First elected: 7th May 2015
Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.
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).
Reduce University student tuition fees from £9250 to £3000Gov Responded - 26 Jan 2021 Debated on - 25 Oct 2021 View 's petition debate contributions
Call on the government to consider holding debates in Parliament between MPs and university students to raise/discuss issues that affect them. It will allow students to voice their opinions and concerns about tuition fees of £9250 a year which are too high, particularly as grants have been removed
Require universities to reimburse students' tuition fees during strike actionGov Responded - 21 Apr 2020 Debated on - 16 Nov 2020 View 's petition debate contributions
The University and College Union has repeatedly called on its members to strike. However, strikes are ineffective if students, not employees are the main source of revenue. For this to change, government needs to step in and require universities to reimburse tuition fees lost due to strike action.
Reimburse all students of this year’s fees due to strikes and COVID-19Gov Responded - 5 Jun 2020 Debated on - 16 Nov 2020 View 's petition debate contributions
All students should be reimbursed of this years tuition fees as universities are now online only due to COVID-19, with only powerpoints online for learning materials which is not worthy of up to £9,250. Furthermore, all assessments are being reconsidered to ‘make do’ and build up credits.
Refund university students for 3rd Semester Tuition 2020Gov Responded - 19 May 2020 Debated on - 16 Nov 2020 View 's petition debate contributions
As students are unable to access facilities or continue with their eduction at their university setting in the following semester, we would like to request that the government considers refunding tuition payments for Semester 3.
Require universities to partially refund tuition fees for 20/21 due to Covid-19Gov Responded - 24 Sep 2020 Debated on - 16 Nov 2020 View 's petition debate contributions
The quality of online lectures is not equal to face-to-face lectures. Students should not have to pay full tuition fees for online lectures, without experiencing university life. The Government should require UK universities to partially refund tuition fees while online teaching is implemented.
Lower university tuition fees for students until online teaching endsGov Responded - 30 Oct 2020 Debated on - 16 Nov 2020 View 's petition debate contributions
Students across the UK have returned to University to be told our learning will be predominantly online for the foreseeable future. The Government should therefore lower our tuition fees and we should receive a partial refund for the effects this will have on our learning and university experience.
These initiatives were driven by Michelle Donelan, 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.
Michelle Donelan has not been granted any Urgent Questions
Michelle Donelan has not been granted any Adjournment Debates
A Bill to make provision for and in connection with the regulation by OFCOM of certain internet services; for and in connection with communications offences; and for connected purposes
This Bill received Royal Assent on 26th October 2023 and was enacted into law.
A Bill to make provision for the regulation of the processing of information relating to identified or identifiable living individuals; to make provision about services consisting of the use of information to ascertain and verify facts about individuals; to make provision about access to customer data and business data; to make provision about privacy and electronic communications; to make provision about services for the provision of electronic signatures, electronic seals and other trust services; to make provision about the disclosure of information to improve public service delivery; to make provision for the implementation of agreements on sharing information for law enforcement purposes; to make provision about the keeping and maintenance of registers of births and deaths; to make provision about information standards for health and social care; to establish the Information Commission; to make provision about oversight of biometric data; and for connected purposes.
The UK has a resilient energy market with diverse supply. The Government is committed to phasing out Russian coal and oil by the end of the year and LNG as soon as possible thereafter.
The Government is working to maximise the effectiveness of European gas networks, including the UK’s LNG terminals and interconnectors, which are playing a role in reducing in European reliance on Russian gas.
The Government is working closely with partners across the G7, including Germany, Italy, France and the European Commission, IEA, OPEC+ and others to stabilise energy prices and to reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels to starve Putin’s war machine.
DCMS provides funding to community arts projects in England through a number of our arm’s-length bodies.
Arts Council England is committed to supporting community arts projects, and has identified "Cultural Communities" as a key focus of its 10 year strategy “Let’s Create”.
One example of Arts Council's investment in communities is through their Lottery-funded Creative People and Places programme. There are 41 CPP programmes covering 58 local authority districts across the country. This programme targets the least engaged places in England and has recently joined the national portfolio. Arts Council have invested over £38 million for the period 2022-25.
As the largest dedicated funder of the UK’s heritage, the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) is equally committed to making a lasting difference to heritage, people and communities. NLHF provides National Lottery grants from £3,000 up to £5million for projects that connect people and communities to the national, regional and local heritage of the UK. The relevant regional office should be contacted for further information on how to apply for this funding.
The DCMS arm's-length body Historic England have successfully launched their Working-class grants, receiving over 200 applications and doubling their funding pot. The grants recognise and celebrate Working Class Histories that link people to overlooked historic places.
The National Lottery Community Fund is the arm’s-length body of DCMS which gives grants to organisations in the UK to help improve their communities. In 2021-22, as part of the National Lottery Community Fund Awards For All programme, 12,000 awards were made, reaching 90% of all UK wards, and includes support for a range of arts and cultural activities.
The National Lottery Community Fund also made available £22 million towards the Platinum Jubilee to fund impactful community projects and to help people celebrate the Jubilee.
Ofcom has a statutory duty to review the affordability of broadband services. In March 2022, Ofcom reported that 55,000 households had taken-up a social tariff, and 16% of eligible households were aware that the support existed.
In April, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport wrote to providers asking them to do more to promote their social tariffs and ensure low-income households are aware of the support available to them. On 27 June, all the UK’s major broadband and mobile operators agreed a set of new public commitments to support families through the global rising cost of living, which includes increasing efforts to promote their low-cost social tariff offers.
DCMS does not collect data on social tariff take-up, but we continue to work closely with the industry and Ofcom to monitor take-up levels.
Farming in England is going through the biggest change in a generation. These unprecedented times mean that it is all the more important that the Government's approach to working with the farming sector changes too. Defra is continuing to improve its policies and services, making them more effective, fairer, flexible, accessible and more workable for farmers. The Government has announced a range of measures in England in response to the turbulence of the current market.
In response to the global rising costs around the price of fertiliser, Defra released new guidance to help farmers in limiting their use of slurry and other farmyard manure at certain times of the year.
Defra also announced changes to the use of urea fertiliser - delaying a planned industry farm assurance scheme which was due to start this year by at least a year. This will help farmers to manage their costs, giving them more time to adapt.
Defra has set up a Fertiliser Taskforce to address the impact of global supply pressures on farming, seeking to improve market confidence, whilst providing famers with the information they need to make business decisions on fertiliser use.
Additionally, Defra announced a permanent change to the way we make payments under the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS). We know that the price of agricultural commodities has always been closely correlated to energy prices - meaning farmers carry an increased risk on their profit and loss account, creating increased pressure on short term cash flow. We will now make BPS payments in two instalments (one from the end of July, the other December). This will give farm businesses an advanced injection of cash - with the hope of enabling farmers to make business decisions with more confidence in these uncertain times. To provide further support we have also increased Countryside Stewardship rates by an average of 30%.
Farmers are now able to apply for funding under the Sustainable Farming Incentive. The initial offer pays farmers for taking care of their soil or assessing the condition of moorland. We have to set out plans to rollout payments for actions related to nutrient management, hedgerows and integrated pest management, and will confirm the full details of these standards before the end of the year.
The Government is committed to take action to mitigate climate change and to adapt to its impact. We are introducing three schemes that reward environmental benefits: the Sustainable Farming Incentive, Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery. Together, these schemes are intended to provide a powerful vehicle for achieving the goals of the 25 Year Environment Plan and our commitment to net zero emissions by 2050, while supporting our rural economy. Through them, farmers and other land managers may enter into agreements to be paid for delivering public goods including adaptation to and mitigation of climate change.
The Government has also published the Net Zero Strategy which sets the UK on a clear path to net zero by 2050 and set out key commitments such as ensuring 75% of farmers in England will be engaged in low carbon practices by 2030, rising to 85% by 2035. More recently in the Food Strategy we have set out the funding available for innovation in farming and agriculture.
The UK announced an Agriculture Breakthrough goal at COP26 - "to make climate-resilient, sustainable agriculture the most attractive and widely adopted option for farmers everywhere by 2030" - and the intention to build country support for this in 2022. This is part of the Breakthrough Agenda which was launched at the COP26 World Leaders Summit. The Breakthrough Agenda is a commitment from countries to work together internationally this decade to accelerate the development and deployment of the clean technologies needed to meet our Paris climate goals, ensuring they are affordable and accessible for all.
The UK provides funding to the CGIAR, the world's leading agricultural science and innovation organisation, which delivers cutting edge technology and evidence-based solutions to tackle global challenges in the food system, saving and improving millions of lives. CGIAR research is projected to deliver a reduction of 0.6 gigatonnes CO2e each year by 2030. CGIAR rice innovations alone have scope to reduce global emissions by 0.5% - equivalent to 40% of total UK emissions.
The Government has also announced specific measures to support farmers with rising input costs including changes to statutory guidance to the "Farming Rules for Water"; increased grants funding to boost R&D; and bringing the Basic Payment Scheme forward so that 50% of its payments are made this summer to improve cash flow for farmers.
The Food Standards Agency has provided guidance to Trading Standards Officers and businesses setting out how flexibility in enforcement of labelling rules may be applied to alleviate supply challenges and maintain supply of foods into retail. Feedback has been that industry welcomes these actions, and the main ask going forward is for us to carefully review the supply situation before reverting to a 'full compliance' model of enforcement.
Defra is taking a number of actions to maintain food security and reduce pressures on prices. The Government launched a package of measures to reduce the impact of cost of living concerns, including: nine new GMO authorisations to provide alternative sources for maize, removing tariffs on US maize, bringing forward BPS payments for farmers and delaying measures that would have imposed costs on businesses.
Furthermore, G7 Leaders have pledged to provide increased humanitarian assistance with priority recipients should include countries facing acute food insecurity (for example Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen), and countries facing potential food riots (such as Egypt).
The UK’s ambitious Free Trade Agreement programme diversifies sources of supply, contributes to our food security and resilience and supplements our strong domestic production.
Recent strike action on rail has highlighted the need for a fairer approach to providing train services during times of strike action. Minimum Service Levels legislation would, in future, help to ensure an appropriate level of train services would still operate during strike action.
The aviation industry operates in the private sector, therefore it is the responsibility of the industry to manage demand, recruit and roster staff and have appropriate mitigations in place.
We have been clear that the aviation sector’s recovery and associated challenges are the responsibility of the aviation sector.
The Government recognised that while the issues was one for industry to solve, a series of targeted measures could support their efforts. Therefore, on 30 June, the Secretary of State announced a 22-point plan, which sets out the measures the Government is taking to support the aviation industry.
Included in these measures was a one-off slot “amnesty” giving airlines the flexibility to operate a reliable schedule and avoid last minute cancellations for passengers.
We have also changed the law to allow greater flexibility over background checks for aviation staff, cutting the time it takes to bring in newly recruited staff and alleviating pressure, while ensuring that safety and security are not compromised.
The Government has taken action to support the industry. Now the sector itself needs to take the appropriate steps to ensuring they deliver realistic summer schedules, work together as an ecosystem, and put the consumer first.
The £500m Restoring Your Railway Fund is supporting over 45 promising schemes with the potential to level up areas and reconnect communities. Wiltshire Council was successful in its Round 3 bid to the Restoring Your Railway Ideas Fund to reopen Corsham Station. As a result, Wilshire Council is receiving up to £50,000 in development funding to complete a Strategic Outline Business Case for the scheme to be submitted to the Department in September 2022.
Government has committed £2.5 billion since 2020 to support the transition to zero emission vehicles, with funding to offset their higher upfront cost, and to accelerate the rollout of chargepoint infrastructure.
Government has pledged at least £500 million to support local chargepoint provision. As part of this, the Local EV Infrastructure (LEVI) fund will provide approximately £400 million of capital and £50 million of resource funding to support local authorities to work with industry and transform the availability of charging for drivers without off-street parking.
The Government is also supporting local authorities through the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS) which has £20 million available this year. To date, Wiltshire County Council have not submitted an application to the ORCS, we would encourage them to take advantage of this funding.
Local authorities, such as Wiltshire County Council, will have a key role to play in the rolling out of chargepoints as they are best placed to consider local needs. In the UK’s EV Charging Infrastructure Strategy, published in March 2022, Government announced it will require all local transport authorities in England to develop their own chargepoint strategies, subject to consultation.
To support drivers across the UK to switch to cleaner vehicles, Plug-in Vehicle Grants will continue until at least financial year 2023/24 for taxis and motorcycles, and 2024/25 for vans, trucks and wheelchair accessible vehicles. We have also put in place generous tax incentives including: favourable benefit in kind tax rates out to 2025, all zero emission cars are exempt from vehicle excise duty (VED), and, zero emissions vans pay a nil rate of tax on the van benefit charge.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) operates a 24-week booking window for car tests and there are test slots available within this window.
The DVSA recognises the high demand for learners wanting to take their practical driving test and is working hard to provide as many practical driving test appointments as possible and has a number of measures in place to do this. These include offering a national recovery allowance and annual leave buy back to examiners, asking all those qualified to conduct tests, but who do not do so as part of their current day job, to return to conducting tests, and conducting out of hours testing (such as on public holidays and weekends).
The DVSA is also recruiting more than 300 driving examiners across Great Britain to help meet the increasing demand for driving tests.
People whose capability for work is affected because they are disabled or have a health condition, including people who have encephalitis, may be eligible for New Style Employment and Support Allowance and/or Universal Credit, subject to satisfying their eligibility conditions. The Work Capability Assessment determines an individual’s capability for work. For people found to have limited capability for work, their Jobcentre work coach uses their discretion to set work-related activity, appropriate to the claimant's circumstances and capability, to help them prepare to start work when they are able. People who have limited capability for work and work-related activity are not required to carry out any work-related activity, but can do so if they wish.
People who have encephalitis may also be eligible for Personal Independence Payment, to help meet the extra costs of living faced by disabled people and people with health conditions.
The Department works with NHS England to regularly assesses the performance of National Health Service trusts against national performance standards. NHS England provides targeted support to hospitals facing the greatest delays in the handover of ambulance patients to identify short and longer-term interventions. NHS England also supports those trusts most at risk of not meeting the elective recovery ambitions set out in the ‘Delivery plan for tackling the COVID-19 backlog of elective care’.
The Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF) commits £2.592 billion in each of the five financial years between 2019 and 2024 to community pharmacy. It introduces plans to develop new services and expand the role of community pharmacy in prevention, urgent care and medicines safety. Negotiations on what the sector will deliver through the CPCF in 2022/23 are ongoing.
No specific estimate has been made as average waiting times for operations is not collected at county level. The Department and NHS England meet regularly with National Health Service trusts to discuss waiting lists for planned treatment. This includes assessing current progress on addressing waiting times and sharing advice to deliver on the targets in the ‘Delivery plan for tackling the COVID-19 backlog of elective care’.
Local National Health Service trusts have responsibility for ensuring appropriate staffing levels and recruiting the number of health professionals required to meet local service need. We have committed to recruiting NHS staff and investing in the workforce. As of April 2022, there were more than 9,600 additional nurses and 4,000 doctors working in NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups. We are currently on schedule to meet the commitment for a further 50,000 nurses. We have established a programme to improve retention and support return to practice, invest in and diversify the training pipeline and ethically recruit internationally.
Eligible new and continuing nursing students on pre-registration courses at English universities will also receive an additional grant of £5,000 for each year of their course. Further funding of up to £3,000 is available for costs such as childcare or to encourage recruitment in specific specialisms. The NHS has also established a People Recovery Task Force to provide assurance on the safety and wellbeing of staff. However, it is the responsibility of individual employers to ensure that requests for medical staff to work overnight are reasonable.
Through the ‘Delivery plan for tackling the COVID-19 backlog of elective care’, we have allocated more than £8 billion from 2022/23 to 2024/25 to address waiting times in elective services. This is in addition to the £2 billion Elective Recovery Fund and £700 million Targeted Investment Fund made available to systems in 2021/22.
In 2016, we launched the Targeted Enhanced Recruitment Scheme which provides a one-off financial incentive of £20,000 to attract doctors to train in locations where there have been challenges to recruitment, including many rural areas. In 2021, 550 places were available through the Scheme and following additional Government investment, there are 800 places available in 2022.
The general practice workforce also consists of other health professionals who can respond to the needs of patients, including in rural areas. We are diversifying the general practice workforce, including recruiting 26,000 more primary care staff, to ensure the appropriate range of skills is available in general practice to deliver high quality patient care.
From July 2022, NHS England and NHS Improvement have asked practices to deliver 100% of contracted units of dental activity and 100% of units of orthodontic activity to improve access for patients safely. An additional £50 million for National Health Service dentistry was allocated for the final quarter of 2021/22 to support the provision of urgent care to patients. Of this funding, £4,726,000 was made available to the South West region, including Wiltshire.
The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with stakeholders, including the British Dental Association, on improvements to the NHS dental system to improve access, including in Wiltshire.
The temporary 5p cut to duty on petrol and diesel represents a £2.4 billion tax cut in 2022-23, to help consumers with high fuel prices.
VAT is a broad-based tax on consumption and the 20 per cent standard rate applies to most goods and services. It would cost over £6 billion to cut VAT on road fuel from 20% to 5%.
The Government keeps all taxes under review.
The Government understands that people across the UK are worried about the rising cost of living and are seeing their disposable incomes decrease as they spend more on the essentials.
Monetary policy is the responsibility of the independent Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of England. Since independence Consumer Prices Index inflation has averaged around the MPC’s 2% target.
In May, the Government announced over £15bn of additional cost of living support, targeted at those with the greatest need. As a result, millions of vulnerable households will receive at least £1,200 of support this financial year, with the vast majority of households receiving at least £550. This package builds on the over £22bn announced previously, with government support for the cost of living now totalling over £37bn this year, equivalent to 1.5% of GDP.
Her Majesty’s Passport Office has added 850 staff since April 2021. This has helped to ensure that more passport applications are being processed than ever before. Between March and May, 98.5% of UK applications processed were completed within ten weeks.
Processing capacity will increase further, with an additional 350 staff arriving within the summer.
We are recruiting an additional 20,000 police officers in England and Wales by March 2023, the biggest recruitment drive in decades.
As at 31 March 2022, Wiltshire Police had a total headcount of 1,152 police officers. 261 new officers have been recruited in total in Wiltshire since November 2019, equating to 111 additional officers, after replacing officers who retire or leave the force.
We are also taking steps to address issues that we know affect rural communities, including Wiltshire. The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act empowers and equips the police and courts with the powers they need to combat hare coursing. The Government is also providing funding for the National Wildlife Crime Unit.
The Government is investing £2.4 billion through the Towns Fund and £830 million through the Future High Streets Fund. This will help to renew and reshape town centres and high streets and incentivise further private investment. It includes £16.3 million for Trowbridge town centre and £9.3 million for Salisbury city centre through the Future High Street Fund which will leverage £456,000 of private sector investment.
The Government is also investing in local areas through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and has allocated £7.8 million to Wiltshire over the next three years. The Fund will seek to build pride in place and increase life chances across the UK. Proposed interventions include funding for improvements to town centres and high streets.
Investment in regeneration and town centres is also one of the three investment themes for the £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund which is currently open for round two bids and the £1.5 billion Levelling Up Home Building Fund is designed to support investment in housebuilding including infrastructure, enabling and bringing properties back into use. The Fund is now open for applications and private and public sector local partners will be supported by Homes England, the Government's housing accelerator.
Other measures to support private investment in town centres include proposed new legislation in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill which the Government announced on 11 May and will support bringing vacant units on the high street back into use by requiring landlords to rent out long-term vacant properties to prospective tenants such as local businesses.