardiff will be home to export and investment specialists who will provide businesses with expert support and advice to maximise export potential, boost trade in new markets overseas, and help businesses feed directly into the free trade agreements programme.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what metrics the Government plans to use to measure success on the commitment to levelling up in the recently published Plan for Wales.

Levelling up is at the heart of the Government’s agenda and the commitments in the Plan for Wales to build back better and drive jobs, growth and prosperity. This includes making £27 billion available through the Levelling Up Fund, UK Community Renewal Fund and UK infrastructure Bank as well as investment in critical broadband, mobile and transport connectivity.

At Spending Review 2020, all Departments agreed provisional priority outcomes across all of the UK, along with metrics for measuring progress against these outcomes. The full list can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/spending-review-2020-documents.

The Government will be looking at additional mechanisms for measuring progress on its levelling up ambitions as part of the forthcoming Levelling Up White Paper.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what discussions he is having with the Secretary of State for Transport on providing additional charging facilities for electric vehicles in Wales.

The 10-Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution published in November last year confirmed, among other things, a funding package for electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Though this policy area is generally devolved to the Welsh Government, a number of schemes such as the On-Street Residential Charging Scheme, Electric Vehicle Home Charging Scheme and Workplace Charging Scheme apply to Wales. A total of £275m was committed for these schemes.

Investing in electric vehicle charging infrastructure is an important part of the UK Government’s plan to accelerate the transition to zero emission vehicles.

The UK Government has committed to investing £582m in Plug-in Vehicle Grants to incentivise take-up of zero or ultra-low emission vehicles, and nearly £500m to be spent in the next four years on the development and mass-scale production of electric vehicle batteries and other strategic technologies as part of its commitment to a £1 billion Automotive Transformation Fund.

The UK Government intends to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030 and for all cars and vans to be 100% zero emission at the tailpipe from 2035.

The Welsh Government is currently consulting on an electric vehicle charging infrastructure strategy.

I have regular discussions with the Secretary of State for Transport about a wide range of matters, including the decarbonisation of transport.

David T C Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Wales Office)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what plans his Office has to assist the Welsh Government with the rollout of electric vehicle infrastructure in Wales.

The 10-Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution published in November last year confirmed, among other things, a funding package for electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Though this policy area is generally devolved to the Welsh Government, a number of schemes such as the On-Street Residential Charging Scheme, Electric Vehicle Home Charging Scheme and Workplace Charging Scheme apply to Wales.

A total of £275m was committed for these schemes, which will supplement and support the Welsh Government’s efforts in this area. The Welsh Government is currently consulting on a strategy for electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Officials from the Wales Office and Office for Low Emission Vehicles have had a number of discussions with the Welsh Government about electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Wales.

David T C Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Wales Office)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, pursuant to the Answer of 20 January 2020 to Question 3175 on UK-Africa Investment Summit: Wales, what discussion he had with the Board of Trade on ensuring that Wales’ interests are represented in longer term engagement with Africa.

Discussions at the UK Board of Trade on the UK-Africa Investment Summit and its opportunities for UK businesses involved my predecessor. As a quarterly meeting, the Board has not met since I became Secretary of State. My predecessor joined Prime Minister May’s 2018 Africa visit, alongside two Welsh businesses.

I will ensure that the views and interests of Wales are voiced at future meetings as the UK Board of Trade works to promote trade and post-Brexit trade opportunities across the whole of the UK.

Boosting the opportunities available for Welsh businesses is a key priority for my team who work closely with the Department for International Trade to ensure Wales is represented in all trade talks and negotiation, not just the UK Board of Trade.

The UK-Africa Investment Summit will create new lasting partnerships that will deliver more investment and jobs. This will benefit people and businesses in Africa and across the whole of the UK, including Wales, promoted through UK-wide activity.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, whether he has been invited to attend the Department for International Trade's Ministerial Forum for Trade with the devolved administrations planned for January 2020.

DIT is establishing the Ministerial Forum for Trade to ensure that the views of the Devolved Administrations are taken into consideration as we establish our independent trade policy. Territorial Office Ministers will be invited to meetings of the Forum by the Chair, as appropriate, including the inaugural meeting. The Secretary of State for Wales attends a wide range of events and meetings to ensure that UKG policy delivers for Wales, including trade policy.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales