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).
These initiatives were driven by Ruth Edwards, 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.
The UK has great strengths in electrochemical technologies, including hydrogen fuel cells. UK companies are already exporting fuel cells into global markets for use in transport as well as heat and power.
The UK fuel cell market is at an early stage of development and focus to date has been on supporting innovation and early deployment, mostly in transport, rather than mass production. The £23m Hydrogen for Transport Programme is funding the deployment of around 300 hydrogen vehicles and supporting infrastructure. The £2m FCEV Fleet Support Scheme is supporting public and private sector fleets to become early adopters of these vehicles. A total of four fuel cell innovation projects (total grant £2.2million) with UK industry have been funded through BEIS Energy Entrepreneurs Fund.
Investment in innovation, along with wider efforts to establish a domestic market for hydrogen and understand high value opportunities for UK technology deployment and exports will inform our future approach to UK manufacturing of hydrogen-related technologies including fuel cells.
Network regulation is a matter for Ofgem as the independent regulator.
Ofgem’s Draft Determinations published in July for consultation included upfront allowances of over £7.5bn for the electricity and gas transmission sectors alongside a further £10bn available across all sectors for net zero investment through the price control period of 2021-26. Ofgem are due to publish their Final Determinations for the transmission sectors in December.
The Government is committed to the development of hydrogen as a strategic decarbonised energy carrier for the UK. Development of a hydrogen strategy is well under way and we have committed to publishing a UK hydrogen strategy in early 2021.
The Online Advertising Programme will be focussing on reviewing the regulatory model for the online advertising sector. My expectation is that we can develop a regulatory framework which is robust, well funded, and able to promote compliance and enforce quick remedial action where required.
Following our initial call for evidence last year, officials have been analysing responses and engaging stakeholders in order to prepare for the consultation launch. My department is committed to launching a consultation on the Online Advertising Programme shortly.
The Government recognises the vital role played by media organisations, including small publishers of free newspapers, through their provision of independent, trusted information. During this pandemic, the availability of reliable news content is all the more important.
The Government is committed to supporting the newspaper industry and has ensured that key sector staff, such as field engineers and reporters, have been awarded key worker status. We have also sought to address potential distribution issues, issuing guidance to local authorities on the importance of newspaper delivery, for example.
We understand that newspapers are facing acute financial pressures due to the steep drop in advertising revenues in particular. The government is maximising advertising opportunities for the sector in the challenging economic climate by implementing a significant public information campaign across the local and national press. This has allowed us to provide up-to-date information about our Covid-19 response through reliable channels while also seeking to help offset financial disruptions felt across the sector.
In parallel, we have taken steps to find an urgent solution to ensure that the use of ‘keyword blocklisting’ technology is not inadvertently damaging news publishers’ online advertising revenues for COVID-19 related stories. DCMS has been in dialogue with the relevant technology companies, and many major UK brands, to tackle this issue and ensure that relevant policies and systems are not penalising publishers for producing much needed coronavirus content.
Other financial measures are also available for freesheet publishers as part of our unprecedented package of support. These include the Business Interruption Loan, Job Retention Scheme, VAT and tax deferrals, and coverage of statutory sick pay costs.
The Government is clear that providing the public with reliable information on the current crisis is a priority and that newspapers provide one of the vehicles for achieving this. We will continue to review our response policies and engage actively with the sector throughout this challenging period.
The Department’s goal is to support pupils and students to attend face to face education, and to reverse the long-term impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on their education, wellbeing and wider development. That is why education has been prioritised as the Government works through the stages of the roadmap to relaxing restrictions: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021/covid-19-response-spring-2021#roadmap.
The Department will be removing the need to keep children and young people in consistent groups (‘bubbles’) in schools and colleges, as well as the need to reduce mixing in nurseries, from Step 4 of the roadmap. The updated guidance can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/999602/Schools_guidance_Step_4_update.pdf.
Unless they test positive, children and those who are fully vaccinated will not be required to isolate from 16 August if they are identified as a close contact. Self-isolation continues for those who have tested positive for COVID-19.
As the COVID-19 outbreak progresses, it is important that the Department is able to respond to the evolving public health situation. Depending on COVID-19 measures in place at the time, and subject to Step 4 of the road map commencing, there may be a need for regional or local safety measures to help limit the spread of the virus that could impact education and childcare in the coming months.
Given the impact that restrictions on education can have on children and young people, any measures in nurseries, schools, colleges and universities should only ever be considered as a last resort, kept to the minimum number of groups possible, and for the shortest amount of time possible. Any restrictions on attendance should only ever be considered as a last resort and should involve a ministerial decision.
Control and enforcement is a devolved matter. Defra, the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive continue to work together to share information and ensure a coordinated approach to monitoring, compliance and enforcement across UK waters.
The requirement to have a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) for all vessels under 12 metres when fishing in English waters, irrespective of nationality, will ultimately be mandated by a Statutory Instrument and amendments to the licence conditions for those fishing vessels.
This work is progressing, and following an initial public consultation in 2018, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) recently undertook a series of engagement sessions and an industry survey to gain further feedback. This feedback will be used to inform planned discussions about the specification requirements with companies that may supply the required VMS devices.
The MMO plans to conduct more sessions with industry over the summer and autumn and hopes to be able to begin roll-out of VMS devices to the under 12 metre fleet following this engagement.
The Marine Protected Areas Network report is published every six years. The latest report was published in 2018 and the next will be published in 2024.
Marine conservation is a devolved competence and the following information therefore relates to England only.
We view MPAs as permanent features of our conservation efforts at sea and the improvements we will see to marine biodiversity within each site would be lost if their protection was to be removed. We will keep them under review and make changes where new scientific evidence suggests it is needed.
On 8 June 2021, the Government published its response to the Benyon Review into Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs). The Government accepted the central recommendation that we should take forward some pilot sites with the purpose of biodiversity recovery. The Government is developing criteria for HPMA identification to create a list of potential sites this year, followed by consultation and designations in 2022. We will evaluate the effects of pilot HPMAs on the ecosystem, social and economic factors and this evaluation will inform future HPMA work.
In November 2020, the Government announced that it would double the size of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund (GRCF) by making an additional £40 million investment. Round two of the GRCF opened for applications on 9 March. It will fund projects that restore nature, tackle climate change and connect people with the natural environment while creating and retaining jobs in the nature sector. We will review the effectiveness of projects in delivering against these aims before announcing any further rounds.
In addition, over the next five years, the Nature for Climate Fund will drive a step-change in tree planting and woodland creation in England. This will be critical to achieving the Government's UK manifesto target of planting 30,000ha of trees per year by 2025, as well as restoring peatland. Farmers and other land managers in protected landscapes have been allocated funding from the Future Farming and Countryside Programme.
The Government has also recently launched the Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund. This will provide technical assistance grants of up to £100,000 to environmental groups, local authorities, businesses and other organisations to develop nature projects in England that can attract private sector investment.
The Department is committed to establishing Active Travel England and is developing the right model for the body. It must be able to deliver its role effectively and value for money. We plan to make announcements on the body shortly, including on when it will be established and become operational.
Operators are only permitted to run trials if they have engaged with local authorities and the local police force to ensure that any issues regarding enforcement of e-scooter rules are dealt with swiftly. Additionally, all operators must have a plan in place to prevent riders using trial e-scooters on the pavement. Operators in trial areas utilise ‘geofencing’ technology to reduce speeds in busy, contested areas and creating ‘no-go zones’. They also provide a range of training options for users, both in-person and via online modules. They are able to suspend and also delete accounts where riders have failed to follow the rules of the trial.
The police will take action against rider behaviour, whether private or rental, for offences including drink driving; riding on the footway; contravening red traffic lights and using a mobile phone. Private e-scooters, being ridden illegally will be issued with fixed penalty notices for contravening cycle lanes, riding without insurance and/or riding without a driving licence.
Operators are required to cooperate with the police on these and other matters and provide information necessary to investigate any criminal offences raised by the local police force.
The Government recognises the challenging times facing the air transport sector due to COVID-19. The sector is crucial to the UK’s economy and businesses across the industry have drawn on an unprecedented package of economic measures which we have put in place. In total, we estimate that by the end of September 2021 the air transport sector (airlines, airports and related services) will have benefited around £7bn of Government support since the start of the pandemic.
The Global Travel Taskforce has worked with industry and international partners to develop a risk-based framework that can facilitate the return of international travel while managing Variants of Concern. There will be checkpoint reviews on 28 June, 31 July and 1 October 2021 to take account of the domestic and international health picture.
The Government is also working on a strategic framework for the future of the aviation sector. It will focus on building back better and ensuring a successful UK aviation sector for the future. This will be published later this year.
The Department has made no assessment. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body responsible for developing evidence-based guidance for the National Health Service on whether medicines represent a clinical and cost-effective use of resources.
NICE was unable to recommend fampridine as an effective use of resources in its clinical guideline on managing multiple sclerosis. However, NICE is now updating this guideline, which will include reviewing the recommendation on fampridine. NICE expects to publish its draft guidance on the management of multiple sclerosis for consultation in December this year, with final guidance expected on 1 June 2022.
Any third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine would be administered as part of a booster vaccination programme. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) published interim advice on a potential COVID-19 booster vaccination programme on 30 June which is available at the following link:
The JCVI advises a two staged approach, with individuals in stage one offered a booster and flu vaccine, as soon as possible from September. and Individuals in stage two should be offered a booster vaccine as soon as practicable after stage one, with equal emphasis on deployment of the flu vaccine where eligible. Adults aged 16 years old and over who are immunosuppressed would be offered a booster vaccine dose in stage one. Final decisions on the timing, scope and cohort eligibility of any COVID-19 vaccine booster programme and the vaccines that will be deployed, will be confirmed once the JCVI has provided their final advice.
The Government is committed to tackling fraud and ensuring that victims of Authorised Push Payment (APP) scams are protected.
The Government welcomed the publication of the Payment Systems Regulator’s (PSR) call for views on APP scams in February 2021, which set out various potential measures for reducing APP scams and improving customer outcomes, including new requirements on payment service providers to reimburse APP scam victims. The Government is of the view that the introduction of Faster Payments Service rules setting reimbursement requirements on all scheme participants is the best possible solution to the issue of APP scams.
The PSR’s call for views has now closed and the Government is engaging with the PSR and industry on next steps, including considering what further actions may be necessary to make progress on this issue.
The Home Office keeps the Computer Misuse Act (CMA) under regular re-view. The Home Office have been engaged in ongoing discussions with relevant partners in law enforcement, government and private sector to ensure that the legislation continues to remain effective.
The government fully understands the deep distress caused by the theft of a much-loved pet and the importance of dealing with such crimes. All reported crimes should be taken seriously, investigated and, where appropriate, taken through the courts and met with tough sentences. The theft of a pet is a criminal offence under the Theft Act 1968 and the maximum penalty is seven years’ imprisonment. Deterrence is one of the purposes of sentencing but there are other important aims, including public protection and a strong punitive element, to help make our streets and communities safer and to give victims confidence that justice has been served.
Earlier this year the Lord Chancellor, Home Secretary and Environment Secretary met to discuss a cross-government approach to address pet theft, and set up a cross-Government taskforce to investigate and tackle this issue.
This taskforce will gather evidence to understand the factors that may be contributing to any rise in pet thefts and to recommend any necessary measures to tackle the problem. It will consider the issue from end to end, including causes, prevention, reporting, and enforcement, examining every option available to protect families from this hurtful crime and make sure perpetrators feel the full force of the law. The taskforce is due to report its recommendations in the summer.