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Written Question
Internet: Safety
28 May 2021

Questioner: Liz Twist (LAB - Blaydon)


To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether safety duties relating to content that is harmful to adults announced as part of the Online Safety Bill in the Queen's Speech 2021 will include content on and related to (a) suicide and (b) self-harm.

Answered by Caroline Dinenage

Under the new legal duty of care, in-scope companies will need to remove and limit the spread of illegal content and activity online. This includes illegal content which encourages or incites suicide online, with all companies expected to take swift and effective action against such content.

In addition, companies whose services have high-risk functionalities and which have the largest audiences will also be required to take action on content which is legal but which may cause harm to adults such as material which relates to self-harm or suicide. These companies will need to set out in clear terms and conditions what is acceptable on their services, and enforce those terms and conditions consistently and transparently.

We are also ensuring that criminal law is fit for purpose to account for harmful and dangerous communications online. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has sponsored a Law Commission review of harmful online communications. As part of this review, the Government has also asked the Law Commission to examine how the criminal law will address the encouragement or assistance of self harm. We know there is a strong case for making this sort of appalling content illegal. The Law Commission have consulted on their proposed reforms and will produce final recommendations by summer 2021.

Written Question
Third Sector: Coronavirus
4 Feb 2021

Questioner: Liz Twist (LAB - Blaydon)


What plans he has to provide additional financial support to the civil and voluntary sector during the national covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021.

Answered by Matt Warman

The £750 million sector funding package offered unprecedented support to allow charities and social enterprises to continue their vital work and support our national response to the pandemic.

In addition, the Government continues to make a package of support available across the economy to enable organisations to get through the months ahead. This includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which continues to be a lifeline to a multitude of organisations.

Written Question
Self-harm: Young People
11 Nov 2020

Questioner: Liz Twist (LAB - Blaydon)


To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of his Department working with the Department for Health and Social Care to improve voluntary sector provision for young people who self-harm, as recommended by the Samaritans in their October 2020 report entitled Pushed from pillar to post: Improving the availability and quality of support after self-harm in England.

Answered by John Whittingdale

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has overall policy responsibility for children and young people’s mental health.

While DCMS has made no assessment on this specific issue, we are aware of the detrimental impact Covid-19 has had on young people’s mental health.

Officials and Ministers regularly engage with young people, including through our Youth Steering Group and events hosted by the youth sector. In recent conversations young people have highlighted the impact Covid-19 has had on mental wellbeing and loneliness.

A total of £4.7 million from the Government’s £750 million Charities package went to support mental health charities, including support for young people’s mental health.

In addition to this, the Department for Health and Social Care provided £6 million to the Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund, which has supported over 130 charities to date.

Written Question
21 Sep 2020

Questioner: Liz Twist (LAB - Blaydon)


To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of fan representation on football club boards.

Answered by Nigel Huddleston

Football clubs are the heart of local communities, they have unique social value and many with a great history. It is vital they are protected.

The Government’s Expert Working Group on football supporter ownership and engagement in 2016 set out a number of recommendations to encourage greater engagement between supporters and those that run their club, while also helping to remove barriers to supporter ownership.

Whilst the Group was broadly supportive of the idea of supporter directors on club boards in principle, it believed that strong, structured dialogue with a representative group of supporters is a more inclusive way of ensuring supporters are informed and able to hold club owners and senior executives to account. The Premier League and English Football League now require clubs to meet with supporters at least twice a year to discuss strategic issues, giving fans the opportunity to shape the direction of the club.

Written Question
Video on Demand: Disability
28 Jan 2020

Questioner: Liz Twist (LAB - Blaydon)


To ask the Minister of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to bring forward regulations under section 93 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 to impose requirements on providers of on-demand programme services for the purpose of ensuring that their services are accessible to people with disabilities affecting their sight or hearing or both.

Answered by Nigel Adams

As part of a digitally inclusive society, television content should be accessible for all UK audiences. This is why, as part of the implementation process of the Digital Economy Act 2017, the Government asked Ofcom to provide recommendations on how legislation could make on demand services more accessible. Ofcom published its report in December 2018 and since then my Department has been working with Ofcom to develop the legislative framework for future requirements.

It is important to ensure that any legislation introduced is proportionate while making more content accessible to consumers. As a result, in November 2019 my officials wrote to Ofcom requesting that they complete a further targeted consultation to provide recommendations on specific aspects of the scheme.

Ofcom are now developing this second consultation which they intend to publish in early 2020 and will report back to DCMS later this year. After we have reviewed Ofcom’s recommendations, we will then set out next steps.