Liz Saville Roberts Portrait

Liz Saville Roberts

Plaid Cymru - Dwyfor Meirionnydd

First elected: 7th May 2015

Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader

(since June 2017)

Shadow PC Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

(since June 2017)

Shadow PC Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

(since May 2015)

Shadow PC Spokesperson (Justice)

(since May 2015)

Shadow PC Spokesperson (Women and Equalities)

(since May 2015)

Shadow PC Spokesperson (Transport)

(since July 2020)

Shadow PC Spokesperson (Attorney General)

(since July 2020)

Draft Domestic Abuse Bill (Joint)
6th Mar 2019 - 6th Nov 2019
Welsh Affairs Committee
23rd Oct 2017 - 11th Mar 2019
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th May 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Education)
8th May 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Health)
8th May 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Energy & Natural Resources)
8th May 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Local Government)
8th May 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Welsh Affairs Committee
13th Jul 2015 - 3rd May 2017


Department Event
Monday 26th February 2024
18:00
Department for Business and Trade
Second Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
26 Feb 2024, 6 p.m.
The draft Limited Liability Partnerships (Application of Company Law) Regulations 2024
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Department Event
Monday 26th February 2024
18:00
Department for Business and Trade
Second Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - Select & Joint Committees
26 Feb 2024, 6 p.m.
The draft Limited Liability Partnerships (Application of Company Law) Regulations 2024
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Tuesday 27th February 2024
09:25
Department for Business and Trade
Third Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
27 Feb 2024, 9:25 a.m.
The draft Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024
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Department Event
Tuesday 27th February 2024
09:25
Department for Business and Trade
Third Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - Select & Joint Committees
27 Feb 2024, 9:25 a.m.
The draft Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024
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Department Event
Thursday 7th March 2024
09:30
Department for Business and Trade
Oral questions - Main Chamber
7 Mar 2024, 9:30 a.m.
Business and Trade (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Thursday 14th March 2024
10:10
Attorney General
Oral questions - Main Chamber
14 Mar 2024, 10:10 a.m.
Attorney General
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Department Event
Thursday 21st March 2024
09:30
Department for Transport
Oral questions - Main Chamber
21 Mar 2024, 9:30 a.m.
Transport (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Tuesday 26th March 2024
11:30
Ministry of Justice
Oral questions - Main Chamber
26 Mar 2024, 11:30 a.m.
Justice (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Thursday 2nd May 2024
09:30
Department for Business and Trade
Oral questions - Main Chamber
2 May 2024, 9:30 a.m.
Business and Trade (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Thursday 9th May 2024
10:10
Attorney General
Oral questions - Main Chamber
9 May 2024, 10:10 a.m.
Attorney General
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Division Votes
Tuesday 20th February 2024
Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 3 Plaid Cymru Aye votes vs 0 Plaid Cymru No votes
Tally: Ayes - 226 Noes - 287
Speeches
Thursday 22nd February 2024
Civil Nuclear Road Map
The hon. Gentleman is advancing a powerful argument. If we are to persuade people that SMRs are suitable for use …
Written Answers
Thursday 8th February 2024
Repossession Orders: Wales
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent estimate he has made of when the Possession Claim Online …
Early Day Motions
Tuesday 20th February 2024
Detention of Frenchie Mae Cumpio
That this House demands the immediate release of Filipino community journalist Frenchie Mae Cumpio, who has been in detention since …
Bills
Tuesday 15th November 2022
Tax Reform Commission Bill 2022-23
A Bill to establish a commission to assess the differential impact of the tax system in the UK on different …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 30th October 2023
2. (b) Any other support not included in Category 2(a)
Name of donor: The Police Federation
Address of donor: Federation House, Highbury Drive, Leatherhead KT22 7UY
Amount of donation or …
EDM signed
Wednesday 21st February 2024
Use of artificial intelligence in journalism
That this House supports the National Union of Journalists' (NUJ) Artificial Intelligence (AI) campaign and its concerns over rapid advancements …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 31st January 2024
Police (declaration) Bill 2023-24
A Bill to require police officers and certain employees of police forces to declare a membership of or affiliation to …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Liz Saville Roberts has voted in 670 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Liz Saville Roberts 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
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
(46 debate interactions)
Simon Hart (Conservative)
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Chief Whip)
(43 debate interactions)
David T C Davies (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Wales
(28 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Home Office
(96 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(81 debate contributions)
Wales Office
(78 debate contributions)
Ministry of Justice
(65 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Liz Saville Roberts's debates

Dwyfor Meirionnydd 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 Dwyfor Meirionnydd signature proportion
Petitions with most Dwyfor Meirionnydd signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

A new offence should be created and legal sanctions should be introduced to stop MPs intentionally or recklessly misleading the public. This could restore a degree of trust in the UK's political system.

The Government should introduce legislation to make lying in the House of Commons a criminal offence. This would mean that all MPs, including Ministers, would face a serious penalty for knowingly making false statements in the House of Commons, as is the case in a court of law.


Latest EDMs signed by Liz Saville Roberts

21st February 2024
Liz Saville Roberts signed this EDM as a sponsor on Wednesday 21st February 2024

Use of artificial intelligence in journalism

Tabled by: Grahame Morris (Labour - Easington)
That this House supports the National Union of Journalists' (NUJ) Artificial Intelligence (AI) campaign and its concerns over rapid advancements in AI technologies using journalistic content without consent or permission; recognises the risk of grave harm to journalism and the subsequent undermining of democracy should public trust in journalism erode; …
18 signatures
(Most recent: 23 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 11
Independent: 3
Scottish National Party: 2
Plaid Cymru: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
19th February 2024
Liz Saville Roberts signed this EDM as a sponsor on Tuesday 20th February 2024

International Mother Languages Day 2024

Tabled by: Apsana Begum (Labour - Poplar and Limehouse)
That this House pays tribute to International Mother Language Day 2024, which was the initiative of Bangladesh and was approved at the 1999 UNESCO General Conference; notes that it has been observed on 21 February throughout the world since 2000 and commemorates the Bangladeshi university students martyred for the Bangla …
11 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 5
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
View All Liz Saville Roberts's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Liz Saville Roberts, 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.


Liz Saville Roberts has not been granted any Urgent Questions

2 Adjournment Debates led by Liz Saville Roberts

Wednesday 22nd February 2023
Monday 9th November 2020

6 Bills introduced by Liz Saville Roberts


A Bill to devolve management of the Crown Estate and its assets in Wales to the Welsh Government; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 6th May 2022

A Bill to establish a commission to assess the differential impact of the tax system in the UK on different groups of people; to require that commission to make recommendations for reform of the tax system; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Tuesday 15th November 2022
(Read Debate)

A Bill to create offences in relation to the publication of false or misleading statements by elected representatives; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Tuesday 28th June 2022
(Read Debate)

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to prevent abuse of process in civil and family courts; to make provision about cooperation between court jurisdictions; to create offences when certain civil and family court orders are breached; to amend the rights and duties of certain parties to prevent abuse of process in civil and family court; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 12th December 2017
(Read Debate)

To make provision for the circumstances in which the sexual history of a victim of rape or attempted rape may be introduced at a trial; to prohibit in certain circumstances the disclosure by the police of a victim’s identity to an alleged perpetrator of a serious sexual crime; to extend the range of serious offences which may be referred to the Court of Appeal on the grounds of undue leniency of the sentence; to amend the requirements for ground rules hearings; to make provision for the issuing in certain circumstances of guidance on safeguarding to schools; to make provision for training about serious sexual offences; to place a duty on the Secretary of State to provide guidelines for the courts in dealing with cases of serious sexual offences; to require the Secretary of State to report annually on the operation of the Act; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 8th February 2017
(Read Debate)

A Bill to consolidate offences relating to the misuse of digital devices, technologies, systemsand services for the purposes of committing or preparing to commit or aiding, abetting, facilitating or concealing the commission of a crime or disposal of theproceeds of a crime; to make provision reflecting technological advancements, including the training of criminal justice personnel; to establish a duty for theSecretary of State to provide advice and guidance to the digital andtelecommunications services industry aimed at reducing the misuse of digitaltechnologies for criminal purposes; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 9th March 2016

38 Bills co-sponsored by Liz Saville Roberts

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

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

Energy Costs (Pre-payment Meters and Social Tariffs) Bill 2022-23
Sponsor - Kenny MacAskill (Alba)

Care Supporters Bill 2022-23
Sponsor - Dan Carden (Lab)

Shared Prosperity Fund (Wales) Bill 2021-22
Sponsor - Ben Lake (PC)

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

Import of Products of Forced Labour from Xinjiang (Prohibition) Bill 2021-22
Sponsor - Brendan O'Hara (SNP)

Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill 2021-22
Sponsor - Patricia Gibson (SNP)

Wellbeing of Future Generations (No. 2) Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Caroline Lucas (Green)

Vagrancy (Repeal) Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Layla Moran (LD)

Remote Participation in House of Commons Proceedings (Motion) Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Dawn Butler (Lab)

Ministerial Interests (Emergency Powers) Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Owen Thompson (SNP)

Arms (Exports and Remote Warfare) Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Alyn Smith (SNP)

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

Employment (Dismissal and Re-employment) (No. 2) Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Gavin Newlands (SNP)

Hong Kong Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Alistair Carmichael (LD)

Immigration (Health and Social Care Staff) Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Christine Jardine (LD)

Demonstrations (Abortion Clinics) Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Rupa Huq (Lab)

Remote Participation in House of Commons Proceedings Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Dawn Butler (Lab)

Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Afzal Khan (Lab)

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

Pregnancy and Maternity (Redundancy Protection) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Maria Miller (Con)

Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act 2019
Sponsor - Geoffrey Robinson (Lab)

European Union (Revocation of Notification of Withdrawal) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Geraint Davies (Ind)

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

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

Supervised Drug Consumption Facilities Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Alison Thewliss (SNP)

Universal Credit (Application, Advice and Assistance) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Philippa Whitford (SNP)

Abortion Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Diana Johnson (Lab)

Social Media Service Providers (Civil Liability and Oversight) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Lord Mann (None)

Armed Forces Representative Body Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Martin Docherty-Hughes (SNP)

Child Maintenance Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Marion Fellows (SNP)

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

Access to Banking Services Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Ben Lake (PC)

Crime (Assaults on Emergency Services Staff) Bill 2016-17
Sponsor - Holly Lynch (Lab)

Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act 2017
Sponsor - Kevin Hollinrake (Con)

Financial Regulation of Funeral Services Bill 2016-17
Sponsor - Neil Gray (SNP)

Stalking (Sentencing) Bill 2016-17
Sponsor - Alex Chalk (Con)


762 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
5 Other Department Questions
13th Jul 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will take steps with Cabinet colleagues to improve support for self-employed mothers who have children through surrogacy arrangements.

The Law Commissions of England & Wales and Scotland plan to publish the report of their long-standing review of UK surrogacy legislation in November 2022. Upon receipt, the Government will consider the timetable for introducing this to Parliament for pre-legislative scrutiny.

26th May 2022
To ask the President of COP26, whether he has had discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the implications for the UK’s net-zero emissions target in the context of the super-deduction for UK oil and gas extraction through the Energy Profits Levy.

The COP President meets Cabinet colleagues regularly on a wide range of issues.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the President of COP26, what discussions he has had with his European counterparts regarding net-zero appropriate energy alternatives in response to sanctions on Russia.

The UK and our international partners stand united in condemning the Russian government’s reprehensible actions, which are an egregious violation of international law and the UN Charter. The world must focus on generating cheaper, cleaner power that is not subject to volatile international markets.

I have regular discussions with my European counterparts on reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and accelerating a well-managed transition to cleaner, more efficient energy systems to deliver energy security.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will provide details on the plans and date for the establishment of a replacement Government LGBT advisory panel.

The LGBT Advisory Panel was created under the previous administration and the term of all panel members ended on 31 March. The Minister for Women & Equalities has written to panel members to thank them for their contributions. I will shortly set out further details on our plans for the International LGBT Conference and banning conversion therapy, including how we will engage those with relevant expertise.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the Equality Act 2010 in preventing discrimination (a) on the ground of religion or belief or (b) because of a lack a religion or belief.

The provisions within the Equality Act 2010 protect everyone equally, if they hold a recognised religion or belief or if they have a lack of any such religion or belief. The Act does not list or codify recognised religions or beliefs as this is a matter for the courts. Exceptions in the Act recognise the legitimate requirements of organised religions, such as allowing religions to require that its ministers hold that particular faith. We believe this is an effective legislative approach.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
21st Nov 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps Cabinet members appointed on 13 November 2023 have taken as part of the interests declaration and management process as of 21 November 2023.

The Ministerial Code makes clear that Ministers must ensure that no conflict arises, or could reasonably be perceived to arise, between their public duties and their private interests, financial or otherwise. It is the personal responsibility of each Minister to decide whether and what action is needed to avoid a conflict or the perception of a conflict, taking account of advice received from their Permanent Secretary and the Independent Adviser on Ministers’ interests.

As set out in Chapter 7 of the Ministerial Code, there is an established regime in place for the declaration and management of private interests held by ministers. Cabinet members appointed on 13 November 2023 are following this standard process. On appointment to each new office, ministers must provide their Permanent Secretary and Independent Adviser with a full list of interests which might be thought to give rise to a conflict. This includes interests of the minister’s spouse or partner and close family which might be thought to give rise to a conflict.

The Independent Adviser publishes a list of relevant interests. Work is underway on the next List which will include all ministers appointed week commencing 13 November.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
23rd Feb 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on a single buyer agreement for public sector food; and what assessment he has made of the potential impact of such an agreement on (a) regional wholesalers and (b) small and medium-sized enterprises in Wales.

The Crown Commercial Service, on behalf of the Cabinet Office, continues to work alongside the national food industry, including the Federation of Wholesale Distributors, to make sure that suppliers’ concerns are being factored into the development of the agreement.

We regularly engage with colleagues from the devolved nations, including customers and suppliers across Wales, on their commercial requirements and how we can support them.

SMEs and wholesalers are crucial to the food supply chain and have been consulted as part of supplier engagement. These stakeholders have been from across the whole of the UK. The UK Government always seeks to work constructively with devolved administrations, including the Welsh Government, and feedback from this process shaped the procurement strategy for the framework agreement.

The UK Government has made important changes to ensure SME producers across the country will have increased opportunities to work with the public sector. Furthermore, customers will be able to request nominated local products (subject to the local supplier/producer meeting the minimum technical standards). These products would be consolidated into a single delivery with their food order.

Lastly, this will be the first procurement for CCS in the food market, which will actually bring additional choice to public sector food buyers.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the value was of Government procurement from UK businesses registered in each NUTS 1 nation and region in 2019.

This information is not held centrally.

25th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much has been spent by the Government on digital advertising to promote its work in Wales in each month between March 2020 and March 2021.

The Government Communication Service is a cross-government function with teams embedded in departments. Departments are responsible for their own advertising spend across all communication channels.

Cabinet Office publishes expenditure on government communication spend, including our national campaigns, on a rolling monthly basis on gov.uk as part of routine government transparency arrangements at the link below: www.gov.uk/government/collections/cabinet-office-spend-data.

We work closely across the United Kingdom to ensure that government communication activity reaches the intended audiences effectively.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the data collected by the Government relating to children’s wellbeing.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

25th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what progress he has made with on convening a meeting with the health ministers of the four nations of the UK to discuss the Infected Blood Inquiry.

The Government is aware that there remains significant disparities in financial and non-financial support for people infected and affected by contaminated blood and blood products across the UK. I am working with HM Treasury, the Department of Health and Social Care and health departments in the devolved administrations to take forward the actions necessary to address these disparities and Cabinet Office officials are in regular contact with colleagues in the devolved administrations on the progress of this work. In line with the practice of successive administrations, details of such discussions are not normally disclosed.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 16 June 2020 to Question 58751, on Mass Media: Coronavirus, if he will he list of the titles that his Department has supported through the covid-19 public information campaign.

I refer the Hon. member to the answer given to PQ 46692 on 29 May 2020.

18th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 16 June 2020 to Question 58751, on Mass Media: Coronavirus, whether any conditions have been attached to the funding provided by his Department to support media outlets in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

I refer the Hon. member to the answer given to PQ 46692 on 29 May 2020.

4th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of implementing a ban on importing goods produced in Israeli settlements which the UK considers to be illegal; and if she will make an estimate of the quantity of goods imported from those areas in the last 12 months.

There are no import sanctions on goods originating from Israeli settlements and no plans to introduce any bans. The UK government has always been clear on this. Under the existing UK-Israel trade agreement, goods originating from illegal Israeli settlements are not entitled to tariff and trade preferences under either the agreement between the UK and Israel, nor the agreement between the UK and the Palestinian Authority. I can confirm that this will not change in the upgraded free trade agreement with Israel.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
31st Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, how much net revenue has the Maentwrog hydro-electric power station generated in each of the last five years.

Generation figures for individual power stations are collected under commercial confidentiality agreements. Aggregate totals for electricity generated from hydro in Wales are published in an Energy Trends article available at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/energy-trends-december-2023-special-feature-article-electricity-generation-and-supply-in-scotland-wales-northern-ireland-and-england-2018-to-2022

The Department does not collect power station revenue data.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
31st Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, how many gigawatt hours of electricity the Maentwrog hydro-electric power station has generated in of the last five years.

Generation figures for individual power stations are collected under commercial confidentiality agreements. Aggregate totals for electricity generated from hydro in Wales are published in an Energy Trends article available at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/energy-trends-december-2023-special-feature-article-electricity-generation-and-supply-in-scotland-wales-northern-ireland-and-england-2018-to-2022

The Department does not collect power station revenue data.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
23rd Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether she has made a recent assessment of the impact of rising (a) electricity and (b) gas prices on places of worship.

The Secretary of State has not made these specific assessments. However, the Energy Bills Discount Scheme (EBDS) has provided all eligible businesses and other non-domestic energy users, including places of worship, with a baseline discount on high energy bills, since April 2023 and until 31 March 2024. The EBDS replaced the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, which has successfully delivered support of £7.4 billion to cut energy costs for businesses.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
23rd Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of supporting places of worship with high electricity and gas costs.

The Secretary of State has not made these specific assessments. However, the Energy Bills Discount Scheme (EBDS) has provided all eligible businesses and other non-domestic energy users, including places of worship, with a baseline discount on high energy bills, since April 2023 and until 31 March 2024. The EBDS replaced the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, which has successfully delivered support of £7.4 billion to cut energy costs for businesses.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, how many applications for ECO4 Flexible Route 4 have been approved by Ofgem by local authority.

Applications under Route 4: Bespoke Targeting are not approved by Ofgem, but instead reviewed and approved by a panel at the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero.

To date, there have been no applications approved under this route.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
15th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what recent assessment he has made of the potential impact of increasing the tariffs offered by energy suppliers to homeowners who generate renewable energy on (a) household energy bills, (b) climate targets and (c) energy security.

The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) is a cost-reflective and market-led mechanism. It is for suppliers to determine the value of the exported electricity and to take account of the administrative costs associated when setting their tariffs. The Department has made no assessment on the potential impact of raising SEG tariffs, but Ofgem produces an annual report on the SEG that can be found on their website.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
24th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what progress his Department has made on developing a domestic supply of medical isotopes as part of the Medical Radionuclide Innovation Programme.

The Department of Energy Security and Net Zero is delivering the up to £6 million Medical Radionuclide Innovation Programme (MRIP) which aims to identify technology and policy options that could support domestic supply of medical radionuclides in the future.

MRIP launched in December 2022 and will run until March 2025.

The programme will deliver an assessment of the UK supply and demand landscape, building on existing research. It will test data against potential future scenarios to inform policy development and future Government decision-making. Officials are currently finalising Phase I of the Landscape Assessment, with Phase II commencing next financial year to focus on modelling future supply and demand scenarios.

In parallel, several feasibility studies are ongoing by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to assess whether the retrieval of radionuclides from legacy material is possible, and whether this material might be useful in supporting domestic supply and research.

The Innovation Project Call aims to spark innovation in the field and the competitive call will commence later this year. The call aims to spark innovation across the supply chain, to develop new radionuclide production capability in the UK.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
22nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment he has made of the potential impact on the development of nuclear fission technology of the reduction in the numbers of Centres for Doctoral Training funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council since 2013.

According to the Nuclear Innovation and Research Advisory Board (NIRAB), more than 400 students have followed the nuclear CDT programmes over the last ten years, with the vast majority following careers in the nuclear sector afterwards. We continue to work closely with the nuclear sector and academia to drive forward the necessary actions to enhance our nuclear capabilities in support of our energy security objectives and net zero ambitions.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
22nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of the National Nuclear User Facility ending in March 2024 on Great British Nuclear; if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending funding for that scheme beyond March 2024; and whether he has had recent discussions with relevant stakeholder on that scheme.

The National Nuclear User Facility (NNUF) is funded through UKRI and provides equipment for, and access to, state-of-the-art experimental facilities focused on research and development in nuclear science and technology. This work is very different to more mature commercial reactor technologies expected to engage with Great British Nuclear.

Funding beyond 2024 would be a matter for UKRI and my colleagues in their sponsor department, and would need be considered in the context of future priorities and budget allocations in the next spending review.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
22nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether he has had recent discussions with the Welsh government on proposals for a national medical isotope centre in Trawsfynydd.

The Department of Energy Security and Net Zero recognises the importance of maintaining future access to medical radionuclides for UK patients.

No specific assessment has been made on the potential impact of developing a nuclear material test reactor in the UK on the domestic supply of medical isotopes. The Department is, however, delivering the up to £6 million Medical Radionuclide Innovation Programme which aims to identify technology and policy options that could secure access to radionuclides for nuclear medicine services. The programme will consider the development of a domestic research reactor as a potential option.

Officials from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, and the Department of Health and Social Care continue to meet regularly with their counterparts in the Devolved Governments to discuss medical radionuclide supply, most recently on the 9 March 2023.

The Department will continue to work with Welsh Government as their proposal for a medical isotope centre in North Wales progresses.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
22nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of developing a nuclear material test reactor in the UK on the domestic supply of medical isotopes.

The Department of Energy Security and Net Zero recognises the importance of maintaining future access to medical radionuclides for UK patients.

No specific assessment has been made on the potential impact of developing a nuclear material test reactor in the UK on the domestic supply of medical isotopes. The Department is, however, delivering the up to £6 million Medical Radionuclide Innovation Programme which aims to identify technology and policy options that could secure access to radionuclides for nuclear medicine services. The programme will consider the development of a domestic research reactor as a potential option.

Officials from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, and the Department of Health and Social Care continue to meet regularly with their counterparts in the Devolved Governments to discuss medical radionuclide supply, most recently on the 9 March 2023.

The Department will continue to work with Welsh Government as their proposal for a medical isotope centre in North Wales progresses.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
1st Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of (a) reducing or (b) removing the standing charge on energy bills on levels of fuel poverty in Wales.

While fuel poverty is a devolved matter, it is an issue that this Government takes very seriously.

The standing charge is a fixed charge that suppliers pass on to their customers to cover the cost of providing a live supply and decisions about standing charges are a commercial matter for energy suppliers subject to the maximum permitted under the price cap.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
6th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what discussions he has had with (a) the Welsh Government and (b) Welsh local authorities on Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding, including a portal for people who do not have a direct relationship with an electricity supplier; what steps his Department is taking to encourage people to apply for the funding; and what steps he is taking to help people without internet access to apply for that scheme.

The Government is speaking to the Welsh Government to provide them with updates on the EBSS Alternative Funding scheme and is working with local authorities across the UK to prepare for delivery of the scheme. The Government is also working closely with key stakeholder groups who are helping to provide information and updates to eligible households and who will help to raise awareness of the application process when the portal opens later in February. A dedicated customer helpline will be available to assist customers who do not have online access, with further details to be released this month.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
6th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what progress the Government has made on the implementation of the Non-Domestic Alternative Fuel Payment; and when he expects the payment to be delivered.

On 6 February, I announced further information on the Non-Domestic Alternative Fuel Payment Scheme (ND-AFP). Electricity suppliers can now start providing discounts to eligible off-grid energy users and they will deliver this support up to 10 March. Most customers are expected to receive a credit of £150 on bills later this month and will not need to apply.

A top-up payment in addition to the £150 will be available for large users of heating oil (kerosene) in GB and NI to take account of their higher usage. These top-up payments will require an application to a delivery body and will be banded based on level of usage. The Government will set out further details in the near future.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
1st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether he has had recent discussions with the Welsh Government on the delivery of the Alternative Fuel Payment.

Officials have spoken to counterparts in the Welsh Government and will continue to do so. The Government values the insight the Welsh Government can bring, particularly as the Alternative Fuel Payment benefits those in rural areas, with households who use alternative fuels such as biomass, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or heating oil.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
22nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps she is taking to help ensure that research excellence in Wales is considered for new government-funded (a) research contracts and (b) national facilities.

Wales is home to significant national research capabilities including the Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult based in Newport and the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University. Excellence is a key criterion for the allocation of research funding to institutions in all parts of the UK. It is central to the Research Excellence Framework, managed by the research funding bodies including the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales.

In addition, the Government has given UKRI a new organisational objective to support levelling up, and increase consideration of local growth criteria and impact in R&D fund design.

24th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of energy support for hospices (a) now and (b) from April 2023; and whether he has had discussions with the Welsh Government on the impact of the increase in energy bills on hospices in Wales.

The Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS) provides a discount on the wholesale element of gas and electricity bills to ensure that eligible hospices are protected from excessively high energy costs over the winter period. Following an HMT-led review, the new Energy Bill Discount Scheme will run from April until March 2024, and continue to provide a discount to eligible hospices. Both energy schemes apply across all of the United Kingdom, including Wales. The Government will continue to engage with devolved administrations in its design and implementation plans for the new scheme.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
17th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of requiring energy companies to provide freephone customer helplines; and whether he (a) has had and (b) plans to have discussions with energy companies on the provision of freephone customer helplines.

Domestic customers should be able to access their energy supplier’s telephone customer services easily and without high call charges by offering freephone or low-cost geographic numbers. The decision to provide a freephone number is a commercial matter for individual companies and there are no plans to discuss this matter. Energy suppliers who have signed up to Energy UK’s Vulnerability Commitment must have a freephone number for consumers who are in debt. Some also have a designated freephone line for prepayment meter and Priority Service customers.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
16th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of the Federation of Small Businesses’ proposal to introduce Help to green vouchers for small businesses.

The Government keeps energy efficiency support for businesses, including SMEs, under review. Existing initiatives include an exemption on business rates for green technology, providing small businesses grants under the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, and support under the £289million Industrial Energy Transformation Fund.

The Government is reviewing what additional levers can be introduced to help small businesses to be more energy efficient, including financial support such as those suggested by the Federation of Small Businesses. As part of this, in the Autumn Statement my Rt Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that Government will establish a new Energy Efficiency Taskforce to help achieve the Government's target to reduce energy consumption from buildings and industry by 15% by 2030.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the average time households wait for a first-generation smart meter be migrated to a second-generation smart meter.

First generation (SMETS1) smart meters are being remotely moved onto the national smart metering communications network, run by the Data Communications Company (DCC), so that consumers regain smart services and keep them if they switch energy supplier in the future. Second generation smart (SMETS2) meters are connected to the national network from the point of installation.

BEIS does not hold data on the average time households wait for a smart meter to be migrated. However, the vast majority of SMETS1 meters – which had previously lost smart services – have now been connected to the national communications network. Industry is continuing work at pace to enrol remaining “active” SMETS1 meters, that are connected to energy suppliers’ own communications systems and continue to provide smart services.

The Government continues to work closely with the DCC and energy suppliers to monitor and drive progress.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made a recent assessment of the adequacy of the performance of the ongoing migration of first generation smart meters to second generation smart meters.

First generation (SMETS1) smart meters are being remotely moved onto the national smart metering communications network, run by the Data Communications Company (DCC), so that consumers regain smart services and keep them if they switch energy supplier in the future. Second generation smart (SMETS2) meters are connected to the national network from the point of installation.

BEIS does not hold data on the average time households wait for a smart meter to be migrated. However, the vast majority of SMETS1 meters – which had previously lost smart services – have now been connected to the national communications network. Industry is continuing work at pace to enrol remaining “active” SMETS1 meters, that are connected to energy suppliers’ own communications systems and continue to provide smart services.

The Government continues to work closely with the DCC and energy suppliers to monitor and drive progress.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
12th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of requiring energy companies to pay the rest of the amount due under the Energy Bills Support Scheme in cash value rather than via credits on people's electricity accounts in cases where the value of a customer’s direct debit is less than the value of the EBSS payment.

Energy suppliers are delivering the Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) to households in Great Britain with a domestic electricity contract in six monthly instalments to help reduce bills over the winter period. If a customer does build up a surplus in their account, they can contact their supplier to request a refund of that credit. Delivering EBSS is a complex and unique task which is delivering help to millions of households each month and the Government does not plan to amend the agreed process.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
7th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to park home residents who will receive their Energy Bills Support Scheme via the Alternative Fund allowance, whether those residents will have to apply for that payment or whether it will be disbursed automatically; what delivery mechanisms his Department will use to disburse that payment, including the option of payments being made via local councils; and when those residents will receive that payment.

The Government is working to finalise the details of the Energy Bill Support Scheme Alternative Funding and have the process up and running for applications this winter. Eligibility, timescales and method of delivery of will be announced shortly.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
28th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when households which will be eligible for the Alternative Fuel Payment but will not receive the payment automatically because they do not have a relationship with an electricity supplier will be able to make an online application.

Eligible households will receive the Alternative Fuel Payment (AFP) this Winter.

Further details on when households that do not have a relationship with an electricity supplier can apply for the AFP will be confirmed shortly.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
28th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when households eligible for the Alternative Fuel Payment will receive the £200 as a credit on their electricity bill; and whether this will be delivered as a lump-sum.

The Alternative Fuel Payment scheme will provide a one-off payment to eligible UK (GB and NI) households.

Households eligible for these payments in Great Britain will receive £200 as a credit on their electricity bill this winter. The details of when this payment will be made will be confirmed shortly. The Government is committed to delivering this support to customers as fast as possible.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
7th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 31 October 2022 to Question 72386 on Business: Energy, whether multi-function premises used for both residential and business purposes which have business electricity accounts will be eligible for support under the Energy Bills Support Scheme; and whether further information will be provided in that guidance.

The Government recognises that there are some domestic energy users who receive their energy through business contracts. The Government is working to ensure that eligible households are not excluded from the Alternative Funding scheme on that basis. The Government is engaging with a range of organisations, such as local authorities, as well as Devolved Administrations and across UK Government, to finalise the details of the Alternative Funding and have the process up and running for applications this winter.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
26th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the adequacy of the support provided to help with energy costs for multi-function premises which are used for both residential and business purposes and have one business electricity account.

Through the Energy Prices Bill the Government has established a comprehensive package of measures to support homes and businesses this winter. Multi-function premises on a single business electricity account may benefit from the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, which provides equivalent support to the domestic Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) scheme. If the electricity account holder supplies other residential and business users on the premises, it will be required to pass on the scheme benefits as appropriate.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
26th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether multi-function premises that are used for both residential and business purposes and have business electricity accounts will be eligible for the Energy Bills Support Scheme.

All domestic electricity customers who have a direct relationship with a licensed electricity supplier will be automatically eligible for the Energy Bills Support Scheme. Therefore, if a customer has a domestic electricity contract, they will be receiving the discount under the Energy Bills Support Scheme. If a customer is registered as receiving energy to a business premises, this will be covered in detail in further guidance to be published in due course.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
19th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy what assessment his Department has made of the effects of the energy crisis on the viability of fish and chip shops.

The Government regularly engages with small businesses across the retail and hospitality sectors to understand the challenges they face.

The recently announced Energy Bill Relief Scheme ensures that all businesses and other non-domestic customers are protected from excessively high energy bills over the winter period.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
18th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress he has made on developing the Alternative Fuel Payments scheme for non-domestic consumers who are not able to receive support for their heating costs through the Energy Bill Relief Scheme; and that when support will be delivered.

Further details on support for off-grid businesses and on the design of the scheme will be provided shortly.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
12th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of using broadband to connect smart meters in rural areas where connection through current means of information transfers is unavailable.

The Data Communications Company (DCC) is required to provide smart meter network coverage to at least 99.25% of premises across Great Britain.

This is a dedicated network developed in coordination with industry security experts and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to ensure that robust security controls are in place. The network relies upon a variety of technologies to deliver connectivity, including cellular mobile, wireless mesh radio and long-range radio.

In addition to delivering high levels of existing coverage, the DCC is also required by licence conditions to seek to provide coverage to all premises where practicable and cost proportionate.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
21st Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the support needs of businesses after his proposed six months of Government support has expired.

The Energy Bill Relief Scheme, announced on 21 September 2022, will initially run for 6 months covering energy use from 1st October 2022 until 31st March 2023.

The Government will publish a review of the scheme in 3 months, which will consider how best to offer further support to customers who are the most vulnerable to energy price increases.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
21st Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the support required to help businesses to improve their energy efficiency.

The Government keeps energy efficiency support for businesses, including SMEs, under review. Existing initiatives include an exemption on business rates for green technology, providing small businesses grants under the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, and offering industry £289m for energy efficiency and low carbon technologies.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
21st Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether green levies will be moved from energy bills to general taxation.

Green levies have been temporarily suspended from energy bills as part of the savings delivered by the Energy Price Guarantee which is being funded by the Exchequer.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
21st Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what criteria his Department will use to assess which businesses qualify for energy costs support after six months due to their vulnerability.

The Government will publish a review of the scheme in three months, which will consider how to support customers who are the most vulnerable to energy price increases. These are likely to be those who are least able to adjust, for example by reducing energy usage or increasing energy efficiency. The review will consider how effective the scheme has been in supporting vulnerable non-domestic customers and which groups of non-domestic customers remain particularly vulnerable to energy price rises. Continuing support to those deemed eligible would begin at the end of the initial 6-month support scheme, without a gap.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many meetings he has held with the (a) Development Bank of Wales and (b) Scottish National Investment Bank in 2022.

My rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy regularly meets a variety of stakeholders.

14th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Welsh Government and (b) National Grid ESO on how to support grid access for small-scale renewable energy generation in Wales.

The Department regularly engages with the Welsh Government and the Electricity System Operator on electricity networks, including renewable energy connections.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
30th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the (a) Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and (b) Welsh Government on the rollout of rural broadband to encourage smart meter use.

The national smart metering system in Great Britain is not reliant on broadband for connectivity. The Data Communications Company operates the national communications network for smart metering, which is separate from the internet and uses a variety of technologies, including cellular mobile technology, wireless mesh radio and long-range radio. This dedicated, secure network ensures that only authorised parties, such as energy suppliers, can communicate with meters.

The Government wants to ensure that households and small businesses across Great Britain can benefit from smart metering and has required energy suppliers to establish Smart Energy GB, which is responsible for coordinated consumer engagement activities and working alongside energy suppliers to support consumer uptake.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
30th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support the Government is providing to rural areas to (a) encourage the adoption of smart meters and (b) increase broadband connectivity.

The national smart metering system in Great Britain is not reliant on broadband for connectivity. The Data Communications Company operates the national communications network for smart metering, which is separate from the internet and uses a variety of technologies, including cellular mobile technology, wireless mesh radio and long-range radio. This dedicated, secure network ensures that only authorised parties, such as energy suppliers, can communicate with meters.

The Government wants to ensure that households and small businesses across Great Britain can benefit from smart metering and has required energy suppliers to establish Smart Energy GB, which is responsible for coordinated consumer engagement activities and working alongside energy suppliers to support consumer uptake.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
30th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of rural broadband connectivity on smart meter uptake.

The national smart metering system in Great Britain is not reliant on broadband for connectivity. The Data Communications Company operates the national communications network for smart metering, which is separate from the internet and uses a variety of technologies, including cellular mobile technology, wireless mesh radio and long-range radio. This dedicated, secure network ensures that only authorised parties, such as energy suppliers, can communicate with meters.

The Government wants to ensure that households and small businesses across Great Britain can benefit from smart metering and has required energy suppliers to establish Smart Energy GB, which is responsible for coordinated consumer engagement activities and working alongside energy suppliers to support consumer uptake.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to require companies to conduct (a) human rights and (b) environmental due diligence assessments across their (i) operations, (ii) subsidiaries and (iii) value chains.

The Government supports and encourages the current voluntary approach to due diligence by UK businesses as set out in international frameworks such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises.

Whilst the Government keeps this approach under review, we currently have no plans to require companies to conduct due diligence assessments for human rights and environmental protection on top of their existing corporate annual reporting on these issues.

12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many cases brought to the Competition Appeal Tribunal within the last five years have taken over nine months to complete.

The Tribunal is resourced to deal with these cases as quickly as due process allows. The parties before the Tribunal need time to prepare for the hearing, and the Tribunal will set a timetable for this taking account of the parties' resources, the need for a fair hearing and the need to resolve cases as expeditiously as possible.

Further detail covering the period October 2010 to October 2020 was set out in the Call for Evidence for the recent post-implementation review of the Competition Appeal Tribunal Rules published in May 2021.

12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the performance of the Competition Appeal Tribunal in completing cases in a timely manner.

The Post Implementation Review of the Competition Appeal Tribunal Rules 2015 was published in April 2022. This sets out that the intended objectives of the Rules, that is, to streamline procedures in the CAT and minimise the length and cost of CAT cases while ensuring access to recourse for affected parties, have largely been achieved.

The Competition Appeal Tribunal reports on all of their cases in their annual report and they provide regular updates on the case pages on their website.

18th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including unpaid carers in the eligibility criteria for the Warm Home Discount.

The Warm Home Discount is a key policy in the Government’s strategy for tackling fuel poverty. The Government consulted on reforming the Warm Home Discount scheme to better target fuel poverty and to provide the rebates automatically to households, as announced in the Energy White Paper. The Government’s response to the consultation will be published in the coming weeks.

The reforms include focusing support on households on the lowest incomes who are struggling to heat their homes. Eligibility would therefore be linked to receipt of a qualifying means-tested benefit and having high energy costs. Unpaid carers in receipt of one of the qualifying means-tested benefits and with high energy costs would therefore be eligible for a rebate.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the compensation available for homes that experience power cuts in severe weather; and whether it is his policy that those who experience a power cut for 24 hours as a result of a Category 2 Storm should be eligible for compensation.

Ofgem, the independent regulator for the UK’s energy networks, sets service levels which Distribution Network Operators must meet, with rules on how and when compensation payments are issued to consumers if the standards are not met. This is set out in the Quality of Service Guaranteed Standards.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with energy providers on improving public awareness of the Warm Home Discount scheme.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave to the Rt. Hon. Member for Kingston and Surbiton on 14th December 2021 to Question 87565.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to increase the visibility of the Warm Home Discount Scheme to households to encourage uptake.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave to the Rt. Hon. Member for Kingston and Surbiton on 14th December 2021 to Question 87565.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of conducting a hydrogen village trial by 2025 in Wales to better inform a policy decision on the use of hydrogen for heating buildings by 2026.

As set out in my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, the Government is supporting industry to deliver community trials of 100% hydrogen heating. BEIS and Ofgem have invited the Gas Distribution Network Operators to submit outline proposals for village trials by December 2021. The Government expect that one or more of these will then be selected to be developed into detailed proposals. Final decisions on where the trials will take place are expected to be taken in 2023.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of creating a dedicated hydrogen department within Ofgem.

The organisation design of Ofgem is a matter for Ofgem. BEIS will continue to work closely with Ofgem on delivering the government’s ambitions for a hydrogen economy as set out in the Hydrogen Strategy.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of a price-cap on liquified petroleum gas for people (a) lacking a grid-connection and (b) living in fuel poverty in Wales.

The Government has no plans to control prices or set a price-cap for liquified petroleum gas (LPG).

The LPG market operates under normal competition and consumer protection law supplemented by the Domestic Bulk LPG Market Investigation Orders (which can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/liquefied-petroleum-gas-lpg-market-orders-and-calculator). The Orders enable easier switching of domestic bulk LPG supplier by domestic customers.

Fuel poverty is a devolved matter for the Welsh Government.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of devolving to the Welsh Government powers regulating the sale and use of fireworks currently existing under the Fireworks Act 2003.

Officials at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy engage with counterparts at the Welsh Government regularly, to ensure the safety of the public across the UK. This has included discussion of the House of Commons Petitions Committee Report and the steps the Government has taken to address their recommendations.

The Government has now implemented the recommendations it accepted following the Petition Committee’s report, complementing the ongoing programme of action which continues to tackle the key issues associated with fireworks. This includes the 2021 fireworks public safety information programme, with all campaign materials translated into Welsh.

3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Government Response to the House of Commons Petitions Committee Report on Fireworks, published in March 2020, what progress his Department has made in implementing those recommendations of the inquiry into fireworks which were accepted; and what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on those recommendations.

Officials at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy engage with counterparts at the Welsh Government regularly, to ensure the safety of the public across the UK. This has included discussion of the House of Commons Petitions Committee Report and the steps the Government has taken to address their recommendations.

The Government has now implemented the recommendations it accepted following the Petition Committee’s report, complementing the ongoing programme of action which continues to tackle the key issues associated with fireworks. This includes the 2021 fireworks public safety information programme, with all campaign materials translated into Welsh.

3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Government Response to the House of Commons Petitions Committee Report on Fireworks, published in March 2020, if he will review his response to recommendations of the inquiry into fireworks which were not accepted; and what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on those recommendations.

The Government has now implemented the recommendations it accepted following the Petition Committee’s report on fireworks. We have no current plans to introduce further restrictions on the sale and use of fireworks to the public but we continue to monitor the situation.

19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the statement by India’s foreign secretary on 21 September 2021, how many doses of covid-19 vaccine the UK has purchased from India; and how many of those doses have been distributed.

Earlier this year, the UK purchased some Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured at the Serum Institute of India, which form part of the UK's agreement for 100 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the greenhouse gas emissions generated by the use of residential heating oil are in (a) Wales, (b) Scotland, (c) Northern Ireland, (d) England and (e) the UK.

The following table shows estimated greenhouse gas emission from the domestic combustion of oil in the UK in 2019 by country, measured in million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e), from the UK’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory.

Greenhouse gas emission from the domestic combustion of oil in the UK in 2019 (MtCO2e)

England

3.1

Northern Ireland

1.8

Scotland

0.6

Wales

0.6

UK total

6.2

Source: UK Greenhouse Gas Inventory, BEIS
Note: figures do not add up to total due to rounding

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for International Trade on the compatibility of proposals in the Subsidy Control Bill with the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Officials are working with the Department of International Trade to ensure that our international agreements are consistent with and support our ambitious domestic policy agenda. The Government is committed to upholding all its international obligations, including those on subsidy control. We do not anticipate any incompatibility issues with the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, which does not contain any commitments on subsidies that conflict with the proposals in the Subsidy Control Bill.

15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what impact assessment he has conducted on the Subsidy Control Bill and its potential effect on food and drink procurement by Welsh local authorities from within their authority area.

An Impact Assessment was published alongside the Subsidy Control Bill , which gives an overarching assessment of the impact the measures in the Bill will have on public institutions and business. It focuses on the subsidy control regime’s framework, rather than the individual subsidies that may be awarded under it.

15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what impact assessment he has conducted on the potential effect of proposals in the Subsidy Control Bill on food and drink procurement by local authorities.

An Impact Assessment was published alongside the Subsidy Control Bill , which gives an overarching assessment of the impact the measures in the Bill will have on public institutions and business. It focuses on the subsidy control regime’s framework, rather than the individual subsidies that may be awarded under it.

8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment his Department has made of whether proposals for the Cambo oilfield are compatible with the (a) Government’s climate targets and (b) Paris Agreement on climate change.

Cambo is not a new oilfield, it was licensed in 2001. The development proposal from Cambo is being scrutinised in line with robust regulatory procedures and no decision has yet been taken.

Oil and natural gas are still required for heating, cooking and transport, and are vital to the production of many everyday essentials like medicines, plastics, cosmetics and household appliances. While we are working hard to drive down demand for fossil fuels, there will continue to be ongoing demand for oil and gas over the coming years, as recognised by the independent Climate Change Committee, with the UK as net importers of both oil and gas.

Looking forward, the Government will introduce a climate compatibility checkpoint which will be used to assess whether any future licensing rounds remain in keeping with our climate goals. We have committed to launching the checkpoint by the end of 2021.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the transmission electricity network in Wales in facilitating renewable energy generation.

The Government recognises the importance of investing in electricity transmission network infrastructure to enable renewable generation to build and connect to the grid. The electricity transmission network in Wales and across Great Britain is regulated via a price control, set and administered by Ofgem, as the independent regulator. The current price control commenced on 1 April this year, and it includes £8.7bn of upfront funding for electricity transmission across Great Britain, £5.4bn (2018/19 prices) of which is allocated to National Grid Electricity Transmission which owns and operates the electricity transmission network in England and Wales. Further funding of up to £10bn for future projects to enable net zero is also available across the next price control (electricity transmission and gas), including readying the network for further renewable generation.

The UK Government remains firmly committed to the renewables industry across the UK, including in Wales. To date, Contracts for Difference (CfD) have been awarded to 5 projects in Wales, totalling around 200MW of capacity. Future CfD auctions will provide further opportunities for developers of renewable electricity projects in Wales to secure contracts and expand the amount of capacity supported by the scheme in Wales.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the timeframe is for the UK to begin receiving the 50 million doses of variant vaccines secured as part of the partnership with CureVac.

We expect deliveries of the vaccines from CureVac later this year, if required. This will be subject to successful clinical trials and regulatory approval by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to facilitate the use of smart meters for residential solar PV installations.

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.

All smart meters are capable of recording electricity that is exported to the grid from onsite renewable generation sources, such as solar panels.

The rollout is making good progress, with 23.6 million smart and advanced meters in homes and small businesses across Great Britain, as of the end of December 2020.

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

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support research and development into wool-based products in Wales.

The Government’s ambitions are for a world-leading system that unlocks innovation and growth throughout all parts of the economy across the UK. Research and development are central to igniting the UK’s economic recovery, boosting productivity, creating new jobs and improving people’s quality of life.

Last Summer, we published the R&D Roadmap which outlines our plan to ensure the UK is the best place in the world for scientists, researchers, and entrepreneurs to live and work. Through our R&D Places Strategy, we will ensure research and development benefits the economies in places across the UK, including Wales, as part of our wider commitment to levelling up.

In November 2020, the Spending Review set out the government’s plan to cement the UK’s status as a global leader in science and innovation by investing £14.6bn in R&D in 2021-22. We will increase public R&D investment to £22bn per year by 2024-25. This investment supports our commitments set out in the R&D Roadmap and helps consolidate our position as a science superpower.

We are continuing to work with devolved administrations and other Government departments on delivering the R&D Roadmap.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with private developers on proposals to build a battery factory in (a) Wales and (b) elsewhere in the UK.

The Government remains committed to securing UK gigafactories.

Ministers and Officials in the Department are regularly engaging with potential investors. These discussions are ongoing, and it would not be appropriate for me to comment on specific cases.

There are a range of factors that will influence the location of any UK gigafactory investment, and ultimately this decision will be a commercial matter. There are several locations across the UK that may meet the requirements of investors, including in Wales.

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing a carbon border levy.

As we deliver our 10 point plan, we recognise it is important to ensure that our ambitious policy interventions do not lead to increased emissions elsewhere. We are working across government to better understand this potential issue, known as carbon leakage, including the impact it could have on the UK.

As set out in the interim report of the Net Zero Review published in December, a range of approaches could potentially help to address carbon leakage. The EU’s proposed carbon border levy is one policy option, which we are monitoring closely.

The UK will continue working closely with all our international partners to address climate change across the economy, using our G7 and COP26 Presidencies to ensure that we build back better following the coronavirus pandemic.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to restrict the distribution of plastic toys with children’s magazines.

All children’s toys on the UK market, whether sold or supplied individually or along with children’s magazines, must meet the safety requirements set out in the Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011 (‘The Regulations’). Under the Regulations, any toys distributed in the UK must not jeopardise the safety or health of users or third parties when they are used as intended or in a foreseeable way, bearing in mind the behaviour of children. The Regulations also set out requirements for warnings and safe use labels on toys and other safety obligations that must be met by manufacturers, importers and distributors; again, these apply however the toys are supplied.

Any toys distributed along with children’s magazines must be safe and meet the requirements of the Regulations. The Office for Product Safety and Standards and local authority Trading Standards have powers to enforce the Regulations.

19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the effect of higher carbon levies on steelmaking in Port Talbot.

The Government has introduced a UK Emissions Trading Scheme, enabling steelmakers, and others in industry, to use markets to decarbonise in a cost-effective way. The Department works closely with both HM Treasury and the Devolved Administrations on this Scheme. The Government recognises the important role that the UK steel industry plays in keeping our economy moving and growing post COVID-19, and has therefore put in place a package of ongoing measures to support it during this challenging time and beyond. This includes more than £500 million in relief since 2013 to make the sector’s electricity costs more competitive.

19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the effect of higher carbon levies on steelmaking in Port Talbot.

The Government has introduced a UK Emissions Trading Scheme, enabling steelmakers, and others in industry, to use markets to decarbonise in a cost-effective way. The Department works closely with both HM Treasury and the Devolved Administrations on this Scheme. The Government recognises the important role that the UK steel industry plays in keeping our economy moving and growing post COVID-19, and has therefore put in place a package of ongoing measures to support it during this challenging time and beyond. This includes more than £500 million in relief since 2013 to make the sector’s electricity costs more competitive.

11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to provide financial support to the planned new Britishvolt factory in Blyth.

I welcome Britishvolt’s announcement. As my Rt hon Friend the Prime Minister set out recently in his 10 Point Plan, manufacturing electric vehicles and developing the required supply chain right here in the UK is a key part of building back better and greener. A Gigafactory will support industry, provide high quality jobs and help the automotive sector transform over the coming decade - as we make strides towards our world-beating net zero goals.

The Government has announced nearly £500m of support through the Automotive Transformation Fund to drive the electrification of the UK automotive sector. This is part of the up to £1 billion that this government previously committed to these efforts. The application process is managed by the Advanced Propulsion Centre on behalf of BEIS and funding will be allocated on a competitive basis, dependent on a full assessment of the relative value for money of any request received.

11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has had discussions with representatives of Britishvolt on its planned factory in Blyth.

I welcome Britishvolt’s announcement. As my Rt hon Friend the Prime Minister set out recently in his 10 Point Plan, manufacturing electric vehicles and developing the required supply chain right here in the UK is a key part of building back better and greener. A Gigafactory will support industry, provide high quality jobs and help the automotive sector transform over the coming decade - as we make strides towards our world-beating net zero goals.

The Government has announced nearly £500m of support through the Automotive Transformation Fund to drive the electrification of the UK automotive sector. This is part of the up to £1 billion that this government previously committed to these efforts. The application process is managed by the Advanced Propulsion Centre on behalf of BEIS and funding will be allocated on a competitive basis, dependent on a full assessment of the relative value for money of any request received.

8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much capital spending took place on research and development in 2019 by population share in (a) Wales, (b) Scotland, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) England.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is planning to release in spring 2021 estimates of gross domestic expenditure on research and development in 2019 including estimates of R&D performed in different parts of the United Kingdom.

The latest available figures are for 2018: the ONS has estimated R&D performed was £786m in Wales, £2,706m in Scotland, £715m in Northern Ireland, and £32,862m in England. Dividing by the ONS mid-year population estimates would give figures of about £250 for Wales, £498 for Scotland, £380 for Northern Ireland, and £587 for England.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
6th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the merits of a public information campaign aimed at raising awareness about the risks posed by counterfeit electrical products.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is developing plans to run a pilot public awareness campaign focussing on counterfeit goods in the beauty and hygiene sector in 2021. If successful, the IPO will consider further campaigns for other product sectors such as counterfeit electrical products.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
6th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on the number of people buying unsafe electrical products online of introducing regulations to require online sales platforms to (a) immediately remove goods deemed unsafe, (b) notify the buyer when they become aware that an unsafe item has been purchased and (c) take other steps to accept responsibility for the goods bought and sold on their websites.

The Government is committed to ensuring that only safe products can be sold in the UK. Distributors, including those selling online, have legal responsibilities under the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016 to ensure that equipment has the required labelling and that they do not make equipment available on the market where they know or suspect it to be unsafe. Manufacturers and importers must ensure that only safe electrical products are placed on the market, monitor the safety of their products in use and keep distributors informed of the monitoring.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) are conducting a review of the Product Safety framework to ensure it remains one of the best in the world in both protecting consumers and enabling businesses to innovate and grow. The review will consider the impact on product safety of new technologies and new business models, including e-commerce.

14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, on what date he plans to publish his Energy White Paper.

The Energy White Paper is a priority and it will be published this Autumn.

4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish the dates on which the Hydrogen Advisory Council is planned to meet.

The inaugural meeting of the Hydrogen Advisory Council (HAC) was on 20 July 2020. It is expected to meet quarterly for at least the next two years with the next meeting scheduled on 14 October 2020.

4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to increase the number of trials that are testing the safety of using hydrogen for domestic heat.

Hydrogen is one potential option for decarbonising heating, alongside other solutions, including heat pumps and heat networks. The Government is therefore supporting a range of research, development and testing projects involving hydrogen to help determine the feasibility of using low carbon hydrogen as an alternative to the use of natural gas for heating in homes.

The Government is working closely with industry and other stakeholders to identify further testing and trials needed to provide evidence on issues including safety, feasibility, costs and benefits and the overall consumer experience.

4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to promote the UK's hydrogen sector at COP26.

We are exploring ways to promote UK hydrogen activity and enhance international cooperation at COP26.

COP provides an ideal platform to showcase UK's unique hydrogen opportunities. Harnessing UK geographical advantages such as offshore wind resource and potential CO2 storage for low carbon hydrogen production, with deployment across the energy system to enable deep decarbonisation in line with our net zero commitment.

Options under discussion include demonstration of hydrogen appliances developed under the Hy4Heat programme, as part of the BEIS Energy Innovation Portfolio; representation from leading UK hydrogen companies and projects; and discussion of international cooperation to accelerate clean energy innovation, including hydrogen. We will continue to develop this thinking in the coming months.

4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the UK's hydrogen strategy; and what steps he is taking to formalise cross-departmental working on the Government's hydrogen strategy.

The Government is committed to the development of hydrogen as a decarbonised energy carrier for the UK and we are currently developing our strategic approach to hydrogen. My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is Chair of the Climate Action Implementation Cabinet Committee (CAI) which covers topics including hydrogen. BEIS officials and I also continue to work across government departments, including an on-going review of governance arrangements, to ensure we work effectively to develop new policy to help bring forward the technologies and supply chain we will need to grow the UK hydrogen economy.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of the increase in workplace flexibility as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; and whether her Department has plans to publish a long-term strategy for more flexible working to help disabled people (a) find, (b) stay in and (c) progress at work.

Currently, we are seeing an increase in flexible working with many businesses rapidly adapting to remote working, using new technology and finding new ways of working. As we move beyond the current situation, and the economy begins to reopen, we are very keen to do more to promote flexible working in all its forms.

This Government is clear about the benefits of flexible working for employers and for their employees. In our manifesto we said that, subject to consultation, we would introduce measures to make flexible working the default.

20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of proposals for an additional bank holiday in autumn 2020; and whether his Department has identified potential dates for that proposed bank holiday.

Currently there are no plans to change the bank holiday dates.

The Government regularly receives requests for additional bank and public holidays to commemorate a variety of occasions. The current pattern of public and bank holidays is well established and acknowledged within the country.

Whilst an additional bank holiday may benefit some communities and sectors, the cost to the economy of an additional bank holiday is considerable. The estimated cost to the economy of the one-off bank holiday for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 was £1.2 billion.

15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions has he had with ministers in the Welsh Government on the deployment of wooden wind turbines.

No discussions have taken place with the Welsh Government on the deployment or promotion of wooden wind turbines. We welcome innovation in this area, provided the appropriate construction and safety standards are met.

15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to promote the development of wooden wind turbines.

No discussions have taken place with the Welsh Government on the deployment or promotion of wooden wind turbines. We welcome innovation in this area, provided the appropriate construction and safety standards are met.

27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the continued viability of City Deals in Wales as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

To date, the Government has committed up to £3.08 billion to City and Growth Deals across Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. This includes Deals already agreed in Cardiff, Swansea Bay, and North Wales.

These Deals are an important part of our approach to driving growth, attracting long-term investment, and creating sustainable, high-quality jobs in Wales.

Regions need to regularly assess the benefits and deliverability of their individual programmes in light of changing local circumstances. We will work with all areas to ensure City and Growth Deals respond are responsive, so they can continue to deliver maximum impact for their local area.

27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the level of dependence on Chinese investment of the (a) manufacturing and production industries, (b) IT and internet industries, (c) retail sector and (d) NUTS 1 region.

At at 2018, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Inward Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) data shows that China had the following FDI positions in UK sectors:

China Inward FDI Position (£m)

Global Inward FDI Position (£m)

China as % of Total Global FDI to UK

Manufacturing and Production

325

368,718

0.1%

Information and Communication

28

140,695

0.02%

Retail and Wholesale

230

125,302

0.2%

Total Economy

1,775

1,520,603

0.1%

Estimates of FDI that are based on the UK regional location of such investments are not available.

24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 23 March 2020 to Question 30846, whether he is taking steps to mitigate the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the timetable for implementing the Clean Steel Fund.

The Coronavirus outbreak is the biggest public health emergency in a generation and every part of the Government is being mobilised to protect our public health. While civil service capabilities and resources are being redeployed accordingly, supporting industry onto a pathway consistent with net zero remains a key priority and work continues to ensure we meet our commitments.

Steel is a key industrial sector of strategic importance to the UK economy, and we remain committed to designing and delivering the £250 million Clean Steel Fund as planned. We will continue to work closely with stakeholders to develop the scheme, ensuring that it meets their interests.

23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 19 March 2020 to Question 30151, whether he has taken steps to ensure that the covid-19 outbreak does not delay the launch of the Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund.

The coronavirus outbreak is the biggest public health emergency in a generation and Government is being mobilised to protect public health - with Civil Service capabilities and resources being redeployed accordingly. Nonetheless, supporting industry onto a pathway consistent with Net Zero remains a key Government priority and work continues at pace to ensure we meet our commitments.

We remain committed to engaging with industry to design and deliver the £100 million Low Carbon Hydrogen Fund as planned.

17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress he has made in implementing the Clean Steel Fund.

In August 2019, the Government announced a £250 million Clean Steel Fund to support the UK steel sector to transition to lower carbon iron and steel production, through investment in new technologies and processes. The Fund will help the sector towards achieving our target of net zero emissions by 2050 , by maximising longevity and resilience while harnessing clean growth opportunities.

Steel industry stakeholders provided positive responses to our recent Call for Evidence, which closed in November 2019. The Department is currently analysing responses to inform the scheme’s design, and as we develop the scheme, we will continue to engage closely with the sector to ensure that it meets the needs of businesses.

16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 13 March 2020 to Question 27583, on Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund: Wales, what discussions officials in his Department have had with Welsh Government officials on the Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund.

The Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund (LCHF) was announced in August 2019. The fund is intended to support the development of technology to produce hydrogen at scale, as a decarbonised energy carrier alongside other decarbonised gases. Formal engagement has yet to begin, but we will be discussing the design of the fund with stakeholders throughout 2020, with a view to making a call for bids in 2021. This will involve engagement with the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales.

16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 13 March 2020 to Question 27583, what his Department's timescale is for launching of the Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund.

The Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund (LCHF) was announced in August 2019. The fund is intended to support the development of technology to produce hydrogen at scale, as a decarbonised energy carrier alongside other decarbonised gases. Formal engagement has yet to begin, but we will be discussing the design of the fund with stakeholders throughout 2020, with a view to making a call for bids in 2021.

16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 13 March 2020 to Question 27583 on Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund: Wales, whether his Department has consulted the Scottish Government on that fund.

The Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund (LCHF) was announced in August 2019. The fund is intended to support the development of technology to produce hydrogen at scale, as a decarbonised energy carrier alongside other decarbonised gases. Formal engagement has yet to begin, but we will be discussing the design of the fund with stakeholders throughout 2020, with a view to making a call for bids in 2021. This will involve engagement with the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales.

10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 4 March 2020 to Question 25168, how much of the Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund has been allocated to facilities in Wales.

The Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund is still under development, and no funds have been allocated to date. The Government is working with industry to inform design of the scheme, and further details will be available later in 2020. We welcome ongoing engagement with stakeholders in the region on a range of industrial decarbonisation options including low carbon hydrogen.

10th Mar 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 Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the potential for on-farm generation of biogas.

Biogas is produced through anaerobic digestion (AD) using biomass feedstocks such as food and on-farm waste (e.g. manure and slurries). Biogas can be used to generate electricity?or?heat (or both?outputs?in a CHP?system).?Alternatively, it can be upgraded into biomethane to directly replace natural gas in the gas grid. The Government supports AD as an effective treatment for organic waste that produces renewable fuel, heat or energy and a nutrient rich by-product, digestate, which can be used as a fertiliser.

Currently, biogas and biomethane produced by AD are supported by the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive scheme (RHI). The RHI has funding confirmed for new deployment of renewable heat technologies until 31 March 2021. The Budget on 11 March confirmed a new allocation of flexible tariff guarantees on the non-domestic RHI and announced a new support scheme for biomethane production to increase the proportion of green gas in the grid, funded by a Green Gas Levy.

The Department engages regularly with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, at both ministerial and official level, on a range of issues including biogas.

10th Mar 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 Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the potential for on-farm refinement of biogas into compressed natural gas.

Biogas is produced through anaerobic digestion (AD) using biomass feedstocks such as food and on-farm waste (e.g. manure and slurries). Biogas can be used to generate electricity?or?heat (or both?outputs?in a CHP?system).?Alternatively, it can be upgraded into biomethane to directly replace natural gas in the gas grid. The Government supports AD as an effective treatment for organic waste that produces renewable fuel, heat or energy and a nutrient rich by-product, digestate, which can be used as a fertiliser.

Currently, biogas and biomethane produced by AD are supported by the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive scheme (RHI). The RHI has funding confirmed for new deployment of renewable heat technologies until 31 March 2021. The Budget on 11 March confirmed a new allocation of flexible tariff guarantees on the non-domestic RHI and announced a new support scheme for biomethane production to increase the proportion of green gas in the grid, funded by a Green Gas Levy.

The Department engages regularly with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, at both ministerial and official level, on a range of issues including biogas.

10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the potential for on-farm generation of biogas.

Biogas is produced through anaerobic digestion (AD) using biomass feedstocks such as food and on-farm waste (e.g. manure and slurries). Biogas can be used to generate electricity?or?heat (or both?outputs?in a CHP?system).?The Government supports AD as an effective treatment for organic waste that produces renewable fuel, heat or energy and a nutrient rich by-product, digestate, which can be used as a fertiliser.

The Government regularly engages with the Welsh Government, at both ministerial and official level, on a range of issues including biogas.

5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the feasibility of using compressed natural gas as a fuel source for agricultural vehicles.

Through the Advanced Propulsion Centre programme, BEIS is providing CNH Industrial project funding to develop an advanced engine, fuelling system and composite gas storage tanks to enable tractors to run on compressed natural gas. This technology is designed to utilise bio-methane production on farms, harnessing the bio-digestion of farm waste. This project addresses a key supply chain gap for high performance gas storage and aims to help revolutionise the farming industry and the supply of farm machinery including utility vehicles.

5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 2 March 2020 to Question 20600, what recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on supporting the generation of green hydrogen in Wales.

Ministers and officials are in regular contact with DIT counterparts and Welsh Government officials on this matter.

We are exploring hydrogen’s potential to deliver against our clean growth goals – meeting our decarbonisation needs and capturing the commercial opportunities of the global low carbon shift.

There is tremendous opportunity for the UK to build both internal capacity and export potential for low carbon hydrogen. The future market for all?hydrogen?technologies could yield around £5.3bn of GVA and create nearly 50,000 jobs to meet demand in export and domestic markets[1].

With South Wales housing being one of the UK’s key industrial clusters, we will continue to work closely with the Welsh Government and local stakeholders on a range of decarbonisation options including low carbon hydrogen.

[1] Energy Innovation Needs Assessment, Sub-theme report – Hydrogen and Fuel Cells, October 2019 - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/energy-innovation-needs-assessments.

5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 2 March 2020 to Question 20600, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for International Trade on the export potential of UK green hydrogen technologies.

While I have not had any direct discussions on this, BEIS officials are in regular contact with DIT counterparts and Welsh Government officials on this matter.

We are exploring hydrogen’s potential to deliver against our clean growth goals – meeting our decarbonisation needs and capturing the commercial opportunities of the global low carbon shift.

There is tremendous opportunity for the UK to build both internal capacity and export potential for low carbon hydrogen. The future market for all?hydrogen?technologies could yield around £5.3bn of GVA and create nearly 50,000 jobs to meet demand in export and domestic markets[1].

With South Wales being one of the UK’s key industrial clusters, we will continue to work closely with the Welsh Government and local stakeholders on a range of decarbonisation options including low carbon hydrogen.

[1] Energy Innovation Needs Assessment, Sub-theme report – Hydrogen and Fuel Cells, October 2019 - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/energy-innovation-needs-assessments.

5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 2 March 2020 to Question 20598, what recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on developing Welsh manufacturing capacity for electric vehicle batteries.

Ministers and officials regularly speak with the Welsh Government on issues such as the transition to zero emission vehicles and the impact on the wider supply chain, including batteries, to support vehicle electrification.

4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of hydrogen-powered trains on railways.

The Government is committed to exploring the option of hydrogen as a strategic decarbonised energy carrier, alongside electricity and other decarbonised gases to support the UK’s net zero target. We are investing up to £121m in hydrogen innovation across the value chain and have announced a £100m Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund which will support deployment of low carbon hydrogen production facilities. Hydrogen could play a key role in decarbonising parts of the transport network that are currently hard to electrify, including on the rail network. The Government welcomes the development of viable hydrogen-powered rolling stock by Alstom working with rolling stock owners Eversholt and Porterbrook Leasing with Birmingham University, and recognises the opportunity to build a distinctive UK capability.

26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he last met with Welsh Government ministers on Welsh representation at COP26.

The UK Government is committed to working with the Welsh Government as well as with the Scottish Government and Northern Ireland Executive to deliver an ambitious and successful summit for the whole of the UK.

The Business Secretary is committed to working collaboratively with the Welsh Government on common portfolio areas including Energy and Climate Change. This collaborative engagement between the UK Government and the Welsh Government will support the successful delivery of COP26.

Officials from the UK and Welsh Governments are in regular dialogue about COP, and met again at senior level this week.

26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he last met with Welsh Government officials on the organisation of COP26.

The UK Government is committed to working with the Welsh Government as well as with the Scottish Government and Northern Ireland Executive to deliver an ambitious and successful summit for the whole of the UK.

The Business Secretary is committed to working collaboratively with the Welsh Government on common portfolio areas including Energy and Climate Change. UK Government officials are routinely engaging with officials in the Welsh Government on the organisation of COP26. This collaborative engagement between the UK Government and the Welsh Government will support the successful delivery of COP26.

Officials from the UK and Welsh Governments are in regular dialogue about COP, and met again at senior level this week.

25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to develop hydrogen-vehicle refuelling infrastructure.

The Government is committed to exploring the development of hydrogen as a strategic decarbonised energy carrier, which has potential to support the UK’s efforts to decarbonise transport and meet the 2050 Net Zero target. 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 and we are investing in innovation within the hydrogen supply chain from production to end use.

The Government’s £23 million Hydrogen for Transport programme aims to increase the uptake of fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEV) and grow the number of publicly accessible hydrogen refuelling stations. We are delivering nine new refuelling stations, upgrading five existing stations, and deploying hundreds of new hydrogen vehicles. Alongside this, the £2 million FCEV Fleet Support Scheme is supporting public and private sector fleets to become early adopters of hydrogen fuel-cell cars and vans.

25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to facilitate the development of domestic manufacturing capacity for electric vehicle batteries.

The Government has a long-standing programme of support to maintain the competitiveness of the UK automotive sector. Through the Automotive Sector Deal, we are working with the industry to develop world-leading battery technologies.

We have already invested £274 million in the Faraday Battery Challenge (FBC) through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. Faraday is a cutting-edge programme, helping UK businesses to lead the world in the design, development, and manufacture of batteries for electric vehicles. Under the FBC, we have invested £120 million in the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) which will open in 2020 and provide a state-of-the-art pilot facility to test new cell technology. UKBIC will play a key role in laying the groundwork to secure a battery Gigafactory in the UK.

In October 2019, the Government announced up to £1 billion of additional funding to develop UK supply chains for the large-scale production of, and research and development for, electric vehicles.

25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support the generation of green hydrogen.

We are committed to exploring the option of hydrogen as a strategic decarbonised energy carrier, alongside electricity and other decarbonised gases. This includes exploring the role of electrolytic hydrogen production.

In the UK we are investing £33 million in innovation for hydrogen production, including support to accelerate the development of electrolytic hydrogen generation through our Low Carbon Hydrogen Supply competition. One of the projects funded will develop larger capacity, lower cost electrolysers. Another is developing an innovative green hydrogen production solution, combining floating offshore wind farm with offshore electrolysis.

We also announced our £100m Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund which aims to deploy low carbon hydrogen production capacity to enable greater use of hydrogen as a decarbonisation option across the energy system.

13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions his Department has had with the Welsh Government on the organisation of COP 26.

The UK Government is committed to working with the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive to deliver an ambitious and successful summit for the whole of the UK.

The Business Secretary and Welsh Government ministers have instructed officials to work collaboratively across a number of common portfolio areas, including climate change. This is part of the ongoing engagement between the UK Government and the Welsh Government to support the successful delivery of COP26.

12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment she has made of the viability of kaolinite-rich clay mining in Wales.

The Department has not assessed kaolinite-rich clay deposits in Wales, though I would encourage my officials, alongside Welsh Government representatives, to meet with private sector investors who have commercially viable proposals for such activity. This is the case for any investment proposition in the UK, including Wales.

25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department made of the affordability of quoted excess costs for consumers who have requested a universal service connection in Dwyfor Merionnydd since January 2020.

The Department is aware that some BT quotations for connection under the Universal Service Obligation (USO) are significantly above the Reasonable Cost Threshold of £3,400 per premise. In September 2020, I wrote to Ofcom’s Chief Executive, Dame Melanie Dawes to outline my concerns with some of the quotes and how BT was aggregating demand from USO eligible premises.

In October 2020, Ofcom opened an investigation into BT’s compliance with its obligations as a Universal Service Provider. In January 2021, Ofcom issued a statement, stating that they had completed their initial information gathering, would be gathering additional evidence and expected to provide an update by the end of March.

Alongside the USO, the government is investing £5 billion to deliver gigabit-capable broadband to the hardest to reach 20% of premises in the UK. The government recognises that the UK has some very remote places - around 0.3% of the country or less than 100,000 premises - that may be too expensive to build a gigabit-capable broadband network to, even with substantial public subsidy. These premises are also likely to be significantly above the USO’s Reasonable Cost Threshold. On 19 March, the government launched a call for evidence to explore the barriers to improving the broadband of these premises and how innovative new technologies could help.

25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions his Department has had with the Welsh Government on the continuation of the top-up to the gigabit broadband voucher scheme in Wales for 2021-22.

Building Digital UK has regular discussions with all Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme Top-Up partners, including the Welsh Government, and during the development of the UK Gigabit Voucher these discussions have included options for topping up the new voucher.

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

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

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

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on cutting VAT on the repair and maintenance of listed buildings.

My officials are in contact with Her Majesty's Treasury regarding cutting VAT to repairs and maintenance to Listed Buildings. I understand that many in the heritage sector regard the current system as a negative incentive to demolish existing buildings entirely and start again. As with all tax matters, this is something which HMT keeps under regular review. My officials and I will continue to engage with the heritage sector to build a robust evidence base and develop targeted interventions that might benefit listed buildings in this space.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many broadband cabinets in the constituency of Dwyfor Meirionnydd are not enabled for fibre or their locations.

The release of information regarding cabinets is a matter for Openreach due to commercial sensitivity. However, Open Market Review data suggests that in Dwyfor Meirionnydd there are 38,285 properties which can either access superfast broadband speeds or are in plans to receive it within the next two years. These may be commercial or public sector plans. There are 4,439 properties which both cannot receive superfast broadband speeds and are not in any plans to receive it. Although not a devolved matter, this specific data is captured by Welsh Government and can be found at https://gov.wales/next-generation-access-broadband-2019.

For queries about coverage, please refer to Ofcom Connected Nations data. Ofcom published the Connected Nations 2020 data on 17 December, which includes a table of data aggregated to parliamentary constituency level - Dwyfor Meirionnydd: 82.9% of premises have at least Superfast, of which 16.4% have full fibre. Constituency data is available from the HoC library, that does some constituency level aggregations: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/constituency-data-broadband-coverage-and-speeds/

We would also draw your attention to this web site. Whilst the “official data” is the Ofcom Connected Nations report, the ThinkBroadband data tends to be slightly more up to date and is easier to search at National or Constituency level.https://labs.thinkbroadband.com/local/W07000061

It also has a useful map facility so you can see geographical information about speeds and not-spots in your area. We have centered this map over your constituency and turned on the layers for BT Openreach connectivity https://labs.thinkbroadband.com/local/broadband-map#10/52.8152/-3.9970/openreach/adsl/geafttp/virgin/gfast/

9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether IPSO has met the 38 recommendations set out in the Leveson Inquiry report 2012.

The media landscape has changed significantly since the Leveson Inquiry, and with it, the system of press self-regulation. We now have a stronger system through The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO).

The government is committed to independent self regulation of the press, and does not intervene in or oversee the work of IPSO.

In 2016 IPSO commissioned its own external review which found it had made some important achievements in demonstrating it was an independent and effective regulator, and that it was largely compliant with the recommendations of the Leveson Report.

9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of IPSO’s procedures for processing complaints from individuals affected by press abuse.

The media landscape has changed significantly since the Leveson Inquiry, and with it, the system of press self-regulation. We now have a stronger system through The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO).

The government is committed to independent self regulation of the press, and does not intervene in or oversee the work of IPSO.

In 2016 IPSO commissioned its own external review which found it had made some important achievements in demonstrating it was an independent and effective regulator, and that it was largely compliant with the recommendations of the Leveson Report.

22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions his Department has had with (a) the Welsh Government and (b) the Welsh Football Association on providing additional funding for the Welsh Football Association.

Although sport is a devolved matter, the Government continues to liaise closely with its counterparts in the Welsh Government.

As part of a promotional deal with the Football Association (FA), the National Lottery has provided a total of £10m in funding for the 66 clubs in the National Football League. This is a promotional deal led by the National Lottery and the Football Association. The National League is responsible for distributing funds and determining how and when the clubs receive this funding.

The National Lottery is now working with the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland FAs to explore similar initiatives.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what support package he plans to provide to (a) newspapers and (b) media outlets more widely in response to the covid-19 outbreak, and whether conditions will be attached to that funding.

Media outlets across the UK are facing existential pressures due to the impacts of Covid-19. The government remains in regular dialogue with stakeholders across the media sectors regarding ways in which this can be mitigated, in addition to the unprecedented package of nationwide support announced by the Chancellor.

In terms of newspapers in particular, the government has provided specific support to publishers during the crisis. The government has clarified that all journalists, including broadcast journalists, and other ancillary staff, are ‘key workers’ for the purposes of access to childcare and educational places. The government also issued guidance to local authorities on the importance of newspaper delivery, which has been critical to the continued dissemination of public interest news.

The government has also sought to maximise newspapers’ advertising opportunities by implementing a public information campaign to ensure the distribution of authoritative, up-to-date information about Covid-19, while also alleviating publishers’ financial pressures. The current partnership brings together over 600 titles across the UK, the vast majority of which are local papers. As with any media planning approach, titles are selected on their ability to engage with audiences at a national, regional and local level and to ensure value for money, reach and targeting efficacy.

For online media outlets, the government has taken steps to ensure the use of ‘keyword blocklisting’ technology is not inadvertently damaging any news publishers’ online advertising revenues for Covid-19 related stories. Additionally, the Chancellor brought forward the commencement of zero-rating of VAT on all e-newspapers in order to bring savings to readers and support digital publishing.

The department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is in regular dialogue with stakeholders about ensuring the support offered is as effective and fair as it can be. Ministers are engaging with broadcasters (both TV and radio) and news publishers on a regular basis to understand the impacts of Covid-19 on their day to day operations, and how the government can support them. The government will continue to consider all possible options in the interests of promoting and sustaining high-quality news journalism.

4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what support for Heritage Railways in the UK her Department and HM Treasury have agreed since 8 April 2020.

We recognise the extremely difficult circumstances which heritage and tourism businesses, including heritage railways, are currently facing across the country as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. To assist in mitigating this impact, the Chancellor has announced an extensive financial support package for business and workers in the current economic emergency. The Heritage Alliance, of which the Heritage Railway Association is a member, is represented at weekly Ministerial teleconferences with DCMS, in order to communicate members’ issues and concerns to Government to help us to seek solutions and mitigations.

Heritage railways may wish to apply for further support from the Heritage Emergency Fund, a £50million scheme launched by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to support the heritage sector through the Covid-19 pandemic. They may also want to approach Historic England, who have announced a £2million programme of grants for smaller, specialist organisations and projects.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of allowing employers in (a) commercial laundries and (b) other sectors to use 25% of their apprenticeship levy funds for non-apprenticeship training.

I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave on 10 November 2023 to Question 614.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
7th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to increase awareness in schools of (a) British Sign Language, (b) Welsh, (c) Ulster Scots, (d) Irish, (e) Shelta, (f) Cornish, (g) Polish, (h) Punjabi, (i) Urdu, (k) Arabic and (l) other languages used in the UK.

Education is a devolved matter, and the response will outline the information for England only. The government is committed to increasing the number of pupils studying languages at GCSE, including languages that are reflected in modern Britain. That is why the teaching of languages is in the national curriculum for pupils from age 7 to 14, and why GCSE languages were included as part of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) suite of subjects in 2010. There are eighteen GCSEs in modern languages that are recognised in the EBacc, including Arabic, Polish, Punjabi, and Urdu.

The department also remains committed to reforming the subject content for French, German and Spanish GCSEs in order to make them more well-rounded for both teachers and pupils, focusing on the foundational building blocks of language education, namely vocabulary, phonics and grammar. We will publish this new content shortly.

In addition, the department continues to work on developing a GCSE in British Sign Language and aim to consult publicly on draft subject content next year.

It is ultimately for schools to decide which languages they wish to teach, and the department does not specify which languages should be taught or how to teach them.

17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the recently published Annual Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals in Great Britain in 2022, what assessment she has made of the potential harms caused to cynomolgus monkeys by transporting them from Africa or Asia to Great Britain for use in scientific procedures.

The UK Government maintains robust regulations and guidelines to ensure the welfare of animals used in scientific procedures, including during transportation. Strict standards are in place, and thorough planning and risk assessments are conducted to mitigate potential risks. These assessments consider various factors, such as appropriate housing, environmental conditions, veterinary care, and the expertise of personnel involved. Protected animals in Great Britain that are used, or bred or supplied for use, in scientific procedures, are regulated by the Home Office under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.

When animals are transported, their transportation must comply fully with legal requirements aimed at protecting their welfare, including the provision of sufficient space, feed and water. All transporters are required to ensure that, when transporting animals, they do so in a way that avoids causing pain, suffering or distress. Furthermore, it is worth noting that the scientific community and regulatory bodies continually review and refine transportation practices to enhance the welfare of animals used in research. This includes exploring alternatives to minimize the need for transportation, such as collaborations with local research facilities and the sharing of resources and data across institutions.

The Government is committed to upholding the highest standards of animal welfare throughout the scientific research process.

19th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if her Department will make an assessment of the potential impact of the timing of the report stage of the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill on the import of dogs with cropped ears.

The Government has not made an assessment of this impact. Parliamentary business will be announced in the usual way.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the oral contribution by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs of 9 January, Official Report column 139WH, what discussions she has had with the devolved administrations on the potential merits of banning the use of snares.

A date is being arranged for a meeting with Lesley Griffiths, MS for Rural Affairs in the Welsh Government after the Easter recess. I will be interested to discuss the Welsh Government’s plans to ban the use of snares in Wales. I also intend to engage with my counterpart in the Scottish Government, particularly with regard to the effectiveness of its existing legislation covering snares and the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission’s recent position paper on the trapping of terrestrial wild mammals using snares. In the meantime, my officials are in regular contact with colleagues in the devolved administrations as this government continues to consider how snares are regulated as part of our continued drive to maintain the highest animal welfare standards in the world.

1st Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential impact of the timing of the legislative stages for the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals Bill) on levels of puppy smuggling.

The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill was re-introduced to the House of Commons in May and will progress to Report stage as soon as Parliamentary time allows. It includes measures which tackle puppy smuggling.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Bread and Flour Regulations 1998, whether he has made a recent assessment of the potential merits of requiring that the definition of bread only includes produce which has been made without the use of food additives.

Defra, alongside the Department of Health and Social Care, the Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland and Wales, Food Standards Scotland and the Scottish and Welsh Governments have been conducting jointly a review of The Bread and Flour Regulations 1998 and The Bread and Flour (Northern Ireland) Regulations 1998 to ensure the regulations are fit for purpose and support UK industry while protecting consumers.

Existing food labelling rules and other requirements on the control of additives in food production ensure that food is produced safely and labelled effectively to enable consumers to make informed choices on the food they buy and consume. While we are always looking for ways to improve our regulations, legislative intervention is just one option and should be restricted to areas where there is clear market failure.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of how businesses and manufacturers can reduce the microplastics in (a) personal care products and (b) clothes.

Microbeads have been banned in rinse-off personal care and cleaning products since 2018. We encourage businesses not to add them into any products that are out of scope of the ban.

The Government’s Resources & Waste Strategy for England (2018) identified textiles as one of five priority sectors for consideration of an Extended Producer Responsibility scheme and product standards. Our draft Waste Prevention Programme for England, consulted on in March 2021, affirms this commitment and sets out our approach to develop policy options.

We are working closely with industry via Textiles 2030, an industry-led voluntary agreement (managed by WRAP), which is underpinned by ambitious science-based targets, including halving the carbon footprint of new products by 50% by 2030 and reducing the water footprint by 30% by 2030. The Microfibre Consortium is a signatory to the initiative and WRAP is working with the Consortium on the Textiles 2030 Roadmap.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential merits of banning the export licensing of pesticides which are prohibited from domestic use by the Health and Safety Executive for the purposes of protecting (a) human health and (b) the environment.

We take our trade and international obligations for human health and the environment seriously and continue to monitor action in other countries and learn from their experiences.

In Great Britain, the export and import of certain hazardous chemicals is regulated under the GB Prior Informed Consent (PIC) regulatory regime. Companies intending to export any substances present on the PIC list from GB must notify the importing country via the exporter's Designated National Authority. For GB, the Designated National Authority is the Health and Safety Executive. The exchange of information that PIC provides allows the importing countries to make informed decisions on the import of those chemicals and on how to handle and use them safely. This process is kept under review.

We believe it is essential that the use of active substances that are known to be hazardous to human health or the environment should be subject to scientific risk assessment and regulatory protections.

We are progressing projects assessing the impacts of pesticides on human health and the environment in developing countries. We will continue to support developing countries to use pest management techniques which are most beneficial for them based on evidence and the expressed desires of the countries


Additionally, the UK is committed to working internationally including through the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management and United Nations Environment Assembly to support other nations to manage pesticides safely. We also believe in evidence-based international policymaking through the use of scientific committees, such as the Chemical Review Committee, and strengthening of the international 'science-policy interface' for chemicals and pesticides to support global decision-making.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to his Department's consultation on Commercial and Non-Commercial Movements of Pets into Great Britain opened in August 2021, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on smuggling cats and kittens of the proposed (a) protections and (b) exclusions.

The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill was introduced in Parliament on 8 June and is progressing through Parliament. The Bill includes powers to introduce new restrictions on pet travel and on the commercial import of pets on welfare grounds, via secondary legislation.

In August 2021, the Government launched an 8-week consultation on our proposed restrictions to the commercial and non-commercial movement of pets into Great Britain. The consultation proposed to maintain the existing requirements for cats. This is because there is currently limited evidence that there is a significant illegal trade in cats or significant numbers of low welfare movements. The number of non-compliant cats seized at the border is much lower than for dogs, for example, in 2020 we seized and detained 17 kittens (under 15 weeks) compared to 543 puppies.

The consultation sought views on whether maintaining the existing requirements in relation to cats was the right approach. We are currently analysing the responses to the consultation and will publish a summary in due course. This will allow us to take on board the views of the public and interested groups in order to shape our future policy.

We will continue to work closely with stakeholders prior to the introduction of the legislation, to ensure that our final measures are well considered and led by the latest evidence.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps he has taken to improve the (a) accuracy and (b) transparency of data collected by the UK Government on the importation of pets.

The information that we provide is a true reflection of the information that we have access to.

The data regarding the Pet Travel Scheme covers pets entering Great Britain and is based on information provided by checkers employed by approved carriers of pet animals.

Every month carriers complete and submit spreadsheets detailing their throughput broken down by species, document type, non-compliance data and whether or not it is an assistance animal. This is the data recorded on the Animal and Plant Health Agency’s (APHA) system. Where necessary APHA ensures that carriers provide this information in a timely manner.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of shortages of water treatment chemicals and sewage treatment on water classification in areas used for the production of bivalve molluscs.

England has an adequate supply of water chemicals, there is no shortage.

The situation with hauliers may lead to a requirement for a temporary reduction in chemical dosing at some wastewater treatment sites. The Regulatory Position Statement (RPS) was issued by the Environment Agency (EA) to facilitate a reduction in dosing requirements as a last resort. The RPS does not allow changes to discharges to shellfish waters and therefore will not impact the classification of shellfish harvesting areas used for the production of Bivalve Molluscs.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the feasibility of reducing vessel monitoring system polling frequency of all non-UK registered fishing vessels 12 metres and above to 10-minute intervals.

As an independent coastal state, the UK has full responsibility over how it ensures compliance in its fisheries. It is for each Devolved Administration to decide how best to control its waters. Defra and the Marine Management Organisation continue to work closely with the Devolved Administrations to ensure a coordinated approach to fisheries control and enforcement.

It is a legal requirement for all licensed fishing vessels over 12m in length operating within UK waters to be fitted with a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) device which reports their position at least once every two hours. In line with the conditions set out in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the UK will notify the EU Commission of any new VMS requirements that apply to EU vessels in UK waters, should any be brought forward. It will be the responsibility of those vessels to ensure they have a functioning VMS device on board that meets the requirements.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has conducted an impact assessment of the potential effect of introducing quotas on present non-quota species in Welsh waters in the period to 2024.

Assessment of the impacts of any potential fisheries management measures in Welsh waters is the responsibility of the Welsh Government, as UK fisheries management is devolved.

UK Fisheries Administrations are working closely together on the development of future plans, including for non-quota fisheries, to ensure we secure sustainability of our stocks, the environment and a thriving industry.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the introduction of quotas on present non-quota fish species.

Discussions with UK Fisheries Administrations, including the Welsh Government, on non-quota fisheries management have focused on implementing the provisions of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement in relation to applying a tonnage limit to fishing of non-quota species in UK and EU waters. Longer term management of non-quota species will be reflected in Fisheries Management Plans and in discussions on shared stocks with the EU.

Whilst it is for the Welsh Government to develop and implement measures in Welsh waters, all UK Fisheries Administrations are part of a Fisheries Management Plan Working Group to collaborate on the development of future plans.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish an update on the progress of the work of the Seafood Exports Working Group.

In response to difficulties with exporting to the EU, Defra established the Seafood Exports Working Group in January to monitor live, immediate operational issues across the UK and work with industry on responses to minimise disruption to trade flows of seafood. The last group meeting was held on 25 March, when it was paused to allow officials to focus on developing longer-term system improvements with industry, which the group had identified as a priority. There are no current plans to publish an update on the group’s work.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when the Seafood Exports Working Group last met.

In response to difficulties with exporting to the EU, Defra established the Seafood Exports Working Group in January to monitor live, immediate operational issues across the UK and work with industry on responses to minimise disruption to trade flows of seafood. The last group meeting was held on 25 March, when it was paused to allow officials to focus on developing longer-term system improvements with industry, which the group had identified as a priority. There are no current plans to publish an update on the group’s work.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress her Department has made on updating the Environment Bill’s explanatory notes to clarify that the legislation contains primary powers which will allow the Secretary of State to establish a definition of environmental standards for nappies.

The Environment Bill’s explanatory notes have been updated with relevant examples to clarify that the legislation will enable us to work towards reducing the environmental impact of nappies. The notes set out that the resource efficiency powers in the Bill would enable us to make the provision of information about the environmental impact of nappies mandatory, which would be subject to conditions on assessing impact and consultation.

The explanatory notes will be published when the Bill is introduced into the Lords in the next Parliamentary session.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has had discussions (a) Cabinet colleagues and (b) stakeholder on the French Government’s proposals to create a new offence of ecocide.

We have had no discussions on the proposals to create a new offence of ecocide.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with organisations representing assistance dog owners on (a) the implications of losing part one listed status under the Pet Passport Scheme and (b) further negotiations to obtain part one listed status under the Pet Passport Scheme in the future.

We are proactively engaging with the assistance dog community and relevant stakeholders on the impacts on dog movements from Great Britain to the EU and to Northern Ireland. We are in a continuing dialogue with Guide Dogs UK and meet with them on a regular basis. We will continue to work closely with assistance dog organisations to share the latest advice and guidance (in accessible formats) with their members on pet travel requirements.

After the end of the transition period the UK became a third country in relation to the EU Pet Travel Scheme. In February 2020 we submitted an application to allow the UK to become a Part 1 listed third country, this status would mean similar animal health and documentary requirements to pet movements between Member States. On 3 December 2020 the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed of the EU voted in favour of giving the United Kingdom Part 2 listed status for the purposes of non-commercial pet travel after the Transition Period. This listed status has been formally adopted by the EU.

We will continue to press the EU Commission in relation to securing Part 1 listed status, recognising that achieving this would alleviate some of the new requirements for assistance dog users travelling to the EU and to Northern Ireland. We are clear that we meet all the animal health requirements for this and we have one of the most rigorous pet checking regimes in Europe to protect our biosecurity.

Regarding pet travel between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Government is working with the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) on a long term solution which respects the rights of assistance dog users and pet owners to travel with the minimum of friction. Guidance on pet travel to Northern Ireland is available on the DAERA’s NIDirect website.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to support assistance dog owners travelling to (a) the EU and (b) Northern Ireland since the UK ended part one listed status under the Pet Passport Scheme.

We are proactively engaging with the assistance dog community and relevant stakeholders on the impacts on dog movements from Great Britain to the EU and to Northern Ireland. We are in a continuing dialogue with Guide Dogs UK and meet with them on a regular basis. We will continue to work closely with assistance dog organisations to share the latest advice and guidance (in accessible formats) with their members on pet travel requirements.

After the end of the transition period the UK became a third country in relation to the EU Pet Travel Scheme. In February 2020 we submitted an application to allow the UK to become a Part 1 listed third country, this status would mean similar animal health and documentary requirements to pet movements between Member States. On 3 December 2020 the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed of the EU voted in favour of giving the United Kingdom Part 2 listed status for the purposes of non-commercial pet travel after the Transition Period. This listed status has been formally adopted by the EU.

We will continue to press the EU Commission in relation to securing Part 1 listed status, recognising that achieving this would alleviate some of the new requirements for assistance dog users travelling to the EU and to Northern Ireland. We are clear that we meet all the animal health requirements for this and we have one of the most rigorous pet checking regimes in Europe to protect our biosecurity.

Regarding pet travel between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Government is working with the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) on a long term solution which respects the rights of assistance dog users and pet owners to travel with the minimum of friction. Guidance on pet travel to Northern Ireland is available on the DAERA’s NIDirect website.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent estimates she has made of how much and what proportion of soy imported into the UK has been produced on illegally deforested land for the most recent period in which that information is available.

In 2019, the UK imported soya and soybean products equivalent to 3.5 million tonnes of soybeans. When combined with the volume of embedded soya imported into the UK, for example in animals fed on soya, the total consumption is equivalent to the import of around 4.2 million tonnes of soybean.

In 2018, the Government convened the UK Roundtable on Sustainable Soya for industry actors to work together towards the common goal of legal and sustainable soya. Since the Roundtable’s inception, the UK has doubled the proportion of soya imports which are certified as sustainable in a two-year period, from 15% in 2017 to 32% (1.12 million tonnes) in 2019. If we also include soya sourced from areas that are considered at low risk of tropical deforestation, such as North America, and soya covered by the Amazon Soy Moratorium contract, we calculate that 62% of soya (2.17 million tonnes) consumed in the UK is either covered by a deforestation and conversion free standard or comes from an area where there is a low risk of deforestation linked to production.

The Government recognises that voluntary commitments by businesses have not been sufficient to tackle deforestation and is committed to ensuring there is no place for illegally produced commodities on our supermarket shelves. That is why we have introduced a world-leading due diligence law through the Environment Bill. The law will prohibit larger businesses from using commodities produced on land occupied or used illegally and make it mandatory for businesses to conduct due diligence on their supply chains. Once operational, it will help to eradicate illegal deforestation from our supply chains.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme underspends are in the 2021-22 financial year as used to calculate the funding for agricultural support and rural development announced on 25 November 2020 in (a) Wales, (b) Scotland, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) England.

In our 2019 manifesto we promised to maintain the current annual budget to farmers for the lifetime of this parliament. At the recently concluded Spending Review the UK Government met this commitment by providing new exchequer funding on top of the remaining EU funding in each nation to ensure that farmers receive the same total funding next year as they received in 2019 when the manifesto commitment was made.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
28th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with representatives from supermarkets on ensuring that appropriate adjustments have been made to enable as many disabled people as possible to shop safely during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has been working closely with supermarkets to ensure that disabled people have access to the food and essential goods that they need.

We have published guidance online that explains what steps people can take if they are unable to access food. This guidance has been shared with local authorities, retailers and charities to help them respond to enquiries from those seeking help. The guidance can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-accessing-food-and-essential-supplies.

Supermarkets have been working at pace to expand the total number of delivery and click and collect slots. We have secured a limited number of supermarket delivery slots for the dedicated use of vulnerable people who are having difficulties in securing access to food and who have no other options available to them. We are working closely with local authorities and charities to help make sure these delivery slots are made available to those who need them most. We have built a bespoke digital service to enable local authorities and a number of charities to directly refer individuals for access to the prioritised slots.

Most supermarkets also offer protected in-store shopping hours to the disabled and their carers.

All major supermarkets have introduced cashless volunteer shopping cards that can be purchased online and used by volunteers to purchase foods on behalf of those self-isolating or in vulnerable groups.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Agriculture Bill, what criteria his Department will use to determine a public good that is eligible for financial assistance; and whether stakeholders will be able to propose schemes to be considered as a public good.

The Agriculture Bill gives the Secretary of State powers to provide financial assistance for particular listed purposes, including: managing land or water to protect or improve the environment; protecting or improving the health and welfare of livestock; supporting public access to and enjoyment of the countryside, farmland or woodland; protecting or improving the health of plants; and protecting or improving the quality of soil. Funding such purposes will enable the delivery of a number of Defra’s future policies, including the Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme, which will be the cornerstone of our future agricultural policy.

Founded on the principle of “public money for public goods”, ELM is intended to provide a powerful vehicle for achieving the goals of the 25 Year Environment Plan and commitment to net zero emissions. Land managers will be paid for delivering the following public goods set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan:

  • clean air
  • clean and plentiful water
  • thriving plants and wildlife
  • protection from and mitigation of environmental hazards
  • beauty, heritage and engagement with the environment
  • mitigation of and adaptation to climate change

We are working closely with a range of environmental and agricultural stakeholders to collaboratively design the new scheme so that it is fit for purpose. We are currently running a programme of Tests and Trials, the priorities for which are the building blocks we will need for the National Pilot. The National Pilot will provide a critical opportunity to test and refine the scheme design prior to full rollout of the ELM scheme across England.

We are also working closely with stakeholders to inform the design of other future financial assistance schemes which we intend to introduce using the financial assistance powers during the seven-year agricultural transition period from 2021 to 2028.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many properties in (a) Fairbourne, Gwynedd, (b) Dwyfor Meirionnydd and (c) Wales have access to affordable flood insurance through the Flood Re scheme.

Flood Re (FR) covers the UK, including Wales. It is available through more than 85 insurance brands representing 94% of the home insurance market. FR does not deal directly with homeowners, but instead allows insurance companies to choose whether to pass the flood risk element over to them for a set, below market-cost, premium.

As of 30 September 2019, there were 12,567 policies in Wales backed by FR. In Dwyfor Meirionnydd, there were 388 policies. The lowest granularity FR can provide figures for is at a constituency level so FR cannot provide a number for Fairbourne, Gwynedd.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking to ensure that Official Development Assistance reaches the most vulnerable people during the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK has so far pledged up to £764 million of UK aid and we are at the forefront of the global response. This includes £296 million to support resilience in vulnerable countries, as well as support to UK charities and international organisations to help reduce mass infections in developing countries.

We are leading the way by pushing for coordinated international action to open fiscal space in vulnerable countries, allowing them to increase the resources available to respond to the crisis. We are providing support through our Rapid Response Facility in numerous Fragile and Conflict Affected States to reduce the spread of the pandemic, protect vulnerable communities, provide livelihoods support, assist those with disabilities, and address gender-based violence.

It is absolutely in Britain’s interest to use ODA to make the world a healthier, safer and more prosperous place. We will continue to be guided by our responsibilities under the International Development Act, including a commitment to poverty reduction.

26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions has she had with her Irish counterpart on the operation of new trade arrangements for chemical products to the Republic of Ireland.

The Secretary of State has not recently discussed new trading arrangements for chemical products with her counterpart from the Republic of Ireland, as the United Kingdom-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement and the United Kingdom’s exit from the Transition Period is a matter led by the Cabinet Office. However, HM Government recognises the importance of the chemicals industry and is working to mitigate issues with regulatory compliance, such as phasing-in compliance with British Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) obligations.

As the Trade and Cooperation Agreement is the first trade deal that the EU has ever reached based on zero tariffs and zero quotas, it is fantastic news for businesses in the chemical sector, who exported £13 billion worth of goods to the EU in 2019. The Department for International Trade is clear that the chemicals sector has a key role to play in helping the United Kingdom achieve her net zero goal, and is exploring ways to support businesses.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of banning imports to the UK of soy from illegally deforested land.

In November, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) tabled a new ‘due diligence’ requirement under the Environment Bill to tackle illegal deforestation.

This would require certain businesses to only source legally produced commodities where there is “forest risk” (those commodities that can lead to deforestation), conduct due diligence on their supply chains and report on it annually.

Whether specific commodities, including soya, are in scope will be determined through secondary legislation, on which DEFRA will consult further.

9th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of the construction of the HS2 station at Old Oak Common on the mainline services from south Wales to London terminals.

Construction of the Old Oak Common conventional station will involve a number of partial and complete closures of the Great Western Main Line during the period up to 2030 which will impact passenger services and freight operations. My department is working with Network Rail, HS2 Ltd and the train operating companies to minimise the impacts of disruption and ensure the continued operation of rail services between south Wales and London.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
16th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of transferring further traffic commissioner functions relating to licence applications to the Traffic Commissioner for Wales in the context of enabling access to forms relating to licence applications in Welsh and in English.

The operator licensing system is a GB function responsible for the licensing and regulation of large commercial vehicles. Traffic commissioners are appointed by the Secretary of State for Transport and are deployed by the Senior Traffic Commissioner to eight traffic areas, one of which is Wales. There is a full time Traffic Commissioner for Wales, partly funded by the Welsh Government to carry out specific work for the benefit of Wales.

As the Traffic Commissioner for Wales is already responsible for the licensing and regulation of PSV and goods vehicle operators in Wales, there are no current proposals to transfer any further functions. The recent MoJ review of the traffic commissioner functions confirmed existing arrangements, although the need to review existing fees was acknowledged.

The traffic commissioners place a great deal of importance for their responsibility in ensuring the compliance with the relevant Welsh language legislation and in promoting the use of the Welsh language. An operator based in Wales is able to choose to correspond in the Welsh language. In 2016, the DVSA launched a new online business system for operators to apply and manage their licences online. Specific development work was carried out to ensure that this service was available both in Welsh and English.

Where manual forms are still required, these are available in the Welsh language, as are the majority of guidance forms produced by the Office of the Traffic Commissioner. Further work is being undertaken to update further guidance and in making them more easily accessible.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
24th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much and what proportion of his Department's expenditure on Network Rail operations was on (a) operating costs, (b) traction electricity, industry costs and rates, (c) renewals, (d) enhancements and (e) all other expenditure in (i) England and (ii) Wales in each of the last 13 years.

The requested information can be found in the attached Excel document. Note for context that NR spend on the Wales and Borders route is between 4% and 5% of the GB total so far in CP6, whilst Network Rail’s Wales and Borders route makes up circa 4% of the entire GB rail network in terms of train miles in CP6.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the average cost is of the medical assessment that is required to obtain an (a) ENG1 and (b) ML5 certificate in each (i) nation and (ii) region.

The ENG1 fee for medicals conducted in the United Kingdom is set by the Merchant Shipping (Fees) Regulations 2018 at £115. Overseas approved doctors charge a range of prices reflecting the geographical locations of the doctor.

The ML5 fee is not set and evidence suggests this fee can range from £65 to £250. There is no evidence that there are significant differences between nations and regions.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
19th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the average train journey time from (a) Glasgow to London and (b) Bangor to London (i) is and (ii) will be following the completion of HS2.

HS2 services will provide needed additional capacity on the West Coast Mainline with increased reliability and significantly faster journey times.

Journey times between Glasgow and London will fall from the current 4 hours 30 minutes to an estimated 3 hours 48 minutes with the completion of HS2. Bangor to London is currently 3 hours 20 minutes. Faster journeys could be available when HS2 services begin via Crewe if passengers were willing to change trains. For example, the current journey time from Bangor to Crewe is 1 hour 33 minutes, with Crewe to London an estimated 55 minutes when HS2 is operational. The journey times will be dependent on the final timetable when HS2 services become operational.

No decisions have been made on the timetable that will operate when HS2 services begin. These decisions will be made nearer the start of services and will be subject to public consultation.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
5th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the requirement for seafarers to have either ENG1 or ML5 medical certificates in order to continue working at sea after November 2023, what the cost implications will be for seafarers who are denied an ML5 medical certificate and appeal the decision.

There is no cost to the seafarer to exercise their right to appeal against failure or restriction for an ENG1 certificate other than the cost of travel to the appointment with the referee if the review takes place face to face. There is no cost to the seafarer for referral for an ML5 certificate. The costs of appeal or referral are borne by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
5th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential impact on the number of seafarers working in the UK of the requirement for seafarers to have either ENG1 or ML5 medical certificates in order to continue working at sea after November 2023; what recent discussions he has had with organisations representing seafarers on the requirement for seafarers to have either ENG1 or ML5 medical certificates; what steps he is taking to support seafarers who will be required to obtain either ENG1 or ML5 medical certificates; and what steps he is taking to raise awareness among seafarers.

The main intended outcome, given that the risk level of commercial fishing in the UK is estimated to be 100 times greater than the general workforce, is to ensure that those in the industry are not likely, because of a medical condition, to put themselves in danger, or put others in danger in coming to rescue them.

The requirement for a medical certificate brings fishing into line with all other maritime sectors, and indeed other transport sectors, and all seafarers other than fishers have been required to hold a medical certificate for many years.

The Department for Transport is particularly mindful of those already working in the sector, and this is why we have put Grandfather Rights in place. No-one in the industry has yet been refused a ML5 medical fitness certificate by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s (MCA) medical assessors.

The MCA has extensively engaged with industry on this over many years, including through a public consultation. The MCA has written to those in the sector with information and published guidance on www.gov.uk, including a Q&A addressing the most common concerns. The MCA has also been working with the Fishermen’s Mission to help deliver the message on quaysides, as well as through MCA surveyors.

Any fisher concerned or uncertain about how to obtain a medical certificate can contact the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s Medical Administration Team who can advise on the process to follow.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
28th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential economic benefits of the Northern Powerhouse Rail for Wales.

The Government published the Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) for the North and Midlands in November 2021 of which Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) forms one component. As NPR is a programme designed to improve connectivity in the North of England, specific economic benefits accruing to Wales from the scheme have not been assessed.

The IRP will improve onward connectivity to the South West and Wales via a new high-speed line from Birmingham to Manchester. Much of North Wales will also be brought within two and a quarter hours of London, via interchange with HS2 at Crewe. In addition, the Midlands Rail Hub business case focuses on improving links to Hereford, Worcester, Coventry and regional links to South Wales and Bristol.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
12th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending the length of time for which Ukrainian refugees may drive a Ukrainian-registered vehicle without (a) registering and (b) taxing the vehicle with the DVLA.

Foreign registered vehicles brought temporarily into the UK are exempt from UK registration and licensing requirements for up to six months in any 12-month period. After this period and to comply with road safety legislation, any foreign vehicle must be registered with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. The Government recognises the unique circumstances that many Ukrainians have encountered when fleeing their home country and in response His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs is reviewing import duty relief applications. I have assigned dedicated resource across my Department to support those that need to register their vehicle.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of requiring diesel cars to undergo a particulate filter efficiency test as occurs in The Netherlands.

Some initial research has been undertaken by the Department relating to availability of equipment for checks of functioning diesel particulate filters. Where emissions control equipment fitted by a vehicle manufacturer is missing, obviously modified, or defective, the vehicle will not pass its annual MOT test. The Department for Transport keeps the requirements of the MOT test under review and we note with interest the developments that have taken place in parts of Europe.

8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department (a) is offering and (b) plans to offer financial support to driving instructors following changes to the BE driving licence.

The changes to BE licensing rules are amongst 32 different actions the Government is taking to increase the number of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers and the number of tests available.

All car drivers wishing to tow a trailer or caravan for leisure or business are still encouraged to undertake voluntary training through an accreditation scheme the trailer industry and training providers are developing with support from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency. This will include training for those who tow for leisure and for business requirements.

Responses from the consultation indicated that many drivers who are required to tow as part of the work they do, will continue to take training, and that employers, as part of their corporate responsibility, insurance requirements and health and safety compliance, will also require their employees to undertake appropriate training. As such there will continue to be a market for trailer towing training.

Businesses that have been affected by the BE changes are advised to seek further advice and support from the Business Support Line at www.gov.uk/business-support-helpline.

24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the development of electric vehicle smart charging regulations.

Officials from the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) have worked closely with counterparts in Welsh Government throughout the development of The Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations 2021. I wrote to all Devolved Administrations, including the Welsh Government ahead of announcing our commitment to legislate. We will continue to work with the Welsh Government as we develop further smart charging policy in the future.

24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on increasing the roll-out of rapid charging points for electric vehicles in Wales.

Government works closely with the devolved administrations on supporting the transition to zero emission vehicles across the whole of the UK. Regular discussions about rapid chargepoints as well as other measures to support electric vehicles are held on an ongoing basis with the Welsh Government. Officials have been working together to align the upcoming electric vehicle infrastructure strategy from UK government with the approach set out in the Welsh government’s electric vehicle charging strategy for Wales.

19th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his Department’s latest assessment is of the economic benefit to Wales of the proposed HS2 route detailed in the Integrated Rail Plan.

By improving regional connectivity, the Integrated Rail Plan will unify labour markets, so that people can access a much wider range of jobs; bring businesses closer together; and improve access to key international gateways and markets so they become even more attractive locations for business investment. Crewe Northern Connection would improve connections from North Wales to the HS2 network, potentially bringing many passengers within 2 hours 15 minutes of London. Work to progress options on completing the Midlands Rail Hub could give passengers from South Wales easy access to the HS2 network at Birmingham Curzon Street.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the availability of Welsh language learning materials for DVSA theory tests.

The Highway Code is available in Welsh as a book. The Department for Transport is currently working on proposals to change the Code. When the proposed substantive changes come into force in 2022, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) plans to publish them in Welsh simultaneously in print. When the new edition is published, the DVSA wants to publish the Welsh translation online also.

Books, apps and other resources to study for theory tests are available from many commercial sources, including ones endorsed by the DVSA, published by The Stationery Office Ltd (TSO). The DVSA is unaware of any publishers or developers that offer such resources in the Welsh language; this is possibly because there is not a market for it of a commercial scale.

3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the development of electric vehicle smart charging regulations.

Officials from the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) have worked closely with counterparts in Welsh Government throughout the development of The Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations 2021. The Secretary of State for Transport wrote to all Devolved Administrations, including the Welsh Government ahead of announcing our commitment to legislate. We will continue to work with the Welsh Government as we develop further smart charging policy in the future.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment has he made of the adequacy of the (a) provision and (b) availability of driving tests in North Wales.

The Driver and Vehicle Services Agency (DVSA) offers driving tests in Welsh at all 24 practical driving test centres (DTC) in Wales, as well as those outside Wales whose catchment area includes part of Wales. Customers can choose to take a practical test in Welsh at the time of booking. The DVSA has 13 Welsh speaking driving examiners (DE) who will be deployed to meet requests to deliver Welsh language driving tests.

The DVSA has a number of measures in place to increase practical driving tests, including North Wales. These include offering a national recovery allowance and annual leave buy back to examiners, asking all those qualified to conduct tests, but who do not do so as part of their current day job, to return to conducting tests, and conducting out of hours testing (such as on public holidays and weekends). The DVSA has also started a recruitment campaign to increase the number of examiners and will shortly launch a specific recruitment campaign to increase the number of Welsh speaking examiners.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment has he made of the availability of Welsh language driving tests.

The Driver and Vehicle Services Agency (DVSA) offers driving tests in Welsh at all 24 practical driving test centres (DTC) in Wales, as well as those outside Wales whose catchment area includes part of Wales. Customers can choose to take a practical test in Welsh at the time of booking. The DVSA has 13 Welsh speaking driving examiners (DE) who will be deployed to meet requests to deliver Welsh language driving tests.

The DVSA has a number of measures in place to increase practical driving tests, including North Wales. These include offering a national recovery allowance and annual leave buy back to examiners, asking all those qualified to conduct tests, but who do not do so as part of their current day job, to return to conducting tests, and conducting out of hours testing (such as on public holidays and weekends). The DVSA has also started a recruitment campaign to increase the number of examiners and will shortly launch a specific recruitment campaign to increase the number of Welsh speaking examiners.

17th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what support his Department is offering to car and trailer test (categories B and E) providers affected by changes to driving test requirements for HGV drivers.

The Government takes road safety very seriously and the UK has some of the safest roads in the world. Therefore, the Government will explore options for an industry-led accreditation that could offer a standardised non-statutory training approach. We plan to meet with key stakeholders including trainers and insurers to discuss this idea.

25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many and what proportion of (a) jobs and (b) apprenticeships supported by High Speed Two are located in Wales.

Whilst HS2 presents a significant opportunity for businesses of all sizes across the UK, HS2 Ltd does not track the proportion of HS2 jobs and apprenticeships that are located in Wales. As HS2 Ltd’s supply chain will consist of up to 400,000 contract opportunities, a smaller number of critical contracts are monitored and so far, there are 27 suppliers based in Wales delivering work on critical contracts. It is likely there will be many more jobs and apprenticeships created in factories and businesses in Wales from the HS2 project within the supply chain.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what support his Department has provided to the maritime sector in Wales since March 2020.

Ministers and officials have engaged with their Welsh counterparts throughout the global pandemic on a wide range of issues. While financial support for the maritime sector in Wales is predominantly a matter for the Welsh Assembly, particularly where it relates to non-reserved harbours and ports, the financial support that the Chancellor has announced, including business support loans and the job retention scheme, is in place to support all parts of the economy including the maritime sector. My officials and I have worked closely throughout the pandemic with all parts of the maritime sector on the challenges they have faced and the support that they need.

The Department for Transport is also supporting Cabinet Office in the delivery of the £200 million Port Infrastructure Fund, helping ports to build and enhance vital import facilities. The Welsh ports of Fishguard, Holyhead, and Pembroke have been awarded grants totalling £2.8 million.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he had has with the Welsh Government on the adequacy of regulations on the use of e-scooters.

Department of Transport officials have met with their Welsh Government counterparts on several occasions to discuss e-scooter regulations, both prior to national trials commencing and subsequently. Meetings at a Ministerial level have not taken place.

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is planning to take to reduce ownership of sports utility vehicles in urban areas.

Decarbonising transport, including sports utility vehicles, is a key priority for the Government’s forthcoming Transport Decarbonisation Plan. It will set out how we are taking decisive action to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 and also investing £5 billion to increase the share of journeys taken by public transport, cycling and walking. A green paper on the UK’s post-EU CO2 emissions regulations on new vehicles and the first-ever National Bus Strategy will be published shortly.

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is planning to take to reduce dependency on private cars.

Accelerating the shift to public and active transport was one of the six strategic priorities identified for the development of the Transport Decarbonisation Plan. The Plan is due for publication in Spring 2021 and will set out a holistic and cross-modal approach to decarbonising the entire transport system.

Last year, the Prime Minister also launched ambitious plans to boost cycling and walking in England, so that half of all journeys in towns and cities are cycled or walked by 2030. This includes a £2 billion package of funding for active travel over the next 5 years. Additionally, in England, our long-term National Bus Strategy, to be published in the coming months, will provide the right, accessible services for people and communities in ways that meet their needs and provide positive encouragement to use the bus instead of the car.

Transport policy in Wales is a devolved matter and the responsibility of the Welsh Government.

18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of offering free driving theory tests to individuals who have been prevented from take a driving test due to covid-19 restrictions, and whose driving theory certificate is no longer valid.

A candidate whose theory test certificate expires will have received the service for which they paid the fee.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) pays its contractor, Pearson, per theory test delivered. If candidates were exempted from having to pay for a retake, then the DVSA and in turn the taxpayer would incur these costs. In addition, applications for a re-test would need to be validated and systems amended to remove the requirement for payment in these cases. The DVSA’s focus should rightly be on developing solutions to address the backlog of practical driving tests that has arisen as a result of the pandemic.

8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much capital spending on transport took place in 2019 by population share in (a) Wales, (b) Scotland, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) England.

HM Treasury publish an annual ‘Country and Regional Analysis’, which presents statistical estimates for the allocation of identifiable expenditure between the UK’s countries and regions. For 2018-2019 the analysis shows that transport spend per capita in 2018-2019 was £474 in England, £642 in Scotland, £395 in Wales and £354 in Northern Ireland.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many electric cars have been purchased in each NUTS region in 2020.

Data for vehicle purchases are not available. However, the following table shows the number of battery electric cars registered for the first time in the UK, by NUTS 1 region, during the first 6 months of 2020.

Data covering all of 2020 are scheduled to be published in April 2021.

NUTS 1 Code

NUTS 1 Region

New registrations of battery electric cars

UK

United Kingdom*

31,047

UKC

North East

427

UKD

North West

1,250

UKE

Yorkshire and The Humber

3,617

UKF

East Midlands

1,318

UKG

West Midlands

3,983

UKH

East of England

2,901

UKI

London

2,398

UKJ

South East

7,165

UKK

South West

5,041

UKL

Wales

946

UKM

Scotland

1,658

UKN

Northern Ireland

339

* The UK total includes 4 new registrations that could not be assigned a region due to an incomplete or invalid postcode.

15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Welsh Government has legislative competence to regulate on the (a) use and (b) ownership of jet skis.

Regulations on the use and ownership of jet skis and other personal water craft is a reserved matter for the UK Parliament. This is because they are within the scope of shipping, technical and safety standards of vessels that are not ships for the purposes of the Government of Wales Act 2006.

Although the vast majority of personal watercraft users operate their craft responsibly, the Department for Transport are currently considering how to ensure that any who willfully or neglectfully cause accidents or endanger the safety of others can be prosecuted.

10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will publish guidance for driving instructors on when the suspension of driving tests due to the covid-19 outbreak will be lifted.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is working closely with the Department for Transport to prepare for a safe return to driver testing. It will announce details of resumption in due course.

Before practical driving tests are reintroduced, the DVSA will inform the driver training industry, which will help candidates to prepare and reach the standard of driving needed to pass their test.

5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 2 March 2020 to Question 20599, what steps he is taking to promote the adoption of hydrogen in the haulage industry.

Hydrogen fuel cell technology could play a role in supporting the transition to zero emissions transport, as long as it is produced in a sustainable way. The £23 million Hydrogen for Transport programme will support the rollout of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure, which is expected to help reduce barriers to the deployment of hydrogen heavy duty vehicles.

The Government is also supporting the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’s Decarbonising Transport Networks+, which are removing barriers to low carbon transport. This includes a hydrogen trial and a decarbonisation of freight trial. Furthermore, the £20 million government Low Emission Freight and Logistics Trial, which concludes this year, includes lorries running on hydrogen dual-fuel.

4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the feasibility of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as a fuel source for light commercial vehicles.

In July 2018 the Department for Transport published the Transport Energy Model1. This was developed to provide an objective assessment of the relative environmental performance of the powertrain technologies and fuel choices for different vehicle types.

This assessment concluded compressed natural gas (CNG) vans are estimated to reduce CO2 tailpipe emissions by between 6-9% compared to diesel and between 22-25% for equivalent petrol models. Tailpipe emissions of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) are estimated to be approximately equivalent to petrol models.

1:https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/739462/transport-energy-model.pdf

4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the promotion of biofuel production in Wales.

The Department has been in regular consultation with officials from the Welsh Government in developing our biofuels policy, including on the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) scheme. The RTFO has been successful in promoting a market for sustainable renewable fuels across the United Kingdom since 2008.

6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions she has had with the Welsh Government on increasing the roll-out of rapid charging points for electric vehicles in Wales.

Government collaboration with the devolved administrations and local authorities is crucial to facilitating the transition to zero emission vehicles and addressing local air quality issues. Regular discussions about rapid chargepoints, as well as other measures to support electric vehicles, are held on an ongoing basis with the Welsh Government.

The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) had a Devolved Authority (DA) Roundtable in November 2019 with officials from all DAs, where we discussed progress and shared lessons, including around rapid chargepoint rollout.

OLEV are working with Welsh officials to organise a workshop in Wales, where local authorities can hear about and discuss best practice to supporting Zero Emission Vehicle uptake in their areas.

7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment he has made of accessibility of information on a deceased partner’s pension for unmarried couples where the couple had (a) remained together and (b) recently separated prior to the death of the partner.

There has been no recent assessment of the accessibility of information on a deceased partner’s State Pension for unmarried couples, where the couple had either remained together or recently separated prior to the death of the partner.

Private pensions rights to survivor benefits in private occupational pensions are many and varied, and will depend on factors such as scheme rules, and choices made by the scheme member.

General information on survivor benefits for unmarried couples is available from Money Helper and delivered by the Money and Pensions Service: https://www.moneyhelper.org.uk/en

Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment he has made of a bereaved unmarried couple's ability to access a deceased partner’s workplace pension following a separation on grounds of domestic abuse.

The Department has recently looked at cohabiting couples’ rights in relation to their deceased partner’s occupational pension more widely, in response to recommendation 5 of the Women and Equalities Select Committee’s Second Report into Cohabiting Couples.

Our assessment was published on pages 5 and 6 of The rights of cohabiting partners: Government response to the Committee’s Second Report (parliament.uk) on 1st November 2022. A Letter from the Minister for Pensions on the rights of cohabiting partners to the Chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee, published on 18th July this year outlined my Department’s most recent work in this area.

Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment he has made of the accessibility of the process for self-employed people on sick leave to claim New Style Employment and Support Allowance.

A self-employed person can make a new claim for new style ESA using the online application form or, where they are unable to claim online, by calling the Jobcentre Plus new claims helpline. In order to qualify, they will need to satisfy the basic entitlement and National Insurance contribution conditions.

Self-employed customers follow the standard customer journey. The online claim process gathers employment information and asks them to identify whether they are (or were) employed or self-employed. Customers identifying as self-employed are assessed by a decision maker to determine their eligibility to claim ESA based on the claim data. If the decision maker requires further information, they contact the customer to obtain relevant details. The claim is then processed as per the standard claim process and payment is issued if appropriate.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
22nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the overall financial support available for self-employed people (a) over and (b) under 25 who are on sick leave.

No assessment has been made.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of benefit levels for self-employed people on sick leave claiming New Style Employment and Support Allowance compared to employed individuals claiming Statutory Sick Pay.

Depending on their specific circumstances, self-employed people may be eligible for financial support through new style Employment and Support Allowance.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is both administered and paid entirely by employers at a rate of £109.40 per week. It provides a measure of earnings replacement to eligible employees who are sick and incapable of work, and is payable from the fourth qualifying day of sickness absence.

SSP is just one part of our wider Government offer to support people in times of need. Where an individual’s income is reduced, and they have a health condition or disability which restricts the amount of work they can do, or prevents them from working altogether and they require further financial support, they may be able to claim Universal Credit or new style Employment and Support Allowance, where they meet the entitlement criteria. The level of entitlement would be determined by the individual’s circumstances.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
31st Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment he has made of the equitability between married and unmarried bereaved couples' ability to access their deceased partner's pension.

In defined benefit occupational pension schemes, there are no statutory requirements for pension schemes to provide any survivor benefits unless the scheme was contracted out of the additional State Pension. Surviving partners of members do not automatically receive benefits when the member dies. These survivor benefits are a matter for the scheme rules and the sponsoring employer, subject to HMRC tax restrictions. Some schemes may choose to provide survivor benefits for those who are not in a legal partnership, but they are not required to. Where a scheme was contracted out, the pension must include a minimum level of benefits for certain widows, widowers and surviving civil partners, reflecting the provisions in the additional State Pension.

The new State Pension, applicable to those who reach State Pension age from 6 April 2016, is based on an individual’s own National Insurance contributions only, although there are transitional rules that mean an individual can inherit State Pension in some circumstances, where there was a legal marriage or civil partnership before 6 April 2016.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
21st Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of the devolution of welfare powers to Wales to permit the Welsh Government to provide additional support for households amid the cost of living crisis.

The Wales Act 2017 sets a reserved powers model, making clear that social security, pensions and child maintenance remain reserved to UK Parliament. This position is unchanged since devolution began. The UK Government does not intend to devolve reserved social security powers to the Welsh Government. It has, however, used them to make provision for the £650 Cost of Living Payment (paid in 2 lump sums of £326 and £324) for around 8 million low-income households on means-tested benefits; the one-off disability Cost of Living Payment of £150 currently being paid to 6 million eligible people; and the extra one-off £300 Winter Fuel Payment this year to be paid to over 8 million pensioner households across the UK.

The UK Government has taken further decisive action to support people with their energy bills through the new “Energy Price Guarantee”, which will mean a typical UK household will now pay up to an average £2,500 a year on their energy bill for the next two years from 1 October. This will save the average household in Great Britain at least £1,000 a year based on current energy prices from October. This is in addition to the over £37bn of cost of living support announced earlier this year which includes the £400 non-repayable discount to eligible households provided through the Energy Bills Support Scheme and the cost of living payments. It also includes an additional £500 million from October to help households across the UK with the cost of essentials. In England, £421 million is being provided to extend the Household Support Fund, a discretionary scheme run by Upper Tier Local Authorities, from October 2022 – March 2023. The Welsh Government has been allocated its share of this funding through the Barnett Formula.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the real-terms change in the value of pension payments that were not index linked for Allied Steel and Wire pensioners under the FAS in each of the last five years as a result of inflation.

The information required to carry out each assessment is not readily available and to obtain it would incur disproportionate costs. The Secretary of State has therefore made no such assessment and does not intend to do so at this stage.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of how much (a) Allied Steel and Wire pensioners have received collectively as of 2 September 2022 and since their pension deal was agreed in 2007 and (b) those pensioners would have received collectively as of 2 September 2022 in the even that their pension deal been fully linked to inflation.

The information required to carry out each assessment is not readily available and to obtain it would incur disproportionate costs. The Secretary of State has therefore made no such assessment and does not intend to do so at this stage.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
5th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to employees who have reached the earnings trigger and are auto-enrolled onto a workplace pension scheme, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of setting the lower limit of qualifying earnings at £0 for the purposes of calculating how much employers should contribute towards an employee’s pension; and whether she has made an estimate of the cost of setting that limit at £0.

It remains the governments intention to lower the earnings limit on Automatic Enrolment as soon as Parliamentary time allows. The latest published estimate of the costs of this change to workplace pensions is set out in the analytical report that accompanied the 2017 Automatic Enrolment (AE) Review, here: Automatic enrolment review 2017: analytical report (publishing.service.gov.uk).

It shows that the removal of the AE Lower Earnings Limit (LEL) would initially increase total contributions by £2.6 billion per annum. This represents an initial upper bound cost estimate as, for example, many employers choose to pay above the current automatic enrolment statutory minimum contribution levels.

We continue to build the evidence base and use the latest data to improve the estimates in line with government’s ambition of implementing the AE 2017 Review proposals in the mid-2020s.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she is taking steps in response to the decision of some energy companies to halt participation in the Fuel Direct Scheme.

The Secretary of State has written to OFGEM to express her concern. Energy suppliers have a duty to support customers in payment difficulty. OFGEM have noted the concerns raised and will work with DWP to ensure benefit claimants receive the support they need.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with representatives of energy suppliers on third party deductions.

DWP collaborate with Ofgem and Energy UK on any changes to energy deductions from benefits, most recently to gauge their thoughts on the temporary changes to be made regarding ongoing consumption payments. They both supported DWP in communicating to energy suppliers why a change was required, how it operates and when it is effective.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will guarantee the maintenance of third party deductions in their current form until at least the end of this Parliament.

The Social Security Benefits (Claims and Payments) (Modification) Regulations 2022 are a temporary modification to legislation which means that only claimants will be able to make new requests to pay for their ongoing energy consumption directly from their benefit or request an increase or decrease to existing arrangements. Requests for fixed-rate deductions towards fuel arrears remain unchanged. These regulations will expire on 06/04/2023 and legislation will revert unless a further legislative change is made.

Record energy prices are just one of a range of cost-of-living pressures that DWP claimants are facing. Given the increased proportion of income that energy bills are likely to represent in coming months, the Department is not content to continue to prioritise this particular need to the potential detriment of other essential needs - unless this is the express wish of a claimant.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to promote the Fuel Direct scheme as an alternative to energy prepayment for vulnerable customers who are at risk of self-disconnection.

The Government's website, GOV.UK provides information about the option of paying towards energy bills directly out of a range of benefits if the claimant is in debt and is having difficulties budgeting for these costs, as well as advice on extra help with fuel bills for people in receipt of benefits.

DWP staff will discuss the option of Fuel Direct and third-party deductions with claimants and handle any applications they receive. The scheme is not intended to be an alternative to energy prepayment meters, which may be appropriate for the claimant depending on their circumstances.

In addition, Jobcentre staff have access to information on services and support available in their local area and will signpost claimants to national and local organisations who provide specialist debt and money management support.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to promote the use of third party deductions from benefits claimants to pay energy bills in (a) Wales and (b) the UK.

The Government's website, GOV.UK provides information about the option of paying towards energy bills directly out of a range of benefits if the claimant is in debt and is having difficulties budgeting for these costs, as well as advice on extra help with fuel bills for people in receipt of benefits.

DWP staff will discuss the option of Fuel Direct and third-party deductions with claimants and handle any applications they receive. The scheme is not intended to be an alternative to energy prepayment meters, which may be appropriate for the claimant depending on their circumstances.

In addition, Jobcentre staff have access to information on services and support available in their local area and will signpost claimants to national and local organisations who provide specialist debt and money management support.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she plans to take steps to support unpaid carers with the recent increase in the cost of living.

I refer the Rt Hon member to the answer I gave to Question Number 142004.

3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 23 February 2022 to Question 125365 on Maternity Allowance, and with reference to the Benefit expenditure and caseload tables published by her Department, what assessment she has made of reasons for the absence of a decline in the Statutory Maternity Pay caseload over the period in which the number of grants of Maternity Allowance to employed women has fallen by 45 per cent.

Statutory Maternity Payment caseload is a different measure to the number of grants of Maternity Allowance.

Both the number of women on the caseload for Statutory Maternity Pay and Maternity Allowance has decreased from 2016/17 to 2020/21. The reason for this has not been fully assessed.

However, the date shows a larger decrease in the Maternity Allowance caseload, than the Statutory Maternity Pay caseload. A likely contributor to the fall is the decrease in the UK’s total fertility rate

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department taking to increase awareness of the Fuel Direct scheme amongst people in Wales.

The Government's website, GOV.UK provides information about Fuel Direct as well as advice on extra help with fuel bills for people in receipt of benefits. DWP staff will discuss this option with claimants and handle any applications they receive.

In addition, Jobcentre staff have access to information on services and support available in their local area and will signpost claimants to national and local organisations, who provide specialist debt and money management support.

Whilst we can identify the number of claims on Universal Credit with a deduction for energy arrears or energy ongoing consumption in the Dwyfor Meirionnydd parliamentary constituency we cannot release this data as the numbers are so small that releasing these could potentially identify individuals and risk claimant confidentiality.

The Department does not keep this information centrally for legacy benefits and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people in Dwyfor Meirionnydd constituency are using fuel direct as a method of payment for energy bills as of 28 February 2022.

The Government's website, GOV.UK provides information about Fuel Direct as well as advice on extra help with fuel bills for people in receipt of benefits. DWP staff will discuss this option with claimants and handle any applications they receive.

In addition, Jobcentre staff have access to information on services and support available in their local area and will signpost claimants to national and local organisations, who provide specialist debt and money management support.

Whilst we can identify the number of claims on Universal Credit with a deduction for energy arrears or energy ongoing consumption in the Dwyfor Meirionnydd parliamentary constituency we cannot release this data as the numbers are so small that releasing these could potentially identify individuals and risk claimant confidentiality.

The Department does not keep this information centrally for legacy benefits and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 8 September 2021 to Question 42053 on Maternity Allowance, and with reference to Table 7 of the quarterly Maternity Allowance statistics published by her Department on 15 February 2022, if she will make an assessment of the reasons for the 45 per cent fall in the number of grants of Maternity Allowance to employed women between the four quarters ending on 31 May 2016, during which period there were 50,100 grants, and the four quarters ending on 31 August 2021, in which there were 27,480 grants.

Fewer Maternity Allowance claims were started in the year up to 31 August 2021, compared to the year up to 31 May 2016. This decrease is particularly evident in claims by employed women. A likely contributor to this is the decrease in the UK’s total fertility rate. This has fallen year-on-year from 1.92 in 2012, to 1.56 in 2020. Population projections continue to anticipate a decrease in 2021 and 2022.

National population projections, fertility assumptions: 2020-based interim - Office for National Statistics [Figure 2]

We will continue to monitor fertility rates, as well as changes in the employment status and income of the female population over time, which impact on the number of MA claims.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of self-employed mothers who have had a child through a surrogacy arrangement who have not been eligible for either (a) Statutory Adoption Pay or (b) Maternity Allowance in the last five years.

No estimation has been made.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the reasons for the change in the number of maternity allowance starts between 2016-17 and the second half of 2020-21.

No assessment has been made. However, any change will be contributed to by the total fertility rate, which has decreased in recent years.

  • The total fertility rate decreased for the seventh consecutive year:

Births in England and Wales - Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk)

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 17 May 2021 to Question 704 on Bereavement Benefits, what his timescale is for bringing forward a draft Remedial Order to extend eligibility for Widowed Parent’s Allowance and Bereavement Support Payment to cohabitees with children.

It remains our intention to take forward a Remedial Order that will extend eligibility for Widowed Parent’s Allowance and Bereavement Support Payment to cohabitees with children.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department has taken to expand the eligibility criteria for the Bereavement Support Payment to include unmarried couples; and if she will make a statement.

We intend to take forward a Remedial Order to remove the incompatibilities from the legislation governing Widowed Parent’s Allowance and Bereavement Support Payment by extending these benefits to cohabitees with children. The Order will be laid before the House in due course.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of allowing registered healthcare professionals other than GPs to sign statements of Fitness for Work.

We recognise that the changing nature of primary care services and the associated workforce means that there are professionals other than GPs who are well placed to have work and health conversations and issue statements of Fitness for Work.

We have assessed the benefits of extending certification to other healthcare professionals by carrying out research and consultation with key stakeholders including professional bodies.

We have also worked closely with our stakeholders to ensure that we have considered a range of options and that any changes to the operation of the fit note will meet the needs of healthcare services, their workforce and their patients.

30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she has taken to ensure that universal credit claimants know (a) during which months they should note Self-Employment Income Support Scheme income as income in their universal credit diaries and (b) how to record other SEISS information in those diaries.

We have provided guidance for claimants, including useful step-by-step process maps, on the Understanding Universal Credit website at https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/employment-and-benefits-support/self-employment/. It is also made very clear in a claimant’s journal that they should report SEISS payments as self-employed income when they are received, as normal, and an additional field in their journal has been provided for claimants to do this easily.

Additionally, internal guidance has been drafted and circulated to ensure our work coaches are aware of how to treat SEISS payments, along with other Coronavirus grants and schemes.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the current definition of statutory sick pay for people with endometriosis.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) provides a minimum level of income for employees when they are sick or incapable of work. For SSP purposes, any periods of sickness which last for four or more days in a row, and are less than 8 weeks apart, are treated as linked and therefore count as one period of sickness. Once waiting days have been served, SSP is paid for all days of work missed because of sickness in any linked periods. The current definition supports employees who have fluctuating conditions who may take frequent, shorter absences from work as part of managing their health condition, such as endometriosis.

The government recently published a consultation in which we sought views on a range of proposals to reform SSP. Reform to SSP forms part of a wider package of proposals which seek to reduce ill-health related job loss and support disabled people and people with health conditions to stay in and thrive in work.

26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of eligibility for statutory sick pay from the fourth day of sickness on people with endometriosis; and if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of paying statutory sick pay from the first day of sickness for people with that condition.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) provides a minimum level of income for employees when they are sick or incapable of work. It is paid by employers at £95.85 per week for up to 28 weeks in any one period of entitlement.

SSP is designed to balance support for an individual when they are unable to work because of sickness with the costs to employers of providing such support. SSP is paid from the fourth day of sickness for absences not related to COVID-19 to avoid an employer facing the burden of paying for all minor absences. The rules apply to all employees where they meet the eligibility criteria, regardless of the nature of their health condition.

For SSP purposes, periods of sickness for four or more days in a row are known as a Period of Incapacity for Work. Periods of Incapacity for Work are linked and treated as one period of sickness, if the gap between them is not more than eight weeks. Where an employee has two or more linked periods, SSP is paid from the first day in the linked period. This is because waiting days will have been served in the earlier period. The linking rules add protections to both employers, by imposing limits on their liability to make payments, and to employees by not penalising those who suffer from reoccurring health problems, such as endometriosis.

26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will bring forward proposals to amend the definition of statutory sick pay to ensure that people with endometriosis which can result in intermittent rather than continual symptoms are eligible for that support.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) provides a minimum level of income for employees when they are sick or incapable of work. For SSP purposes, any periods of sickness which last for four or more days in a row, and are less than 8 weeks apart, are treated as linked and therefore count as one period of sickness. Once waiting days have been served, SSP is paid for all days of work missed because of sickness in any linked periods. The current definition supports employees who have fluctuating conditions who may take frequent, shorter absences from work as part of managing their health condition, such as endometriosis.

The government recently published a consultation in which we sought views on a range of proposals to reform SSP. Reform to SSP forms part of a wider package of proposals which seek to reduce ill-health related job loss and support disabled people and people with health conditions to stay in and thrive in work.

26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the three year limit in respect of continuous periods of sickness for statutory sick pay on people with endometriosis.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is payable for up to 28 weeks per sickness absence. Sickness absences which are less than 8 weeks apart count as the same period of sickness. This supports employees who have fluctuating conditions, such as endometriosis, who may take frequent, shorter absences from work as part of managing their health condition. Individuals will no longer be eligible for SSP after a continuous series of linked periods which lasts more than 3 years. In a new period of sickness, employees are eligible for 28 weeks of SSP.

Where an individual’s SSP entitlement has ended, they may be able to claim Universal Credit and new style Employment and Support Allowance when their SSP ends, depending on individual circumstances.

25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 3 March 2020 to Question 19986 on social security benefits: endometriosis, what proportion of healthcare professionals employed by the Centre for Health and Disability Assessment have undertaken the learning module on endometriosis as part of their Continuous Professional Development.

Currently, while preparing to undertake an assessment, Healthcare Professionals can access a wide range of clinical resources to research any conditions presented. This includes a learning module on chronic pain that contains a section on endometriosis. Current guidance enables Healthcare Professionals to have a satisfactory understanding of endometriosis and how it can affect an individual’s ability to work. Experienced clinicians can also support them in assessing individuals with conditions that they may not be familiar with.

As previously advised, Centre for Health and Disability Assessments (CHDA) plans to develop and deliver a learning module on endometriosis as part of their upcoming Continuous Professional Development schedule. As agreed with the department, this training module is scheduled for delivery in July 2021. Once delivered all Healthcare Professionals will be expected to complete the module as part of their Continuing Medical Education (CME) programme

25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will review the guidance provided for disability benefits assessors on how endometriosis can affect an individual’s ability to work.

Currently, while preparing to undertake an assessment, Healthcare Professionals can access a wide range of clinical resources to research any conditions presented. This includes a learning module on chronic pain that contains a section on endometriosis. Current guidance enables Healthcare Professionals to have a satisfactory understanding of endometriosis and how it can affect an individual’s ability to work. Experienced clinicians can also support them in assessing individuals with conditions that they may not be familiar with.

As previously advised, Centre for Health and Disability Assessments (CHDA) plans to develop and deliver a learning module on endometriosis as part of their upcoming Continuous Professional Development schedule. As agreed with the department, this training module is scheduled for delivery in July 2021. Once delivered all Healthcare Professionals will be expected to complete the module as part of their Continuing Medical Education (CME) programme

25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential barriers people with endometriosis face when trying to access (a) personal independence payments and (b) universal credit.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP), and the level at which it can be paid, is based on the daily living and mobility needs arising from a long-term health condition or disability, rather than being based on the condition or disability itself. People with endometriosis are able to access PIP in the same way as other people with long-term health conditions or disabilities.

Universal Credit (UC) claimants with endometriosis are able to access UC in the same way as other people with long-term health conditions or disabilities.

A Work Capability Assessment is used to determine someone’s capacity to work or engage in work-related activity, rather than their specific health condition

25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many yearly applications have been made for personal independence payments which cite endometriosis as the reason for application in the last five years; and what proportion of those applications were successful.

In the PIP application process, claimants’ main disabling condition is only recorded for collation by the Department at assessment. It is not recorded at the point of application. The Department does not therefore hold data on the number of applicants to PIP with particular conditions. Only those who have a disability assessment determination decision will have a main disabling condition recorded for them.

In respect of the second part of your question, I would like to refer you to the detailed statistics for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) that can be found in Stat-Xplore: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/.

We collect data on the main disability condition for those who have had a PIP clearance. This includes those awarded and disallowed at assessment and can be broken down by disability. ‘Endometriosis’ is found under ‘Diseases of the ovary, uterus, cervix, vagina and vulva’ which is under the main disability group of ‘Genitourinary disease’

Guidance on how to use Stat-Xplore can be found here:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/index.html.

25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many yearly applications have been made of universal credit which cite endometriosis as the reason for application in the last five years; and what proportion of those applications were successful.

The specific information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the capacity of Job Centre Plus to continue to provide services with (a) increased demand and (b) pressures on staff as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Between the 16th March and the end of April, we received over 1.8 million claims for Universal Credit. Overall, that is six times the volume that we would typically experience, and in one week we had a tenfold increase. DWP is standing up to this challenge and payment timeliness for Universal Credit remains high.

We have re-deployed around 10,000 staff to critical frontline services and made important changes to processes.

The Department is continually impacting and assessing the service being offered to customers and we continue to keep staff numbers under review as part of our response to the impact of COVID-19 on the labour market.

Throughout this period, we have collected insight from DWP colleagues on their experiences. We have also refreshed and developed a wide range of wellbeing resources to support our people and will continue to do so.

The Department is continually assessing the service being offered to customers and we continue to keep staff numbers under review as part of our response to the impact of COVID-19 on the labour market. We have already committed to increasing the number of Work Coaches and Case Managers and recruitment is already underway.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits for disabled people of the temporary pause to (a) sanctions and (b) face-to-face assessments for disability benefits; and if she will publish a strategy outlining how her Department plans to build on the temporary changes during the covid-19 outbreak to make permanent improvements to the system.

These pauses were brought in to safeguard the public and staff and because we recognised the need for our staff to focus on the processing of new claims.

We are currently reviewing these measures in light of the latest public health advice and will confirm next steps as soon as possible.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of whether uprating the legacy benefits received by people with disabilities in line with universal credit could remove the income disparities between different groups of disabled people.

DWP has no plans to increase Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance or Income Support. These benefits were increased by 1.7% in April 2020 as part of the annual up-rating exercise.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect on household incomes of the temporary change to the five-week wait for universal credit during the covid-19 outbreak; and if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of permanently removing the five-week wait for universal credit.

There has not been a temporary change to the length of the Initial Assessment Period during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Universal Credit assessment period and payment structure are fundamental parts of the design. The assessment period runs for a full calendar month from the date of entitlement and the Universal Credit pay date will be within seven calendar days after the end of the initial assessment period. Subsequent pay dates will be the same each month. It is not possible to award a Universal Credit payment as soon as a claim is made, as the assessment period must run its course before the award of Universal Credit can be calculated.

No claimant in need of support has to wait 5 weeks for payment under Universal Credit. New Claim Advances of up to 100% of a claimant’s estimated award are available within a few days if claimants need support during their first assessment period.

20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish a breakdown of the number of universal credit claimants by employment sector background for each (a) parliamentary constituency and (b) local authority.

We do not systematically collect data on the employment sector background of UC claimants because this does not affect entitlement to UC.

12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Answer of 9 March 2020 to Question 24399, Prisons: Industrial Health and Safety, on how many occasions the Health and Safety Executive inspectors were denied full access to workplaces within prisons in the last (a) two, (b) five and (c) 10 years.

There have not been any occasions reported in the last two, five and ten years where Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Inspectors have been denied full access to workplaces within prisons.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, on how many occasions in the last (a) 12, (b) 24 and (c) 36 months Health and Safety Executive inspectors were denied full access to workplaces within prisons; and if she will make a statement.

There have not been any occasions in the last 12, 24 and 36 months where Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Inspectors have been denied full access to workplaces within prisons.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether laundry workers are eligible for the autumn Covid booster programme.

The primary aim of the COVID-19 vaccination programme continues to be the prevention of severe disease (hospitalisation and death) arising from COVID-19. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recommended a targeted approach focussed on those most vulnerable to serious outcomes from COVID-19 including older individuals and individuals with specified existing clinical conditions.

On 8 August 2023, the Government accepted advice from the JCVI on who should be offered a COVID-19 vaccine in the autumn 2023 booster programme. This includes residents and staff in a care home for older adults, all adults aged 65 years old and over, persons aged six months to 64 years old in a clinical risk group, frontline health and social care workers, persons aged 12 to 64 years old who are household contacts and persons aged 16 to 64 years old who are carers.

Laundry workers are not, as a group, eligible for COVID-19 vaccination in autumn. However, if an individual is a laundry worker in a care home for older adults, a frontline health and social care worker or meets any of the other criteria for eligibility set out above, they are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination. The objective of immunisation of frontline health and social care workers and staff working in care homes for older adults is to protect those workers at high risk of exposure who may also expose vulnerable individuals whilst providing care.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of levels of funding available for research into (a) cures, (b) treatments and (c) diagnostic equipment for cancer; and what steps he is taking to increase research funding for those purposes.

No such assessment has been made. The Department funds research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). However, the NIHR does not categorise research in the format requested. Additionally, not all studies focus on a specific condition and aim to prevent or improve outcomes for multiple conditions.

The NIHR’s expenditure on cancer research has increased from £101 million in 2010/11 to £138 million in 2019/20 and the NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including cancer.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether people applying for the UK's Global Health Insurance Card are able to complete the application form in Welsh.

An applicant cannot apply for the UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) in Welsh. The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA), who are responsible for issuing the cards, are only able to accept applications in English. If a Welsh speaking customer wishes to contact the NHSBSA in relation to an EHIC or GHIC application a translation service is available.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Global Health Insurance Card is available in English and Welsh.

The Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) is available in English and Welsh. Cardholders applying in Wales automatically receive the Welsh version of the GHIC card and accompanying letter which has a separate English translation.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of veterans that have received mental health support in each of the last five years.

Veterans in England can access mental health support through Operation Courage Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS), the veteran’s specialist mental health service and the NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service. The data for veterans accessing TILS and IAPT in each of the last five years is shown in the following table.

Financial year

Number of TILS assessments

Total number in receipt of TILS/ IAPT treatment

2017/2018

1,649

17,271

2018/2019

2,120

18,033

2019/2020

2,569

18,375

2020/2021

2,391

10,793

April to August 2021

1,052

4,294

It should be noted that IAPT data reports veterans who received treatment and declared their veteran status.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department has had with the Welsh Government on the expected capacity constraints of the hotel quarantine system and international students from red-list countries who will be required to quarantine.

The Department has had regular engagement with the Developed Administrations, including the Welsh Government, throughout our shared response to the global pandemic. This has included policy development with my officials and Ministers also meet regularly with Welsh Government Ministers at the United Kingdom Health Ministers’ Forum. This forum discusses a range of topics, including managed quarantine.

We are currently exploring the policy options for international students travelling to the UK for Red-List countries. These discussions have included ensuring the system has the necessary capacity to respond to the potential increased demand from arrivals to the UK, including international students arriving from red-list countries. As we have done throughout this global health emergency, we will continue to take all steps necessary to protect the public and help prevent the spread of the virus.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Welsh Government, (b) NHS England and (c) people with B12 deficiency on removing the classification of Prescription Only Medicine from injectable vitamin B12 and making B12 injectables available over the counter at pharmacies.

Vitamin B12 is only available as an injection and therefore must be classified as prescription only under the regulations as suitable training needs to be given for its administration. The condition for which it is prescribed also means the product must be classified as a prescription only medicine and therefore no further assessment has been made of the potential merits of making these products available over the counter. Patients are prescribed vitamin B12 for pernicious anaemia and need medical input to diagnose, monitor their condition and treat it appropriately.

Formal discussions have therefore not been held with the Welsh Government or NHS England on the reclassification of vitamin B12. Officials have responded to patient enquiries to explain the rationale for the classification of this medicine as they have arisen.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits for those with B12 deficiency of removing the classification of Prescription Only Medicine from injectable vitamin B12 and making B12 injectables available over the counter at pharmacies.

Vitamin B12 is only available as an injection and therefore must be classified as prescription only under the regulations as suitable training needs to be given for its administration. The condition for which it is prescribed also means the product must be classified as a prescription only medicine and therefore no further assessment has been made of the potential merits of making these products available over the counter. Patients are prescribed vitamin B12 for pernicious anaemia and need medical input to diagnose, monitor their condition and treat it appropriately.

Formal discussions have therefore not been held with the Welsh Government or NHS England on the reclassification of vitamin B12. Officials have responded to patient enquiries to explain the rationale for the classification of this medicine as they have arisen.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help enable the unhindered movement of medicinal drugs from EU countries into the UK after the end of the transition period.

Our priority is to ensure that patients continue to have access to the medicines they need. We continue to work closely with industry, the National Health Service and others in the supply chain to deliver the shared goal of continuity of safe patient care by mitigating any potential disruption to supply into the United Kingdom of medicines at the end of the transition period.

As set out in a letter from the Department to industry of 3 August, we are implementing a multi-layered approach, that involves asking suppliers of medicines and medical products to the UK from or via the European Union to get trader ready, reroute their supply chains away from any potential disruption and stockpile to a target level of six weeks on UK soil where this is possible. The letter is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/letter-to-medicines-and-medical-products-suppliers-3-august-2020/letter-to-medicine-suppliers-3-august-2020

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on preparations for the deployment of a covid-19 vaccine.

The Vaccine Taskforce is procuring vaccines for the whole of the United Kingdom, including Wales. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care meets weekly with counterparts in the devolved administrations for discussions of key COVID-19 issues across all four nations. The Government is working closely with the devolved administrations to ensure successful delivery across the whole of the UK.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the incompatibility of older phones with the NHS covid-19 app on the effectiveness of that app.

Estimates using the latest data from Apple and Google show that 87% of iOS smartphone users and 93% of Android smartphone users in the United Kingdom can install a version of the operating system with the contact tracing technology the National Health Service app uses.

This means over 33.5 million people in England and Wales can download and use the NHS app.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to ensure that the NHS covid-19 app is compatible with all mobile phone software.

Estimates using the latest data from Apple and Google show that 87% of iOS smartphone users and 93% of Android smartphone users in the United Kingdom can install a version of the operating system with the contact tracing technology the National Health Service app uses.

This means over 33.5 million people in England and Wales can download and use the NHS app.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many individuals in (a) Wales and (b) England his Department will not have access to the NHS COVID-19 app due to (i) device incompatibility and (ii) lack of access to a device; and if he will publish the methodology used.

Estimates using the latest data from Apple and Google show that 87% of iOS smartphone users and 93% of Android smartphone users in the United Kingdom can install a version of the operating system with the contact tracing technology the National Health Service app uses.

This means over 33.5 million people in England and Wales can download and use the NHS app.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that children’s well-being is prioritised in the Government’s covid recovery strategy.

We have provided £9.2 million of additional funding for mental health charities including charities like Young Minds to support adults and children struggling with their mental wellbeing during this time.

We are taking action to ensure that children and young people have access to support in schools. Our £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return programme will provide schools and colleges all over England with the knowledge and access to resources they need to support children and young people, teachers and parents.

On 8 September, the Government launched a mental wellbeing campaign for children and young people. This involves an extension of Public Health England’s Every Mind Matters webpage with content specifically for children and young people and their parents and carers. The campaign will raise awareness of the guidance and tools available to support mental wellbeing and ensure children and young people who need urgent support are directed towards the right services.

17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of (a) access to medical cannabis for children and adults with rare and severe forms of epilepsy and (b) of Government financial support for vulnerable children with intractable epilepsy who are reliant on privately-paid for medical cannabis.

Guidelines published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) demonstrate a clear need for more evidence to support routine prescribing and funding decisions of unlicensed cannabis-based medicines for severe treatment resistant epilepsy and other conditions. We are working hard with the health system, industry and researchers to improve the knowledge base available. The guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng144

With regard to Government financial support for vulnerable children with intractable epilepsy who are reliant on privately-paid for medical cannabis, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the Rt. hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead on 15 May 2020 to Question 43850.

No assessment has been made.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the changes proposed in his Department’s consultation on changes to Human Medicine Regulations to support the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, how long the proposed temporary authorisation of the supply of an unlicensed vaccine is planned to last.

The preferred route to enable deployment of a new vaccine for COVID-19 is through the usual marketing authorisation (product licensing) process. If a suitable COVID-19 vaccine candidate, with strong supporting evidence of safety, quality and efficacy, becomes available, we will seek to license that vaccine through the usual route. Any temporary authorisation of the supply of an unlicensed vaccine would be by exception and the timing of this would depend on the public health need.

15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that any vaccine approved for product license is safe for use.

All vaccines will undergo a thorough assessment of quality, safety and efficacy before being licenced. The preferred route to enable deployment of a new vaccine for COVID-19 is through the usual marketing authorisation (product licensing) process. If a suitable COVID-19 vaccine candidate, with strong supporting evidence of safety, quality and efficacy, becomes available, we will seek to license that vaccine through the usual route. Until the end of December 2020, European Union legislation requires biotechnological medicines (which would include candidate COVID-19 vaccines) to be authorised via the European Medicines Agency, and a marketing authorisation granted by them would automatically be valid in the United Kingdom. From January 2021, the UK’s licensing authority the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency will have new powers to license all medicines, including vaccines. Following vaccine deployment, safety will be proactively and continuously monitored.

15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the risk covid-19 poses to people with blood cancer.

NHS England and NHS Improvement produced a list at the beginning of the pandemic of those who were at higher risk of becoming seriously ill if they contracted COVID-19. This list has two levels of higher risk:

- High risk (clinically extremely vulnerable); and

- Moderate risk (clinically vulnerable).

People who were high risk included those who have blood or bone marrow cancer, such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma.

It is advised that those with blood cancers follow the NHS England and NHS Improvement advice that is regularly updated on their website. This can be found at the following link:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on establishing support packages for people shielding whose workplaces cannot be made covid-safe when shielding provisions end on 1 August 2020.

We are continuing to work across Government to ensure that clinically extremely vulnerable people can return to work safely. Further guidance will be issued on 1 August 2020.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 3 July 2020 to Question 62541 on protective clothing: coronavirus, whether that figure also includes items supplied to dental practices.

The figure provided in response to Question 62541 was for general practitioners located in England only. This figure does not include dental practices.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent comparative assessment he has made of the equity of the level of financial support provided to people affected by the contaminated blood scandal in Wales and England.

Since 1988, successive Governments have voluntarily provided ex-gratia financial and non-financial support for people affected by HIV and/or hepatitis C through historic treatment with National Health Service-supplied blood or blood products in the 1970s and 1980s.

In 2017, country specific support schemes were set up in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. These four schemes are devolved, and each nation has made different choices around their offers of support over time.

We are aware that there are disparities between the schemes, and we are working with our partners in the devolved nations and other relevant Government departments to improve parity of support for all beneficiaries across the United Kingdom.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the UK-wide Covid-19: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Plan, how many items have been sold to suppliers by Public Health England on the condition that they would only be given to practices in England.

14 million items of personal protective equipment have been sold to wholesalers who supply general practitioners located in England only.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the UK-wide Covid-19: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Plan, what recent assessment he has made of the equitable distribution of PPE across the four nations of the UK.

Our personal protective equipment (PPE) strategy is United Kingdom-wide, making sure that frontline workers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all have the PPE they need to stay protected while taking care of patients. We are working closely with the devolved administrations to co-ordinate the distribution of PPE across the UK.

We are working to agree a protocol between the four nations of the UK to underpin our approach to PPE sourcing and supply. The stock positions in each of the four nations is changing rapidly, which means on some occasions other nations, including Scotland, have been able to restock from their own sources more quickly. Representatives from the four nations are in touch regularly and there is an established system of mutual aid to make sure PPE gets to the frontline across the whole of the UK.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of asking UK nationals to be tested for covid-19 before undertaking international travel.

Current clinical advice is that testing of individuals without symptoms should be used where clinically appropriate, predominantly for outbreak investigation and infection control. We continue to use the latest science and clinical advice to inform our approach. Our primary focus is symptomatic people to ensure that everyone who needs a test can get one. On that basis, we are not currently using our testing capacity to provide asymptomatic testing to support exit health monitoring for persons departing the United Kingdom for international travel.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel, with the exemption of a number of countries and territories which have been assessed as no longer presenting an unacceptably high risk to British people travelling abroad. The list of exempted destinations is under constant review.

19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Welsh Government was represented on the New and Emerging Respiratory Threats Advisory Group sub-committee on facemasks and respirators.

New and Emerging Respiratory Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) subcommittees do not usually have observers like the main committee meetings. Subcommittees usually only consist of a subgroup of NERVTAG committee members and may recruit temporary co-opted specialists if this is relevant and important to the subject matter. Subcommittees always report back to the main committee.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the minutes and reports of the New and Emerging Respiratory Threats Advisory Group have been shared with the Welsh Government in each year since 2015.

The New and Emerging Respiratory Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) secretariat does not routinely circulate the minutes of meetings or reports to anyone outside of the list of members and observers, unless they are specifically requested. However, all minutes and reports are published online and are freely accessible.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Welsh Government was offered observer status on the New and Emerging Respiratory Threats Advisory Group.

The Chief Medical Officers from all devolved administrations have a delegate that attends the New and Emerging Respiratory Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) meetings in an observer capacity. Thus, the Welsh Government does have representation at the NERVTAG meetings, as do all devolved administrations.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the New and Emerging Respiratory Threats Advisory Group recommendation in June 2019 on surgical gowns was shared with the Welsh Government.

The recommendations of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) on personal protective equipment (PPE) procurement are publicly available and can be accessed online.

The contents of the pandemic influenza stockpile were based on the recommendations of NERVTAG. Following advice from the NERVTAG committee on the inclusion of gowns in the stockpile, the NERVTAG sub-committee for PPE was asked to confirm the specification (sterile non/sterile) for the market analysis. This was received by Public Health England in November 2019 and the market analysis was being finalised prior to seeking policy and financial approval from the Department, Welsh Government, Scottish Government and Northern Ireland Assembly. Once approval was received the procurement exercise would have commenced in early 2020. However, in light of the COVID-19 outbreak the focus shifted to procuring gowns for immediate distribution to the National Health Service and social care.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 30 April 2020 to Question 38618, on Detention Centres, for what reasons information on the number of covid-19 tests conducted in immigration removal centres is not held; and if he will make a statement.

The overall number of tests for COVID-19 is published daily by the Government and is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

However, the information is not broken down to the level of detail being requested.

29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with counterparts in the devolved Administrations on the reasons why covid-19 disproportionately affects people from BAME communities throughout the UK.

Public Health England (PHE) has been asked by the Chief Medical Officer to review the potential that some ethnic minority groups are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. PHE is hosting a series of stakeholder events in the coming weeks, which will involve the devolved administrations and opportunities to collaborate and share learning will be part of the discussion.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the decision to appoint Trevor Phillips to lead a review into the effect of covid-19 on BAME communities was made; and whether he will provide a list of all other individuals contributing to the review.

Trevor Phillips is not leading or running the review. The review is being led by Public Health England (PHE). Mr Phillips and his company will be but one source of intelligence alongside the National Institute for Health Research research call and PHE’s own surveillance expertise. Their input will be specific and time limited.

PHE is hosting a series of stakeholder events in the coming weeks and these discussions will include government and public health specialists from the devolved administrations, community and faith groups, voluntary sector leads, organisations that represent migrant populations, local government leaders and public health specialists, academics and researchers, Royal Colleges and other Government departments.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the terms of reference for the inquiry into BAME covid-19 deaths will be announced.

We are very concerned by the apparent disproportionate number of people from minority ethnic backgrounds who have died, both within the National Health Service and overall. We have asked Public Health England to complete a rapid review to understand how COVID-19 may be having an impact on different ethnic groups, and other groups of concern. The Terms of Reference will be announced in due course.

To complement this rapid review, the National Institute for Health Research and UK Research and Innovation issued a joint call on 22 April for research proposals to investigate emerging evidence of an association between ethnicity and COVID-19 incidence and adverse health outcomes.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish data on the ethnicity of people (a) infected and (b) who have died of covid-19 by (i) age and (ii) English region in (A) hospitals and (B) in the community; whether demographic data on covid-19 deaths can be provided in real-time; and how that data will be collected.

Data on those infected with COVID-19 are collected by Public Health England (PHE) for new diagnoses and hospitalised patients. Standard recording practice across laboratory systems requires recording of only minimal data (such as date of birth and name) as these records are not intended for disease surveillance purposes.

PHE has begun a rapid review to better understand how COVID-19 may be having an impact on different ethnic groups. As part of this review, PHE is matching thousands of laboratory records of COVID-19 cases to other health records to draw down accurate data on ethnicity, age, sex and geographical region. The first results will be published by the end of May.

NHS England and NHS Improvement lead on reporting deaths with confirmed COVID-19 in hospital. They publish a daily summary that includes a breakdown by ethnicity which can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-daily-deaths/

The Office for National Statistics publishes provisional counts of the number of deaths registered in England and Wales, including deaths involving COVID-19, by age, sex and region, in the latest weeks for which data are available. These data can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsregisteredweeklyinenglandandwalesprovisional/weekending24april2020

The Public Health England COVID-19 dashboard shows the number of cases confirmed by NHS/PHE labs for each region and upper tier local authority in England. The dashboard can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-track-coronavirus-cases

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many covid-19 tests have been conducted in immigration removal centres as of 21 April 2020; and what testing strategy is in place for those centres.

Information on the number of COVID-19 tests conducted in immigration removal centres is not held.

2nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies on funding for (a) climate impacts, (b) protecting civilians from harm, (c) gender inequality, and (d) supporting inclusive peace processes of Oxfam’s request for £900 million of funding for humanitarian appeals for Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan.

The FCDO is committed to promoting the protection of civilians, tackling inequality and the impact of climate change, and where possible and appropriate support peace through our humanitarian efforts. The FCDO is prioritising spending that is vital to protect against immediate threat to life and wellbeing, will prevent people falling into humanitarian need, or will prevent delays to accessing healthcare, primary education, sanitation and clean water. Ministers will make any adjustments and final aid prioritisation decisions based on additional Official Development Assistance pressures this autumn.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she will take to help ensure that (a) relevant stakeholders and (b) members of the public are able to feed into the UK’s position on the World Health Organisation’s new international agreement on pandemic preparedness and response.

FCDO and the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) are engaging with a range of stakeholders during the development of the proposed new pandemic instrument. Consultations with civil society organisations have already taken place and we are committed to further consultations in the future. An effective instrument for pandemic prevention and preparedness will require a whole-of-society approach and non-state actors are vital to ensure countries are protected from health threats. We welcome public interest, and will continue to respond to the queries and ideas raised by the public.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, for what reason a representative of the UK has yet to be appointed to the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages' Committee of Experts; and whether she has taken steps to help ensure the position is filled.

The FCDO is currently exploring options on how best to identify suitably qualified, independent candidates for the process of appointing a UK expert to the ECRML Committee of Experts (COMEX). We remain committed to ensuring the position is filled by an appropriate expert in due course.

19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether any funding for the Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda will be funded through the overseas aid budget.

The funding for the Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda is not from the Official Development Assistance budget.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 22 October 2021 to Question 58973 on Travel Restrictions: Coronavirus, whether she is aware of any countries (a) who will not acknowledge that UK citizens who have received the vaccine produced at the Serum Institute of India are fully vaccinated for the purposes of international travel and (b) to which people who received the vaccine produced at the Serum Institute cannot currently travel.

We are aware of no countries or territories with border requirements which differentiate between vaccines administered in the UK. Where there have been a few instances of confusion, they have been swiftly resolved. Border regulations remain the prerogative of the receiving country and travellers should always check FCDO Travel Advice to ensure they are familiar with entry restrictions - including any self-isolation or testing requirements - prior to travel.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will publish an update on the steps her Department is taking to facilitate the safe passage for vulnerable Afghans from Afghanistan to the UK through the Afghan citizens' resettlement scheme.

In its first year, the Afghan Citizens' Resettlement Scheme will welcome up to 5,000 vulnerable Afghans to the UK who have been forced to flee the country, with up to a total of 20,000 over a five-year period. The Afghan citizens' resettlement scheme (ACRS) will provide protection for people at risk identified as in need. We will work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to identify those we should help. The scheme is not yet open and further details will be announced in due course by the Home Office. For further information on the scheme can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/afghan-citizens-resettlement-scheme.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what proportion of people who have contacted her Department through the (a) public hotline and (b) emergency email address for vulnerable Afghans have received a reply; and what was the nature of the information conveyed to them.

The FCDO received around 50,000 calls on our consular emergency lines between 11 August - 26 September, many on behalf of Afghans rather than British Nationals. Since 20 August, the average wait time was less than one minute. Since the Afghanistan crisis began, the FCDO alone have received 240,000 emails, sent to a number of our email addresses. FCDO along with the Home Office and the MOD, are working to assess cases raised in them as quickly as possible. We have processed the 30,000 emails from MPs sent on Afghanistan, including information about cases, that were received before 11 September and replied to all 650 Members so that we can focus on repatriation. We are replying to Members' correspondence after 12 September in the usual way. Of the remaining 210,000 emails, after much analysis and deduplication, we have identified more than 60,000 individual email originators and sent a response to all of them, including how to find information and support.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether information provided to her Department through the (a) public hotline and (b) emergency email address provided to vulnerable Afghans, including the Afghan special cases, is being used for referrals and prioritisation for the Afghan citizens' resettlement scheme.

In its first year, the Afghan Citizens' Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) will welcome up to 5,000 vulnerable Afghans to the UK who have been forced to flee the country, with up to a total of 20,000 over a five-year period. The ACRS will provide protection for people at risk identified as in need. The Government will use available information and knowledge, including relevant information provided to emergency public numbers and email mailboxes, and will work with international partners and NGOs in the region, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to implement a fair referral process.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his (a) international counterparts and (b) Cabinet colleagues on developing a strategy to support and protect human rights defenders.

The UK strongly supports human rights defenders (HRDs) worldwide to enable them to carry out their work safely and without fear. Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon is the Minister responsible for Human Rights at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. In 2019, Lord Ahmad launched the document 'UK support for Human Rights Defenders' which was drawn up with significant and important input from relevant stakeholders, including Amnesty International, and sets out how HMG engages with HRDs, and how we work with them to further human rights globally. Lord Ahmad is listening closely to Amnesty and other NGOs on their request for an HMG strategy on HRDs. In the context of the establishment of the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and of the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, we will be considering what more the UK can do to support HRDs going forward.

9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will use the 2021 Nutrition for Growth summit to emphasise that the UK is committed to reaching over 50 million children, women and adolescent girls through nutrition-specific programmes by 2025.

Between April 2015 and March 2020, the UK reached 55.1 million young children, women and adolescent girls through our nutrition programmes.

We remain committed to the Nutrition for Growth process and will continue to work closely on preparations for the 2021 Summit with the Government of Japan. Options for any new Nutrition for Growth commitment will be reviewed once the internal business planning process is complete.

9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to support the one in four countries with ongoing humanitarian crises who are experiencing reductions of 10 per cent or more in household drinking water services compared with the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK Government recognises that countries with ongoing humanitarian crises can be particularly affected by COVID-19 and that access to drinking water can be reduced. In the first response phase to COVID-19 we provided £20 million of finance to UNICEF for urgent COVID-19 support including for water, sanitation and hygiene. We also supported the provision of emergency drinking water in a number of humanitarian contexts, including to nineteen Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in Yemen, through our support to the Hygiene and Behaviour-change Coalition (HBCC), working with Unilever during the pandemic. As a longer-term effort, the UK Government met its 2015 - 2020 target of 60 million people with improved water or sanitation, of which 26.2 million people were based in fragile states. Going forward, the UK will continue to work with the Sanitation and Water for All partnership, which includes 69 partner governments, to increase political commitment to improving access to clean water and sanitation in the context of COVID-19 response and recovery.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to end the preventable deaths of mothers, newborn babies and children across the world; and whether UK Aid has supported global interventions which seek to (a) ensure that every child has access to a measles vaccines, (b) reduce disruptions in antenatal check-ups and post-natal care and (c) provide essential nutrition services to children.

The FCDO is committed to working with others to end the preventable deaths of mothers, newborns and children by 2030. Our steps to deliver this commitment include: Support for efforts to protect children in low income countries through our commitment of up to £1.65 billion to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Over 2021-2025, Gavi will support the roll-out of the most comprehensive package of vaccines to the world's poorest countries, focusing the hardest to reach children. This will include immunising 490 million children against measles, averting approximately 1.4 million preventable deaths; Support for delivery of quality antenatal and post-natal care, including through the Global Financing Facility in 36 countries, which is helping countries challenged by service disruptions due to the pandemic; and; Promotion of a highly cost-effective set of nutrition services for women and children, including breastfeeding support, provision of nutritional supplements and treatment for acute malnutrition. Between April 2015 and March 2020, we reached 55.1 million young children, women and adolescent girls through our nutrition programmes.

9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the UK plans to use as G7 president to lead global efforts to strengthen primary health care systems.

Leading the global recovery from coronavirus while strengthening resilience against future pandemics is a priority for our G7 Presidency. We are using our G7 Presidency to champion support for vulnerable countries and to promote global health and development. This will include strengthening global and national health systems, as we pursue our vision for a safer, healthier and more prosperous world.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterparts across the globe on the impact of soy production on deforestation.

A due diligence obligation set out in the Environment Bill will make it illegal for UK businesses to use agricultural commodities if they have not been produced in line with local laws protecting forests. This will help to ensure that UK imports of soya come from sustainable sources, and the Government is working to encourage other major markets to take a similar position.

As President of the COP26 climate change conference, the UK is also working to establish a new partnership between consumer and producer countries of agricultural commodities. The partnership will promote collaboration between governments and accelerate action to stop deforestation caused by agricultural commodities, including soya, and encourage trade in commodities that have been grown sustainably.

This political engagement complements UK International Climate Finance for forest protection and sustainable agriculture in key regions, including soya-producing regions of Brazil.

14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to encourage the Government of Morocco to secure peace in Western Sahara.

We are closely monitoring the situation in Western Sahara and are in regular contact with the parties, including the Government of Morocco. We are also in close contact with the UN, both in New York and in the region. We continue to urge the parties to avoid further escalation, return to the ceasefire agreement, and re-engage with the UN-led political process. We strongly support the UN Secretary General's efforts to appoint a Personal Envoy as soon as possible.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will propose a motion to the United Nations Security Council requesting the United Nations Secretary-General appoint a Personal Envoy to Western Sahara.

We are closely monitoring the situation in Western Sahara and are in regular contact with the parties, including the Government of Morocco. We are also in close contact with the UN, both in New York and in the region. We continue to urge the parties to avoid further escalation, return to the ceasefire agreement, and re-engage with the UN-led political process. We strongly support the UN Secretary General's efforts to appoint a Personal Envoy as soon as possible.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the mechanisms in the UK-Morocco association agreement to support a peaceful solution to the Western Sahara conflict.

The UK supports UN-led efforts to reach a lasting and mutually acceptable political solution that provides for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara. We have regular exchanges with the parties to the Western Sahara dispute, including Morocco. Association Agreements, including the UK-Morocco Association Agreement, include provisions for political dialogue.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Iranian counterpart on the return of the detained British national Anoosheh Ashoori to the UK.

The Government remains extremely concerned about all dual British nationals detained in Iran, including Anoosheh Ashoori. Iran does not recognise dual nationality and therefore does not permit access to British-Iranian detainees. We continue to urge the Iranian Government to immediately release all British-Iranian nationals arbitrarily detained in Iran to enable them to return to their families in the UK. The welfare of British-Iranian citizens in Iran is also of paramount importance, and we call on Iran to uphold its commitments under international law to treat all detainees in line with international standards. We have continued to raise the cases of British-Iranian nationals detained in Iran at the most senior levels, and discuss them at every opportunity with our Iranian counterparts.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to ensure that UK offshore sailors visiting the EU will be able to (a) stay in the EU for 180 consecutive days a year and (b) receive equal treatment to EU national visiting the UK for the same period of time; and what assessment he has made of the effect on offshore sailors of the differential arrangements that will potentially apply at the end of the transition period.

The Government has discussed mobility arrangements across a number of areas as part of negotiations on our future relationship with the EU. The EU has already legislated such that UK nationals will not need a visa when travelling to the Schengen area for short stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. This will apply from the end of the transition period to all UK nationals travelling to and within the Schengen area for purposes such as tourism. This is the standard length of stay that the EU provides to the nationals of eligible third countries that offer visa-free travel access for EU citizens, in line with existing EU legislation.

As things stand, stays beyond the EU's 90/180 day visa-free allocation from 1 January 2021 onwards will be for individual Member States to decide and implement through domestic entry rules and visa arrangements for non-EU citizens. UK nationals will need to discuss the specifics of their situation with the relevant Member State authorities and should be prepared to provide any extra documentation that may be required. Under the UK's new immigration system, EU citizens will be treated as non-visa nationals for the purposes of tourism after the end of the transition period. EU citizens will be able to come to the UK as visitors for six months without the need to obtain a visa. This length of stay is the standard visitor provision for the nationals of all other non-visa countries.

15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that UK aid reaches the most vulnerable people during the covid-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 is a compound and protracted crisis, where the impacts on health, economies, food security, stability and society will hit the world's poorest and most fragile countries hardest. As a leading donor to the global COVID-19 response and one of the biggest humanitarian donors globally, we are ensuring that our support goes to those who need it the most, including refugees and other forcibly displaced populations.

We have so far pledged up to £790 million of UK aid to counter the health and economic impacts of COVID-19, and to further the search for vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. In addition, we have pivoted over 200 bilateral programmes towards addressing direct and indirect impacts of COVID-19 response.

We are paying particular attention to the needs of the most vulnerable. Our funding for UNHCR is focused on supporting refugees. Our support to UNFPA and UNICEF will protect the rights of women and girls, including addressing gender-based violence and ensuring continued access to sexual and reproductive health care. We have also recently announced a package of £119 million to provide relief to over six million people and help prevent famine in countries hit by conflict and COVID-19.

15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of discrimination against religious minorities on the distribution of UK aid.

The UK Government works to ensure that recipients of UK Aid, including minority religious communities, are not discriminated against because of their faith. The UK is committed to delivering its aid according to internationally-recognised humanitarian principles. These principles ensure that humanitarian assistance is delivered to those who are most vulnerable and most in need of this assistance irrespective of race, religion or ethnicity. This includes minority religious communities, who are assessed by our partners when determining those most in need of protection and assistance.

The FCDO's use of country context analysis has increased the understanding of how religious dynamics and religious groups are factored into all of our country programmes. The FCDO undertakes interdisciplinary analysis of a country's politics, society, state and economy to identify the most significant problems that hinder development and the main entry points and opportunities to create change. There is a strong emphasis on how politics, security, and demographics interact with economic growth and human development. This includes the role of religion and discrimination of religious minorities.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure delivery on the aims of the Strategic Vision for Gender Equality.

Advancing gender equality and women's rights are a core part of the UK Government's mission, and Global Britain's role as a force for good in the world, including fulfilling every girl's right to 12 years of quality education. The Government remains steadfast in its commitment to this agenda.

Substantial progress has been made since the launch of the Strategic Vision in 2018. Highlights include announcing the biggest ever donor commitment to support and accelerate the Africa-led movement to end female genital mutilation (£50 million), securing unilateral agreement by the 53 Commonwealth Leaders to work to ensure 12 years of quality education for all girls by 2030, and generating world-leading evidence on how to drive down global rates of violence against women and girls through our What Works to Prevent Violence programme. Between 2019-20 alone UKaid supported 25.4 million women to access modern methods of family planning, helping to save thousands of lives.

As part of the launch of the new FCDO, we will refresh and build on existing strategies, as well as develop new approaches, but we do not see the core ambitions of the Strategic Vision for Gender Equality changing.

7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to his Bahraini counterpart on (a) Mohammed Ramadhan, (b) Hussain Moosa and (c) other prisoners who have been sentenced to death in Bahrain.

We are concerned by the death sentences handed to Mohammed Ramadhan and Hussain Moosa. We continue to raise both cases at senior levels with the Government of Bahrain. The Bahraini Government is fully aware that the UK opposes the death penalty, in all circumstances, as a matter of principle. We continue to monitor their case, as it is taken to the Court of Cassation for final review.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
30th Jan 2024
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much revenue was generated by the Crown Estate in Wales by activity area in (a) 2022 and (b) 2023.

The Crown Estate's revenue was £483.3 million for 2021-2022 and £738.7 million for 2022-2023 (as noted on page 116 of the 2022-2023 annual report).

Figures are not available for revenue specifically generated in Wales (or activity areas in Wales), as The Crown Estate runs a single set of accounts at an enterprise level and expenditure is incurred for the benefit of the whole portfolio.

Full annual accounts can be found in the financial statements section of the 2022-2023 annual report, with reference to the Wales review which highlights The Crown Estate’s work in Wales.

Gareth Davies
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Dec 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made a recent assessment of the adequacy of the granularity of data produced by the ONS for the purposes of policy decisions relating to support for businesses.

The government is committed to working closely with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to ensure continued improvements to data and statistics.

In 2016, Sir Charles Bean published an independent review of economic statistics. This made several recommendations, including to make data more granular and timely through greater use of large scale datasets. The government fully supported those recommendations and has since provided the ONS with £25m to implement them, which led to improvements such as use of VAT data in National Accounts estimates, and the publication of monthly GDP.

Subsequently, at Spending Review 2021, the government funded ONS to undertake a further ambitious programme of improvements to its suite of economic statistics. This includes introducing scanner data into price statistics and further upgrades to the granularity of business statistics through greater use of administrative data.

Gareth Davies
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Jun 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he has taken to support pensioners with changes in their mortgage costs as a result of (a) increases in the cost of living and (b) rises in interest rates.

We recognise this will be a concerning time for homeowners and mortgage holders. Anyone worried about making their mortgage repayments should speak to their lender as soon as possible.

The pricing of mortgages is a commercial decision for lenders in which the Government does not intervene. Where mortgage holders, including pensioners, do fall into financial difficulty, Financial Conduct Authority guidance requires firms to offer tailored support. This could include a range of measures depending on individual circumstances.

The Government has also taken a number of measures aimed at helping people to avoid repossession, including Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) loans for those in receipt of an income-related benefit, and protection in the courts through the Pre-Action Protocol.

The Government recognises the challenges facing households – including pensioners – due to elevated costs of living, so has taken action so has taken action at Spring Budget 2023 to go further to protect struggling families. Taken together, support to households to help with higher bills is worth £94 billion, or £3,300 per household on average, across 2022-23 and 2023-24 – one of the largest in Europe.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
19th Jun 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential effect of changes in the costs of the average mortgage on pensioners.

We recognise this will be a concerning time for homeowners and mortgage holders. Anyone worried about making their mortgage repayments should speak to their lender as soon as possible.

The pricing of mortgages is a commercial decision for lenders in which the Government does not intervene. Where mortgage holders, including pensioners, do fall into financial difficulty, Financial Conduct Authority guidance requires firms to offer tailored support. This could include a range of measures depending on individual circumstances.

The Government has also taken a number of measures aimed at helping people to avoid repossession, including Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) loans for those in receipt of an income-related benefit, and protection in the courts through the Pre-Action Protocol.

The Government recognises the challenges facing households – including pensioners – due to elevated costs of living, so has taken action so has taken action at Spring Budget 2023 to go further to protect struggling families. Taken together, support to households to help with higher bills is worth £94 billion, or £3,300 per household on average, across 2022-23 and 2023-24 – one of the largest in Europe.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
19th Jun 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate his Department has made of the number of mortgage defaults in Wales in each of the next 12 months.

We recognise this will be a concerning time for homeowners and mortgage holders. Anyone worried about making their mortgage repayments should speak to their lender as soon as possible.

Mortgage arrears and repossessions remain below pre-pandemic levels and three times lower than the levels we inherited in 2010. However, where mortgage borrowers do fall in financial difficulty, Financial Conduct Authority guidance requires firms to offer tailored support. This could include a range of measures depending on individual circumstances.

The Government has also taken a number of measures aimed at helping people to avoid repossession, including Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) loans for those in receipt of an income-related benefit, and protection in the courts through the Pre Action Protocol, which makes it clear that repossession must always be the last resort for lenders.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
15th May 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 11 May 2023 to Question 183926 on Shipping: Fuels, what percentage of Marine Voyages Relief claims which are not selected for additional security checks are processed within 30 days.

All Marine Voyages Relief claims are reviewed to ensure they are valid. Checks include claims are made within the correct timeframes, have the correct rate of duty claimed and are accurately completed with all information required. Should anything be omitted, claimed incorrectly or is out of time, the customer will be contacted to discuss and amend if appropriate. All claims received from new customers are subject to security checks to ensure that the claim is from a legitimate person/company, and they are credible and eligible to make the claim. We aim to repay all claims within the 30 days service level agreement, discounting days where we are awaiting further information from the customer. There is no specific percentage of claims requiring further checks. All claims are reviewed on a risk basis.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
5th May 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what is the average time it takes for HMRC to process applications from seafarers for relief from fuel duty for marine voyages.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) aims to process the majority of Marine Voyages Relief claims within 30 days. However, it may take longer if a claim is selected for additional security checks.

Gareth Davies
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Jan 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has had discussions with the Welsh Government on its policy of offering one-off payments to health service workers; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of such payments being classed as cost-of-living payments rather than income for tax and benefit purposes.

The Government recognises that public sector workers play a vital role in delivering our world class public services.

It is for the Welsh Government to allocate their funding in devolved areas, including for public sector pay, as they see fit and they are accountable to the Senedd for these decisions.

In England, the Government accepted the pay recommendations of the independent Pay Review Bodies for the NHS for 2022/23. These gave the highest uplifts in nearly twenty years, reflecting the vital contributions public sector workers make to our country and the cost of living pressures facing households. All NHS pay bands have received a £1,400 increase with those at the lowest end seeing a pay rise of 9.3%. We invited the unions to sit down with us and we have started discussions on the evidence we will be submitting to the independent pay review bodies for 2023/24, and to put forward their own evidence for discussion.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
13th Dec 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 1 November 2022 to Question 73093 on Solar Power: VAT, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of applying a zero per cent rate of VAT to batteries used for energy-storage purposes to supporting weather-dependant renewable energy sources, and whether he will provide and update on the review.

As set out in my previous response, at Spring Statement 2022, the Government announced the expansion of the VAT relief on the installation of energy saving materials (ESMs) to residential accommodation in Great Britain. The expansion of the relief, which includes the zero-rating of solar panel installations, represents an additional £280 million of support for investment in ESMs.

VAT is the UK’s third largest tax, forecast to raise £157 billion in 2022/23, helping to fund key spending priorities such as important public services, including the NHS and policing. Extending the ESMs relief to battery storage as a standalone technology would have a fiscal cost and should be viewed in the context of over £50 billion of requests for relief from VAT received since the EU referendum.

However, the Government keeps all taxes under review, and recognises the importance of ensuring that policy remains in step with the rapid pace of technological development in the ESMs market and the changing policy context since this particular relief was introduced.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
1st Dec 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of devolving the Aggregates Levy to Wales.

The government has committed to keep devolution of the Aggregates Levy to Wales under review. This is with the intention of devolving it in future, subject to the agreement of both governments and legislatures.

Devolution would be subject to cross border impacts being worked through in full, to ensure the best outcome for businesses and consumers on both sides of the border.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
21st Nov 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has had recent discussions with the Welsh Government on devolving the Aggregates Levy to Wales.

Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors, as part of the process of policy development and delivery. This includes regular engagement with the Welsh Government on a range of issues.

Treasury officials are always happy to engage with the Welsh Government, should they wish to discuss this or any other issue further.

James Cartlidge
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
27th Oct 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of including solar batteries used for energy-storage purposes which are installed as standalone products on the list of energy saving measures that qualify for zero per cent VAT; and if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of that policy on (a) the deployment of domestic low carbon technologies, (b) energy efficiency and (c) household energy bills.

At Spring Statement 2022, the Government announced the expansion of the VAT relief on the installation of energy saving materials (ESMs) to residential accommodation in Great Britain. The expansion of the relief, which includes the zero-rating of solar panel installations, represents an additional £280 million of support for investment in ESMs.

VAT is the UK’s third largest tax, forecast to raise £154 billion in 2022-23, helping to fund key spending priorities such as important public services, including the NHS and policing. Extending the ESMs relief to battery storage as a standalone technology would have a fiscal cost and should be viewed in the context of over £50 billion of requests for relief from VAT received since the EU referendum.

However, the Government keeps all taxes under review, and recognises the importance of ensuring that policy remains in step with the rapid pace of technological development in the ESMs market and the changing policy context since this particular relief was introduced.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
26th Oct 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department's review of the energy support that will be offered after April 2023 will consider multi-function premises which are used for both residential and business purposes but have one business electricity account.

Through the Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS), the government will provide a discount on wholesale gas and electricity prices for all non-domestic consumers (including UK businesses, the voluntary and public sectors).

This is a temporary measure that will protect them from soaring energy costs and provide them with the certainty they need to plan through the acute crisis this winter. It will apply to energy usage from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023.

It is the Government’s intention that after this winter support targets only the most vulnerable businesses. A Treasury-led review will consider how best to deliver these objectives. As part of the review, we will ensure that all relevant considerations are taken into account.

James Cartlidge
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
21st Sep 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on consumers of raising the £7500 threshold on the Rent a Room scheme.

The most recent assessment on the impacts of raising the threshold for Rent a Room relief was carried out in 2015, when the threshold was increased from £4,250 up to its current level of £7,500 per year. The summary of impacts can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rent-a-room-relief-increase/increasing-rent-a-room-relief.

No further changes to the threshold have been assessed since then.

Ongoing cost estimates of the relief are published annually as part of the Non-Structural Tax Relief statistics release. The most recent release containing information on the Rent a Room scheme was published in December 2021, and can be found here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1046800/non_structural_cost_estimates_tables_december_2021.ods.

18th Jul 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has had discussions with Lord Morse regrading correspondence from the Loan Charge Action Group.

The Chancellor has not discussed correspondence sent by the Loan Charge Action Group with Lord Morse.

The Loan Charge has been legislated in Parliament and was introduced in the 2019-20 tax year. Lord Morse was clear in his report that the Loan Charge was an appropriate response to the tax avoidance activity that had taken place.

HMRC continue to work with and support taxpayers to resolve all outstanding enquiries and assessments relating to disguised remuneration loans.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
14th Jul 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions has he had with the (a) the Welsh Government, (b) Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (c) Development Bank of Wales on the potential role of the UK Infrastructure Bank is supporting Wales' net-zero transition.

The UK Infrastructure Bank (UKIB) has a mandate to tackle climate change and support regional and local economic growth across the UK. The Bank is operationally independent. The then-Chancellor wrote to the Bank on 18th March 2022 to provide it with a non-statutory strategic steer outlining the government's policy priorities for the institution and to provide additional clarity on its mandate.

This strategic steer encouraged the Bank to develop strong relationships with the devolved administrations and their institutions to ensure it is able to effectively deliver its mandate across all four nations. This letter has been published and is available on gov.uk.

In line with this strategic steer, the Bank is engaging with the Welsh Government and the Development Bank of Wales on its investment activities. Further details on the Bank’s plans to work with devolved bodies is set out in its Strategic Plan which was published on 23rd June 2022.

1st Jul 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Loan Charge and tax years that are subject to an open enquiry, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a time limit by which all open enquiries must be concluded.

The Loan Charge was introduced to ensure fairness for all taxpayers, including those who did not use Disguised Remuneration schemes. A time limit on the conclusion of Loan Charge related cases would not be fair or practical.

HMRC is delivering a comprehensive compliance programme to support relevant taxpayers to settle their Loan Charge liabilities. The progression of this work is dependent, in part, on the cooperation of those taxpayers.

When HMRC takes formal action, such as issuing a closure notice, determination or assessment, some taxpayers may want to appeal a HMRC decision or exercise their right to litigate which could take to time resolve.

Taxpayers have a right to apply to the First Tier Tribunal for an enquiry to be closed. One of the grounds for making such an application is if there has been an excessive delay during which a taxpayer has not received any communication from HMRC.

HMRC will continue working with taxpayers to help them get their tax right and get out of avoidance as soon as possible.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
1st Jul 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 13 June 2022 to Question 14571 on Tax Avoidance, what proportion of the individuals who have enquiries open have received correspondence from HMRC in the last 12 months, either to open the enquiry or to update them on their position.

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer that was given on 13 June 2022 to UIN 14571. All taxpayers with open enquiries should have received correspondence from HMRC in the last 12 months, either to open the enquiry or to update them on their position.

HMRC wants to help taxpayers get out of tax avoidance schemes as soon as possible.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
8th Jun 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many and what proportion of individuals affected by the Loan Charge have been (a) contacted by an Enquiry Officer when their case is placed on hold for any reason and (b) updated annually about the status of their open tax enquiry.

HMRC wants to help taxpayers get out of tax avoidance schemes as soon as possible and rarely put enquiries on hold.

HMRC has opened approximately 25,000 enquiries into individuals who are subject to the Loan Charge. As part of its overall compliance processes and its commitment to update taxpayers at least annually, all of these taxpayers should have received correspondence from HMRC in the last 12 months, either to open the enquiry or to update them on their position.
Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the validity of open years within regards to the Loan Charge on (a) the ability of HMRC to recover unpaid tax, (b) the welfare of individuals affected by the Loan Charge and (c) the ability of individuals affected by the Loan Charge to repay designated sums without risking bankruptcy.

The Government takes tax avoidance seriously. The Loan Charge was announced at Budget 2016 as part of a package of measures to tackle Disguised Remuneration (DR) tax avoidance. The forecast was last revised at Spring Statement 2022, with the latest estimated overall Exchequer yield of £3.4 billion for the entire package, which includes the Loan Charge.

Individuals are personally responsible for paying the right tax under UK law. Where a taxpayer has outstanding tax on DR loans, HMRC is working to bring these cases to conclusion.

However, HMRC is also committed to ensuring that anyone with concerns about paying what they owe has access to payment support options, including the ability to pay in instalments based on what they can afford and over any length of time needed. HMRC only petitions for bankruptcy as a last resort in a small minority of cases where all other avenues have been exhausted.

The Government knows that some taxpayers need extra help to resolve their DR use at what can be a difficult time for them. All HMRC DR and Debt Management teams are trained to identify and support taxpayers who need extra help. HMRC also signposts organisations such as MIND and Samaritans to help support taxpayers who have mental health issues or who are demonstrating emotional distress.

HMRC published the ‘HMRC issue briefing: settling disguised remuneration scheme use and/or paying the loan charge’ on 11 April 2022. This includes further information about support to help taxpayers settle their outstanding tax liabilities.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will take steps to suspend the requirement for an ATA Carnet for the temporary movement of leisure boats from the UK to the EU.

There is no requirement to use an ATA Carnet for the temporary movement of leisure boats from the UK to the EU. The use of an ATA Carnet is optional and is a commercial decision depending on an individual or business’s specific circumstances.

ATA Carnets are generally an option for temporarily moving boats that are participating in an official event, such as a race or a trade fair, between the UK and EU. An ATA Carnet can help simplify customs formalities by allowing a single document to be used for clearing goods through customs in the countries that are part of the ATA Carnet system. In the UK, ATA Carnets are administered by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI). Individuals and businesses wishing to use ATA Carnets are advised to contact the LCCI directly to discuss their needs.

Boats for personal use may not require an ATA Carnet as the EU’s Temporary Admission (TA) procedure offers an alternative means to import goods temporarily into the EU, provided the relevant conditions are met. TA is a customs facilitation which allows temporary imports without payment of EU import duties, including VAT. The management of EU import and export procedures is the responsibility of the customs authorities of the EU Member States, so businesses and individuals should confirm the processes at their port of arrival.

Individuals or businesses re-importing goods into the UK can claim relief from import VAT, and any customs duty under Returned Goods Relief (RGR), provided specific conditions are met. RGR applies to goods exported from the UK and re-imported within three years in an unaltered state and can be claimed for goods which are imported into the UK following their export from the UK under TA or with an ATA Carnet. The Government recently legislated to make it clear that personal effects, such as leisure boats, returning to the UK with the original owner will be granted a waiver of the three-year rule.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on the payment of a ATA Carnet on the temporary movement of boats from the UK to the EU.

The UK is a signatory to the Customs Convention on the ATA Carnet and the Istanbul Convention on Temporary Admission. Approximately 80 countries around the world (including all EU member states) accept ATA Carnets. ATA Carnets are an option for moving goods temporarily between the UK and EU. During negotiations on the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the UK and the EU, both parties proposed text on the temporary admission of goods, which reflect practices set out in the ATA Carnet and Istanbul Conventions. These proposals are reflected in the final Trade and Cooperation Agreement text.

There is no requirement to use an ATA Carnet for the temporary movement of leisure boats from the UK to the EU. The use of an ATA Carnet is optional and is a commercial decision depending on an individual or business’s specific circumstances.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
18th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to take steps to support unpaid carers with the recent increase in the cost of living.

The government understands the pressures that many households are facing with the cost of living and is monitoring the situation closely. These are global challenges, but the government is providing support worth over £22 billion in 2022-2023 to help families with these pressures, much of which will help carers on low incomes. This includes providing millions of households with up to £350 to help with rising energy bills and helping people keep more of what they earn. The government has cut the Universal Credit taper rate and increased work allowances, frozen alcohol duty as well as announcing a further rise in the National Living Wage to £9.50 an hour from April 2022.

The Spring Statement went further, with the government announcing an increase to the annual National Insurance Primary Threshold and Lower Profits Limit to £12,570, a cut to fuel duty by 5 pence per litre, and an additional £500m to help with the cost of essentials such as food, clothing and utilities through the Household Support Fund.

Carers and their vital contribution to society are also recognised within the welfare system. Carers can receive additional support through Carer’s Allowance, the Carer Element in Uni versal Credit and through Pension Credit. The weekly rate of Carer’s Allowance will increase to £69.70 in April 2022. Around 360,000 carer households on Universal Credit can receive an additional £1,965 a year through the Carer Element, ensuring that extra support is focused on those carers who need it most. This amount will increase from April 2022 and will benefit carers across the country.

7th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the cost to businesses of the new trade checks which have been introduced as a result of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement seeks to reduce the costs for traders of customs processes introduced following the end of the transition period with the EU. It supports efficient customs arrangements and ensures that goods originating in the EU or UK are not subject to tariffs.

The Treasury has not prepared an economic Impact Assessment on the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) and it does not prepare forecasts for the UK economy and public finances, as this is the responsibility of the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). The latest forecasts from the OBR were published alongside the Budget on 27 October 2021:

https://obr.uk/efo/economic-and-fiscal-outlook-october-2021/

The OBR’s analysis used a range of external studies to predict the long term impact on UK GDP.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the economic impact of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement on businesses in the UK.

The Treasury has not prepared an economic Impact Assessment on the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) and it does not prepare forecasts for the UK economy and public finances, as this is the responsibility of the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). The latest forecasts from the OBR were published alongside the Budget on 27 October 2021:

https://obr.uk/efo/economic-and-fiscal-outlook-october-2021/

The OBR’s analysis used a range of external studies to predict the long term impact on UK GDP.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the cost to businesses in the UK of leaving the EU VAT area.

As with all new tax measures, the Government includes its assessment of the impacts of the changes in Tax Information and Impact Notes. Notes for measures legislated for in the Taxation (Post-transition Period) Act were published alongside that legislation.
Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
28th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much was distributed from the £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund before that fund’s closure on the 30 June 2021.

As of 26 October 2021, there has been a total of 4,268 payments made to 4,163 unique businesses, amounting to £6,682,367.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
28th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many SMEs applied for funding through the SME Brexit Support Fund before that fund’s closure on the 30 June 2021.

As of 26 October 2021, 11,138 SMEs expressed an interest in applying for funding through the SME Brexit Support Fund, and 5088 grant offers were made.

There were 6050 applications that did not progress to the grant offer stage. This was for a variety of reasons, primarily that 4461 did not finalise their applications. The remaining 1589 applications were not offered grants as they did not meet the eligibility criteria.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
20th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a right to appeal for Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grant decisions.

The Government announced at Budget 2021 that the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will continue until September, with a fourth and a final fifth grant. This provides certainty to business as the economy reopens and means the SEISS will continue to be one of the most generous schemes for the self-employed in the world.

There is no legal right to appeal either eligibility for a SEISS grant or the amount of the grant. These decisions are based on information from tax returns provided to HMRC by the self-employed. Anyone who believes that information is wrong can ask HMRC to review the position. If someone was eligible for earlier SEISS grants (SEISS 1-3) but has not been invited to claim the fourth grant, they can access the SEISS service to find out why they are considered ineligible for the fourth SEISS grant, and again can ask HMRC to review this decision

Individuals asking for a review need to tell HMRC the reason for the request and be prepared to provide evidence where necessary.

12th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department has undertaken an assessment of the (a) number of jobs that would be created by a freeport in Wales, (b) type of jobs that freeport would create and (c) other economic impacts of that freeport.

Freeports will be national hubs for international trade, innovation and commerce, regenerating communities across the UK by attracting new businesses, spreading jobs, investment and opportunity to towns and cities up and down the country.

We want to ensure that the whole of the UK can benefit, not just England. We are having ongoing discussions with the Welsh government to establish at least one Freeport in Wales as soon as possible.

Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department has undertaken an economic impact assessment of establishing a freeport in Wales.

There is significant interest from the port sector in Wales, the UK Government stands ready to continue discussions with the Welsh Government to ensure the economic and regeneration opportunities Freeports can bring to Wales can be fully realised.
Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government in respect of Offshore Wind Leasing Round 4 in Wales.

As manager of the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, The Crown Estate is responsible for the award of leases for new and existing offshore wind projects, including the current Round 4 exercise. The Crown Estate works independently of government under the mandate set out in the Crown Estate Act 1961.

The Crown Estate has committed to optimise the green energy potential of the nation’s world-class offshore resources in supporting the nation’s 2050 net zero ambition. On 8 February 2021, The Crown Estate announced six proposed new offshore wind projects, including one in the north Wales region. These will all now progress to environmental assessment known as a Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA). These projects together represent just under 8 GW of potential new offshore wind capacity with the opportunity to deliver clean electricity for more than seven million homes and create employment opportunities across the country.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the equity of the correlation between the allocation of child benefits to individuals who share joint custody of a child and the costs that those individuals incur.

At present, the law provides for Child Benefit to be paid to one parent only. The parent who claims Child Benefit can voluntarily choose to pay an agreed proportion to the other parent. Where parents separate and both have care of their child, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) encourage them to agree who should claim Child Benefit. Where they cannot reach an agreement, the law allows HMRC to decide, at their discretion, who should receive the payment based on information from both parents, including the number of days the child lives with them, and the actual costs incurred by each of them on things such as clothing, food and accommodation.

Currently there are no plans to change the law to split payments of Child Benefit where parents have separated and share care of their children. The Government believes that directing payment to the person mainly responsible for the child best ensures that the money goes to the person most likely to bear the weight of everyday care and expenditure.

30th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of backdating the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to include March and April 2020.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has been, and continues to be, one of the most generous self-employed COVID-19 support schemes in the world.

The SEISS is not intended to provide a month-by-month replacement of income. Due to the volatility of self-employed income and the lack of granular data that HMRC hold on self-employed trading profits, precise mapping of income replacement month by month is not possible. Instead, the SEISS provides a lump sum payment to support eligible self-employed individuals whose businesses have been affected by coronavirus.

30th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allocating additional funding to the devolved Administrations to support wholesalers who are ineligible for Business Rates Relief.

The UK government has supported businesses across the UK through a range of schemes this year, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

As business rates is a devolved tax it is for the devolved administrations to determine reliefs in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. However, the UK government has already guaranteed the devolved administrations an additional £16 billion of resource funding to provide support to people, businesses and public services this year. This comprises £8.2 billion for the Scottish Government, £5.0 billion for the Welsh Government and £2.8 billion for the Northern Ireland Executive.

Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect of current levels of funding to the devolved Administrations on their ability to administer Business Rates Relief to wholesalers.

The UK government has supported businesses across the UK through a range of schemes this year, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

As business rates is a devolved tax it is for the devolved administrations to determine reliefs in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. However, the UK government has already guaranteed the devolved administrations an additional £16 billion of resource funding to provide support to people, businesses and public services this year. This comprises £8.2 billion for the Scottish Government, £5.0 billion for the Welsh Government and £2.8 billion for the Northern Ireland Executive.

Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect on the financial security of wholesalers in Wales of their ineligibility for Business Rates Relief.

The UK government has supported businesses across the UK through a range of schemes this year, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

As business rates is a devolved tax it is for the devolved administrations to determine reliefs in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. However, the UK government has already guaranteed the devolved administrations an additional £16 billion of resource funding to provide support to people, businesses and public services this year. This comprises £8.2 billion for the Scottish Government, £5.0 billion for the Welsh Government and £2.8 billion for the Northern Ireland Executive.

Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to protect people who have accrued debt as a result of the covid-19 outbreak from losing their homes.

For mortgage payers, the Government has worked with mortgage lenders and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to ensure the financial sector provides access to mortgage payment holidays. In addition, support for Mortgage Interest provides qualifying borrowers who cannot afford their mortgage interest with financial help, enabling them to stay in their homes.

The Government has provided an unprecedented package of financial support for tenants. This includes providing nearly £1 billion of additional support for private renters claiming Universal Credit or Housing Benefit by increasing the Local Housing Allowance rate in 2020-21. The Government paused possession proceedings over the summer and now, to ensure that renters served notice can stay in their homes over winter, has extended notice periods to six months in all but the most egregious cases. And there will be no enforcement of evictions in areas of local lockdown, where access to premises is restricted, or over the Christmas period in England and Wales.

To help people in problem debt get their finances back on track, the budget for free debt advice in England has been increased to over £100 million this financial year. And from May 2021 the Breathing Space scheme will offer people in problem debt a pause of up to 60 days on most enforcement action, interest, fees and charges.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
9th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much the Welsh Government will receive in Barnett Consequentials from the £3 billion of new funding introduced for green buildings in England as part of the Plan for Jobs.

As part of the Plan for Jobs, the Chancellor announced over £3 billion of new funding for green buildings. This funding is subject to the Barnett formula. We are working closely with the devolved administrations to ensure they have the best information about likely changes in Barnett funding to facilitate their financial planning.

Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect of credit card processing fees on small businesses and charities since the discouragement of cash payments during the covid-19 outbreak; and what steps he is taking to ensure businesses are not negatively affected by the increase in credit card payments.

The Government remains committed to helping businesses and workers through the present very difficult time, and has announced unprecedented support, including a range of grant and tax deferral schemes, and £300 billion of guarantees, equivalent to 15 per cent of UK GDP. For voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations, the government has pledged £750 million to ensure they can continue their vital work supporting the country during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Government remains closely engaged with the financial regulators to monitor and assess risks around cash relating to COVID-19. In order to help control the virus, all businesses and individuals have been encouraged to follow the latest Government advice. To work safely during Coronavirus, retailers have been recommended to minimise contact around transactions, for example, considering using contactless payments. However, it remains the individual retailer’s choice as to whether to accept or decline any form of payment, including cash or card.

Some acquirers (the financial services firms which enable retailers to process card payments) are taking voluntary measures to support their business customers, for example through waiving fees, and the Government welcomes such action.

Furthermore, the Payment Systems Regulator is currently carrying out a market review into card-acquiring services. Its review is examining how competition is working, including looking at the fees retailers pay for card-acquiring services and the quality of service they receive. The interim findings will be published in Q3 2020.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has had discussions with the Welsh Government on (a) extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, (b) other employment support and (c) an adequate level of financial support for outdoor residential centres.

The Treasury’s priority is to support the whole UK economy through Covid-19. IT HAS taken unprecedented steps to support viable businesses to stay afloat and protect the incomes of the most vulnerable.

The Welsh Government and Office of the Secretary of State for Wales play a key part in these discussions, and there is regular engagement on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and the Welsh Government’s plans to protect jobs and support key sectors in Wales.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to extend the reduced rate of VAT for hospitality, holiday accommodation and attractions to (a) travel and (b) holiday letting agencies.

In light of the Covid-19 outbreak, the Chancellor has introduced a range of measures to help individuals and businesses through the crisis, including grants, loans and relief from business rates at a cost of more than £300 billion.

Property agencies are included in the temporary reduced rate provided that the contract is between the customer and the agent, and that the agent has the power to grant someone a licence to occupy holiday accommodation. Passenger transport for more than 10 people is ordinarily zero-rated for VAT purposes.

Expanding the scope of the temporary VAT reduction would come at a considerable cost to the Exchequer. However, the Government keeps all taxes under review.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to support educational charities; and what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of (a) extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for and (b) a package of support for educational charities whose operations will not be able to return to normal until January 2021 at the earliest.

The Government has announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will continue until 31 October. This Scheme must be temporary, and we must ensure people can get back to work when it is safe to do so and get the UK economy up and running again.

Many charities and social enterprises have benefitted from existing measures to support employers and businesses. Under these measures, charities have deferred VAT bills and will pay no business rates for their shops next year. In April the Government announced a £750 million support package for charities. £360 million of funding will be allocated directly to charities providing essential services and supporting vulnerable people including children and young people, while £370 million will be available to local charities including through the National Lottery Community Fund.

In addition, the Government has announced a £1 billion catch-up package to help teachers support those who have fallen behind while out of school and over £100 million to support remote learning.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to maintain the current level of employment support for people who are shielding and whose workplaces cannot be made covid-safe when the shielding scheme comes to an end on 1 August 2020.

On 22 June, the Prime Minister announced that the Government will relax the current public health guidance for those identified as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) to shield at home. This means from 1 August they will be able to return to work if they are unable to work from home, provided their workplace is COVID-safe.

It is important that this group continue to take careful precautions, and employers should do all they can to enable them to work from home where this is possible, including moving them to another role if required. Where this is not possible, the CEV should be provided with the safest on-site roles that enable them to maintain social distancing from others.

If employers cannot provide a safe working environment, the CEV will continue to have access to an unprecedented package of financial support. This is not limited to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, but also includes the introduction of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, and an increase in the generosity of welfare payments worth a further £8bn.

Current guidance for those who live with the shielded, including those in multi-generational households, is that they do not need to shield themselves but must carefully follow guidance on social distancing.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department made before deciding how (a) maternity leave, (b) sick leave and (c) holidays affect the value of claims made to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

The Government takes care to pay due regard to the equality impacts of its policy decisions relating to the Covid-19 outbreak, including the equality impacts of the SEISS, in line with all legal requirements and the Government’s commitment to promoting equality.

It is not possible for HMRC to know the reasons why an individual’s profits may have dropped in earlier years from income tax self-assessment returns. However, by calculating the grant on a three-year average of profits, the SEISS supports people who saw a dip in profits for parental/sickness leave.

HMRC have published statistics about the number and value of SEISS claims made by 31 May, including a breakdown by gender. These can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/self-employment-income-support-scheme-statistics-june-2020

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the calculation of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grant, what assessment his Department has made of the financial effect on women of not exempting maternity leave taken in (a) 2017-18 and (b) 2016-17.

The Government takes care to pay due regard to the equality impacts of its policy decisions relating to the Covid-19 outbreak, including the equality impacts of the SEISS, in line with all legal requirements and the Government’s commitment to promoting equality.

It is not possible for HMRC to know the reasons why an individual’s profits may have dropped in earlier years from income tax self-assessment returns. However, by calculating the grant on a three-year average of profits, the SEISS supports people who saw a dip in profits for parental/sickness leave.

HMRC have published statistics about the number and value of SEISS claims made by 31 May, including a breakdown by gender. These can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/self-employment-income-support-scheme-statistics-june-2020

3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that holiday insurance companies do not insist that claimants first file for a chargeback claim before they pay out on claims; and what discussions he has had with representatives from the Financial Conduct Authority and (b) Competition and Markets Authority on that matter.

Travel insurance typically applies only for losses that cannot be recovered from elsewhere. Customers should therefore first contact travel providers or accommodation providers for reimbursement. In the next instance, credit card providers would provide a refund under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 if the payment was made by credit card and cost was over £100 per unit. However, travel insurance policies differ so customers should check the terms and conditions of their policy or speak to their insurer.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published guidance for firms handling consumer claims during the Covid-19 crisis. Where consumers have two potentially valid avenues of redress against regulated firms (for example, from an insurer and credit provider) there is nothing in their rules that stops an insurer, credit provider or other regulated firm settling the claim in full (so long as there is no disadvantage to the consumer in this) and, where appropriate, seeking to claim back from the other firm involved.

The FCA will be consulting in the coming weeks on guidelines so that in future their expectations of firms and the choices for consumers will be clearer. More broadly, the FCA has said that, in light of COVID-19, insurers must consider very carefully the needs of their customers and show flexibility in their treatment of them.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if HM Revenue and Customs will waive the tax on the Welsh Government's £500 payments to carers.

The UK Government values the contribution of care workers greatly, particularly during the current COVID-19 crisis.

HM Revenue and Customs are working with the Welsh Government to understand the nature of the payments. Under the longstanding rules of income tax, any payments made in connection with an employment are chargeable to income tax and National Insurance contributions.

This is consistent with the Government’s approach across different forms of financial support during COVID-19, including payments made under the Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, which are liable to tax.

16th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much additional funding has been allocated to the (a) Welsh Government and (b) other public bodies in Wales in response to the covid-19 outbreak to ensure additional health provisions in prisons in Wales, since 31 January 2020.

The Welsh Government have been provided with over £1.6bn to support people, businesses and public services through COVID-19.

HMPPS is working closely with Public Health Wales, Welsh Government, Public Health England, the NHS and the Department for Health and Social Care to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Alongside existing procedures to manage outbreaks of infectious diseases, HMPPS are ensuring that staff have access to personal protective equipment where necessary and have introduced a procedure for the protective isolation of individuals in custody when it is considered that they may be infected with the virus. HMPPS are also working with prison health teams in Wales to ensure that there is a joint approach to any incidents.

Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the provision of compensation for (a) individuals and (b) businesses affected by coastal erosion.

Treasury Ministers and officials have regular discussions with all of the devolved administrations on matters of importance to the economy across the UK, including Environment policy. Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management policy is devolved. It is for the devolved administrations to set their own priorities and determine the allocation of funds as they choose.

Rishi Sunak
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with the representatives from (a) Crown Estate Commissioners and (b) Natural Resources Wales on the responsibility for land exposed to coastal erosion in Fairbourne, Gwynedd.

Treasury Ministers and officials have regular discussions with all of the devolved administrations on matters of importance to the economy across the UK, including Environment policy. Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management policy is devolved. It is for the devolved administrations to set their own priorities and determine the allocation of funds as they choose.

Rishi Sunak
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
7th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of establishing a family reunification visa scheme for people in Gaza.

The UK government is monitoring the situation in Israel and Gaza closely to ensure that it is able to respond appropriately.

British citizens and those with settled status in the UK, together with their foreign national dependants may come to the UK provided that they have valid travel documents, and existing permission to enter or remain in the UK; or are non-visa nationals. They must also pass appropriate security checks.

The government allows individuals with protection status in the UK to sponsor their partner or children to stay with or join them here through their refugee family reunion policy, provided they formed part of the family unit before the sponsor fled their country of origin to seek protection. Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules also provides a route to enter the UK as the parent of a child who is in the UK.

Individuals who do not meet these criteria should apply for a visa to enable them to enter the UK in the normal way.

The Home Office has not considered establishing a separate resettlement route for Palestinians to come to the UK. Since 2015, over half a million people have been offered safe and legal routes into the UK. Our approach is considered in the round, rather than on a crisis-by-crisis basis.

UKVI is working closely with the FCDO in supporting family members of British nationals evacuated from Gaza who require a visa, signposting the necessary steps and expediting appointments at the Visa Application Centre.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
5th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what his Department's policy is on the applicability of the £38,700 skilled worker earnings threshold for people who are (a) in possession of and (b) already applying for a UK visa from Spring 2024.

The Government will set out transitional arrangements, in due course, for people issued Skilled Worker visas before the salary changes announced on 4 December 2023 come into force.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
5th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what his Department's policy is on the applicability of the minimum income of £38,700 for family visas for people (a) with and (b) already applying for such a visa from Spring 2024.

The Government will set out any transitional provisions associated with the increase in the minimum income requirement in due course. Any applications already submitted will be considered in line with the existing policy.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department plans to house (a) asylum seekers and (b) refugees who are (i) women and (ii) children on (A) barges and (B) military bases.

The sites are or will be accommodating single adult male asylum seekers between the ages of 18 and 65.

8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what her Department's policy is on alternative accommodation for asylum seekers.

We are committed to ensuring that destitute asylum seekers are housed in safe, habitable, and fit for purpose accommodation, and that they are treated with dignity whilst in our care.

8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what policies are in place to ensure the safety of asylum-seeking (a) women and (b) children in asylum accommodation.

Across our estate there is an expectation that there will be mixed cohorts within our accommodation.

Some of our core Initial Accommodation may be configured to provide segregated areas specially for families and singles. Similarly in our Dispersed Accommodation there will be a mix of family properties and Houses of Multiple Occupation that are specifically for either males, females or mothers and babies.

Women with children who are in receipt of support are not required to share sleeping quarters with unrelated individuals of the opposite sex but may depending on the circumstances be placed in accommodation facilities that are used to house such individuals.

The Home Office has published the Asylum Support Contracts Safeguarding Framework at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/asylum-support-contracts-safeguarding-framework.

This framework sets out a joint, overarching approach, as well as the key controls and reporting mechanisms in place, across the AASC contracts, for safeguarding arrangements.

23rd Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of adherence to service standards in (a) priority service and (b) all skilled worker visa application services in Wales.

We do not treat applications for those working or residing in Wales any differently to those residing in the UK and we are in service standard for straightforward cases across the named routes.

Visa fees transparency data - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

23rd Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many skilled worker visa applications surpassed the service standard for conclusion in Wales in the most recent period for which data is available.

We do not treat applications for those working or residing in Wales any differently to those residing in the UK and we are in service standard for straightforward cases across the named routes.

Visa fees transparency data - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

23rd Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the average (a) cost and (b) time taken was for the conclusion of a (i) spousal and (ii) skilled worker visa application in Wales in the most recent period for which data is available.

We do not treat applications for those working or residing in Wales any differently to those residing in the UK and we are in service standard for straightforward cases across the named routes.

Visa fees transparency data - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

23rd Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many applications for (a) spousal, and (b) skilled worker visas in Wales were unresolved after (i) six and (ii) eight weeks in the most recent period for which data is available.

We do not treat applications for those working or residing in Wales any differently to those residing in the UK and we are in service standard for straightforward cases across the named routes.

Visa fees transparency data - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

19th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many stop and searches per 1,000 people by ethnicity were recorded in England in 2021-22.

The Home Office collects and publishes data on the ethnicity of people stopped and searched in England and Wales on an annual basis. The latest data are available here: Update to stop and search and arrests statistics using 2021 Census estimates - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Table 1 below shows how many searches per 1,000 people by ethnicity were recorded in England and Wales in 2021-22. Population data used to calculate the rates are from the 2021 Census.

Table 1 – stop and searches per 1,000 people by ethnicity in 2021-22, England and Wales

Self-defined ethnicity

White

Black or Black British

Asian or Asian British

Other Ethnic Group

Mixed

Rate per 1,000 people - England

5.5

26.7

8.8

6.7

9.3

Rate per 1,000 people - Wales

5.3

17.7

5.4

6.6

6.8

The Home Office have explored using different denominators to calculate stop and search disparity rates. Within the Metropolitan Police Force area using suspects of violent crime reduced disparity rates for black people from 3.7 to 1.2. Further details are here: Exploration of an alternative approach to calculating stop and search rates in the Metropolitan Police Force Area – Experimental Statistics - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

We continue to work to refine and enhance stop and search statistics, and reflect the fact searches tends to be concentrated in geographical areas with high crime.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
19th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many stop and searches per 1,000 people by ethnicity were recorded in Wales in 2021-22.

The Home Office collects and publishes data on the ethnicity of people stopped and searched in England and Wales on an annual basis. The latest data are available here: Update to stop and search and arrests statistics using 2021 Census estimates - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Table 1 below shows how many searches per 1,000 people by ethnicity were recorded in England and Wales in 2021-22. Population data used to calculate the rates are from the 2021 Census.

Table 1 – stop and searches per 1,000 people by ethnicity in 2021-22, England and Wales

Self-defined ethnicity

White

Black or Black British

Asian or Asian British

Other Ethnic Group

Mixed

Rate per 1,000 people - England

5.5

26.7

8.8

6.7

9.3

Rate per 1,000 people - Wales

5.3

17.7

5.4

6.6

6.8

The Home Office have explored using different denominators to calculate stop and search disparity rates. Within the Metropolitan Police Force area using suspects of violent crime reduced disparity rates for black people from 3.7 to 1.2. Further details are here: Exploration of an alternative approach to calculating stop and search rates in the Metropolitan Police Force Area – Experimental Statistics - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

We continue to work to refine and enhance stop and search statistics, and reflect the fact searches tends to be concentrated in geographical areas with high crime.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
6th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many unaccompanied asylum-seeking children have been transferred to each local authority in Wales in each month since the National Transfer Scheme became mandatory.

Ministers made the decision to mandate participation in the National Transfer Scheme (NTS) and directed local authorities in Wales to participate on 14 December 2021.

Mandatory NTS transfers began 14 December 2021, with any transfers since 23 November 2021 counting towards local authorities' allocations under the mandated scheme.

NTS data is published at RASI (Resettlement, Asylum Support and Integration) data: Q1 2023 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The National Transfer Scheme has seen 4,388 children transferred to local authorities between 1 October 2021 and 31 March 2023. Of the 4,388 children transferred in this period, 223 were transferred to local authorities in Wales. It is not possible to split the data into different local authority areas within Wales.

As the data is published quarterly, it is also not possible to split out the number of transfers from a specific date mid quarter. Therefore, some of the 223 children quoted may have been transferred under the voluntary scheme in the weeks prior to when the NTS was mandated (between 1 October 2021 and 23 November 2021).

6th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many and what proportion of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children who went missing from hotels in England have subsequently been found in Wales since 1 January 2022.

Since 1 Janaury 2022, 283 young persons missing from UASC Hotels have been located.

Two young people have been found in Wales after 1 January 2022 and that proportion would be 0.71%.

These hotels exist to provide temporary accommodation whilst placement within local authority is sought. Young people are supported by team leaders, support workers and security who are all on site 24/7. Further care is provided in hotels by teams of social workers and nurses.

Any missing child case or British child in care and are treated the same way including missing UASC.

26th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential impact of the level of the fee to apply for indefinite leave to remain on the retention of healthcare workers on Health and Care Worker visas.

The Government has seen no indication that the level of the fee to apply for indefinite leave to remain is deterring the retention of healthcare workers on Health and Care Worker visas and no separate assessment has been undertaken.

The Home Office introduced the Health and Care visa on 4 August 2020. This delivers and builds upon the Government’s commitment to introduce a route which makes it quicker, easier and significantly cheaper for eligible people working in health and social care to come to the UK with their families and those who are extending their visa. This offer has been well received by the sector, with the latest immigration figures show there is a sizeable uptake of this visa offer by the sector: Why do people come to the UK? To work - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

12th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment has she made of the trends of the number of spiking-related incidents in Wales in the last 12 months.

The term spiking relates to crimes committed whereby the victim unknowingly ingests some type of drug or alcohol, generally through an injection or through having their drink or food tampered with.

There are a number of crimes which police can create in these circumstances depending on the severity of the attack and the suspected intention of the perpetrator.

Using these police recorded crime data from the four Welsh forces, the incidence of spiking related crimes has fallen during 2022 when compared to 2021. This is in line with a general fall in spiking related crimes across both England and Wales Police forces.

14th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people (a) arrived in the UK, (b) were granted indefinite leave to remain, (c) were housed in temporary accommodation and (d) were moved into settled accommodation from each referral pathway of the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme in each month since the opening of those referral pathways.

At 4 November 2022, 22,833 people have arrived in the UK from Afghanistan, and we have granted Indefinite Leave to Remain to 12,296 individuals across the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) and Afghan Citizen Resettlement Scheme.

Information can be accessed by following this link: Afghan Resettlement Programme: operational data - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Work is underway to assure information on caseworking systems relating to all the individuals resettled under the ACRS and relocated under ARAP. Once this work concludes, statistics on both schemes - including the number of people resettled under each - will be included in the published Immigration Statistics.

16th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much additional funding the Government has provided to (a) local authorities and (b) support services for the operation of contingency asylum accommodation in Wales.

Due to the continuing unprecedented high volume of small boats arrivals and the historical pressure from COVID-19 measures on the asylum system it has been necessary to continue to use hotels to accommodate some asylum seekers to meet our immediate statutory need.

Hotel occupancy levels vary daily. The total number of people housed in temporary asylum accommodation in any one month is not recorded and to provide this information could only be done at disproportionate cost. Statistics relating to supported asylum seekers residing in temporary asylum accommodation are published as Immigration Statistics under the S98 population tables. These statistics can be found at asylum and resettlement detailed datasets.

16th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many (a) adults and (b) children have been housed in temporary asylum accommodation in Wales in each month in 2022.

Due to the continuing unprecedented high volume of small boats arrivals and the historical pressure from COVID-19 measures on the asylum system it has been necessary to continue to use hotels to accommodate some asylum seekers to meet our immediate statutory need.

Hotel occupancy levels vary daily. The total number of people housed in temporary asylum accommodation in any one month is not recorded and to provide this information could only be done at disproportionate cost. Statistics relating to supported asylum seekers residing in temporary asylum accommodation are published as Immigration Statistics under the S98 population tables. These statistics can be found at asylum and resettlement detailed datasets.

27th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent estimate she has made of the average (a) delay and (b) cost to domestic fishing companies of the Skilled Worker visa's (i) English language requirements and (ii) requirement for applicants to apply from abroad.

The English language requirements for all Skilled Workers are fundamental to successful integration into British society, helping migrants to participate in community life and work. As the Skilled Worker route can lead to settlement it is right to assess the ability of migrants to understand both written and spoken English.

The requirement to speak basic English is a core principle of the points-based immigration system, as set out in our 2019 manifesto and HM Government’s original policy statement published on 19 February 2020. The ability to speak “lower intermediate English” – understanding the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. – is not a high standard but is essential to support overseas workers and their families live and work in the UK and to integrate.

Considering the fishing industry in particular, English language ability within busy environments and areas with potentially lethal equipment is also important to fulfil health and safety requirements.

Migrant workers who do not have a good command of English are more likely to be heavily dependent on their employer, less able to understand their rights, and less able to leave their employer and seek another job. Relaxing the English language requirement would increase the risk of exploitation in an industry where this is already a widely reported concern.

It is the Government’s position that if a foreign national is coming to work within UK territorial waters (12 nautical miles), or the UK landmass, then they will need to apply for the appropriate permission to do so, this is most likely a Skilled Worker visa. Conversely, if they are working outside of the 12 nautical miles then a Skilled Worker visa is not required.

Transit visas are a type of visit visa. For any visit visa to be granted, the person must intend to leave the UK at the end of their visit, therefore it is not possible to switch into a Skilled Worker visa or any other immigration route without first doing so.

English language ability is a longstanding requirement for skilled work visas route. The fishing industry has historically recruited workers from outside the EEA and any company following the rules would therefore be used to employing migrants who meet these requirements and delays should not occur.

27th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the impact of the requirement for those on transit visas to leave the UK before applying for a Skilled Worker Visa on the hire of foreign nationals as fishing crew members.

The English language requirements for all Skilled Workers are fundamental to successful integration into British society, helping migrants to participate in community life and work. As the Skilled Worker route can lead to settlement it is right to assess the ability of migrants to understand both written and spoken English.

The requirement to speak basic English is a core principle of the points-based immigration system, as set out in our 2019 manifesto and HM Government’s original policy statement published on 19 February 2020. The ability to speak “lower intermediate English” – understanding the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. – is not a high standard but is essential to support overseas workers and their families live and work in the UK and to integrate.

Considering the fishing industry in particular, English language ability within busy environments and areas with potentially lethal equipment is also important to fulfil health and safety requirements.

Migrant workers who do not have a good command of English are more likely to be heavily dependent on their employer, less able to understand their rights, and less able to leave their employer and seek another job. Relaxing the English language requirement would increase the risk of exploitation in an industry where this is already a widely reported concern.

It is the Government’s position that if a foreign national is coming to work within UK territorial waters (12 nautical miles), or the UK landmass, then they will need to apply for the appropriate permission to do so, this is most likely a Skilled Worker visa. Conversely, if they are working outside of the 12 nautical miles then a Skilled Worker visa is not required.

Transit visas are a type of visit visa. For any visit visa to be granted, the person must intend to leave the UK at the end of their visit, therefore it is not possible to switch into a Skilled Worker visa or any other immigration route without first doing so.

English language ability is a longstanding requirement for skilled work visas route. The fishing industry has historically recruited workers from outside the EEA and any company following the rules would therefore be used to employing migrants who meet these requirements and delays should not occur.

27th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the suitability of the English language requirements of the Skilled Worker visa for workers who apply in order to work as members of fishing crews in the UK.

The English language requirements for all Skilled Workers are fundamental to successful integration into British society, helping migrants to participate in community life and work. As the Skilled Worker route can lead to settlement it is right to assess the ability of migrants to understand both written and spoken English.

The requirement to speak basic English is a core principle of the points-based immigration system, as set out in our 2019 manifesto and HM Government’s original policy statement published on 19 February 2020. The ability to speak “lower intermediate English” – understanding the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. – is not a high standard but is essential to support overseas workers and their families live and work in the UK and to integrate.

Considering the fishing industry in particular, English language ability within busy environments and areas with potentially lethal equipment is also important to fulfil health and safety requirements.

Migrant workers who do not have a good command of English are more likely to be heavily dependent on their employer, less able to understand their rights, and less able to leave their employer and seek another job. Relaxing the English language requirement would increase the risk of exploitation in an industry where this is already a widely reported concern.

It is the Government’s position that if a foreign national is coming to work within UK territorial waters (12 nautical miles), or the UK landmass, then they will need to apply for the appropriate permission to do so, this is most likely a Skilled Worker visa. Conversely, if they are working outside of the 12 nautical miles then a Skilled Worker visa is not required.

Transit visas are a type of visit visa. For any visit visa to be granted, the person must intend to leave the UK at the end of their visit, therefore it is not possible to switch into a Skilled Worker visa or any other immigration route without first doing so.

English language ability is a longstanding requirement for skilled work visas route. The fishing industry has historically recruited workers from outside the EEA and any company following the rules would therefore be used to employing migrants who meet these requirements and delays should not occur.

27th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the impact of the English language requirements of the Skilled Worker visa on the hire foreign nationals as fishing crew members.

The English language requirements for all Skilled Workers are fundamental to successful integration into British society, helping migrants to participate in community life and work. As the Skilled Worker route can lead to settlement it is right to assess the ability of migrants to understand both written and spoken English.

The requirement to speak basic English is a core principle of the points-based immigration system, as set out in our 2019 manifesto and HM Government’s original policy statement published on 19 February 2020. The ability to speak “lower intermediate English” – understanding the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. – is not a high standard but is essential to support overseas workers and their families live and work in the UK and to integrate.

Considering the fishing industry in particular, English language ability within busy environments and areas with potentially lethal equipment is also important to fulfil health and safety requirements.

Migrant workers who do not have a good command of English are more likely to be heavily dependent on their employer, less able to understand their rights, and less able to leave their employer and seek another job. Relaxing the English language requirement would increase the risk of exploitation in an industry where this is already a widely reported concern.

It is the Government’s position that if a foreign national is coming to work within UK territorial waters (12 nautical miles), or the UK landmass, then they will need to apply for the appropriate permission to do so, this is most likely a Skilled Worker visa. Conversely, if they are working outside of the 12 nautical miles then a Skilled Worker visa is not required.

Transit visas are a type of visit visa. For any visit visa to be granted, the person must intend to leave the UK at the end of their visit, therefore it is not possible to switch into a Skilled Worker visa or any other immigration route without first doing so.

English language ability is a longstanding requirement for skilled work visas route. The fishing industry has historically recruited workers from outside the EEA and any company following the rules would therefore be used to employing migrants who meet these requirements and delays should not occur.

19th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if his Department will publish the guidance on its proposed policy to reclassify modern slavery as an illegal immigration issue.

This Government is committed to tackling the heinous crime of modern slavery and in the UK we have a world-leading response.

There are close links between modern slavery and migration; about two thirds of potential victims are foreign nationals, and often potential victims have ongoing engagement with the immigration system.

This is not a reclassification. Modern Slavery is a harmful and exploitative crime which Home Office ministers continue to tackle and support victims.

13th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the adequacy of her Department's record keeping for the (a) Ukraine Family Visa Scheme and (b) Homes for Ukraine Scheme.

All applications made under Homes for Ukraine and Ukraine Family Scheme are recorded on Home Office systems.

28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the trends in the level of disability hate crime in Wales in the last three years.

All forms of hate crime are completely unacceptable. We have a robust legislative framework to respond to hate crimes which target race, religion, sexual orientation, disability and transgender identity, and the Hate Crime Action Plan has improved the response to all forms of hate crime, including disability hate crime.

Increases in police recorded hate crime are generally driven by improvements in crime recording and a better indication of what constitutes a hate crime. Recorded disability hate crime has increased in both Wales and England over the past three years.

This may be due to a genuine increase in these crimes, or due to police force improvements in their recording of offences and identification of what constitutes hate crime.

16th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment has she made of the adequacy of financial support available to participants in the Ukraine Family Scheme compared to those participating in the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.

Ukrainian nationals coming to the UK under the Ukraine Family Scheme are given the same access to work, benefits and public services as those coming here under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, as laid down in Appendix Ukraine to the Immigration Rules, details of which can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-ukraine-scheme?msclkid=e6adf1dbcf7b11ec86b0be860d4b164a

Those sponsoring under the Ukraine Family Scheme are not required to provide accommodation. Therefore, the Government has not extended the £350 per month ‘thank you’ payment offered to those providing a home to refugees arriving in the UK under the Homes for Ukraine and Super Sponsor Schemes.

Sponsoring family members able to provide appropriate accommodation can choose to sponsor their family members under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme or Super Sponsor Schemes in order to become eligible for the ‘thank you’ payment.

13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of average time it currently takes to process and issue visas for non-Ukrainian nationals.

For applications not lodged under the Ukraine schemes, UKVI offers a range of service levels for applications which include Standard service (15 working days), Priority service (5 working days), and Super Priority service (next day) after a customer has provided their biometrics.

UKVI made a decision to prioritise the Ukraine Schemes following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Resources are now being returned to focus on visa routes impacted by these prioritisation decisions which should reduce the average processing times in due course. We continue to prioritise any urgent compelling or compassionate cases across all workstreams and are working to reduce the current processing times as quickly as possible.

For Standard applications lodged outside the UK, the current average processing time is as follows:

  • Visitors – 6 weeks
  • Students – 5 weeks
  • Working/Investing – 5 weeks
  • Joining Family – up to 24 weeks

Further information can be found at Visa decision waiting times: applications outside the UK - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) and this is regularly updated.

For Standard applications lodged inside the UK, the current average processing times are not published though all routes are currently within the published service standards which are:

  • Switching/Extending a Student, Family, Ancestry, Work, Visitor, or Graduate Visa – 8 weeks
  • Switching/Extending a Hong Kong British National (Overseas) Visa – 12 weeks
  • Applying for Settlement - within 6 months

Further information is published at Visa decision waiting times: applications inside the UK - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

15th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Animals in Science Regulation Unit’s Change Programme, what assessment she has made of the impact on animal welfare of (a) that programme and (b) the proposed decrease in in-person inspector visits to animal testing sites.

Each establishment licence holder has the responsibility at all times for the welfare of the animals within their establishment.

Establishment licence holders are required to have governance systems in place to ensure all Personal and Project Licence Holders comply with the requirements of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA) and to maintain compliance with the conditions on their own establishment licence. These requirements are defined in the Standard Conditions of licences.

In July 2021 the regulator initiated a new operating model that delivers a structured and integrated framework aligned with leading regulatory practice. In October of this year the regulator commenced a new system of full system audits that form part of an integrated system to assess compliance across the regulated community.

The audit process and the evidence for assessment of compliance against the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, and associated licence conditions, are available at: www.gov.uk/guidance/animal-research-technical-advice#process-and-standards-for-establishment-full-system-audits

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 3 March 2022 to Question 131268, on Police: Pepper Spray and Tasers, under what circumstances police officers are permitted to be in possession of (a) PAVa and (b) Conducted Energy Devices when they are (i) off duty and (ii) on call.

Decisions around equipping police officers, including the specific arrangements for carrying and storing equipment while off-duty and on call, are for operationally independent Chief Constables.

28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent guidance her Department has issued to police officers on the possession of (a) Pelargonic Acid Vannilylamide (PAVa) spray and (b) conducted energy devices (Taser) when they are (i) off duty and (ii) on call.