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Written Question
Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership: Dispute Resolution
Wednesday 29th November 2023

Asked by: Richard Thomson (Scottish National Party - Gordon)

Question to the Department for Business and Trade:

To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether she has made a recent assessment of the potential impact of the investor-state dispute settlement within CPTPP on the water utilities sector.

Answered by Greg Hands - Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership investment chapter includes investment protections that are backed by a modern and transparent investor-state dispute settlement mechanism. These provisions play an important role in protecting UK investors abroad and levelling the playing field. The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership also protects states’ right to regulate proportionately, fairly and in the public interest, including in relation to the UK’s water industry.

The UK already has investment agreements containing investment protections and Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions with over 90 trading partners and there has never been a successful Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions claim brought against the UK.


Written Question
Audit: Reform
Wednesday 29th November 2023

Asked by: Richard Thomson (Scottish National Party - Gordon)

Question to the Department for Business and Trade:

To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 7 November 2023 to Question 218 on Audit: Reform, what estimate she has made of the potential cost to the public purse of her Department's work on legislative proposals on reform of audit and corporate governance since the publication of the Restoring trust in audit and corporate governance white paper, CP382.

Answered by Kevin Hollinrake - Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)

The Department does not have an estimate of the cost of the Department’s work on reform of audit and corporate governance. Information on internal costs is not broken down in this way.


Written Question
Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership: Dispute Resolution
Wednesday 29th November 2023

Asked by: Richard Thomson (Scottish National Party - Gordon)

Question to the Department for Business and Trade:

To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what recent assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the letter from civil society organisations to the Prime Minister entitled, excluding investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) as a condition of UK accession to the CPTPP, published 23 October 2023; and if she will take steps to negotiate a side-letter with the CPTPP that removes access to ISDS provisions for UK investors.

Answered by Greg Hands - Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership is a comprehensive agreement that provides investors with investor protection provisions that seek to guarantee the treatment they can expect to receive when accessing and operating in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership markets.

The agreement contains a modern, transparent investor-state dispute settlement mechanism for investors to seek independent legal redress should they not receive this treatment.

These provisions play an important role in protecting UK investors abroad and levelling the playing field. At the same time, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership protects states’ right to regulate proportionately, fairly and in the public interest.


Written Question
Audit: Reform
Wednesday 29th November 2023

Asked by: Richard Thomson (Scottish National Party - Gordon)

Question to the Department for Business and Trade:

To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what is her Department's planned timescale on introducing the draft Audit Reform Bill.

Answered by Kevin Hollinrake - Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)

The Government has not set out a timescale for introducing legislation relating to audit reform. The Government is committed to legislating when Parliamentary time allows.


Written Question
Trade Agreements: USA
Wednesday 25th October 2023

Asked by: Richard Thomson (Scottish National Party - Gordon)

Question to the Department for Business and Trade:

To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether her Department has held discussions with the devolved Administrations on trade negotiations with the US; and whether she plans to include the devolved Administrations in future negotiations.

Answered by Nigel Huddleston - Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)

As set out in my letter to Devolved Administrations on 15 June, the UK and U.S. are expanding the work we do together across the full spectrum of our economic, technological, commercial and trade relations through the Atlantic Declaration. Discussions with the U.S. on next steps under this first-of-its-kind agreement are ongoing.

The UK Government and the Devolved Administrations have recently adopted a wider and deeper approach to close collaboration on trade policy. As part of this, the Department for Business and Trade continues to engage regularly with the Devolved Administrations on the Atlantic Declaration and wider U.S. trade policy.


Written Question
Department for Business and Trade: Women
Monday 23rd October 2023

Asked by: Richard Thomson (Scottish National Party - Gordon)

Question to the Department for Business and Trade:

To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what proportion of officials in her Department on temporary contracts are women.

Answered by Nigel Huddleston - Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)

In the upcoming Public Sector Employment Survey at 30 September 2023 for the Department for Business and Trade there are no staff on temporary contracts.


Written Question
Department for Business and Trade: Women
Monday 23rd October 2023

Asked by: Richard Thomson (Scottish National Party - Gordon)

Question to the Department for Business and Trade:

To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what proportion of officials in her Department who are graded as senior civil servant two (SCS2) and on full-time equivalent contracts are women.

Answered by Nigel Huddleston - Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)

Of the Department for Business and Trade staff who are graded as Senior Civil Servant 2, 31% are women on full time contracts.


Written Question
UK Trade with EU
Friday 29th September 2023

Asked by: Richard Thomson (Scottish National Party - Gordon)

Question to the Department for Business and Trade:

To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of having flat-rate customs charges on each item arriving from the EU on SMEs.

Answered by Nigel Huddleston - Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)

The Department for Business and Trade, along with Cabinet Office, HMT and HMRC, continue to keep UK customs trends regarding SMEs importing from the EU under review. For example, as outlined in the Border Target Operating Model, published August 2023, HM Government is engaged in public consultation on its proposed methodology and rates regarding charging levels and continues to work closely with the Devolved Governments on charging policy.


Written Question
Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-pacific Partnership
Friday 22nd September 2023

Asked by: Richard Thomson (Scottish National Party - Gordon)

Question to the Department for Business and Trade:

To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, with reference to the oral answer given by the Minister of State for Business and Trade of Tuesday 18 July 2023, Official Report, column 779, what the evidential basis is for the estimate that that in the long run at least £2 billion a year will be added to the economy as a result of membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Answered by Nigel Huddleston - Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)

The analysis brings together robust evidence from across Government using a range of data and analytical tools including data on historic sectoral trading patterns, future trends from the Global Trade Outlook and factors in economy wide impacts to estimate the potential impacts.

The methodology underlying our analysis is also published in full. This impact assessment has been independently scrutinised by the Regulatory Policy Committee, an independent body.


Written Question
Minerals: Supply Chains
Wednesday 12th July 2023

Asked by: Richard Thomson (Scottish National Party - Gordon)

Question to the Department for Business and Trade:

To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether she plans to hold discussions with her European Union counterparts on cooperation between the EU and the UK for critical raw mineral supply chains under the European Critical Raw Materials Act.

Answered by Nusrat Ghani - Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)

The EU’s Critical Raw Materials Act is seeking to increase the diversity, resilience and sustainability of critical minerals supply chains, in line with the aims of the UK’s own Critical Minerals Strategy published last year. We are assessing the implications of the Critical Raw Materials Act to ensure UK businesses are not disadvantaged. The UK has strong industrial capabilities and deep expertise in critical minerals and mining, and is a global centre of mining finance. We are working with the EU and likeminded partners on our common goals, for example through the Minerals Security Partnership, International Energy Agency and G7.