Richard Thomson Portrait

Richard Thomson

Scottish National Party - Gordon

Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Northern Ireland)

(since February 2021)

Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Wales)

(since February 2021)

Shadow SNP Deputy Spokesperson (Treasury - Financial Secretary)

(since February 2021)

Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 15th December 2021
15:40
Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 15th December 2021
16:30
Department Event
Wednesday 5th January 2022
14:30
Wales Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
5 Jan 2022, 2:30 p.m.
Wales
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Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 5th January 2022
16:30
Department Event
Wednesday 26th January 2022
11:30
Northern Ireland Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
26 Jan 2022, 11:30 a.m.
Northern Ireland
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Department Event
Tuesday 1st February 2022
11:30
HM Treasury
Oral questions - Main Chamber
1 Feb 2022, 11:30 a.m.
Treasury (including Topical Questions)
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Department Event
Wednesday 9th February 2022
11:30
Wales Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
9 Feb 2022, 11:30 a.m.
Wales
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Division Votes
Tuesday 7th December 2021
Nationality and Borders Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 38 Scottish National Party Aye votes vs 0 Scottish National Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 245 Noes - 309
Speeches
Monday 6th December 2021
Storm Arwen: Power Outages

On the Minister’s visit to Aberdeenshire, he managed to visit Banff and Buchan, where he met the local MP, and …

Written Answers
Friday 26th November 2021
Fertilisers: Supply Chains
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of …
Early Day Motions
Monday 29th November 2021
Scottish Comic Book Day 27 November 2021
This House notes that Scottish Comic Book Day was marked on 27 November 2021 celebrating comics, comic artwork and related …
Bills
Wednesday 10th March 2021
Electrical Safety (Online Sales) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to apply electrical safety regulations to goods advertised for sale on online marketplaces; to require online marketplaces to …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 11th May 2020
1. Employment and earnings
Until 24 April 2020, I received £1,910.92 a month from Aberdeenshire Council, Woodhill House, Westburn Rd, Aberdeen AB16 5GB, for …
EDM signed
Tuesday 7th December 2021
Charity lottery £50 million annual sales limit
That this House acknowledges the success of the charity lottery annual sales limit being raised to £50 million and the …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Richard Thomson has voted in 263 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Richard Thomson 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
Brandon Lewis (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
(19 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(14 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(11 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
HM Treasury
(63 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(31 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(17 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Richard Thomson's debates

Gordon 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).

Petition Debates Contributed

If nurseries are shut down in view of Covid-19, the Government should set up an emergency fund to ensure their survival and ensure that parents are not charged the full fee by the nurseries to keep children's places.

The prospect of widespread cancellations of concerts, theatre productions and exhibitions due to COVID-19 threatens to cause huge financial hardship for Britain's creative community. We ask Parliament to provide a package of emergency financial and practical support during this unpredictable time.

The cash grants proposed by Government are only for businesses in receipt of the Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Relief, or for particular sectors. Many small businesses fall outside these reliefs desperately need cash grants and support now.

For the UK government to provide economic assistance to businesses and staff employed in the events industry, who are suffering unforeseen financial challenges that could have a profound effect on hundreds of thousands of people employed in the sector.

After owning nurseries for 29 years I have never experienced such damaging times for the sector with rising costs not being met by the funding rates available. Business Rates are a large drain on the sector and can mean the difference between nurseries being able to stay open and having to close.

As we pass the COVID-19 Peak, the Government should: State where the Theatres and Arts fit in the Coronavrius recovery Roadmap, Create a tailor made financial support mechanism for the Arts sector & Clarify how Social Distancing will affect arts spaces like Theatres and Concert Venues.

As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak there are travel bans imposed by many countries, there is a disastrous potential impact on our Aviation Industry. Without the Government’s help there could be an unprecedented crisis, with thousands of jobs under threat.

To extend the business rate relief to all dental practices and medical and aesthetics clinics and any small business that’s in healthcare

Zoos, aquariums, and similar organisations across the country carry out all sorts of conservation work, animal rescue, and public education. At the start of the season most rely on visitors (who now won't come) to cover annual costs, yet those costs do not stop while they are closed. They need help.


Latest EDMs signed by Richard Thomson

22nd November 2021
Richard Thomson signed this EDM on Tuesday 7th December 2021

Charity lottery £50 million annual sales limit

Tabled by: John Nicolson (Scottish National Party - Ochil and South Perthshire)
That this House acknowledges the success of the charity lottery annual sales limit being raised to £50 million and the per draw limit being raised to £5 million; notes these important reforms have freed up millions of pounds of funding for good causes across the country, which has proven especially …
16 signatures
(Most recent: 8 Dec 2021)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 8
Plaid Cymru: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Conservative: 1
Alba Party: 1
Labour: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
19th November 2021
Richard Thomson signed this EDM on Monday 29th November 2021

Animals in Scientific Research and transition to new approach methodologies

Tabled by: Martyn Day (Scottish National Party - Linlithgow and East Falkirk)
That this House regrets 2.88 million animal experiments were carried out in Great Britain in 2020; notes there can be better options than using animals in scientific research; further notes the Animal Free Research UK report Modernising Medical Research recommendation to establish a role focussed on replacing animals with human …
36 signatures
(Most recent: 7 Dec 2021)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 17
Labour: 7
Plaid Cymru: 3
Liberal Democrat: 3
Independent: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 2
Alba Party: 1
Green Party: 1
View All Richard Thomson's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Richard Thomson, 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.


Richard Thomson has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Richard Thomson has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Richard Thomson


A Bill to apply electrical safety regulations to goods advertised for sale on online marketplaces; to require online marketplaces to remove electrical products from their websites within 24 hours of them being reported as unsafe; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Wednesday 10th March 2021

Richard Thomson has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


50 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
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to his oral contribution of 27 February 2020, Official Report, column 467, what (a) vetting and (b) authorisation is required for people employed on a contractor basis as a special adviser.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given to PQs 18593, 18594, 18595, 18596, 18597 on 2 March 2020.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to publish the Buildings and Heat Strategy.

The Heat and Buildings Strategy was published on 19th October.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of jobs that will be (a) created and (b) supported in (i) Scotland and (ii) the UK as a result of the development of blue hydrogen.

As set out in the UK Hydrogen Strategy, published in August 2021, current evidence suggests the UK hydrogen economy could support over 9,000 jobs by 2030 – and up to 100,000 jobs by 2050. Estimates, including those related to specific locations and production types, will improve over time as the project pipeline for both CCUS-enabled and electrolytic hydrogen develops. The UK wide Hydrogen Strategy is clear that the Government expect, to see support economic benefits across the Union and the industrial heartlands.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on the value of exports from (a) Scotland and (b) the UK of the policy to deploy carbon capture, usage and storage at two industrial clusters by the mid-2020s.

The carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) industry could support £4.3 billion in GVA and 48,000 jobs per annum by 2050. Deploying CCUS clusters from the 2020s will be a strong enabler for UK exports globally, building UK CCUS expertise and driving international demand for UK CCUS goods and services.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what training or other support his Department is making available to workers in the oil and gas sector to assist them to transition to roles in the hydrogen sector.

The North Sea Transition Deal recognises that the upstream oil and gas workforce has the transferrable skills needed to support the energy transition, including the development of a hydrogen economy. The Deal supports the work of the Energy Skills Alliance, which aims to prepare the energy industry to meet the future demand for skills in new technologies. The Deal also contains a commitment for OPITO, the sector skills body, to develop an integrated people and skills plan with measurable objectives, by March 2022, to support the sector’s diversification. The Government Net Zero Strategy, recently published, further commits to reform the skills system, so that training providers, employers and learners are incentivised and equipped to help deliver our net zero aims.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of jobs that will be (a) created and (b) supported in (i) Scotland and (ii) the UK as a result of his policy to deploy carbon capture, usage and storage at two industrial clusters by the mid-2020s.

Following a methodology pilot phase in 2016 to 2018, BEIS commissioned a consortium led by Vivid Economics to provide analysis on future energy innovation needs. The work, and the suite of reports, is referred to as the Energy Innovation Needs Assessments (EINAs).

As set out in the Government’s landmark Net Zero strategy carbon capture usage and storage industry could support up to 54,000 jobs across the UK by 2030.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has held with the Scottish Government on the delivery of the target of 50 per cent local UK content in the North Sea Transition Deal published by his Department in March 2021.

Through the landmark North Sea Transition Deal, the sector committed to voluntary, industry-led UK content targets for related new energy projects and decommissioning as well as for locally provided technology. The sector is considering how it will meet these targets and this month has appointed an Industry Supply Chain Champion, Sian Lloyd-Rees, to raise the profile of the UK’s energy supply chain capability. BEIS regularly engages with the Scottish Government alongside industry and regulators through the Deal Delivery Group and North Sea Transition Forum to discuss all aspects of the delivery of the Deal. The Oil and Gas Authority, as the independent regulator, will monitor the voluntary supply chain targets utilising existing tools such as their Supply Chain Action Plans.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what powers his Department has to ensure that carbon capture, usage and storage clusters selected onto track 1 in the cluster sequencing process deliver the economic benefits proposed in their Phase 1 applications.

Information in Phase 1 submissions has been used to identify those clusters to be sequenced onto Track-1 for deployment in the mid-2020s. This will be subject to negotiations to determine whether they represent value for money to the taxpayer and affordability considerations.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department will take to monitor progress towards achieving the target of 50 per cent local UK content in the North Sea Transition Deal published by his Department in March 2021.

Through the North Sea Transition Deal, the sector committed to voluntary, industry-led UK content targets for related new energy projects and decommissioning as well as for locally provided technology. The sector is considering how they will meet these targets and this month have appointed an Industry Supply Chain Champion, Sian Lloyd-Rees, to raise the profile of the UK’s energy supply chain capability. BEIS regularly engages with the Scottish Government alongside industry and regulators through the Deal Delivery Group and North Sea Transition Forum to discuss all aspects of the delivery of the Deal. The Oil and Gas Authority, as the independent regulator, will monitor the voluntary supply chain targets utilising existing tools such as their Supply Chain Action Plans.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the delivery of the target of 50 per cent local UK content in the North Sea Transition Deal published by his Department in March 2021.

Through the North Sea Transition Deal, the sector committed to voluntary, industry-led UK content targets for related new energy projects and decommissioning as well as for locally provided technology. The sector is considering how they will meet these targets and this month have appointed an Industry Supply Chain Champion, Sian Lloyd-Rees, to raise the profile of the UK’s energy supply chain capability. BEIS regularly engages with the Scottish Government alongside industry and regulators through the Deal Delivery Group and North Sea Transition Forum to discuss all aspects of the delivery of the Deal. The Oil and Gas Authority, as the independent regulator, will monitor the voluntary supply chain targets utilising existing tools such as their Supply Chain Action Plans.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has held with the Scottish Government on developing export opportunities from the deployment of carbon capture, utilisation and storage in the UK.

Ministers and officials from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy hold regular meetings with counterparts in the devolved administrations to discuss energy and decarbonisation policy, including the significant opportunities presented by the deployment of carbon capture, utilisation and storage across the UK.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make representations to Ofgem on ensuring that its supplier licensing proposals do not cause significant mutualisation costs for consumers.

Ofgem has been clear that their supplier licence reforms aim to ensure suppliers have the capacity and capability to effectively serve their customers.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with Ofgem on protecting consumers from higher bills as a direct result of energy supply company failures, where credit balances and unpaid renewables obligations are thereafter mutualised across other suppliers.

The Government wants a competitive and innovative supply market, and continues to promote competition as the best driver of value and service for customers.

In a competitive market, it is normal for suppliers to exit the market from time to time. Unfortunately, some energy suppliers are facing pressures due to sudden increases in global gas prices. If a supplier fails, Ofgem will ensure customers’ are moved to a new supplier, household credit balances will be protected and gas and electricity supply will continue uninterrupted. My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State has been clear that protecting consumers shapes the Government’s entire approach on these gas price spikes.

Ofgem has reviewed their approach to supplier licensing with their resultant package of measures aimed at driving up standards across the energy retail sector by promoting more responsible risk management, improving governance, increasing accountability, and enhancing Ofgem’s market oversight. Additionally Ofgem is considering the responses to its March 2021 consultation on further measures that would require suppliers to automatically refund customers’ credit balances every year and protect any amounts they hold above a certain threshold.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make representations to Ofgem on the need for any new rules proposed under the Supplier Licencing Review to ensure that suppliers are not able to use an uninformed line of credit in the form of customer credit balances.

The Government wants a competitive and innovative supply market, and continues to promote competition as the best driver of value and service for customers.

In a competitive market, it is normal for suppliers to exit the market from time to time. Unfortunately, some energy suppliers are facing pressures due to sudden increases in global gas prices. If a supplier fails, Ofgem will ensure customers’ are moved to a new supplier, household credit balances will be protected and gas and electricity supply will continue uninterrupted. My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State has been clear that protecting consumers shapes the Government’s entire approach on these gas price spikes.

Ofgem has reviewed their approach to supplier licensing with their resultant package of measures aimed at driving up standards across the energy retail sector by promoting more responsible risk management, improving governance, increasing accountability, and enhancing Ofgem’s market oversight. Additionally Ofgem is considering the responses to its March 2021 consultation on further measures that would require suppliers to automatically refund customers’ credit balances every year and protect any amounts they hold above a certain threshold.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will ask Ofgem to make an estimate of the costs of energy supplier failure in (a) Scotland and (b) the UK, including (i) managing the supplier of last resort process, (ii) covering the cost of consumer credit balances and (iii) unpaid renewables obligations, since January 2018.

The Government wants a competitive and innovative supply market, and continues to promote competition as the best driver of value and service for customers.

In a competitive market, it is normal for suppliers to exit the market from time to time. Unfortunately, some energy suppliers are facing pressures due to sudden increases in global gas prices. If a supplier fails, Ofgem will ensure customers’ are moved to a new supplier, household credit balances will be protected and gas and electricity supply will continue uninterrupted. My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State has been clear that protecting consumers shapes the Government’s entire approach on these gas price spikes.

Ofgem has reviewed their approach to supplier licensing with their resultant package of measures aimed at driving up standards across the energy retail sector by promoting more responsible risk management, improving governance, increasing accountability, and enhancing Ofgem’s market oversight. Additionally Ofgem is considering the responses to its March 2021 consultation on further measures that would require suppliers to automatically refund customers’ credit balances every year and protect any amounts they hold above a certain threshold.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether (a) his Department and (b) Ofgem have made an assessment of the potential effect of the mutualisation of costs from energy supplier failures on low-income consumers.

The Government wants a competitive and innovative supply market, and continues to promote competition as the best driver of value and service for customers.

In a competitive market, it is normal for suppliers to exit the market from time to time. Unfortunately, some energy suppliers are facing pressures due to sudden increases in global gas prices. If a supplier fails, Ofgem will ensure customers’ are moved to a new supplier, household credit balances will be protected and gas and electricity supply will continue uninterrupted. My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State has been clear that protecting consumers shapes the Government’s entire approach on these gas price spikes.

Ofgem has reviewed their approach to supplier licensing with their resultant package of measures aimed at driving up standards across the energy retail sector by promoting more responsible risk management, improving governance, increasing accountability, and enhancing Ofgem’s market oversight. Additionally Ofgem is considering the responses to its March 2021 consultation on further measures that would require suppliers to automatically refund customers’ credit balances every year and protect any amounts they hold above a certain threshold.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what regulatory models he is considering to underpin investment in hydrogen storage.

The Hydrogen Strategy, published on 21st August set out that hydrogen storage, for example in salt caverns or depleted gas fields, can support the hydrogen economy in a range of ways that position it as a strategic asset as part of a fully decarbonised, net zero economy.

The Strategy made clear that there is still much work to do to understand, develop and scale up hydrogen storage infrastructure as both supply and demand grow. It committed to a review of systemic hydrogen storage requirements in the 2020s and beyond.

The Government’s review will assess the need for hydrogen storage and what form this might take. It will also consider whether funding or other incentives are needed, and whether further government regulation might be required to ensure that hydrogen storage infrastructure is available when needed.

This work, in addition to other work we are undertaking with technology developers, regulators and other industry stakeholders will help inform future Government policy on hydrogen storage. Government intends to provide an update on its review in early 2022 to facilitate further discussions with stakeholders.

Alongside its Hydrogen Strategy, the Government also published the Hydrogen Business Model consultation. The consultation includes specific questions on the treatment of small-scale storage within the Hydrogen Business Model, as well as on the potential need for a separate Government intervention to facilitate investment in future larger scale storage. Responses to these questions will also help inform our hydrogen storage review.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential role that the Rough reservoir in the Southern North Sea could play in meeting hydrogen storage demand.

The Hydrogen Strategy, published on 21st August set out that hydrogen storage, for example in salt caverns or depleted gas fields, can support the hydrogen economy in a range of ways that position it as a strategic asset as part of a fully decarbonised, net zero economy.

The Strategy made clear that there is still much work to do to understand, develop and scale up hydrogen storage infrastructure as both supply and demand grow. It committed to a review of systemic hydrogen storage requirements in the 2020s and beyond.

The Government’s review will assess the need for hydrogen storage and what form this might take. It will also consider whether funding or other incentives are needed, and whether further government regulation might be required to ensure that hydrogen storage infrastructure is available when needed.

This work, in addition to other work we are undertaking with technology developers, regulators and other industry stakeholders will help inform future Government policy on hydrogen storage. Government intends to provide an update on its review in early 2022 to facilitate further discussions with stakeholders.

Alongside its Hydrogen Strategy, the Government also published the Hydrogen Business Model consultation. The consultation includes specific questions on the treatment of small-scale storage within the Hydrogen Business Model, as well as on the potential need for a separate Government intervention to facilitate investment in future larger scale storage. Responses to these questions will also help inform our hydrogen storage review.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has a preferred option for securing cost-effective UK hydrogen storage; and what assessment it has made of the potential merits of (a) repurposing existing salt caverns, (b) repurposing depleted gas fields and (c) building new storage capacity.

The Hydrogen Strategy, published on 21st August set out that hydrogen storage, for example in salt caverns or depleted gas fields, can support the hydrogen economy in a range of ways that position it as a strategic asset as part of a fully decarbonised, net zero economy.

The Strategy made clear that there is still much work to do to understand, develop and scale up hydrogen storage infrastructure as both supply and demand grow. It committed to a review of systemic hydrogen storage requirements in the 2020s and beyond.

The Government’s review will assess the need for hydrogen storage and what form this might take. It will also consider whether funding or other incentives are needed, and whether further government regulation might be required to ensure that hydrogen storage infrastructure is available when needed.

This work, in addition to other work we are undertaking with technology developers, regulators and other industry stakeholders will help inform future Government policy on hydrogen storage. Government intends to provide an update on its review in early 2022 to facilitate further discussions with stakeholders.

Alongside its Hydrogen Strategy, the Government also published the Hydrogen Business Model consultation. The consultation includes specific questions on the treatment of small-scale storage within the Hydrogen Business Model, as well as on the potential need for a separate Government intervention to facilitate investment in future larger scale storage. Responses to these questions will also help inform our hydrogen storage review.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the need for hydrogen storage to manage fluctuations in (a) production and (b) consumption in supporting the Government’s pathways to net zero.

The Hydrogen Strategy, published on 21st August set out that hydrogen storage, for example in salt caverns or depleted gas fields, can support the hydrogen economy in a range of ways that position it as a strategic asset as part of a fully decarbonised, net zero economy.

The Strategy made clear that there is still much work to do to understand, develop and scale up hydrogen storage infrastructure as both supply and demand grow. It committed to a review of systemic hydrogen storage requirements in the 2020s and beyond.

The Government’s review will assess the need for hydrogen storage and what form this might take. It will also consider whether funding or other incentives are needed, and whether further government regulation might be required to ensure that hydrogen storage infrastructure is available when needed.

This work, in addition to other work we are undertaking with technology developers, regulators and other industry stakeholders will help inform future Government policy on hydrogen storage. Government intends to provide an update on its review in early 2022 to facilitate further discussions with stakeholders.

Alongside its Hydrogen Strategy, the Government also published the Hydrogen Business Model consultation. The consultation includes specific questions on the treatment of small-scale storage within the Hydrogen Business Model, as well as on the potential need for a separate Government intervention to facilitate investment in future larger scale storage. Responses to these questions will also help inform our hydrogen storage review.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of hydrogen storage on (a) price volatility and wholesale natural gas prices, (b) the liquidity of the gas market, (c) security of supply and dependency on gas imports, (d) regional economies and integration and (e) the cost of mothballing and/or decommissioning existing depleted gas fields.

The Energy White Paper sets out that natural gas has an important and on-going role to play in the future as we decarbonise our energy system. Even as work progresses with the move to a low carbon economy, energy security remains an absolute priority and Government will continue to engage with industry to ensure supply is balanced with demand.

BEIS is working with industry to explore the future role of hydrogen storage in meeting the net zero target. The UK Hydrogen Strategy provides Government’s thinking around the role of hydrogen storage, and its plans to assess whether further regulation or support mechanisms are needed.

Though it is still too early to establish the role hydrogen storage will play, and the impact the production of hydrogen and the potential need for hydrogen storage facilities might be leading to 2050, BEIS continues to work with stakeholders to determine the future of the gas system, the market and any consideration around costs in meeting the net zero target.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that industry in Scotland has access to (a) carbon capture and storage and (b) hydrogen production infrastructure required to meet Scottish and UK decarbonisation targets by 2045 and 2050.

Last month, Government accepted the Committee on Climate Change's Carbon Budget 6 recommendation; this is a significant step in the UK's global climate leadership and CCUS and hydrogen will be critical to meeting these important commitments.

In May this year, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy set out the details of the Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS) Cluster Sequencing Process. Through this process, government will look to identify at least two CCUS clusters whose readiness suggests they are most naturally suited to deployment in the mid-2020s, as part of our efforts to identify and support a logical sequence of deployment for CCUS projects in the UK. Projects within the clusters will have the first opportunity to be considered to receive any necessary support under the government’s CCUS Programme including access to the £1bn CCS Infrastructure Fund, business models for Transport & Storage, power, industrial carbon capture and low carbon hydrogen. Further details on the revenue mechanisms to bring through private sector investment via these business models will be set out later this year.

We will continue to engage with each of the devolved administrations to develop our approach the delivery of CCUS across the UK. In order to facilitate this work, we continue to be open to any CCUS projects across the UK identifying themselves to us.

The UK has expertise and assets to support both electrolytic (green) and Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) enabled (blue) hydrogen production. Our twin track approach will drive cost effective supply volumes in the 2020s in line with our 2030 ambition, whilst scaling up green hydrogen. This ambition will be supported by a range of measures, including a UK wide £240 million Net Zero Hydrogen Fund, and our hydrogen business model. We will be consulting shortly on these measures, alongside the publication of the Hydrogen Strategy. We are working closely with the Devolved Administrations, including the Scottish Government, to help realise the economic and decarbonisation benefits that a UK hydrogen economy will bring.

We have also supported the development and deployment of projects within Scotland’s industrial cluster that will deliver low carbon technologies and enabling infrastructure. Through the Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge, Scotland’s Net Zero Infrastructure Programme (SNZI) received £31.3m in March this year from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
3rd Mar 2020
What recent assessment he has made of public attitudes towards nuclear energy.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy tests public attitudes towards nuclear energy, and a wide range of other BEIS issues, through our Public Attitude Tracker.

Questions on nuclear energy were asked in Wave 29, in March 2019.

This demonstrated that 35% of the public supported nuclear energy, 23% opposed nuclear energy and 38% neither supported nor opposed nuclear energy.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
5th Nov 2020
What discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on ensuring that there are no barriers to creative professionals from the EU working in the UK after the transition period.

We recognise the importance of access to talent for creative and cultural sectors and regularly engage with industry representatives on changes which affect creative professionals from the EU working in the UK after the transition period.

We will ensure our economy is ready to attract the best and brightest from around the world as we introduce our new points-based immigration system from 1 January 2021.

8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the potential merits of extending the duration of the graduate work visa.

Extensive engagement has taken place across the government, both at a ministerial level and official level, throughout the development of the future immigration system, including on the new graduate and student routes and other points-based routes.

The graduate route, launching in summer 2021, represents our continued commitment to support the UK’s education sector and our strong desire to make a truly world-leading offer to international students, allowing new graduates the opportunity to remain in the UK to work or to look for work after their studies. This is already a substantial improvement on the UK’s previous post-study work offer of 4 months (6 months under the limited pilot programme). Since we had originally announced the details of the graduate route last September, the government announced a further change, extending the post-study work period to 3 years for PhD graduates.

We believe that 2 years (3 years for PhD graduates) is a fair and generous amount of time to allow international graduates to have unrestricted access to the UK labour market, enabling them to gain valuable work experience and to kick-start their careers. We also believe this will help to ensure that the UK continues to be an attractive destination for international students. We will of course keep the operation of the graduate route under review once it has been implemented.

At the end of their leave as a graduate, international students who wish to stay and work in the UK for longer will also be eligible to switch into employment immigration routes. We are reviewing and simplifying the employment routes as part of the government’s work on the future borders and immigration system to ensure that they meet the UK’s needs.

The government also recently published and updated bespoke guidance for students impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, setting out important flexibilities at this time. This includes confirming that those studying by distance/blended learning will be eligible to apply for the graduate route provided they are in the UK by 6 April 2021 and meet other requirements of the route.

We now have a world-class student visa offer befitting our world-class higher education sector, which will only improve once the student route is operational later this year and student visa processes are further streamlined.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
7th Sep 2020
What recent discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on visas and immigration rules for international students studying in the UK after the transition period.

My department engages across Government and with the Devolved Administrations on a regular basis, including through a programme of meetings which was introduced to discuss the future immigration system after the publication of the Immigration White Paper in December 2018.

EU students in the UK on, or prior to, 31 December 2020 are eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme – the deadline for applications is 30 June 2021.

From October 2020, all students (EU and non-EU) will be able to apply for a visa via the Student and Child Student routes, which will build on the current Tier 4 visa system. When the Student route opens there will be a number of improvements which will further streamline the immigration process. This will include extending the visa application window for prospective students to six months and allowing international students to apply for further leave as a Student or switch into other routes from inside the UK (in-country switching). Changes to the new Student route have been developed via extensive engagement with the sector and have been based upon the Law Commission’s report on the simplification of the Immigration Rules.

In addition, Government announced that PhD graduates will benefit from three years of leave in the UK under the new Graduate route when it is introduced in Summer 2021. International students graduating with undergraduate or master’s degrees will be able to stay in the UK to work, or look for work, for two years after graduation. This will continue to improve the UK’s globally competitive offer to international students.

Government has published, and updated, bespoke guidance for students setting out important flexibilities at this time. These have included enabling international students to complete distance/blended learning for the upcoming academic year, provided students’ sponsors intend to transition to face-to-face learning as soon as circumstances allow, and confirming that those studying by distance/blended learning will be eligible to apply for the Graduate route provided they are in the UK by 6 April 2021 and meet other requirements of the route.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the impact of agricultural fertiliser costs on farm businesses.

We are aware that due to the increase in cost of natural gas across the globe, which is a key input for the production of ammonium nitrate-based fertiliser products, the cost of production of these fertiliser types has increased significantly. Increased demand has also increased the cost of other alternative fertiliser types. Rising cost of natural gas is affecting Europe and the global market with fertiliser companies halting production due to high input costs.

Industry data[1] reports that ammonium nitrate prices are at record highs, having nearly tripled in price since last November. They state that from November 2020 through to November 2021, the price of imported ammonium nitrate rose from £219 per tonne to between £600 and £630 per tonne, an increase of between 174-188%. Over the same time period, the price of UK produced ammonium nitrate also rose, from £208 per tonne to between £585 and £605, an increase of 181-191%.

A few months ago, the CO2 industry reached an agreement to ensure UK businesses have access to a sustainable supply of CO2. The Government supported this through a short-term financial intervention to allow CF Fertilisers to continue operating while the industry moved towards this agreement. Ammonium Nitrate production has therefore restarted and is being placed onto the domestic market.

Defra have been in contact with key industry figures including the NFU and fertiliser producers and importers, and have frequent contact with the key sector representative body for fertilisers the Agricultural industries Confederation (AIC).

We are continuing to monitor the security and stability of fertiliser and other supply chains and working closely with colleagues across government as well as industry figures. This will help inform how Defra and other industry bodies can best support farmers.

[1] AHDB Fertiliser price data (https://ahdb.org.uk/GB-fertiliser-prices) and Infofert in collaboration with Profercy european fertiliser review (https://www.profercy.com/)

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the stability and security of the agricultural fertiliser supply chain; and if he will make a statement.

We are aware that due to the increase in cost of natural gas across the globe, which is a key input for the production of ammonium nitrate-based fertiliser products, the cost of production of these fertiliser types has increased significantly. Increased demand has also increased the cost of other alternative fertiliser types. Rising cost of natural gas is affecting Europe and the global market with fertiliser companies halting production due to high input costs.

Industry data[1] reports that ammonium nitrate prices are at record highs, having nearly tripled in price since last November. They state that from November 2020 through to November 2021, the price of imported ammonium nitrate rose from £219 per tonne to between £600 and £630 per tonne, an increase of between 174-188%. Over the same time period, the price of UK produced ammonium nitrate also rose, from £208 per tonne to between £585 and £605, an increase of 181-191%.

A few months ago, the CO2 industry reached an agreement to ensure UK businesses have access to a sustainable supply of CO2. The Government supported this through a short-term financial intervention to allow CF Fertilisers to continue operating while the industry moved towards this agreement. Ammonium Nitrate production has therefore restarted and is being placed onto the domestic market.

Defra have been in contact with key industry figures including the NFU and fertiliser producers and importers, and have frequent contact with the key sector representative body for fertilisers the Agricultural industries Confederation (AIC).

We are continuing to monitor the security and stability of fertiliser and other supply chains and working closely with colleagues across government as well as industry figures. This will help inform how Defra and other industry bodies can best support farmers.

[1] AHDB Fertiliser price data (https://ahdb.org.uk/GB-fertiliser-prices) and Infofert in collaboration with Profercy european fertiliser review (https://www.profercy.com/)

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for what reason the minutes of the quarterly Board Meetings of his Department have not been uploaded to the gov.uk website since July 2019.

We will publish summaries of Defra board meetings held since July 2019 in due course.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to reply the correspondence dated 8 September 2020, 30 October 2020 and 10 December 2020 from Stewart Stevenson MSP, regarding development of a contingency sheep compensation scheme.

I apologise for the delay in responding. A reply has been prepared and will be issued very shortly.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jan 2021
What steps his Department is taking to reduce disruption to cross-border travel as a result of the end of the transition period.

The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation agreement will allow for smooth travel to and from the EU, Covid-19 restrictions allowing.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the change in the number of people with dementia who have been prescribed anti-psychotics during the covid-19 outbreak.

NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to monitor the monthly data published by NHS Digital on the prescribing of anti-psychotic medication for people diagnosed with dementia. They continue to have regular conversations with regional clinical network leads and local services to understand the patterns in prescribing and potential reasons for trends being seen.

The data is available at the following link:

https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/recorded-dementia-diagnoses

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of care home (a) staff and (b) residents have received a (i) first dose and (ii) second dose of a covid-19 vaccination to date.

The information requested is available at the following link:

www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of care home (a) residents and (b) staff have been offered each covid-19 dose to date; and how many have refused that vaccine.

The top four priority groups including those aged 70 years old and over, care home residents and staff, have now all been offered the vaccine.

Information regarding the number of people who refuse a vaccine is not collected and data on vaccination invitations issued is not centrally held.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to put in place a compensation framework for people who have received contaminated blood and for their families.

The Government remains committed to considering a framework for compensation, as well as actions to address disparities in financial and non-financial support for people infected and affected by contaminated blood across the United Kingdom.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent (a) assessment he has made of the domestic security situation in South Africa in light of civil unrest in that country and (b) discussions he has had with humanitarian agencies on support to those adversely affected by the unrest in that country; and if he will make a statement.

The UK is concerned by the outbreak of violence in July in South Africa, which sadly resulted in loss of life, injuries, and substantial damage to buildings and businesses. The South African Government put a number of measures in place to restore calm and secure shopping malls, petrol stations and key transport routes, including the deployment of the South African National Defence Force to support the police. The situation is now calm, and access to food and essential supplies has been restored.

We support President Ramaphosa's emphasis on the importance of the rule of law. Our Integrated Review sets out our commitment to fighting threats to democratic values and open societies around the world.

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to the Chinese Government on upholding religious freedoms in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of that country.

On 30 June, the UK read out a statement on behalf of 27 countries at the 44th session of the UN Human Rights Council highlighting concerns about human rights violations in Xinjiang and urging China to allow the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights meaningful access to the region. On 9 March, the Foreign Secretary raised the same concerns with his Chinese counterpart, Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
2nd Nov 2021
What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Scotland on the level of VAT applied to hospitality businesses.

This Government has provided around £400 billion of direct support to the economy during the pandemic, and as part of that it has provided £16 billion of business rates relief to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England.

At Autumn Budget 21, the Government announced a new temporary relief worth almost £1.7 billion for these sectors to support local high streets as they adapt and recover.

At Spring Budget 21, the Government extended the 5% temporary reduced rate of VAT for the tourism and hospitality sectors until the end of September. On 1 October 2021, a new reduced rate of VAT at 12.5% was introduced to help ease businesses back to the standard rate. This rate will end on 31 March 2022. There are no plans to extend the length of this relief again.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to publish the final report of the Net Zero Review; and whether that report will include an analysis on the potential merits of using hydrogen to decarbonise the UK steel industry.

The Net Zero Review will be published in due course and in advance of COP26.

The final report will be a high-level analytical report that uses existing data to explore the key issues and trade-offs as the UK decarbonises. Against a backdrop of significant uncertainty on technology and costs, as well as changes to the economy over the next 30 years, it will focus on the potential exposure of households and sectors to the transition, and highlight factors to be taken into account in designing policy that will allocate costs over this time horizon.

The Net Zero Review will not include specific analysis of the merits of using hydrogen to decarbonise the UK steel industry. However, earlier this year the Government published the Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy, setting out its overall approach to reducing emissions from the industrial sector. This includes how we will support fuel switching to low carbon hydrogen in industries such as steel.

The Government is also committed to exploring the development of hydrogen as a strategic decarbonised energy carrier, alongside electricity and other decarbonised gases. Hydrogen could be an important part of the transition to Net Zero and has the potential to help the economy recover in a stronger, cleaner and more sustainable way.

Finally, the Government is investing directly in hydrogen, having announced a £240m Net Zero Hydrogen Fund at Spending Review (SR) 20 which aims to kick-start low carbon hydrogen production in the UK.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of how duty free in arrival stores will benefit the UK’s travel industry.

Duty-free on arrival did not form part of the Government's consultation on the potential approach to duty-free and tax-free goods arising from the UK’s new relationship with the EU, which took place in the Spring of 2020. The Government nonetheless acknowledged in the summary of responses to the consultation that some stakeholders had requested the introduction of duty-free on arrival. This set out that duty-free on arrival was not a scheme that the Government previously offered and was therefore not considering implementing the scheme at that time.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
20th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking in relation to (a) people and (b) companies that promoted payroll loan schemes.

The Government and HMRC are determined to continue to tackle promoters of tax avoidance schemes. This includes challenging the entities and individuals who promote disguised remuneration loan schemes.

On 19 March 2020, HMRC published their strategy for tackling promoters of tax avoidance schemes. The strategy sets out HMRC’s work to date and outlines how HMRC will continue to take robust action against promoters of tax avoidance. The Promoter Strategy is available on GOV.UK.

20th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what support he plans to give to people who experienced mis-selling of schemes that are now subject to the Loan Charge.

While the Government sympathises with anyone who believes they were misled into using a disguised remuneration (DR) scheme, it is an individual’s responsibility to ensure the accuracy of their tax return and to understand the consequences of their decisions. It remains right that the Government takes action to tackle tax avoidance, which is unfair to the vast majority of taxpayers who pay the correct tax.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have been clear on their commitment to support all taxpayers who may need help to pay their Loan Charge liabilities. Where a taxpayer cannot afford to pay in full on time, HMRC will seek to agree payment by instalments with them. The payment plan agreed will be based on what the taxpayer can afford and there is no upper limit over how long HMRC can potentially spread payments.

HMRC have published settlement terms for taxpayers subject to the Loan Charge. These settlement terms are available on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/disguised-remuneration-settlement-terms-2020/disguised-remuneration-settlement-terms-2020.

20th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many and what proportion of people in settlement discussions with HMRC on the Loan Charge have to date reached settlement.

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are assuring disguised remuneration settlement data received to date. This includes data on those taxpayers who were unable to meet the 30 September settlement deadline for reasons beyond their control who are continuing settlement discussions.

Information on settlements will be included in HMRC’s report to Parliament on the implementation of the independent Loan Charge Review, due before the end of the year.

At the time of the independent review of the Loan Charge, about 12,000 employers and individuals still had the opportunity to keep clear of the Loan Charge by concluding settlement, having provided all the relevant information to HMRC by 5 April 2019. Indications are that as at 2 October about 60 per cent of these have either settled, informed HMRC that they had instead decided to report and pay the Loan Charge, or have been taken out of scope of the Loan Charge following the Government’s changes in response to the independent review.

3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when the Chief Secretary to the Treasury plans to reply to the correspondence from Stewart Stevenson MSP of 3 July 2020, 8 September 2020 and 14 October 2020, Treasury correspondence reference MC2020/00724.

I have responded to Mr Stevenson’s letter and a copy has been sent by email on 9th Nov.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what discussions he has had with representatives of the Scottish seed potato sector.

My officials and I are in regular contact with a range of stakeholders from the agricultural sector, including representatives of the Scottish seed potato sector.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what assessment he has made of the impact of leaving the EU on the Scottish seed potato sector; and if he will make a statement.

The UK Government is continuously monitoring the agriculture sector and is in regular contact with EU counterparts to help mitigate trade issues, including in relation to seed potatoes.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of (a) the Northern Ireland Executive and (b) the Government of Ireland on Scottish seed potato exports.

My officials and I are in regular contact with the Northern Ireland Executive on a range of issues including those affecting the agri-food sector, most recently at an Inter-Ministerial Government EFRA meeting.

The UK Government is in regular contact with the Government of Ireland on similar issues.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what assessment his Department has made of the contribution to the economy of the Scottish seed potato sector.

My officials and I are in regular contact with counterparts from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Scottish Government on a range of issues of importance to the seed potato sector in Scotland, including assessment of the contribution the sector makes to the economy.

The Scottish potato sector’s output contributes over £208 million to the economy. They are exported to over 40 countries worldwide.

The Scottish horticulture and potato sector accounts for a sixth, nearly 17% of Scottish agricultural output by value, despite using less than 1% of Scottish farmland. Scottish agriculture employs over 67,000 people and generates a gross output of £3.3 billion annually, directly resulting in a contribution of some £1.3 billion to the Scottish economy.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland