Martyn Day Portrait

Martyn Day

Scottish National Party - Linlithgow and East Falkirk

First elected: 7th May 2015


Health and Social Care Committee
5th Jan 2022 - 12th Sep 2023
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Health and Social Care)
14th Dec 2021 - 4th Sep 2023
Shark Fins Bill
9th Nov 2022 - 16th Nov 2022
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Public Health and Primary Care)
7th Jan 2020 - 14th Dec 2021
European Scrutiny Committee
9th Jul 2018 - 6th Nov 2019
Petitions Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Public Accounts Commission
16th Nov 2017 - 9th Jul 2018
Public Accounts Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 9th Jul 2018
Petitions Committee
31st Oct 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Administration Committee
20th Jul 2015 - 3rd May 2017


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Tuesday 20th February 2024
Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 39 Scottish National Party No votes vs 0 Scottish National Party Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 286 Noes - 221
Speeches
Wednesday 28th February 2024
Defence Acquisition Reform
I thank the Minister for advance sight of his statement, and for his honesty in detailing the complexity and difficulties …
Written Answers
Friday 1st March 2024
Pakistan: Development Aid
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, what assessment his Department has made of the role …
Early Day Motions
Monday 5th February 2024
The Pioneers display and Peter McLagan
That this House commends the temporary display entitled The Pioneers: The First Asian and Black MPs, which is being transferred …
Bills
Monday 21st June 2021
Energy Pricing Bill 2021-22
A Bill to prohibit the practice of offering preferential energy tariffs to new customers compared to existing customers; to place …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 30th October 2023
4. Visits outside the UK
Name of donor: Study Circle London
Address of donor: Suite 10, 1 Commonside West, Mitcham CR4 4HA
Estimate of the …
EDM signed
Friday 23rd February 2024
13th anniversary of the Bahrain pro-democracy uprising
That this House notes the 13th anniversary of Bahrain’s 2011 uprising, when widespread protests demanding democratic change and decrying structural …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 20th February 2024
Broadcasting (Listed Sporting Events) (Scotland) Bill 2023-24
A Bill to expand the list of sporting events that must be made available for broadcast by free-to-air television channels …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Martyn Day has voted in 577 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Martyn Day Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Matt Hancock (Independent)
(40 debate interactions)
Lindsay Hoyle (Speaker)
(27 debate interactions)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
(20 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(111 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(30 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(24 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Health and Care Act 2022
(707 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Martyn Day's debates

Linlithgow and East Falkirk 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 Linlithgow and East Falkirk signature proportion
Petitions with most Linlithgow and East Falkirk signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

We want the Government to review and increase allowances paid to foster carers, and also tax exemption levels for foster carers, so they reflect the true cost of caring for a child.

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.

Make it illegal for retailers and services to decline cash payments.

All businesses (excepting internet-based ones) and public services in which monetary transactions take place should be required by law to accept cash as a method of payment

The Government needs to take back ownership of strategic energy assets. It needs to accept that the Free Market has failed the energy sector, that it is in the national interest to renationalise our energy assets. The Government must therefore renationalise all the UK energy assets.

There is no excuse for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to continue to effectively fund the slaughter of bears for ceremonial headgear since an indistinguishable alternative has been produced, which is waterproof, and mimics real bear fur in appearance and performance.

The Government needs to change the law so laboratory animals are included in the Animal Welfare Act. Laboratory animals are currently not protected by the Act and are therefore victims of 'unnecessary suffering' (see section 4 of the Act: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/45/section/4).

Make it illegal for any employer to mandate vaccination for its employees. This should apply to all public sector (including the NHS, armed forces, care workers), third sector and all private sector.

We would like the Government to ban all animal testing UK, including for the development of cosmetics, household products and medicines. Alternatives need to be actively funded. Many products that are tested on animals end up not being suitable for humans. Animal testing is outmoded and should end.

The Government must recognise the urgent need to use animal-free science and publish a clear and ambitious action plan with timetables and milestones to drive the phase-out of animal experiments. As well as preventing animal suffering, this will benefit public health and business.

We ask Government to significantly increase targeted research funding for motor neurone disease (MND).

A new investment of £50m over 5 years could kickstart a pioneering MND Research Institute.

This would lead to better, faster and more definitive research outcomes and hope for those with MND.

The Government should class in-person interaction with family members and unmarried partners abroad as an essential reason to travel.

The air ambulances that operate around the UK cost around £12,000 per day to run and maintain, and are mainly funded through charity organisations. This petition is to ask the Government to fully fund the air ambulances through the emergency services.

The Coronavirus Act grants potentially dangerous powers including to detain some persons indefinitely, to take biological samples, and to give directions about dead bodies. Powers last up to 2 years with 6 monthly reviews, and lockdown powers could prevent protests against measures.

The Government should allow golf courses to remain open during the second lockdown, and any future restrictions. Shops and clubhouses can close, but courses should be allowed to remain open, with social distancing in place.

Consider keeping gyms open during lockdown because so many people have mental health and stress and they need something to do to take their mind off it closing all fitness facilities can affect us pretty badly.

Urgent call for the government to close all nurseries and early years settings in light of the new lockdown to protect early years staff.

We want the government to recognise the importance of gyms, health clubs, leisure centres and swimming pools in empowering people to look after their health and stay fit and for them to open first as we come out of lockdown.

We're also calling for government to fund a Work Out to Help Out scheme.

We want the Government to commit to not rolling out any e-vaccination status/immunity passport to the British public. Such passports could be used to restrict the rights of people who have refused a Covid-19 vaccine, which would be unacceptable.

The Government must make a public statement on the #kissanprotests & press freedoms.

India is the worlds largest democracy & democratic engagement and freedom of the press are fundamental rights and a positive step towards creating a India that works for all.

As the Coronavirus escalates, there are concerns that a trade deal between the UK Government and the US deal might not exempt our NHS, leaving it vulnerable to privatisation and in direct contradiction to promises this would not happen.


Latest EDMs signed by Martyn Day

19th February 2024
Martyn Day signed this EDM on Friday 23rd February 2024

13th anniversary of the Bahrain pro-democracy uprising

Tabled by: John McDonnell (Labour - Hayes and Harlington)
That this House notes the 13th anniversary of Bahrain’s 2011 uprising, when widespread protests demanding democratic change and decrying structural inequalities, corruption, oppression and a lack of government representation were met with government violence and repression, in which dozens of individuals were killed and hundreds arrested, some of whom are …
13 signatures
(Most recent: 28 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 6
Labour: 3
Independent: 2
Alba Party: 1
Green Party: 1
21st February 2024
Martyn Day signed this EDM on Wednesday 21st February 2024

No confidence in the Speaker

Tabled by: William Wragg (Conservative - Hazel Grove)
That this House has no confidence in Mr Speaker.
92 signatures
(Most recent: 28 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Conservative: 46
Scottish National Party: 41
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 2
View All Martyn Day's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Martyn Day, 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.


Martyn Day has not been granted any Urgent Questions

1 Adjournment Debate led by Martyn Day

Monday 25th April 2022

1 Bill introduced by Martyn Day


A Bill to prohibit the practice of offering preferential energy tariffs to new customers compared to existing customers; to place further restrictions on energy pricing; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Monday 21st June 2021

1029 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
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps she has taken to ensure her Department’s consultation on banning conversion therapy will prioritise the voices of survivors of those practices.

Any ban we bring forward must work for those who need it most, especially victims and survivors. We have already met with conversion therapy survivors, to hear about their experiences. We have committed to launching a consultation in September and this will be vital for ensuring the action we take is informed, effective and proportionate. I would encourage anyone who has been a victim of conversion therapy to respond to our consultation when it launches in September.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will include improved data collection from LGBT+ employees as part of the LGBT+ Action Plan.

We understand that robust data collection can help employers to better understand the needs of their employees. The Office for National Statistics and the Government Statistical Service has developed monitoring standards for sexual orientation and gender identity. These standards are freely available and can be found on the ONS website.

In 2020, the Minister for Women and Equalities announced that the Equality Hub in the Cabinet Office will be embarking on the Government’s broadest and most comprehensive equality data project yet. The Equality Data Programme will gather data in order to understand the barriers that people from every background are facing across the UK.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what plans she has to strengthen the protection against intersectional discrimination and enact section 14 of the Equality Act 2010.

We have no plans to implement the dual discrimination provision in the Act. We believe that current protections are adequate and that enactment would introduce unwelcome regulatory complexity and place new costly burdens on business and the public sector consequent on the introduction of a further 21 protected characteristics. In addition, an employee or service user may bring a discrimination claim under more than one ground, which the courts can then consider consecutively, where appropriate.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will publish guidance on inclusive language in relation to sexual minorities and gender identities in (a) Government reports, (b) official literature and (b) in-service delivery.

Terms and language regarding sexual orientation and gender identity are evolving rapidly and many terms may mean different things to different people.

Under the Public Sector Equality Duty, public authorities must, in all their functions, have ‘due regard’ to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people with different protected characteristics, including when designing policies and delivering services. This is key to the Government’s commitment to delivering equality of opportunity for all and my officials in the Equality Hub provide advice to departments to assist with this.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what research she has conducted on the health, economic, and social effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the LGBT+ community.

Government vigorously scrutinises research from a wide range of sources on the impact of Covid-19 on minority groups, including the LGBT population. We routinely monitor research by academics and other agencies published in this area.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
9th Jan 2024
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that AI generated deepfakes do not impact elections in the UK.

The Government works continuously to understand, assess and address the risks presented by emerging and critical technologies. To date, the Cabinet Office has drawn on a significant range of analysis to inform Government understanding of the risks associated with Artificial Intelligence and the UK elections; we continue to coordinate with other Lead Government Departments.

We keep our assessments of these issues under constant review. For example, in the lead up to the AI Safety Summit, a suite of products was published by the Government to help inform the public and Summit participants of our assessment of the risks and opportunities associated with the use of AI. The risk to the information environment was included within this: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/frontier-ai-capabilities-and-risks-discussion-paper.

More broadly, the security of elections is considered a priority task across HMG and touches on work being undertaken by the Defending Democracy Task Force, DSIT and within the National Security Secretariat in Cabinet Office.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
9th Jan 2024
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of AI generated deepfakes on elections in the UK.

The Government works continuously to understand, assess and address the risks presented by emerging and critical technologies. To date, the Cabinet Office has drawn on a significant range of analysis to inform Government understanding of the risks associated with Artificial Intelligence and the UK elections; we continue to coordinate with other Lead Government Departments.

We keep our assessments of these issues under constant review. For example, in the lead up to the AI Safety Summit, a suite of products was published by the Government to help inform the public and Summit participants of our assessment of the risks and opportunities associated with the use of AI. The risk to the information environment was included within this: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/frontier-ai-capabilities-and-risks-discussion-paper.

More broadly, the security of elections is considered a priority task across HMG and touches on work being undertaken by the Defending Democracy Task Force, DSIT and within the National Security Secretariat in Cabinet Office.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
9th Jan 2024
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of AI generated misinformation and disinformation on elections in the UK.

The Government works continuously to understand, assess and address the risks presented by emerging and critical technologies. To date, the Cabinet Office has drawn on a significant range of analysis to inform Government understanding of the risks associated with Artificial Intelligence and the UK elections; we continue to coordinate with other Lead Government Departments.

We keep our assessments of these issues under constant review. For example, in the lead up to the AI Safety Summit, a suite of products was published by the Government to help inform the public and Summit participants of our assessment of the risks and opportunities associated with the use of AI. The risk to the information environment was included within this: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/frontier-ai-capabilities-and-risks-discussion-paper.

More broadly, the security of elections is considered a priority task across HMG and touches on work being undertaken by the Defending Democracy Task Force, DSIT and within the National Security Secretariat in Cabinet Office.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
9th Jan 2024
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that AI generated misinformation and disinformation does not impact elections in the UK.

The Government works continuously to understand, assess and address the risks presented by emerging and critical technologies. To date, the Cabinet Office has drawn on a significant range of analysis to inform Government understanding of the risks associated with Artificial Intelligence and the UK elections; we continue to coordinate with other Lead Government Departments.

We keep our assessments of these issues under constant review. For example, in the lead up to the AI Safety Summit, a suite of products was published by the Government to help inform the public and Summit participants of our assessment of the risks and opportunities associated with the use of AI. The risk to the information environment was included within this: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/frontier-ai-capabilities-and-risks-discussion-paper.

More broadly, the security of elections is considered a priority task across HMG and touches on work being undertaken by the Defending Democracy Task Force, DSIT and within the National Security Secretariat in Cabinet Office.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
12th Dec 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the Prime Minister plans to respond to the letter of 27 November 2023 from the hon. Member for Linlithgow and East Falkirk and Lord Scriven on Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei.

As stated in the answer of 7 December 2023, Official Report, House of Lords, PQ HL571, this is a matter for the Conservative Party, rather than the Government.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 25 February 2022 to Question 125579 on Infected Blood Compensation Framework Study, if the Government will expedite any recommendation that is made on interim payments to mitigate further hardship to the victims.

I refer the hon Member to the answer I gave on 24 February to PQ 125060.

23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to reduce paper usage in Government departments in light of the climate emergency.

The Government is proud to lead the world in ending our own contribution to climate change and we have achieved a lot on our road to net zero already.

Under the new Greening Government Commitments Framework for the 2021-25 period, the government committed to reducing paper use by at least 50% against the 2017-18 financial year baseline. The first Annual Report against the new Framework, covering the 2021-22 financial year, is due to be published later this year.

The Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO) and Government Digital Service (GDS) in the Cabinet Office lead a ‘digital by default’ approach to government services. As a result, thousands of government services are now mostly used online and most service users are no longer using a paper-version of a service.

Last year, CDDO added a new mandatory standard to the existing Technology Code of Practice on ‘Make your technology sustainable’, which implements the published Greening Government ICT and Digital Services Strategy (2020).

7th Dec 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the inquiry into the Government's handling of the covid-19 pandemic will include the Government's strategy to secure global access to vaccines and other pandemic health tools.

On 12 May, the Prime Minister confirmed that a public inquiry into COVID-19 will be established on a statutory basis, with full formal powers and that it will begin its work in spring 2022. A chair will be appointed by the end of the year. More details about the inquiry, including its terms of reference, will be set out in due course.

14th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Answer of 30 March 2021 to Question 171522 on Coronavirus: Vaccination, what the Government's timescale is for (a) developing and (b) introducing a covid-19 vaccine certificate scheme.

The Government committed to explore whether and how COVID-status certification might be used to reopen our economy, reduce restrictions on social contact and improve safety. As set out in the ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021,’ the Government will set out its conclusions on the COVID-status Certification Review in advance of Step 4 of the Roadmap, in order to inform the safe reopening of society and the economy.

An update on the Roadmap Reviews was published on 5 April and can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021-reviews-terms-of-reference/roadmap-reviews-update.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster further updated via a Written Ministerial Statement on 29 April 2021, which can be found below:

https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2021-04-29/hcws947

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what digital architecture the Government plans to use to underpin the covid-19 vaccine certificate system.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given to PQ171522 on 23 March 2021.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans the Government has for a covid-19 vaccine certificate scheme that will be accessible in (a) online and (b) offline formats.

I refer the hon. Member to the previous response provided in PQ171522.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the Government's timescale is for introducing a covid-19 vaccine certificate scheme.

I refer the hon. Member to the previous response provided in PQ171522.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many migrants without settled status or indefinite leave to remain in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency earn less than £25,600 annually.

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

10th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the guidelines on measuring and managing supplier performance provided in the Contract Management Standards; and if he would make a statement.

Details of the Contract Management Professional Standards, including a foreword by the then Civil Service Chief Executive, are published on GOV.UK and are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/contract-management.

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the number of people in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency in employment who are aged between (a) 50 to 59, (b) 60 to 69 and (c) over 70 years old.

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

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people are employed by companies registered in the EU in (a) the UK, (b) Scotland, and (c) Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency.

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

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people are registered as self-employed in (a) Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency, (b) Scotland and (c) the UK.

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

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people under the age of 25 in (a) Scotland and (b) Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency are employed on zero-hours contracts.

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

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many small and medium-sized businesses in Linlithgow and East Falkirk placed a bid for a public contract in the last five years.

This information is not held centrally.

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency are employed on zero-hours contracts; how many of those people are (a) aged between 16 and 24-years old and (b) women.

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

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what life expectancy is for (a) men and (b) women in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency.

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

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people have been employed on a full-time basis in Linlithgow and East Falkirk in each year since 2015.

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

5th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people declared themselves as self-employed in each of the last three years in Linlithgow and East Falkirk.

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

5th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the number of people in employment which primarily requires working at night in (a) Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency, (b) Scotland and (c) the UK in the last 12 months.

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

5th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of household debt in (a) Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency, (b) Scotland and (c) the UK in each year since 2015.

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

5th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many (a) women and (b) men working in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency earn less than £10 per hour.

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

4th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people with learning difficulties and seeking work were unemployed in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency in each year since 2010.

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

4th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people aged 18 to 25 are classified as long-term unemployed in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency.

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

4th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make it his policy to introduce the option of advance physical voting at elections.

There are no plans to make such a provision.

4th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what information his Department holds on the average debt of people aged 18 to 25 in (a) the UK, (b) Scotland and c) Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency.

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

4th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many EU nationals are resident in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency.

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

3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, on how many occasions the Government has paid small and medium-sized businesses more than 60 days after the invoice was received in each of the last five years.

This information is not held centrally.

We recognise that being paid promptly is often vital to SMEs to ensure their survival and growth. The government has a commitment to pay 90 per cent of valid and undisputed invoices from SMEs within 5 days and last financial year, we spent almost £2bn more than the previous year with SMEs. In its most recent published report (Q4 2019/20), Cabinet Office paid 88% of invoices in 5 days and 97% in 30 days.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many public procurement contracts were won by small and medium-sized businesses in Linlithgow and East Falkirk in the last five years.

This information is not held centrally.

We recognise that being paid promptly is often vital to SMEs to ensure their survival and growth. The government has a commitment to pay 90 per cent of valid and undisputed invoices from SMEs within 5 days and last financial year, we spent almost £2bn more than the previous year with SMEs. In its most recent published report (Q4 2019/20), Cabinet Office paid 88% of invoices in 5 days and 97% in 30 days.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many and what proportion of public procurement contracts have been awarded to small and medium-sized firms in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency in the last three years.

This information is not held centrally.

We recognise that being paid promptly is often vital to SMEs to ensure their survival and growth. The government has a commitment to pay 90 per cent of valid and undisputed invoices from SMEs within 5 days and last financial year, we spent almost £2bn more than the previous year with SMEs. In its most recent published report (Q4 2019/20), Cabinet Office paid 88% of invoices in 5 days and 97% in 30 days.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much Government investment has been made in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency in each year since 2010.

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

3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what proportion of the population can the gov.uk Verify identity assurance system identify in (a) the UK, (b) Scotland, and (c) Linlithgow and East Falkirk.

GOV.UK Verify enables individuals to prove who they are digitally and to access online government services safely and securely. Over 6.8 million accounts have been created on GOV.UK Verify since it went live in October 2014. The breakdown for the last five years is as follows:

  • 2014 - 1706

  • 2015: 526,164

  • 2016: 447,487

  • 2017: 753,782

  • 2018: 1,628,092

  • 2019: 2,194,816

  • 2020 (until 31 May): 1,294,337

The privacy-centric design of GOV.UK Verify means that it is not possible to provide a breakdown of users by constituency or region.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that people in Linlithgow and East Falkirk who are unable to access the internet are not (a) disadvantaged as consumers and (b) denied access to government services.

The Government is committed to making sure that our online services are accessible to all citizens, and that an appropriate alternative channel is available where citizens are not online.

The Government offers support to those who need “assisted digital support” to use digital by default public services.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the design of ballot papers for people with impaired vision.

The Government has improved the design and accessibility of ballot papers and forms at elections and referendums. This involved public user-testing of the revised voting forms, including the ballot paper, poll cards and postal voting statements. The work took into account the findings in the Electoral Commission’s “Making your mark” report and made improvements to forms which voters use in order to make voting as accessible as possible.

In partnership with the Royal National Institute of Blind People, the Government is taking action to further improve the support provided at the polling station to voters with sight loss. This has included the testing of a tactile audio device to allow the voter to access candidate information, and, at the 12 December General Election, encouraging Returning Officers to allow the use of smartphones with specially designed apps for reading documents and video magnifiers to help them cast their vote.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish a list of Scottish public appointments approved by Ministers in his Department in each of the last five years.

Public appointments to devolved bodies in Scotland are a matter for the Scottish Government.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Department have had with Ministers in the devolved Administrations on improving the level of voter registration; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has no plans to change the voting age, having been elected on a manifesto commitment to retain the current franchise at 18.

The Government has no plans to introduce automatic registration. The Government considers registering to vote (and voting) to be a civic duty, but does not believe it should be compulsory. With online registration, the Government has made it easier than ever for those who want to to register.

The Cabinet Office does not hold information on eligible electors who are not registered to vote for an election. Numbers registered for electoral events are published by the Electoral Commission. Reports on the 2015, 2017, and 2019 General Elections have been produced by the Electoral Commission and are available online at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.

Some headline registration statistics by area published by the Office for National Statistics. The latest bulletin is available at www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration.

The Cabinet Office has recently considered creating a live registration status check. There are technical, security and privacy issues but the Cabinet Office will continue to see whether future developments provide a feasible and cost-effective solution in coming years.

The Government believes that there is no clear evidence that voting on a national holiday would lead to an increase in turnout.

The Government was elected on a manifesto pledge to continue to support First Past the Post for parliamentary elections. The First Past the Post system is a robust and secure way of electing Members of Parliament. It ensures a clear link between elected representatives and constituents in a manner that systems of Proportional Representation may not. This ensures that MPs can represent the interests of their constituents when debating national issues.

The UK Government works closely with ministers and officials in devolved administrations on a range of issues relating to elections, including electoral registration issues. Details of discussions are not normally disclosed.

Each Electoral Registration Officer maintains a register for their own local area, including the number of overseas electors registered in their area. Information is not collated or held centrally on voting by electors. The Government does not hold data on UK citizens resident overseas who are registered to vote, who have successfully applied for absent voting, or who voted in the 2019 UK Parliamentary General Election.

Since 2013/14, the Government has provided more than £27 million to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely, including among young people. For the 2019 General Election, of the 3.5 million people who registered to vote online between the day the poll was announced and the registration deadline, 66.1% were aged between 18 and 34.

The Cabinet Office is working closely with the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and Society of Local Government Chief Executives to support local authorities to deliver their duties in line with the Government’s guidance on Coronavirus. This includes working with the Electoral Commission on guidance for the 2020 canvass, which is now published on their website.

The planning and running of polls is the responsibility of Returning Officers, who are statutorily independent of local or national government. The Government does not collect data on those turned away from polls.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the cost of supporting annual electoral registration was in each of the last 10 years.

The Government has no plans to change the voting age, having been elected on a manifesto commitment to retain the current franchise at 18.

The Government has no plans to introduce automatic registration. The Government considers registering to vote (and voting) to be a civic duty, but does not believe it should be compulsory. With online registration, the Government has made it easier than ever for those who want to to register.

The Cabinet Office does not hold information on eligible electors who are not registered to vote for an election. Numbers registered for electoral events are published by the Electoral Commission. Reports on the 2015, 2017, and 2019 General Elections have been produced by the Electoral Commission and are available online at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.

Some headline registration statistics by area published by the Office for National Statistics. The latest bulletin is available at www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration.

The Cabinet Office has recently considered creating a live registration status check. There are technical, security and privacy issues but the Cabinet Office will continue to see whether future developments provide a feasible and cost-effective solution in coming years.

The Government believes that there is no clear evidence that voting on a national holiday would lead to an increase in turnout.

The Government was elected on a manifesto pledge to continue to support First Past the Post for parliamentary elections. The First Past the Post system is a robust and secure way of electing Members of Parliament. It ensures a clear link between elected representatives and constituents in a manner that systems of Proportional Representation may not. This ensures that MPs can represent the interests of their constituents when debating national issues.

The UK Government works closely with ministers and officials in devolved administrations on a range of issues relating to elections, including electoral registration issues. Details of discussions are not normally disclosed.

Each Electoral Registration Officer maintains a register for their own local area, including the number of overseas electors registered in their area. Information is not collated or held centrally on voting by electors. The Government does not hold data on UK citizens resident overseas who are registered to vote, who have successfully applied for absent voting, or who voted in the 2019 UK Parliamentary General Election.

Since 2013/14, the Government has provided more than £27 million to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely, including among young people. For the 2019 General Election, of the 3.5 million people who registered to vote online between the day the poll was announced and the registration deadline, 66.1% were aged between 18 and 34.

The Cabinet Office is working closely with the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and Society of Local Government Chief Executives to support local authorities to deliver their duties in line with the Government’s guidance on Coronavirus. This includes working with the Electoral Commission on guidance for the 2020 canvass, which is now published on their website.

The planning and running of polls is the responsibility of Returning Officers, who are statutorily independent of local or national government. The Government does not collect data on those turned away from polls.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment his Department has made of the level of (a) voter personation and (b) electoral fraud taking place at the 2019 General Election.

This data is not held by the Cabinet Office. The Electoral Commission reports on electoral fraud.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many UK citizens resident overseas were (a) registered to vote, (b) successfully applied for absent voting and (c) voted in the 2019 UK Parliamentary General Election.

The Government has no plans to change the voting age, having been elected on a manifesto commitment to retain the current franchise at 18.

The Government has no plans to introduce automatic registration. The Government considers registering to vote (and voting) to be a civic duty, but does not believe it should be compulsory. With online registration, the Government has made it easier than ever for those who want to to register.

The Cabinet Office does not hold information on eligible electors who are not registered to vote for an election. Numbers registered for electoral events are published by the Electoral Commission. Reports on the 2015, 2017, and 2019 General Elections have been produced by the Electoral Commission and are available online at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.

Some headline registration statistics by area published by the Office for National Statistics. The latest bulletin is available at www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration.

The Cabinet Office has recently considered creating a live registration status check. There are technical, security and privacy issues but the Cabinet Office will continue to see whether future developments provide a feasible and cost-effective solution in coming years.

The Government believes that there is no clear evidence that voting on a national holiday would lead to an increase in turnout.

The Government was elected on a manifesto pledge to continue to support First Past the Post for parliamentary elections. The First Past the Post system is a robust and secure way of electing Members of Parliament. It ensures a clear link between elected representatives and constituents in a manner that systems of Proportional Representation may not. This ensures that MPs can represent the interests of their constituents when debating national issues.

The UK Government works closely with ministers and officials in devolved administrations on a range of issues relating to elections, including electoral registration issues. Details of discussions are not normally disclosed.

Each Electoral Registration Officer maintains a register for their own local area, including the number of overseas electors registered in their area. Information is not collated or held centrally on voting by electors. The Government does not hold data on UK citizens resident overseas who are registered to vote, who have successfully applied for absent voting, or who voted in the 2019 UK Parliamentary General Election.

Since 2013/14, the Government has provided more than £27 million to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely, including among young people. For the 2019 General Election, of the 3.5 million people who registered to vote online between the day the poll was announced and the registration deadline, 66.1% were aged between 18 and 34.

The Cabinet Office is working closely with the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and Society of Local Government Chief Executives to support local authorities to deliver their duties in line with the Government’s guidance on Coronavirus. This includes working with the Electoral Commission on guidance for the 2020 canvass, which is now published on their website.

The planning and running of polls is the responsibility of Returning Officers, who are statutorily independent of local or national government. The Government does not collect data on those turned away from polls.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what was the cost to the public purse of funding to help increase the electoral registration of young people in each of the last five years.

The Government has no plans to change the voting age, having been elected on a manifesto commitment to retain the current franchise at 18.

The Government has no plans to introduce automatic registration. The Government considers registering to vote (and voting) to be a civic duty, but does not believe it should be compulsory. With online registration, the Government has made it easier than ever for those who want to to register.

The Cabinet Office does not hold information on eligible electors who are not registered to vote for an election. Numbers registered for electoral events are published by the Electoral Commission. Reports on the 2015, 2017, and 2019 General Elections have been produced by the Electoral Commission and are available online at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.

Some headline registration statistics by area published by the Office for National Statistics. The latest bulletin is available at www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration.

The Cabinet Office has recently considered creating a live registration status check. There are technical, security and privacy issues but the Cabinet Office will continue to see whether future developments provide a feasible and cost-effective solution in coming years.

The Government believes that there is no clear evidence that voting on a national holiday would lead to an increase in turnout.

The Government was elected on a manifesto pledge to continue to support First Past the Post for parliamentary elections. The First Past the Post system is a robust and secure way of electing Members of Parliament. It ensures a clear link between elected representatives and constituents in a manner that systems of Proportional Representation may not. This ensures that MPs can represent the interests of their constituents when debating national issues.

The UK Government works closely with ministers and officials in devolved administrations on a range of issues relating to elections, including electoral registration issues. Details of discussions are not normally disclosed.

Each Electoral Registration Officer maintains a register for their own local area, including the number of overseas electors registered in their area. Information is not collated or held centrally on voting by electors. The Government does not hold data on UK citizens resident overseas who are registered to vote, who have successfully applied for absent voting, or who voted in the 2019 UK Parliamentary General Election.

Since 2013/14, the Government has provided more than £27 million to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely, including among young people. For the 2019 General Election, of the 3.5 million people who registered to vote online between the day the poll was announced and the registration deadline, 66.1% were aged between 18 and 34.

The Cabinet Office is working closely with the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and Society of Local Government Chief Executives to support local authorities to deliver their duties in line with the Government’s guidance on Coronavirus. This includes working with the Electoral Commission on guidance for the 2020 canvass, which is now published on their website.

The planning and running of polls is the responsibility of Returning Officers, who are statutorily independent of local or national government. The Government does not collect data on those turned away from polls.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of funding to increase electoral registration of young people; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has no plans to change the voting age, having been elected on a manifesto commitment to retain the current franchise at 18.

The Government has no plans to introduce automatic registration. The Government considers registering to vote (and voting) to be a civic duty, but does not believe it should be compulsory. With online registration, the Government has made it easier than ever for those who want to to register.

The Cabinet Office does not hold information on eligible electors who are not registered to vote for an election. Numbers registered for electoral events are published by the Electoral Commission. Reports on the 2015, 2017, and 2019 General Elections have been produced by the Electoral Commission and are available online at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.

Some headline registration statistics by area published by the Office for National Statistics. The latest bulletin is available at www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration.

The Cabinet Office has recently considered creating a live registration status check. There are technical, security and privacy issues but the Cabinet Office will continue to see whether future developments provide a feasible and cost-effective solution in coming years.

The Government believes that there is no clear evidence that voting on a national holiday would lead to an increase in turnout.

The Government was elected on a manifesto pledge to continue to support First Past the Post for parliamentary elections. The First Past the Post system is a robust and secure way of electing Members of Parliament. It ensures a clear link between elected representatives and constituents in a manner that systems of Proportional Representation may not. This ensures that MPs can represent the interests of their constituents when debating national issues.

The UK Government works closely with ministers and officials in devolved administrations on a range of issues relating to elections, including electoral registration issues. Details of discussions are not normally disclosed.

Each Electoral Registration Officer maintains a register for their own local area, including the number of overseas electors registered in their area. Information is not collated or held centrally on voting by electors. The Government does not hold data on UK citizens resident overseas who are registered to vote, who have successfully applied for absent voting, or who voted in the 2019 UK Parliamentary General Election.

Since 2013/14, the Government has provided more than £27 million to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely, including among young people. For the 2019 General Election, of the 3.5 million people who registered to vote online between the day the poll was announced and the registration deadline, 66.1% were aged between 18 and 34.

The Cabinet Office is working closely with the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and Society of Local Government Chief Executives to support local authorities to deliver their duties in line with the Government’s guidance on Coronavirus. This includes working with the Electoral Commission on guidance for the 2020 canvass, which is now published on their website.

The planning and running of polls is the responsibility of Returning Officers, who are statutorily independent of local or national government. The Government does not collect data on those turned away from polls.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the effect covid-19 restrictions on voter registration levels; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has no plans to change the voting age, having been elected on a manifesto commitment to retain the current franchise at 18.

The Government has no plans to introduce automatic registration. The Government considers registering to vote (and voting) to be a civic duty, but does not believe it should be compulsory. With online registration, the Government has made it easier than ever for those who want to to register.

The Cabinet Office does not hold information on eligible electors who are not registered to vote for an election. Numbers registered for electoral events are published by the Electoral Commission. Reports on the 2015, 2017, and 2019 General Elections have been produced by the Electoral Commission and are available online at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.

Some headline registration statistics by area published by the Office for National Statistics. The latest bulletin is available at www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration.

The Cabinet Office has recently considered creating a live registration status check. There are technical, security and privacy issues but the Cabinet Office will continue to see whether future developments provide a feasible and cost-effective solution in coming years.

The Government believes that there is no clear evidence that voting on a national holiday would lead to an increase in turnout.

The Government was elected on a manifesto pledge to continue to support First Past the Post for parliamentary elections. The First Past the Post system is a robust and secure way of electing Members of Parliament. It ensures a clear link between elected representatives and constituents in a manner that systems of Proportional Representation may not. This ensures that MPs can represent the interests of their constituents when debating national issues.

The UK Government works closely with ministers and officials in devolved administrations on a range of issues relating to elections, including electoral registration issues. Details of discussions are not normally disclosed.

Each Electoral Registration Officer maintains a register for their own local area, including the number of overseas electors registered in their area. Information is not collated or held centrally on voting by electors. The Government does not hold data on UK citizens resident overseas who are registered to vote, who have successfully applied for absent voting, or who voted in the 2019 UK Parliamentary General Election.

Since 2013/14, the Government has provided more than £27 million to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely, including among young people. For the 2019 General Election, of the 3.5 million people who registered to vote online between the day the poll was announced and the registration deadline, 66.1% were aged between 18 and 34.

The Cabinet Office is working closely with the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and Society of Local Government Chief Executives to support local authorities to deliver their duties in line with the Government’s guidance on Coronavirus. This includes working with the Electoral Commission on guidance for the 2020 canvass, which is now published on their website.

The planning and running of polls is the responsibility of Returning Officers, who are statutorily independent of local or national government. The Government does not collect data on those turned away from polls.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many European Union citizens resident in the UK who are registered to vote in the European Parliament elections were turned away from polling stations at the European Parliament Elections in (a) 2009, (b) 2014 and (c) 2019.

The Government has no plans to change the voting age, having been elected on a manifesto commitment to retain the current franchise at 18.

The Government has no plans to introduce automatic registration. The Government considers registering to vote (and voting) to be a civic duty, but does not believe it should be compulsory. With online registration, the Government has made it easier than ever for those who want to to register.

The Cabinet Office does not hold information on eligible electors who are not registered to vote for an election. Numbers registered for electoral events are published by the Electoral Commission. Reports on the 2015, 2017, and 2019 General Elections have been produced by the Electoral Commission and are available online at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.

Some headline registration statistics by area published by the Office for National Statistics. The latest bulletin is available at www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration.

The Cabinet Office has recently considered creating a live registration status check. There are technical, security and privacy issues but the Cabinet Office will continue to see whether future developments provide a feasible and cost-effective solution in coming years.

The Government believes that there is no clear evidence that voting on a national holiday would lead to an increase in turnout.

The Government was elected on a manifesto pledge to continue to support First Past the Post for parliamentary elections. The First Past the Post system is a robust and secure way of electing Members of Parliament. It ensures a clear link between elected representatives and constituents in a manner that systems of Proportional Representation may not. This ensures that MPs can represent the interests of their constituents when debating national issues.

The UK Government works closely with ministers and officials in devolved administrations on a range of issues relating to elections, including electoral registration issues. Details of discussions are not normally disclosed.

Each Electoral Registration Officer maintains a register for their own local area, including the number of overseas electors registered in their area. Information is not collated or held centrally on voting by electors. The Government does not hold data on UK citizens resident overseas who are registered to vote, who have successfully applied for absent voting, or who voted in the 2019 UK Parliamentary General Election.

Since 2013/14, the Government has provided more than £27 million to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely, including among young people. For the 2019 General Election, of the 3.5 million people who registered to vote online between the day the poll was announced and the registration deadline, 66.1% were aged between 18 and 34.

The Cabinet Office is working closely with the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and Society of Local Government Chief Executives to support local authorities to deliver their duties in line with the Government’s guidance on Coronavirus. This includes working with the Electoral Commission on guidance for the 2020 canvass, which is now published on their website.

The planning and running of polls is the responsibility of Returning Officers, who are statutorily independent of local or national government. The Government does not collect data on those turned away from polls.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent estimate the Government has made of the number of eligible people who are not on the electoral register in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency.

The Government has no plans to change the voting age, having been elected on a manifesto commitment to retain the current franchise at 18.

The Government has no plans to introduce automatic registration. The Government considers registering to vote (and voting) to be a civic duty, but does not believe it should be compulsory. With online registration, the Government has made it easier than ever for those who want to to register.

The Cabinet Office does not hold information on eligible electors who are not registered to vote for an election. Numbers registered for electoral events are published by the Electoral Commission. Reports on the 2015, 2017, and 2019 General Elections have been produced by the Electoral Commission and are available online at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.

Some headline registration statistics by area published by the Office for National Statistics. The latest bulletin is available at www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration.

The Cabinet Office has recently considered creating a live registration status check. There are technical, security and privacy issues but the Cabinet Office will continue to see whether future developments provide a feasible and cost-effective solution in coming years.

The Government believes that there is no clear evidence that voting on a national holiday would lead to an increase in turnout.

The Government was elected on a manifesto pledge to continue to support First Past the Post for parliamentary elections. The First Past the Post system is a robust and secure way of electing Members of Parliament. It ensures a clear link between elected representatives and constituents in a manner that systems of Proportional Representation may not. This ensures that MPs can represent the interests of their constituents when debating national issues.

The UK Government works closely with ministers and officials in devolved administrations on a range of issues relating to elections, including electoral registration issues. Details of discussions are not normally disclosed.

Each Electoral Registration Officer maintains a register for their own local area, including the number of overseas electors registered in their area. Information is not collated or held centrally on voting by electors. The Government does not hold data on UK citizens resident overseas who are registered to vote, who have successfully applied for absent voting, or who voted in the 2019 UK Parliamentary General Election.

Since 2013/14, the Government has provided more than £27 million to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely, including among young people. For the 2019 General Election, of the 3.5 million people who registered to vote online between the day the poll was announced and the registration deadline, 66.1% were aged between 18 and 34.

The Cabinet Office is working closely with the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and Society of Local Government Chief Executives to support local authorities to deliver their duties in line with the Government’s guidance on Coronavirus. This includes working with the Electoral Commission on guidance for the 2020 canvass, which is now published on their website.

The planning and running of polls is the responsibility of Returning Officers, who are statutorily independent of local or national government. The Government does not collect data on those turned away from polls.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the number of (a) people (b) businesses and (c) organisations from (i) Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency, (ii) Scotland and (iii) the UK that have received advice and support from the National Cyber Security Centre.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), supported by a £1.9 billion investment, is delivering transformational change, building new capabilities and intervening to protect the UK from cyber attacks. The NCSC works with a wide range of partners, including the devolved administrations, to provide advice and support to people, businesses, and organisations, and to raise cyber resilience across the whole of the UK.

The implementation of the National Cyber Security Strategy requires collaborative action from all sectors of the UK including government, law enforcement, industry and academia. Cyber security experts are active across all these sectors in many different roles.

The Cyber Security Sectoral Analysis 2020, published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in January, estimates that there are approximately 43,000 cyber security experts working in cyber security related roles across UK cyber security firms.

We are working to address the shortage in cyber security experts and encourage computer science students, and those from other disciplines, to consider careers in cyber security. This includes inspiring and nurturing the next generation of professionals and entrepreneurs, with over 55,000 young people having participated in our Cyber Discovery and Cyber First schemes, and working with the UK Cyber Security Council to further develop cyber security as a profession.

Since its creation in 2016, the NCSC has investigated over 2,000 significant incidents and published over 200 pieces of guidance. A total of 44,400 Cyber Essential certificates have been issued across the UK, including over 2,260 in Scotland.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much the National Cyber Security Programme has spent in each of the last five years.

I refer the Hon. member to the answers given to PQs 52225 and 53531 on 9 June 2020.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent discussions his Department has held with local authorities on cyber-security.

The Government is ensuring that local government receives regular advice and guidance relating to cyber security.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many special advisors there were in each Government Department in each of the last five years; and what the cost of employing those advisors was.

Pursuant to Section 16 of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010, a report about special advisers, including the number and the cost, is prepared by the Cabinet Office and laid before Parliament on an annual basis. Reports dating back to 2010 are available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/special-adviser-data-releases-numbers-and-cost

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many and what proportion of his Department's employees are based in (a) London, (b) Scotland and (c) Linlithgow and East Falkirk Constituency.

At 31st May 2020, 6,786 (82.19%) of staff in the Cabinet Office were based in (a) London, 10 staff (0.12%) were based in (b) Scotland, and no Cabinet Office staff were based in (c) Linlithgow and East Falkirk Constituency.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what proportion of the population of (a) the UK, (b) Scotland and (c) Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency can the Verify system assure the identity of.

GOV.UK Verify enables individuals to prove who they are digitally and to access online government services safely and securely. Over 6.8 million accounts have been created on GOV.UK Verify since it went live in October 2014. The breakdown for the last five years is as follows:

  • 2014 - 1706

  • 2015: 526,164

  • 2016: 447,487

  • 2017: 753,782

  • 2018: 1,628,092

  • 2019: 2,194,816

  • 2020 (until 31 May): 1,294,337

The privacy-centric design of GOV.UK Verify means that it is not possible to provide a breakdown of users by constituency or region.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many (a) individuals and (b) businesses registered for the Verify programme in each of the last five years.

GOV.UK Verify enables individuals to prove who they are digitally and to access online government services safely and securely. Over 6.8 million accounts have been created on GOV.UK Verify since it went live in October 2014. The breakdown for the last five years is as follows:

  • 2014 - 1706

  • 2015: 526,164

  • 2016: 447,487

  • 2017: 753,782

  • 2018: 1,628,092

  • 2019: 2,194,816

  • 2020 (until 31 May): 1,294,337

The privacy-centric design of GOV.UK Verify means that it is not possible to provide a breakdown of users by constituency or region.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the average annual salary was for (a) BAME and (b) non-BAME employees in his Department in each of the last five years.

Further to the answer given to PQ 18715 on 21 February 2020, some general data on civil service pay broken down by declared ethnicity is available online at https://www.ethnicity-facts-figures.service.gov.uk/workforce-and-business/public-sector-pay/civil-service-pay/latest.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals on House of Lords reform in the current Parliament.

The House of Lords has a key role in scrutinising the executive and as a revising chamber. It is important that the way it is constituted reflects that role and the primacy of the House of Commons as the elected chamber.

The Conservative manifesto committed to looking at the role of the Lords, but any reform needs careful consideration. We do not want to do so in a piecemeal way.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to (a) reduce the amount of manual processing on paper it carries out and (b) make those processes digital.

The Cabinet Office does not carry out significant manual processing on paper.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of (a) the cost to the public purse of administering the 2019 General Election and (b) the amount that accrued to the public purse as a result of candidates losing their deposits at that election.

The cost of administering the 2019 General Election will not be known until all Returning Officers’ expenses claims relating to that poll have been settled.

£622,500 was accrued to the public purse as a result of 1,245 candidates losing their deposit.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the number of cyber security experts (a) required to implement the National Cyber Security Strategy and (b) currently working in the UK; and what steps the Government is taking to encourage people studying computer science to pursue careers in cyber security.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), supported by a £1.9 billion investment, is delivering transformational change, building new capabilities and intervening to protect the UK from cyber attacks. The NCSC works with a wide range of partners, including the devolved administrations, to provide advice and support to people, businesses, and organisations, and to raise cyber resilience across the whole of the UK.

The implementation of the National Cyber Security Strategy requires collaborative action from all sectors of the UK including government, law enforcement, industry and academia. Cyber security experts are active across all these sectors in many different roles.

The Cyber Security Sectoral Analysis 2020, published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in January, estimates that there are approximately 43,000 cyber security experts working in cyber security related roles across UK cyber security firms.

We are working to address the shortage in cyber security experts and encourage computer science students, and those from other disciplines, to consider careers in cyber security. This includes inspiring and nurturing the next generation of professionals and entrepreneurs, with over 55,000 young people having participated in our Cyber Discovery and Cyber First schemes, and working with the UK Cyber Security Council to further develop cyber security as a profession.

Since its creation in 2016, the NCSC has investigated over 2,000 significant incidents and published over 200 pieces of guidance. A total of 44,400 Cyber Essential certificates have been issued across the UK, including over 2,260 in Scotland.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of proportional voting systems; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a single transferable vote system for future UK elections.

The Government has no plans to change the voting age, having been elected on a manifesto commitment to retain the current franchise at 18.

The Government has no plans to introduce automatic registration. The Government considers registering to vote (and voting) to be a civic duty, but does not believe it should be compulsory. With online registration, the Government has made it easier than ever for those who want to to register.

The Cabinet Office does not hold information on eligible electors who are not registered to vote for an election. Numbers registered for electoral events are published by the Electoral Commission. Reports on the 2015, 2017, and 2019 General Elections have been produced by the Electoral Commission and are available online at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.

Some headline registration statistics by area published by the Office for National Statistics. The latest bulletin is available at www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration.

The Cabinet Office has recently considered creating a live registration status check. There are technical, security and privacy issues but the Cabinet Office will continue to see whether future developments provide a feasible and cost-effective solution in coming years.

The Government believes that there is no clear evidence that voting on a national holiday would lead to an increase in turnout.

The Government was elected on a manifesto pledge to continue to support First Past the Post for parliamentary elections. The First Past the Post system is a robust and secure way of electing Members of Parliament. It ensures a clear link between elected representatives and constituents in a manner that systems of Proportional Representation may not. This ensures that MPs can represent the interests of their constituents when debating national issues.

The UK Government works closely with ministers and officials in devolved administrations on a range of issues relating to elections, including electoral registration issues. Details of discussions are not normally disclosed.

Each Electoral Registration Officer maintains a register for their own local area, including the number of overseas electors registered in their area. Information is not collated or held centrally on voting by electors. The Government does not hold data on UK citizens resident overseas who are registered to vote, who have successfully applied for absent voting, or who voted in the 2019 UK Parliamentary General Election.

Since 2013/14, the Government has provided more than £27 million to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely, including among young people. For the 2019 General Election, of the 3.5 million people who registered to vote online between the day the poll was announced and the registration deadline, 66.1% were aged between 18 and 34.

The Cabinet Office is working closely with the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and Society of Local Government Chief Executives to support local authorities to deliver their duties in line with the Government’s guidance on Coronavirus. This includes working with the Electoral Commission on guidance for the 2020 canvass, which is now published on their website.

The planning and running of polls is the responsibility of Returning Officers, who are statutorily independent of local or national government. The Government does not collect data on those turned away from polls.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing compulsory voting at elections.

The Government has no plans to change the voting age, having been elected on a manifesto commitment to retain the current franchise at 18.

The Government has no plans to introduce automatic registration. The Government considers registering to vote (and voting) to be a civic duty, but does not believe it should be compulsory. With online registration, the Government has made it easier than ever for those who want to to register.

The Cabinet Office does not hold information on eligible electors who are not registered to vote for an election. Numbers registered for electoral events are published by the Electoral Commission. Reports on the 2015, 2017, and 2019 General Elections have been produced by the Electoral Commission and are available online at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.

Some headline registration statistics by area published by the Office for National Statistics. The latest bulletin is available at www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration.

The Cabinet Office has recently considered creating a live registration status check. There are technical, security and privacy issues but the Cabinet Office will continue to see whether future developments provide a feasible and cost-effective solution in coming years.

The Government believes that there is no clear evidence that voting on a national holiday would lead to an increase in turnout.

The Government was elected on a manifesto pledge to continue to support First Past the Post for parliamentary elections. The First Past the Post system is a robust and secure way of electing Members of Parliament. It ensures a clear link between elected representatives and constituents in a manner that systems of Proportional Representation may not. This ensures that MPs can represent the interests of their constituents when debating national issues.

The UK Government works closely with ministers and officials in devolved administrations on a range of issues relating to elections, including electoral registration issues. Details of discussions are not normally disclosed.

Each Electoral Registration Officer maintains a register for their own local area, including the number of overseas electors registered in their area. Information is not collated or held centrally on voting by electors. The Government does not hold data on UK citizens resident overseas who are registered to vote, who have successfully applied for absent voting, or who voted in the 2019 UK Parliamentary General Election.

Since 2013/14, the Government has provided more than £27 million to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely, including among young people. For the 2019 General Election, of the 3.5 million people who registered to vote online between the day the poll was announced and the registration deadline, 66.1% were aged between 18 and 34.

The Cabinet Office is working closely with the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and Society of Local Government Chief Executives to support local authorities to deliver their duties in line with the Government’s guidance on Coronavirus. This includes working with the Electoral Commission on guidance for the 2020 canvass, which is now published on their website.

The planning and running of polls is the responsibility of Returning Officers, who are statutorily independent of local or national government. The Government does not collect data on those turned away from polls.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many eligible electors were not registered to vote at UK general elections in (a) 2015, (b) 2017 and (c) 2019; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has no plans to change the voting age, having been elected on a manifesto commitment to retain the current franchise at 18.

The Government has no plans to introduce automatic registration. The Government considers registering to vote (and voting) to be a civic duty, but does not believe it should be compulsory. With online registration, the Government has made it easier than ever for those who want to to register.

The Cabinet Office does not hold information on eligible electors who are not registered to vote for an election. Numbers registered for electoral events are published by the Electoral Commission. Reports on the 2015, 2017, and 2019 General Elections have been produced by the Electoral Commission and are available online at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.

Some headline registration statistics by area published by the Office for National Statistics. The latest bulletin is available at www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration.

The Cabinet Office has recently considered creating a live registration status check. There are technical, security and privacy issues but the Cabinet Office will continue to see whether future developments provide a feasible and cost-effective solution in coming years.

The Government believes that there is no clear evidence that voting on a national holiday would lead to an increase in turnout.

The Government was elected on a manifesto pledge to continue to support First Past the Post for parliamentary elections. The First Past the Post system is a robust and secure way of electing Members of Parliament. It ensures a clear link between elected representatives and constituents in a manner that systems of Proportional Representation may not. This ensures that MPs can represent the interests of their constituents when debating national issues.

The UK Government works closely with ministers and officials in devolved administrations on a range of issues relating to elections, including electoral registration issues. Details of discussions are not normally disclosed.

Each Electoral Registration Officer maintains a register for their own local area, including the number of overseas electors registered in their area. Information is not collated or held centrally on voting by electors. The Government does not hold data on UK citizens resident overseas who are registered to vote, who have successfully applied for absent voting, or who voted in the 2019 UK Parliamentary General Election.

Since 2013/14, the Government has provided more than £27 million to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely, including among young people. For the 2019 General Election, of the 3.5 million people who registered to vote online between the day the poll was announced and the registration deadline, 66.1% were aged between 18 and 34.

The Cabinet Office is working closely with the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and Society of Local Government Chief Executives to support local authorities to deliver their duties in line with the Government’s guidance on Coronavirus. This includes working with the Electoral Commission on guidance for the 2020 canvass, which is now published on their website.

The planning and running of polls is the responsibility of Returning Officers, who are statutorily independent of local or national government. The Government does not collect data on those turned away from polls.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what cross-departmental reviews his Department is undertaking; and what the extent and level of engagement is with the devolved Administrations on each of those reviews.

Details of Government policy including external reviews are announced in the normal way. Government ministers and officials work closely with the devolved administrations on a wide range of relevant issues. In line with the practice of successive administrations, details of the process of collective agreement between departmental ministers are not normally disclosed.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to reduce the age for eligibility to vote in elections to 16.

The Government has no plans to change the voting age, having been elected on a manifesto commitment to retain the current franchise at 18.

The Government has no plans to introduce automatic registration. The Government considers registering to vote (and voting) to be a civic duty, but does not believe it should be compulsory. With online registration, the Government has made it easier than ever for those who want to to register.

The Cabinet Office does not hold information on eligible electors who are not registered to vote for an election. Numbers registered for electoral events are published by the Electoral Commission. Reports on the 2015, 2017, and 2019 General Elections have been produced by the Electoral Commission and are available online at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.

Some headline registration statistics by area published by the Office for National Statistics. The latest bulletin is available at www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration.

The Cabinet Office has recently considered creating a live registration status check. There are technical, security and privacy issues but the Cabinet Office will continue to see whether future developments provide a feasible and cost-effective solution in coming years.

The Government believes that there is no clear evidence that voting on a national holiday would lead to an increase in turnout.

The Government was elected on a manifesto pledge to continue to support First Past the Post for parliamentary elections. The First Past the Post system is a robust and secure way of electing Members of Parliament. It ensures a clear link between elected representatives and constituents in a manner that systems of Proportional Representation may not. This ensures that MPs can represent the interests of their constituents when debating national issues.

The UK Government works closely with ministers and officials in devolved administrations on a range of issues relating to elections, including electoral registration issues. Details of discussions are not normally disclosed.

Each Electoral Registration Officer maintains a register for their own local area, including the number of overseas electors registered in their area. Information is not collated or held centrally on voting by electors. The Government does not hold data on UK citizens resident overseas who are registered to vote, who have successfully applied for absent voting, or who voted in the 2019 UK Parliamentary General Election.

Since 2013/14, the Government has provided more than £27 million to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely, including among young people. For the 2019 General Election, of the 3.5 million people who registered to vote online between the day the poll was announced and the registration deadline, 66.1% were aged between 18 and 34.

The Cabinet Office is working closely with the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and Society of Local Government Chief Executives to support local authorities to deliver their duties in line with the Government’s guidance on Coronavirus. This includes working with the Electoral Commission on guidance for the 2020 canvass, which is now published on their website.

The planning and running of polls is the responsibility of Returning Officers, who are statutorily independent of local or national government. The Government does not collect data on those turned away from polls.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of options to introduce an automatic system of electoral registration for all eligible citizens; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has no plans to change the voting age, having been elected on a manifesto commitment to retain the current franchise at 18.

The Government has no plans to introduce automatic registration. The Government considers registering to vote (and voting) to be a civic duty, but does not believe it should be compulsory. With online registration, the Government has made it easier than ever for those who want to to register.

The Cabinet Office does not hold information on eligible electors who are not registered to vote for an election. Numbers registered for electoral events are published by the Electoral Commission. Reports on the 2015, 2017, and 2019 General Elections have been produced by the Electoral Commission and are available online at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.

Some headline registration statistics by area published by the Office for National Statistics. The latest bulletin is available at www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration.

The Cabinet Office has recently considered creating a live registration status check. There are technical, security and privacy issues but the Cabinet Office will continue to see whether future developments provide a feasible and cost-effective solution in coming years.

The Government believes that there is no clear evidence that voting on a national holiday would lead to an increase in turnout.

The Government was elected on a manifesto pledge to continue to support First Past the Post for parliamentary elections. The First Past the Post system is a robust and secure way of electing Members of Parliament. It ensures a clear link between elected representatives and constituents in a manner that systems of Proportional Representation may not. This ensures that MPs can represent the interests of their constituents when debating national issues.

The UK Government works closely with ministers and officials in devolved administrations on a range of issues relating to elections, including electoral registration issues. Details of discussions are not normally disclosed.

Each Electoral Registration Officer maintains a register for their own local area, including the number of overseas electors registered in their area. Information is not collated or held centrally on voting by electors. The Government does not hold data on UK citizens resident overseas who are registered to vote, who have successfully applied for absent voting, or who voted in the 2019 UK Parliamentary General Election.

Since 2013/14, the Government has provided more than £27 million to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely, including among young people. For the 2019 General Election, of the 3.5 million people who registered to vote online between the day the poll was announced and the registration deadline, 66.1% were aged between 18 and 34.

The Cabinet Office is working closely with the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and Society of Local Government Chief Executives to support local authorities to deliver their duties in line with the Government’s guidance on Coronavirus. This includes working with the Electoral Commission on guidance for the 2020 canvass, which is now published on their website.

The planning and running of polls is the responsibility of Returning Officers, who are statutorily independent of local or national government. The Government does not collect data on those turned away from polls.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will introduce a process to enable people to check their electoral registration status online.

The Government has no plans to change the voting age, having been elected on a manifesto commitment to retain the current franchise at 18.

The Government has no plans to introduce automatic registration. The Government considers registering to vote (and voting) to be a civic duty, but does not believe it should be compulsory. With online registration, the Government has made it easier than ever for those who want to to register.

The Cabinet Office does not hold information on eligible electors who are not registered to vote for an election. Numbers registered for electoral events are published by the Electoral Commission. Reports on the 2015, 2017, and 2019 General Elections have been produced by the Electoral Commission and are available online at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.

Some headline registration statistics by area published by the Office for National Statistics. The latest bulletin is available at www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration.

The Cabinet Office has recently considered creating a live registration status check. There are technical, security and privacy issues but the Cabinet Office will continue to see whether future developments provide a feasible and cost-effective solution in coming years.

The Government believes that there is no clear evidence that voting on a national holiday would lead to an increase in turnout.

The Government was elected on a manifesto pledge to continue to support First Past the Post for parliamentary elections. The First Past the Post system is a robust and secure way of electing Members of Parliament. It ensures a clear link between elected representatives and constituents in a manner that systems of Proportional Representation may not. This ensures that MPs can represent the interests of their constituents when debating national issues.

The UK Government works closely with ministers and officials in devolved administrations on a range of issues relating to elections, including electoral registration issues. Details of discussions are not normally disclosed.

Each Electoral Registration Officer maintains a register for their own local area, including the number of overseas electors registered in their area. Information is not collated or held centrally on voting by electors. The Government does not hold data on UK citizens resident overseas who are registered to vote, who have successfully applied for absent voting, or who voted in the 2019 UK Parliamentary General Election.

Since 2013/14, the Government has provided more than £27 million to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely, including among young people. For the 2019 General Election, of the 3.5 million people who registered to vote online between the day the poll was announced and the registration deadline, 66.1% were aged between 18 and 34.

The Cabinet Office is working closely with the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and Society of Local Government Chief Executives to support local authorities to deliver their duties in line with the Government’s guidance on Coronavirus. This includes working with the Electoral Commission on guidance for the 2020 canvass, which is now published on their website.

The planning and running of polls is the responsibility of Returning Officers, who are statutorily independent of local or national government. The Government does not collect data on those turned away from polls.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of making future general election days a national holiday; and what estimate he has made of the potential effect of such a step on levels of voter participation.

The Government has no plans to change the voting age, having been elected on a manifesto commitment to retain the current franchise at 18.

The Government has no plans to introduce automatic registration. The Government considers registering to vote (and voting) to be a civic duty, but does not believe it should be compulsory. With online registration, the Government has made it easier than ever for those who want to to register.

The Cabinet Office does not hold information on eligible electors who are not registered to vote for an election. Numbers registered for electoral events are published by the Electoral Commission. Reports on the 2015, 2017, and 2019 General Elections have been produced by the Electoral Commission and are available online at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.

Some headline registration statistics by area published by the Office for National Statistics. The latest bulletin is available at www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration.

The Cabinet Office has recently considered creating a live registration status check. There are technical, security and privacy issues but the Cabinet Office will continue to see whether future developments provide a feasible and cost-effective solution in coming years.

The Government believes that there is no clear evidence that voting on a national holiday would lead to an increase in turnout.

The Government was elected on a manifesto pledge to continue to support First Past the Post for parliamentary elections. The First Past the Post system is a robust and secure way of electing Members of Parliament. It ensures a clear link between elected representatives and constituents in a manner that systems of Proportional Representation may not. This ensures that MPs can represent the interests of their constituents when debating national issues.

The UK Government works closely with ministers and officials in devolved administrations on a range of issues relating to elections, including electoral registration issues. Details of discussions are not normally disclosed.

Each Electoral Registration Officer maintains a register for their own local area, including the number of overseas electors registered in their area. Information is not collated or held centrally on voting by electors. The Government does not hold data on UK citizens resident overseas who are registered to vote, who have successfully applied for absent voting, or who voted in the 2019 UK Parliamentary General Election.

Since 2013/14, the Government has provided more than £27 million to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely, including among young people. For the 2019 General Election, of the 3.5 million people who registered to vote online between the day the poll was announced and the registration deadline, 66.1% were aged between 18 and 34.

The Cabinet Office is working closely with the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and Society of Local Government Chief Executives to support local authorities to deliver their duties in line with the Government’s guidance on Coronavirus. This includes working with the Electoral Commission on guidance for the 2020 canvass, which is now published on their website.

The planning and running of polls is the responsibility of Returning Officers, who are statutorily independent of local or national government. The Government does not collect data on those turned away from polls.

15th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how his Department is engaging and co-ordinating policy with other Government departments to ensure that (a) co-ordinated, (b) holistic and (c) person-centred support is provided to (i) shielded and (ii) non-shielded vulnerable people affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 41549 on 6 May 2020.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to ensure that Government Departments are providing co-ordinated support to (a) shielded and (b) non-shielded vulnerable people affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

Four ministerial implementation committees focusing on health, public sector preparedness, economy, and our international response, have been established to coordinate, prioritise, and respond to the pandemic.

Shielding of the extremely vulnerable - those who suffer from the most serious underlying health conditions - is one of the Government’s top priorities. This work is being led by the Department of Health and Social Care and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. The Communities Secretary outlined some of this support recently and details are available here (https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/communities-secretarys-statement-on-coronavirus-covid-19-2-may-2020--2)

In terms of our work to support other vulnerable people, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster outlined some of this work to the House of Commons last week, details of which are available here https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-04-28/debates/6B80ADC6-5AE0-404A-BF91-3924FAD111CE/PublicServices.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
11th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether her Department is taking steps to (a) encourage investment to help develop the UK's capacity to manufacture advanced agrochemicals at scale and (b) help support agrochemical exports.

The Department for Business and Trade (DBT) promotes the UK advanced agrochemical investment offer globally, whilst supporting existing investors to succeed and expand in the UK. DBT helps advanced agrochemical businesses to grow their business overseas by providing guidance and support, removing barriers and helping them to secure benefits generated by new free trade agreements. This includes Syngenta for example, who operate a factory in the Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 22 March 2023 to Question 166159 on Tickets: Sales, when she plans to publish a response to the report by the Competition and Markets Authority entitled Secondary ticketing websites published in August 2021.

The government published its response to the Competition and Markets Authority’s secondary ticketing report on 10 May 2023. A copy of the response can be found on the gov.uk website (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cma-recommendations-on-secondary-ticketing-government-response).

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
12th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what recent discussions her Department has had with representatives of the International Seabed Authority on development of the Mining Code.

The UK is fully engaged in the ongoing negotiations at the International Seabed Authority (ISA) Council and Assembly, to agree deep sea mining exploitation regulations. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) leads the UK delegation to the ISA. The UK’s policy is not to sponsor or support the issuing of any exploitation licences for deep sea mining projects unless and until there is sufficient scientific evidence about the potential impact on deep sea ecosystems, and strong enforceable environmental Regulations, Standards and Guidelines have been developed by the ISA and are in place. The UK’s approach is both precautionary and conditional.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
11th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, if she will make an assessment of the potential impact on deep-sea ecosystems of the draft exploitation regulations under the International Seabed Authority Mining Code.

The UK is fully engaged in the ongoing negotiations at the International Seabed Authority (ISA) Council and Assembly, to agree deep sea mining exploitation regulations. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office leads the UK delegation to the ISA.

The UK’s policy is not to sponsor or support the issuing of any exploitation licences for deep sea mining projects unless and until there is sufficient scientific evidence about the potential impact on deep sea ecosystems, and strong enforceable environmental Regulations, Standards and Guidelines have been developed by the ISA and are in place. The UK’s approach is both precautionary and conditional.

The Government commissioned an independent review from the British Geological Survey, the National Oceanography Centre and Heriot-Watt University. The review was published in October 2022 and is available here:

https://www.bgs.ac.uk/news/deep-sea-mining-evidence-review-published/

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
29th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether she has had recent discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the potential merits of consulting on (a) whether and (b) how chemically-recycled content could be accounted for through the Plastics Packaging Tax using a mass balance chain of custody model.

I discussed this matter with my Hon. Friend the former Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury in April this year. The consultation will be published later this year and further information will be provided in due course.

The Government is committed to developing an approach which supports the commercialisation of the UK chemical recycling sector, whilst maintaining the integrity and supporting the objectives of the Plastic Packaging Tax.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
16th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether the review into attracting foreign direct investment will consider the potential merits of attracting investment into domestic recycling infrastructure.

Lord Harrington’s review into attracting foreign direct investment is primarily, though not exclusively, focused on the Chancellor’s five key growth sectors. One of the key growth sectors is Green Industries, and the review will consider actions to improve investment across Green Industries, including recycling infrastructure.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps her Department plans to take to encourage investment in (a) new green technology and (b) chemical recycling.

The Government works with public finance institutions such as UK Infrastructure Bank, British Business Bank, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), Export Credit Agency and UK Export Finance, to support investment in green technologies.

Chemical recycling covers a range of emerging technologies that could potentially offer a complementary recycling route for plastics where mechanical recycling is impractical or uneconomic. The Government has funded innovative demonstrator projects, including on chemical recycling, through UKRI’s Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging programme. In April of this year HM Treasury announced plans to consult on whether and how chemically recycled content could be accounted for in the Plastics Packaging Tax using a mass balance chain of custody model.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
9th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what progress her Department has made on the introduction of a Home Shipbuilding Credit Guarantee Scheme.

Building on constructive industry engagement, the Department for Business and Trade is working at pace to launch a Shipbuilding Credit Guarantee Scheme in due course.

I invite interested stakeholders, including those from the finance community as well as vessel builders and operators, to make contact with the National Shipbuilding Office and with my Department as we make preparations for the launch.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
20th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of the Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism within the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) on the UK’s climate ambitions, including the aim of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The Government is clear that where we negotiate investment protection and ISDS provisions, we will maintain our right to regulate in the public interest, including in areas such as the environment.

CPTPP protects the rights of members to regulate for their own levels of environmental protection to achieve their ambitious net zero goals and contains commitments to protect the environment.

To meet our ambitions on climate change and the environment, the Government is committed to protecting its right to regulate in the public interest. Our independent investment policy will continue to protect this right.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether exemptions from the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism were sought by Government during accession negotiations to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) with all member states.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership’s (CPTPP’s) investment chapter includes investor protections that are backed by a modern and transparent investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism. These commitments guarantee the treatment investors will receive when accessing and operating in CPTPP markets and provides an independent form of legal redress should investors not receive such treatment.

The UK already has investment agreements containing ISDS provisions with seven of the eleven CPTPP countries: Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Having ISDS provisions in a treaty is not new for the UK with the majority of CPTPP countries.

In light of the investment relationship the UK has with Australia and New Zealand, we have agreed to disapply the ISDS provisions in CPTPP between our countries.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, if she will make an assessment of the potential impact of a reduction in the Post Office's Universal Service Obligation to five days on letters sent by hospitals and courts.

The Government has no current plans to change the statutory minimum requirements of the universal postal service, set out in the Postal Services Act 2011, which requires Royal Mail to deliver letters to every UK address, six days a week at standard price.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
6th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of a reduction in the Universal Service Obligation to five days on UK advertising mail and print magazine advertising.

The Government has no current plans to change the statutory minimum requirements of the universal postal service, set out in the Postal Services Act 2011, which requires Royal Mail to deliver letters to every UK address, six days a week at standard price.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
19th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether her Department is taking steps to support the refinery sector to invest in decarbonisation.

All UK refineries are eligible for a range of Government schemes aimed at supporting the development of low carbon solutions in the sector.

For example, the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund supports industrial sites including those in the refinery sector with high energy use to transition to a low carbon future. The Department manages the IETF for England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, while the Scottish Government administers the SIETF. The two schemes have an allocation of over £500m of investment by 2028.

The spring window of Phase 3 of the IETF is open for applications now.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
19th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what progress her Department has made on launching a call for evidence to support an increase in gas storage in the UK.

As per the Energy Security Plan Update, published on 6th December 2023, the Government will launch a call for evidence in the coming months. This will set out the findings from the current analysis and seek evidence on the different forms of flexibility and their role in the broader gas system, to support the work to meet decarbonisation and net zero ambitions.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
22nd Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, pursuant to the Answer of 19 September 2023 to Question 199302 on Biofuels: Vegetable Oils, what recent progress her Department has made on publishing its planned consultation on the use of hydrotreated vegetable oil for domestic fuel use.

The Government has begun developing a consultation on the potential use of renewable liquid heating fuels and intends to issue the consultation later this year.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
5th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what recent discussions she has had with radio teleswitch service providers on the continuation of that service after March 2024.

Radio Teleswitching Service (RTS) is an industry-run service. Discussions are ongoing between industry parties and RTS providers to secure its operation into 2025, beyond the end of the current contractual period ending March 2024.

The Government expects energy suppliers to upgrade households with RTS to smart meters in good time in advance of the switch off. Households should contact their energy supplier to arrange their upgrades as soon as possible so they can continue to benefit from multi rate tariffs.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment she has made of the potential impact of the Prime Minister's 20 September 2023 net zero speech on the readiness of businesses to decarbonise in line with the government's net zero targets.

My Rt hon. Friend the Secretary of State, ministers, and officials engage extensively with business leaders. The Government uses a variety of forums, including the Net Zero Council, to ensure businesses have the guidance and support they need to decarbonise.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
4th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps her Department (a) has taken and (b) plans to take to lower electricity running costs.

We are reducing the cost of electricity by boosting our diverse sources of homegrown energy, such as renewables.

We are also reducing our dependency on imported gas and have set out our long-term ambition on new nuclear power.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
4th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether her Department (a) has made and (b) plans to make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing cost caps for off-grid homes.

The Government has previously carefully considered the introduction of a price cap for off grid fuel customers, however the Department’s analysis indicates that a cap would not be in the long-term interests of consumers. The markets for alternative fuels – including heating oil, coal, Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG), and biomass – benefit from a large range of suppliers in an open market. The off-grid fuel market does not share the same characteristics as the Gas and Electricity market which is regulated and capped by Ofgem.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
4th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of using green home support measures to address fuel poverty in off-grid homes.

The £2.5bn Home Upgrade Grant (HUG) delivers support to households in fuel poverty living off gas grid in England. Eligible measures are tailored to individual homes ensuring the most appropriate energy efficiency measures are installed. Phase 2 of HUG awarded £630 million to local authorities and delivery began in April 2023.

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) also targets low income households, including those in rural areas and in England is intended to complement HUG.

As homes in rural and off gas areas are likely to be more expensive to upgrade, an incentivised uplift for Scotland and Wales was introduced under the latest phase of ECO.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether his department plans to take steps to extend the Warm Home Prescription pilot.

A decision to extend the Warm Home Prescription pilot does not sit with the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero. You may wish to ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

The Government extended and expanded the Warm Home Discount scheme from winter 2022/23, supporting more low-income households with £150 energy bill rebates, as well as providing universal support for all households through the Energy Price Guarantee.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
28th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including the commercial laundry sector in the Energy and Trade Intensive Industries Scheme.

The Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS) review assessed a range of qualitative and quantitative evidence and contributions from businesses and other stakeholders, on sectors that may be most affected by price increase based on energy and trade intensity (ETII). The Commercial Laundry Sector does not fall within the trade intensive category and therefore not included in the ETII scheme.

The new Energy Bill Discount Scheme (EBDS) starts on 1 April 2023, and all eligible non-domestic customers, including the commercial laundry sector, will automatically receive a unit discount on their bills of up to £19.61/MW for electricity, and £6.97/MW for gas, except for those experiencing low energy costs.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
6th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, with reference to the Building Research Establishment's analysis entitled Tackling cold homes would save the NHS £540 million per year, published 1 March 2023, whether his Department has made an assessment of the implications for its policies of that analysis and the finding that potentially 700,000 homes in England are assessed as excessively cold.

Ensuring warm homes for all is a key priority for government. The Government’s ‘Help to Heat’ schemes, including the Home Upgrade Grant, Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and Energy Company Obligation, are supporting low-income and vulnerable households in the least energy-efficient homes and tackling fuel poverty, and will deliver upgrades to half a million homes in the coming years.

The benefits of the schemes include creating warmer, greener, and healthier living environments. By reducing the number of cold homes and the associated health-risks, these schemes will bring significant health benefits and reduce the strain on the NHS.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
23rd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what estimate his Department has made of the number of customers in the ECO+ general eligibility group who will make a monetary contribution to the installation in their home.

The ECO+ draft Impact Assessment assumes £80m in household contributions from the general group. A final impact assessment will be published alongside the Government’s response to the consultation in spring 2023.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
23rd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment his Department has made of the accuracy of their ECO4 cost assumptions in the context of rising inflation and market prices.

The modelling used to set the ECO4 targets was based on estimated costs in 2021 prices, with an allowance for general inflation over time. Given the context of much higher inflation than expected, our recent ECO+ consultation sought stakeholder views on our cost assumptions, and we will be summarising these views in our forthcoming Government Response. The Department also recently gathered evidence on the costs of installing loft insulation and cavity wall insulation from installers, which is being used to update our assumptions. We will assess the impact of our updated cost assumptions on ECO4 and take action, if necessary.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
21st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what plans he has to incentivise accredited generating stations for the eligible renewable electricity they produce following the phasing out of Renewable Obligation Certificates and the Renewable Heat Incentive.

The Government is considering the best market arrangements to ensure existing assets are properly valued for their renewable generation.

The Renewable Heat Incentive made payments to participants for renewable heat generation, not electricity.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
21st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of offering further support to the waste wood biomass sector to protect the baseload power they produce and to adopt carbon capture and storage capability for (a ) ensuring the UK's energy security and (b) achieving Net Zero.

The Government recognises the important contribution that the waste wood biomass sector contributes to energy security and net zero goals. Waste wood is already eligible for support under the Renewables Obligation and the Contracts for Difference schemes. The Government consulted on a First of a Kind business model for biomass power with carbon capture and storage in August 2022 and will publish our response later this year.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of trends in the level of supply through the Mossmorran plant on energy (a) costs and (b) security for consumers of liquid petroleum gas in Scotland.

Department officials work closely with industry to monitor Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) supply. The operators inform us that in January of this year, Mossmoran supplied similar volumes of LPG for inland sales compared to January 2022.

Supply market costs are normally based on a traded price index for LPG. Commercial reporting suggests that, unusually, the wholesale price per therm for LPG has been lower than that for natural gas since September 2021, which has caused some restructuring of the market.

The UK’s supply of LPG remains robust, and is met by refinery production, gas processing plants and by imported cargoes.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether he has had recent discussions with (a) Liquid Gas UK and (b) producers on the level of supply of liquid petroleum gas supplied through Mossmorran to Scottish consumers; and if he will make a statement.

Department officials have been working closely with Liquid Gas UK and the main supply companies to monitor the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) supply position in Scotland and encourage all parties in the supply chain to take steps to mitigate any risks to the security of supply.

From these discussions, I am pleased to understand the supply position remains stable. Mossmoran continues to be a reliable supply point for LPG, which will ensure households and businesses in Scotland continue to have sufficient supplies of LPG this winter.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
9th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether she has made an assessment of the potential impact of Ofcom's proposal to make Regional Secondary Locators optional for amateur radio licensees on the awareness of the (a) diversity and (b) unique nature of the nations of the UK by international audiences.

Ofcom has assured us that it does recognise that Regional Secondary Locators (RSLs) have strong significance for some radio amateurs. Given this, Ofcom proposes to amend the licence and make the use of an RSL optional for licensees, while retaining the right for those that wish to use an RSL to continue to do so. This will avoid situations in which RSL users could breach their licence when crossing borders between nations.

Internationally, the use of an RSL is not mandated or provided for by the overarching regulatory framework set out by the International Telecoms Union Radio Regulations.

9th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what the cost to the public purse was for the UK Spaceflight Programme as of 9 November 2023.

As of November 2023, the total cost to the Exchequer of the UK Spaceflight Programme is £54.7 million.

This funding has contributed to growing the UK’s launch capability, which is bringing new jobs and economic benefits to communities and organisations right across the UK, supporting the ambitions of the National Space Strategy, the Government’s levelling up agenda, and our vision for Global Britain.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, with reference to the Answer of 26 October 2023 to Question 204064 on Broadband: Rural Areas, whether her Department plans to provide support to people who are ineligible for the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme because they are in plan to have superfast broadband installed but do not have a timescale for this process.

Eligibility for the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme is dependent on premises meeting the relevant criteria, such as not being included in any suppliers’ commercial rollout plans for a gigabit-capable connection, nor in any other government-funded contract - planned or in place - to improve the network.

Eligibility for the voucher scheme is also dependent on the premises’ rurality status and only being able to access speeds less than 100Mbps. Therefore, commercial plans to provide superfast speeds (>=30Mbps) would not result in ineligibility for the scheme, assuming the premises met the wider requirements.

Although premises that are included in suppliers’ plans to receive a gigabit-capable connection are ineligible for vouchers, we still keep commercial plans under review. If these plans change, we will explore whether the premises can be connected through Project Gigabit.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, pursuant to the Answer of 30 June 2023 to Question 190639 on Kidney Diseases, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of ring-fencing funding for kidney disease research.

UK Research and Innovation funds research and innovation on a competitive basis, with individual applications being assessed by independent experts. In general, funding is not ring-fenced for specific conditions partly because the causes, treatments and cures for different diseases often overlap. No assessment has therefore been made of the potential merits of ring-fencing funding for kidney disease research.

13th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps she is taking to support the growth of the human-specific technology sector.

The pace of technology in bioscience and AI is creating exciting opportunities to replace, reduce, and refine the use of animals in research (the 3Rs). We are committed to support UK leadership in this field which we do primarily through funding from UKRI for the National Centre for the 3Rs (NC3Rs). Since its launch, the NC3Rs has committed £100 million in research to develop new 3R technologies. £86million has already been invested with 73% on reducing use of animal testing. The UK HMG focus on AI & Engineering Biology as 2 of our 5 strategic technologies will also provide significant underpinning technological support for the acceleration of 3R technologies.

23rd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential impact of the proposed merger between Three UK and Vodafone on the security of jobs in the UK.

On June 14, Vodafone and Three announced their intentions to merge their UK businesses. As an open economy, we welcome investment where it supports UK growth and jobs, meets our stringent legal and regulatory requirements, and does not compromise our national security. We will not hesitate to use our powers, under the National Security and Investment Act, to protect national security if we identify concerns.

The Government does not have a role in the review of mergers on competition grounds. It is the responsibility of Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to assess the impact on consumers and competition in the market, with input from sectoral regulators - in this case Ofcom.

At present Vodafone UK have not announced any job cuts in relation to the merger. On 16 May, Vodafone Group, which operates across 21 countries, announced its annual financial results and strategy to improve performance. The announcement included an indication that Vodafone Group plans to cut 11,000 jobs globally over 3 years. Any redundancies are a commercial decision for Vodafone Group.

23rd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of the proposed merger between Three UK and Vodafone on (a) mobile phone and (b) broadband costs.

On June 14, Vodafone and Three announced their intentions to merge their UK businesses. As an open economy, we welcome investment where it supports UK growth and jobs, meets our stringent legal and regulatory requirements, and does not compromise our national security. We will not hesitate to use our powers, under the National Security and Investment Act, to protect national security if we identify concerns.

The Government does not have a role in the review of mergers on competition grounds. It is the responsibility of Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to assess the impact on consumers and competition in the market, with input from sectoral regulators - in this case Ofcom.

At present Vodafone UK have not announced any job cuts in relation to the merger. On 16 May, Vodafone Group, which operates across 21 countries, announced its annual financial results and strategy to improve performance. The announcement included an indication that Vodafone Group plans to cut 11,000 jobs globally over 3 years. Any redundancies are a commercial decision for Vodafone Group.

23rd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether her Department has made an assessment with Cabinet colleagues of the potential impact of a merger between Three UK and Vodafone on national security.

On June 14, Vodafone and Three announced their intentions to merge their UK businesses. As an open economy, we welcome investment where it supports UK growth and jobs, meets our stringent legal and regulatory requirements, and does not compromise our national security. We will not hesitate to use our powers, under the National Security and Investment Act, to protect national security if we identify concerns.

The Government does not have a role in the review of mergers on competition grounds. It is the responsibility of Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to assess the impact on consumers and competition in the market, with input from sectoral regulators - in this case Ofcom.

At present Vodafone UK have not announced any job cuts in relation to the merger. On 16 May, Vodafone Group, which operates across 21 countries, announced its annual financial results and strategy to improve performance. The announcement included an indication that Vodafone Group plans to cut 11,000 jobs globally over 3 years. Any redundancies are a commercial decision for Vodafone Group.

21st Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether her Department plans to increase funding for research into kidney disease.

Through UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), DSIT is responsible for biomedical and biological research, whilst DHSC is responsible for the NIHR, focused on health and health care system research.

UKRI funds research into the detection, prevention, treatment and underpinning biology of kidney disease, allocated primarily through the Medical Research Council (MRC). Over the period of 2019/20 to 2021/22, MRC has invested over £20 million in funding and support for kidney disease research with £7.7 million in 2019/20, £7.8 million in 2020/21 and £6.7 million in 2021/22.

UKRI funds research and innovation on a competitive basis, with individual applications being assessed by independent experts. In general, funding is not ring-fenced for specific conditions, and so an estimate for future spend on kidney disease research is unavailable.

21st Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of including kidney function testing in the Our Future Health research programme.

Our Future Health continues to work in partnership with charities including Kidney Research UK to develop additional sampling strategies that may in future include an assessment of kidney function.

18th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether she has had recent discussions with social media companies on tackling the dissemination of automated disinformation.

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology’s Ministers and officials regularly meet with a range of social media platforms to aid our understanding of the spread of misinformation and disinformation narratives on their services and the steps they are taking to address this. This includes understanding platforms’ terms of service on the use of inauthentic behaviours to amplify content, and manipulated media, for example videos that have been developed or manipulated using AI or machine learning.

6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that eligible households are aware of (a) how and (b) when to apply for the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding.

On 19 December, the Government publicly announced the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding on Gov.uk: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/vital-help-with-energy-bills-on-the-way-for-millions-more-homes-across-great-britain-and-northern-ireland. The Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding will open for applications in Great Britain in January 2023. In addition to this announcement, the Government has been engaging with stakeholders in order to provide communications to the groups that would be eligible for the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
16th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an estimate of the number of surviving members of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme who have (a) injuries and (b) industrial diseases caused by working in the mining industry which affect their quality of life as of 16 November 2022.

The Government does not hold this information.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
16th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an estimate of the average amount by which the annual pension received by remaining members of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme would change if the surplus sharing arrangements were revised to create a (a) 70-30, (b) 90-10 and (c) 100-zero per cent split between the scheme and the Government.

Any surplus will depend on the returns on the Scheme’s investments - this will be assessed at the valuation in 2023. The Government has no current plans to change the surplus sharing arrangements.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
16th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of replacing the existing surplus sharing agreement with the Mineworker’s Pension Scheme with a new arrangement in which the Government would only receive a share of surpluses if it is required in future to contribute to the value of the scheme under the existing guarantee.

The Government stated in its response to the BEIS Select Committee Report, published on 29 April 2021, which made this recommendation that it would not agree to such a change as it believes the current arrangements to be fair to Scheme members and taxpayers.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
16th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment with Cabinet colleagues of the potential impact of the surplus sharing arrangements for the Mineworker’s Pension Scheme on the Government’s levelling-up agenda.

The Scheme’s surplus-sharing arrangements mean that scheme members receive approximately 33% higher payments than they would otherwise have done. There are currently no plans for a review of the surplus-sharing arrangements. In addition, the Government guarantee ensures that pensions increase in line with RPI.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
1st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of the timing of payments from the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Fund on people who have not yet received a payment.

The Department has made no such assessment. The Government recognises that those households who do not have a domestic electricity meter or a direct relationship with an energy supplier and who are not benefitting from the main Energy Bills Support Scheme are in need of energy support over the winter. The Government is working to deliver this support through the EBSS Alternative Funding as soon as possible.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his timescale is for publishing the Biomass Strategy.

The Government is actively progressing work on the Biomass Strategy and plans to publish it in due course.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential role of bioLPG in decarbonising heat in off-gas grid properties.

The Government expects heat pumps will be the primary technology for decarbonising off-grid buildings. The Government recognises that not all off-grid properties will be suitable for a heat pump and there will be a role for alternative low carbon technologies where heat pumps cannot be used. Further evidence is needed to assess what role biofuels such as bioLPG or hydrotreated vegetable oil could play in the future heating mix – in particular the overall amount of sustainable biomass available to the UK and how this could be best used across the economy to achieve our net zero target.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential viability and contribution of hybrid heat pumps to give off-gas grid properties fuel security on the route to decarbonisation.

The Government expects heat pumps will be the primary technology for decarbonising off-grid buildings. The Government recognises not all off-grid properties will be suitable for a heat pump and there will be a role for alternative low-carbon technologies. To play a long-term role, all fuels used by a hybrid system must be consistent with net zero.

Further evidence is needed to assess what role biofuels could play in the future heating mix – in particular the overall amount of sustainable biomass available to the UK and how this could be best used across the economy to help deliver net zero.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when his Department will publish further information for off-grid homeowners on (a) accessing the £100 Alternative Fuel Payment and (b) additional support to help with the cost of energy.

The Alternative Fuel Payment (AFP) will provide a one-off payment of £100 to households that use alternative fuels for heating instead of mains gas. Eligible households in Great Britain will receive £100 credit on their electricity bill this winter.

This is in addition to the Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS), which delivers a £400 non-repayable discount to households with an electricity meter. For those not on standard gas or electricity contracts the EBSS Alternative Fund will provide equivalent support. Further details will be announced in due course.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
17th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when his Department will publish further information for off-grid businesses on (a) a non-domestic alternative fuel payment and (b) further support to assist with the cost of energy.

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)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will take steps to support the growth of community energy schemes.

Through the introduction of UK-wide growth funding schemes, Government is enabling local areas to tackle net zero goals in ways that best suit their needs. We encourage community energy groups to work closely with their local authority to support the development of community energy projects within these schemes.

Ofgem also supports community energy projects and is now welcoming applications from community interest groups, co-operative societies, and community benefit societies to the Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme.

Given the level of support already available, the Government has no plans to take further steps to support the growth of community energy schemes at this time.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
22nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department has taken to support the recycling and reprocessing industry with rising energy prices.

The Government understands the huge pressure businesses are facing with their energy bills, which is why immediate action has been taken to support them over the winter, protecting jobs and livelihoods. The Energy Bill Relief Scheme for non-domestic customers will provide a discount on energy bills for all eligible non-domestic customers, including those in the recycling and reprocessing industry, whose current gas and electricity prices have been significantly inflated in light of global energy prices. This targeted support builds on our longer-term work with the sector, as set out in the Circular Economy Package and the Resources and Waste Strategy.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
6th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to his Department's policy paper entitled Introduction to Sector Deals, updated in June 2019, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a sector deal for the medical cannabis industry.

BEIS have no plans to assess the merits of introducing a sector deal for the medical cannabis industry. We will continue to support the Life Science sector through delivery of the Life Science Vision.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has had recent discussions with representatives of (a) energy firms and (b) Ofgem on the potential merits of introducing an energy price cap for commercial customers.

The Government regularly engages with energy firms and Ofgem to understand the impact rising energy prices have on businesses of all sizes.

The Government announced a new six-month scheme – the Energy Price Guarantee for Businesses (EPGB) – to protect all businesses and other non-domestic energy users from soaring energy costs. It will offer comparable support to that being provided for consumers and we expect the scheme to be available in the autumn. After this initial six-month scheme the Government will provide focused support for vulnerable sectors, targeted to make sure those most in need get support.

Further details regarding the scheme will be published shortly.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will make an assessment of the impact of the medical cannabis industry on (a) the economy and (b) employment levels.

The Department has no plans to make an assessment of the impact of the medical cannabis industry on the economy or employment levels. The Department annually publishes data on the impact on the economy and employment of the wider Life Sciences sector in the Bioscience and health technology sector statistics, this includes analysis of the bio-pharmaceuticals sector of which the medical cannabis industry is an important part.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
5th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will publish the recipients of support under the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy does not intend to publish the list of participants in the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.

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, if he will undertake a review of the cost of wood pellets used to fuel biomass boilers in the context of the recent rise in the cost of living.

The Government is keeping energy billsunder constant review. The Government recently announced a £400 grant to help households with their energy bills this winter, plus an additional £650 to help low income households, £150 for those on disability benefits, and a £300 payment for recipients of Winter Fuel Payments, as part of a £15 billion support package to tackle the increased cost of living. This brings the total cost of living support to £37 billion this year.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
27th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with representatives from energy firms on limits on payments billed via direct debit to help ensure credit balances do not become excessive.

BEIS Ministers regularly meet with stakeholders, including energy suppliers, to discuss a range of energy retail market issues. Energy suppliers should not be increasing their customers’ direct debits by more than is necessary. The Government welcomes Ofgem’s announcement of strict supervision of direct debits and credit balances.

Ofgem published a consultation 20 June on strengthening the existing requirements for licenced energy suppliers to set domestic consumers’ fixed direct debits according to the best and most current information available to them. The consultation can be viewed online at: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications/statutory-consultation-strengthening-fixed-direct-debit-rules.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
23rd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 9 March 2022 to Question 132331 on Drax Power Station: Timber, what was the age profile of forests felled for use in the Drax power station.

The Government does not hold this data. Generators only receive subsidies for biomass that complies with strict sustainability criteria, which includes requirements under both land and greenhouse gas criteria. More information on the sustainability criteria can be found on the Ofgem website https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications/renewables-obligation-sustainability-criteria.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
23rd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to his Answer of 1 April 2022 to Question 146696 on Carbon Emissions: Coal and Timber, what quantity of carbon dioxide emissions did the UK report internationally as a memo item for (a) Drax Group from the burning of wood in its power station and (b) all UK bioenergy production in the last 12 months.

Defra publish the Pollutant Release and Transfer Register to comply with the Kyiv Protocol requirements. For 2020, the most recent year with available data, the total carbon dioxide emissions from the Drax site in North Yorkshire were 14.3 million tonnes and the carbon dioxide emissions excluding biomass were 1.53 million tonnes. This implies that burning wood at the Drax power station emitted 12.8 million tonnes of biomass derived carbon dioxide.

The quantity of carbon dioxide emissions from biogenic sources that the UK reported internationally to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change for 2020 was 47.198 million tonnes.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if the Government will launch an independent inquiry into the British non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.

The National Audit Office undertook a review of the Renewable Heat Incentive in 2018. The Government does not intend to carry out a independent inquiry.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent estimate he has made of the total lifetime payments to participants under the British Renewable Heat Initiative scheme through to 2042 for the (a) domestic and (b) non-domestic scheme.

The Renewable Heat Initiative (RHI) will pay participants until March 2041 and BEIS has so far committed £6,414million for expenditure until financial year 2022/23. The total lifetime payments estimates are inherently uncertain as they depend on the future volume of heat that will be produced and on the future tariffs at which the heat produced will be paid.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the findings of openDemocracy on the disparity between (a) the time it takes for some biomass boilers to pay for themselves and (b) owners continuing to receive payments in excess of the cost of fuel, if he will take steps to (i) identify and (ii) retrospectively reduce payments to people who are in receipt of a subsidy for heating systems that have already returned to the owner the cost of their installation.

The Government has no plans to stop or reduce retrospectively tariff payments for existing Renewable Heat Incentive participants.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how people who are not connected to the electricity grid and rely on diesel generators will receive their entitlement through the Energy Bills Support Scheme.

The Government is aware that not all households have their electricity provided through a domestic electricity supply contract and are connected to the electricity grid. This was covered the Government’s technical consultation (Energy Bills Support Scheme – Managing the impact of the energy price shock on consumer bills) which closed on 23 May. Households without a domestic electricity supply contract are not eligible for the Scheme and the government is exploring options for other ways in which they might receive similar support. Responses to the consultation are being analysed and the Government’s response will be published in the summer.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how LPG consumers who are not also domestic electricity customers will receive their entitlement through the Energy Bills Support Scheme.

The Government is aware that not all households have their electricity provided through a domestic electricity supply contract and are connected to the electricity grid. This was covered the Government’s technical consultation (Energy Bills Support Scheme – Managing the impact of the energy price shock on consumer bills) which closed on 23 May. Households without a domestic electricity supply contract are not eligible for the Scheme and the government is exploring options for other ways in which they might receive similar support. Responses to the consultation are being analysed and the Government’s response will be published in the summer.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 6 June 2022 to Question 10044 on Fuel Oil: Rural Areas, how heating oil consumers who are not also domestic electricity customers will receive their entitlement through the Energy Bills Support Scheme.

The Government is aware that not all households have their electricity provided through a domestic electricity supply contract and are connected to the electricity grid. This was covered the Government’s technical consultation (Energy Bills Support Scheme – Managing the impact of the energy price shock on consumer bills) which closed on 23 May. Households without a domestic electricity supply contract are not eligible for the Scheme and the government is exploring options for other ways in which they might receive similar support. Responses to the consultation are being analysed and the Government’s response will be published in the summer.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 30 May 2022 to Question 5668 on Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme, what steps he is taking to ensure that members of the Mineworkers’ pension scheme receive their fair entitlement of moneys from that scheme.

I refer the hon. Member to my previous answer.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
20th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 17 May 2022 to Question 344, on Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme, if he will publish the timeframe for mineworkers receiving full entitlement to their pensions.

Members of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme are already receiving their full entitlement plus bonus pensions.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Government's Response to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee’s Sixth Report of Session 2019–21, Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme, published on 29 June 2021, HC 386, What his timescale is for ensuring that Mineworker’s pensions are paid and scheme members receive their full entitlement.

The Government guarantee ensures that all members of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme receive their full entitlement.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how the Better Regulation Executive oversees the regulatory framework for approving nutritional borderline substances.

The Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances (ACBS) approves and recommends borderline substances supplied by the NHS. The Committee's recommendations are listed in the Borderline Substance list in the Drug Tariff (Part XV).

The regulatory framework for approving nutritional borderline substances is out of scope of the Better Regulation Framework which oversee regulatory measures that relate to the regulation of business activity.

18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions his Department has had with representatives from energy suppliers to ensure eligible customers are still able to access the warm home discount once their previous energy supplier has ceased trading.

When an energy supplier leaves the market, in almost all cases, Ofgem appoints a Supplier of Last Resort (SoLR) to take over its customers. SoLRs are not obliged to provide the Warm Home Discount to transferred customers; however, all SoLRs have honoured this obligation in the past and the Government would expect that any future SoLRs would continue to honour these obligations. The Warm Home Discount is one of the factors that Ofgem considers when appointing a SoLR. In rare cases, the Special Administration Regime (SAR) process may be a more appropriate option to protect customers of large energy suppliers. Warm Home Discount recipients are unaffected during the SAR process.

The Government concluded a consultation on the future scheme last summer. Under the proposals, the vast majority of households would receive their rebates automatically, without having to apply. This would make it easier for SoLRs to make the Warm Home Discount rebate payments to newly transferred customers. BEIS will publish the Government’s response to the consultation in the spring, with the reforms coming into force from the 2022/23 scheme year.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many eligible customers (a) have and (b) have not been able to access the warm home discount after being moved to a new energy supplier after their previous energy supplier ceased trading.

When an energy supplier leaves the market, in almost all cases, Ofgem appoints a Supplier of Last Resort (SoLR) to take over its customers. SoLRs are not obliged to provide the Warm Home Discount to transferred customers; however, all SoLRs have honoured this obligation in the past and the Government would expect that any future SoLRs would continue to honour these obligations. In rare cases, the Special Administration Regime (SAR) process may be a more appropriate option to protect customers of large energy suppliers. Warm Home Discount recipients are unaffected during the SAR process.

The Government concluded a consultation on the future scheme last summer. Under the proposals, the vast majority of households would receive their rebates automatically, without having to apply. This would make it easier for SoLRs to make the Warm Home Discount rebate payments to newly transferred customers. BEIS will publish the Government’s response to the consultation in the spring, with the reforms coming into force from the 2022/23 scheme year.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many tonnes of CO2 will be emitted each year by the (a) transportation and (b) burning of wood pellets imported to the UK for use in bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) energy schemes.

The Government does not hold this information

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many tonnes of CO2 are emitted from the Drax power station as a result of burning wood pellets each year.

The Government does not hold data on stack emissions from wood pellet burning at Drax. Ofgem publishes data on company-specific supply chain emissions from biomass, which can be found here https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications/biomass-sustainability-dataset-2019-20

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of potential merits of introducing additional regulations for the parcel delivery sector to ensure a minimum of standard of service.

The Government remains committed to an affordable and accessible postal service for all users. Under its universal service obligation, Royal Mail offers a letter and parcel service for the same price and to the same delivery standards to anywhere in the UK.

Ofcom, as the UK’s designated independent regulator of postal services, is currently consulting on the future regulatory framework for post, including parcel operators outside of the universal service obligation, and plans to issue a statement in Summer 2022.

24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to work with private industry to raise people's awareness of the risks associated with the purchase of counterfeit goods in the run up to Christmas 2021.

The Intellectual Property Office works with industry, law enforcement and government partners to raise the awareness to consumers of the social, economic and personal risks posed by counterfeit goods. It is presently working with Local Authority Trading Standards teams to support their seasonal campaigns highlighting the dangers of purchasing counterfeit goods this Christmas.

18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has had discussions with the Office for Product Safety and Standards on safeguarding children from the sale of unsafe toys on online marketplaces.

Existing product safety legislation places obligations on manufacturers, importers and distributors to ensure that consumer products are safe before they can be placed on the UK market. This includes retailers selling toys via online marketplaces.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), which is within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, is taking forward a programme of work to help ensure the safety of products sold online. Where products are identified online that do not meet the UK’s product safety requirements, OPSS works with colleagues in local Trading Standards to take action and expects online platforms to act quickly to remove them from sale. Since April 2021, OPSS interventions have led to the withdrawal of more than 10,000 unsafe products, including toys, previously listed and available in the UK via online marketplaces.

In addition, OPSS continues to run regular campaigns to improve consumer awareness of safety issues, including a Christmas Toys product safety information campaign which will run from 15th November 2021 until 17th December 2021.

OPSS is also currently conducting a review of the UK’s product safety framework to ensure it remains robust and is future-proofed so that it continues to protect consumers while enabling businesses to safely innovate and grow. This includes reviewing the impact of the changes brought by eCommerce to the product safety framework to ensure that there is appropriate accountability and clear responsibilities throughout the supply chain. The Government has analysed submissions to the product safety review Call for Evidence and is now finalising its response, which will be published in due course. We will consider a full range of options to address the challenges identified by stakeholders and any proposals for legislative change would be subject to public consultation.

18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will undertake an assessment of the potential merits of imposing a contractual duty of care on online marketplaces to ensure that the products they allow to be listed for sale are fit for purpose and meet regulatory requirements.

Existing product safety legislation places obligations on manufacturers, importers and distributors to ensure that consumer products are safe before they can be placed on the UK market. This includes retailers selling toys via online marketplaces.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), which is within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, is taking forward a programme of work to help ensure the safety of products sold online. Where products are identified online that do not meet the UK’s product safety requirements, OPSS works with colleagues in local Trading Standards to take action and expects online platforms to act quickly to remove them from sale. Since April 2021, OPSS interventions have led to the withdrawal of more than 10,000 unsafe products, including toys, previously listed and available in the UK via online marketplaces.

In addition, OPSS continues to run regular campaigns to improve consumer awareness of safety issues, including a Christmas Toys product safety information campaign which will run from 15th November 2021 until 17th December 2021.

OPSS is also currently conducting a review of the UK’s product safety framework to ensure it remains robust and is future-proofed so that it continues to protect consumers while enabling businesses to safely innovate and grow. This includes reviewing the impact of the changes brought by eCommerce to the product safety framework to ensure that there is appropriate accountability and clear responsibilities throughout the supply chain. The Government has analysed submissions to the product safety review Call for Evidence and is now finalising its response, which will be published in due course. We will consider a full range of options to address the challenges identified by stakeholders and any proposals for legislative change would be subject to public consultation.

18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to regulate the (a) listing and (b) sale of unsafe toys on online marketplaces.

Existing product safety legislation places obligations on manufacturers, importers and distributors to ensure that consumer products are safe before they can be placed on the UK market. This includes retailers selling toys via online marketplaces.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), which is within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, is taking forward a programme of work to help ensure the safety of products sold online. Where products are identified online that do not meet the UK’s product safety requirements, OPSS works with colleagues in local Trading Standards to take action and expects online platforms to act quickly to remove them from sale. Since April 2021, OPSS interventions have led to the withdrawal of more than 10,000 unsafe products, including toys, previously listed and available in the UK via online marketplaces.

In addition, OPSS continues to run regular campaigns to improve consumer awareness of safety issues, including a Christmas Toys product safety information campaign which will run from 15th November 2021 until 17th December 2021.

OPSS is also currently conducting a review of the UK’s product safety framework to ensure it remains robust and is future-proofed so that it continues to protect consumers while enabling businesses to safely innovate and grow. This includes reviewing the impact of the changes brought by eCommerce to the product safety framework to ensure that there is appropriate accountability and clear responsibilities throughout the supply chain. The Government has analysed submissions to the product safety review Call for Evidence and is now finalising its response, which will be published in due course. We will consider a full range of options to address the challenges identified by stakeholders and any proposals for legislative change would be subject to public consultation.

18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support Trading Standards Scotland after the UK's departure from the EU.

The Consumer Protection Partnership (CPP), of which the department and Trading Standards Scotland are members, regularly meet to discuss consumer protection issues. The CPP brings together consumer protection organisations from across the UK jointly to identify and prioritise areas where there is greatest risk of harm to consumers and to agree and coordinate collective action to tackle detriment, making use of all available tools at the disposal of each member. This includes any EU Exit related issues.

In addition, BEIS officials hold regular discussions with Trading Standards Scotland to identify challenges any emerging areas of consumer harm.

In July 2021, the Department published the Reforming Competition and Consumer Policy consultation. The Department is currently analysing the responses and will respond to the consultation in due course.

18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding for the enforcement of trading standards following the impact of the (a) UK's departure from the EU and (b) recovery from the covid-19 outbreak.

Local authorities across England, Scotland and Wales are responsible for local Trading Standards services. Local authorities are independent from central government and are responsible for determining their resourcing priorities in accordance with the needs of the local electorate. The budget process of the Scottish and Welsh Governments results in the determination of the local government finance settlement which sets out the government grant. The Department for the Economy funds the Trading Standards Service in Northern Ireland.

18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to undertake a review of the enforcement powers of (a) National Trading Standards and (b) Trading Standards Scotland.

Local Trading Standards Services are funded solely by local authorities, which are independent from central government. These authorities are responsible for determining their spending priorities and they are accountable to their local electorate. Funding is not ringfenced, so local authorities make decisions according to their individual needs.

The Department provides funding to National Trading Standards (NTS) and Trading Standards Scotland (TSS), to enable local authorities to take coordinated action specifically on consumer harm issues that cross local authority boundaries; for instance, doorstep crime and mass-marketing scams. We have provided a single enforcement grant of £12,027,000 to National Trading Standards and £1,215,000 to Trading Standards Scotland for financial year 2021/22. We keep the funding needs of both organisations under constant review.

18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if the Government will provide additional funding to (a) National Trading Standards and (b) Trading Standards Scotland.

Local Trading Standards Services are funded solely by local authorities, which are independent from central government. These authorities are responsible for determining their spending priorities and they are accountable to their local electorate. Funding is not ringfenced, so local authorities make decisions according to their individual needs.

The Department provides funding to National Trading Standards (NTS) and Trading Standards Scotland (TSS), to enable local authorities to take coordinated action specifically on consumer harm issues that cross local authority boundaries; for instance, doorstep crime and mass-marketing scams. We have provided a single enforcement grant of £12,027,000 to National Trading Standards and £1,215,000 to Trading Standards Scotland for financial year 2021/22. We keep the funding needs of both organisations under constant review.

18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with (a) National Trading Standards and (b) Trading Standards Scotland on tackling unsafe toys on online marketplaces.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) works closely with colleagues in local authority trading standards services to take action where products, including toys, are identified online that do not meet the UK’s product safety requirements. This work includes sharing intelligence with the National Trading Standards regional intelligence network and Trading Standards Scotland, as well as working directly with the local authorities that have enforcement responsibilities for product safety, including at the ports.

OPSS is currently conducting a review of the UK’s product safety framework to ensure consumers continue to be protected and that businesses are able to safely innovate and grow. As part of the review, officials have engaged with representatives from trading standards from across the UK, including Scotland. Representatives from trading standards have recently taken part in six roundtable events, which included reporting their experience of enforcement issues with online marketplaces. We will continue to engage with them and a wide range of other stakeholders as the review progresses.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with (a) National Trading Standards and (b) Trading Standards Scotland on tackling unsafe toys on online marketplaces.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) works closely with colleagues in local authority trading standards services to take action where products, including toys, are identified online that do not meet the UK’s product safety requirements. This work includes sharing intelligence with the National Trading Standards regional intelligence network and Trading Standards Scotland, as well as working directly with the local authorities that have enforcement responsibilities for product safety, including at the ports.

OPSS is currently conducting a review of the UK’s product safety framework to ensure consumers continue to be protected and that businesses are able to safely innovate and grow. As part of the review, officials have engaged with representatives from trading standards from across the UK, including Scotland. Representatives from trading standards have recently taken part in six roundtable events, which included reporting their experience of enforcement issues with online marketplaces. We will continue to engage with them and a wide range of other stakeholders as the review progresses.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to undertake a review of the enforcement powers of (a) National Trading Standards and (b) Trading Standards Scotland.

The Department provides funding to National Trading Standards (NTS) and Trading Standards Scotland (TSS), to enable local authorities to take coordinated action specifically on consumer harm issues that cross local authority boundaries; for instance, doorstep crime and mass-marketing scams. We have provided a single enforcement grant of £12,027,000 to National Trading Standards and £1,215,000 to Trading Standards Scotland for financial year 2021/22. We keep the funding needs of both organisations under constant review.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if the Government will provide additional funding to (a) National Trading Standards and (b) Trading Standards Scotland.

The Department provides funding to National Trading Standards (NTS) and Trading Standards Scotland (TSS), to enable local authorities to take coordinated action specifically on consumer harm issues that cross local authority boundaries; for instance, doorstep crime and mass-marketing scams. We have provided a single enforcement grant of £12,027,000 to National Trading Standards and £1,215,000 to Trading Standards Scotland for financial year 2021/22. We keep the funding needs of both organisations under constant review.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding for the enforcement of trading standards.

The Department provides funding to National Trading Standards (NTS) and Trading Standards Scotland (TSS), to enable local authorities to take coordinated action specifically on consumer harm issues that cross local authority boundaries; for instance, doorstep crime and mass-marketing scams. We have provided a single enforcement grant of £12,027,000 to National Trading Standards and £1,215,000 to Trading Standards Scotland for financial year 2021/22. We keep the funding needs of both organisations under constant review.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support Trading Standards Scotland.

The Department provides funding to National Trading Standards (NTS) and Trading Standards Scotland (TSS), to enable local authorities to take coordinated action specifically on consumer harm issues that cross local authority boundaries; for instance, doorstep crime and mass-marketing scams. We have provided a single enforcement grant of £12,027,000 to National Trading Standards and £1,215,000 to Trading Standards Scotland for financial year 2021/22. We keep the funding needs of both organisations under constant review.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to work with the devolved nations in respect of the delivery of its Life Sciences Vision.

The Life Sciences Vision is UK-wide and aims to increase the health, wealth and resilience for all four nations of the United Kingdom. The Government worked closely with the devolved administrations and stakeholders from all parts of the UK in developing the Vision, to ensure that it reflected the strengths and opportunities of the whole UK.

We will continue to work closely with the devolved administrations as we implement the Vision. BEIS officials are in regular contact with their devolved counterparts.

18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the Government's potential role in the collapse of the AEA Technology pension scheme; and if he will make a statement.

The State cannot be held liable for the value of private sector pension schemes. Affected individuals are covered by Pension Protection Fund compensation arrangements. This has not changed.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the uptake has been of funding from the Medicines and Diagnostics Manufacturing Transformation Fund to date.

Since the Medicines & Diagnostics Manufacturing Transformation Fund (MDMTF) launched on 7 April this year, we have seen a high level of interest from the sector with a total of 80 registrations visible on the online application portal as of 11th June 2021. The application deadline for the MDMTF is not until 30 June. Once received, applications will be appraised before grant offers are made.

24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) agency workers and (b) other workers are treated fairly, respectfully and that their rights are protected.

The Government is committed to protecting and enhancing workers’ rights, including for agency workers. In the past year the Government has taken a variety of actions to support workers. These include increasing the National Living Wage for around 2 million workers, extending eligibility for the minimum wage to thousands of seafarers, enabling workers to carry over more annual leave due to the Covid-19 pandemic, ensured that those made redundant after a period of furlough do not lose out on redundancy pay, increasing the reference period employers use to calculate holiday pay to improve seasonal workers’ wages, and ensuring that prospective parents who are furloughed do not lose out on maternity pay entitlements and other forms of parental pay.

The Government has also introduced additional protections for agency workers. From 6 April 2020 the Government banned the use of ‘Swedish Derogation’ contracts, ensuring agency workers cannot opt out of their right to equal pay with permanent counterparts after the twelve-week qualifying period in the same role with the same hirer. We have also introduced the requirement for employment businesses to give new agency workers a Key Information Document to improve transparency around pay. The Government has also committed to extend the remit of the Employment Agency Standards (EAS) Inspectorate, which enforces agency workers’ rights, so that they can investigate relevant complaints involving umbrella companies and seek compliance from them. EAS has also doubled the number of frontline inspector roles.

13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to support industrial decarbonisation now that the Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Initiative has closed to new applicants.

The Government is committed to supporting industry with the ambitious decarbonisation needed to deliver on the Net Zero target. The Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy, published in March, explains our approach

We will align the UK Emissions Trading Scheme cap to be consistent with Net Zero, and are considering mechanisms to further strengthen the UK ETS and the Climate Change Agreements scheme. We are also investing in decarbonisation technologies through the £1bn CCUS Infrastructure Fund, £289m Industrial Energy Transformation Fund and £240m Net Zero Hydrogen Fund. We continue to develop business models to incentivise industrial CCUS and low-carbon hydrogen. We will also propose new measures to support the growth of the market for low carbon products.

The NDRHI closed to new applicants on 31st March 2021. However, several hundred projects will continue to be built, with commissioning deadlines of 31st March 2022.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to support the development and roll-out of (a) bioenergy with carbon capture and storage and (b) other negative emissions technologies.

The Government’s priority is to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities and adapt to those impacts that are unavoidable.

Negative emissions from technologies such as bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) may be required to balance residual emissions from some of the most difficult to decarbonise sectors, such as agriculture and aviation. The Climate Change Committee (CCC) recommend deploying BECCS in the UK at a potential rate of 53 MtCO2/yr by 2050.

Through the Carbon Capture and Storage Infrastructure Fund, the UK Government will provide at least £800 million pounds to establish carbon capture and storage in at least two UK clusters, one by the mid-2020s and another by 2030.

We are taking action to support innovation and strengthen our understanding of GGRs before moving forward with deployment. In June 2020, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister committed up to £100 million funding to research and develop Direct Air Capture technologies in the UK. As part of this, BEIS launched phase 1 of the Direct Air Capture and other GGRs innovation competition in November, which seeks to support the development of GGR technologies to help them achieve commercialisation.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions his Department has had with Ofgem on potential reform of the the Transmission Network Use of System charging system.

The transmission network charging regime is a matter for Ofgem as the independent regulator. Transmission charges are set to reflect the costs which generators and demand customers in different locations impose on the transmission network. For Scotland, it means that generators generally pay higher charges than elsewhere, as they are further from demand centres, whilst Scottish consumers benefit from lower transmission charges than elsewhere. This ‘user pays’ approach helps to ensure efficient network use and keeps costs down for all end-consumers.

Ofgem is undertaking a package of reforms which, amongst other things, are intended to enable decarbonisation at lowest cost to consumers. An important element of this reform package is the Access and Forward-Looking Charges Review, which includes consideration of some aspects of transmission charging arrangements. Ofgem plans to consult on proposals in 2021, and the Department is in close touch with Ofgem to understand the implications for helping to achieve net zero targets, as well as minimising consumer costs.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will make a comparative assessment of the equity of the connection costs for wind projects in (a) Scotland and (b) elsewhere in Great Britain through the transmission network charging regime.

The transmission network charging regime is a matter for Ofgem as the independent regulator. Transmission charges are set to reflect the costs which generators and demand customers in different locations impose on the transmission network. For Scotland, it means that generators generally pay higher charges than elsewhere, as they are further from demand centres, whilst Scottish consumers benefit from lower transmission charges than elsewhere. This ‘user pays’ approach helps to ensure efficient network use and keeps costs down for all end-consumers.

Ofgem is undertaking a package of reforms which, amongst other things, are intended to enable decarbonisation at lowest cost to consumers. An important element of this reform package is the Access and Forward-Looking Charges Review, which includes consideration of some aspects of transmission charging arrangements. Ofgem plans to consult on proposals in 2021, and the Department is in close touch with Ofgem to understand the implications for helping to achieve net zero targets, as well as minimising consumer costs.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential risk to UK net zero targets of not reforming the Transmission Network Use of System (TNUoS) charging system, which places a premium on wind farms based upon postcode rather than project viability.

The transmission network charging regime is a matter for Ofgem as the independent regulator. Transmission charges are set to reflect the costs which generators and demand customers in different locations impose on the transmission network. For Scotland, it means that generators generally pay higher charges than elsewhere, as they are further from demand centres, whilst Scottish consumers benefit from lower transmission charges than elsewhere. This ‘user pays’ approach helps to ensure efficient network use and keeps costs down for all end-consumers.

Ofgem is undertaking a package of reforms which, amongst other things, are intended to enable decarbonisation at lowest cost to consumers. An important element of this reform package is the Access and Forward-Looking Charges Review, which includes consideration of some aspects of transmission charging arrangements. Ofgem plans to consult on proposals in 2021, and the Department is in close touch with Ofgem to understand the implications for helping to achieve net zero targets, as well as minimising consumer costs.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of increasing the amount of biomass feedstocks produced domestically in the UK.

In the Government’s response to Climate Change Committee’s (CCC) latest annual progress report to Parliament, we announced that we will publish a new Biomass Strategy in 2022.

This will review what amount of sustainable biomass could be available to the UK, and how this resource could be best utilised across the economy to help achieve our net zero greenhouse gas emissions target by 2050.

The Strategy will also assess the UK’s current biomass sustainability standards, which are already some of the world’s most stringent, to see where and how we can improve them even further.

As part of the strategy development, we will be launching a “Call for Evidence” on the role of biomass to help achieve zero, enabling interested stakeholders to contribute their views on biomass.

In addition, the Department will shortly be launching a £4m Biomass Feedstocks Innovation programme, investigating productivity innovations for domestic biomass supply.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has for further UK-wide decarbonisation policies when the non-domestic renewable heat incentive comes to an end in March 2021.

The Government is planning to publish a Heat and Buildings Strategy in due course, which will set out the immediate actions we will take to reduce emissions from buildings.

In addition, from April to July 2020, the Department consulted on “Future support for low carbon heat”, setting out proposals for future schemes to follow the closure of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). A government response to this consultation will be published shortly.

As part of this consultation In April 2020 we detailed proposals for the Green Gas Support Scheme (GGSS). This scheme will by provide tariff support for biomethane produced via anaerobic digestion and injected into the gas grid, and is due to open to applicants for four years in Autumn 2021.

Also included was the Clean Heat Grant (CHG), which will launch in April 2022. The CHG will be targeted at households and small non-domestic buildings, to enable the installation of heat pumps and, in limited circumstances, biomass, to provide space and water heating.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 2 February 2021 to Question 143010, on Wind Power, what support has been provided to Ofgem to facilitate onshore wind's capacity to contribute to the Government’s net-zero emissions target.

Renewable electricity generation, including onshore wind, will play a key role in achieving Net Zero. Onshore wind projects can bid into the fourth allocation round of the Contracts for Difference scheme, known as CfDs, which opens later this year. CfDs give greater certainty and stability of revenues to electricity generators by reducing their exposure to volatile wholesale prices, while protecting consumers from paying for higher costs when electricity prices are high. This will mean new onshore wind projects are developed, with the potential to provide clean energy into the network for years to come. Ofgem is responsible for ensuring the electricity network has sufficient capacity to allow for the growth in electricity generation and demand expected as we move to Net Zero, including provision for new and existing wind assets. While this a matter for the independent energy regulator, Government supports Ofgem in its work to create a stable regulatory environment to ensure Net Zero investment at lowest cost.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when the Government plans to bring forward an employment Bill.

The Government intends to bring forward legislation as soon as Parliamentary time allows. We remain committed to delivering legislation that ensures we have an employment framework that is fit for purpose in the 21st century.

8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government plans to take to support (a) employers and (b) employees to develop flexible working practices for all people once the covid-19 outbreak has concluded.

The Government has a made clear commitment to encourage flexible working and consult on making it the default unless employers have good reasons not to. A consultation will be issued in due course.

I have also written to the Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development to commission a further 18 months’ work from the Flexible Working Taskforce to help inform the Government’s thinking as we develop new policies and navigate the impact of COVID-19 on how we work. The Taskforce can help to take forward the best of what has been learned through the pandemic and help support workers and employers to adapt to new ways of working on a more permanent basis.

8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when the Department plans to launch its consultation on making flexible working the default.

The Government has a made clear commitment to encourage flexible working and consult on making it the default unless employers have good reasons not to. A consultation will be issued in due course.

2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when his Department plans to publish its response to the Ethnicity pay reporting consultation which closed on 11 January 2019.

In 2018/19, the Government consulted on options for employer-level ethnicity pay reporting. Following the consultation, Government met with businesses and representative organisations to understand the barriers to reporting and explore what information could be published to allow for meaningful action to be taken. We also ran a voluntary methodology testing exercise with a broad range of businesses to better understand the complexities outlined in the consultation using real payroll data. The Government is continuing to analyse this data and will respond to the consultation as soon as we can.

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress he has made on ensuring that networks throughout the UK receive adequate funding to maximise the capacity of onshore wind to contribute to the Government net-zero emissions target.

Funding for electricity networks to ensure they have appropriate capacity for new and existing wind assets is set out by Ofgem as the energy regulator. This is managed through the price control process, including the Strategic Wider Works arrangements for delivery of large onshore electricity transmission projects. Whilst the Government has no direct role in this process, we support the energy networks, Ofgem and other parties in facilitating the sustained growth in onshore wind needed over the next decade to help achieve our aims for net zero emissions by 2050 and to contribute to the green industrial revolution.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when the Post Office Subsidy will be allocated.

Through the November 2020 Spending Review a total of £227m of funding has been allocated to the Post Office to extend the network subsidy by £50 million and to provide £177 million to invest in the future of the network. This will ensure that post offices in every corner of the country, including our vital rural branches, can keep providing essential services for the people that rely on them – now and in the future.

The subsidy is for the period 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022 and funds will be dispersed to Post Office during that period. The Government sets a number of criteria on the Post Office, including performance obligations, as detailed within the Entrustment Letter and Framework Document.

6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what criteria will be used in allocating the Post Office Subsidy and if it will be published.

Through the November 2020 Spending Review a total of £227m of funding has been allocated to the Post Office to extend the network subsidy by £50 million and to provide £177 million to invest in the future of the network. This will ensure that post offices in every corner of the country, including our vital rural branches, can keep providing essential services for the people that rely on them – now and in the future.

The subsidy is for the period 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022 and funds will be dispersed to Post Office during that period. Government sets a number of criteria on the Post Office, including performance obligations, as detailed within the Entrustment Letter and Framework Document.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when the net zero strategy will be published; and whether that strategy will include reductions in emissions necessary for meeting the UK’s 2030 Nationally Determined Contribution.

We will publish the Net Zero Strategy ahead of COP26. We will build on my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan and the Energy White Paper, as well as upcoming plans in key sectors such as the Transport Decarbonisation Plan and Heat and Buildings Strategy.

The UK’s Nationally Determined Contribution is ambitious and demonstrates our continued leadership in tackling climate change. Our Net Zero Strategy will be a comprehensive plan for decarbonising sectors across the economy, both to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and meet our interim targets, making the most of new growth and employment opportunities across the UK.

We are building on the strong foundations we have established in decarbonising our economy; our ambitious manifesto commitments; and announcements from the Prime Minister and my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer of measures to cut emissions as we build back better in our economic recovery from COVID-19.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of further investment in tidal stream and wave technology and project developers as part of the Government's strategy to reach Net Zero by 2050.

The Government recently ran a Call for Evidence inviting views on what scope there is for marine technologies across the UK, including examining what additional support could move technologies towards commercialisation. This concluded on 30th September 2020 and we are currently reviewing the responses received.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of refining the pot structure of the Contracts for Difference round to include a reserved amount of funding for marine projects to compete for.

In November, the Government confirmed changes to the pot structure for the Contracts for Difference scheme to introduce a new, third pot for offshore wind ahead of the fourth Allocation Round scheduled to take place in late 2021. The Government considers this approach will allow auction parameters to be set across pots in a way which better reflects project characteristics. Wave and tidal stream projects remain eligible to compete in pot 2 for CfD auctions. We will publish specific allocation round parameters in advance of the next auction; typically, five to six months in advance. This will include the details of whether any technology-specific minima will apply.

16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions his Department has had with the APPG for Marine Energy on the UK Marine Energy Council’s submission to the Department for BEIS: Call for Evidence.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State recently met with the APPG for Marine Energy to discuss broadly the Marine Energy Council’s proposals for potential support for marine energy technologies.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of supporting the introduction of an Innovation Power Purchase Agreement to allow early stage technologies reach commercial readiness.

BEIS officials continue to engage with wave and tidal stream developers to understand their cost-reduction trajectories, where those savings are likely to be found and, importantly in light of declining costs for other renewables, whether there may be a rationale for funding arrangements outside of the CFD.

The Marine Energy Council is also looking at alternative funding models for early tidal array deployment outside the Levy Control Framework, which they refer to as the Innovation Power Purchase Agreement (IPPA). However, given that the IPPA is based on a tax measure which is the responsibility of HMT, it would be for Treasury ministers to decide on the desirability of such an instrument.

BEIS also supports the progress of early-stage technologies to commercial readiness through the £505 million Energy Innovation Programme. The Programme includes:

  • The Energy Entrepreneurs Fund (EEF) is a competitive grant funding scheme to support SMEs in the development and demonstration of state-of-the-art disruptive technologies, products and processes. Since 2012 the EEF has invested around £72 million of grant money in over 156 companies leveraging over £100m in private investment.
  • £20 million investment in a new venture capital fund: the Clean Growth Fund. The HMG investment is matched pound for pound by private sector investment and the Fund Manager has ambition for the Clean Growth Fund to reach £100 million by autumn 2021.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 9 November 2020 to Question 109389 on Toys and Games: Safety, whether the review of the Product Safety framework includes (a) ensuring that consumers receive warranties from the online marketplace on the quality and fitness for purpose of the products purchased via their platforms and (b) liability for unsafe toys and games being sold via their platforms.

The review of the UK’s Product Safety framework being led by the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) is focused on the safety of products and liability for them and will not review regulation of unfair or misleading trading practices. It is essential that the framework of laws which protect consumers from unsafe products are fit for purpose, protects consumers, and enables businesses to innovate and grow.

The review will take account of new technologies and business models including those used by online marketplaces. In carrying out the review OPSS will engage widely with consumer and business representatives and others with an interest in the framework.

The Consumer Rights Act (CRA) 2015 provides statutory rights to consumers in respect of satisfactory quality or for goods to fit their description. Guarantees and warranties form a binding contract between the party offering them and the consumer and under UK law, are not required to be given, but are benefits in addition to consumers’ rights under the CRA.

23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 10 July 2020 to Question 67591 on Warm Home Discount Scheme, if he will increase the amount of the Warm Home Discount to improve that scheme's targeting of fuel poverty beyond 2022.

On 14 October, we published a consultation on the extension of the Warm Home Discount scheme until March 2022. Should the Government decide to extend the scheme further, we plan to consult on reforms to improve the fuel poverty targeting.

23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the IP Crime Group’s finding in its IP Crime and Enforcement Report that cigarettes and tobacco products were the most reported counterfeit goods in the UK in 2019-20.

The IP Crime Report highlights that cigarettes and tobacco products were the products most investigated by Trading Standards in 2019-20. However, the IP Crime Report does highlight many operational successes by Trading Standards in removing illicit cigarettes and tobacco products from sale. The Intellectual Property Office also carried out a significant number of investigations into illicit cigarettes and tobacco products.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make ethnicity pay gap reporting mandatory.

In 2018/19 the Government consulted on options for employer-level ethnicity pay reporting. Following the consultation, Government met with businesses and representative organisations to understand the barriers to reporting and explore what information could be published to allow for meaningful action to be taken. We also ran a voluntary methodology testing exercise with a broad range of businesses to better understand the complexities outlined in the consultation using real payroll data. The Government is continuing to analyse this data and will respond to the consultation in due course.

21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when his Department plans to introduce additional regulation to (a) require and (b) support businesses to report ethnicity pay gaps.

In 2018/19 the Government consulted on options for employer-level ethnicity pay reporting. Following the consultation, Government met with businesses and representative organisations to understand the barriers to reporting and explore what information could be published to allow for meaningful action to be taken. We also ran a voluntary methodology testing exercise with a broad range of businesses to better understand the complexities outlined in the consultation using real payroll data. The Government is continuing to analyse this data and will respond to the consultation in due course.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much electricity would be generated by the £1.26 billion of Renewable Obligation Certificates which biomass for electricity receives if the money was redirected to (a) offshore wind, (b) onshore wind and (c) solar; and will he make a statement.

Generating stations under the Renewables Obligation scheme receive support for up to 20 or 25 years, depending on when they accredited. As they have a statutory right to their existing support, as set out in the scheme’s implementing legislation, it would be inappropriate to redirect that support to other technologies.

18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he has taken to accredit more lenders to the Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan Scheme.

In order to offer the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), finance providers must be accredited by the Government-owned British Business Bank. Accrediting new lenders for the BBLS is a priority for the Bank. It is working at pace to accredit more lenders to further extend the scheme’s reach and provide more choice for businesses.

The Bank has put substantial additional resources in place to create a streamlined process to help onboard new lenders seeking accreditation.

There are currently 23 accredited lenders for the BBLS.

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support micro businesses in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency.

Our aim is to make the UK the best place to start, scale up and grow a business and the Government is helping small businesses across the whole of the UK access the finance and support they need to succeed.

The British Business Bank’s (BBB) programmes are currently supporting over £7.4 billion of finance to over 93,000 small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) across the UK. Since launching in 2012, the BBB Start-Up Loans programme has issued over 3,500 loans in Scotland, averaging £7,200 each and worth over £25m in total. This includes 102 Start-Up Loans totalling £607,358 to companies in the Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency.

In addition to its lending and investment activity, BBB’s online Finance Hub helps business owners to find the right finance options for their needs.

Government has taken further steps in recent years to support the growth of small businesses across the UK, including cutting corporation tax to 19 per cent and increasing the employment allowance from £2,000 to £3,000 to benefit around 1m businesses. Reforms and reliefs to business rates, are worth £13 billion over the next five years.

All businesses in Scotland, including your constituency may use the Scottish Government’s dedicated website to find out about and access business support via https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/ or by telephone: 0300 303 0660. (Monday to Friday, 09:30am to 5:30pm.)

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate she has made of the number of households in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency that were affected by fuel poverty in each year since 2015.

Fuel poverty is a devolved matter and BEIS does not make estimates of households in fuel poverty for Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of extending the prohibition under regulation 6A(1) of The Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012 to include minimum payment surcharges by retail merchants to their customers as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Business are generally free to set out acceptable terms of payment from consumers.

For most retail payments, the Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations ban merchants from charging a fee in addition to the advertised price of a transaction on the basis of a consumer’s choice of payment instrument (for example, consumer credit or debit cards, or e-money). The cases in which surcharges are banned are set out in regulation 6A(1). The Government is examining a range of ways to support businesses and consumers in these difficult times, but there are no plans to review this legislation at present.

5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many households in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency have received income under the feed-in tariff in the last five years for which figures are available.

There are 2616 domestic homes in the Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency registered for feed-in tariff payments in Ofgem’s Central FIT register.

5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many households in (a) Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency, (b) Scotland and (c) the UK have prepayment meters; and what the change in the number of such meters was in each of those areas over the last five years.

The latest Ofgem data on Prepayment Meters (PPM) shows that there are 4.3 million customers using PPM meters, which represents around 15% of all customers in Great Britain.

Neither Ofgem nor the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy routinely collect regional PPM customer numbers However, in 2017 BIES collected a one off local authority area breakdown, which showed there were 460,529 PPM customers in Scotland, 14,008 PPM customers in the Falkirk Council local authority area and 13,143 for the West Lothian Council local authority area. This data does not include customers who pay for their gas using a PPM as this data has not been compiled, however there are fewer gas PPMs as a whole in the market.

The number of Prepayment Meter accounts in the GB energy market over the last five years has remained around 4.5 million. There has, however been an increase in competition in the PPM market over the past five years with PPM specialists providing greater choice for consumers beyond the six large suppliers. A cap on PPM prices was introduced in April 2017 and remains in force.

4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many households are classified as fuel poor in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency.

Fuel poverty is a devolved matter and BEIS does not make estimates of households in fuel poverty for Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, what assessment the Commission has made of the level of risk of spreading covid-19 as a result of hon. Members touching the despatch boxes and table during physical voting on 2 June 2020; and if he would make a statement.

The House authorities on behalf of the Commission has carried out all risk assessments as required under the Working safely during coronavirus (Covid-19) guidance. This identifies the key risks and control measures which have been introduced to allow people to work safely on the parliamentary estate during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Through the development of cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures the risk from touching any surface should be minimised and measures have been put in place to ensure hand washing facilities and / or hand sanitiser is available across the estate. These have also been placed at both entry points to the chamber.

Enhanced cleaning of the despatch box has continued at all times the House sits to further minimise any potential risk.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to (a) reduce the amount of manual processing on paper it carries out and (b) make those processes digital.

The Department has a case management offering, which allows staff to leverage technology to improve processes. The aim is to increase automation while reducing operational costs and manual processes. Where manual processes still exist, the Department seeks to use technology to reduce them further.

20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will suspend wrongful trading laws during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the difficulties faced by directors in making decisions about the future viability of their companies in these times of extreme uncertainty, and that the wrongful trading provisions impact on those decisions. The Government is urgently considering a range of measures which aim to help businesses wherever possible where the Covid-19 outbreak is the cause of their financial difficulties.

17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that residential customers of power companies who are (a) in self-isolation and (b) economically inactive as a result of covid-19 are able to afford an adequate level of gas and electricity supply during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government announced on 19 March that we have secured a voluntary agreement with domestic energy supply companies to support customers impacted by Covid-19.

Under the terms of this agreement, energy suppliers will seek to identify and prioritise customers at risk, support customers who are impacted financially, and support prepayment meter customers to stay on supply.

The support offered will be based on the individual circumstances of the customer and the systems, processes and capability of the supply company. It could include extending discretionary or friendly credit, or sending out a pre-loaded top up card for prepay customers who are unable to leave home to top up.

9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to ensure that supplies of (a) hand sanitiser and (b) face masks are not rapidly depleted by panic buying as a result of covid-19.

The UK is well prepared for this type of outbreak; we are taking all necessary precautions to protect the public, including engaging with industry and the business community to discuss their preparedness planning. We will continue to work closely with sectors, companies, and business representative organisations to ensure we are fully aware of the issues and impacts businesses are facing and how we can best provide support.

In order to help the industry respond to Covid-19, the Government has announced that it will work with local authorities to extend the hours in which deliveries can be made to supermarkets and other food retailers. This will allow retailers to increase the frequency of their deliveries and move stock more quickly from warehouses to shelves.

3rd Mar 2020
What support he is providing to help businesses in Scotland prepare for the introduction of import controls on EU goods from 2021.

We are working with the Scottish Government to ensure businesses can take full advantage of the new opportunities presented in January 2021.

We have provided over £130 million to the Scottish Government in EU exit allocations, and through HMRC’s customs grant scheme, £34 million has been made available to UK businesses to support trader readiness.

6th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment the Government has made of trends in the level of pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace; and if she will make a statement.

The Government recognises the importance of tackling pregnancy and maternity discrimination. That is why we committed in our Manifesto to reform redundancy law so companies cannot discriminate against women after they have returned from maternity leave.

The Government is currently undertaking the Maternity and Paternity Rights Survey which surveys over 3,000 parents across Great Britain to understand leave and employment decisions when they have a baby, this includes a question on whether a parent experienced any discrimination at work.

The Government will undertake further research into pregnancy and maternity related discrimination when the current package of interventions has had time to take effect.

8th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions she has had with terrestrial TV broadcasters on free to view broadcasting of international football matches involving each of the home nations.

The Government believes that certain sporting events of national interest should be shown on free-to-air television rather than behind a paywall, so that they can be enjoyed by as wide an audience as possible. That is why we have the listed events regime.

In determining what events form part of this regime, a balance between accessibility and the ability of sporting organisations to generate revenues from commercial broadcast arrangements to invest in the development of their sports from the grassroots up. The Government believes that the current list strikes an appropriate balance, and has no current plans to undertake a full review of the events on the list.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 20 July 2023 to Question 194250 on Gambling, which targeted consultations were published as of 11 September 2023.

On 26 July 2023 we published two consultations covering maximum stake limits for online slots games and measures relating to the land based sector. A third Department for Culture, Media and Sport consultation on the statutory levy committed in the white paper will also follow in the coming weeks.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
30th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, if her Department will take steps to introduce legislative proposals to improve fairness and transparency relating to the use of dynamic pricing and secondary selling by events and ticketing sales companies.

We are committed to supporting fair and transparent ticket pricing and tackling unacceptable behaviour in this market.

We have strengthened the law in relation to ticketing information requirements and have introduced a criminal offence of using automated software to buy more tickets online than is allowed. We also support the work of enforcement agencies in this area, such as the Competition and Markets Authority, National Trading Standards, and the advertising industry's own regulator the Advertising Standards Authority.

Ultimately, ticket pricing strategies are a matter for event organisers and ticketing platforms, providing they comply with relevant legislation, particularly regarding transparency to customers on how tickets are priced, in order to help consumers make a fair and informed decision.

23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the potential impact of the Multi-Sport Grassroots Facilities Programme on promoting, developing and widening access to field hockey.

Supporting grassroots sport is a key government priority to ensure that everyone is able to access quality sport and physical activity opportunities, and enjoy the physical and mental health benefits that exercise provides.

The Government has committed to delivering the facilities that every community needs, and is investing over £300 million across the UK between 2021 and 2025 as a step towards that ambition. This will promote and widen access to grassroots sports, including field hockey.

England Hockey engages with the Football Foundation and wider partners on how they can work together and benefit from the Government’s investment in UK-wide multisport facilities. Sport England has also provided England Hockey with grant support to update their national facility strategy.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 18 October 2022 to Question 61996 on Gambling Act 2005 Review, what further steps her Department plans to take to prepare for publication the response to that Review.

The Gambling Act Review is an extensive evidence-led review, which aims to ensure regulation is fit for the digital age. We will publish a White Paper setting out our conclusions and next steps in the coming weeks, following normal processes for agreeing and publishing government policy.

12th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has had discussions with representatives from Ticketmaster on their new dynamic pricing policy.

DCMS officials are routinely in touch with relevant ticketing trade bodies and organisations, to discuss ongoing developments in the market, as are BEIS and Competition and Markets Authority officials. As a Government, we are committed to supporting fair and transparent ticket pricing and tackling unacceptable behaviour.

Ultimately, ticket pricing strategies are a matter for event organisers and ticketing platforms, providing they comply with relevant legislation. As the Consumer Rights Act makes clear, event organisers and ticketing platforms are expected to be transparent with customers on how they price their tickets and what specific pricing strategies they use. This is to help consumers to make a fair and informed decision.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
20th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what her policy is on the proposed privatisation of Channel 4.

Channel 4 is a great UK success story and, in a rapidly changing media landscape, the government wants Channel 4 to have the necessary tools to thrive in the long-term while maintaining its distinctiveness. It is right that the government looks again in detail at the business case for a sale of Channel 4, and I will announce next steps in due course.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions she has had with broadcasters on the potential merits of free to view broadcast of international rugby matches involving (a) Scotland, (b) England, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) Wales.

I refer to my previous answer of 19 November 2021 that the Department has discussions regularly with broadcasters on a range of matters including those related to the broadcasting of Sport.

The Listed Events regime is designed to ensure that sporting events of national significance are accessible to as wide an audience as possible by ensuring that coverage of certain sports are offered to free-to-air broadcasters. Currently, matches in the Rugby World Cup finals tournament and Six Nations Rugby matches involving home countries are designated on the listed events regime under Group B. This means that they are protected for delayed coverage and/or highlights packages on free-to-air television but it does not preclude these events from being broadcast live on free-to-air television.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions she has had with broadcasters on the potential merits of free to view broadcast of international football matches involving (a) Scotland, (b) England, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) Wales.

The Department has discussions regularly with broadcasters on a range of matters including those related to the broadcasting of Sport.

The Listed Events regime is designed to ensure that sporting events of national significance are accessible to as wide an audience as possible by ensuring that coverage of certain sports are offered to free-to-air broadcasters. Currently, international football matches for the FIFA World Cup Finals Tournament and the European Football Championships Finals Tournament are designated on the listed events regime under Group A - where full live coverage must be offered for free-to-air broadcast. This includes the matches of the home countries that have qualified for the event.

We believe that the current Listed Events regime works well and strikes an appropriate balance between retaining free-to-air sports events for the public while allowing rights holders to negotiate agreements in the best interests of their sport.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 21 October 2021 to Question 57186 on Broadband: Standards, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of embedding an official broadband speed standard of measurement in Ofcom’s Broadband Speeds Codes of Practice, to ensure internet service providers deliver a standardised supply to consumers.

Standards for measuring broadband speeds as a part of the Broadband Speeds Codes of Practice are a matter for Ofcom as the independent regulator for the sector.

In November 2020, significant changes to Ofcom’s Broadband Speeds Codes of Practice came into effect which require providers who have signed up to provide customers with ‘live sync speeds’. This means people and businesses should receive more accurate information about the capabilities of their individual lines before they enter their contract.

In addition, Ofcom is conducting a review of the codes and aims to publish its findings by the end of the year. This will include an assessment of how well Ofcom believes the current code of practice is working.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has plans to promote knowledge on the environmental impact of storing unnecessary data.

As outlined in the National Data Strategy, better data use and data-driven innovation will be vital to solving some of today’s biggest challenges, including the UK’s transition to Net Zero through driving emissions reductions across sectors. At the same time as seizing this opportunity we know that we must remain vigilant to the environmental consequences of increased data use.

Through the National Data Strategy Forum workstream on Net Zero, we will continue to highlight the environmental impact of data use as well as champion how the better use of data can support our Net Zero ambitions.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department has made an assessment of the carbon cost of storing data online.

As outlined in the National Data Strategy, better data use and data-driven innovation will be vital to solving some of today’s biggest challenges, including the UK’s transition to Net Zero through driving emissions reductions across sectors. At the same time as seizing this opportunity we know that we must remain vigilant to the environmental consequences of increased data use.

Data centres are acknowledged as one of many contributing factors to ICT emissions, along with TV, Networks, and User Devices, although experts disagree over the sector’s precise contribution. To this end, as part of the National Data Strategy Forum, I recently hosted a roundtable with data centre providers to understand the steps they are taking to reduce their carbon emissions including through the commitments outlined in the Climate Neutral Data Centre Pledge.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that broadband providers deliver their advertised (a) service and (b) download speeds to consumers’ homes.

Ofcom’s Broadband Speeds Codes of Practice requires that internet service providers (ISPs) provide consumers with information about the service they can expect, including download speeds, prior to purchase. ISPs who have signed up to the Code - and this includes, for example, BT, TalkTalk and Virgin Media - also commit to providing consumers with a minimum guaranteed download and upload speed, allowing them to cancel or leave their contract, without penalty, should the service fall below the agreed standard.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of ending gambling sponsorship in sport.

The government launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. This closed on 31 March and received approximately 16,000 submissions from a broad range of interested organisations and individuals. As part of the wide scope of that Review, we called for evidence on the benefits or harms of allowing operators to advertise and engage in sponsorship arrangements. We are currently considering all evidence carefully and no decisions have been made. A white paper will be published in due course.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the implications of research by Oxford and Warwick Universities, entitled The association between gambling and financial, social and health outcomes in big financial data, published in March 2021, for the Government's Review of the Gambling Act 2005.

As set out in response to the Oral Question in the House of Lords on 20th April, the government views the paper by Dr Naomi Muggleton and others which looks at the correlation between gambling spend and financial indicators of wellbeing as a useful contribution to the evidence base. We are considering its findings carefully as part of our ongoing Review of the Gambling Act 2005, alongside the responses to our call for evidence which closed at the end of March. We aim to publish a white paper outlining our conclusions and policy proposals by the end of the year.

2nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will use the Review of the Gambling Act to ensure that the Gambling Commission can access all essential new and emerging evidence in its ongoing review into Remote Customer Interaction.

The Gambling Commission’s consultation and call for evidence on Remote Customer Interaction closed on 9 February and received over 13,000 responses. The Commission is reviewing the evidence carefully and intends to publish a full report in the summer. An interim update can be found at the following link:
https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/news/article/update-on-remote-customer-interaction-consultation

The government’s Review of the Gambling Act is ongoing and we received 16,000 responses to our call for evidence. We have shared key submissions with the Gambling Commission, including on remote customer interaction.

14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to tackle online homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.

The government is committed to tackling homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, including the spread of such content online. On 12 May 2021, we published the draft Online Safety Bill, which sets out new expectations on companies to keep their users safe online. Under a new legal duty of care, in-scope companies, including social media, will need to tackle misogynistic, homophobic, biphobic and transphobic content and activity that is illegal, if it is on their services.

In addition, companies with the largest audiences and with high-risk features will need to assess the risk to adults of legal but harmful content on their services. They must also set clear terms and conditions stating what legal but harmful material they accept (and do not accept) on their service. Companies will have to do this for both priority harms which the government will set out in secondary legislation and for any emerging harms they identify in their risk assessments.

These duties will apply to homophobic, biphobic and transphobic hate speech, which do not meet the threshold of a criminal offence. Companies will need to enforce their terms and conditions consistently and transparently, and could face enforcement action if they do not. All companies in scope will be required to have effective and accessible user reporting and redress mechanisms.

21st May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on the potential merits of expanding the scope of the proposed online safety Bill to tackle online scams and fraud.

The Online Safety Bill was developed jointly by DCMS and the Home Office, involving close cooperation at Ministerial and official level.

The government is deeply concerned about the growth and scale of online fraud. The Online Safety Bill, published on the 12th May, will therefore require companies in scope of regulation to take action to tackle fraud, where it is facilitated through user-generated content (for example by social media posts) or via search results. We expect the regulatory framework to have a particular impact on specific types of fraud, such as romance scams, which are estimated to cost over £60 million a year and cause significant psychological harm to victims.

12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 20 April 2021 to Question 179071 on Gambling: Advertising, for what reason adverts that promote bingo or lotteries are allowed to be broadcast on television before 9.00pm.

As set out in answer to Question 179071, all gambling advertising, wherever it appears, is subject to strict controls on content and placement. Adverts must never be targeted at children or vulnerable people, and the Committees of Advertising Practice recently concluded a consultation on proposals to amend the advertising codes to further limit the potential for adverts to appeal to these groups.

The broadcast advertising codes make clear that adverts for commercial gambling and lotteries must not be shown during or adjacent to television programmes directed at or likely to appeal particularly to children. Gambling adverts on television are also subject to a pre-broadcast clearance regime to ensure they comply with advertising codes. Adverts for most gambling products are not broadcast before 9pm under the voluntary Industry Group for Responsible Gambling code; however this restriction does not apply to products such as bingo and lotteries that were permitted to advertise prior to the Gambling Act 2005.

The government launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. As part of the wide scope of that Review, we have called for evidence on the benefits or harms of allowing gambling operators to advertise. The review will not look at advertising relating to the National Lottery, which is regulated under a separate framework, the National Lottery Act 1993. Evidence from the latest (2018) Health Survey for England shows that problem gambling rates for National Lottery draw-based games were 0.9% and Scratchcards were 1.4%.

12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 29 April 2021 to Question 187228 on Gambling: Internet, what the Gambling Commission’s timescale is for publishing an interim update on progress and next steps in relation to its consultation and call for evidence on Remote Customer Interaction.

The Gambling Commission’s consultation and call for evidence on Remote Customer Interaction closed on 9 February and received over 13,000 responses. The Commission is reviewing that evidence and will publish an interim update on progress and to set out next steps in due course.

8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 25 February 2021 to Question 155211 on Gambling: Advertising, what discussions his Department has had with relevant stakeholders on changes in the level of gambling advertising broadcast on television since March 2020.

As set out in answer to Question 155211, the government does not hold data on the volume of broadcast gambling advertising. The Advertising Standards Authority has published figures on levels of exposure to advertising, including gambling advertising, during the first national lockdown, a period when television viewing significantly increased. This data does not allow for an assessment of trends throughout the period since March 2020.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport engages regularly with a wide variety of stakeholders and receives many representations on issues related to gambling and gambling regulation.

We launched the Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. As part of the wide scope of that Review, we have called for evidence on the benefits or harms of allowing gambling operators to advertise.

8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 25 February 2021 to Question 155211 on Gambling: Advertising, what representations his Department has received on changes in the level of gambling advertising broadcast on television since March 2020.

As set out in answer to Question 155211, the government does not hold data on the volume of broadcast gambling advertising. The Advertising Standards Authority has published figures on levels of exposure to advertising, including gambling advertising, during the first national lockdown, a period when television viewing significantly increased. This data does not allow for an assessment of trends throughout the period since March 2020.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport engages regularly with a wide variety of stakeholders and receives many representations on issues related to gambling and gambling regulation.

We launched the Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. As part of the wide scope of that Review, we have called for evidence on the benefits or harms of allowing gambling operators to advertise.

8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 25 February 2021 to Question 155211 on Gambling: Advertising, what information his Department holds on changes in the level of gambling advertising broadcast on television since March 2020.

As set out in answer to Question 155211, the government does not hold data on the volume of broadcast gambling advertising. The Advertising Standards Authority has published figures on levels of exposure to advertising, including gambling advertising, during the first national lockdown, a period when television viewing significantly increased. This data does not allow for an assessment of trends throughout the period since March 2020.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport engages regularly with a wide variety of stakeholders and receives many representations on issues related to gambling and gambling regulation.

We launched the Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. As part of the wide scope of that Review, we have called for evidence on the benefits or harms of allowing gambling operators to advertise.

8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 25 February 2021 to Question 155211 on Gambling: Advertising, if he will make an assessment of trends in the amount of gambling advertising broadcast on television since March 2020.

As set out in answer to Question 155211, the government does not hold data on the volume of broadcast gambling advertising. The Advertising Standards Authority has published figures on levels of exposure to advertising, including gambling advertising, during the first national lockdown, a period when television viewing significantly increased. This data does not allow for an assessment of trends throughout the period since March 2020.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport engages regularly with a wide variety of stakeholders and receives many representations on issues related to gambling and gambling regulation.

We launched the Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. As part of the wide scope of that Review, we have called for evidence on the benefits or harms of allowing gambling operators to advertise.

24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has made an assessment of the effect of the media representation of obesity on the stigma associated with living with overweight or obesity.

The Government’s ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ sets out an ambitious strategy for reducing obesity and includes ensuring the use of appropriate language when associated with unhealthy weight.

In January The Minister of State for Digital and Culture provided evidence to the Women and Equalities Select Committee concerning how media representations can contribute to poor body image. Ministers and officials in my department are committed to reviewing this issue as part of the Online Advertising Programme Review, later this year.

My department also works closely with the Advertising Standards Authority to ensure advertising presenting misleading, exaggerated and irresponsible content is taken down. In 2019 the Advertising Standards Association enhanced their standards through the inclusion of a new rule prohibiting negative gender stereotypes. Ads which pressure the audience to conform to an idealised gender-stereotypical body shape or physical features are likely to breach this rule.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the amount of gambling advertising that is broadcast on television has increased since March 2020.

The Chief Medical Officer is clear that being physically active is important to long-term health and crucial for keeping people healthy. Sports and physical activity, including the use of gyms, have been shown to treat, manage and prevent a range of conditions including heart disease, cancers, diabetes, stress, depression or anxiety. It can also bring communities together and tackle issues such as loneliness. That’s why we have continued to make sure that people can exercise throughout the national and the local tiered restrictions.

Sport England’s Active Lives Adult and Children surveys provide information not only on activity levels but also on social outcomes such as physical and mental wellbeing too. The latest reports can be found here.

Furthermore, last month Sport England published its new strategy Uniting the Movement which sets out their 10 year vision to transform lives and communities through sport and physical activity. The strategy seeks to tackle the inequalities we have seen in sport and physical activity and provide opportunities to people and communities that have traditionally been left behind, helping to remove barriers to activity.

On Monday 22 February, the Prime Minister announced a roadmap out of the current lockdown in England. Step 2 will take place no earlier than 12 April and as part of this indoor leisure (including gyms) for individual use will reopen. Step 3 will take place no earlier than 17 May and as part of this exercise classes can resume. This will be subject to social contact limits.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the content labelling provisions on sites hosting user-generated content such as YouTube; and if he will ask platforms to ensure the effectiveness of their content labelling.

The regulation of video sharing platforms by Ofcom came into force on 1 November 2020. UK-established video sharing platforms must now take appropriate measures to protect the public, including minors, from illegal content and harmful material. Although Youtube is not in scope of UK regulation, as its European headquarters is not in the UK, UK-established video sharing platforms may adopt content labelling as an appropriate measure. However they are not obliged to do so.

Under the future online harms regulatory framework, which will be introduced in the online safety legislation that we will be bringing forward later this year, all companies in scope of the new framework will need to have appropriate systems and processes in place to protect users. Any instances of advertising on sites hosting user-generated content, such as YouTube, must be obviously identifiable to meet the provisions of the regulator, the Advertising Standards Association.

DCMS will review how online advertising is regulated later in the year, to ensure standards about the placement and content of advertising can be effectively applied and enforced online so that consumers have limited exposure to harmful or misleading advertising.

Information about the call for evidence can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/online-advertising-call-for-evidence/online-advertising-call-for-evidence

We will continue to engage with industry to encourage platforms to adopt appropriate content labelling.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has made an assessment of whether Netflix’s best practice adoption of trusted BBFC ratings has encouraged other major streaming services to also adopt the BBFC’s ratings; and if he will encourage those services to do so.

As the designated body for age classification of film content, the Government has great trust in the British Board of Film Classification’s (BBFC) best practice age ratings.

While adoption of the BBFC’s age ratings by online platforms is currently voluntary, we welcome their usage by Video on Demand platforms. We were particularly pleased to see Netflix announce on 1 December 2020 that they have become the first platform to achieve complete coverage of their content under the BBFC’s ratings.

With it being such a recent development, the Government has not made any specific assessment of the impact of Netflix’s actions upon other streaming services. We will of course continue to engage with industry to encourage other platforms to adopt the BBFC’s ratings across all of their content, and will keep the evidence for legislation in this area under review in the coming years.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will take steps to ensure that forthcoming legislative proposals on preventing children's exposure to pornographic content online apply equally to all pornographic websites accessible by children.

Protecting children is at the heart of our online harms agenda, and wider government priorities. Under our proposals, social media, websites, apps and other services which host user-generated content or facilitate online user interaction (including video and image sharing, commenting and live streaming) will be subject to a duty of care, giving them new responsibilities towards their users. The online harms regime will capture both the most visited pornography sites and pornography on social media, therefore covering the vast majority of sites where children are most likely to be exposed to pornography.

We expect companies to use age assurance or age verification technologies to prevent children from accessing services which pose the highest risk of harm to children, such as online pornography. We are working closely with stakeholders across industry to establish the right conditions for the market to deliver age assurance and age verification technical solutions ahead of the legislative requirements coming into force.

10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 3 September 2020 to Question 77680, on Newspaper Press and Radio: Taxation, what assessment he has made of the merits of the Advertising Association's proposals for an advertising tax credit for local radio stations and news publications.

Supporting our world leading media businesses, such as Newspaper Press and Radio, is a key priority for this Government. Media businesses and freelancers across the country have now been able to take advantage of the unprecedented set of measures set up to support the economy and our media industry.

Conversations with stakeholders across Newspaper Press and Radio are ongoing and we will of course continue to engage with industry, and assess the merits of the government intervening where there is a strong case to do so.

This is a live issue for the government and one we will revisit once the budget has been confirmed.

8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans his Department has to communicate the switch off of the Public Switched Telephone Network to (a) residential consumers and (b) businesses.

The retirement of the public switched telephone network (PSTN), and its replacement with Internet Protocol technology, is being led by Openreach and Virgin Media, as the relevant infrastructure owners. Openreach and Virgin Media have publicly set out their plans to withdraw these services by the end of 2025. The migration is likely to affect all fixed exchange lines, of which there are 31.3 million in the UK.

Ofcom estimates that 81% of UK households have a landline service, with 4% of UK adults living in a home with a landline and no mobile phone and 3% of UK households having only a landline without any broadband. The government, Ofcom, and industry are working to ensure that the needs of vulnerable consumers are considered and Ofcom regularly monitors how communication providers are taking steps to ensure they identify and protect vulnerable customers.

In June 2020, the Broadband Stakeholder Group, a government advisory forum on telecoms policy, launched the ‘Future of Voice’ website. This consumer-facing website is designed to inform the public and businesses of the PSTN switchover process. The website has been developed with the support of telecoms companies, Ofcom and DCMS.

The government will also continue to work closely with various stakeholders, including the telecoms industry, Ofcom, and other government departments to ensure the country is prepared for the withdrawal of the PSTN, and will continue to consider the best course of action to prepare for the migration.

8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the switch off of the Public Switched Telephone Network on businesses in the UK.

The retirement of the public switched telephone network (PSTN), and its replacement with Internet Protocol technology, is being led by Openreach and Virgin Media, as the relevant infrastructure owners. Openreach and Virgin Media have publicly set out their plans to withdraw these services by the end of 2025. The migration is likely to affect all fixed exchange lines, of which there are 31.3 million in the UK.

Ofcom estimates that 81% of UK households have a landline service, with 4% of UK adults living in a home with a landline and no mobile phone and 3% of UK households having only a landline without any broadband. The government, Ofcom, and industry are working to ensure that the needs of vulnerable consumers are considered and Ofcom regularly monitors how communication providers are taking steps to ensure they identify and protect vulnerable customers.

In June 2020, the Broadband Stakeholder Group, a government advisory forum on telecoms policy, launched the ‘Future of Voice’ website. This consumer-facing website is designed to inform the public and businesses of the PSTN switchover process. The website has been developed with the support of telecoms companies, Ofcom and DCMS.

The government will also continue to work closely with various stakeholders, including the telecoms industry, Ofcom, and other government departments to ensure the country is prepared for the withdrawal of the PSTN, and will continue to consider the best course of action to prepare for the migration.

8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the number of vulnerable people who will be affected by the switch off of the Public Switched Telephone Network.

The retirement of the public switched telephone network (PSTN), and its replacement with Internet Protocol technology, is being led by Openreach and Virgin Media, as the relevant infrastructure owners. Openreach and Virgin Media have publicly set out their plans to withdraw these services by the end of 2025. The migration is likely to affect all fixed exchange lines, of which there are 31.3 million in the UK.

Ofcom estimates that 81% of UK households have a landline service, with 4% of UK adults living in a home with a landline and no mobile phone and 3% of UK households having only a landline without any broadband. The government, Ofcom, and industry are working to ensure that the needs of vulnerable consumers are considered and Ofcom regularly monitors how communication providers are taking steps to ensure they identify and protect vulnerable customers.

In June 2020, the Broadband Stakeholder Group, a government advisory forum on telecoms policy, launched the ‘Future of Voice’ website. This consumer-facing website is designed to inform the public and businesses of the PSTN switchover process. The website has been developed with the support of telecoms companies, Ofcom and DCMS.

The government will also continue to work closely with various stakeholders, including the telecoms industry, Ofcom, and other government departments to ensure the country is prepared for the withdrawal of the PSTN, and will continue to consider the best course of action to prepare for the migration.

3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has had recent discussions with representatives from online gaming platform providers on their codes of conduct for online gaming; and if he will make a statement.

Ministers and officials regularly hold meetings and discussions with online gaming platform providers on a range of issues, including online safety. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the Gov.uk website.

Under new online safety legislation, all companies in scope will need to tackle illegal content on their platforms, and protect children accessing their services from harmful content and activity. Gaming platforms which host user-generated content or facilitate online interaction will need to take decisive action to protect users on their services, particularly children. For example, they will need to protect children from harmful user-generated content such as bullying.

13th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make it his policy to support transmission cost relief for small commercial radio broadcasters.

The government fully recognises the vital role that small commercial radio stations have played during the Covid-19 pandemic in terms of the provision of national and local news and information, as well as community engagement and entertainment. We are acutely aware of the ongoing impact of the pandemic on commercial radio revenues, and we are continuing to work with all parts of the radio industry to explore ways to support the ongoing sustainability of stations.

12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with Arqiva on an additional relief package for small commercial radio broadcasters.

The government fully recognises the vital role that small commercial radio stations have played during the Covid-19 pandemic in terms of the provision of national and local news and information, as well as community engagement and entertainment. We are acutely aware of the ongoing impact of the pandemic on commercial radio revenues, and we are continuing to work with all parts of the radio industry to explore ways to support the ongoing sustainability of stations.

12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to provide additional support for transmission costs to small commercial radio broadcasters.

The government fully recognises the vital role that small commercial radio stations have played during the Covid-19 pandemic in terms of the provision of national and local news and information, as well as community engagement and entertainment. We are acutely aware of the ongoing impact of the pandemic on commercial radio revenues, and we are continuing to work with all parts of the radio industry to explore ways to support the ongoing sustainability of stations.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 9 June 2020 to Question 54172 on Business and Government Departments: Cybercrime, how many such cyber security incidents were reported in (a) 2015, (b) 2016, (c) 2017, (d) 2018 and (e) 2019.

In the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2020 (data collected in 2019) it was reported that 46% of business and 26% of charities reported experiencing a cyber security breach or attack in the last 12 months. Figures for the last 4 years are taken from the Cyber Security Breaches Survey.

Year

Businesses

Charities

2020

46%

26%

2019

32%

22%

2018

43%

19%

2017

46%

Data not collected

The survey aims to account for all the types of breaches or attacks that organisations might face including accidental breaches, as well intentional and recorded cyber attacks that did not get past an organisation’s defences. This only measures the breaches or attacks that organisations have themselves identified.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many successful cyber attacks took place against businesses in the UK in (a) 2015, (b) 2016, (c) 2017, (d) 2018 and (e) 2019.

In the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2020 (data collected in 2019) it was reported that 46% of business and 26% of charities reported experiencing a cyber security breach or attack in the last 12 months.

In 2020, it was reported that of those who experienced a cyber security incident, 19% of businesses and 25% of charities reported an incident having any negative outcome. Figures for the last four years are taken from the Cyber Security Breaches Survey.

Year

Businesses

Charities

2020

19%

25%

2019

25%

21%

2018

34%

40%

2017

38%

41%


The Cyber Security Breaches survey aims to account for all the types of breaches or attacks that organisations might face. This includes accidental breaches, as well as ones perpetrated intentionally. It also includes recorded cyber attacks that did not necessarily get past an organisation’s defences (but attempted to do so). While the survey does not specifically identify successful cyber attacks, it does nevertheless isolate the cases that had a material outcome, such as a loss of money, assets or other data. This only measures the breaches or attacks that organisations have themselves identified.

Figures for the last 4 years are taken from the Cyber Security Breaches Survey.


28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 12 June 2020 to Question 54171 on Small Businesses: Cybercrime, what recent steps his Department has taken to promote the uptake of the Cyber Essentials Scheme in (a) the UK, (b) Scotland and (c) Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency.

Cyber Essentials is promoted nationally through partnerships with over 50 amplification partners, including regulatory bodies and trade associations. It is also required for all central government contracts. The government works with law enforcement to engage with local businesses through Regional Organised Crime Units, one of which is run by Police Scotland. Alongside this, Scotland’s Business Resilience Centre offers subsidised, bespoke cyber security advice to SMEs, including about Cyber Essentials certification. There are eight further Regional Cyber Resilience Centres throughout the UK.

The Government’s Cyber Aware campaign shows the public and small businesses how to take up secure online behaviours, including signposting businesses towards Cyber Essentials and other guidance and support.

Up to the end of August 2020, 50,421 Cyber Essentials certificates had been awarded to organisations, including 11,506 since the start of 2020.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 12 June 2020 to Question 54171 on Small Businesses: Cybercrime, what recent steps his Department has taken to publicise the availability of the UK Government's Cyber Aware advice.

Cyber Aware is a cross-government campaign led by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) with support from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Home Office. The campaign helps the public and small businesses take up behaviours to stay secure online. The most recent phase of the Cyber Aware campaign started in April 2020 with advice on how to stay secure online during the coronavirus crisis. The campaign included a range of paid-for digital advertising and social media activity, supported by further communications from the NCSC, DCMS and Home Office. In addition, the NCSC published a range of new guidance to help businesses stay secure, including advice on secure home working, secure use of video conferencing and advice on how to move a business online securely in response to the lockdown. Also launched as part of the campaign is the new Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS) where the public can flag suspicious emails related to coronavirus or other matters. As of 31 August, the number of reports received stands at more than 2,330,000, with 9,315 scams and 22,237 malicious URLs removed as a result.

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking with the Chancellor of the Exchequer to help increase levels of revenue contributed through Gift Aid to support the civil society sector.

The Government is committed to supporting charities through Gift Aid; Gift Aid claimed by charities was worth around £1.3billion in 2018-19. Gift Aid already results in full tax relief on the tax paid on donations, with basic rate relief being claimed by the charity and higher rate relief being claimed by the taxpayer where relevant. Increasing the rate at which Gift Aid is paid would break the link with the basic rate of Income Tax paid on qualifying donations. Additionally, less than 20% of UK charities claim Gift Aid, so any increased payments linked to this tax relief would only benefit a small proportion of charities, with most being paid to a very small number of the very largest charities.

There is ongoing work between the Government and charities to improve eligible Gift Aid take-up and ensure that Gift Aid is fit for the future, and we understand the need to raise awareness among charities and donors of the benefits of Gift Aid.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on the effect of the Channel 4 documentary entitled, Dispatches: The Truth about Traveller Crime, on relations between traveller and non traveller communities; and if he will make a statement.

I have not discussed this matter with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. Like all other broadcasters, Channel 4 is editorially independent from the government, and is subject to independent regulation by Ofcom.

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many superfast fixed broadband lines there were in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency in the latest year for which data is available.

Utilising Ofcom’s Connected Nations Data (Spring 2020), the constituency of Linlithgow and East Falkirk has 53,846 fixed broadband lines with speeds above 30Mbps available. This represents 95.7% of all premises within the constituency. It also shows that whilst that figure represents availability of at least 30Mbps, the average download speed is actually 62.1Mbps.

5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent estimate the Government has made of the number of people in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency who do not have access to the internet.

The House of Commons Library produces an analysis of Ofcom Connected Nations data at constituency level: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/science/technology/constituency-data-broadband-coverage-and-speeds/. For the constituency of Linlithgow and East Falkirk it shows that:

  • 91% of the constituency is classified as urban and 9% is rural.

  • Within urban areas, 0.2% of premises are unable to receive decent broadband whilst 97% can receive superfast broadband.

  • Within the rural areas, 10% of premises are unable to receive decent broadband whilst 83% can receive superfast broadband.

  • Decent broadband is classified by Ofcom as at least 10Mbps.

  • Superfast broadband is classified by Ofcom as at least 30Mbps.

  • The three areas with the poorest connectivity are Braes Villages, Carse & Grangemouth Old Town and Linlithgow South.

The Scottish Government is running the Reaching 100 (R100) programme to ensure that all premises in Scotland can access at least superfast speeds. In lieu of that, DCMS operates the UK-wide Rural Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme which provides up to £1,500 for rural homes and up to £3,500 for rural small businesses/sole traders to contribute towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable connectivity. Furthermore, premises currently unable to receive at least 10Mbps could potentially qualify for the Universal Service Obligation (USO) which Ofcom launched in March 2020.

5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to promote digital inclusion in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency (a) in general and (b) for hard to reach groups who have never accessed online content.

Skills policy, including digital inclusion is a devolved matter. This is something that Scottish Ministers should be able to provide more information on.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many (a) small and medium-sized enterprises and (b) other businesses have signed up to the Cyber Essentials Scheme.

A total of 44,443 Cyber Essentials certificates have been awarded to organisations. The breakdown is as follows:

Micro 9,559

Small 14,423

Medium 9,068

Large 7,116

Some of the older certificates do not have an organisation size recorded, which is why the combined total above does not add up to 44,443.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many businesses have enrolled on the Cyber Essentials Scheme in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency.

From 2016 until the end of April 2020, 26 Cyber Essentials certificates have been awarded to businesses in the Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency. This is an estimate, as there is incomplete location data for some historical certificate entries.

A total of 44,443 certificates have been awarded to organisations across the UK.

A search function to find organisations with Cyber Essentials certificates is available at www.ncsc.gov.uk/cyberessentials/search.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what proportion of (a) small businesses, (b) large corporations and (c) Government departments and agencies reported breaches of cyber security in each of the last five years.

In 2020, 43% of micro businesses, 62% of small businesses and 75% of large businesses had identified cyber security breaches or attacks in the last 12 months. Figures for the last 4 years are taken from the Cyber Security Breaches Survey.

Micro (1-9 staff)

Small (10-49 staff)

Large (250+ staff)

2020

43%

62%

75%

2019

28%

40%

61%

2018

40%

47%

72%

2017

38%

52%

68%

The survey aims to account for all the types of breaches or attacks that organisations might face including accidental breaches, as well intentional and recorded cyber attacks that did not get past an organisation’s defences. This only measures the breaches or attacks that organisations have themselves identified so the figures reported may underestimate the full extent of the problem.

The total number of cyber incidents affecting central government departments is not held centrally. However, since its creation in 2016 the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has continued to provide assistance to central government departments and agencies to secure their networks and develop their departmental security strategies. This includes the deployment of the NCSC’s Host-Based Capability tool to over 35,000 government devices in the past year, which helps to collect and analyse technical metadata to help government departments understand the threat they face, and ongoing engagement with government departments and agencies as part of the Active Cyber Defence service.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent estimate his Department has made of the contribution of the horseracing industry to the economy in (a) the UK, and (b) Scotland in each of the last five years.

The Government recognises the significant contribution that racing makes to British sporting culture and its particular importance to the British rural economy.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) estimates that British racing, the UK’s second largest sports-related industry, is worth £4.1 billion in annual expenditure to the British economy, directly employing over 20,000 people and supporting employment for tens of thousands more in predominantly rural areas, and generating over £350 million in taxation annually.


An economic impact study commissioned by Scottish Racing in 2016 found that the Scottish horseracing industry generated £302 million in revenues, sustains 3,430 jobs, and generates £30m of tax revenues per annum. Further detail is provided in Scottish Racing’s 2016 Annual Review: http://www.scottishracing.co.uk/annual-review/.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to help small and medium-sized enterprises protect themselves against cyber-attack.

Through the National Cyber Security Strategy the Government is helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the economy and society improve their digital security.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) works closely with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to help SMEs protect themselves, including promoting the uptake of the Cyber Essentials scheme through engagement with industry sectors and via police Regional Organised Crime Units, which engage with businesses locally.

The Cyber Aware campaign encourages the public and small businesses to take up secure online behaviours, including signposting businesses to guidance, such as the Small Business Guide, which helps firms protect themselves from the most common cyber attacks. The NCSC has also published a suite of guidance on home-working and digital business operations to support SMEs during the Covid-19 outbreak.

DCMS also is making sure SMEs have access to the skilled people they need, and the NCSC offers a free online training package, Top Tips for Staff.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to promote Gaelic and Welsh language literature in the UK.

Culture is a devolved matter so promoting Gaelic and Welsh language literature in the UK is a matter for the relevant devolved administration.

DCMS does, however, work to support minority languages through its work on the creative industries strand of the British Irish Council. This includes working with devolved administrations to support minority languages, to share best practice, and to nurture more diverse UK audiences, including through minority language publications.

23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make it his policy to discontinue plans for a Festival of Britain and reallocate funding allocated to that purpose to supporting entertainment businesses during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department remains committed to delivering Festival 2022 which will showcase the UK’s unique strengths in creativity and innovation and celebrate our place in the world in the 21st century. Festival 2022 will be an opportunity to invest in DCMS sectors as commissioning is expected to start later this year.

In the meantime, the Government has already set out a package to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to meet with representatives of the Hacked Off group on legislative proposals to independently regulate newspapers (a) print and (b) online media.

The Government is committed to a free and independent media. DCMS ministers and officials regularly meet with a range of stakeholders to discuss a range of issues, and will consider any proposals put forward with regard to regulation of print and online media.

13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to roll-out gigabit broadband (a) in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency and (b) throughout Scotland.

The government has made good progress in the constituency of Linlithgow and East Falkirk, with over £50 million of central government funding allocated to the Rest of Scotland project area. As a result, superfast coverage in the constituency now stands at 97.3% - up from 46.5% in March 2012 and compares favourably to the UK average of 96.5%. Full fibre coverage stands at 11.8%, above the Scottish average figure of 8.8%. In total, the government has invested over £100 million in improving Scotland’s broadband infrastructure.

There are three government funded Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) projects taking place in Scotland - Tay Cities, Shetlands Council and Highlands Council. Almost £12 million of central government funding is being invested to upgrade public sector assets with gigabit-capable infrastructure. These upgrades will then stimulate the market to invest commercially in the surrounding communities.

The Scottish Borderlands area is also a priority for the government’s £200 million Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme, which is upgrading public sector sites in rural areas with gigabit-capable networks. This programme also offers vouchers for rural customers, which can be used to contribute towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable infrastructure.

In addition, the government has pledged £5 billion to deliver gigabit-capable broadband to the most difficult to reach areas of the UK, including communities in Scotland.

13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that rural areas have access to new superfast broadband infrastructure.

The Government’s Superfast programme has invested more than £1.8bn of public money to provide over 96% of UK premises with access to superfast broadband. BDUK continues to work closely with Local Authorities and Devolved Administrations to deliver through the programme. This also includes identifying further premises in rural areas that do not yet have access to Superfast broadband.


This Government will also deliver on its promise to commit £5bn of public money to make sure the hardest to reach areas will be connected with gigabit-capable connectivity. With this funding, we can deliver world class connectivity in rural areas at the same time as it is deployed to our cities, to ensure that a connected, 21st century Britain is a reality for all communities across the UK.

13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to minimise (a) the digital divide and (b) digital exclusion particularly among older people.

The UK Government recognises the vital importance of digital skills at all levels - from the basic digital skills people need to make the most of being online, to the general digital skills increasingly needed in every job, through to the high level digital skills for the growing number of specialist digital roles across the economy. As nearly all future jobs will require digital skills we are taking action across the entire education and training pipeline.

The UK Government recognises that, although we live in an increasingly online world, a significant part of the population remains digitally excluded Government is committed to helping elderly people acquire basic digital skills as part of our broader strategy to reduce digital exclusion as outlined in the Digital Strategy.

Government is addressing the digital divide through a number of initiatives.

We are funding the Future Digital Inclusion programme delivered through Online Centres based in libraries and other community spaces. This supports some of the hardest to reach groups in society, including older people. Over the last five years, the programme has supported over 1.3 million adult learners to engage with digital technology and develop their basic digital skills in community settings.

Through its £400,000 Digital Inclusion Innovation Fund, the Government is supporting three pilot projects aimed at addressing the digital exclusion of older and disabled people. One pilot, led by Uttlesford Council for Voluntary Service, is developing “smart homes” for elderly people to improve their digital skills, supported by their peers and younger ‘digital buddies’.

13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she plans to include in the Online Harms Bill provisions to tackle the potential risk of problem gambling to children of online gaming.

As problem gambling is not commonly associated with user-generated content, we do not anticipate that it will be addressed through the Online Harms regulatory framework.

However, the government is aware of concerns that entertainment products, such as some video games, could encourage gambling-like behaviour. We have committed to review the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age, and to tackle issues surrounding loot boxes. We will announce further details in due course.

28th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate her Department has made of the average length of time the Student Loans Company takes to refund people who have made an overpayment on their student loan.

The Student Loans Company (SLC) is committed to processing any requests for refunds due to customer overpayments in a timely manner. When a customer gets in touch with SLC about a potential refund, the whole process, including eligibility checks, will typically take around 10 days. However, this can take up to 28 days in some instances.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
28th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of financial advice available to students before they take out a student loan.

The government provides comprehensive guidance on student loans and grants for students and prospective students in higher education and on how to apply for student support on GOV.UK.

This includes statutory guidance from the Student Loans Company on the terms and conditions for student loans.

Guidance for students is reviewed and updated on an ongoing basis.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
14th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment her Department has made of the impact of verbal abuse of children by adults on children's (a) mental health and (b) long-term educational outcomes.

Education is a devolved matter, and the response outlines the information for England only.

Protection from abuse and neglect is a fundamental right for all children. The government’s priority for all vulnerable children is to keep them safe, protect their welfare and put their best interests at the heart of every decision. It is about supporting and intervening with the right families, at the right time, and, most importantly, in the right way.

In the department’s 'Children in need’ statistics release, we publish data on factors identified at the end of an assessment. Currently, verbal abuse is not defined but would fall into emotional abuse. For that reason, the department has not made a specific assessment of the impact of verbal abuse on children, but it is the government’s priority to ensure all children are protected and safe from harm, and we have an ambitious programme of reform to children’s social care underway. The latest statistics release is available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/characteristics-of-children-in-need.

On 2 February 2023, the department published ‘Stable Homes, Built on Love’, an implementation strategy and consultation which sets out our plans to transform children’s social care, in response to the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care, the national review into the murders of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and Star Hobson, and the Competition Markets Authority report.

The department’s strategy focuses on six pillars of action to transform children’s social care, including to help families overcome challenges at the earliest stage, keep children safe from significant harm, and make sure children in care have stable, loving homes, long-term loving relationships, and opportunities for a good life.

Over the next two years, the department will address urgent issues and lay the foundations for wider-reaching reform across the whole system, which will have an impact for those children experiencing abuse, including verbal abuse.

Furthermore, the statutory guidance, ‘Working together to safeguard children’ (2018), is clear that, if at any time it is considered that a child may be a child in need or has suffered significant harm or is likely to do so, a referral should be made immediately to a local authority’s children social care service.

In terms of supporting children’s mental health, the department has committed to offer all state schools and colleges a grant to train a senior mental health lead by 2025, enabling them to introduce effective, whole school approaches to mental health and wellbeing. More than 14,000 schools and colleges have now received a senior mental health lead training grant, including more than 7 in 10 state-funded secondary schools.

Intervening early is critical. To expand access to early mental health support, the department is continuing to roll out Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) to schools and colleges. As of April 2023, MHSTs covered 35% of pupils in schools and learners in further education in England. We are extending coverage of MHSTs to an estimated 44% of pupils and learners by the end of this financial year and at least 50% by the end of March 2025.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of recording verbal abuse of children by adults as its own maltreatment subgroup.

Education is a devolved matter, and the response outlines the information for England only.

Protection from abuse and neglect is a fundamental right for all children. The government’s priority for all vulnerable children is to keep them safe, protect their welfare and put their best interests at the heart of every decision. It is about supporting and intervening with the right families, at the right time, and, most importantly, in the right way.

In the department’s 'Children in need’ statistics release, we publish data on factors identified at the end of an assessment. Currently, verbal abuse is not defined but would fall into emotional abuse. For that reason, the department has not made a specific assessment of the impact of verbal abuse on children, but it is the government’s priority to ensure all children are protected and safe from harm, and we have an ambitious programme of reform to children’s social care underway. The latest statistics release is available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/characteristics-of-children-in-need.

On 2 February 2023, the department published ‘Stable Homes, Built on Love’, an implementation strategy and consultation which sets out our plans to transform children’s social care, in response to the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care, the national review into the murders of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and Star Hobson, and the Competition Markets Authority report.

The department’s strategy focuses on six pillars of action to transform children’s social care, including to help families overcome challenges at the earliest stage, keep children safe from significant harm, and make sure children in care have stable, loving homes, long-term loving relationships, and opportunities for a good life.

Over the next two years, the department will address urgent issues and lay the foundations for wider-reaching reform across the whole system, which will have an impact for those children experiencing abuse, including verbal abuse.

Furthermore, the statutory guidance, ‘Working together to safeguard children’ (2018), is clear that, if at any time it is considered that a child may be a child in need or has suffered significant harm or is likely to do so, a referral should be made immediately to a local authority’s children social care service.

In terms of supporting children’s mental health, the department has committed to offer all state schools and colleges a grant to train a senior mental health lead by 2025, enabling them to introduce effective, whole school approaches to mental health and wellbeing. More than 14,000 schools and colleges have now received a senior mental health lead training grant, including more than 7 in 10 state-funded secondary schools.

Intervening early is critical. To expand access to early mental health support, the department is continuing to roll out Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) to schools and colleges. As of April 2023, MHSTs covered 35% of pupils in schools and learners in further education in England. We are extending coverage of MHSTs to an estimated 44% of pupils and learners by the end of this financial year and at least 50% by the end of March 2025.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to reduce the prevalence of verbal abuse of children by adults.

Education is a devolved matter, and the response outlines the information for England only.

Protection from abuse and neglect is a fundamental right for all children. The government’s priority for all vulnerable children is to keep them safe, protect their welfare and put their best interests at the heart of every decision. It is about supporting and intervening with the right families, at the right time, and, most importantly, in the right way.

In the department’s 'Children in need’ statistics release, we publish data on factors identified at the end of an assessment. Currently, verbal abuse is not defined but would fall into emotional abuse. For that reason, the department has not made a specific assessment of the impact of verbal abuse on children, but it is the government’s priority to ensure all children are protected and safe from harm, and we have an ambitious programme of reform to children’s social care underway. The latest statistics release is available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/characteristics-of-children-in-need.

On 2 February 2023, the department published ‘Stable Homes, Built on Love’, an implementation strategy and consultation which sets out our plans to transform children’s social care, in response to the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care, the national review into the murders of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and Star Hobson, and the Competition Markets Authority report.

The department’s strategy focuses on six pillars of action to transform children’s social care, including to help families overcome challenges at the earliest stage, keep children safe from significant harm, and make sure children in care have stable, loving homes, long-term loving relationships, and opportunities for a good life.

Over the next two years, the department will address urgent issues and lay the foundations for wider-reaching reform across the whole system, which will have an impact for those children experiencing abuse, including verbal abuse.

Furthermore, the statutory guidance, ‘Working together to safeguard children’ (2018), is clear that, if at any time it is considered that a child may be a child in need or has suffered significant harm or is likely to do so, a referral should be made immediately to a local authority’s children social care service.

In terms of supporting children’s mental health, the department has committed to offer all state schools and colleges a grant to train a senior mental health lead by 2025, enabling them to introduce effective, whole school approaches to mental health and wellbeing. More than 14,000 schools and colleges have now received a senior mental health lead training grant, including more than 7 in 10 state-funded secondary schools.

Intervening early is critical. To expand access to early mental health support, the department is continuing to roll out Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) to schools and colleges. As of April 2023, MHSTs covered 35% of pupils in schools and learners in further education in England. We are extending coverage of MHSTs to an estimated 44% of pupils and learners by the end of this financial year and at least 50% by the end of March 2025.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make an assessment of the adequacy for future need of the number of current and projected students studying STEM subjects.

Science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) skills are in demand by employers across the country, and such demand is growing. The department is investing in STEM education at all levels to ensure people have access to high-quality STEM teaching and can access STEM career opportunities to meet current and future demand. The number of students studying STEM subjects is already growing. Between 2019 and 2022, there was a 9% increase in the number of UK students accepted onto full-time undergraduate STEM courses[1] in the UK, with uptake of Computer Science degrees among the fastest growing.

Employers have designed over 360 high-quality apprenticeship standards in STEM sectors, including over 100 at levels 6 and 7, to support individuals in England looking to start, or progress, in a career in STEM. 33% of all apprenticeship starts in the first half of 2022/23 academic year have been in STEM. The department is increasing investment in apprenticeships in England to £2.7 billion by the 2024/25 financial year to support more of these high-quality opportunities.

The department’s Unit for Future Skills (UFS) is working to improve the quality of jobs and skills data, which will support a better understanding of current skill mismatches and future demand across key sectors, including those related to STEM. As part of cross-government work to cement the UK’s status as a science and technology superpower by 2030, the UFS is developing a Skills Dashboard to understand the supply and demand of science and technology skills for priority technologies.

[1] UCAS data 2019 and 2022.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
24th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has had discussions with industry representatives about the assistance available to ensure people with learning disabilities are adequately supported to sit the Construction Industry Training Board’s Health, safety, and environment test.

Education is a devolved matter, and the response outlines the information for England only.

Under the Equalities Act 2010, employers are required to make reasonable adjustments for individuals with disabilities, as defined by the Act. The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) must have due regard to this.

As the management of the health, safety and environment test, including access arrangements for candidates, is an operational matter for the CITB, I have asked the CITB’s Chief Executive, Tim Balcon, to write to the hon. Member with details of the assistance available to ensure people with learning disabilities are adequately supported to sit the test. A copy of his reply will be placed in the libraries of both Houses.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to reform the apprenticeship levy to allow it to be used to support different forms of training.

The Department for Education is responsible for apprenticeships policy in England only.

The apprenticeship levy is collected by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs from all UK employers with a pay bill above £3 million. Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland receive a share of levy funding and it is the responsibility of the devolved administrations to determine how they spend this share to fund and operate their apprenticeship programmes.

The apprenticeship levy underpins our reforms in England to raise apprenticeship quality and support employers to make a long-term, sustainable investment in the skills that they need to grow. Employers are able to use their levy funds to access high-quality apprenticeship training and assessment. We currently have no plans to review what apprenticeship levy funds can be spent on.

We have set out our plans to improve the working of the apprenticeship levy in England in our Skills for Jobs white paper. We are making apprenticeships more flexible so that they work better for employers from all sectors, and we are enabling large employers to make greater use of their levy funds by improving and simplifying the process of transferring funds to other employers, including small employers who do not pay the levy.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of extending the remit of the proposed review of foster care legislation to include foster carer's employment status.

Foster Care in England’, the 2017 independent review of foster care, was clear that the current legislative framework is fit for purpose: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/foster-care-in-england. The reviewers did not recommend a change to the current employment status of foster carers. Their assessment was consistent with that of the Education Select Committee in determining that whilst there could be improvement in the respect and value shown to foster carers, in recognition of the invaluable role they play in Children’s Social Care and the lives of some of our most vulnerable children, this would not necessarily be achieved by becoming employees of fostering agencies: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmeduc/340/340.pdf. As a result, we have no immediate intention to revise the foster care legislation to that effect.

In our response, ‘Foster Better Outcomes’ (2018), we committed to considering where changes could be made to the statutory guidance to strengthen and clarify issues around support for foster carers and to assess whether the National Minimum Standards for Foster Care should be replaced by Quality Standards: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fostering-better-outcomes. We are committed to undertaking this work and will engage fully with the sector when we do so.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, whether the Commission has made an assessment of the potential merits of hon. Members wearing face masks or face coverings upon return to physical Parliamentary proceedings; and if he will make a statement.

The Commission is led by the current Government advice on the use of face masks and coverings.

Advice from Public Health England has been considered which states that face coverings may be beneficial in places where it is hard to follow and maintain social distancing measures e.g. on public transport. Face coverings are not a replacement for social distancing and regular handwashing which remain the most important actions. As hon. Members can maintain social distancing and have easy access to handwashing facilities or hand sanitiser, it was concluded that face coverings were not necessary.

A review of this decision was carried out on 3 June and concluded that the advice did not need to be updated in line with current government guidance.

Although not considered necessary it is an MP’s choice if they do want to wear a face covering on the Parliamentary estate.

26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of potential changes in the number of university enrolments at Scottish universities among overseas (a) undergraduates and (b) postgraduates as a result of the implementation of the proposed immigration system.

EU and non-EU students make an invaluable contribution to the whole of the UK’s higher education sector, socially, culturally and financially. This is why the UK Government will continue to welcome international students, working towards the ambition set out in our International Education Strategy, to host 600,000 international students per year by 2030.

The latest Higher Education Statistics Agency data shows that there are 58,000 international students enrolled in Scottish Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), an increase of 7% from 2017/18. The number of EU-domiciled students enrolled at Scottish HEIs has remained relatively stable since 2017/18 (decreasing by 0.5%). The number of non-EU-domiciled students enrolled at Scottish HEIs has increased by 12% since 2017/18. Undergraduate and postgraduate students will be covered by the points-based immigration system. This will improve on the current system by simplifying and streamlining the student route for both students and sponsors.

To ensure the UK higher education sector remains internationally attractive, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister announced the new Graduate Route in September 2019. This will offer an opportunity for international students who have passed their degree to stay and work in the UK for two years post-study.

This announcement enables higher education providers to recruit for the 2020/21 academic year on the basis that their students will be eligible for the graduate route, and ensures that all existing students who meet the requirements, and have Tier 4 leave at the point that the route is introduced will be able to benefit. Education in Scotland is a devolved matter.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on the potential effect of the Government's proposed immigration legislation on tertiary education.

The Department remains closely engaged with the Home Office around the future immigration system, its design and its impact on tertiary education.

Officials are involved in a number of cross-Whitehall meetings on system design, and attend the Education Sector Forum where the sector shares their views directly with the Home Office.

13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department is taking steps to introduce workers' rights and protections for foster carers classed as self-employed; and if he will make a statement.

The Department for Education has policy responsibility for fostering and foster parents. We have no plans to issue a statement on the employment status of foster parents.

I refer the hon. Member for Linlithgow and East Falkirk to the answer I gave on 7 January 2020 to Question 333.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
20th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to introduce workers' rights and protections for foster carers who are classed as self-employed.

In England, the purpose of foster care is to provide children with the chance of a family life when they cannot be cared for by their birth parents.

Foster care is a devolved matter and the agreement that foster carers in England have with fostering service providers, including local authorities, sets out how they carry out their role. This is, however, not a contract of employment or a contract to perform work, which would be a necessary requirement for someone to be classed as either an employee or a worker.

The Children’s Act 1989 (Vol. 4: Fostering Services) and subsequent statutory guidance sets out strong safeguards to protect foster parents from unfair treatment, including the requirement for fostering services to have a complaints procedure, whistle blowing policy, and for foster parents to have the right to review by the Independent Review Mechanism. Fostering Better Outcomes (2018) sets out the government’s ambitions and commitments to improve the wider support available for foster parents in England. There are no plans to reclassify the employment status of foster carers to limb (b) workers.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will reclassify the employment status of foster carers to limb (b) workers.

In England, the purpose of foster care is to provide children with the chance of a family life when they cannot be cared for by their birth parents.

Foster care is a devolved matter and the agreement that foster carers in England have with fostering service providers, including local authorities, sets out how they carry out their role. This is, however, not a contract of employment or a contract to perform work, which would be a necessary requirement for someone to be classed as either an employee or a worker.

The Children’s Act 1989 (Vol. 4: Fostering Services) and subsequent statutory guidance sets out strong safeguards to protect foster parents from unfair treatment, including the requirement for fostering services to have a complaints procedure, whistle blowing policy, and for foster parents to have the right to review by the Independent Review Mechanism. Fostering Better Outcomes (2018) sets out the government’s ambitions and commitments to improve the wider support available for foster parents in England. There are no plans to reclassify the employment status of foster carers to limb (b) workers.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason foster carers are classed as self-employed rather than employed.

In England, the purpose of foster care is to provide children with the chance of a family life when they cannot be cared for by their birth parents.

Foster care is a devolved matter and the agreement that foster carers in England have with fostering service providers, including local authorities, sets out how they carry out their role. This is, however, not a contract of employment or a contract to perform work, which would be a necessary requirement for someone to be classed as either an employee or a worker.

The Children’s Act 1989 (Vol. 4: Fostering Services) and subsequent statutory guidance sets out strong safeguards to protect foster parents from unfair treatment, including the requirement for fostering services to have a complaints procedure, whistle blowing policy, and for foster parents to have the right to review by the Independent Review Mechanism. Fostering Better Outcomes (2018) sets out the government’s ambitions and commitments to improve the wider support available for foster parents in England. There are no plans to reclassify the employment status of foster carers to limb (b) workers.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
10th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to provide additional financial support to foodbanks in winter 2023-2024.

The Government does not have any role in the operation of foodbanks. Foodbanks are independent, charitable organisations which bring people in local communities together to support one another. This is a great example of the generosity of spirit of communities across the country.

The Government is providing over £100 million of support for charities and community organisations in England to support the impacts of the increase in cost of living. This funding is supporting charities and community organisations right now through the £76 million Community Organisations Cost of Living Fund. This fund is awarding funding to frontline organisations supporting vulnerable households, including those which deliver food.

The second strand of the package, the £25.5 million VCSE Energy Efficiency Scheme, was opened in December 2023. This scheme will support frontline charities, community organisations and social enterprises across England to improve energy efficiency and sustainability.

The scheme has two main components:

  1. Independent Energy Assessment (IEA): This involves arranging an independent energy assessor to help identify energy-saving opportunities.
  2. Capital Grants: Grants can be used to install capital energy efficiency measures, such as improving insulation or installing heat pumps.

Organisations can first apply for an Independent Energy Assessment. Having completed the IEA, they can then apply, if they are eligible, for a capital grant between £2,000 and £150,000 to install capital energy measures. Applications for IEAs opened in December 2023 and applications for capital funding will be open through three rounds, starting from the second half of January 2024. All capital projects will need to be completed by March 2025.

Taken together, total support over 2022/23-2024/25 to help households with the high cost of living amounts to £104 billion – an average of £3,700 per UK household.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the implications for her Department's net-zero policies of not introducing new legislation on food waste.

Through powers in the Environment Act 2021, we will introduce separate food waste collections from all households and businesses. This policy is key in our Net Zero ambitions through helping us achieve the near elimination of biodegradable municipal waste to landfill from 2028.

We are working to publish the government response to our 2021 consultation on Consistency in recycling as soon as possible. Alongside regulations we will publish a final impact assessment which will outline the net-zero benefits of the policy.

In terms of food waste prevention, the Net Zero Strategy re-iterates the government’s commitment to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 target, to halve global food waste per capita by 2030.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make it her policy to encourage unsold food in the retail space to be redirected to (a) food banks and (b) food security organisations.

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

The safe and speedy redistribution of surplus food is a Government priority. The Food and Drink Waste Hierarchy includes the expectation that all businesses prioritise surplus redistribution before disposal. Government works closely with businesses through our delivery partner the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to overcome any barriers to this requirement. This includes the development of guidance and best practice through a sector wide working group, and support for the Target Measure Act (TMA) approach to understanding and acting on food waste in supply chains, including the redistribution of any surplus should it arise.

Since 2018, Defra funding of nearly £13m has supported both large and small redistribution organisations across the country to make sure more surplus food gets to charities.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing legislation to set food waste targets within the food supply chain.

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

The Government is fully committed to meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 target, which seeks to halve global food waste at consumer and retail levels by 2030. We support the Courtauld Commitment 2030 which works for a more sustainable supply chain tackling food waste, reducing GHG emissions and water use. The new phase of commitments, Courtauld 2030, includes an updated target of a 50% per capita reduction in food waste by 2030 against the UK’s 2007 baseline.

The Government consulted on options to improve reporting of food waste volumes by large businesses in England. As set out in our published response to the consultation, the Government has decided to enhance the voluntary approach to food waste reporting. Around a third of large food businesses already provide evidence to WRAP on their food waste and we propose to increase this number.

A regulatory approach has greater total costs to businesses and the public sector than the voluntary approach and is not considered suitable at this time, when any additional costs may be passed on to consumers.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing mandatory food waste reporting in the context of helping the UK to meet its target to halve food waste by 2030.

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

The Government is fully committed to meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 target, which seeks to halve global food waste at consumer and retail levels by 2030. We support the Courtauld Commitment 2030 which works for a more sustainable supply chain tackling food waste, reducing GHG emissions and water use. The new phase of commitments, Courtauld 2030, includes an updated target of a 50% per capita reduction in food waste by 2030 against the UK’s 2007 baseline.

The Government consulted on options to improve reporting of food waste volumes by large businesses in England. As set out in our published response to the consultation, the Government has decided to enhance the voluntary approach to food waste reporting. Around a third of large food businesses already provide evidence to WRAP on their food waste and we propose to increase this number.

A regulatory approach has greater total costs to businesses and the public sector than the voluntary approach and is not considered suitable at this time, when any additional costs may be passed on to consumers.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 10 March 2023 to Question 158986 on Animal Welfare: Fish Farming, what discussions she has had with (a) Cabinet colleagues and (b) relevant stakeholders on the recommendations of the Animal Welfare Committee's Opinion on the Welfare of Farmed Fish at the Time of Killing 2023.

A range of topics are discussed with Cabinet colleagues but such discussions are confidential.

Defra officials will engage with relevant stakeholders to discuss the recommendations in the Animal Welfare Committee’s report once it is published.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 5 June 2023 to Question 186764 on Bracken, when she plans to take a decision on the application for emergency authorisation of the use of Asulox.

As stated in PQ 186764, a decision on the emergency authorisation for the use of Asulox will be made as soon as possible.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 8 July 2022 to Question 28455 on Bracken: Weedkillers, whether her Department has put control measures in place to help protect (a) grazing land and (b) sensitive habitats from bracken in 2023.

An application for emergency authorisation of the use of Asulox as bracken control for the summer period of 2023 has been received. This application is being considered and decisions on whether to grant emergency authorisation in each of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will be made as soon as possible.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the level of risk to human health of antimicrobial-resistant superbugs originating from industrial farms.

Resistant bacteria and/or resistance genes can transfer between people and animals in both directions. The Veterinary Medicines Directorate, along with other governmental partners, conducts two surveillance schemes for AMR in animals, including regular monitoring of AMR in major food-producing species: pigs and poultry. The results of these surveillance schemes are published annually in the UK Veterinary Antibiotic Resistance and Sales and Surveillance Report.

Since 2014, the UK has reduced sales of veterinary antibiotics by 55% since 2014, and over this same period the UK have seen overall trend of decreasing antimicrobial resistance in bacteria from animals. The UK has a cross-government contingency plan in place which acts as an early warning system for resistant bacteria found in animals with potential risk to animal and public health.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of introducing a ban on the preventative use of antibiotics on healthy farm animals to help (a) stop antimicrobial resistance and (b) safeguard the effectiveness of lifesaving antibiotics used to treat human illnesses.

The Government is committed to reducing unnecessary use of antibiotics in animals while safeguarding their welfare. Changes to the law on veterinary medicines represent one tool that can be used to help effect reductions in antibiotic prescribing in animals. The Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2013 are currently under review, and the feedback from the recently closed public consultation will be analysed and considered.

The publicly available consultation documents for the revision of the Veterinary Medicines Legislation set out the rationale for the Government’s proposed approach to the use of antibiotics to prevent disease in animals (prophylaxis). In summary, the proposed new legal restrictions on antibiotic prophylaxis prohibit this type of use in all but exceptional circumstances in order to reduce unnecessary antibiotic use, protect animal welfare and allow changes to prescribing practices to be made sustainably.

To date in the UK, collaborative working between the Government, the veterinary profession and the agriculture sectors to focus on these issues has already resulted in our national sales of veterinary antibiotics reducing by 55% since 2014, and in 2021 we recorded the lowest antibiotic use yet.

The Government takes a ‘One-Health’ approach to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as set out in the UK National Action Plan on AMR. Officials from the Department of Health and Social Care, Defra and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate meet regularly to consider appropriate actions to address AMR across the human and animal health sectors. This has included discussion on the preventative use of antibiotics in healthy farm animals.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the level of risk to human health of antimicrobial-resistant superbugs polluting rivers from nearby factory farms.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Edmonton on 6 December 2022, PQ 99926.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what criteria will he use to assess the effectiveness of the Deposit Return Scheme proposals in delivering maximum environmental benefit.

The Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) objectives include boosting recycling levels, offering greater opportunities to collect higher quality, uncontaminated materials in greater quantities thus promoting a circular economy and reducing littering. Last year's consultation proposed that a key feature of the policy would be an ambitious 90% collection target for in-scope material which could be phased in, to ensure the ongoing high performance of the DRS.

22nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department has taken during its establishment of the Deposit Return Scheme to ensure that it is fairly and equitably implemented to avoid adverse effects for the markets.

HM Government has consulted twice on the introduction of a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS). Final details and the next steps for the DRS will be presented in HM Government's response to last year's consultation. We are working towards publication in late 2022. We will continue to work with industry and the Devolved Administrations to ensure that the scheme is delivered efficiently and effectively, and that it aligns with upcoming packaging reforms.

20th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has assessed the potential merits of introducing amendments to fishing licenses to prohibit all types of destructive fishing in Marine Protected Areas.

Marine conservation is a devolved competence and the following information on Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) therefore relates to England only.

The Fisheries Act 2020 requires that all vessels fishing commercially in UK waters must have a licence to do so. All licences have a set of conditions which specify the area in which fishing is authorised, the time period permitted for fishing, the quantities and description of which species may be caught and the permitted fishing method. These conditions are subject to periodic review and are based on scientific evidence.

98 MPAs in English inshore waters already have byelaws in place to protect sensitive features from damaging fishing activities and the first four offshore byelaws have now been established. The Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities and Marine Management Organisation continue to assess and implement measures to manage damaging fishing within MPAs. We are aiming to have all MPAs in English waters protected from damaging fishing activity by 2024.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help ensure that local tree and plant growers are utilised in outdoor public projects in urban areas to help improve air quality.

We know that trees outside woodlands, including trees in urban areas, parks, and along roads and footpaths can provide many environmental benefits for people.

There is strong evidence that healthy, well-chosen and well placed urban trees can provide a large range of benefits valuable to the economy and to people. This includes a relatively small but beneficial impact on urban air quality. However, current evidence suggests that trees would not be enough to solve the air quality problems at a city scale. 

Through the Nature for Climate Fund we are boosting the numbers of trees near to where people live, investing millions of pounds in tree planting and in the skills to incorporate trees in the right places to generate maximum benefits.

Additional funding is being provided to support tree growers and seed suppliers across England, to help meet the growing demand for trees. We have developed capital and innovation grants for the sector that will encourage the adoption of mechanisation and automation, and help enhance the quantity, quality, diversity and biosecurity of domestic tree production.

Alongside this, Defra has been working closely with the Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Group who have published an action plan 'Unlocking green growth: A plan from the ornamental horticulture & landscaping industry'. This sets out the industry's potential contributions to tackling some of the environmental challenges facing the UK, including through the use of a greater proportion of British-produced plants and trees in public sector projects, and the incorporation of more community green spaces within the urban planning process. Where Government can help, we will work with the sector to help it take advantage of the opportunities outlined in the action plan.

20th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the independent report entitled Automation in Horticultural Review, published in July 2022, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of that report's recommendation on establishing a long-term seasonal workers' scheme to stabilise workforce pressures in the sector, help growers evaluate their labour needs, and incentivise long-term capital investments in automation technology.

The Government recognises the importance of a reliable source of seasonal labour for horticulture and the poultry sector and the role of automation in the food supply chain.

The Government’s forthcoming response to the review of automation in horticulture will therefore outline actions to complement the immediate need for seasonal workers and help attract more residents of the United Kingdom into agricultural work – the overall aim of both being to, over time, reduce the sector’s dependency on seasonal migrant labour.

Following an announcement in the Government Food Strategy, an extra 10,000 visas have been released for the Seasonal Worker visa route - bringing the total for this year to 40,000 visas.

Under current agreement with the Home Office a similar number will be rolled forward for 2023. Defra are discussing with them precisely what the number will be, using evidence from the NFU and other stakeholders provided in 2022 and having regard to the Prime Minister’s stated support for a short term expansion of the visa route.

As announced in the Government Food Strategy in June, the Government has now commissioned an independent labour review which will consider how automation, domestic labour and migrant labour can contribute to tackling labour shortages in the food supply chain.

The review will focus on farming, processing, and food and non-alcoholic drink manufacturing as sectors which are critical for food production and food security. The review is being chaired by John Shropshire, an industry veteran who stepped down from his role as CEO of major horticulture producer G’s Group last year. He will be supported by an expert panel drawing in expertise from across the sectors covered by the review.

Defra continues to speak regularly with the agriculture sector and other government departments to understand labour supply and demand, including for both permanent and seasonal workforce requirements, and to ensure there is a long-term strategy for the farming workforce. Defra is also working closely with the Home Office to ensure that the requirements for these sectors are understood across Government.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to his Department's press release entitled Sale of horticultural peat to be banned in move to protect England’s precious peatlands, published on 27 August 2022, what assessment he has made of (a) the time that will be required for the horticultural industry to complete its transition to peat-free products and (b) whether any exemptions will be required within the sector.

Ministers are aware that the horticulture industry has already made significant progress in terms of developing peat free alternatives and sourcing suitable material but recognise that certain sectors face particular technical obstacles and will need longer to make the transition to peat free.

The proposed ban will be framed in such a way as to provide time limited exemptions for the professional horticulture sector, in order to allow time to overcome these barriers. Officials are currently consulting with horticultural industry representatives to inform our detailed proposals.

20th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the (a) adequacy and (b) ease of access to peat-free mixes for (i) ornamental growers and (ii) retailers, in the context of the health and growth needs of many floral species.

Ministers are aware that the horticulture industry has already made significant progress in terms of developing peat free alternatives and sourcing suitable material but recognise that certain sectors face particular technical obstacles and will need longer to make the transition to peat free.

The proposed ban will be framed in such a way as to provide time limited exemptions for the professional horticulture sector, in order to allow time to overcome these barriers. Officials are currently consulting with horticultural industry representatives to inform our detailed proposals.

8th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support the production of nitrite-free (a) bacon and (b) ham in the UK.

Nitrites are an approved food additive for use in bacon and ham products. The HM Government considers that existing levels of nitrites and nitrates in food products are sufficiently protective of consumers. Where individual companies decide to use authorised alternatives to nitrites, this is ultimately a commercial decision as to what products they bring to market.

Existing requirements on the control of additives in food production ensure that food is produced safely and is labelled to enable consumers to make informed choices on the food they buy and consume. The HM Government is always looking for ways to support innovation in the food industry but takes the position that intervention should be restricted only to areas where there are food safety or health concerns based on available evidence.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has had recent discussions with representatives of the agricultural industry on the impact of the rising cost of (a) fuel, (b) grains and (c) fertiliser on that sector.

The UK's food supply is highly resilient. Defra has well established ways of working with the industry and across Government to monitor risks that may arise. This includes extensive, regular and ongoing engagement in preparedness for, and response to, issues with the potential to cause disruption to food supply chains.

Agricultural commodity prices are closely linked to global gas prices. Farmers are facing increased input costs including for fertiliser, feed and fuel. We are working closely with the industry to identify where further mitigations are available to tackle the challenges they face.

The Secretary of State recently announced a range of measures in support of the current situation, such as delaying changes to the use of urea fertiliser to help farmers manage their costs and improving statutory guidance for use of slurry. There have been three meetings of the Fertiliser Taskforce (the latest of which was on 21 July) with key industry bodies to discuss potential mitigations to the challenges which global supply pressures are causing. Ministers will continue to meet with key industry bodies for further Fertiliser Taskforce sessions in the coming months, to help identify and mitigate potential risks.

In addition, the 2022 Basic Payment Scheme payment will be made in two instalments to give farmers an advance injection of cash. Farmers with eligible applications will receive half of their payment from the end of July, and the rest from December. By doing this, the Government intends to inject cash into farm businesses, helping them to make business decisions sooner, with more confidence.

We continue to keep the market situation under review through the UK Agriculture Market Monitoring Group, which monitors UK agricultural markets including price, supply, inputs, trade and recent developments.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
30th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the use of Asulox on bracken control.

Bracken control is important to protect grazing land and sensitive habitats. Physical methods, for example crushing, are often used but are impractical or less effective in some situations. The Health and Safety Executive has granted an emergency authorisation for the limited and controlled use of Asulox to control bracken between 1 July and 12 September. This decision was taken in accordance with the requirements set out in pesticide legislation and took account of an assessment of potential risks to human health and the environment.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for what reason the Animals Abroad Bill was not announced in the Queen’s Speech; and if he will bring forward legislative proposals on (a) hunting animals for trophies and (b) attractions, activities or experiences that lead to the neglect of elephants and other animals.

I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 17 May 2022 to the hon. Member for Rotherham, PQ 1511.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to publish the findings of The Fur Market in Great Britain call for evidence.

The Government made a commitment to explore potential action in relation to animal fur, as set out in the Action Plan for Animal Welfare. We continue to gather information and speak to a range of interested parties about the issues involved.

We are reviewing the evidence gathered both from our Call for Evidence and wider engagement with the fur trade and stakeholders, and a summary of responses will be published soon.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his plans his Department has to encourage the food processing and production industry to make food and drink packaging more accessible to people with sight loss.

The availability and accessibility of essential food information to all consumers is vitally important. It is already a requirement that food information must be easily visible and clearly legible. Information shall not in any way be obscured and depending on the package size, there is a minimum font size.

That said, we welcome work by industry, especially companies developing new digital technologies like NaviLens with the potential to provide the means for people with visual impairment to access food information. As part of the upcoming Food Strategy White Paper, we will look at optimising food information, including labelling, so all consumers, are better able to make informed choices.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to work with companies to help improve the accessibility of packaging for people with sight loss.

The availability and accessibility of essential food information to all consumers is vitally important. It is already a requirement that food information must be easily visible and clearly legible. Information shall not in any way be obscured and depending on the package size, there is a minimum font size.

That said, we welcome work by industry, especially companies developing new digital technologies like NaviLens with the potential to provide the means for people with visual impairment to access food information. As part of the upcoming Food Strategy White Paper, we will look at optimising food information, including labelling, so all consumers, are better able to make informed choices.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure people with sight loss have greater access to accessible packaging when shopping.

The availability and accessibility of essential food information to all consumers is vitally important. It is already a requirement that food information must be easily visible and clearly legible. Information shall not in any way be obscured and depending on the package size, there is a minimum font size.

That said, we welcome work by industry, especially companies developing new digital technologies like NaviLens with the potential to provide the means for people with visual impairment to access food information. As part of the upcoming Food Strategy White Paper, we will look at optimising food information, including labelling, so all consumers, are better able to make informed choices.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of public-private partnership to increase fibre intake ss part of his Department’s forthcoming food strategy White Paper.

The forthcoming Government Food Strategy is a once in a generation opportunity to create a food system that feeds our nation today and protects it for tomorrow. It will build on existing work across Government and identify new opportunities to make the food system healthier, more sustainable, more resilient, and more accessible for those across the UK. We want to make it as easy as possible for people to shift towards a greener and more sustainable lifestyle, whilst maintaining people's freedom of choice, including on their diet.

The Government's advice in the Eatwell Guide, which provides advice on how to have a healthier and more sustainable diet, recommends food that is high in fibre, fruit, and vegetables. Defra is committed to listening to opinions from stakeholders across the entirety of the food system. We actively encourage dialogues with a wide range of stakeholders to identify options to transform the food system and are keen to work closely with industry to deliver lasting change.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department plans to take to increase the intake of fibre in people's diet.

In the United Kingdom, the national food model, the Eatwell Guide, provides a visual representation of Government’s evidence-based recommendations for a healthy balanced diet. The guide depicts a healthy, balanced diet based on fruit and vegetables and higher fibre starchy carbohydrates.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential contribution to UK net zero targets from the introduction of financial assistance to enable and support farmers willing to change from livestock farming to plant-based protein production methods.

We are developing a range of measures through the Agriculture Act, our future farming policy, our forthcoming Food Strategy White Paper and the 25 Year Environment Plan, all with the aim of enabling farmers to optimise sustainable food production and reduce emissions from agriculture. These are important steps towards achieving our 25 Year Environment Plan ambitions and our carbon net zero goals.

We recognise the contribution to greenhouse gas emissions made by the livestock and dairy sectors. However, while food choices can have an impact on greenhouse gas emissions, well managed livestock also provide environmental benefits such as supporting biodiversity, protecting the character of the countryside and generating important income for rural communities.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to (a) regulate the use of the term wholegrain food in food labelling and (b) incorporate whole grains or fibre into front of pack labelling.

The rules on the provision of food information to consumers, taken together with other requirements in food production, ensure that food is produced safely and labelled effectively in order for consumers to make informed choices on the food they buy and consume. Food information may not be misleading to consumers and where terms such as “wholegrain” are used, this must be justified by the choice of ingredients used and indicated on the ingredients list.

There may be an opportunity for use of the term “wholegrain” to be considered as part of a planned review of the Bread and Flour Regulations 1998. As part of the review, we will hold a public consultation and since many of the issues raised by stakeholders to date are technically complex we expect this review will need sufficient time to consider responses and agree the best way forward.

Between 30 July and 21 October 2020, the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) held a four-nation consultation on front of pack nutrition labelling (FOPNL). As part of this consultation, DHSC invited views and evidence on whether updated dietary advice on fibre should be reflected on FOPNL.

The Government will publish a consultation response as soon as possible. If any changes are required, we will consult again on policy options.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Answer of 20 April 2021 to Question 179265 on Catering: Regulation, whether his Department plans to bring forward legislative proposals on allergen labelling in restaurant menus, similar to regulations on pre-packaged food under Natasha's law.

The Food Information (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2019 No 1218 (known as ‘Natasha’s Law’) comes into force on 1 October this year.

These Regulations were consulted on widely and a range of options considered. The option that was decided upon provides a higher level of protection for people living with food hypersensitivity. The amendment Regulations mean that food known as ‘prepacked for direct sale’ food must be labelled with the name of the food and a full ingredients list, with allergens emphasised, from 1 October 2021.

The Government has no plans at present to extend these regulations to cover mandatory ingredient labelling on restaurant menus. The Food Standards Agency, which leads on policy on food safety including food allergies, is open to understanding what is possible and practical in this area although any proposed changes will need to be evidence driven.

All businesses supplying food, whether prepacked, prepacked for direct sale or sold loose, must be able to provide accurate information on allergens to customers.

The Government has committed to review food labelling. This will include careful consideration of how food labelling might contribute to the outcomes of the National Food Strategy, which is looking in detail at creating a better food system.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department plans to extend the Food Information (Amendment) (England) Regulations to cover all food prepared by food businesses.

The Government has no plans at present to extend the Food Information (Amendment)(England) Regulations 2019 to cover all food prepared by business. The Regulations were consulted on widely and a range of options considered. The option that was decided upon provides a higher level of protection for people living with food hypersensitivity. The amendment Regulations mean that food known as ‘prepacked for direct sale’ food must be labelled with the name of the food and a full ingredients list, with allergens emphasised, from 1 October 2021.

All businesses supplying food, whether prepacked, prepacked for direct sale or sold loose, must be able to provide accurate information on allergens to customers.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to co-ordinate its work with regulatory bodies on supporting the water industry in the roll-out of smart water meters to protect the sustainability of the UK’s water supply and reduce carbon emissions.

The Department will set out its policy in relation to smart meters in the Government’s response to the 2019 consultation on measures to reduce personal water consumption, which we intend to publish in 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the role of smart water meters in (a) protecting the sustainability of the UK’s water supply and (b) reducing carbon emissions.

The Department will set out its policy in relation to smart meters in the Government’s response to the 2019 consultation on measures to reduce personal water consumption, which we intend to publish in 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that (a) there are sufficient incentives supporting the Water Industry to install smart water metering technology and (b) barriers to rollout of that technology are removed.

The Department will set out its policy in relation to smart meters in the Government’s response to the 2019 consultation on measures to reduce personal water consumption, which we intend to publish in 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to bring forward legislative proposals to mandate the universal rollout of smart water meters.

The Department will set out its policy in relation to smart meters in the Government’s response to the 2019 consultation on measures to reduce personal water consumption, which we intend to publish in 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to review the safety of cannabidiol-containing products sold to consumers.

Any food product containing Cannabidiol (CBD) is the responsibility of the Food Standards Agency. To bring industry into compliance with the Novel Foods Regulations, in February 2020 the Food Standards Agency announced a deadline of the end of March 2021 for businesses to have validated applications which will be submitted for risk assessment and any subsequent risk management considerations. This process will involve approval based upon dossiers (including safety data), submitted to and reviewed by the Advisory Committee on Novel Food Products.

In addition to this, the Committee on Toxicology has reviewed the available evidence on the safety on CBD in food. Its independent, expert advice was used to help set the current recommendations and consumption limits.

After the deadline any products not linked to a validated application will no longer be allowed to remain on the market and no new products have been allowed on the market since February 2020 without pre-market authorisation. CBD-containing food products are no different to other foods in that they are also subject to all other relevant food laws.

In Scotland, Food Standards Scotland has regulatory responsibility for CBD used in food products. Food Standards Scotland is working with local authorities and other partners to keep the safety of CBD food products currently on the market under review, and to ensure that products stating they contain this ingredient do so.

Cannabis-based products for medicinal use (CBPM) are not consumer products and are regulated separately. CBPMs must comply with the requirements of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 and Humans Medicines Regulations 2012.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much money his Department has spent on researching the effect of electric shock collars on dog welfare in each year for which information is available.

Between 2007 and 2010 Defra spent £469,000 researching the effects of electric shock collars on dogs, conducting studies to assess the effect of pet training aids, specifically remote static pulse systems, on the welfare of domestic dogs. Between 2010 and 2011 the department spent a further £69,925 on the research, totalling £538,925. No other research on e-collars has been funded before or since the aforementioned years.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the number of dogs that have been trained with an electric shock collar in the last three years.

The department does not keep this information.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many animal welfare organisations have made representations to his Department supporting a ban on electric shock collars in each year for which information is available.

The department does not keep this information. However I can state that in 2017 over 140 animal welfare organisations responded to our public consultation on the proposed ban for electronic training collars for cats and dogs in England.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the resilience of the food supply chain after the transition period.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain. We work closely with food retailers and the food industry to ensure that it is prepared for a range of scenarios. Our thorough preparations for leaving the EU in 2019, alongside the lessons we have learned during the Covid-19 response provide a robust foundation for end of Transition Period planning on food supply.

We are currently working alongside industry and across Government, including with the Devolved Administrations, to plan for the end of this year. This includes responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, associated increases in absenteeism and preparations for the end of the Transition Period. The Government remains committed to negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with the EU, but if the transition period ends without a trade agreement in place, there will not be a shortage of food in the UK. Consumers will continue to have access to a wide range of food products.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on the food supply to the public and private care sectors of a free trade agreement not being reached with the EU before the end of the transition period.

Our thorough preparations for leaving the EU alongside the lessons we have learned during the Covid-19 response provide a robust foundation for end of transition period planning on food supply. We are currently working alongside industry and across Government including with the devolved administrations to plan for the end of the year.

The Government remains committed to negotiating a free trade agreement with the EU, but if the transition period ends without a trade agreement in place, there will not be a shortage of food in the UK.

My department is working closely with officials in DHSC, as the lead department for public sector food provision for the care sector, providing advice and supporting their engagement with their food suppliers. NHS England and DHSC are engaging with the supply chain for the care sector to ensure their suppliers are fully prepared for the end of the year.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to ensure food supply is maintained in the event of a free trade agreement not being reached with the EU before the end of the transition period.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain. We work closely with food retailers and the food industry to ensure that it is prepared for a range of scenarios. Our thorough preparations for leaving the EU in 2019, alongside the lessons we have learned during the Covid-19 response provide a robust foundation for end of Transition Period planning on food supply.

We are currently working alongside industry and across Government, including with the Devolved Administrations, to plan for the end of this year. This includes responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, associated increases in absenteeism and preparations for the end of the Transition Period. The Government remains committed to negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with the EU, but if the transition period ends without a trade agreement in place, there will not be a shortage of food in the UK. Consumers will continue to have access to a wide range of food products.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment the Government has made of the potential effect of (a) the end of the transition period, (b) the covid-19 outbreak and (c) winter-related absenteeism on the food supply in the UK in winter 2020-21.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain. We work closely with food retailers and the food industry to ensure that it is prepared for a range of scenarios. Our thorough preparations for leaving the EU in 2019, alongside the lessons we have learned during the Covid-19 response provide a robust foundation for end of Transition Period planning on food supply.

We are currently working alongside industry and across Government, including with the Devolved Administrations, to plan for the end of this year. This includes responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, associated increases in absenteeism and preparations for the end of the Transition Period. The Government remains committed to negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with the EU, but if the transition period ends without a trade agreement in place, there will not be a shortage of food in the UK. Consumers will continue to have access to a wide range of food products.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will provide financial support to wholesalers to ensure the security of the food supply after the transition period.

Our thorough preparations for leaving the EU alongside the lessons we have learned during the Covid-19 response provide a robust foundation for end of transition period planning on food supply. We are currently working alongside industry and across Government including with the Devolved Administrations to plan for the end of the year.

The Government introduced an unprecedented package of support for sectors and businesses in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This includes, but is not limited to, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and the Bounce Back Loan scheme for SMEs.

We will continue to assess the support needs of the food industry to inform policy both in response to Covid-19 and the end of the transition period as we enter a new trading relationship with the EU.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the accuracy of reports in the Guardian newspaper in its article entitled Nearly 30,000 tonnes of sewage sludge containing human waste to enter UK, published on 2 September 2020; and if he will make a statement.

The Sludge Use in Agriculture Regulations provides controls that protect the environment and human health when these organic materials are spread to land.

The use of sewage sludge in agriculture is regulated by the Environment Agency. The Environment Agency has reviewed the risks and limitations of the regulatory framework and issued a bespoke landspreading mobile plant permit to handle sludge from the Netherlands.

Provided the use of sewage sludge is carried out in accordance with the relevant regulatory controls and good practice guidance is followed, the recycling of sewage sludge to land remains a safe activity.

We are working to implement the Environment Agency’s Sludge Strategy to bring sludge and septic tank sludge into the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations, by 2023. This will enable better management of the environmental impacts of landspreading sludge, and modernise the regulatory framework surrounding the treatment, storage and safe use of sludge.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals to ensure manufacturers reduce micro- and nano-plastics in their processes.

The Government’s priority is preventing plastic from entering the environment in the first place, be that the freshwater, marine or terrestrial environment. The Resources and Waste Strategy sets out our plans to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste. This encompasses all types of plastic, including microplastics, and we are already taking action. We have banned plastic microbeads in rinse-off personal care products and we will continue to invest in water purification.

Defra has not made an estimate of the amount of micro- and nano-plastics in food packaging in the UK. It is difficult to do so, as this amount will vary based on the use and subsequent treatment of the plastic. According to the latest industry data from the Waste and Resources Action Programme, 2.36Mt of plastic packaging was placed on the market in 2017, of which 1.53Mt came from the consumer sector.

Legislation on plastics in contact with food or drink requires that they are produced under the provisions for Good Manufacturing Practice, so that any adverse interactions with food are minimised. This legislation is regularly updated to ensure the plastics that are authorised for such use are safe.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has been monitoring the scientific literature concerning the occurrence and effects of microplastics in food. On the basis of current evidence, the FSA considers it is unlikely that the presence of microplastic particles that have been reported to occur in certain types of food would cause harm to consumers.

The FSA will continue to monitor and assess emerging information concerning microplastics in food, including further consideration of this issue by the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment later this year.

We support Operation Clean Sweep, an international initiative coordinated in the UK by the British Plastics Federation which aims to reduce plastic pellet loss in the environment. In 2019, the British Irish Council of Ministers recognised the need to address this source of microplastics and committed to learn from a supply-chain approach in Scotland.

Global solutions are needed to address one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time, which is why the UK has stepped up to this challenge and is leading the way to end the scourge of plastic pollution that enters our waterways, rivers and, ultimately, our ocean. The UK has committed to the G7 Ocean Plastics Charter, which aims to move towards a more resource-efficient and sustainable approach to the management of plastics. Having left the EU, the UK now has the opportunity to reprioritise and refresh our environmental policy and can now focus on implementing measures which work best for the UK.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with his European counterparts on developing a comprehensive cross-border initiatives to reduce the amount of micro- and nano-plastics.

The Government’s priority is preventing plastic from entering the environment in the first place, be that the freshwater, marine or terrestrial environment. The Resources and Waste Strategy sets out our plans to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste. This encompasses all types of plastic, including microplastics, and we are already taking action. We have banned plastic microbeads in rinse-off personal care products and we will continue to invest in water purification.

Defra has not made an estimate of the amount of micro- and nano-plastics in food packaging in the UK. It is difficult to do so, as this amount will vary based on the use and subsequent treatment of the plastic. According to the latest industry data from the Waste and Resources Action Programme, 2.36Mt of plastic packaging was placed on the market in 2017, of which 1.53Mt came from the consumer sector.

Legislation on plastics in contact with food or drink requires that they are produced under the provisions for Good Manufacturing Practice, so that any adverse interactions with food are minimised. This legislation is regularly updated to ensure the plastics that are authorised for such use are safe.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has been monitoring the scientific literature concerning the occurrence and effects of microplastics in food. On the basis of current evidence, the FSA considers it is unlikely that the presence of microplastic particles that have been reported to occur in certain types of food would cause harm to consumers.

The FSA will continue to monitor and assess emerging information concerning microplastics in food, including further consideration of this issue by the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment later this year.

We support Operation Clean Sweep, an international initiative coordinated in the UK by the British Plastics Federation which aims to reduce plastic pellet loss in the environment. In 2019, the British Irish Council of Ministers recognised the need to address this source of microplastics and committed to learn from a supply-chain approach in Scotland.

Global solutions are needed to address one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time, which is why the UK has stepped up to this challenge and is leading the way to end the scourge of plastic pollution that enters our waterways, rivers and, ultimately, our ocean. The UK has committed to the G7 Ocean Plastics Charter, which aims to move towards a more resource-efficient and sustainable approach to the management of plastics. Having left the EU, the UK now has the opportunity to reprioritise and refresh our environmental policy and can now focus on implementing measures which work best for the UK.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has made an estimate has been made of the amount of (a) micro- and (b) nano-plastics contained in food packaging in the UK.

The Government’s priority is preventing plastic from entering the environment in the first place, be that the freshwater, marine or terrestrial environment. The Resources and Waste Strategy sets out our plans to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste. This encompasses all types of plastic, including microplastics, and we are already taking action. We have banned plastic microbeads in rinse-off personal care products and we will continue to invest in water purification.

Defra has not made an estimate of the amount of micro- and nano-plastics in food packaging in the UK. It is difficult to do so, as this amount will vary based on the use and subsequent treatment of the plastic. According to the latest industry data from the Waste and Resources Action Programme, 2.36Mt of plastic packaging was placed on the market in 2017, of which 1.53Mt came from the consumer sector.

Legislation on plastics in contact with food or drink requires that they are produced under the provisions for Good Manufacturing Practice, so that any adverse interactions with food are minimised. This legislation is regularly updated to ensure the plastics that are authorised for such use are safe.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has been monitoring the scientific literature concerning the occurrence and effects of microplastics in food. On the basis of current evidence, the FSA considers it is unlikely that the presence of microplastic particles that have been reported to occur in certain types of food would cause harm to consumers.

The FSA will continue to monitor and assess emerging information concerning microplastics in food, including further consideration of this issue by the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment later this year.

We support Operation Clean Sweep, an international initiative coordinated in the UK by the British Plastics Federation which aims to reduce plastic pellet loss in the environment. In 2019, the British Irish Council of Ministers recognised the need to address this source of microplastics and committed to learn from a supply-chain approach in Scotland.

Global solutions are needed to address one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time, which is why the UK has stepped up to this challenge and is leading the way to end the scourge of plastic pollution that enters our waterways, rivers and, ultimately, our ocean. The UK has committed to the G7 Ocean Plastics Charter, which aims to move towards a more resource-efficient and sustainable approach to the management of plastics. Having left the EU, the UK now has the opportunity to reprioritise and refresh our environmental policy and can now focus on implementing measures which work best for the UK.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he has taken to ensure that (a) micro- and (b) nano-plastics used in products, such as (i) food packaging and (ii) mobile phones, are not harmful to human health.

The Government’s priority is preventing plastic from entering the environment in the first place, be that the freshwater, marine or terrestrial environment. The Resources and Waste Strategy sets out our plans to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste. This encompasses all types of plastic, including microplastics, and we are already taking action. We have banned plastic microbeads in rinse-off personal care products and we will continue to invest in water purification.

Defra has not made an estimate of the amount of micro- and nano-plastics in food packaging in the UK. It is difficult to do so, as this amount will vary based on the use and subsequent treatment of the plastic. According to the latest industry data from the Waste and Resources Action Programme, 2.36Mt of plastic packaging was placed on the market in 2017, of which 1.53Mt came from the consumer sector.

Legislation on plastics in contact with food or drink requires that they are produced under the provisions for Good Manufacturing Practice, so that any adverse interactions with food are minimised. This legislation is regularly updated to ensure the plastics that are authorised for such use are safe.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has been monitoring the scientific literature concerning the occurrence and effects of microplastics in food. On the basis of current evidence, the FSA considers it is unlikely that the presence of microplastic particles that have been reported to occur in certain types of food would cause harm to consumers.

The FSA will continue to monitor and assess emerging information concerning microplastics in food, including further consideration of this issue by the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment later this year.

We support Operation Clean Sweep, an international initiative coordinated in the UK by the British Plastics Federation which aims to reduce plastic pellet loss in the environment. In 2019, the British Irish Council of Ministers recognised the need to address this source of microplastics and committed to learn from a supply-chain approach in Scotland.

Global solutions are needed to address one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time, which is why the UK has stepped up to this challenge and is leading the way to end the scourge of plastic pollution that enters our waterways, rivers and, ultimately, our ocean. The UK has committed to the G7 Ocean Plastics Charter, which aims to move towards a more resource-efficient and sustainable approach to the management of plastics. Having left the EU, the UK now has the opportunity to reprioritise and refresh our environmental policy and can now focus on implementing measures which work best for the UK.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many recycling plants in the UK accept and process (a) polycarbonate, (b) polyethylene, (c) polyethylene terephthalate and (d) bisphenol A; and where are they located.

Defra does not hold information on the number and location of recycling plants in the UK that process these materials. The Environment Agency maintains a list of accredited recycling plants in England and of these 64 are listed as accepting plastic waste to be sorted or recycled. Regulators in the devolved administrations maintain registers of plants in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

For food contact purposes only polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) are recycled in the UK. There are currently eight sites in England and one in Scotland that have applied for authorisation to recycle PET for use in food contact. There are a further two sites in England that have applied to recycle HDPE for this purpose.

Some plastics reprocessing sites are regulated at local authority level and information is not held centrally on these.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with supermarkets in the UK on providing clear labelling for the consumer on the origin of food.

Defra officials meet retail representatives regularly and frequently to discuss delivery of food labelling rules, including those on food origin, and this is a topic of interest for the regular F4 meetings between Defra Ministers and retailers and producers.

The UK maintains high standards of food label information, including on food origin labelling, through our legislation on the provision of food information to consumers. Consumers are now further protected by new rules applying from this year that require labels to inform consumers if the country or place of origin of the primary ingredient of a food is different to that of the origin stated, or implied, for the product as a whole. Our major retailers have been at the forefront over recent years in providing clear origin information on food to customers. Along with major manufacturers, they implemented a voluntary agreement, supported by Defra Ministers, on the origin of meat and dairy ingredients in food which has resulted in their meat and dairy products carrying accurate origin information for meat and dairy ingredients.

These rules will remain in place when the Transition Period ends on 31 December this year.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure (a) support and (b) essential food supplies reach people who are housebound with disabilities during the covid-19 outbreak.

This is a devolved matter. We have set out below the actions that we have taken in England.

We know that a large number of disabled people continue to rely on friends, family and wider community support as they face difficulties accessing food.

Where that is not possible, there are a number of options available for people to access support. Individuals can request support from a volunteer via NHS Volunteer Responders, who can shop on their behalf.

We are working with local authorities, supermarkets and charities to ensure that vulnerable groups get the support they need to access food and other essential supplies. These organisations are able to sign-post people to commercial food delivery options, help them access priority supermarket delivery slots or refer them to the NHS Volunteer Responder programme.

People who are clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) can also register for support online or via an automated helpline. As part of the registration process, we have asked individuals to indicate whether they have unmet basic care needs, such as social care and social contact needs. Local authorities are best placed to respond to these needs, and we are sharing data with them to ensure vulnerable individuals get the support they need while shielding.

The NHS has also made arrangements to have medicines delivered to CEV people's homes by local community pharmacies or their dispensing doctor, where no other person is able to collect the item from the pharmacy and deliver it to the patient.

Where people who are CEV have asked for help accessing food, they have been offered centrally provided food boxes and supermarkets have offered priority delivery slots. Boxes will continue until the end of July and seven supermarkets have confirmed that access to priority supermarket delivery slots will continue beyond the end of July for those already signed up for support.

We have also made available an additional £63 million to be distributed to local authorities in England to help those who are struggling to afford food and other essentials due to COVID-19. Local authorities are already working hard to support those who are vulnerable and this additional funding will contribute to that work.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the 2019 National Infrastructure Commission call for evidence on the future of regulation, what steps he is taking to develop a long term strategy on the (a) running and (b) regulation of the water industry.

Water is devolved however Ofwat is the economic regulator for England and Wales. At Budget 2020 the Government welcomed the NIC's report 'Strategic investment and public confidence' and agrees with its primary finding that the UK's system of economic regulation is working well, but it may need updating in some areas to address 21st century challenges. The Government will respond in full to the study in due course.

Government and regulators continue to work with the industry to ensure a strategic approach to long term planning. Our Strategic Policy Statement to Ofwat sets out our long-term priorities for the sector, and how we expect the water companies to deliver for consumers and the environment. The three priorities are:

1) securing long-term resilience

2) protecting customers

3) making markets work

The current statement came into effect in 2017, and we are actively reviewing whether it remains fit for purpose.

In England, the Environment Agency, Ofwat and regional groups of companies are working together building on the existing water resource management planning process ensuring the industry invests in the right water supply infrastructure at the right time to meet future challenges. Similarly, the new Drainage and Wastewater Management Plans will ensure a long-term approach to wastewater treatment and drainage infrastructure.

Ofwat has published its future approach to regulation of the water sector in England and Wales, in its strategy, Time to Act Together, and established three strategic goals. These goals are to transform water companies' performance for customers, to meet long term challenges through partnership and collaboration and for companies to serve a wider public purpose by delivering more for customers, society and the environment.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to respond to Question 30861, tabled by the hon. Member for Linlithgow and East Falkirk on 17 March 2020.

This is a devolved matter. We have set out below the actions that we have taken in England.

We know that a large number of disabled people continue to rely on friends, family and wider community support as they face difficulties accessing food.

Where that is not possible, there are a number of options available for people to access support. Individuals can request support from a volunteer via NHS Volunteer Responders, who can shop on their behalf.

We are working with local authorities, supermarkets and charities to ensure that vulnerable groups get the support they need to access food and other essential supplies. These organisations are able to sign-post people to commercial food delivery options, help them access priority supermarket delivery slots or refer them to the NHS Volunteer Responder programme.

People who are clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) can also register for support online or via an automated helpline. As part of the registration process, we have asked individuals to indicate whether they have unmet basic care needs, such as social care and social contact needs. Local authorities are best placed to respond to these needs, and we are sharing data with them to ensure vulnerable individuals get the support they need while shielding.

The NHS has also made arrangements to have medicines delivered to CEV people's homes by local community pharmacies or their dispensing doctor, where no other person is able to collect the item from the pharmacy and deliver it to the patient.

Where people who are CEV have asked for help accessing food, they have been offered centrally provided food boxes and supermarkets have offered priority delivery slots. Boxes will continue until the end of July and seven supermarkets have confirmed that access to priority supermarket delivery slots will continue beyond the end of July for those already signed up for support.

We have also made available an additional £63 million to be distributed to local authorities in England to help those who are struggling to afford food and other essentials due to COVID-19. Local authorities are already working hard to support those who are vulnerable and this additional funding will contribute to that work.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to establish a Food Standards Commission to regulate standards of food safety.

The UK Government will not compromise on our standards. Our manifesto is clear that in all of our trade negotiations, we will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards. We remain firmly committed to upholding our high environmental, food safety and animal welfare standards outside the EU. The EU Withdrawal Act will transfer all existing EU food safety provisions, including existing import requirements, onto the UK statute book.

The UK’s food standards, for both domestic production and imports, are overseen by the Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland. These are agencies and provide independent advice to the UK and Scottish governments. They will continue to do so in order to ensure that all food imports comply with the UK’s high safety standards. Decisions on these standards are a matter for the UK and will be made separately from any trade agreement.

The Government is keen to work closely with the National Farmers' Union and other key stakeholders across the food chain to understand the key concerns about the impact of new trade deals.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the effect of a ban on the sale of disposable nappies on the Government's objective of eliminating all avoidable waste by 2050.

In general, the Government prefers to help people make the right choice, rather than banning items outright, and we have no plans to ban the sale of disposable nappies. We will continue to review the latest evidence on problematic products and consider the most appropriate policy response.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the accuracy of the labelling of disposable nappies in relation to the biodegradability of those nappies.

In line with our Resources and Waste Strategy, we are considering the best approach to minimise the environmental impact of a range of products, including nappies. We are seeking powers, through the Environment Bill, that will enable us to introduce ecodesign and consumer information requirements, including labelling schemes that provide accurate information to consumers, to drive the market towards more resource efficient products.

We recognise that innovation into biodegradable plastics could help reduce the environmental impact of plastic, if they are disposed of in the right way. Responses to a call for evidence, published last year, will help us consider the development of standards or certification criteria for bio-based, biodegradable, and compostable plastics, and to better understand their effects on the environment and our current waste system. The responses are being analysed and a Government response will be published later this year.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the environmental effect of installing UK-wide gigabit infrastructure.

The Government is committed to delivering nationwide gigabit capable connectivity as soon as possible and is working up the detail of how this will be delivered.

For Government broadband contracts, the procurement process requires suppliers to consider ways of mitigating environmental impacts.

Where planning considerations are relevant, the National Planning Policy Framework in England states that planning policies and decisions should contribute to and enhance the local environment, including providing for net gains for biodiversity. The Framework also sets out the approach to be taken to support high quality communications. This states that where new sites are required, they should be sympathetically designed and camouflaged where appropriate.

This policy, and the outcome of any assessments which may be required through regulatory mechanisms such as Environmental Impact Assessment and Habitats Regulations Assessment, will be taken into account in decision-making.

The devolved administrations are responsible for Environmental Impact Assessment regulations and Habitats Regulations Assessment in their jurisdiction.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what steps his Department plans to take to support UK companies contracted by the EU for work in relation to the Common Security and Defence Policy during the transition period of the UK leaving the EU.

DExEU has organised over 700 recorded engagements with business and civil society stakeholders from every sector of the British economy since July 2016 and to date DExEU Ministers have attended over 120 roundtable meetings on a wide range of topics. The Department continues to engage with businesses as we approach exit day on 31 January.

Additionally, the UK will continue to participate in programmes funded under the current 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) until their closure. This means that the vast majority of programmes will continue to receive EU funding across the programme’s lifetime. In many cases, funding will continue until after 2020 and the end of the Implementation Period.

Government will continue to hold regular forums with intermediaries, trade associations and business organisations to support them through the transition period.

8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether the Government is taking steps to allocate funding under the Global Fund's covid-19 Response Mechanism to ensure the effectiveness of ongoing programmes to tackle (a) TB, (b) HIV and (c) malaria.

The UK is a proud supporter of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. We are the second largest donor to the Sixth Replenishment, pledging up to £1.4 billion for 2020 - 2022 to fight HIV, TB, and malaria and support health systems, contributing to achievement of universal health coverage and Sustainable Development Goal 3 of “Good Health for All”. We support the Global Fund’s swift action to allow countries to re-programme or use savings from their current grants, and their rapid creation of the COVID-19 Response Mechanism (C19RM), which together have created up to £1 billion of flexibility for countries to respond to COVID-19 and its impacts on HIV, TB, malaria, and health systems.

This Government has already pledged up to £764 million of UK aid on responding to COVID-19 and we are taking our leadership role in global health very seriously. We are using UK aid to its full effect to counter the health, humanitarian, and economic risks and impact of this pandemic in the developing world. We will continue to consider all options for our future support.

20th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions she has had with (a) Cabinet colleagues and (b) the devolved Administrations on the future composition of the Trade and Agriculture Commission.

My Rt hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade is in contact with relevant Cabinet colleagues with regard to the Trade and Agriculture Commission (TAC). The Government also works closely with the devolved administrations on all aspects of our trade policy and I have written to my counterparts seeking their views on the Commission.

The TAC will ensure that public and industry interests are protected in Britain’s agriculture trade policy.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of a Bounce Back plan for the maritime sector.

The Department for International Trade is working closely with the Department of Transport to support the UK maritime sector as it seeks to recover from COVID-19. We do not plan to launch a Bounce Back plan.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment he has made of the effect of funding allocated to UK Trade and Investment on the level of foreign direct investment in (a) the UK, (b) Scotland and (c) Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency since 2015.

According to UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2020, the UK’s level of FDI stock was over $2 trillion in 2019. This is more than France and Germany combined.

With respect to Scotland, support for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is a joint responsibility of both DIT and the Scottish Government. The FDI results for Scotland reflect their joint efforts.

In the most recent figures, for the financial year 2018/19, the total recorded number of FDI projects in the UK was 1,782, with 57,625 associated new jobs. DIT supported 81% of those projects accounting for 51,863 jobs. In the same period, 126 projects were recorded in Scotland, with 3,346 new jobs created as a result. DIT recognises the value that more granular data breakdown could provide but does not currently have the ability to report beyond UK regional level.

Further historical data for recorded FDI projects can be seen below:

Measure

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

UK FDI Projects

2,213

2,265

2,072

1,782

Scotland FDI Projects

108

183

141

126

UK total jobs

115,974

107, 898

91,031

64,623

Scotland total jobs

5,905

8,597

9,287

4,469

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if he will make it his policy that the UK will not allow goods to be imported to the UK from countries who produce goods illegally in the (a) Palestinian Occupied Territories and (b) other territories under military occupation after the end of the transition period.

The UK does not recognise the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including the settlements, as part of Israel. We are committed to maintaining our current approach on this issue. The Government does not believe that any form of anti-Israeli boycott would support the peace process.

The UK strongly supports the principle of free trade and the rule of law. The UK prohibits the importation of goods from certain countries including in accordance with its obligations under EU and multilateral sanctions regimes. A list of countries against which the UK currently imposes such import controls is available on gov.uk.

4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps the Government is taking to prevent UK companies from trading with areas in other countries that are under illegal occupation.

The UK Government promotes trade within a rules-based international order. The UK continues to apply EU and UN sanctions and will look to carry over existing EU sanctions at the end of the Transition Period. A list of countries against which the UK imposes such controls is available on gov.uk.

The UK also routinely updates our guidance to British businesses on the Overseas Business Risk website. We advise British businesses to consider the British Government's view when considering their investments and activities in occupied territories. The UK promotes responsible corporate behaviour by UK companies operating, or considering operating, overseas.

16th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 9 February 2024 to Question 12854 on Large Goods Vehicles, if he will publish post-trial operation guidance for hauliers not included in the trial; and how those hauliers will have to prepare for implementation of post-trial operations.

The guidance referred to in the previous answer of 9 February 2024 to Question 12854 is applicable to operators who did not take part in the trial of longer semi-trailers (LSTs), as well as to those operators who took part. Steps to be taken by operators who wish to utilise LSTs are set out in that guidance.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the trial of longer semi-trailers (LSTs) will end; how soon guidance on post trial operation for hauliers will be amended; and what timescale will be given to hauliers to allow them to prepare for implementation of post trial operations.

The trial of longer semi-trailers has closed to new entrants. This is further to regulations allowing the operation of LSTs post-trial which came into force on 31 May 2023. Guidance was published on 30 May 2023 and updated on 14 November 2023. For operators in the trial, the trial ends on 29 February 2024, having been extended from 30 November 2023. Advice continues to be available for hauliers on the trial preparing to implement post-trial operations.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the potential impact of competition law on the viability of bus services in rural areas.

It is for local authorities to determine if there is a need for a subsidised service in a particular area and, if so, are required to competitively tender for the provision of them.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department plans to take to help support the decarbonisation of the road freight industry; and whether his Department plans to issue guidance on which technology the industry should be investing in.

The Government is technology neutral on the technology best suited to decarbonise UK’s road freight, but understands that recharging and refuelling infrastructure is key to a successful transition.

The Department is working with industry stakeholders to develop a zero emission HGV infrastructure strategy for publication in early 2024. In parallel, the Department is investing £200m into zero emission HGV and infrastructure demonstrators to provide the road freight industry with the evidence needed to make investment decisions and have the confidence to transition to zero emissions technologies sooner. Winners of the competition will be announced imminently.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department plans to take to help support fuel transition within the freight transportation sector.

The Department is investing £200m into zero emission HGV and infrastructure demonstrators to provide the road freight industry with the evidence needed to make investment decisions and have the confidence to transition to zero emissions technologies sooner.

As some vehicles may take longer to transition, the Department has published a call for evidence to identify suitable exemptions to the 2035 phase out dates for these vehicles. A formal response will be published in due course. Furthermore, the Freight Energy Forum brings together the energy and freight sectors and government to prioritise the provision of the energy infrastructure required to achieve a net zero freight sector.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
20th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of installing electric vehicle charging signage on (a) motorways and (b) major A roads.

No assessment has been made as regulations already provide for signs on motorways and major A roads to show electric vehicle recharging points.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
20th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a Government-backed leasing scheme to widen access to electric vehicles among lower-income households.

The Government is committed to ensuring that everybody can make the transition to zero emission vehicles. The Plug in Car Grant was in place for over a decade and successfully supported early market growth of the electric car market. Over 16% of new cars sold last year were fully electric.

Government incentives are targeted to where they will deliver the most impact and deliver the greatest value for money to the taxpayer. This currently includes supporting the rollout of charging infrastructure and the uptake of vehicles that are harder to decarbonise such as vans, trucks and wheelchair accessible vehicles.

The price of electric vehicles is continuing to fall and some on the used market are now lower than their petrol and diesel equivalents. Electric vehicle drivers also benefit from significant savings on the cost of fuel and lower maintenance costs. On a pence per mile basis, charging a medium-sized electric car at home equates to around half the cost of refuelling an equivalent petrol vehicle.

The Government continues to keep all policies under review to ensure the transition to zero emission vehicles takes place in an equitable and fair manner.

20th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the Government's response to the zero-emission vehicle mandate consultation will be published.

Responses to the technical consultation are being analysed and the Government will publish its response, and a full regulatory proposal and cost benefit analysis, in due course.

20th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 8 February 2022 to Question 114799 on Bus Services: Disability, when the response to the accessible information consultation will be published; and what progress he has made on laying the Accessible Information Regulations before Parliament.

We are currently finalising our response to the Accessible Information consultation, and plan to publish this and lay the Regulations later in 2023.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
8th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of a television advertising campaign to help to raise awareness of the changes to the Highway Code which came into effect on 29th January 2022.

The changes to The Highway Code to help improve road safety for people walking, cycling and horse riding have been communicated in two phases:

  • A factual awareness raising campaign in February and March, alerting road users to the changes as they came into effect.
  • A broader behaviour change campaign in July and August, to align with seasonal increases in active travel, to help embed the changes and encourage understanding and uptake of the new guidance.

Both phases of the campaign were supported by a significant media spend, using channels such as radio, digital audio, video on demand and social media advertising.

Specialist media planners and buyers are commissioned to secure the optimum and most cost-effective media placement for our messaging. The campaign plan used contextual opportunities, raising awareness at the point of the behaviour, as well as priming opportunities to diffuse tensions and build empathy and understanding amongst road user groups. Channels were selected that were able to build high levels of reach and frequency amongst the target audiences to deliver both message take-out and planned behaviour change.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how long it takes for people to apply to the DVLA for car tax via post where they are eligible to receive a discount due to receiving benefits and ineligible to apply online or at the Post Office.

All postal applications for Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) sent to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency are being processed within normal turnaround times of 10 working days.

Data on the number of applications received from customers eligible for a reduction in VED due to receiving benefits is not available.

23rd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many people who apply to the DVLA for car tax are eligible for a discount due to receiving benefits.

All postal applications for Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) sent to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency are being processed within normal turnaround times of 10 working days.

Data on the number of applications received from customers eligible for a reduction in VED due to receiving benefits is not available.

10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the (a) financial and (b) accessibility impacts for disabled drivers of the process of applying for a reduced rate of vehicle tax.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) considers the potential impacts on those with protected characteristics when developing and revising policies, processes or services.

Customers in receipt of the enhanced mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) are able to apply for a vehicle tax exemption on-line or via the Post Office.

The introduction of a similar service for individuals in receipt of the standard rate of PIP to license their vehicle at the reduced rate is more complex. The DVLA is exploring ways of improving the process for payments of vehicle tax for individuals in receipt of the standard rate of PIP with a view to making it easier for customers.

In the meantime, a service is in place which allows customers in receipt of the standard mobility component of PIP to apply directly to the DVLA to license

10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will bring forward proposals to accept applications for vehicle tax at a reduced rate when purchasing (a) online or (b) at Post Office branches.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) considers the potential impacts on those with protected characteristics when developing and revising policies, processes or services.

Customers in receipt of the enhanced mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) are able to apply for a vehicle tax exemption on-line or via the Post Office.

The introduction of a similar service for individuals in receipt of the standard rate of PIP to license their vehicle at the reduced rate is more complex. The DVLA is exploring ways of improving the process for payments of vehicle tax for individuals in receipt of the standard rate of PIP with a view to making it easier for customers.

In the meantime, a service is in place which allows customers in receipt of the standard mobility component of PIP to apply directly to the DVLA to license

18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many electric vehicles were registered in Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency in the most recent period for which records are available.

At the end of September 2021, there were 408 battery electric vehicles licensed to an address in the Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency, which comprised of 367 cars and 41 other vehicles.

31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of making insurance a legal requirement for cyclists.

Cyclists are encouraged, but not required, to take out some form of insurance, and many cyclists have insurance cover through their membership of cycling organisations. All cyclists are required to obey the rules of the road, and the fact that a cyclist is not insured does not prevent them from being liable for the consequences of their actions. The police, and ultimately the courts, can take into account all the circumstances of an incident and judge accordingly.

29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Maritime and Coastguard Agency received a call for help from any person aboard the boat carrying migrants that sank in the English Channel on 24 November 2021.

Her Majesty’s Coastguard is committed to safeguarding life around the seas and coastal areas of the United Kingdom.

On Wednesday 24 November 2021, the Coastguard received over 90 alerts from the English Channel area including 999 emergency calls. Every call was answered, assessed and acted upon, including the timely deployment of search and rescue resources where appropriate.

In response to calls received in the early hours of Wednesday 24 November 2021, Her Majesty’s Coastguard launched a search and rescue operation including UK Border Force, a UK Coastguard Helicopter and passing ships were asked to keep a lookout for small boats in the area. Three small boats were located and those onboard rescued. No other small boats or people in the water were identified in the search area.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions his Department has had with representatives of charging point operators on the potential merits of introducing a universal app for payment at electric car charging points.

We are committed to ensuring that consumers have a seamless experience when using the public EV charging network. We have regular engagement with chargepoint operators, other industry representatives and consumer groups to inform our approach. In Spring 2021, we consulted on measures to improve the consumer experience of public charging. The consultation focused on four key areas: making it easier to pay at a public chargepoint including streamlining use of apps for consumers; mandating a single payment metric to improve price transparency; improving the public network’s reliability; and opening public EV chargepoint data to enable consumers to locate chargepoints. Alongside this, my Department had a series of related engagement events with chargepoint operators, and representatives of other industry members and of consumer groups. These included discussions on the potential role of apps for payment. We are intending to publish the government response to the consultation in the autumn and to lay legislation as soon as parliamentary time allows.

13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to inform the public of the benefits of electric powered vehicles.

On 9 September 2021 the Government published an informational leaflet addressing commonly held misconceptions and concerns regarding electric vehicles (EVs). This comes in addition to the Go Ultra Low initiative, which since launching in 2014 has seen Government collaborate with industry and other stakeholders to provide basic, practical advice for those considering making the switch to zero emission driving. The Government will continue to build on this work as EVs sales increase and become more commonplace on our roads.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to increase the (a) availability and (b) reliability of electric car charging points.

Government and industry have supported the installation of over 25,000 publicly available charging devices including more than 4,700 rapid devices. On average, over 500 new chargers are being added to the UK’s road network each month. A recent study found that the UK now has more rapid chargers every 100 miles of key strategic road than any country in Europe. In November 2020, we announced we will invest £1.3 billion in accelerating the roll out of charging infrastructure over the next four years for rapid chargepoints and installing more on-street chargepoints near homes and workplaces to make charging as easy as refuelling a petrol or diesel car.

By 2023, we aim to have at least six high powered, open access chargepoints at motorway service areas in England, with some larger sites having ten to twelve. By 2030, we are planning for there to be around 2,500 high powered chargepoints across England’s motorways and major A roads, and, by 2035, we expect the number to increase to around 6,000. G