Ruth Jones Portrait

Ruth Jones

Labour - Newport West

Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

(since August 2020)

Oral Question
Tuesday 17th May 2022
11:30
HM Treasury
Oral Question No. 17
What recent steps he has taken to help reduce economic inequality in Newport West constituency.
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Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 18th May 2022
10:00
Welsh Affairs Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Grid capacity in Wales
18 May 2022, 10 a.m.
At 11.00am: Oral evidence
Julie James MS - Minister for Climate Change at Welsh Government
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Oral Question
Wednesday 18th May 2022
12:00
Cabinet Office
Oral Question No. 7
If he will list his official engagements for Wednesday 18 May.
Department Event
Wednesday 18th May 2022
14:30
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Second Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
18 May 2022, 2:30 p.m.
The draft Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (Amendment) Order 2022
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 25th May 2022
09:00
Welsh Affairs Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Wales as a global tourist destination
25 May 2022, 9 a.m.
At 9.30am: Oral evidence
Graeme Farrow - Artistic and Creative Director at Wales Millennium Centre
Louise Miles-Payne - Director, Creu Cymru and Board Member at UK Theatre
Fiona Stewart - Managing Director at Green Man Festival
At 10.30am: Oral evidence
Mike Killingley - Head of Communications at Welsh Rugby Union
Mark Williams - Stadium Manager at Principality Stadium
Matthew Williams - Policy and Communications Manager at Welsh Sports Association
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Department Event
Thursday 23rd June 2022
09:30
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Oral questions - Main Chamber
23 Jun 2022, 9:30 a.m.
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Wednesday 27th April 2022
Elections Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 153 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 306 Noes - 215
Speeches
Thursday 28th April 2022
Oral Answers to Questions
The National Audit Office’s damning report on waste crime published this week has revealed the Tory Government’s shameful record on …
Written Answers
Wednesday 27th April 2022
Antisocial Behaviour: Newport West
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of …
Early Day Motions
Tuesday 7th January 2020
Australia bushfire crisis
That this House acknowledges that the Commonwealth of Australia is fighting one of its worst bushfire seasons, fuelled by record-breaking …
Bills
None available
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Saturday 11th January 2020
1. Employment and earnings
On 23 April 2019, I received £7,803.40 from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, 14 Bedford Row, London WC1R 4ED, for …
EDM signed
Monday 25th October 2021
Campaign to secure the future of the Covid Memorial Wall
That this House welcomes the creation of the Covid Memorial Wall on Albert Embankment by Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice; …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Ruth Jones has voted in 523 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Ruth Jones 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
Rebecca Pow (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
(77 debate interactions)
Alan Whitehead (Labour)
Shadow Minister (Climate Change and Net Zero)
(28 debate interactions)
Victoria Prentis (Conservative)
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
(17 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(28 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(21 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Ruth Jones's debates

Newport West Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

Petitions with highest Newport West signature proportion
Petitions with most Newport West signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

For the most recent hunting season, Forestry England gave hunting licences for 34 fox & hare “trail hunts”. Despite hunting wild mammals with dogs being illegal, two of the licensed/previously licensed trail hunts have been associated with convictions under the Hunting and Animal Welfare Acts.

In March 2021 Mini the cat was chased and killed by hunting hounds in a quiet residential area.
The Government should back Mini’s Law (Public and Animal Safety Bill 2021) to ensure safety to the public and animals from hunting activity, such as trail hunts and exercise of hunting hounds.

The Government must introduce legislation to abolish greyhound racing, via managed shutdown of activities, and ensure welfare of redundant dogs through a levy on the industry. In 2019 Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) data confirmed 4970 injuries & 710 deaths (14 per week).

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

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

During the pandemic government workers have delivered vital public services and kept our country safe and secure. After ten years in which the real value of civil service pay has fallen, many face hardship. The Government must start to restore the real value of their pay with a 10% increase in 2020.

The government is helping private firms to protect jobs by paying up to 80% of staff wages through this crisis. If it can do this why can it not help key workers who will be putting themselves/their families at risk and working extra hard under extremely challenging and unprecedented circumstances.


Latest EDMs signed by Ruth Jones

23rd September 2021
Ruth Jones signed this EDM on Monday 25th October 2021

Campaign to secure the future of the Covid Memorial Wall

Tabled by: Afzal Khan (Labour - Manchester, Gorton)
That this House welcomes the creation of the Covid Memorial Wall on Albert Embankment by Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice; notes that this memorial now includes over 150,000 hand-painted hearts to symbolise all those who lost their lives during the coronavirus pandemic; praises the work of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for …
139 signatures
(Most recent: 21 Feb 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 97
Scottish National Party: 16
Liberal Democrat: 10
Democratic Unionist Party: 5
Conservative: 4
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
18th March 2021
Ruth Jones signed this EDM as a sponsor on Thursday 18th March 2021

Agriculture

Tabled by: Keir Starmer (Labour - Holborn and St Pancras)
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Heather and Grass etc. Burning (England) Regulations 2021 (S.I., 2021, No. 158), dated 15 February 2021, a copy of which was laid before this House on 16 February 2021, be annulled.
10 signatures
(Most recent: 11 May 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 9
Green Party: 1
View All Ruth Jones's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Ruth Jones, 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.


Ruth Jones has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Ruth Jones has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Ruth Jones has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Ruth Jones has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


1299 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
67 Other Department Questions
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to figures from the Electoral Commission released on 2 March 2022 recording the Conservative Party received £80,000 from Lubov Chernukhin in the last quarter, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of donations to political parties.

UK electoral law already sets out a stringent regime of donations controls that bans foreign donations. Individuals must be on the UK electoral roll to make political donations; in the case of companies, they must be properly carrying on business in the UK. The Government is strengthening the corporate transparency regime to ensure this is the case.

Reportable donations are overseen by the Electoral Commission. If the Hon. Member has a query relating to its operational policy and guidance on permissible donations, she may wish to ask a question via the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission.

More broadly, I would make the following observation: there are people in this country of Russian origin who are British citizens. Many are critics of Putin and have condemned his invasion of Ukraine. It is completely wrong and discriminatory to tar them all with the same brush because of their family background or past nationality.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how much levelling up funding he plans to allocate to projects in (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland.

The Government has allocated around £1.9 billion throughout the UK through the Levelling Up Fund, Community Renewal Fund and Community Ownership Fund, including £191 million in Scotland, £169 million in Wales and £61 million in Northern Ireland since October 2021. Over its lifetime, the £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund will invest at least £800 million across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Once launched, every place in the UK will receive a share of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, recognising that even the most affluent parts of the UK contain pockets of deprivation and need support. Allocations for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund will be included in the Prospectus to be published later this Spring.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps the Government is taking to promote freedom of religion or belief for Ahmadiyya Muslims in (a) Newport West constituency, (b) Wales and (c) the UK.

The United Kingdom has a proud tradition of religious tolerance, within the law. The Government is committed to creating a strong and integrated society in which hatred and prejudice are not tolerated and in which all people, including the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, are free to express their religious identity and live without fear of harassment and crime because of it.

We recognise the huge contribution of people of all faiths, beliefs and none, bring to public life, locally and nationally, and are committed to celebrating and promoting this.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what plans his Department has to roll out the economic development measures within the freeports programme to other UK coastal regions.

We want all the nations of the UK to be able to share in the benefits of Freeports. We remain committed to establishing our Freeport programme in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as soon as possible.

Given the mixture of reserved and devolved policy levers which are required to realise the full benefits of Freeports, we are working with the devolved administrations to deliver Freeports across the UK.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what plans his Department has to announce the next group of freeports.

The Government is working hard to support the other prospective Freeports. Subject to agreeing their governance arrangements and successfully completing their business cases, we expect the next set of Freeports to begin operations in 2022.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the hon. Member for City of Chester, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what steps are being taken to improve levels of political literacy among young people in Newport West.

The Electoral Commission has an important duty to promote public awareness of the UK’s electoral systems.

Following the extension of the franchise to 16 and 17 year olds in Wales, the Commission has been working with teachers and youth leaders to support citizenship education, and has shared new education resources for young people across the UK, including versions specific to Wales.

The Commission continues to develop further political literacy resources for young people across the UK, and will publish additional materials ahead of the upcoming elections in May 2022. It has also recently established a youth voice network to inform this work, which includes representation from young people in Wales.

The Commission is also promoting Welcome to Your Vote week to schools this month, to help young people to feel more confident and more prepared to engage in democracy.

6th Jan 2022
To ask the hon. Member for City of Chester, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what recent assessment the Electoral Commission has made of the impact of introducing voter ID on turnout among Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities in (a) Newport West, (b) Wales and (c) the UK.

The Electoral Commission’s independent evaluation of the Government’s pilots, held in 2018 and 2019, found no evidence that turnout was significantly affected by the trialled introduction of an ID requirement at polling stations.

However, the evaluations noted that the pilots were not representative of the UK population and it was therefore not possible to draw definitive conclusions, particularly about the likely impact at a national poll with higher levels of turnout.

The Commission will have significant responsibilities to raise public awareness about the new ID requirement. This will have a predominant focus on those demographics known to be less likely to have the necessary identification, including those from lower socio-economic groups, those with disabilities and the unemployed.

6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he plans to encourage UK media organisations to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism.

Antisemitism has absolutely no place in our society, which is why we are taking a strong lead in tackling it in all its forms. Following encouragement from the Government, at least three quarters of local councils in the UK have adopted the IHRA definition of Antisemitism.

The Government is committed to a free and independent press and does not intervene in what the press can and cannot publish. The Government is also committed to independent self-regulation of the press. Press regulators issue codes of conduct which provide guidelines on a range of areas, including discrimination, accuracy, privacy, and harassment.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, whether he took steps to mark Small Business Saturday 2021.

To mark Small Business Saturday I hosted a food and drink market in Downing Street to showcase British businesses that are making the most out of our international trade. We currently export to 207 countries but this Government is supporting British food and drink exporters to sell even more of their brilliant produce abroad.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, how he plans to mark Chanukah 2021.

I hosted a reception at 10 Downing Street to mark Chanukah. I also released a video message wishing a very happy Chanukah to Jewish people in the UK and around the world.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when he last discussed tackling Islamophobia with the leaders of the devolved Administrations.

The Government remains committed to tackling Islamophobia and recognises the discrimination and intolerance faced by Muslim communities. Criminal Justice is a fully devolved issue in Scotland and Northern Ireland. In Wales, we maintain a dialogue and the Welsh Government has been consulted on our forthcoming Hate Crime Strategy.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how much the Government spent on supporting Islamophobia Awareness Week 2021.

We continue to combat islamophobia in all its forms and throughout the year. Islamophobia Awareness Week is an event lead across departments and partners rather than centrally and the data is not available. However, in combatting Islamophobia, we have funded Tell MAMA for over £4 million between 2017 and 2022 to monitor and combat anti-Muslim hate crimes, as well as providing approximately £5 million to the Places of Worship Security Grant over the last five years, which has been used to protect Mosques and other places of worship.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, when he last met the Chief Rabbi.

Formal Ministerial meetings with external organisations are published each quarter on gov.uk.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what discussions she has had with the Welsh Government on the Government’s response to the recent increase in spiking injections of young women in nightclubs.

I have regular discussions with colleagues across government on a range of equalities issues. Reports of spiking, whether that is adding substances to drinks or injecting people with needles, are extremely concerning, and this is an issue which the Government takes very seriously.

The Home Secretary has already asked the National Police Chiefs’ Council to urgently review the extent and scale of the issue, and the Home Office is receiving regular updates from the police who are working locally, regionally and nationally, including with partners in the National Crime Agency. Police forces in Wales have been involved in these discussions and the Welsh Government will be kept apprised of any developments.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what discussions she has had with the Home Secretary on the Government’s response to the recent increase in spiking injections of young women in nightclubs.

I have regular discussions with colleagues across government on a range of equalities issues. Reports of spiking, whether that is adding substances to drinks or injecting people with needles, are extremely concerning, and this is an issue which the Government takes very seriously.

The Home Secretary has already asked the National Police Chiefs’ Council to urgently review the extent and scale of the issue, and the Home Office is receiving regular updates from the police who are working locally, regionally and nationally, including with partners in the National Crime Agency. Police forces in Wales have been involved in these discussions and the Welsh Government will be kept apprised of any developments.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on his plans to tackle Islamophobia; and if he will make a statement.

The Government remains committed to tackling islamophobia and recognises the discrimination and intolerance faced by Muslim communities. Our counterparts in the Welsh Government have been consulted on our upcoming Hate Crime Strategy and this will be published in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 23 November 2021 to Question 75126 on UN Climate Conference 2021: Government, how many Ministers in his Department travelled to COP26 by airplane.

No Ministers in this Department travelled to COP26 in Glasgow by airplane.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what plans he has to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2022.

Holocaust Memorial Day provides an opportunity for the whole nation to remember the six million Jewish men, women and children murdered by the Nazis, along with all other victims of Nazi persecution and victims of subsequent genocides. The Department for Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) supports the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust who will be promoting a great many local events as well as a national commemoration which will take place as an on-line event on 27 January.

DLUHC will itself be organising an event to enable staff to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department took to mark Islamophobia Awareness Month 2021.

Islamophobia awareness is vitally important. Our commitment to tackling the discrimination and intolerance in Muslim communities is consistent throughout the year, as every community should be able to practice their faith in freedom and security.

We already have some of the strongest legislation in the world to tackle hate crime and, where groups incite racial hatred or are engaged in racially or religiously motivated criminal activity, we would expect them to be prosecuted. We have continued to show our commitment to this by supporting Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) with over £4 million between 2017 and 2022 to monitor anti-Muslim hate crimes and support victims, as well as providing almost £5 million to protect and secure mosques and other places of worship through the Places of Worship Security Grant.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, when he last met the First Minister of Wales.

I last met the First Minister of Wales on 2 November at the Welcome to Glasgow COP26 event.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, when he last met David Cameron.

Formal Ministerial meetings with external organisations are published each quarter on gov.uk

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
19th Nov 2021
To ask the President of COP26, further to the Answer of 18 November 2021 to Question 71459, on UN Climate Conference 2021, if he will publish (a) the names of each of the 33 members of the Government who attended the COP26 Summit in Glasgow and (b) which 15 Government departments those attendees represented.

Alongside the Prime Minister and COP President, 33 Ministers attended COP26 from 15 different Departments across Government. Please see list below:

Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP

HMT

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP

FCDO

Lord Ahmad

FCDO

Rt Hon James Cleverly MP

FCDO

Rt Hon Amanda Milling MP

FCDO

Vicky Ford MP

FCDO

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP

BEIS

Rt Hon Greg Hands MP

BEIS

Lord Callanan

BEIS

Lee Rowley MP

BEIS

Eddie Hughes MP

DLUHC

Rt Hon Lord Goldsmith

DEFRA

Rt Hon George Eustice MP

DEFRA

Rebecca Pow MP

DEFRA

Jo Churchill MP

DEFRA

Rt Hon Nadhim Zahawi MP

DfE

Baroness Barran

DfE

Rt Hon Michelle Donelan MP

DfE

Alex Burghart MP

DfE

Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP

DHSC

Gillian Keegan MP

DHSC

Trudy Harrison MP

DfT

Robert Courts MP

DfT

Rt Hon Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP

DIT

Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP

MoD

Rt Hon Alister Jack MP

SO

Rt Hon Simon Hart MP

WO

Rt Hon Nadine Dorries MP

DCMS

Wendy Morton MP

FCDO

John Glen MP

HMT

Rt Hon Therese Coffey MP

DWP

Helen Whately MP

HMT

Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP

CO

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the President of COP26, which members of the Government attended the COP26 conference in Glasgow.

Alongside the Prime Minister and COP President, 33 Ministers attended COP26 from 15 different Departments across Government. Please see list below:

Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP

HMT

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP

FCDO

Lord Ahmad

FCDO

Rt Hon James Cleverly MP

FCDO

Rt Hon Amanda Milling MP

FCDO

Vicky Ford MP

FCDO

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP

BEIS

Rt Hon Greg Hands MP

BEIS

Lord Callanan

BEIS

Lee Rowley MP

BEIS

Eddie Hughes MP

DLUHC

Rt Hon Lord Goldsmith

DEFRA

Rt Hon George Eustice MP

DEFRA

Rebecca Pow MP

DEFRA

Jo Churchill MP

DEFRA

Rt Hon Nadhim Zahawi MP

DfE

Baroness Barran

DfE

Rt Hon Michelle Donelan MP

DfE

Alex Burghart MP

DfE

Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP

DHSC

Gillian Keegan MP

DHSC

Trudy Harrison MP

DfT

Robert Courts MP

DfT

Rt Hon Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP

DIT

Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP

MoD

Rt Hon Alister Jack MP

SO

Rt Hon Simon Hart MP

WO

Rt Hon Nadine Dorries MP

DCMS

Wendy Morton MP

FCDO

John Glen MP

HMT

Rt Hon Therese Coffey MP

DWP

Helen Whately MP

HMT

Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP

CO

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, what assessment he has made of the time taken for publication National Security Adviser's report on the future of Newport WaferFab.

As I said at the Liaison Committee on 7 July 2021, the National Security Adviser is reviewing the case. It would be inappropriate to comment until the review has concluded.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
8th Nov 2021
To ask the President of COP26, how many members of the Government attended the COP26 summit in Glasgow.

Alongside the Prime Minister and COP President, 33 Ministers from 15 different Departments attended COP26. Ministers supported the delivery of COP26 through participation in Presidency theme day events and engagement with international counterparts to help secure COP objectives.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
4th Nov 2021
To ask the President of COP26, if the Government will conduct an inquiry into accessibility at COP26 for people with disabilities.

We remain committed to an inclusive COP26 that is accessible to all; the venue was designed to facilitate that. The permanent structures are fully wheelchair accessible and the venue holds gold level accessibility status. For the temporary structures a complete accessibility audit was completed and they are fully compliant. There are blue badge spaces for the conference, along with two fully accessible shuttle routes.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what discussions she has had with the Welsh Government on its LGBTQ+ Action Plan for Wales.

The Equality Hub is in regular contact with Welsh Government officials and has held discussions covering the LGBTQ+ action plan for Wales as well as wider LGBT policy, including most recently the proposals to ban conversion therapy in England and Wales.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of the absence of President Erdogan of Turkey from COP26 in Glasgow on the outcomes of that conference.

COP26 is a critical moment for the future of our planet. We welcome President Erdogan's announcement that Turkey plans to reach net zero by 2053 and that Turkey has ratified the Paris Agreement. The UK looks forward to hearing more on Turkey’s climate plans and working with the delegation from Turkey to bring key negotiations issues to a constructive conclusion at COP26.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
1st Nov 2021
To ask the President of COP26, how many and what proportion of world leaders travelled to COP26 by air.

Our default approach is that travel to and from Glasgow is by train or other appropriate public ground transportation. COP26 will be carbon neutral. Our principal priority is to reduce emissions from the conference with any unavoidable carbon emissions from COP26 to be offset. We are working to achieve PAS2060 Carbon Neutrality validation for COP26 to ensure this approach. We have also encouraged delegates to consider low-carbon travel options and will be offsetting the emissions associated with travel, including those of the COP President and UK officials in the run up to COP26.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
1st Nov 2021
To ask the President of COP26, how many and what proportion of UK Government ministers travelled by air to COP26 in Glasgow.

Our default approach is that travel to and from Glasgow is by train or other appropriate public ground transportation. COP26 will be carbon neutral. Our principal priority is to reduce emissions from the conference with any unavoidable carbon emissions from COP26 to be offset. We are working to achieve PAS2060 Carbon Neutrality validation for COP26 to ensure this approach. We have also encouraged delegates to consider low-carbon travel options and will be offsetting the emissions associated with travel, including those of the COP President and UK officials in the run up to COP26.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
28th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to ensure elected officials in local government can safely carry out their duties.

Violence and intimidation will not be tolerated and have no place in public life. Government is firmly committed to the safety and security of all of those in public life.

The Government updated the House on action being taken to tackle intimidation in public life in a recent WMS (UIN HCWS833). This includes introducing a new electoral sanction of intimidation against those who participate in elections. The Local Government Association also provides comprehensive guidance and advice for councillors on personal safety.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
27th Oct 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the UN Environment Programme's The Emissions Gap Report 2021; and if he will make a statement.

The UN Environment Programme's Emissions Gap Report 2021 makes clear, if countries deliver on their 2030 Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and net zero commitments which have been announced by the end of September, we will be heading towards average global temperature rises of 2.2C.

In the opening days of COP26 momentum has continued to build, with new net zero commitments from the likes of India (the world’s third largest emitter), meaning that over 90% of the global economy is now covered by a net zero target.

But we know that to keep 1.5C within reach we need more, so we will continue to press leaders for more ambitious climate action.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
22nd Oct 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what steps he has taken to involve children and young people in the preparation for the COP26 summit.

The UK COP26 Presidency is committed to amplifying the voices of young people from across the world in the lead up to and at COP26 this November. The COP President committed to meeting with young people on international visits over the last year and has established the COP26 Civil Society and Youth Advisory Council, which he chairs together with two youth representatives.

On the road to COP26, we have worked with our COP26 partner, the Government of Italy, to deliver the ‘Youth4Climate2021: Driving Ambition’ event held in Milan in September, and we are endorsing the 16th UN Conference of Youth event held in Glasgow.

At COP26, we will host a dedicated Youth & Public Empowerment Day to elevate youth voices and demonstrate the critical role of education and empowerment to drive climate action. We have been working closely with YOUNGO (the official children’s and youth constituency to the UNFCCC) and diverse youth organisations to co-create the events programme for the day.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
22nd Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to protect (a) Bevis Marks Synagogue in the City of London and (b) other places of worship from closure.

Whilst I cannot comment specifically on Bevis Marks Synagogue, due to the Secretary of State’s quasi-judicial role in the planning system, the Government recognises the financial difficulties that many places of worship have faced in the last 19 months. To respond to the impact of Covid-19, we have available a package of support specifically for charities and businesses. Places of worship and faith groups that are also registered charities have been able to apply to a number of those schemes. This included the Government's £750 million package of support specifically for voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations (VCSE).

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, how he marked Black History Month 2021.

I am proud to lead a country celebrated for its dynamism and diversity, where every day black Britons are making history. To mark Black History Month I shared a video message celebrating this and hosted a reception on 25th October at Downing Street. This reception celebrated the contribution of black entrepreneurs, businesses, and professionals to the UK. I met young people, entrepreneurs, and business leaders, including members of the 10,000 Black Interns programme. I have been pleased to see events and activity taking across government to mark this important event.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, how her Department has marked Black History Month 2021.

This year, the Government marked Black History Month with the #TransformingToday campaign. Throughout the month, the Cabinet Office has coordinated the government-wide campaign, #TransformingToday, which has celebrated Black British talent, trailblazers and pioneers. There has been a particular focus on our Covid heroes. As Minister of State for Equalities I wrote an opinion piece for Black History Month Magazine and took part in an interview with Sky News’ Trevor Phillips on the topic of Black History Month.

There have been numerous central events including a No10 reception celebrating the success of Black interns, entrepreneurs and others, attended by the Prime Minister. There was also an event highlighting service with school pupils from three schools and Victoria Cross recipient Johnson Beharry; as well as other events in skills and digital helping to support Black people in their ambitions.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
20th Oct 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what assessment he has made of the implications for the outcomes of the COP26 summit of President Putin's decision not to attend that summit.

As hosts of COP26, we strongly encourage leaders to attend given this is a critical moment for the future of our planet. The Prime Minister is looking forward to meeting all the leaders who have confirmed attendance – over 120 so far.

We look forward to working with the delegation from Russia to bring key negotiations issues to a constructive conclusion at COP26, and to ambitious announcements from Russia to help keep 1.5C in reach, in line with President Putin’s announcement last week that Russia would achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2060.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what assessment he has made of the implications for the outcomes of the COP26 summit of President Xi of China's decision not to attend that summit.

As hosts of COP26, we strongly encourage leaders to attend given this is a critical moment for the future of our planet. The Prime Minister is looking forward to meeting all the leaders who have confirmed attendance – over 120 so far.

We look forward to working with the delegation from China to bring key negotiations issues to a constructive conclusion at COP26, and to ambitious announcements from China to help keep 1.5C in reach, in line with President Xi’s announcement last year that China would achieve climate neutrality by 2060.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of the Coastal Powerhouse Manifesto published by Maritime UK and the Local Government Association Coastal Special Interest Group.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave to question UIN 58764 on 25 October.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what support his Department is providing to the UK’s coastal communities.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave to question UIN 58764 on 25 October.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the President of COP26, how many Black and minority ethnic people are part of the UK's COP26 negotiating team.

We have recently appointed a Diversity and Inclusion lead in the Campaigns and Engagement Team to lead on inclusivity and diversity for a successful and fully inclusive COP.

For additional wider information, the Government publishes statistics on Civil Service demographics annually on March 31st via the Office for National Statistics. This can be found on the GOV.UK website at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/civil-service-statistics-2021.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what discussions he has had with his counterparts in (a) the EU, (b) the US, (c) China, (d) Australia and (e) the African Union on ending the exploration and licensing of new fossil fuel supplies.

Accelerating the global energy transition from coal to clean power is a top priority of the UK COP26 Presidency. We have engaged the EU, US, China, Australia, and African countries, amongst others, to encourage ambitious action on the transition away from fossil fuels to clean power and to increase international cooperation to speed this change.

We launched the Energy Transition Council to bring together the political, financial and technical leaders of the global power sector to ensure that clean power is the most attractive option for new power generation for all countries. The Council engages with over twenty countries in Africa, Europe, Asia, and North America. We have pushed many developed economies to end public support to fossil fuels overseas, to match UK policy.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the President of COP26, whether tackling toxic air is part of his priorities for the COP26 summit.

For COP26, countries are being asked to come forward with ambitious 2030 Green House Gas emissions reduction targets that align with reaching net zero by the middle of the century. To deliver on these stretching targets, countries will need to accelerate the global phase out of coal, encourage renewables deployment, curtail deforestation, and speed up the switch to electric vehicles.

By tackling the causes of climate change, we can also reduce the impacts of poor air quality on premature deaths throughout the world. As set out in its NDC the UK supports and is pushing for decarbonisation approaches that strive to improve air quality and minimise adverse impacts on human health. Our domestic policy pathway will be outlined in the UK’s Net Zero Strategy which will be published ahead of COP26.

Through our COP26 campaigns, we are seeking closer integration with public health objectives to facilitate a global green, healthy and sustainable recovery from the COVID 19 pandemic.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the President of COP26, when he last met Ministers in the Welsh Government.

I am working with the Welsh Government, alongside the other devolved administrations, to ensure an inclusive and ambitious COP26 for the whole of the UK. I chair a regular COP26 Devolved Administrations (DAs) Ministerial Group which the Minister for Climate Change, Julie James MS, attends on behalf of the Welsh Government. Our last meeting was in June and our next meeting will be later this month.

The COP26 Unit also worked with the Welsh Government and other DAs to encourage proposals from stakeholders, such as the renewables industry, across the UK via the Expression of Interest process for events or showcasing in UK Government managed spaces at COP26.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what recent assessment he has made of the Government’s preparedness for the COP26 summit.

COP26 is an event of global importance where the world must work together to secure a comprehensive and ambitious set of outcomes that accelerate climate action and keep 1.5C alive. This includes finalising the Paris Rulebook, supporting the full implementation of the Paris Agreement and addressing the gaps on ambition in reducing emissions this decade, mobilising finance, and adapting to our changing world.

COP26 logistical preparations are well established and we have a robust governance structure, involving close co-operation between Scottish, wider UK and international partners to ensure we host a safe and secure event that meets our objectives. Our preparations include a thorough risk assessment and mitigation plan along with a robust testing and exercise programme.

In terms of COVID, the COP26 Unit has been working closely with public health officials, the Scottish Government, the WHO, the UNFCCC and all our partners to create a comprehensive set of COVID mitigations to ensure preparedness for the conference – the safety of participants and the local population is at the heart of all our planning. This includes a specific test, trace and protect regime, social distancing, enhanced ventilation, face coverings and vaccinations.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what recent assessment he has made of the Government’s preparedness for COP26.

COP26 is an event of global importance where the world must work together to secure a comprehensive and ambitious set of outcomes that accelerate climate action and keep 1.5C alive. This includes finalising the Paris Rulebook, supporting the full implementation of the Paris Agreement and addressing the gaps on ambition in reducing emissions this decade, mobilising finance, and adapting to our changing world.

COP26 logistical preparations are well established and we have a robust governance structure, involving close co-operation between Scottish, wider UK and international partners to ensure we host a safe and secure event that meets our objectives. Our preparations include a thorough risk assessment and mitigation plan along with a robust testing and exercise programme.

In terms of COVID, the COP26 Unit has been working closely with public health officials, the Scottish Government, the WHO, the UNFCCC and all our partners to create a comprehensive set of COVID mitigations to ensure preparedness for the conference – the safety of participants and the local population is at the heart of all our planning. This includes a specific test, trace and protect regime, social distancing, enhanced ventilation, face coverings and vaccinations.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, whether he has plans to meet President Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe in 2021.

Details of my official meetings will be announced in the usual way.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, whether he has plans to meet President Hichilema of Zambia.

Details of my official meetings will be announced in the usual way.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, how many times he has discussed Afghanistan with the NATO Secretary General in 2021.

I have discussed Afghanistan in all of my conversations with the NATO Secretary General in 2021.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, when he last spoke to Prime Minister Mottley of Barbados.

I recently wrote to Prime Minister Mottley to assure her of the UK’s commitment to tackling Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and to thank her for her work in this area. Furthermore, my Rt Hon friend the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, and Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, UK Minister of State for the Caribbean, speak to Ministerial colleagues in Barbados regularly. The most recent such call was on 18 March this year. The UK High Commissioner to Barbados is also in close contact with the Government of Barbados including Prime Minister Mia Mottley. They last met on 24 August 2021.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what plans she has to mark the 40th anniversary of the march to Greenham Common.

The Equality Hub has no current plans to mark this anniversary.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
30th Jun 2021
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, what estimate the Commission has made of the cost to the public purse of the House of Commons energy usage in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021.

The cost of energy usage for the House of Commons in 2019, 2020 and 2021 is as follows:

2019 was £5,021,736 – which comprised

Electricity £3,779,328
Gas £896,753
Water £345,655

2020 was £4,564,901 – which comprised

Electricity £3,925,822
Gas £419,870
Water £199,209

2021 estimate is £5,278,854 – comprising

Electricity £4,315,496
Gas £553,674
Water £409,684

Estimate was based on full occupation and Energy price increases.

30th Jun 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what estimate she has made of the cost to the public purse of her Department's energy usage in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021.

The Equality Hub is part of the Cabinet Office, therefore I refer the hon. Member to the answer to PQ 25146.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what recent discussions she has had with local government on the Government’s consultation on sexual harassment in the workplace.

The Government consultation on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace focussed on ensuring that laws to protect people from harassment at work are operating effectively. We received 133 responses to our technical consultation, including from the LGA and a range of trade unions.

We have considered all of the responses received and listened carefully to the experiences shared through this consultation. We will be setting out the Government’s response shortly, and officials continue to engage with a range of stakeholders as they consider next steps.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what recent discussions she has had with the trade unions on the Government’s consultation on sexual harassment in the workplace.

The Government consultation on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace focussed on ensuring that laws to protect people from harassment at work are operating effectively. We received 133 responses to our technical consultation, including from the LGA and a range of trade unions.

We have considered all of the responses received and listened carefully to the experiences shared through this consultation. We will be setting out the Government’s response shortly, and officials continue to engage with a range of stakeholders as they consider next steps.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what recent progress she has made on publishing the Government’s response to its consultation on sexual harassment in the workplace.

The Government consultation on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace focussed on ensuring that laws to protect people from harassment at work are operating effectively. We received 133 responses to our technical consultation, including from the LGA and a range of trade unions.

We have considered all of the responses received and listened carefully to the experiences shared through this consultation. We will be setting out the Government’s response shortly, and officials continue to engage with a range of stakeholders as they consider next steps.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what recent assessment she has made of the accuracy of the data and evidence used in the March 2021 report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities.

The independent Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities took an evidence-led approach, using quantitative data and qualitative research drawn from a number of sources which are referenced throughout the document. This includes statistical datasets derived from the Race Disparity Unit’s ‘Ethnicity Facts and Figures’ website, other Government sources and a range of already published analysis from within and outside Government.

The Government is currently considering the Commission’s report and the evidence it considered in shaping its recommendations, and we will respond later in the summer.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
19th May 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the Public Sector Equality Duty in ensuring that Equality Impact Assessments are (a) undertaken and (b) published on Government policies.

Under the Public Sector Equality Duty all public authorities are required by law to ensure that they have due regard to equality considerations when carrying out their functions. My officials in the Equality Hub provide advice to Government Departments and other public bodies where appropriate to assist with this.

Due regard can be had through documentation often referred to as an ‘equality impact assessment’ but production of an equality impact assessment, as such, is not a legal requirement, and different approaches to compliance with the duty may be appropriate depending on the circumstances.

There is no statutory requirement to publish assessments and practice varies. Decisions on publication are a matter for the public body concerned, given the particular circumstances.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, when he last spoke to President Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Dissolution.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
1st Mar 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on preparations for COP26.

The UK Government is working with the Welsh Government, alongside the other Devolved Administrations to ensure an inclusive and ambitious COP26 for the whole of the UK. I met with the Welsh Government Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs when I chaired the first meeting of the COP26 Devolved Administrations Ministerial Group on 6 November 2020. We discussed the UK Presidency objectives for COP26 and public and stakeholder engagement. The next meeting is scheduled this month. There is also ongoing official level engagement with the Welsh Government on COP26.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the President of COP26, how much the Government has spent on preparations for COP26 since (a) 1 January 2020 and (b) 1 January 2021.

Discussions on costs for COP26 are currently ongoing, and final budgets are yet to be confirmed. After the event, spend will be reported in the usual way.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what recent steps he has taken to promote tackling biodiversity loss alongside climate action as part of COP26 preparations.

Through our COP26 Nature Campaign, we are advancing work in four core areas: tackling the drivers of deforestation, promoting sustainable and climate-resilient agriculture, mobilising increased and more targeted finance for nature, and driving political ambition on nature.

We have already made good progress. For example, the UK pioneered the ‘Leaders’ Pledge for Nature’, which now has over 80 signatories. The pledge sets out ten urgent actions to put nature on a path to recovery by 2030 and cements the links between biodiversity loss and climate change.

More recently, the Prime Minister announced that the UK will commit at least £3 billion to climate change solutions that protect and restore nature and biodiversity over five years.

We have also established the FACT (Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade) Dialogue to protect forests and biodiversity, while promoting trade.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what recent assessment he has made of progress towards (a) limiting global heating to well below 2°C and (b) limiting heating to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

We have seen significant momentum on climate ambition in recent months, with the likes of China, Japan and South Korea committing to net zero emissions and over 40 Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) being submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to date.

However, it is clear that more needs to be done to close the gap to the Paris Agreement temperature goals. As the incoming COP President, I will continue to press all parties to increase their climate commitments to the highest level of ambition possible.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on tackling online abuse targeted at women.

Ministers and officials have regular meetings and discussions across government departments, on a variety of issues, including online abuse targeted at women. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the gov.uk website. In line with the practice of successive administrations, details of internal discussions are not usually disclosed.

The full government response to the Online Harms White Paper sets out how the proposed legal duty of care on online companies will work in practice. Under the new laws, all companies will need to take swift and effective action against illegal online abuse. If any company fails to tackle illegal content, or if companies providing Category 1 services fail to enforce their terms and conditions, they could face an investigation and enforcement action.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Prime Minister, what plans he has to appoint a Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief.

I refer the Hon Member to the answer I gave on 22 September to my Hon Friend the Hon Member for Romford and the Hon Member for Glasgow North.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government is taking to improve mental health support for veterans in (a) Newport West, (b) Wales and c) the UK.

The Government is taking a number of measures to improve mental health support for veterans across the UK. From the beginning of service in the Armed Forces, personnel now undergo ‘through-life’ psychological resilience training, and upon leaving they have access to the Defence Transition Service (DTS), launched in October 2019. The DTS provides support for Service leavers and families who are the most likely to face challenges during transition to civilian life, including an impact on their mental health.

Wherever they live in the UK, all veterans are able to receive specialist mental health support if they need it. As healthcare is a devolved matter, further questions regarding Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should be addressed to the relevant devolved administration.

As well as the statutory services delivered by the NHS, the Government provides funding to a range of charity and third sector organisations, through the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust and, most recently, a £6 million emergency COVID-19 Impact Fund. This funding has supported fantastic organisations across the four nations to deliver services to support the mental and physical wellbeing of veterans.

We are also investing in research, to improve our understanding of mental health amongst serving and ex-service personnel. This includes a recent study looking at the impact of COVID-19 on veterans and a long term veterans study examining a range of mental health and wellbeing factors; both of these are led by Kings College. A further two studies will contribute to improving the data and understanding around suicide; the first examining the cause of death, including suicide in members of the Armed Forces who have served since 2001 and a further study looking at the events in the 12 months leading up to known suicides in the last five years of anyone from the Armed Forces community.

12th Jan 2022
To ask the Attorney General, when she first knew that the Prime Minister was present at the gathering in the Downing Street garden on 20 May 2020.

The Law Officers have regular discussions with Ministerial colleagues across government on a range of topics.

By convention, whether the Law Officers have been asked for formal advice, and the contents of any such advice, is not disclosed outside Government.

Suella Braverman
Attorney General
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Attorney General, whether she was involved in drafting the contents of the Prime Minister's oral answer of 12 January to the hon. Member for Vale of Clwyd.

The Law Officers have regular discussions with Ministerial colleagues across government on a range of topics.

By convention, whether the Law Officers have been asked for formal advice, and the contents of any such advice, is not disclosed outside Government.

Suella Braverman
Attorney General
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Attorney General, whether she had discussions with the Prime Minister before his oral answer of 12 January to the hon. Member for Vale of Clwyd on the content of that answer.

The Law Officers have regular discussions with Ministerial colleagues across government on a range of topics.

By convention, whether the Law Officers have been asked for formal advice, and the contents of any such advice, is not disclosed outside Government.

Suella Braverman
Attorney General
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of his Department's energy usage in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021.

The following table sets out the total expenditure on energy (£) by the Government Legal Department (GLD) including HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI), the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). These figures are published as part of each Department’s respective annual reports.

Total Expenditure on Energy (£)

Financial year

GLD + HMCPSI

CPS

SFO

2018-19

568,725

757,000

135,000

2019-20

672,193

657,000

174,000

2020-21

333,033

357,000

Awaiting National Audit Office approval

The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) is unable to provide this information. As published in the HM Procurator General and Treasury Solicitor Annual Report and Accounts 2019/20, ‘The AGO occupies shared accommodation in 5-8 The Sanctuary, London and it is not possible to separately identify their energy or water consumption or recycling of waste’.

The AGO has recently moved, all accommodation interests are now managed through the Government Property Agency (GPA) and that body will publish any sustainability data in relation to the AGOs occupation within 102 Petty France, London.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Attorney General, what recent discussions he has had with the Director of Public Prosecutions on the effectiveness of the CPS in prosecuting cases involving domestic violence.

The CPS takes cases of domestic abuse extremely seriously, and is determined to bring perpetrators to justice and provide victims with the greatest possible protection from repeat offending.

In 2019, the CPS – together with the police and HM Court and Tribunals Service – led the implementation of a national domestic abuse best practice framework for magistrates’ court cases. This aims to ensure consistent good practice by criminal justice agencies involved in domestic abuse casework, from investigation through to court. For example, it encourages more timely court listings and the provision of holistic support for victims, so that they are helped through both the criminal justice process and with wider issues, such as housing and finances.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Attorney General, what steps the CPS is taking to improve the prosecution rate of people responsible for forced marriages.

The CPS takes the prosecution of forced marriage seriously. Each CPS Area has a lead prosecutor on forced marriage who works closely with the police and other prosecutors. The CPS’s legal guidance on forced marriage assists prosecutors and is reviewed regularly. For example, it was revised last year to address cases where the victim lacks capacity to consent to marriage. Since April 2019, the joint police and CPS forced marriage working group has developed training for prosecutors and agreed a protocol for the investigation and prosecution of forced marriage. The CPS is also working with stakeholders to identify and address the obstacles to the prosecution of forced marriage.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the fixed penalty notices issued to hon Members of Her Majesty's Government in April 2022, if he will undertake a review of the adequacy of the Ministerial Code.

The Ministerial Code is the responsibility of the Prime Minister of the day, as befits his or her constitutional position as the Sovereign’s principal adviser, and is customarily updated and issued upon their assuming or returning to office.

Section 1.6 of the Ministerial Code sets out that Ministers are personally responsible for deciding how to act and conduct themselves in the light of the Code, and for justifying their actions and conduct to Parliament and the public.

With reference to the fixed penalty notice, I would refer you to the Prime Minister’s statement to the House of 19 April 2022.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
25th Mar 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to tackle alleged racial discrimination in his Department.

A ‘Respect and Inclusion review’ for the Cabinet Office is currently underway. In the recent Declaration on Government reform, Ministers and Permanent Secretaries committed to set a new standard for diversity and inclusion, including guaranteeing fairness at work and zero tolerance for Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination.

Our position at the centre of government - delivering against an ambitious agenda - means we have a responsibility to get this right. The review will have a particular focus on race and disability where our data shows scope for improvement.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he plans to take with Cabinet colleagues to use public procurement to help support the growth of British industries based in Newport West constituency.

The Government wants businesses from every corner of the UK to be successful in bidding for UK public contracts.

We are reforming the procurement rules to make it simpler, quicker and cheaper for suppliers, including SMEs and social enterprises, to bid for public sector contracts. The Welsh Government has confirmed that it will join the reforms.

The reforms will support the Government’s levelling up priorities by making it easier for public sector buyers to take account of social value when awarding contracts.

Under the Government’s Social Value policy, contracting authorities can already set rigorous environmental and social standards, and other criteria, that play to the strengths of supply chains who can meet those standards. The scope to take societal benefits into account when awarding contracts will be increased, playing to the strengths of UK firms who are well placed to deliver benefits.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether it is his policy to promote improved working conditions through Government procurement policy.

Government encourages employers to better support all employees to remain in and thrive through work.

Through our new approach to extend the use of the Social Value Act, effective from 1 January 2021, additional social benefits can be taken into account via the delivery of contracts.

To promote consistency across departments, we developed a tool called the ‘Social Value Model’ for use by all organisations in scope of the new policy. The tool has provisions to improve health and wellbeing in the contract workforce.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether it his policy to support improved work-life balance as part of public services' recovery from the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has put the recovery of public services at the heart of its building back better and levelling up agenda. We are investing £3.7 billion to build 40 new hospitals and we’re investing a further £4.7 billion in the core school budget by 2024-25. There are almost 10,000 more nurses and over 5,100 doctors now working in the NHS compared to last year, and we have recruited over 11,000 police officers.

The Government’s 2019 manifesto committed to encourage flexible working and consult on making it the default unless employers have good reasons not to. Since then, COVID-19 has changed working practices for many and led to the recognition of the need for more flexible working hours to balance work with other personal commitments. The Government intends to build on what we have learnt and ran a consultation proposing to reform the existing Right to Request flexible working from September to December 2021. We are currently analysing responses and will issue a formal Government response in due course.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish the attendee lists from the last three COBRA meetings.

As a matter of policy, the Government does not comment on the details of COBR meetings.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, on which date the Prime Minister last met the Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain.

Formal Ministerial meetings with external organisations are published each quarter on GOV.UK.

The Government, under successive administrations, has a long-standing policy of non-engagement with the Muslim Council of Britain. Previous MCB leaders have taken positions that contradict our fundamental values and these have not been explicitly retracted.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what progress his Department has made on supporting education and reskilling opportunities for former service personnel in Newport West.

This information is not held centrally.

Ensuring veterans enter appropriate post service employment is a top priority for this Government.

Eligible Service personnel and veterans can access three schemes: Standard Learning Credit, Enhanced Learning Credit and Publicly Funded Further and Higher Education schemes, which can help individuals pursue their personal and professional development through education. These schemes are available both during their Service and, for two of the schemes, for between five and ten years after discharge, based on the circumstances of departure.

The next iteration of the Veteran Strategy Action Plan will outline the next steps that this Government will take, including on education and reskilling, to deliver its ambition of making this country the best place in the world to be a veteran.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on how to ensure small businesses in Newport West constituency are supported in bidding for Government contracts.

Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of the UK economy. That is why we are making sure the power of Government spending supports this vital sector, both as part of our economic recovery from COVID-19 and our levelling up agenda. We are increasing opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in a variety of ways - from transparently publishing contract pipelines to simplifying bidding processes.

Business support organisations play an important role in supporting SMEs in industry and can offer advice on business growth including ways of accessing government procurements and signposting opportunities. We have strong links with industry associations and they are supportive of the government's aims to continue engagement with SMEs.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with representatives of business organisations on supporting small businesses in Newport West bidding for Government contracts.

Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of the UK economy. That is why we are making sure the power of Government spending supports this vital sector, both as part of our economic recovery from COVID-19 and our levelling up agenda. We are increasing opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in a variety of ways - from transparently publishing contract pipelines to simplifying bidding processes.

Business support organisations play an important role in supporting SMEs in industry and can offer advice on business growth including ways of accessing government procurements and signposting opportunities. We have strong links with industry associations and they are supportive of the government's aims to continue engagement with SMEs.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to help increase opportunities for businesses in Newport West bidding for contracts on major infrastructure projects.

Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of the UK economy. That is why we are making sure the power of Government spending supports this vital sector, both as part of our economic recovery from COVID-19 and our levelling up agenda. We are increasing opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in a variety of ways - from transparently publishing contract pipelines to simplifying bidding processes.

Business support organisations play an important role in supporting SMEs in industry and can offer advice on business growth including ways of accessing government procurements and signposting opportunities. We have strong links with industry associations and they are supportive of the government's aims to continue engagement with SMEs.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to help improve provision of mental health services for former armed service personnel in Newport West.

Our ambition is to ensure that no veteran’s request for help will go unanswered. The Prime Minister recently announced an additional £5 million for service charities following the UK's withdrawal from Afghanistan, which will be used on a range of projects including increasing capacity in mental health support. In March, the government also announced an additional £10 million to the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust to distribute to charitable projects supporting veterans’ mental health needs. This is on top of the annual £10 million awarded to the Trust.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 23 November 2021 to Question 75126 on UN Climate Conference 2021: Government, how many Ministers in his Department travelled to COP26 by airplane.

Ministers took the train to COP26 in Glasgow, unless there were exceptional circumstances that meant travelling by train was not an option.

Travel disruption due to adverse weather on 31 October resulted in train cancellations, meaning some Ministers had to pursue alternative means of transport.

Any unavoidable carbon emissions from COP26 will be offset, including those associated with travel.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent discussions he has had with Maroš Šefčovič on the Northern Ireland protocol.

As of 1 March this year, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster no longer leads on the Northern Ireland Protocol. Lord Frost is the Minister responsible for oversight of the implementation of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement and Withdrawal Agreement, including the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Lord Frost last met EU Commission VP Maroš Šefčovič in London, on Friday 12 November, as part of the ongoing discussions on the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment she has made of the strength of EU-UK relations.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement allowed the beginning of a new relationship between a sovereign UK and our European partners and friends. We will continue to be natural partners with the EU on many of the world’s more pressing issues such as our shared commitment to democracy and human rights, building back better from COVID-19, cooperation on climate change and biodiversity, global health, and economic resilience. But there remain significant issues in the relationship, including the Northern Ireland Protocol, which we need to put onto a durable footing.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment he has made of the progress in implementing the commitments set out in the Joint Report agreed between the EU and the UK in December 2017.

The Government’s July Command Paper set out the Joint Report’s influence on the negotiation framework of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, specifically its flawed contribution to the ‘Northern Ireland Backstop’, an agreement which Parliament subsequently refused to approve.

The foundation of our approach is the protection of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement and the need for a new balance in the arrangements covering the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol to ensure they are sustainable and have support from all communities. We continue to engage in regular technical talks with the EU about implementation of this Protocol, as well as all other aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent steps has he taken to promote algorithmic accountability in the public sector.

Building on the existing work on algorithmic and data ethics, the Government is developing appropriate and effective mechanisms to deliver more transparency on the use of algorithmic assisted decision making within the public sector.

To further support responsible data and AI innovation in the public sector, we have launched a new Data Ethicist role for the Digital, Data and Technology Capability Framework.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many staff employed in Number 10 are from a black or minority ethnic background.

The Cabinet Office has a headcount of 8,889 as of 31 July 2021 (Data Source: SOP platform) of which 4,972 staff have declared their ethnic background. There are 984 ethnic minority members of staff in management grades that have declared their ethnicity; this is 19.8% of all staff that have declared their ethnic background. This is higher than the Civil Service average of 14.3% (Source: Annual Civil Service Employment Survey) and the Economic Active Population for ethnic minority people which is 13.6% (Source: ONS August 2021) The absolute number of ethnic minority staff in management positions is likely to be higher given the number of staff who have not made a declaration. The Cabinet Office has plans to increase the declaration rate in the department with a campaign during National Inclusion week in September.

Number 10 is an integral part of the Cabinet Office and is included in this figure.

Management grades are identified as grades Executive Officer (EO) and above.


For more wider information the government publishes statistics on Civil Service demographics annually on March 31st via the Office for National Statistics. This can be found on the Gov.uk website at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/civil-service-statistics-2021

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many Black and ethnic minority staff hold management positions in his Department.

The Cabinet Office has a headcount of 8,889 as of 31 July 2021 (Data Source: SOP platform) of which 4,972 staff have declared their ethnic background. There are 984 ethnic minority members of staff in management grades that have declared their ethnicity; this is 19.8% of all staff that have declared their ethnic background. This is higher than the Civil Service average of 14.3% (Source: Annual Civil Service Employment Survey) and the Economic Active Population for ethnic minority people which is 13.6% (Source: ONS August 2021) The absolute number of ethnic minority staff in management positions is likely to be higher given the number of staff who have not made a declaration. The Cabinet Office has plans to increase the declaration rate in the department with a campaign during National Inclusion week in September.

Number 10 is an integral part of the Cabinet Office and is included in this figure.

Management grades are identified as grades Executive Officer (EO) and above.


For more wider information the government publishes statistics on Civil Service demographics annually on March 31st via the Office for National Statistics. This can be found on the Gov.uk website at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/civil-service-statistics-2021

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister of the Cabinet Office, what his planned timetable is for the conclusion of Sir Stephen Lovegrove's review into the sale of Newport Wafer Fab.

The Government does not comment on national security matters.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what his policy is on his Department's rates of recycling of plastic, paper, metal and other products; and if he will make a statement.

We continually review the waste generated on our estate and work with our commercial colleagues on circular economy principles to reduce the amount of waste that arrives on our sites. Where we can’t avoid this we work with our suppliers to move any waste we generate up the waste hierarchy.

Further information on Greening Government Commitments can be found at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/883779/ggc-annual-report-2018-2019.pdf

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what his policy is on rates of recycling of plastic, paper, metal and other products in 10 Downing Street; and if he will make a statement.

We continually review the waste generated on our estate and work with our commercial colleagues on circular economy principles to reduce the amount of waste that arrives on our sites. Where we can’t avoid this we work with our suppliers to move any waste we generate up the waste hierarchy.

Further information on Greening Government Commitments can be found at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/883779/ggc-annual-report-2018-2019.pdf

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of Number 10 Downing Street's energy usage in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021.

The cost to the public purse of Cabinet Office's energy usage in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021 is shown below:

2019/20

2020/21

2021/22*

£820,820

£837,439

£837,616

* Estimated.


This information mainly covers the buildings that are part of the Affiliates Cluster and where the Cabinet Office is the major occupier -

Dover House

Admiralty House

70 Whitehall

10 Downing Street

35 Great Smith Street

Information for buildings where the Cabinet Office is a minor occupier is not held centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of his Department's energy usage in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021.

The cost to the public purse of Cabinet Office's energy usage in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021 is shown below:

2019/20

2020/21

2021/22*

£820,820

£837,439

£837,616

* Estimated.


This information mainly covers the buildings that are part of the Affiliates Cluster and where the Cabinet Office is the major occupier -

Dover House

Admiralty House

70 Whitehall

10 Downing Street

35 Great Smith Street

Information for buildings where the Cabinet Office is a minor occupier is not held centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether any Government Ministers have discussed Government contracts on their private email addresses.

I refer the hon. Member to my response on 28 June 2021.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much was spent from the public purse on settling 75 per cent of the costs of Good Law Project vs Cabinet Office, case CO2437/2020.

Final costs will be determined in due course.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, which African Governments will be represented at the upcoming G7 summit.

The Prime Minister has invited his South African counterpart President Cyril Ramaphosa to attend the G7 Leaders’ Summit in Cornwall as a guest.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of trading arrangements between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answers given in Oral Questions for the Cabinet Office on 11 February. Guidance and published information are available on gov.uk. (https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-02-11/debates/6E3520D6-EB1E-4576-9D40-954A467494C9/TradeUKAndEU)

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the trading arrangements between the UK and the EU.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answers given in Oral Questions for the Cabinet Office on 11 February. Guidance and published information are available on gov.uk. (https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-02-11/debates/6E3520D6-EB1E-4576-9D40-954A467494C9/TradeUKAndEU)

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent steps he has taken to simplify trading arrangements between the UK and the EU.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answers given in Oral Questions for the Cabinet Office on 11 February. Guidance and published information are available on gov.uk. (https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-02-11/debates/6E3520D6-EB1E-4576-9D40-954A467494C9/TradeUKAndEU)

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of UK businesses opening new firms in the EU single market on levels of employment in the UK.

I refer the Hon Member to the response I gave to PQ132802 on 30 December 2020.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has to increase funding for unconscious bias training.

There is no central budget for unconscious bias training specifically. Instead, departments are able to access a blend of free at point of access online learning, and learning purchased through current contracts. The information requested on spend is therefore not held centrally.


Further to the statement on 15 December, standalone Unconscious Bias training has been removed from Civil Service learning platforms.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much the Government has spent on unconscious bias training in each of the last 10 years.

There is no central budget for unconscious bias training specifically. Instead, departments are able to access a blend of free at point of access online learning, and learning purchased through current contracts. The information requested on spend is therefore not held centrally.


Further to the statement on 15 December, standalone Unconscious Bias training has been removed from Civil Service learning platforms.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate his Department has made of the number of women who have left the workforce as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to improve electoral registration levels among young voters.

Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) have statutory responsibility for maintaining complete and accurate registers for their areas. The Government is committed to encouraging democratic engagement amongst all electors, including young people and BAME individuals.

Since 2013/14, the Government has provided more than £27m to fund activities to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely.

The Government is working with the electoral sector, including the Scottish and Welsh Governments, and Public Health England, to identify and resolve challenges involved in delivering the May 2021 elections, including ensuring polling stations are safe and COVID-secure places to vote.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the May 2021 elections can be carried out safely in the event that the covid-19 outbreak is ongoing.

Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) have statutory responsibility for maintaining complete and accurate registers for their areas. The Government is committed to encouraging democratic engagement amongst all electors, including young people and BAME individuals.

Since 2013/14, the Government has provided more than £27m to fund activities to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely.

The Government is working with the electoral sector, including the Scottish and Welsh Governments, and Public Health England, to identify and resolve challenges involved in delivering the May 2021 elections, including ensuring polling stations are safe and COVID-secure places to vote.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to improve voting levels among Black, Asian and minority ethnic voters.

Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) have statutory responsibility for maintaining complete and accurate registers for their areas. The Government is committed to encouraging democratic engagement amongst all electors, including young people and BAME individuals.

Since 2013/14, the Government has provided more than £27m to fund activities to promote electoral registration and democratic engagement more widely.

The Government is working with the electoral sector, including the Scottish and Welsh Governments, and Public Health England, to identify and resolve challenges involved in delivering the May 2021 elections, including ensuring polling stations are safe and COVID-secure places to vote.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he has taken to ensure that civil servants in public-facing roles are able to work safely during the covid-19 outbreak.

Government advice remains that people should work from home where possible.

For civil servants whose roles require them to be in the workplace, advice has also been provided to support them in line with the government guidance on safer working during Covid-19. In addition, a Workplace Incident Framework, developed with trade unions, sets out the activity that must take place when an individual develops Covid-19.

Departments are working closely with individuals to ensure their personal circumstances are fully factored into decisions about their working arrangements. This includes supporting ethnic minority individuals based on their particular circumstances and ensuring they have the right to challenge a proposed return to the workplace if they have concerns, to have those concerns properly considered and addressed and to not return where they feel this has not been done.

Measures to reduce the risk of contracting and spreading Covid-19 for temporary agency workers have been put in place, including a payment scheme to support the pay of temporary agency workers who cannot work for reasons associated with Covid-19 (up to the value of 80% of their salary to a cap of £2,500 per month) and the use of virtual pre-employment screening checks and interviews.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the risk to BAME (a) civil servants and (b) contracted workers working in Government Departments of (i) contracting and (ii) spreading covid-19.

Government advice remains that people should work from home where possible.

For civil servants whose roles require them to be in the workplace, advice has also been provided to support them in line with the government guidance on safer working during Covid-19. In addition, a Workplace Incident Framework, developed with trade unions, sets out the activity that must take place when an individual develops Covid-19.

Departments are working closely with individuals to ensure their personal circumstances are fully factored into decisions about their working arrangements. This includes supporting ethnic minority individuals based on their particular circumstances and ensuring they have the right to challenge a proposed return to the workplace if they have concerns, to have those concerns properly considered and addressed and to not return where they feel this has not been done.

Measures to reduce the risk of contracting and spreading Covid-19 for temporary agency workers have been put in place, including a payment scheme to support the pay of temporary agency workers who cannot work for reasons associated with Covid-19 (up to the value of 80% of their salary to a cap of £2,500 per month) and the use of virtual pre-employment screening checks and interviews.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent progress the Government has made on negotiating the UK's future relationship with the EU.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 39669 on 4 May 2020.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
1st May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the level of life expectancy.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending the length of the transition period following the outbreak of covid-19 in Europe.

The transition period ends on 31 December 2020. This is enshrined in UK law. Our preparations for the end of the transition period continue as normal and remain a priority.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the impact of rising global gas prices on achieving the Government's net zero targets; and what steps he plans to take to mitigate that impact.

The UK's exposure to volatile gas prices reinforces the importance of the government’s plans for a strong renewable energy sector to strengthen the UK’s future energy security and resilience.

The Government will shortly set out an energy supply strategy which will drive forward renewable energy and nuclear capacity to bolster domestic supply and help drive down energy costs.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking with Cabinet colleagues to mitigate the impact of rising fuel costs on motorists in Newport West constituency.

The Government is conscious of the impact of fuel prices on households across the country and has therefore decided to keep fuel duty frozen for the twelfth consecutive year.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government has taken to assess the adequacy of the level of remuneration that musicians in Newport West constituency receive from music streaming services.

A comprehensive programme of research and extensive stakeholder engagement is underway to investigate the issues around music creator remuneration highlighted by the Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Select Committee’s inquiry into the economics of music streaming. This work will strengthen the Government’s evidence base on this issue.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has any plans to extend the Warm Home Discount scheme.

The Warm Home Discount is a key policy in the Government’s strategy to tackle fuel poverty and reduce the energy costs of low-income and vulnerable households. The Government has therefore committed to extend the scheme until 2026, as outlined in the Energy White Paper.

The Government consulted on expanding and reforming the Warm Home Discount from 2022. Under the plans, the total spending will increase from around £350 million to £475 million per year, and the value of the rebates will increase to £150. As a result of the additional funding, 780,000 more low-income and vulnerable households will receive rebates on their energy bills every winter, with the majority receiving the money automatically and without having to apply.

The Government’s response to the consultation is due to be published this spring, with the expanded and reformed scheme coming into force from the 2022/23 scheme year.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much of Innovate UK’s increased budget will be made available to support the maritime sector.

Following the Spending Review, BEIS will set R&D budgets through to 2024/25. Further details of how this funding will be allocated will be announced in due course.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the impact of the Welsh-based financial services company Admiral closing its Newport office on the economy of Newport West constituency.

It is disappointing that in streamlining its office presence in South Wales Admiral has announced it will begin a phased exit of its Newport City Centre offices in 2022. However, it is positive that the leader of Newport City Council has committed to working closely with Admiral and its landlord to ensure the building’s future use is fully explored and secured.

The UK Government is playing its part in supporting Newport’s post-pandemic economy and is investing over £2m through the Community Renewal Fund to level up the city. This includes a project to develop entrepreneurs in the Pillgwenlly area of Newport. Developing entrepreneurs and start-up businesses will be key to the future of Newport’s economy and its newly developed workspaces.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what forecast he has made of trends in the cost of gas and electricity in the UK up to the end of 2022.

The Government is monitoring the significant increases in wholesale energy prices closely, and meeting regularly with Ofgem, suppliers and consumer groups to understand the future impact on consumers as well as to discuss potential mitigations.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the proposed increase in the rate of National Insurance on levels of fuel poverty in Newport West constituency.

Fuel poverty is a devolved matter. The Department only has responsibility for England. Therefore, no estimate has been made by the Department on the impact of proposed changes to National Insurance on levels of fuel poverty in Newport West constituency, Wales.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what forecast he has made of trends in the cost of fuel in the UK up to the end of 2022.

Retail prices of petroleum products such as petrol and diesel are primarily driven by the underlying price in the global market of crude oil (priced in US$) and exchange rates. Recognising that fuel is a major cost for households and businesses, the Government has kept fuel duty frozen for 12 successive years.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the efficacy of the smart meter programme in reducing fuel poverty.

Households are achieving sustained savings using their smart meters and In-Home Displays. These provide accurate, near real-time information about energy consumption in pounds and pence so consumers can easily understand how to use less and save money on their bills. Evidence collected throughout the rollout to date shows that these savings are being realised, with prepayment customers seeing an estimated reduction in electricity consumption of 3% and gas consumption of 0.5%. The Government continues to actively monitor the impact of smart metering on consumers, including on those in vulnerable circumstances, through large-scale consumer research.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has had any discussions with the Welsh Government on tackling the ethnicity pay gap.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy talks regularly with the Welsh Government on a wide range of labour market issues.

The recent Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report contained specific recommendations on pay gap reporting. We are considering our response to the Commission’s report and will discuss this with the Welsh Government in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the impact of rising energy costs on the weekly budgets of people in Newport West constituency.

The Government is committed to protecting energy customers, especially the most vulnerable. The Energy Price Cap will continue to protect consumers, ensuring they pay a fair price for their energy this winter. Low income and fuel poor households will continue to be supported with their energy bills through the Warm Home Discount, which provides eligible households with a £140 discount. Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments will ensure that the most vulnerable are better able to heat their homes through the winter. The Government also announced an additional £500 million for local authorities through the new Household Support Fund to support vulnerable households meet daily needs such as utility bills.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he has taken to mitigate the impact of rising energy costs on families in Newport West constituency.

The Government is committed to protecting energy customers, especially the most vulnerable. The Energy Price Cap will continue to protect consumers, ensuring they pay a fair price for their energy this winter. Low income and fuel poor households will continue to be supported with their energy bills through the Warm Home Discount, which provides eligible households with a £140 discount. Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments will ensure that the most vulnerable are better able to heat their homes through the winter. The Government also announced an additional £500 million for local authorities through the new Household Support Fund to support vulnerable households meet daily needs such as utility bills.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has discussed the rise in energy costs with the Welsh Government.

Yes, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State has met with Devolved Administrations, including the Welsh Government at a ministerial level to discuss rising energy prices. Engagement at an official level is ongoing.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 23 November 2021 to Question 75126 on UN Climate Conference 2021: Government, how many Ministers in his Department travelled to COP26 by airplane.

None.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on staff health and wellbeing of policies on holiday similar to that offered by FinnCap.

Almost all workers are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks paid holiday a year and employers should do everything reasonably practicable to ensure that they are able to take as much of their leave as possible in the year to which it relates. Employers can offer more holiday than the statutory minimum, which would be agreed as part of individual contracts.

The Government is also exploring additional ways that employers can offer flexibility to workers to balance work and other responsibilities. We are consulting on a series of measures to change the existing legislative framework so that it is more effective at supporting flexible working.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the deforestation situation in Brazil's Amazon rainforest.

The Government welcome the Brazilian government’s recent commitments made at COP26 to reduce emissions by 50% by 2030, formalising the 2050 net-zero pledge and importantly, to eliminate illegal deforestation by 2028. The Government is also pleased to see Brazil’s commitment, as part of the Glasgow Leaders Declaration at COP26, to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030. Therefore, the Government is developing a strong cross-government integrated plan that builds on the established partnership HMG has developed with federal and subnational governments in Brazil.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to help support energy efficiency measures at homes in Newport West constituency.

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) requires larger suppliers to deliver energy efficiency and heating measures to achieve bill savings for low income and vulnerable household. In summer 2021 the Government consulted on a successor ECO which will run until 2026, with the value boosted from £640 million to £1 billion a year.

In addition, as outlined in the Government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy, the Boiler Upgrade Scheme will launch in England and Wales from Spring 2022, and will provide capital grants to support the installation of low carbon heat technologies. Grants of £5,000 will be offered for air source heat pumps and biomass boilers, and £6,000 for ground source heat pumps. Homeowners, small businesses, and private landlords will be eligible for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what proportion of the £10 million of annual funding provided to NC3Rs has been spent on (a) replacing the use of animals, (b) refining the use of animals and (c) reducing the number of animals used.

The National Centre for the 3Rs (NC3Rs) works nationally and internationally to drive the uptake of replacement, reduction and refinement of animal use technologies and ensure that advances in them are reflected in policy, practice and regulations on animal research.

As funding is committed to projects that may involve more than one of the 3Rs, it is not possible to provide exact proportions. However, a searchable database with details of every NC3R funded project is available at NC3Rs .

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how he travelled to COP26 in Glasgow.

The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Kwasi Kwarteng, travelled by train to COP26.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support his Department is providing to help the steel industry to decarbonise.

In collaboration with the UK Steel Council, we are considering the implications of the recommendation of the Climate Change Committee to ‘set targets for ore-based steelmaking to reach near-zero emissions by 2035’ and the business environment necessary to support the transition..

The Net Zero Strategy sets out how we intend to meet our Carbon Budget 6 ambition of reducing industrial emissions by 63-76% by 2035, compared to the 2019 level. Hydrogen-based steelmaking, Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage, and electrification are some of the technological approaches being examined as part of this process.

We will continue to work with the steel industry regarding its decarbonisation.

Lee Rowley
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with manufacturers in Newport West constituency on the rise in energy prices.

Ministers and officials continue to engage constructively with businesses to understand, and to help mitigate the impacts of, high global gas prices. The Government’s priority is to ensure costs are managed and energy supplies maintained.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of effect of recent increases in petrol prices on people in Newport West constituency.

The Government is aware that the increase in petrol price may be difficult for families. Therefore, for the twelfth year in a row, at the Budget, fuel duty was frozen. This has saved the average driver in the Newport West constituency a cumulative £1,900 compared to the pre-2010 escalator.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to introduce a Home shipbuilding credit guarantee scheme to support the development of UK shipbuilding.

The Department has consulted upon the reintroduction of a Home Shipbuilding Credit Guarantee Scheme as a potential contribution to a refreshed National Shipbuilding Strategy. The case for the scheme is under consideration at the current time and a final decision will be announced in due course.

The Government already offers a range of financial support instruments to businesses through the British Business Bank and through UK Export Finance.

Lee Rowley
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support he is providing to increase the UK’s green shipbuilding capabilities.

The Department is supporting the Government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, as well as a range of research and innovation programmes to develop technologies that will have spill-over benefits in various markets, including the shipbuilding sector.

The Department is also supporting several green shipping projects, including hydrogen ferry trials in Orkney and a hydrogen refuelling port on Teesside. Innovate UK is also facilitating the delivery of the Department for Transport’s £20 million Clean Maritime Demonstration Programme to bring forward green propulsion solutions for the maritime sector.

In addition, the Department is working closely with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to ensure that UK shipyards are aware of the organisation’s funded programmes and facilities, so that they have the opportunity to access these.

Lee Rowley
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to strengthen rights to flexible working for workers in Newport West constituency.

The UK has one of the best employment rights records in the world and we have made good progress in bringing forward measures that add flexibility for workers while ensuring the protection of employment rights, such as banning the use of exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts.

The Government continues to work closely with businesses, trade unions and other groups to develop options for supporting the flexibility of the labour market.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he has taken to review the terms and conditions of employment in sectors of the economy experiencing labour shortages.

In general, terms and conditions of employment, except where they are subject to statutory minimum standards such as the national minimum wage, are a contractual matter for negotiation and agreement between employers and employees (or their representatives).

The Government is keen to see employers make long term investments in the UK domestic workforce instead of relying on labour from abroad, and businesses should be looking at how to make employment more attractive, including through wage increases and offering training.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to extend employment rights to all workers in Newport West constituency.

The UK has one of the best employment rights records in the world and we have made good progress in bringing forward measures that add flexibility for workers while ensuring the protection of employment rights, such as banning the use of exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts.

An individual’s employment rights, are determined by their employment status (employee, limb (b) worker or self-employed). Employees are entitled to all rights including rights to flexible working (subject to qualifying periods) and have responsibilities towards their employer. So-called “limb (b) workers” are only entitled to some rights such as the National Minimum Wage but have increased flexibility and fewer obligations to their employer. The self-employed generally have no employment rights but have complete flexibility in their work. We believe our three-tiered employment status structure provides the right balance for the UK Labour Market.

We understand the importance of clarity around employment status and to ensure that individuals and businesses are aware of their rights and responsibilities. The Government will continue to work closely with businesses, trade unions and other groups to ensure that any options to clarify employment status are effective, preserving the flexibility of the labour market while making it easier to understand for individuals.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support manufacturing in (a) Wales and (b) the UK.

The Government is committed to supporting UK manufacturing businesses and recognises the vital role they play in the UK economy, by driving innovation, exports, job creation and productivity growth. We hold regular discussions with industry stakeholders to better understand the issues affecting supply chains, and recognise the significant pressures being felt by industry as a result of supply chain disruption, as well as the impact this is placing on businesses. Successful resolution of these issues will be a joint effort between industry and Government, and we will continue to engage with other departments to find practical solutions to these challenges, which are not unique to the UK.

In order to support UK manufacturing, we are investing £147 million through a Manufacturing Made Smarter Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund programme and have invested £730 million in the seven High Value Manufacturing Catapult centres, supporting manufacturers in bringing new technologies to market.

Furthermore, we have introduced a Super Deduction that will cut manufacturers’ tax bill by 25p for every pound they invest in new equipment, which means they can reduce their taxable profits by 130% of the cost. In addition, the Government has a target for total R&D investment to reach 2.4% of GDP by 2027 and in our recent Innovation Strategy we have committed to increase our annual public investment in R&D to a record £22billion.

The Government has provided over £3.4 billion in direct support to businesses in Wales throughout the pandemic. This is on top of our support for the manufacturing sector through our £4.8m commitment to the development of Holyhead Hydrogen Hub, £30m for the Global Centre of Rail Excellence and £30m for Celsa Steel.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help tackle supply chain issues affecting businesses in (a) Newport West constituency, (b) Wales and (c) the UK.

The Government is committed to supporting UK manufacturing businesses and recognises the vital role they play in the UK economy, by driving innovation, exports, job creation and productivity growth. We hold regular discussions with industry stakeholders to better understand the issues affecting supply chains, and recognise the significant pressures being felt by industry as a result of supply chain disruption, as well as the impact this is placing on businesses. Successful resolution of these issues will be a joint effort between industry and Government, and we will continue to engage with other departments to find practical solutions to these challenges, which are not unique to the UK.

In order to support UK manufacturing, we are investing £147 million through a Manufacturing Made Smarter Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund programme and have invested £730 million in the seven High Value Manufacturing Catapult centres, supporting manufacturers in bringing new technologies to market.

Furthermore, we have introduced a Super Deduction that will cut manufacturers’ tax bill by 25p for every pound they invest in new equipment, which means they can reduce their taxable profits by 130% of the cost. In addition, the Government has a target for total R&D investment to reach 2.4% of GDP by 2027 and in our recent Innovation Strategy we have committed to increase our annual public investment in R&D to a record £22billion.

The Government has provided over £3.4 billion in direct support to businesses in Wales throughout the pandemic. This is on top of our support for the manufacturing sector through our £4.8m commitment to the development of Holyhead Hydrogen Hub, £30m for the Global Centre of Rail Excellence and £30m for Celsa Steel.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with businesses and trade unions on supply chain issues in (a) Newport West constituency and (b) Wales.

The Government is committed to supporting UK manufacturing businesses and recognises the vital role they play in the UK economy, by driving innovation, exports, job creation and productivity growth. We hold regular discussions with industry stakeholders to better understand the issues affecting supply chains, and recognise the significant pressures being felt by industry as a result of supply chain disruption, as well as the impact this is placing on businesses. Successful resolution of these issues will be a joint effort between industry and Government, and we will continue to engage with other departments to find practical solutions to these challenges, which are not unique to the UK.

In order to support UK manufacturing, we are investing £147 million through a Manufacturing Made Smarter Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund programme and have invested £730 million in the seven High Value Manufacturing Catapult centres, supporting manufacturers in bringing new technologies to market.

Furthermore, we have introduced a Super Deduction that will cut manufacturers’ tax bill by 25p for every pound they invest in new equipment, which means they can reduce their taxable profits by 130% of the cost. In addition, the Government has a target for total R&D investment to reach 2.4% of GDP by 2027 and in our recent Innovation Strategy we have committed to increase our annual public investment in R&D to a record £22billion.

The Government has provided over £3.4 billion in direct support to businesses in Wales throughout the pandemic. This is on top of our support for the manufacturing sector through our £4.8m commitment to the development of Holyhead Hydrogen Hub, £30m for the Global Centre of Rail Excellence and £30m for Celsa Steel.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support the generation of green hydrogen.

This August, the UK published the first ever UK Hydrogen Strategy, alongside key policy detail on how the Government will support new low carbon hydrogen production and ensure standards are in place to deliver the carbon emissions savings, government need to meet net zero. This is the most substantive hydrogen strategy and policy package of its kind in the world and one that places the UK firmly at the forefront of the race to develop hydrogen as a promising replacement for fossil fuels in the global transition to net zero.

The UK Hydrogen Strategy sets out the Government’s ‘twin-track’ approach to supporting both electrolytic ‘green’ and carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS)-enabled ‘blue’ hydrogen production. The UK has expertise and assets to support these and other low carbon production routes, helping us drive cost effective supply volumes in the 2020s in line with our 2030 5GW ambition, whilst scaling up electrolytic hydrogen.

The Government are currently consulting on new policy interventions to support low carbon hydrogen, including the £240m Net Zero Hydrogen Fund, a hydrogen business model to incentivise the production and use of low carbon hydrogen, and a UK standard to ensure hydrogen production the government support is sufficiently low carbon.

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 he has made of the future of exploration of oil and gas in the North Sea.

As we move towards net-zero, oil and gas will play a smaller role, but still important in meeting UK energy demand. All scenarios proposed by the Climate Change Committee setting out how we could meet our 2050 net zero emissions target include demand for oil and natural gas.

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 plans he has to promote a green recovery from the covid-19 pandemic in Newport West constituency.

The Government is determined to seize the once-in-a-generation economic opportunities of the net zero transition by creating new business opportunities and, by one estimate, supporting up to 2 million green jobs by 2030 across all regions of the UK. The UK has a strong base to build upon, in 2019 there were already over 410,000 jobs in low carbon businesses and their supply chains across the country.

The Ten Point Plan is part of my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s mission to level up across the country, mobilising £12 billion of Government investment to create and support a further 90,000 green collar jobs across the UK by 2024, and up to 250,000 by 2030.

Many of the initiatives and funding announced within the Ten Point Plan will apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. For example, the Government will invest up to £1 billion to support the establishment of Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage in at least four industrial clusters, creating ‘SuperPlaces’ in areas such as central and north-eastern Scotland, south Wales, the Humber, Teesside and Merseyside.

Ahead of COP26, the Government will bring forward further bold proposals, including a Net Zero Strategy, to cut emissions and create new jobs and industries across the whole country, going further and faster towards building a stronger, more resilient future and protecting our planet for this generation and those to come.

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 steps he is taking to prioritise science and research in the levelling up agenda in (a) Newport West constituency, (b) Wales and (c) the UK.

We recognise the need to take a comprehensive place-based approach to economic growth, that responds to the varying needs of places. We will publish a detailed approach for levelling up through R&D as part of the forthcoming Levelling Up White Paper.

Ahead of then, UKRI’s Strength in Places Fund (SIPF) is the first major national competitive R&D fund that takes a place-based approach contributing to the Government’s wider levelling up ambitions. In June 2020, BEIS announced an award of £25m to the CS Connected project in the first wave of SIPF, to develop South Wales’ compound semiconductor cluster. Project partners are from across the region including Newport. This summer, BEIS announced a £22m award to the media.cymru project to develop Cardiff’s media cluster.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he last met Ministers in the Welsh Government.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy last met the Minister for the Economy in the Welsh Government on 14th July 2021.

I have also met the Welsh Minister for the Economy to discuss policies on innovation and space, most recently on 22nd June and 30th June.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he last spoke to the Minister for the Economy in the Welsh Government.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy last met the Minister for the Economy in the Welsh Government on 14th July 2021.

BEIS Ministers meet Ministers from the Devolved Administrations regularly through the Net Zero and Business and Industry Inter-ministerial Groups. These last met on 30th June and 28th July respectively.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of the closure of the Honda plant in Swindon on levels of employment in that area.

Following Honda’s announcement in February 2019 that it would close its Swindon plant in 2021, the company has worked closely with Government, Local Authorities and other stakeholders to support affected employees. The Government-led Honda Taskforce was instrumental in securing a new future for the Swindon site and attracting investment into Swindon, including over £44 million to regenerate the town centre. The sale of the site to Panattoni that Honda announced on 26 March represents £400million of private investment for the region and will create around 2,000 new jobs.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he last met with representatives of the Wales Trades Union Congress.

The UK Government is committed to building back better from the pandemic as one United Kingdom. Ministers and officials from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy engage regularly with the trade unions on a variety of issues.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of Tesco and Sainsbury's continuing to ask shoppers to wear masks in their stores in England after 19 July 2021; and if he will make a statement.

On Monday 5 July, my Rt hon Friend the Prime Minister set out the Covid-19 Response: Summer 2021 plan for living with Covid from 19 July. Lifting restrictions does not mean the risks from Covid-19 have disappeared. However, at this new phase of the pandemic response, we are moving to an approach that enables personal risk-based judgments. The Working Safely guidance is clear that wearing a face covering can still help to reduce risk of transmission of the virus. Therefore, we recommend people to continue to wear face coverings once the legal restrictions are lifted, particularly in crowded and enclosed places, when they are likely to come into contact with people they do not normally meet.

Businesses are free to determine their own face coverings policy based on a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks of Covid-19 in the workplace and identify control measures to manage that risk. Businesses must take equalities law into account when determining their entry policies. Employees and customers who wish to wear a face covering should be supported to do so.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what representations (a) he and (b) other member of the Government have received from Chinese Government on the purchase of Newport Wafer Fab.

Ministers engage regularly with their colleagues on a range of issues, such as the takeover of Newport Wafer Fab. The Government does not comment on the content of these conversations.

The Government does not comment on the detail of commercial transactions or of national security assessments.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has carried out an impact assessment of the takeover of Newport Wafer Fab; and if he will make a statement.

Ministers engage regularly with their colleagues on a range of issues, such as the takeover of Newport Wafer Fab. The Government does not comment on the content of these conversations.

The Government does not comment on the detail of commercial transactions or of national security assessments.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he last discussed the takeover of Newport Wafer Fab with the leadership of Newport City Council.

Ministers engage regularly with their colleagues on a range of issues, such as the takeover of Newport Wafer Fab. The Government does not comment on the content of these conversations.

The Government does not comment on the detail of commercial transactions or of national security assessments.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he last discussed the takeover of Newport Wafer Fab with Cabinet colleagues.

Ministers engage regularly with their colleagues on a range of issues, such as the takeover of Newport Wafer Fab. The Government does not comment on the content of these conversations.

The Government does not comment on the detail of commercial transactions or of national security assessments.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he last discussed the takeover of Newport Wafer Fab with the Welsh Government.

Ministers engage regularly with their colleagues on a range of issues, such as the takeover of Newport Wafer Fab. The Government does not comment on the content of these conversations.

The Government does not comment on the detail of commercial transactions or of national security assessments.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has had discussions with the Northern Ireland Executive on the potential merits of setting a target for marine energy ahead of COP26.

The Department regularly meets with the Northern Ireland Executive to discuss a range of issues.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has had discussions with the Scottish Government on the potential merits of setting a target for marine energy ahead of COP26.

The Department regularly meets with the Scottish Government to discuss a range of issues.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has had discussions with the Welsh Government on the potential merits of setting a target for marine energy ahead of COP26.

The Department regularly meets with the Welsh Government to discuss a range of issues.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his policy is on his Department's rates of recycling of plastic, paper, metal and other products; and if he will make a statement.

BEIS is committed to reducing our waste and increasing recycling, and has a zero waste to landfill policy. Between 2009/10 and 2019/20 we reduced waste by 30% and increased recycling by 44% at the Department’s headquarters building at 1 Victoria Street, London. Our departmental target is to reduce our overall waste by a further 25% and increase recycling to 70% of total waste by 2024/25.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of his Department's energy usage in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021.

The table below shows the cost of energy usage at the Department’s headquarters building at 1 Victoria Street, London.

2019

2020

2021a

Gas

£89,678b

£104,480

£84,688

Electricity

£808,418

£623,631

£220,292

The increase in the cost of gas in 2020 reflects a requirement to increase the flow of fresh air into the building as part of our COVID measures.

The increase in fresh air circulation lowered temperatures in the building, which had to be balanced by increased heating.

a 2021 includes energy costs from January to May inclusive

b 2019 gas cost includes an estimate for February

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps he has taken to phase out unabated natural gas from the power sector.

As we transition to net zero emissions by 2050, our record levels of investment in renewables will meet a large part of the energy demand. Unabated natural gas will continue to provide a reliable and flexible source of energy, ensuring security of supply whilst we develop and deploy low carbon alternatives that can replicate its role in the electricity system.

In order to meet our ambitious decarbonisation targets for the electricity system, we are taking steps to bring forward alternative low carbon technologies which will help us to reduce the reliance on unabated gas-powered electricity generation steadily. For example, in the Energy White Paper (published last year), government announced that it will support the deployment of at least one power plant with carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) to be operational by 2030, and that it will also consult in 2021 on its Carbon Capture and Readiness requirements to ensure that new thermal plants can convert to low-carbon alternatives. Government is developing business models to incentivise the deployment of CCUS in the UK.

Additionally, we are exploring policy frameworks to support the deployment of low carbon hydrogen, as well flexibility tools such as demand reduction, demand side response, and storage, which likewise have the potential to reduce reliance on unabated natural gas in the power sector.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Wales on the potential merits of a new industrial strategy.

We are keen to ensure we build back better in a way that supports the whole economy and delivers for all parts of the UK. Our Plan for Growth sets out the opportunities we will seize across the UK to drive economic growth, create jobs and support British industry as we level-up and build back better out of this pandemic – succeeding the Industrial Strategy published over four years ago.

We want to understand the ideas and priorities of the Devolved Administrations in relation to driving long-term growth and recovery. The Plan for Growth will support our efforts to unite and level up the country: tackling geographic disparities; supporting struggling towns to regenerate; ensuring every region and nation of the UK has at least one globally competitive city; and strengthening the Union.

Over the next 12 months BEIS will follow up the plan for growth with an Innovation Strategy, as well as strategies for net zero, hydrogen and space. We will also develop a vision for high-growth sectors and technologies, putting the UK at the forefront of opportunities and giving businesses the confidence to invest, boost productivity across the UK and enable our transition to net zero.

We are working across government and with our Innovation Expert Group to develop the Innovation Strategy. It will outline our ambitions in innovation and where we want to focus our efforts over the next decade; and the importance of research and innovation to levelling up and the Government’s commitment to ensuring that R&D benefits the economy and society in nations, regions and local areas across the UK. Following the publication of the Strategy, the government will continue engaging in detail with businesses of all types to build our ambitious innovation agenda.

We are working to strengthen the Union to ensure that the institutions and the power of the United Kingdom are used in a way that benefits people in every part of our country. Levelling up represents an important part of the government’s ambitions for R&D and innovation, building on the approach set out in the R&D Roadmap.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps he has taken to support the steel industry in Wales.

The Government is committed to a UK steel industry and a decarbonised future, supporting local economic growth and our levelling-up agenda. That is why the Government has provided over £500 million to the sector in recent years to help with the costs of electricity as well as announced a £250m Clean Steel Fund to support the sector’s transition to lower carbon iron and steel production. Moreover, our unprecedented package of COVID-19 support remains available to protect jobs and ensure that the industry has the right support during this challenging time.

The Government fully recognises the importance of steelmaking in Wales. In July 2020, the Government provided Celsa with a commercial loan, which secured over 1000 jobs, including more than 800 positions at the company’s main sites in South Wales. We also continue to work closely with Tata as it shapes its business strategy to support the future of high-quality steelmaking in Port Talbot.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he last discussed the climate emergency with Ministers in the Welsh Government.

The UK Government and the devolved administrations have established an Inter-ministerial Group that covers Net Zero, Energy and Climate Change. This meets at least bi-monthly and brings together Ministers from the four administrations to discuss emission reduction efforts across the UK. The most recent meeting of the Group was in April.

This intergovernmental engagement on net zero will continue to facilitate collaboration and coordination across devolved and reserved competence, ensuring we are delivering effectively for all parts of the UK.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he last discussed the climate emergency with Ministers in the Scottish Government.

The UK Government and the devolved administrations have established an Inter-ministerial Group that covers Net Zero, Energy and Climate Change. This meets at least bi-monthly and brings together Ministers from the four administrations to discuss emission reduction efforts across the UK. The most recent meeting of the Group was in April.

This intergovernmental engagement on net zero will continue to facilitate collaboration and coordination across devolved and reserved competence, ensuring we are delivering effectively for all parts of the UK.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he last discussed the climate emergency with Ministers in the Northern Ireland Executive.

The UK Government and the devolved administrations have established an Inter-ministerial Group that covers Net Zero, Energy and Climate Change. This meets at least bi-monthly and brings together Ministers from the four administrations to discuss emission reduction efforts across the UK. The most recent meeting of the Group in April.

This intergovernmental engagement on net zero will continue to facilitate collaboration and coordination across devolved and reserved competence, ensuring we are delivering effectively for all parts of the UK.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps he has taken to achieve the net zero emissions target.

The UK has achieved record clean growth - between 1990 and 2019, our economy grew by 78% while our emissions decreased by 44%, this is the fastest rate in the G7. We have built on this, setting out concrete steps to reach net zero by 2050, for instance through my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan which brought together £12 billion of government investment, our Energy White Paper and Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy.

The Government has also laid legislation for the UK’s sixth carbon budget, proposing a target which would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels, marking a decisive step towards net zero by 2050.

Ahead of COP26, we will bring forward further bold proposals, including a Net Zero Strategy, to cut emissions and create new jobs and industries across the whole country – going further and faster towards building a stronger, more resilient future and protecting our planet for this generation and those to come.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will ringfence levies paid by the steel sector into the EU Research Fund for Coal and Steel and returned from the EU to the public purse for the establishment of a steel innovation fund.

At last year’s Spending Review, we set out plans for Government spending for 2021/22, to prioritise the Government’s response to Covid-19, and our focus on supporting jobs.

The Government recognises the importance of research and innovation in helping to transform the steel sector so that it can play a vital role in developing the UK’s economy. Our on-going support to the sector includes announcing £22m to the Materials Processing Institute in Teesside to deliver a R&D programme of transformative manufacturing, announcing a £250m Clean Steel Fund that to support the transition of the steel sector to new low carbon technologies, providing up to £66m through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to help steel and other foundation industries develop radical new technologies and establish innovation centres of excellence in these sectors, and the £315m  Industrial Energy Transformation Fund which supports the development and deployment of technologies to transition to a low carbon future.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the need to support UK manufacturing capacity for vehicle batteries to avoid future tariffs on electric vehicles under the rules of the UK-EU free trade agreement.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement provides for zero tariff zero quota trade, with modern rules of origin for the automotive sector that reflect UK manufacturing and are designed to support the industry through its transition to electrification. The phased approach to rules of origin for batteries gives industry time to localise supply chains for electrified vehicles.

The Government has prioritised securing investment in battery cell gigafactories, which is key for anchoring the mass manufacture of electric vehicles, safeguarding and creating high quality jobs across the UK, and driving emissions to net zero by 2050.

As part of my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan for a green industrial revolution, nearly £500m of funding for the Automotive Transformation Fund will be made available in the next four years to build an internationally competitive electric vehicle supply chain. This is a UK-wide programme, and we are welcoming applications for support from businesses and investors across the country.

We continue to work closely with investors to progress plans for manufacturing the batteries that we will need for the next generation of electric vehicles here in the UK.

The Government is also investing £318m, through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund in the Faraday Battery Challenge, to put the UK at the global forefront of the design, development, manufacturing, and recycling of electric batteries.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps he has taken to meet the Government's net zero carbon emissions target by 2050.

The UK has decarbonised its economy at the fastest rate amongst G20 countries since 2000. My Rt hon Friend the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a green industrial revolution will build on this success and accelerate our path to net zero. Spanning clean energy, buildings, transport, nature and innovative technologies, the Plan will mobilise £12 billion of government investment to unlock three times as much private sector investment by 2030, level up regions across the UK, and support up to 250,000 highly-skilled green jobs.

Ahead of COP26, we will set out ambitious plans across key sectors of the economy to meet our carbon budgets and net zero. We have recently published the Energy White Paper and the first phase of our Transport Decarbonisation Plan, and will publish the Heat and Building Strategy in due course. We will also publish a comprehensive Net Zero Strategy setting out the government’s vision for transitioning to a net zero economy.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to support businesses that have become heavily indebted during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has provided an unprecedented business support package totalling over £280 billion. This includes billions in loans, grants, and business rates relief. As of 21 February 2021, businesses across the UK have benefitted from over 1.5 million Government-guaranteed loans worth over £72 billion to support their cashflow through the pandemic.

We recognise that some borrowers will benefit from repayment flexibility, that is why we announced the Pay As You Grow measures, which give Bounce Back Loan borrowers more time and greater flexibility to repay their loans.

We have also enabled lenders to extend the repayment period for Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) facilities beyond 6 years (up to a maximum of 10 years), where this is needed in connection with the provision of forbearance. CBILS term extensions are offered at the discretion of lenders. This measure is designed to help businesses that would struggle to repay their CBILS facility on their existing terms, by reducing monthly repayments.

Grant funding has also been made available via Local Authorities to help businesses forced to close due to national and localised restrictions, and for businesses severely impacted by restrictions even if not required to close. This includes the Closed Businesses Lockdown Payment (CBLP), the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG), and the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) schemes.

Businesses can also access tailored advice through the Business Support Helpline, online via the Business Support website or through local Growth Hubs in England.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on UK Government support for businesses that have become heavily indebted during the covid-19 outbreak.

The UK Government is committed to supporting people, businesses and individuals across the devolved administrations. This includes a total of £19 billion in funding for the devolved administrations since the start of the pandemic, meaning at least £5.9 billion for the Welsh Government. Following discussions with the devolved administrations, additional funding totalling £729m has been provided to allow each of the devolved administrations to provide further support to businesses on a discretionary basis.

The devolved administrations have also benefitted from UK-wide support programmes, including through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and business lending schemes.

As of 21 February 2021, the Government’s UK-wide lending schemes have approved over 1.5 million Government-guaranteed loans worth over £72 billion to support cashflow for businesses across the UK affected by COVID-19.

We recognise that some borrowers will benefit from repayment flexibility, and that is why we announced the Pay As You Grow measures, which give Bounce Back Loan borrowers more time and greater flexibility to repay their loans.

We have also enabled lenders to extend the repayment period for Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) facilities beyond 6 years (up to a maximum of 10 years) where this is needed in connection with the provision of forbearance. CBILS term extensions are offered at the discretion of lenders. This measure is designed to help businesses that would struggle to repay their CBILS facility on their existing terms, by reducing monthly repayments.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the resources available to vaccine manufacturers seeking to keep up with emerging variants of covid-19.

The Government is undertaking laboratory work as a priority to better understand the impact of the new Covid-19 variants on the vaccines currently in deployment, in particular the risk of vaccine resistance. We maintain close contact with vaccine developers to understand their efficacy studies of their vaccines on variants and the impact on current supply chain arrangements for their manufacture.

We continue to take a portfolio-based approach that monitors the landscape of Covid-19 vaccine development and we remain confident that the three vaccines (Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford University/AstraZeneca, and Moderna) that we have purchased, which have been authorised by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, will continue to be effective against the virus.

The Government has also established a new partnership with the vaccine manufacturer, CureVac, to rapidly develop new vaccines in response to new Covid-19 variants, should this be needed. The new agreement will utilise UK expertise on genomics and virus sequencing to allow new varieties of vaccines based on messenger RNA technology to be developed quickly against new strains of Covid-19 if they are needed. An initial order has been made for 50 million doses.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, when he last spoke to An Taoiseach; and if he will make a statement.

This information is available on the gov.uk website.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what discussions she has had with the devolved Administrations on the effectiveness of unconscious bias training.

The Government recognises that it is important to tackle bias in workplaces and in wider society. The Government Equalities Office commissioned a review of the evidence on unconscious bias and diversity training. The review showed that there is currently no evidence that this training changes behaviour in the long term or improves workplace equality. In 2018 GEO published evidence-based advice for employers on actions they could take to reduce bias within their organisations. The issue has not recently been discussed with the Devolved Administrations.

An internal review decided in January 2020 that unconscious bias training would be phased out in Civil Service departments. The Civil Service will instead integrate principles for inclusion and diversity into mainstream core training and leadership modules in a manner which facilitates positive behaviour change.

The government is making progress in understanding what works to support diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The Commission for Race and Ethnic Disparities demonstrates this government’s commitment to level up opportunity for everyone, to better understand disparities and their causes, and will be making evidence-based recommendations to address them. Employment and Enterprise is one of the four priority areas for the Commission. Further, our recent work with the large insurer, Zurich, demonstrated a 16% rise in female applicants for all jobs when advertising all jobs available as flexible. This is one of many trials in our Gender and Behavioural Insights Programme that is at the heart of our commitment to build workplace equality through insights and evidence.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the effect of the collapse of the Arcadia Group on employees of that company in Newport West constituency.

We understand this will be deeply worrying news for Arcadia’s employees and their families in the Newport West constituency, and the Government stands ready to support them. BEIS officials met with their counterparts from the Welsh Government on 4th December when the situation at Arcadia was discussed. I want to pay particular tribute to the hard-working staff across the country who have kept these well recognised brands going in difficult times for so long.

Whilst no redundancies were announced as a result of the appointment of administrators and stores will continue to trade, we stand ready to support anyone affected by redundancies. If people need financial support quickly, they may be able to claim Universal Credit, New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance or New Style Employment and Support Allowance. We are also doubling the number of frontline Work Coaches across our network of jobcentres to ensure people have access to bespoke support and have launched the £2bn Kickstart scheme to create opportunities for young people.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether her Department plans to issue guidance to employers on the rights of disabled workers during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has published extensive guidance on employment and safer working throughout the Covid-19 outbreak. This can be found on GOV.UK and through the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Further guidance on employment rights and aspects of good practice has been published by other bodies such as ACAS and the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). Government has also produced guidance around some new situations which have arisen from the Covid-19 outbreak, for example for those identified as clinically extremely vulnerable and on self-isolation. This suite of guidance covers the employment rights of disabled people alongside other groups in the workforce.

The Government continues to support disabled employees to access assistive technology and other forms of support they need to remain in work, including during the Covid-19 outbreak. Through the Disability Confident scheme, we are engaging employers and providing them with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to attract, recruit, retain and develop disabled people in the workplace.? Our new Employer Help site provides advice on recruitment and employment of disabled people, explaining how Disability Confident and Access to Work can help businesses to ensure their practices are fair and inclusive.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will meet with (a) disabled people and (b) representatives of disability organisations to co-produce information for employers on the rights of disabled employees during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has published extensive guidance on employment and safer working throughout the Covid-19 outbreak. This can be found on GOV.UK and through the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Further guidance on employment rights and aspects of good practice has been published by other bodies such as ACAS and the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). Government has also produced guidance around some new situations which have arisen from the Covid-19 outbreak, for example for those identified as clinically extremely vulnerable and on self-isolation. This suite of guidance covers the employment rights of disabled people alongside other groups in the workforce.

The Government continues to support disabled employees to access assistive technology and other forms of support they need to remain in work, including during the Covid-19 outbreak. Through the Disability Confident scheme, we are engaging employers and providing them with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to attract, recruit, retain and develop disabled people in the workplace.? Our new Employer Help site provides advice on recruitment and employment of disabled people, explaining how Disability Confident and Access to Work can help businesses to ensure their practices are fair and inclusive.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps he has taken to support UK-based manufacturing of (a) renewable and (b) low carbon technologies.

As set out in my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, the government will unlock private sector investment to accelerate the deployment of existing technology, such as retrofitting the UK’s building stock and electrification of vehicles, while advancing newer technologies such as carbon capture and low-carbon hydrogen.

Key measures include making significant investment in offshore wind and modern ports and manufacturing infrastructure to expand the share of generation from renewables; providing up to £525 million to bring forward both large-scale nuclear and invest in the development of advanced nuclear technologies; £1 billion to support the establishment of carbon capture and storage in four industrial clusters; and investing £1.3 billion in charging infrastructure to accelerate the mass adoption of electric vehicles ahead of ending the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps he has taken to support the automotive sector.

The Government is determined to ensure that the UK continues to be one of the most competitive locations in the world for the automotive sector.

We have provided comprehensive support during the pandemic, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the trade credit insurance guarantee, and tax deferrals. In total, we have provided almost £2.5 billion in COVID Corporate Financing Facility support to the automotive sector.

The Government has invested around £1.5 billon to support the research, development, and manufacture of zero and low-emission vehicles to date. This investment has created thousands of jobs in the sector and its supply chain, saved millions of tonnes of CO2, and has helped the UK to lead the charge towards a low carbon automotive future.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister recently announced in his 10 Point Plan nearly £500 million through the Automotive Transformation Fund over the next four years in order to develop and embed the next generation of cutting-edge automotive technologies in the UK.

We are also investing around £2.5 billion? to support the roll-out of ultra-low and zero emission vehicles through grants for plug-in cars, vans, HGVs, taxis, and motorcycles. In addition, we are investing in schemes to support the delivery of chargepoint infrastructure to homes, workplaces, on residential streets, and across the wider roads network.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the level of compliance of businesses with payment of the National Living Wage.

The Government is committed to cracking down on employers who fail to pay the minimum wage. We are clear that anyone entitled to be paid the minimum wage should receive it.

We set out our assessment of non-compliance with the National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW) in BEIS’ NMW Enforcement and Compliance Report. In 2019, approximately 1.5% of all UK employee jobs were paid below the relevant minimum wage rate. Updated estimates for 2020 will be provided in our next iteration of the report, which will be published in due course.

The Government remains committed to enforcing the minimum wage. We have more than doubled the budget for the minimum wage enforcement and compliance (rising to £27.5 million for 2020/21, up from £13.2 million in 2015/16), and continue to demonstrate good progress in enforcing workers’ entitlement to the minimum wage.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with business representative organisations on the effect on businesses of the covid-19 pandemic.

Ministerial colleagues and I have engaged closely with business representative organisations throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and we continue to do so.

Ministers hold regular sector calls with all the industries that BEIS covers, including but not limited to manufacturing, energy, construction, life sciences, professional services, retail and hospitality. Attendees include business representative organisations, trade associations and trade unions. We use these on-going engagements to collect direct intelligence on the impact of Covid-19 on industries and sectors that informs the response from BEIS and other Government departments and ensures the effectiveness of the Government’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress has been made on preparations for COP26 in November 2021.

Planning for COP26 is ongoing and we are continuing to work closely with the venues and our delivery partners to ensure that we deliver the facilities and logistics needed for the event, in line with the requirements outlined by the UNFCCC.


Alongside summit preparations, the COP26 President, ministers and senior officials have been engaging with a wide range of UK and international partners.


The UK, UN and France will co-host a Climate Ambition Summit alongside our partners Italy and Chile, on 12th December 2020 on the fifth anniversary of the landmark Paris Agreement. This will be an opportunity for countries to announce ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and net zero, finance and adaptation commitments.


The recent net zero commitments from China, Japan and South Korea have provided welcome momentum, and we hope that the Ambition Summit provides impetus for further commitments by the end of the year.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans the Government has to help ensure that investment in economic recovery supports meeting the target of net zero emissions by 2050.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister has made clear our intention to build back greener. We are taking action in every sector of the economy: we announced over £3 billion for decarbonising the UK’s buildings and delivering green jobs; £1 billion for charging infrastructure and extending Plug in-Grants to 2023 for ultra-low emission vehicles; £800 million to capture carbon from power stations and industry; £640 million Nature for Climate Fund; and £100 million R&D into Direct Air Capture.

In March, we published the first phase of our transport decarbonisation plan and will be setting our further plans on energy, heat and buildings and the natural environment later this year and early next year, in the run up to COP26.

We will continue to build on these steps and deliver a stronger, greener, more sustainable economy after this pandemic.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that funding allocated to the economic recovery supports meeting the target of net zero emissions by 2050.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister has made clear our intention to build back greener. We are taking action in every sector of the economy: we announced over £3 billion for decarbonising the UK’s buildings and delivering green jobs; £1 billion for charging infrastructure and extending Plug in-Grants to 2023 for ultra-low emission vehicles; £800 million to capture carbon from power stations and industry; £640 million Nature for Climate Fund; and £100 million R&D into Direct Air Capture.

In March, we published the first phase of our transport decarbonisation plan and will be setting our further plans on energy, heat and buildings and the natural environment later this year and early next year, in the run up to COP26.

We will continue to build on these steps and deliver a stronger, greener, more sustainable economy after this pandemic.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support research on the long-term health consequences of covid-19.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) have announced an £8.4 million project that will investigate the physical and mental health impacts of hospitalised patients. The Post-HOSPitalisation COVID-19 (PHOSP-COVID) study, led by Professor Chris Brightling from the University of Leicester, aims to recruit 10,000 patients from across the UK. This will make it one of the world’s largest studies into the long-term health consequences of COVID-19. Results from the study will inform the development of new and better measures to treat and rehabilitate patients hospitalised with COVID-19.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans the Government has for the UK’s future association with the Horizon Europe programme.

It is our ambition to fully associate to Horizon Europe if we can agree a fair and balanced deal, but we will make a final decision once it is clear whether such terms can be reached. The Horizon Europe Programme is currently being negotiated in the EU institutions and has not yet been finalised. The Programme must be adopted by the EU before arrangements for potential UK participation could be finalised.

In tandem with our negotiations, as a responsible government, we are also developing alternative schemes to support international research and innovation collaboration.

If we do not formally associate to Horizon Europe, we will implement ambitious alternatives as quickly as possible from January 2021 and address the funding gap. This includes making funding available to allow UK partners to participate in European schemes open to third countries.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions his Department has had with representatives of Post Office Ltd on the operation of post offices as covid-19 lockdown measures are eased.

BEIS Ministers and Officials have regular discussions with Post Office Ltd to discuss a range of issues, including the impact of Covid-19 on the operation of the Post Office.

The Government announcement on 23 March made it clear that the Government views the services provided by the Post Office as essential and, subject to social distancing guidelines, post offices have been allowed to remain open throughout lockdown. However, for those post offices co-located in a non-essential retailer which therefore had to close for a period, the easing of lockdown measures mean that they can re-start trading. Postmasters, as self-employed businesspeople, will need to consider how best to maintain social distancing at their workplace in line with the latest Government guidance which can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/shops-and-branches.

This may include restricting the number of customers in a shop at any one time and making this clear to customers and other visitors. Post Office workers who cannot work from home should go to work as soon as it is practical if their workplace is open and follows the safer working guidelines.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department plans to take to support people on zero hour contracts in (a) Newport West, (b) Wales and (c) the UK as a result of the outbreak of covid-19.

The Chancellor has outlined an unprecedented package of measures to protect millions of people’s jobs and incomes as part of the national effort in response to coronavirus.

If infected, many people who are on Zero-Hour Contracts will be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay. Those who are not eligible to receive sick pay are able to claim Universal Credit (UC) and/or new style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), where they qualify.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is being set up to help pay people’s wages. Employers will be able to contact HMRC for a grant to cover 80% of the wages, up to a monthly cap of £2,500, for their workforce who remain on payroll but are temporarily not working during the coronavirus outbreak. This scheme aims to support all those employed through the PAYE system regardless of their employment contract, including those on zero-hour contracts.

Businesses and Employees can get advice on individual employment issues by visiting the Acas website.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the risk of damage to historic wooden churches near conflict zones in Ukraine, including those moved to the National Museum of Folk Architecture and Life of Ukraine in Pyrohiv on the southern outskirts of Kyiv.

The UK is working with UNESCO, Blue Shield International, the British Council, and other partners to monitor whether Russia is meeting its obligations under the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. This requires Russia to avoid damaging significant heritage sites, monuments, or other cultural property in Ukraine, including historic wooden churches.

Through the Cultural Protection Fund – a partnership between DCMS and the British Council – Her Majesty’s Government is also directly supporting the Cultural Emergency Response for Ukraine, an international effort co-ordinated by the Prince Claus Fund working directly with affected cultural heritage organisations and individuals on the ground in Ukraine to monitor the risks, document damage, and share information on threats to Ukrainian cultural heritage.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions she has had with the Welsh government on proposals to privatise Channel 4.

The Government consulted extensively on a change of ownership of Channel 4, and the views and evidence gathered from a wide range of stakeholders – including from stakeholders in Wales – has informed the government’s assessment and wider policy-making.

Following this consultation, the Secretary of State has come to a decision that, although Channel 4 as a business is currently performing well, public ownership is holding it back in the face of a rapidly-changing and competitive media landscape. The Secretary of State has consulted with Cabinet colleagues on that decision.

The Government will set out its plan for Channel 4 in a White Paper shortly. The Government will also publish a rationale for its decision regarding Channel 4’s ownership model.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the rollout of the mobile phone Shared Rural Network will be fully delivered by 2025.

The Shared Rural Network (SRN) is on track and both the government and the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) remain confident that their combined coverage is expected to be delivered to 95% of the UK by the end of 2025.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on tackling online scams and fraud in Newport West constituency.

Ministers have regular meetings and discussions with their ministerial colleagues on a range of issues, including tackling online scams and fraud. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the GOV.UK website.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she discussed her proposals to freeze the BBC licence fee until April 2024 with the Welsh Government.

In the course of setting the licence fee for the next six years, discussions were held with a number of stakeholders.

Broadcasting remains a reserved matter, and the UK Government has a strong record of demonstrating its commitment to minority language broadcasting to ensure that our broadcasting sector services all audiences of the UK nations and regions.

The licence fee offers a strong settlement for S4C, providing £88.8 million per annum for the first two years, then rising in line with inflation thereafter. This includes a new commitment of £7.5 million per annum to support S4C’s digital development, ensuring S4C’s offering remains sustainable in the digital age. As the only Welsh language broadcaster, S4C is vital to the people of Wales, and this settlement will enable S4C to continue to support the Welsh economy, culture and society, reach more Welsh language speakers including younger audiences, and the UK Government’s commitment to support the ambition of 1 million Welsh speakers by 2050.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans she has to mitigate the financial impact of the reintroduction of roaming charges for UK travellers in the EU.

As per Ofcom regulations, providers must make sure their contract terms are fair and transparent. They must also tell customers about changes to their contracts. Where those changes will particularly disadvantage customers, providers must give them at least a month’s notice and the right to exit their contracts without being penalised. Further requirements to prevent roaming bill-shock include providers publishing roaming charges on their website and sending alerts with pricing information when customers start roaming. They must also apply a default £45-a-month (exc VAT) cut-off limit on data roaming unless customers choose to extend this. Our advice is that consumers check with their operators before travelling abroad.

I welcome the recent decision by VirginMedia and O2 to keep roaming free, meaning UK citizens can still use their mobile data, calls and texts across Europe with no extra charges.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions she has had with representatives of Virgin Mobile on their proposal to not reintroduce roaming charges for UK residents travelling in the EU.

Ministers and officials have regular discussions with senior representatives of mobile operators on a range of issues, including on the issue of mobile roaming, and the government will continue to promote a competitive marketplace that serves the interests of consumers.

I welcome the recent decision by VirginMedia and O2 to keep roaming free, meaning UK citizens can still use their mobile data, calls and texts across Europe with no extra charges.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions she has had with representatives of O2 on their proposal to not reintroduce roaming charges for UK residents travelling in the EU.

Ministers and officials have regular discussions with senior representatives of mobile operators on a range of issues, including on the issue of mobile roaming, and the government will continue to promote a competitive marketplace that serves the interests of consumers.

I welcome the recent decision by VirginMedia and O2 to keep roaming free, meaning UK citizens can still use their mobile data, calls and texts across Europe with no extra charges.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has made representations to the Vice President of the European Commission for Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight, Maroš Šefčovič, on the reintroduction of roaming charges for UK travellers in the EU.

Ministers and officials have regular discussions with our European partners. Mobile roaming is a commercial decision for mobile operators as to whether they impose a surcharge on their consumers travelling abroad to the EU for their mobile phone usage.

I welcome the recent decision by VirginMedia and O2 to keep roaming free, meaning UK citizens can still use their mobile data, calls and texts across Europe with no extra charges.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Government plans to bid to host the 2028 UEFA European Football Championships.

A partnership of the football associations and the Governments of the UK and Ireland have been undertaking feasibility activity to determine the viability of a bid to host the FIFA World Cup 2030, which is the government’s focus. This feasibility assessment includes a number of key work streams to identify the winnability, likely costs, and the benefits of hosting the tournament. To ensure we can make an informed decision we will contrast these findings against other potential hosting opportunities.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the impact of the delayed reintroduction of roaming charges in Europe on people travelling to European countries from Newport West constituency.

Since the end of the Transition Period on 31 December 2020, the UK has no longer been part of the EU Roaming Regulation known as ‘Roam Like at Home’. This means it is a commercial decision for mobile operators as to whether they impose a surcharge on their consumers travelling abroad to the EU for their mobile phone usage.

As per Ofcom regulations, providers must make sure their contract terms are fair and transparent. They must also tell customers about changes to their contracts. Where those changes will particularly disadvantage customers, providers must give them at least a month’s notice and the right to exit their contracts without being penalised. Further requirements to prevent roaming bill-shock include providers publishing roaming charges on their website and sending alerts with pricing information when customers start roaming. They must also apply a default £45-a-month (exc VAT) cut-off limit on data roaming unless customers choose to extend this. Our advice is that consumers check with their operators before travelling abroad.

I welcome the recent decision by VirginMedia and O2 to keep roaming free, meaning UK citizens can still use their mobile data, calls and texts across Europe with no extra charges.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the impact of the delayed reintroduction of roaming charges in Europe on mobile phone users in Newport West constituency.

Since the end of the Transition Period on 31 December 2020, the UK has no longer been part of the EU Roaming Regulation known as ‘Roam Like at Home’. This means it is a commercial decision for mobile operators as to whether they impose a surcharge on their consumers travelling abroad to the EU for their mobile phone usage.

As per Ofcom regulations, providers must make sure their contract terms are fair and transparent. They must also tell customers about changes to their contracts. Where those changes will particularly disadvantage customers, providers must give them at least a month’s notice and the right to exit their contracts without being penalised. Further requirements to prevent roaming bill-shock include providers publishing roaming charges on their website and sending alerts with pricing information when customers start roaming. They must also apply a default £45-a-month (exc VAT) cut-off limit on data roaming unless customers choose to extend this. Our advice is that consumers check with their operators before travelling abroad.

I welcome the recent decision by VirginMedia and O2 to keep roaming free, meaning UK citizens can still use their mobile data, calls and texts across Europe with no extra charges.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions she has had with the Welsh Government on tackling racism within sport.

Racism has no place in sport, or in wider society. The Government is committed to ensuring sport does all it can to tackle racism and all forms of discrimination both domestically and internationally.

Grassroots sport is devolved, however I meet with my counterparts in the devolved authorities, including the Welsh Minister for Sport, at least twice a year to discuss shared areas of interest in sport.

Our respective sports councils are also collaborating on work to tackle racism in sport. In June 2021, Sport England, UK Sport and the other home nations’ sports councils published the results of a detailed, independent review into tackling racism and racial inequality in sport. The review agreed on some initial overarching commitments that all five organisations will work on together, relating to people; representation; investment, systems and insights. In December 2021, the five Sports Councils released a joint update outlining the current actions being taken to address the commitments.

There is still more to do, and we will continue to work with the sports councils to combat racism.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on securing British musicians the right to work visa free in other European nations.

This government is working hard to help touring musicians work in Europe. That is why we have spoken to every EU Member State about the importance of touring. From these discussions, 21 out of 27 Member States have now confirmed they offer visa and work permit free routes for musicians and creative professionals. This includes Spain, which introduced a new visa exemption after extensive lobbying from the sector and this government, which included engagement involving the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), the Department for International Trade (DIT), and the Cabinet Office.

The Government, led by DCMS and involving a number of departments, is working extremely hard with the remaining 6 EU Member States that have not confirmed that they allow any visa or permit free touring, to encourage them to make touring easier. We want all our European colleagues to be able to enjoy the economic and cultural benefits that UK touring artists bring, as we do from EU creative performers who can tour here easily.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many European nations have signed agreements to allow British musicians to tour, work and operate visa free.

This government is working hard to help touring musicians work in Europe. That is why we have spoken to every EU Member State about the importance of touring. From these discussions, 21 out of 27 Member States have now confirmed they offer visa and work permit free routes for musicians and creative professionals. This includes Spain, which introduced a new visa exemption after extensive lobbying from the sector and this government, which included engagement involving the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), the Department for International Trade (DIT), and the Cabinet Office.

The Government, led by DCMS and involving a number of departments, is working extremely hard with the remaining 6 EU Member States that have not confirmed that they allow any visa or permit free touring, to encourage them to make touring easier. We want all our European colleagues to be able to enjoy the economic and cultural benefits that UK touring artists bring, as we do from EU creative performers who can tour here easily.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when she last met the General Secretary of the Musician’s Union.

I regularly meet with a wide range of representatives of the music industry, including the Musicians' Union. I met the General Secretary of the Musicians’ Union earlier this month.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the support required by the arts sector following the rise in the number of positive omicron covid-19 cases.

DCMS is committed to supporting arts and culture across the country. This commitment is evident in the Government’s recent Spending Round, where it was announced that Arts Council England will be receiving over £375 million of government funding in 2021/22.

In November 2021 we also announced that 925 arts, heritage and cultural organisations would benefit from the third round of the Culture Recovery Fund (CRF). In total, over £1.5 billion has now been allocated from the CRF which has helped to save around 5,000 individual organisations and sites, including funding allocated to the DCMS sponsored national cultural institutions. This constitutes the largest ever public investment in the arts in UK history.

The third round of CRF is still open for applications, providing vital ongoing support for the cultural, heritage and creative sectors. £30 million from the Culture Recovery Fund is being made newly available for organisations as part of the Chancellor's £1 billion support package, and this funding will be used to double the budget for the Emergency Resource Support strand of CRF which has been extended in order to meet the demand from across the cultural sector.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent progress she has made on supporting touring musicians to continue to work in Europe.

This government is working hard to help touring musicians work in Europe. That is why we have spoken to every EU Member State about the importance of touring. From these discussions, 21 out of 27 Member States have now confirmed they offer visa and work permit free routes for musicians and creative professionals, including Spain which introduced a new visa exemption after extensive lobbying from the sector and this government.

We are working with the remaining 6 Member States that do not allow any visa or permit free touring, to encourage them to make touring easier. We want all our European colleagues to be able to enjoy the economic and cultural benefits that UK touring artists bring, as we do from EU creative performers who can tour here easily.

We have also helped to provide clarity on many other issues, and arrangements in some areas are much more workable than previously reported. For example, accompanied portable musical instruments may not require a carnet, and ‘splitter vans’ are not subject to EU cabotage rules. We recognise challenges remain around touring, and we are continuing to work closely with the industry to help musicians and performers resume touring with confidence.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions she has had with the Welsh Government on her plans to publish a white paper on the Gambling Review.

DCMS officials have met Welsh Government officials to discuss the Gambling Act Review and ministers have exchanged letters. Submissions to our call for evidence which were particularly pertinent to Wales have been shared on request, with the permission of the respondent. The Government plans to publish a white paper setting out next steps in the coming months and will continue to engage with the Welsh Government.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent steps she has taken to help protect children in Newport West constituency from online harms.

Protecting children online is a priority for the government. In May 2021, we published the draft Online Safety Bill, which places duties on platforms to protect their users from harmful content and activity. The strongest protections in the legislation are for children. Services which are likely to be accessed by children will have to protect children from inappropriate and harmful content like pornography, and behaviour such as bullying. The regulator, Ofcom, will be able to take enforcement action against companies that fail to comply.

Ahead of online safety legislation, the UK’s regulatory regime for video sharing platforms requires UK-established platforms to take appropriate measures to protect children from harmful material. In addition, the Information Commissioner’s Age Appropriate Design Code, which came into force in September 2021, provides stronger protections for children’s personal data.

The government also recognises that it is important that children and parents are supported to stay safe online. In July 2021, we published the Online Media Literacy Strategy. This supports the empowerment of users, including young people, with the skills and knowledge they need to make safe and informed decisions online, whilst making the most of all the internet has to offer. In June 2021, we also published Safety by Design guidance and a “One Stop Shop” on child online safety. These provide voluntary guidance on steps that platforms can take to design safer services and protect children.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of Ofcom’s proposed enforcement powers in the Online Safety Bill.

Ofcom will enforce the new online safety regime with tough powers to take action against companies breaching their duties, including substantial fines, requiring companies to take action and even blocking services in the most serious cases.

The Bill will also provide for Ofcom to pursue criminal action where a senior manager fails to ensure that their company complies with its information requirements.

We are confident these robust enforcement powers will push strong compliance, hold the tech sector to account and incentivise companies to go further in protecting people online.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she plans to include provisions in the Online Safety Bill to extend to (a) WhatsApp and (b) one-to-one voice messages shared on social media platforms.

The Online Safety Bill will apply to companies that allow users to post content online or to interact with each other, as well as search services. The new laws will apply to online instant messaging services, including WhatsApp and one-to-one voice messages on social media platforms.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what level of funding her Department plans to allocate to Ofcom to support the duties proposed for that organisation in the Online Safety Bill.

Through Spending Review 2021, over £110m has been allocated to the implementation of the online safety regime over the next three financial years (2022/23 - 2024/25). This will enable my Department to deliver the Online Safety Bill and will enable an independent regulator (Ofcom) to be established for the new regulatory framework which the Bill will put in place. It will also deliver a package of innovative online safety implementation measures which are required to implement the legislation and create the conditions for the legislation to be effective.

This outcome will ensure that Ofcom has the resources it needs to establish its online safety functions for the successful implementation of the online safety legislation.

Once the online safety regime is operational, Ofcom will be industry funded and therefore cost neutral to the government. Ofcom will be given powers to charge an annual fee to providers of a regulated service whose qualifying worldwide revenue meets a financial threshold. The fees charged to providers whose revenue is at or above the threshold will be differentiated and will be levied proportionately in order to recoup Ofcom’s annual operating costs.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has discussed the recommendations contained in the Report of the Independent Fan Led Review of Football Governance with the Welsh Government.

My officials are in regular contact with their counterparts in the Welsh Government.

The Government welcomes the work of the Fan Led Review and will now consider its detailed recommendations ahead of providing a full Government response in Spring 2022. This will include discussion with the Devolved Administrations.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 23 November 2021 to Question 75126 on UN Climate Conference 2021: Government, how many Ministers in her Department travelled to COP26 by airplane.

No DCMS Ministers travelled to COP26 by aeroplane.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the allegations of racism affecting Yorkshire County Cricket club on Black and minority ethnic people.

There is no place for racism in sport or anywhere in society. I am extremely concerned by the recent reports of racism at Yorkshire County Cricket Club and welcome the steps taken by the ECB to launch an investigation into the matter. This must be transparent and swift, for the benefit of cricket. The ECB must carry out their investigation unhindered, but the Government will be monitoring the situation at Yorkshire County Cricket Club and the ECB closely, and will take further action if needed.

The government is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion, which is at the heart of our strategy ‘Sporting Future’. In June 2021 Sport England, UK Sport and the other home nations’ sports councils published the results of a detailed, independent review into tackling racism and racial inequality in sport.The findings make clear that racism and racial inequalities still exist within sport in the UK and that there are long standing issues, which have resulted in ethnically diverse communities being consistently disadvantaged. Each council is now working at pace to develop their own specific action plans to further deliver on these commitments and address the recommendations from the review.

In addition, the forthcoming update of UK Sport and Sport England’s Code for Sports Governance will place an increased focus on diversity in decision making and ensuring that sports organisations reflect the community they serve. Sports receiving the most funding will be required to agree a diversity and inclusion action plan with Sport England and UK Sport, which will be published and updated annually.

There is still more to do though, and we will continue to work with all sports to combat racism both in person and online.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what progress has been made on securing the right for musicians to legally work and tour in Europe.

This government has spoken to every EU Member State about the importance of touring. From these discussions, 20 out of 27 Member States have confirmed they offer visa and work permit free routes for musicians and creative professionals.

We are working with the remaining Member States that do not allow any visa or permit free touring, to encourage them to more closely align requirements with the UK’s generous rules, which allow creative professionals to tour easily here. Discussions are ongoing at ministerial and official level across these target countries, and we are working with the sector to amplify each other’s lobbying efforts.

We have also helped to provide clarity on many other issues, including that portable musical instruments do not require a carnet, and that splitter vans are not subject to the market access rules around cross-trade and cabotage.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when she last discussed the impact on consumers of the reintroduction of roaming charges in the EU with Ministers in the Welsh Government.

Having recently been appointed Minister of State for Media, Data and Digital Infrastructure I look forward to meeting with Ministers in the Welsh Government in due course to discuss the impact on consumers of the reintroduction of roaming charges in the EU.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how her Department has marked Black History Month 2021.

DCMS marked Black History Month 2021 by hosting a variety of events for staff with the cross Civil Service Race Forum and key representatives from DCMS' sectors and ALBs which were advertised via the DCMS intranet.

Black History Month was also marked with a range of internal communications articles from the DCMS BAME network.

Online, we shone a spotlight on people in our sectors, including those working in Formula 1, Tech and Civil Society.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with the Information Commissioner's Office on the provision of clear statutory guidance for businesses on algorithmic systems operating in the workplace.

The Secretary of State and the Information Commissioner have regular discussions to help ensure the data protection legal framework is functioning effectively and identify areas of concern.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) publishes a range of information to help organisations comply with their data protection obligations, including guidance for employers at: https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1064/the_employment_practices_code.pdf.

The ICO has also published guidance for organisations on on data protection and artificial intelligence (including algorithms), at: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-data-protection/key-data-protection-themes/guidance-on-artificial-intelligence-and-data-protection/.

Employees who have concerns about the way employers are using their data can contact the ICO’s helpline on 0303 123 1113 or their livechat at https://ico.org.uk/global/contact-us/live-chat/ for further advice, from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the governance of the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation.

The CDEI is an expert government body within the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport. The CDEI is a team of civil servants supported by an expert advisory board which includes globally recognised practitioners from industry, civil society and academia.

The CDEI’s current remit, as announced publicly and in Parliament on 10 September 2021, focuses on enabling trustworthy innovation in data and AI in the real-world by developing, testing and refining approaches to data and AI governance. Given this role, and after conducting a consultation on the CDEI’s future functions and statutory status as part of the National Data Strategy, the CDEI’s current governance framework as a team of civil servants supported by an expert advisory board is effective.

The CDEI is already working on some of the most pressing issues in the field, from helping the Ministry of Defence to develop ethical principles for the use of AI, to partnering with the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles to embed ethical due diligence in the future regulatory framework for self-driving vehicles.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent steps he has taken to support charities in Newport West to help them recover from the covid-19 outbreak.

Government recognises the dedicated charities and volunteers who have played a huge role in the national effort against coronavirus. From supporting the NHS, delivering food, tackling loneliness and social isolation and much more, they have delivered vital work throughout this pandemic.

That is why we provided an unprecedented multi-billion-pound package of support for charities and other civil society organisations and secured an exemption from the Covid-19 restrictions for essential volunteering.

Examples of DCMS funding awarded to registered charities in Newport West include:

  • £1,900 to St David’s Foundation Hospice Care

  • £2,934 to Sparkle (South Wales) Limited

  • £2,000 to Pillgwenlly Millennium Trust Limited

  • £20,000 to Faith Christian Center UK

For more information on grants awarded, please see the COVID-19 Grants Tracker published by 360 Giving.

7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent steps he has taken to support tourism businesses experiencing labour shortages in (a) Newport West and (b) Wales.

The government understands that the tourism sector is currently facing significant skills gaps in some of England's most popular destinations. As stated in the Tourism Recovery Plan, we recognise the importance of building back better post-Covid with a more resilient tourism industry, employing more UK nationals in year-round quality jobs.

There is a significant amount of activity being undertaken by the government on skills which benefits the tourism industry. For example, the National Skills Fund represents a £2.5 billion investment in helping adults to gain the skills they need to improve their job prospects, while the Kickstart Scheme is providing funding to create hundreds of thousands of new job opportunities for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit.

We will continue to work closely with the industry-led Hospitality and Tourism Skills Board on a coordinated approach towards recruitment, retention and upskilling of the workforce.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he has taken to support touring musicians in Newport West to continue to work in Europe.

This government recognises the importance of the UK’s creative and cultural industries, not only to the economy and international reputation of the United Kingdom, but also to the wellbeing and enrichment of its people. We want musicians and performers to be able to tour abroad easily.

In order to support this, our focus is now on bilateral engagement with Member States, who are principally responsible for deciding the rules governing what work UK visitors can undertake in the EU. This is why we have spoken to every Member State. From those extensive discussions,19 out of 27 Member States have confirmed that UK musicians and performers do not require visas or work permits for some short term touring. Travellers should always check what requirements they need to fulfil with the EU Member State they are travelling to, and that is why we are working closely with Member States to ensure their guidance is clear and accessible.

We have also developed sector specific ‘landing pages’ for GOV.UK, aimed at the creative sectors, which will allow cultural and creative professionals to easily locate and access guidance that is relevant to them. From these pages, general business traveller summaries can be accessed, which provide enhanced guidance on EU Member State immigration systems for GOV.UK, and include sector-specific rules that feature on Member State websites.

We are now actively engaging with those remaining EU Member States that do not allow visas or work permit free touring, and calling on them to align their arrangements with the UK’s generous rules, which allow creative professionals to tour here easily. Formal approaches have been made, DCMS ministers will be actively involved, and we are working closely with the sector to amplify each other’s lobbying efforts.

We recognise challenges remain around touring, and we are continuing to work closely with the industry. We want to ensure that as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, touring can resume and our world-leading creative and cultural artists can continue to travel widely, learning their craft, growing their audiences and showing the best of British creativity to the world.

6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he last met Ministers in the Welsh Government.

Having only just been appointed Secretary of State at DCMS I look forward to meeting with Ministers in the Welsh Government in due course, and hope to develop an excellent working relationship with devolved administrations.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effect of Australia and New Zealand withdrawing from the Rugby League World Cup.

The Government was extremely disappointed by the decision to postpone this year’s Rugby League World Cup, but recognises that this was the inevitable result of a number of factors outside of the organisers’ control, including the decision of the Australian and New Zealand teams not to participate. DCMS continues to work closely with the Rugby League World Cup organisers, as they now work towards the rescheduled tournament which will be held between Saturday 15 October – Saturday 19 November 2022.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent estimate he has made of the number of Black and ethnic minority staff employed in his Department.

As of 01/08/2021 367 of 1917 employed Civil Servants in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport identify as black or another ethnic minority (19.1%). The percentage of staff who declare their ethnicity in the organisation is 91.2% so the actual number may be higher.

2nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what his policy is on his Department's rates of recycling of plastic, paper, metal and other products; and if he will make a statement.

We continually review the waste generated on our estate and work with our commercial colleagues on circular economy principles to reduce the amount of waste that arrives on our sites. Where we can’t avoid this we work with our suppliers to move any waste we generate up the waste hierarchy.

Further information on Greening Government Commitments can be found at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/883779/ggc-annual-report-2018-2019.pdf

1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of his Department's energy usage in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021.

The Department’s energy is supplied by HMRC, from whom DCMS leases office space. The department has no buildings of its own.

28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the steps he is taking to protect people from online harms and misinformation in (a) Newport West constituency, (b) Wales and (c) the UK.

The government has now published the draft Online Safety Bill. The new regulatory framework will hold platforms to account for tackling harmful content and behaviours online. Platforms will need to remove and limit the spread of illegal content, and do more to protect children from being exposed to harmful content. The biggest social media companies will need to set out in clear terms and conditions what is acceptable on their services and enforce those terms and conditions consistently and transparently.

The Bill will also require companies to prevent the proliferation of illegal disinformation and misinformation online, and the biggest tech companies will have duties on legal disinformation and misinformation content that may cause significant physical or psychological harm to adults, such as anti-vaccination content and falsehoods about COVID-19.

Internet law and regulation is a reserved policy area, and we intend for this law to apply across the UK. My officials have been working closely with officials in the Devolved Administrations, including in the Welsh Government, throughout the development of our proposals, and will continue to engage throughout the legislative process.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the impact of the re-introduction of roaming charges when travelling to the EU on Newport West constituents.

As the UK is no longer a member of the EU, and therefore no longer part of the Roam Like At Home arrangement, UK mobile operators are able to reintroduce roaming surcharges for travel to the EU.

The Government will consider any announcements made by mobile operators where changes are being made to their current EU roaming charges and will consider all available steps to ensure British consumers are treated fairly when travelling. We advise that consumers check with their operators before travelling.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with Mobile phone operators on the re-introduction of roaming charges for people in (a) Newport West constituency and (b) the UK travelling to the EU.

Ministers have regular discussions with senior representatives of mobile operators on a range of issues, including on the issue of mobile roaming.

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the devolved administrations on the effect on the UK's creative industries of the removal of work-permit free travel for musicians and performers to and from the EU.

This Government recognises the importance of touring for UK musicians, performers, other cultural and creative practitioners, and their support staff.

Leaving the EU has always meant that there would be changes to how touring musicians and performers operate in the EU. UK performers and artists are of course still able to tour and perform in the EU, and vice versa. However, they will be required to check domestic immigration rules for each Member State in which they intend to tour.

We understand the concerns about the new arrangements and we are committed to supporting the sectors as they get to grips with the changes to systems and processes. The DCMS-led Working Group on Creative and Cultural Touring brings together sector representatives, other key government departments, and representatives from each of the devolved administrations. The Group is working together to provide clarity regarding the practical steps that need to be taken by touring professionals when touring the EU, and it will explore how these sectors can be supported to work and tour in the EU with confidence when it is safe to do so.

We know that while leaving the EU will bring changes and new processes to touring and working in the EU, it will also bring new opportunities. In all circumstances, we expect our creative industries to continue to be as highly valued in the European Union as they are across the world.

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the removal of work-permit free travel for musicians and performers to and from the EU on the UK's creative industries.

This Government recognises the importance of touring for UK musicians, performers, other cultural and creative practitioners, and their support staff.

Leaving the EU has always meant that there would be changes to how touring musicians and performers operate in the EU. UK performers and artists are of course still able to tour and perform in the EU, and vice versa. However, they will be required to check domestic immigration rules for each Member State in which they intend to tour.

We understand the concerns about the new arrangements and we are committed to supporting the sectors as they get to grips with the changes to systems and processes. The DCMS-led Working Group on Creative and Cultural Touring brings together sector representatives, other key government departments, and representatives from each of the devolved administrations. The Group is working together to provide clarity regarding the practical steps that need to be taken by touring professionals when touring the EU, and it will explore how these sectors can be supported to work and tour in the EU with confidence when it is safe to do so.

We know that while leaving the EU will bring changes and new processes to touring and working in the EU, it will also bring new opportunities. In all circumstances, we expect our creative industries to continue to be as highly valued in the European Union as they are across the world.

23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) availability and (b) adequacy of funding for the UK Safer Internet Centre.

The UK Safer Internet Centre plays an important role in improving online safety in the UK, particularly for children. Officials engage regularly with the Centre on its funding position following the UK’s exit from the EU.

The Centre has applied for further funding from the European Commission’s Connecting Europe Facility programme for the calendar year of 2021, for which the government provided a letter of support. We understand the Centre has been successful in its bid for funding but we await formal confirmation from the Centre regarding its outcome.

1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of lockdowns on participation in arts and culture.

The DCMS Taking Part Web Panel COVID-19 Report, published in September 2020, asked adults about their participation in arts and creative activities in the home. In May 2020, 49% of respondents reported doing creative activities in the home in the previous four weeks, though this dropped to 42% of respondents by July.

Between May -July watching a pre-recorded music or dance performance online was the most popular activity.Watching a live music/dance performance online decreased in popularity from 15% in May to 10% in July.

Since 5 January, restrictions have been in force to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Professionals may continue to rehearse, train and perform for live streaming, broadcast and recording. Venues must close for any other purpose, no performances with an audience can go ahead either indoor or outdoor. Unfortunately non-professional activity, such as amateur choirs and orchestra, cannot take place at this time.

We are in regular dialogue with the relevant sectors and public health experts to agree a realistic return date for festivals and other large events. However, protecting the public is our first priority. We continue to explore all barriers to reopening, working closely with the industry to understand the challenges they face and support them in developing planning guidance to reopen in a safe way.

1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish correspondence between the (a) Government and the EU and (b) his Department and other Government departments on work-permit free travel for musicians and other performers.

This Government recognises the importance of the UK’s thriving cultural industries, and that is why it pushed for ambitious arrangements to make it easier for performers and artists to perform across Europe as part of the negotiations on our future relationship with the EU.

This Government proposed to the EU that UK cultural professionals, and their technical staff, be added to the list of permitted activities for short-term business visitors in the entry and temporary stay chapter of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. This would have allowed UK cultural professionals and their staff to travel and perform in the EU more easily, without needing work-permits. These proposals were rejected by the EU.

Whilst both sides published their draft proposals for the future relationship, with the UK’s available here, neither side published their draft schedules for the services and investment title – which included the list of permitted activities for short-term business visitors – prior to the agreement’s conclusion. Publishing correspondence and details exchanged between parties related to the development of legal text for trade agreements during the course of the negotiation would not be appropriate, as both parties exchanged this information in confidence.

6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) availability and (b) adequacy of funding for the UK Safer Internet Centre after the transition period.

The UK Safer Internet Centre plays an important role in improving online safety in the UK, particularly for children. We are very supportive of the work of the Centre and they are a valued member of the UK Council for Internet Safety, which provides guidance to the government on child safety online.

The Centre has applied for further funding from the European Commission’s Connecting Europe Facility programme for the calendar year of 2021 and we await formal confirmation from the Centre regarding its outcome.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to replace IPSO with an independent regulator not funded by member publications.

The Government is committed to the self-regulation of the press, independent of government. This is vital to protecting a free press, crucial to a strong and fully functioning democracy where the powerful can be held to account without fear.

There now exists two press regulators, IPSO and IMPRESS. Both regulators are independent of government and we do not intervene in the work of either regulator.

24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent steps he has taken to tackle (a) misinformation and (b) disinformation on covid-19.

The Government takes the issue of misinformation and disinformation very seriously. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it continues to be vitally important that the public has accurate information about the virus, and DCMS is leading work across Government to tackle misinformation and disinformation.

That is why we stood up the Counter Disinformation Unit up on 5 March to bring together cross-Government monitoring and analysis capabilities. The Unit’s primary function is to provide a comprehensive picture of the extent, scope and impact of misinformation and disinformation regarding COVID-19 and to work with partners to ensure appropriate action is taken.

Throughout the pandemic, we have been working closely with social media platforms to quickly identify and help them respond to potentially harmful content on their platforms, including removing harmful content in line with their terms and conditions, and promoting authoritative sources of information.

DCMS Secretary of State and DHSC Secretary of State hosted a joint roundtable in November to ask social media platforms to reduce the spread of harmful and misleading narratives, particularly around the potential COVID-19 vaccine. Social media platforms agreed to continue to work with public health bodies to ensure that authoritative messages about vaccine safety reach as many people as possible; to commit to swifter responses to flagged content and to commit to the principle that no user or company should directly profit from COVID-19 vaccine misinformation or disinformation.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what additional resources the Government plans to allocate to the BBC to help the free TV licence for people aged over 75 in (a) Newport West constituency, (b) Wales and (c) the UK.

The government is deeply disappointed with the BBC’s decision to restrict the over 75 licence fee concession to only those in receipt of pension credit. We recognise the value of free TV licences for over-75s and believe they should be funded by the BBC.

In the 2015 funding settlement, the government agreed with the BBC that responsibility for the concession would transfer to the BBC in June 2020. This reform was subject to public discussion and debated extensively during the passage of the Digital Economy Act 2017 through Parliament. This legislation provides that the future of the concession is the responsibility of the BBC, not of the government.

The BBC must look urgently at how it can use its substantial licence fee income to support older people and deliver for UK audiences of all ages.

17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will protect free tv licenses for over 75's in (a) Newport West, (b) Wales, and (c) the UK.

The government is deeply disappointed that the BBC has chosen not to extend the over 75 licence fee concession. We recognise the value of free TV licences for over-75s and believe they should be funded by the BBC.

However, the Digital Economy Act, 2017, provides the BBC is responsible for the concession, not the Government. The BBC must look urgently at how it can use its substantial licence fee income to support older people and deliver for UK audiences of all ages.

24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent steps his Department has taken to increase mobile and broadband coverage.

The Government is committed to delivering nationwide coverage of gigabit capable broadband as soon as possible. This will be done through promoting network competition and commercial investment wherever possible and by intervening with public subsidy where necessary.

To deliver this we are taking action to reduce barriers to commercial deployment including through the Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill currently before Parliament. This will make it easier to connect tenanted properties with an unresponsive landlord. At Budget 2020, we also committed to invest £5 billion to deliver gigabit capable deployment to the hardest to reach areas across the UK.

This investment is on top of our existing funding for gigabit broadband, including the £200 million Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme. In addition in March 2020 the Government’s broadband Universal Service Obligation went live. This provides everyone in the UK with the legal right to request an upgraded broadband connection that provides a minimum download speed of 10 Mbps and upload speed of 1 Mbps.

With regards to mobile connectivity, the Government announced in March 2020 that it had agreed a £1 billion deal with the mobile network operators to deliver the Shared Rural Network. This will see operators collectively increase mobile phone coverage throughout the UK to 95% by the end of 2025, underpinned by legally binding coverage commitments.

The Government is also committed to being a world leader in 5G technology and providing a 5G signal to a majority of the population by 2027. As a part of this, we have invested millions in a programme of 5G Testbeds and Trials, including the recent £30 million 5G Create competition.

24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to help improve diversity in the media and telecommunications sector.

The government recognises that the media and telecommunications sectors play a vital role in British society and therefore have an important responsibility to reflect the reality of modern Britain.

Promoting greater diversity is a priority for the government and therefore we welcome the work Ofcom has undertaken - as the independent communications regulator - through their annual diversity reports on broadcasting; as well as the work of Project Diamond, an initiative supported by the broadcasters, which captures diversity data.

The government is committed to working together with industry to support greater diversity and to ensure that everyone regardless of their background should have the same opportunity to be successful and to go as far as their talents and hard work take them.

24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to help increase diversity in the charity sector.

The Government recognises the importance of diversity within the charity sector at all levels, whether that be trustees, chief executives, staff members or volunteers, in order to meet the needs of the communities the sector serves and it is committed to working with our civil society partners to address this. We welcome the work that sector representative bodies are doing to improve diversity within the sector.

Appointing trustees is a matter for individual charities, but is something the Government takes very seriously. The Government has held a number of conversations with civil society partners to improve understanding of the opportunities and challenges around enabling people from different backgrounds to become involved in trusteeship. The Charity Commission has published resources for charities to encourage people from diverse backgrounds to get involved and make a difference. The Charity Commission also assisted in the creation of the Charity Governance Code, which sets out recommended practice for all charities registered in England and Wales. The Charity Governance Code makes clear the importance of diversity and resulting positive outcomes. We are fully committed to continue working with the charity sector to take action on this issue.

In responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, officials and Ministers have met with a wide range of groups, including women-led organisations and BAME-led civil society organisations to discuss how the Government can engage more with a variety of groups in the sector as we come out of the Covid-19 pandemic.

17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to prevent the availability of harmful online material to children.

The Online Harms White Paper sets out our plans to establish in law a new duty of care on companies towards their users, overseen by an independent regulator. The regulator will have strong enforcement powers to deal with non-compliance. Our proposals assume a higher level of protection for children than for the typical adult user.

We expect companies to use a proportionate range of tools, including age assurance and age verification technologies, to prevent children accessing age-inappropriate content and to protect them from other harms.

7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the University of Exeter's progress to becoming net zero by 2050.

No specific assessment is made by government departments of individual educational institutions to assess their progress to becoming net zero by 2050. This includes the University of Exeter.

We have supported the Queen’s Jubilee Challenge for the FE and HE sector to accelerate a sector-led review, so that by 2024 all FE and HE settings will be reporting their emissions via a standardised framework.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what fiscal steps he is taking to support Welsh students who are attending university in England with costs of renting student accommodation in England.

Devolution means that there are a range of policies and approaches to higher education (HE) which differ between the four administrations who deal with higher education policy in the United Kingdom. It is for each administration to decide how they deploy their resources and develop their HE system. Devolution allows for the different treatment of UK students in respect of student support within different parts of the UK.

The government plays no role in the provision of student residential accommodation. Universities and private accommodation providers are autonomous and are responsible for setting their own rent agreements. We encourage universities and private landlords to review their accommodation policies to ensure they are fair, clear and have the interests of students at heart.

If a student thinks their accommodation provider is treating them unfairly, they can raise a complaint under the accommodation codes of practice as long as the provider is a code member. The codes can be found at: https://www.thesac.org.uk/, https://www.unipol.org.uk/the-code/how-to-complain and https://www.nrla.org.uk/about-us/code-of-practice.

We recognise that in the exceptional circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak, some students may face financial hardship. Our grant funding to the Office for Students (OfS) for the current financial year includes an allocation of £5 million to HE providers in England in order to provide additional support for student hardship. This is to mitigate hardship due to COVID-19 impacts on the labour market which particularly affect, for example, students relying on work to fund their studies. In our guidance to the OfS on funding for the 2021/22 financial year we made clear that the OfS should protect the £256 million allocation for the student premiums to support disadvantaged students and those that need additional help.

Many providers have hardship funds that students can apply to for assistance should the COVID-19 outbreak affect individuals’ finances in academic year 2021/22.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will take steps to support Welsh students who are attending university in England with the costs of renting student accommodation in England.

Devolution means that there are a range of policies and approaches to higher education (HE) which differ between the four administrations who deal with higher education policy in the United Kingdom. It is for each administration to decide how they deploy their resources and develop their HE system. Devolution allows for the different treatment of UK students in respect of student support within different parts of the UK.

The government plays no role in the provision of student residential accommodation. Universities and private accommodation providers are autonomous and are responsible for setting their own rent agreements. We encourage universities and private landlords to review their accommodation policies to ensure they are fair, clear and have the interests of students at heart.

If a student thinks their accommodation provider is treating them unfairly, they can raise a complaint under the accommodation codes of practice as long as the provider is a code member. The codes can be found at: https://www.thesac.org.uk/, https://www.unipol.org.uk/the-code/how-to-complain and https://www.nrla.org.uk/about-us/code-of-practice.

We recognise that in the exceptional circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak, some students may face financial hardship. Our grant funding to the Office for Students (OfS) for the current financial year includes an allocation of £5 million to HE providers in England in order to provide additional support for student hardship. This is to mitigate hardship due to COVID-19 impacts on the labour market which particularly affect, for example, students relying on work to fund their studies. In our guidance to the OfS on funding for the 2021/22 financial year we made clear that the OfS should protect the £256 million allocation for the student premiums to support disadvantaged students and those that need additional help.

Many providers have hardship funds that students can apply to for assistance should the COVID-19 outbreak affect individuals’ finances in academic year 2021/22.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to WPQ 75126, pursuant to the Answer of 23 November 2021 to Question 75126 on UN Climate Conference 2021: Government, how many Ministers in his Department travelled to COP26 by airplane.

Four ministers attended COP26 including myself, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, my hon. Friend, the Minister for Skills, and my hon. Friend, the Minister for the School System. Ministers took the train to COP26 in Glasgow. Any unavoidable carbon emissions from COP26 will be offset, including those associated with travel.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his policy is on his Department's rates of recycling of plastic, paper, metal and other products; and if he will make a statement.

The Department contributes to, and works within the parameters of, the Government Greening Commitments (GGC) on recycling rates. The last annual report publication, from April 2018 to March 2019, shows that 85% of waste was recycled by the Department.

The Department has committed to increasing the rate of recycled waste, whilst reducing the overall amount of waste generated in line with the next GGC which runs from 2021 to 2025.

Further information on Greening Government Commitments can be found at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/883779/ggc-annual-report-2018-2019.pdf.

21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of schools that are located in areas with fine particulate matter over levels recommended by the World Health Organisation; and what steps he is taking to protect pupils from air pollution.

The Department has made no such specific estimate as local authorities are responsible for air quality in their area and must ensure that it meets the standards set in local air quality action plans.

If there was concern about the air quality in a school building, it would fall to the body responsible for the school to check and establish what measures needed to be taken to improve air quality. This would generally be the local authority, academy trust or governing body.

In 2018, the Department published Building Bulletin 101 (BB101), establishing guidance for school design on ventilation, thermal comfort, and indoor air quality. This guidance sets out the World Health Organisation’s air quality guidelines and Air Quality Standards Regulation 2010 for indoor air quality. BB101 requires the indoor environment of new or refurbished school buildings to be monitored by recording temperature and levels of carbon dioxide.

The Department is collaborating with other government departments and several academic institutions on air quality projects. The findings from these projects will, in due course, inform our guidance and standards for school buildings.

8th Jan 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, when he last had discussions with the First Minister of Wales; and if he will make a statement.

My Rt Hon Friends the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the Secretary of State for Wales and I have had multiple discussions with the First Minister about Covid-19 and other matters.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, when he last had discussions with the First Minister of Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement.

My Rt Hon Friends the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and I have had multiple discussions with the First and deputy First Minister about Covid-19 and other matters.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in South Asia about their policies on protecting the Asian elephant.

This Government continues to work with our international partners to support the conservation and protection of elephants globally. This includes providing funding through our Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund to support six local communities at key trade routes on the Myanmar-Thailand border in their efforts to deter poaching. We have also provided financial support through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to assist range states in registering, marking and tracing Asian elephants in order to make it harder for animals to be captured and traded illegally.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps he has taken to protect Asian elephants from being victims of trophy hunters.

We have pledged to bring forward legislation to ban imports of hunting trophies from thousands of species, including the Asian elephant.

This ban will be among the strongest in the world, leading the way in protecting endangered animals. We intend to bring this forward as soon as parliamentary time allows.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his international counterparts on global numbers of Asian elephants.

This Government continues to work with our international partners to support the conservation and protection of elephants globally. This includes providing funding through our Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund to support six local communities at key trade routes on the Myanmar-Thailand border in their efforts to deter poaching. We have also provided financial support through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to assist range states in registering, marking and tracing Asian elephants in order to make it harder for animals to be captured and traded illegally.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to Walley's Quarry Landfill Site in Newcastle under Lyme, what discussions he has had with representatives of the Environment Agency on the effectiveness of the process for revoking permits at landfill sites.

I regularly discuss issues relating to Walley’s quarry with the Environment Agency and have also discussed them with my hon. Friend, the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme, who has been tireless in raising his constituent’s concerns in this matter.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the levels of toxic air in Yorkshire and Humberside.

In accordance with the Air Quality Standards Regulations (AQSR) (2010) Defra undertakes an annual assessment of air pollutants based on monitoring and supplementary modelling for all regions of the UK, including Yorkshire and Humberside. This includes an assessment of trends and spatial distribution, together with information on any pollution events during the year. The latest report is accessible through the following URL:

https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/library/annualreport/viewonline?year=2020_issue_1#report_pdf

Defra’s national air pollution monitoring network, the Automatic Urban and Rural Network, measures air pollutant concentrations at 171 sites across the UK and this information is communicated to the public in near real-time and further used to assess compliance with the AQSR (2010). This includes 15 monitoring sites in Yorkshire and Humberside, with data accessible through the following URL:

https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/interactive-map

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the report by Panorama on animal abuse and neglect on dairy farms; and what steps he is taking to strengthen enforcement of animal welfare legislation.

All farm animals are protected by comprehensive and robust animal health and welfare legislation: The Animal Welfare Act 2006 makes it an offence either to cause any captive animal unnecessary suffering or to fail to provide for the welfare needs of the animal; and The Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007 set down detailed requirements on how farmed livestock, including dairy cattle, must be kept.

Potential breaches of animal health and welfare legislation are taken very seriously indeed. Defra's Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) inspectors and local authorities conduct inspections on-farm to ensure compliance with the law and with the relevant statutory farm animal welfare code. Appropriate action is taken against anyone who breaks the law when non-compliances are disclosed. This may include a follow-up, unannounced, inspection by APHA at a later date to confirm compliance. The local authority, as the appropriate enforcement agency, may initiate prosecution action for animal welfare offences where there is sufficient evidence.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to give further financial support to local authorities tackling rising levels of toxic air.

Latest published figures show that air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010. Emissions of nitrogen oxides have fallen by 44% - and are at their lowest level since records began, sulphur dioxide emissions have fallen by 70% and fine particulate matter emissions are down 18%. However, the Government recognises that there is more to do to protect people and the environment from the effects of air pollution.

We are providing £880 million to help local authorities develop and implement local air quality plans and to support those impacted by these plans. This government is also taking action across transport by supporting the switch to electric vehicles with £2.8 billion of investment, and £2 billion in funding for cycling and walking over this Parliament.

We have also recently awarded £11.6 million from Defra's annual Air Quality Grant Scheme to local authorities in England for projects in local communities to tackle air pollution and reduce emissions affecting schools, businesses, and communities. The scheme will open for applications again later this year.

We also plan to provide local authorities with funding for measures introduced through our landmark Environment Act 2021 to improve the enforcement and management of smoke emissions in smoke control areas in England.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the adequacy of funding for flood prevention measures.

The Secretary of State is in regular contact with his Cabinet colleagues on a range of issues, including funding for flood prevention measures. This Government is investing a record £5.2 billion in around 2,000 new defence schemes which will better protect 336,000 properties. At present, we anticipate that floods capital and revenue investment from all sources will collectively exceed the level of investment up to 2027 that was recommended by the National Infrastructure Commission and the Environment Agency’s investment analysis.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much funding the Government has provided to local authorities to help tackle high levels of toxic waste in each of the last five years.

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 places a duty on local authorities to provide waste collection and disposal services. The Act also places a duty of care on all waste holders (including local authorities) to ensure the safe disposal or recycling of waste they collect and manage.

In recognition of local authorities being best placed to understand local priorities such as waste management, un-ringfenced funding from the Government is provided. The Local Government Finance Settlement has provided £54.1 billion in 2022/23 for local government in England, an increase of up to £3.7 billion on 2021/22. This comes on top of increases in Core Spending Power at £49 billion in 2020/21.

Businesses, meanwhile, usually have to pay for services to collect and dispose of the waste they generate.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding levels for the Office of Environmental Protection.

The Secretary of State for Defra reviewed the proposal for the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) funding levels following an internal assurance process. He has subsequently set out the budget for the OEP for 2022/23 in a written ministerial statement on 31 March and is satisfied that this funding is sufficient to enable the OEP to effectively carry out its statutory functions.
Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the impact of rising inflation on the Government's efforts to tackle toxic air levels.

We will continue to monitor and adapt our policy responses in line with external economic variation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the financial merits of placing the World Health Organisation guidelines on air pollution into UK law.

We will consider the World Health Organization (WHO) air quality guidelines when setting any new air quality targets, including those currently being set through the Environment Act 2021 for PM 2.5. These WHO guidelines were considered alongside wider aspects such as feasibility and costs to society of achieving new target levels. We are currently consulting with stakeholders on new PM 2.5 target proposals.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect on food supply to the UK of the invasion of Ukraine.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain, which has coped well in responding to unprecedented challenges. Direct food imports from Eastern Europe are low, and we do not expect any significant direct impact on UK food supply as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Nevertheless, Defra is engaging with industry via various forums to understand the impacts of the conflict on individual industries and supply chains in Defra’s sectors.

Defra is well-versed in responding to disruption if the dependencies were to lead to food supply disruption. Defra maintains a collaborative relationship with industry which allows us to effectively respond to disruption. This was successfully demonstrated in response to unprecedented disruption to both supply and demand throughout the COVID-19 response.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent progress he has made on bringing forward legislative proposals to introduce a ban on the import of hunting trophies into the UK.

We have pledged to bring forward legislation to ban imports of hunting trophies from thousands of species. This ban will be among the strongest in the world, leading the way in protecting endangered animals. We intend to bring this forward as soon as parliamentary time allows.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress he has made in introducing a ban on imports of hunting trophies to the UK.

The Secretary of State has regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues about a range of issues, including delivering the Government’s manifesto commitment to ban the import of hunting trophies from endangered animals.

We have pledged to bring forward legislation to ban imports of hunting trophies from thousands of species. This ban will be among the strongest in the world, leading the way in protecting endangered animals. We intend to bring this forward as soon as parliamentary time allows.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the merits of banning imports of hunting trophies to the UK.

The Secretary of State has regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues about a range of issues, including delivering the Government’s manifesto commitment to ban the import of hunting trophies from endangered animals.

We have pledged to bring forward legislation to ban imports of hunting trophies from thousands of species. This ban will be among the strongest in the world, leading the way in protecting endangered animals. We intend to bring this forward as soon as parliamentary time allows.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the UK is on course to meet the World Health Organisation targets for air pollution by 2030.

Annual assessment of air quality (AQ) in the UK is undertaken as part of compliance assessment against legally binding UK AQ standards and details of these assessments are published on our UK Air website. Compliance in 2020 was detailed in the Air Pollution in the UK report (2020) published in September 2021 (available here: https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/library/annualreport/).

We will consider the World Health Organization AQ guidelines as part of an evidence led process in setting any new AQ targets, including the new PM2.5 targets through the Environment Act 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential harm and risks caused by breeding exotic cat species with domestic cat breeds in England.

Where any animal is subject to inappropriate breeding practices, whether for commercial activity or not, their welfare may suffer. To combat this all animals are protected under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The 2006 Act requires those in charge of animals to protect them from harm and to ensure they have five key welfare needs provided for. Those in charge of animals who fail to protect them from harm, or fail to provide for their welfare needs may be prosecuted and face penalties including a custodial sentence or an unlimited fine, or both.

Additionally, the keeping of dangerous wild animals is regulated by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976. Keepers of dangerous wild animals listed in the Schedule to the 1976 Act must get a Dangerous Wild Animals licence from their local authority. Licences must be obtained by keepers prior to the acquisition of such animals. All cats are listed in the Schedule to the Act, although several species – such as the domestic cat – are exempted. Cat hybrids having a domestic cat, or other exempted species, as one parent and a non-exempted cat as the other parent would require a Dangerous Wild Animals licence.

Licences can only be granted when the authority is satisfied that it would not be contrary to public interest on the grounds of safety or nuisance; that the applicant is a suitable person; and the animal's accommodation is adequate and secure. The effect of the 1976 Act is to restrict the purchase of dangerous wild animals to those who can keep them safely and provide them with suitable accommodation and diet.

Where breeding does lead to poor outcomes for the animals involved it is right for us to be concerned. Currently, there is only very limited evidence that the breeding of exotic and domestic cats causes harm to the animals involved. Any revision of the applicable licensing schemes or new regulation would require strong and verifiable evidence of a significant welfare issue which, despite our relationships with representatives and organisations from across the animal welfare spectrum, has not been forthcoming. Nevertheless, we will continue to work with the sector to identify any issues and agree and implement improvements where they are necessary.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to tackle social media influencers promoting the sale of (a) exotic and (b) hybrid animals online.

The commercial sale of cats as pets is regulated under the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018. The 2018 Regulations set out clear requirements for those who breed and sell cats commercially, including their importation and distribution. For example, licencees must meet strict statutory minimum welfare standards which are enforced by local authorities who have powers to issue, refuse or revoke licences. Any licensee advertising animals for sale will need to include their licence number in the advert and specify the local authority who issued the licence. Additional requirements placed on advertisements include that the age of the animal for sale must be displayed along with a recognisable photograph.

Additionally, the keeping of dangerous wild animals is regulated by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976. Keepers of dangerous wild animals listed in the Schedule to the 1976 Act must get a Dangerous Wild Animals licence from their local authority. Licences must be obtained by keepers prior to the acquisition of such animals. All cats are listed in the Schedule to the Act, although several species – such as the domestic cat – are exempted. Cat hybrids having a domestic cat, or other exempted species, as one parent and a non-exempted cat as the other parent would require a Dangerous Wild Animals licence. Subsequent generations, involving a domestic or other exempted cat as one parent and a hybrid cat as the other parent would not require a licence.

Licences can only be granted when the authority is satisfied that it would not be contrary to public interest on the grounds of safety or nuisance; that the applicant is a suitable person; and the animal's accommodation is adequate and secure. The effect of the 1976 Act is to restrict the purchase of dangerous wild animals to those who can keep them safely and provide them with suitable accommodation and diet.

Influencer marketing is not a new phenomenon, however, the pace and change on social media platforms has led to a rapidly growing market. This has created opportunities for users to become influencers, and they in turn can bring positive impacts to society through campaigning or advocacy. At the same time, there is evidence of problems in this market. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has programmes of work on Online Safety and on Online Advertising to ensure the regulatory framework remains appropriate. However, it is the responsibility of all actors in the supply chain - from brands to talent agencies, platforms and influencers themselves - to ensure that this is a market that uploads the highest standards and best practice is improved.

The Government is considering whether advertising regulation online should be strengthened, recognising the rapid growth of online advertising. DCMS will be consulting on the Online Advertising Programme this spring, which will look at whether the current regulatory regime is equipped to tackle these challenges.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government plans to ban the sale and import of fur.

Now we have left the EU, the Government is able to explore potential action in relation to animal fur. We are reviewing the evidence gathered both from our Call for Evidence and wider engagement with the fur trade and stakeholders, and a summary of responses will be published soon.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will (a) publish the Government's response to the recent consultation on the fur market in the UK and (b) bring forward legislative proposals to ban the import and sale of fur in the UK.

Fur farming has been banned in the UK for over 20 years. Now we have left the EU, the Government is able to explore potential further action in relation to animal fur.

The recent call for evidence published by Defra on the fur trade in Great Britain was a key step in helping us to meet the commitment set out in the Action Plan for Animal Welfare to better understand the fur sector in Great Britain and gather evidence from those with an interest in it.

We received around 30,000 responses from businesses, representative bodies and individuals, demonstrating the strong public interest in this area. We are reviewing the evidence gathered both from our Call for Evidence and wider engagement with the fur trade and stakeholders, and a summary of responses setting out the results and key findings will be published soon.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of trees lost as a result of storm activity in England, since 2020.

The number of trees lost to storm activity is not routinely measured. However, as part of the response to Storm Arwen and subsequent named storms, the Forestry Commission is working with Forest Research, Scottish Forestry and the forestry industry to establish levels of damage sustained by our woodlands. A variety of assessment techniques are being used including satellite imagery, aerial surveys and ground based surveys and use of citizen science via a storm damage verification app. It will take a number of weeks for a comprehensive picture of the damage to emerge. Current estimates of area and location of storm damaged woodlands are published by Forest Research and the estimated area of damage is likely to increase as more data is collected. The current picture suggests damage is locally significant, with some owners experiencing significant losses of timber, but relatively modest in terms of total woodland area.

The National Adaptation Programme (NAP) sets the actions that government and others will take to adapt to the challenges of climate change in the UK, this includes goals for woodland resilience. We are also working to improve our woodlands resilience through the development of the Woodland Resilience Implementation Plan, which will improve the ecological condition of our woodlands and increase their resilience to climate change, including more extreme weather events like storms.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the levels of toxic air in the West Midlands.

The UK Automatic Urban and Rural Network provides measurements of air pollutant concentrations throughout the UK for a range of pollutants. The network provides high resolution hourly information which is communicated rapidly to the public, using a wide range of electronic, media and web platforms. Data from sites across the West Midlands is uploaded automatically onto the UK Air Website, accessible through the following URL:

https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/data/

Defra's Pollution Climate Mapping model estimates background and roadside concentrations of air pollutants at 1km2 grid squares across the UK. An interactive map to display these concentrations can be found at the following URL:

https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/data/gis-mapping/

In September, Defra published the Air Pollution in the UK report, making information on the ambient air quality evidence base for the year publicly available. This includes an assessment of trends and spatial distribution, together with information on pollution events during the year, and is available through the following URL:

https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/assets/documents/annualreport/air_pollution_uk_2020_issue_1.pdf

Local Authorities also carry out air quality monitoring as part of the Local Air Quality Management process and provide DEFRA with annual reports on the status of air quality within their Local Authority boundary. Summary statistics for all their Air Quality measurements can be found within their annual status report, publicly available on the website of the respective local authority.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether it is his policy for the UK to maintain regulatory alignment with European Union Directive 2010/75/EU Art 3.40 in respect of the definition of (a) pyrolysis and (b) gasification as forms of incineration.

Defra has no plans at this time to amend the existing regulatory framework governing incineration. However, Defra continuously considers how waste can be managed in the most sustainable way, including through new and emerging technologies currently classified as energy recovery.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the sustainability of (a) pyrolysis or (b) gasification as a means of processing thin plastic films.

My Department has not conducted any dedicated assessment of the sustainability of Advanced Thermal Treatments, including pyrolysis and gasification, as a means of processing waste plastic film. Defra seeks to prevent waste occurring in the first place and, where it does occur, prioritise waste for reuse and recycling over energy recovery, including gasification and pyrolysis. Government is bringing forward several measures to increase recycling of plastic waste, including Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging, consistent recycling collections for England, a deposit return scheme for drinks containers, and a Plastic Packaging Tax.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy for the costs of collecting business and litter waste to be redeemed from businesses and litterers rather than consumers.

The Government will publish the response to its recent consultation on Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging in early 2022 which will set out the Government’s final policy position and analysis. Initial analysis showed a limited effect on prices for consumers. We will continue to talk to all the Devolved Nations, as a consistent approach would be best for everyone.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the cost to consumers of including business and litter collection costs within the reformed Extended Producer Responsibility system.

The Government will publish the response to its recent consultation on Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging in early 2022 which will set out the Government’s final policy position and analysis. Initial analysis showed a limited effect on prices for consumers. We will continue to talk to all the Devolved Nations, as a consistent approach would be best for everyone.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the devolved Administrations on (a) the recent outbreak of bird flu and (b) the welfare and condition of the individual who has tested positive for that virus.

The UK Government works with the devolved administrations to seek a coordinated response wherever possible to control disease. In November, the Chief Veterinary Officers for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland worked together to bring in an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone across Great Britain on 3 November 2021, and in Northern Ireland on 17 November 2021, with additional housing measures coming into force across the UK on 29 November 2021.

All four administrations are an integral part of the UK-wide decision-making processes for animal disease outbreaks. All attend the Defra Group’s National Disease Control Centre meetings, are members of the Animal Disease Policy Group and participate in daily stocktakes to review on-going disease control strategy. Decisions on disease control measures, made through these groups, are based on risk assessments containing the latest scientific and ornithological evidence and veterinary advice.

With regard to the recent case of bird-to-human transmission, it is inappropriate for us to comment on an individual’s health. However, the UK Health Security Agency has said that avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what economic assessment he has made of the costs and benefits to the UK of (a) aligning with and (b) diverging from EU REACH and EU Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) controls on hazardous chemicals.

An assessment of the costs and benefits of leaving the EU was presented in a Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) for the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. Analysis of the wider impacts of the UK’s exit from the EU was published in the government’s Long-Term Economic Analysis published in November 2018. An impact assessment was published alongside the REACH etc. (Amendment etc) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (SI 2019/758) and ‘de minimis’ assessments were prepared for the subsequent REACH amendment regulations and for the EU Exit Statutory Instruments that put in place a separate GB/UK chemicals regulatory regime for Classification Labelling and Packaging under the terms of retained EU law as set out in the European Union (Withdrawal) Acts.

Having our own independent regulatory framework for chemicals gives us the opportunity to be ambitious and not look solely to the EU to define a successful chemicals regulation. Instead, it enables us to take our own decisions following the best scientific advice taking account of our own specific assessment of risk and the socioeconomic case for change.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish the evidence for the reasons given by his Department for introducing new principles for including Substances of Very High Concern on the UK REACH Candidate List, including the (a) the scale, nature and effect of the issue of a substance on an incorrect or more than one regulatory pathway, (b) whether that issue can be foreseen and mitigated against by monitoring how it is resolved at an EU level and (c) how the potential merits of this approach outweigh the potential costs.

Last year the EU’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) legislation was brought into UK law, retaining the fundamental approach and key principles of EU REACH and ensuring a high level of protection of human health and the environment.

Within UK REACH, the Candidate List is a list of substances of very high concern (SVHCs) that can be prioritised for inclusion on the Authorisation List. Once a substance is added to the Authorisation List, it may not be used after the specified ‘sunset date’ unless the Secretary of State has granted a business-specific authorisation for that use.

The substances on the EU REACH candidate list were automatically carried forward to UK REACH. In future, substances will be added to the list on the basis of the best UK scientific advice, taking into account our own risk assessments.

Defra, the Welsh and Scottish governments have agreed an interim approach to adding new SVHCs to the list (published on gov.uk: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-reach-approach-to-including-substances-of-very-high-concern-on-the-candidate-list(opens in a new tab)). This is based on expert advice from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Environment Agency (EA), as well as feedback from a range of stakeholders.

We believe that focusing the Candidate List on identifying substances that are genuine candidates for authorisation – the statutory purpose of the list – will more effectively enable substitution away from the most hazardous substances. The regulatory pressure from inclusion on the Candidate List can be diluted if there is little realistic chance of added substances being made subject to authorisation.

As part of our approach, HSE and EA will conduct analysis to identify the most effective regulatory action to manage the risks from a chemical. When substances are on the incorrect regulatory pathway it can lead to unintended consequences such as regrettable substitution, where a hazardous substance is replaced by a substance with similar hazards; this can then increase the time taken to effectively control the risks. Both the HSE and EA are well placed to act as a strong and effective regulator to operate UK REACH. Both organisations have substantial expertise having worked on some of the most complex dossiers under EU REACH.

This approach makes no practical change to helpful consumer information.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the change in approach to including Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) on the UK REACH Candidate List on (a) consumer and environmental protection from SVHCs, (b) consumers’ right to know about SVHCs in products, (c) the number of substances added to the UK SVHC candidate list and authorisation list in comparison to the EU’s and (d) the capacity of HSE to conduct Regulatory Management Options Analysis on substances identified for prioritisation; and if he will publish any assessments made by his Department on the effect of those proposals.

Last year the EU’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) legislation was brought into UK law, retaining the fundamental approach and key principles of EU REACH and ensuring a high level of protection of human health and the environment.

Within UK REACH, the Candidate List is a list of substances of very high concern (SVHCs) that can be prioritised for inclusion on the Authorisation List. Once a substance is added to the Authorisation List, it may not be used after the specified ‘sunset date’ unless the Secretary of State has granted a business-specific authorisation for that use.

The substances on the EU REACH candidate list were automatically carried forward to UK REACH. In future, substances will be added to the list on the basis of the best UK scientific advice, taking into account our own risk assessments.

Defra, the Welsh and Scottish governments have agreed an interim approach to adding new SVHCs to the list (published on gov.uk: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-reach-approach-to-including-substances-of-very-high-concern-on-the-candidate-list(opens in a new tab)). This is based on expert advice from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Environment Agency (EA), as well as feedback from a range of stakeholders.

We believe that focusing the Candidate List on identifying substances that are genuine candidates for authorisation – the statutory purpose of the list – will more effectively enable substitution away from the most hazardous substances. The regulatory pressure from inclusion on the Candidate List can be diluted if there is little realistic chance of added substances being made subject to authorisation.

As part of our approach, HSE and EA will conduct analysis to identify the most effective regulatory action to manage the risks from a chemical. When substances are on the incorrect regulatory pathway it can lead to unintended consequences such as regrettable substitution, where a hazardous substance is replaced by a substance with similar hazards; this can then increase the time taken to effectively control the risks. Both the HSE and EA are well placed to act as a strong and effective regulator to operate UK REACH. Both organisations have substantial expertise having worked on some of the most complex dossiers under EU REACH.

This approach makes no practical change to helpful consumer information.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will implement the recommendation of the Environmental Audit Committee in its 2019 report, Toxic Chemicals in Everyday Life, and align with the European Chemical Agency’s Substances of Very High Concern Candidate List.

Last year the EU’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) legislation was brought into UK law, retaining the fundamental approach and key principles of EU REACH and ensuring a high level of protection of human health and the environment.

Within UK REACH, the Candidate List is a list of substances of very high concern (SVHCs) that can be prioritised for inclusion on the Authorisation List. Once a substance is added to the Authorisation List, it may not be used after the specified ‘sunset date’ unless the Secretary of State has granted a business-specific authorisation for that use.

The substances on the EU REACH candidate list were automatically carried forward to UK REACH. In future, substances will be added to the list on the basis of the best UK scientific advice, taking into account our own risk assessments.

Defra, the Welsh and Scottish governments have agreed an interim approach to adding new SVHCs to the list (published on gov.uk: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-reach-approach-to-including-substances-of-very-high-concern-on-the-candidate-list). This is based on expert advice from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Environment Agency (EA), as well as feedback from a range of stakeholders.

We believe that focusing the Candidate List on identifying substances that are genuine candidates for authorisation – the statutory purpose of the list – will more effectively enable substitution away from the most hazardous substances. The regulatory pressure from inclusion on the Candidate List can be diluted if there is little realistic chance of added substances being made subject to authorisation.

As part of our approach, HSE and EA will conduct analysis to identify the most effective regulatory action to manage the risks from a chemical. When substances are on the incorrect regulatory pathway it can lead to unintended consequences such as regrettable substitution, where a hazardous substance is replaced by a substance with similar hazards; this can then increase the time taken to effectively control the risks. Both the HSE and EA are well placed to act as a strong and effective regulator to operate UK REACH. Both organisations have substantial expertise having worked on some of the most complex dossiers under EU REACH.

This approach makes no practical change to helpful consumer information.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to improve the separation of recyclable materials at source to minimise the contamination of flexible plastic waste by food waste.

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has produced guidance for local authorities to tackle the problems of contamination in recycling, which can be found here:

wrap.org.uk/sites/default/files/2021-05/WRAP-Tackling-contamination-dry-recycling-May2021.pdf.

WRAP also produces the Recycling Tracker which is the largest and longest running survey on recycling attitudes, values, and behaviours. The surveys can be found at this link:

https://wrap.org.uk/resources/report/recycling-tracker-report-2020-behaviours-attitudes-and-awareness-around-recycling.

The Government wants to see the recycling of plastic film increased and plastic films included into the plastic recyclable waste stream for consistent collections. We have worked with stakeholders across the plastic packaging value chain to gather evidence on the issues related to introducing plastic films into kerbside collections, including food contamination.

In our 2021 consultation on 'Consistency in Household and Business Recycling in England,’ we sought views on best practice around the separate collection of plastic films, to include guidance on this recognising that ideally plastic films would be segregated from other recyclable materials within the plastics waste stream to facilitate easier sorting and reduce contamination. We are currently analysing responses to the consultation and gathering further evidence around issues relating to material quality, sorting, reprocessing and contamination to include in best practice guidance.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Dudley South constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is taking steps to increase the UK's domestic capacity for disposing flexible plastic waste.

Waste is a devolved matter – this information relates to England only.

Defra, and the Government as a whole, is taking significant steps to increase UK plastics recycling – including of flexible plastics.

The Government-funded UK Research and Innovation Industrial Strategy Challenge invested £20 million into four UK plastic reprocessing facilities to develop new technologies to recycle plastic. Three of these projects include the development of chemical recycling plants which turn difficult to recycle plastic waste (such as plastic films) back into oil which can be used to replace virgin oil for use in new plastic products. More information about these can be found at:

https://www.ukri.org/news/ukri-funding-puts-uk-at-the-forefront-of-plastic-recycling/.

We have also taken a range of measures to boost the market for plastic recycling – delivering the conditions for further private sector investment. The Plastic Packaging Tax comes in from April and will see a charge of £200 per tonne on plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled content and measures such as the deposit return scheme and consistent collections will help ensure a consistent supply of high-quality material for recycling.

This continues to be a priority for the department, and officials will continue to engage with plastic recyclers to identify other suitable routes to promote their important work.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Dudley North (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Wakefield (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Don Valley (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Heywood and Middleton constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Ashfield (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas which unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Stoke on Trent North and Kidsgrove constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Stoke on Trent South constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Portsmouth North constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Selby and Ainsty constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Chippenham constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in North West Hampshire constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Fareham constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in North East Somerset constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Sherwood constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Mid Bedfordshire constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Hertsmere constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Great Yarmouth constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Thurrock constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Stoke on Trent Central constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Hendon constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Kensington constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Chingford and Woodford Green constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Chipping Barnet constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Welwyn Hatfield constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Camborne and Redruth constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Stratford-on-Avon constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Berwick upon Tweed constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Suffolk Coastal constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in North East Cambridgeshire constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Reading West constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Newcastle Under Lyme constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Spelthorne constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Bromsgrove constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Surrey Heath constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Wyre and Preston North constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Witham constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in South West Norfolk constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Esher and Walton constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Richmond, North Yorkshire constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

The Government does not hold this information.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – at a national level emissions of fine particulate matter have fallen by 11%, while emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. The Government is committed to going further and is taking a range of actions to improve air quality, including through the landmark Environment Act 2021 and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Dumfries and Galloway constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

Air quality is a devolved matter and air quality in Scotland is the responsibility of the Scottish Government and local authorities in Scotland.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many children aged 18 and under in Carmathen West and South Pembrokeshire constituency (a) live in and (b) go to school in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.

Air quality is a devolved matter and air quality in Wales is the responsibility of the Welsh Government and local authorities in Wales.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, on what date he last personally raised the issue of toxic air at Walley’s Quarry with the Prime Minister.

I visited Walleys Quarry last month to see the issue for myself, and to meet with local residents. Ministers have regular discussions with colleagues in the Prime Minister's Office, as well as the Prime Minister, on a range of issues.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of climate change on the albatross population.

The UK’s seabirds are an important part of our natural heritage, and their protection is a high priority for this Government.

The UK is committed to the conservation of albatrosses through its membership of the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP). The UK ratified ACAP in 2004 and ACAP action plans have been developed and formally adopted for each UK South Atlantic Overseas Territory (SAOT). The Action Plans currently focus efforts at coordinating actions and research to mitigate known priority threats to ACAP species, including incidental mortality in commercial fisheries, introduced predators, pollution and climate change. To assess these threats, the population status of ACAP species across the UK SAOTs is regularly monitored, with comprehensive demographic studies undertaken at a number of sites.

The 2019 Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Report identified climate change as one of the leading drivers of biodiversity loss, including as a key threat to species. The Convention on Biological Diversity is the global treaty on biodiversity aiming to tackle these drivers. The UK is playing a leading role in developing an ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework under the Convention, and we are calling for ambitious global targets to bend the curve of biodiversity loss by 2030. This includes targets to ensure at least 30% of the land and of the ocean globally is protected, ecosystems are restored, species population sizes are recovering and that by 2050 extinctions are halted.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help ensure that forthcoming Deposit Return Schemes are part of a UK-wide recycling ecosystem and that consumers and businesses are not disadvantaged based on their geography.

Although waste management is a devolved policy, we work closely with colleagues in devolved administrations to ensure consistency where possible. Ministers regularly meet with colleagues in the devolved administrations to discuss a range of issues.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what meetings he plans to hold with his counterparts in the devolved Administrations to discuss the coordination of the delivery of deposit return schemes in the four nations of the UK.

Although waste management is a devolved policy, we work closely with colleagues in devolved administrations to ensure consistency where possible. Ministers regularly meet with colleagues in the devolved administrations to discuss a range of issues.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that forthcoming deposit return schemes in the devolved nations are (a) interoperable and (b) do not disadvantage consumers or businesses based on their geography.

Although waste management is a devolved policy, we work closely with colleagues in devolved administrations to ensure consistency where possible. Ministers regularly meet with colleagues in the devolved administrations to discuss a range of issues.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, on how many occasions he has discussed the death of Zane Gbangbola with the Environment Agency.

Whilst neither I, nor Defra ministerial colleagues, have discussed the death of Zane Gbangbola with the Environment Agency, Defra group officials have discussed the case on many occasions and have briefed Minsters.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 23 November 2021 to Question 75126 on UN Climate Conference 2021: Government, how many Ministers in his Department travelled to COP26 by airplane.

No Defra Minister travelled to COP26 by aeroplane.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps he has taken to tackle the toxic fumes at Walley's Quarry.

The actions taken by the Environment Agency (EA) at Walleys Quarry have resulted in a significant reduction in the levels of hydrogen sulphide escaping the landfill since March 2021. Its strategy, set out in a revised plan published on 14 October 2021, is to contain, capture, and destroy the gas using a range of complex engineering solutions, with the aim of delivering a long-term solution to the issues caused by the decomposition of previously deposited waste.

Recent actions the EA has instructed the operator to take to tackle the issue include:

  • Additional Capping: In October, the area of the landfill that is permanently or temporarily capped increased to almost 70% through the application of a material called Posi-shell to the steep flanks of the site. Capping is important as it will contain more of the gas on the site.

  • Improving landfill gas management and collection: In October, 27 new gas collection wells were installed across the site to capture more of the gas and move it to the gas utilisation plant to be safely destroyed. There are now 82 gas collection wells across the site

  • Improving effectiveness of the gas utilisation plant: The EA instructed the operator to increase capacity to destroy hydrogen sulphide. The amount of gas captured and processed on site is now double the amount collected in December 2020.

The EA continues to monitor hydrogen sulphide levels off site using four mobile monitoring facilities stationed around Walleys Quarry. Three of these monitors showed monthly average concentrations below 2 µg/m3 (micro-grams per cubic metre) the long-term (lifetime) health-based guidance values.

I visited Walleys Quarry on 2 December 2021, and subsequently met with my honourable Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Aaron Bell), the Environment Agency and representatives from the local community, to further understand the situation and the work underway to resolve this issue.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he last discussed Walley's Quarry with the Prime Minister.

Ministers have regular discussions with colleagues in the Prime Minister's Office, as well as the Prime Minister, on a range of issues. Defra officials recently chaired a cross-government meeting to discuss Walleys Quarry.

I visited Walleys Quarry on 2 December 2021, and subsequently met with my honourable Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Aaron Bell), the Environment Agency and representatives from the local community, to further understand the situation and the work underway to resolve this issue.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the environmental and health impact of the use of (a) lignite, (b) pet coke, (c) coffee logs, (d) wine logs and (e) olive logs as fuel for burning in (i) domestic premises and (ii) the hospitality industry.

In a Smoke Control Area, under the Clean Air Act 1993, it is only permissible to burn authorised fuels, or “smokeless fuels” (anthracite, semi-anthracite, gas, low volatile steam coal) unless the fuel is being burnt on an exempt appliance. Authorised fuels must emit less than 2% sulphur content and 5g of smoke per hour. In practice, this means that coffee logs, wine logs, and olive logs are not sold in Smoke Control Areas.

The Air Quality (Domestic Solid Fuels Standards) (England) Regulations 2020 apply throughout England, and introduce requirements covering a large proportion of the market for fuels used for domestic burning. They phase out the sale of traditional house coal and wet wood sold in smaller units.

The Government is aware that new fuels, such as coffee logs, are entering the market. As stated in the Clean Air Strategy, the Government wants to encourage innovation, but customers need reassurance that these products are safe to use. The Government is conducting a review of these fuels with a view to setting relevant standards across England, to ensure that health and environmental impacts are minimised. As a first step in that review, we published an invitation to tender for a market study of coffee logs and other new and emerging fuels on 12 November. The invitation states that we are looking for information about the market (including the hospitality sector) for coffee logs and other emerging waste-based fuels, as well as for lignite and any other emerging fuels such as pet coke.

Air quality policies are devolved, and the relevant administrations have direct policy responsibility for air quality measures in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether suppliers of (a) lignite, (b) pet coke, (c) coffee logs, (d) wine logs and (e) olive logs are required to prove that those fuels are safe to burn from an environmental and health perspective prior to selling to consumers in (i) domestic premises and (ii) the hospitality industry.

In a Smoke Control Area, under the Clean Air Act 1993, it is only permissible to burn authorised fuels, or “smokeless fuels” (anthracite, semi-anthracite, gas, low volatile steam coal) unless the fuel is being burnt on an exempt appliance. Authorised fuels must emit less than 2% sulphur content and 5g of smoke per hour. In practice, this means that coffee logs, wine logs, and olive logs are not sold in Smoke Control Areas.

The Air Quality (Domestic Solid Fuels Standards) (England) Regulations 2020 apply throughout England, and introduce requirements covering a large proportion of the market for fuels used for domestic burning. They phase out the sale of traditional house coal and wet wood sold in smaller units.

The Government is aware that new fuels, such as coffee logs, are entering the market. As stated in the Clean Air Strategy, the Government wants to encourage innovation, but customers need reassurance that these products are safe to use. The Government is conducting a review of these fuels with a view to setting relevant standards across England, to ensure that health and environmental impacts are minimised. As a first step in that review, we published an invitation to tender for a market study of coffee logs and other new and emerging fuels on 12 November. The invitation states that we are looking for information about the market (including the hospitality sector) for coffee logs and other emerging waste-based fuels, as well as for lignite and any other emerging fuels such as pet coke.

Air quality policies are devolved, and the relevant administrations have direct policy responsibility for air quality measures in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the impact on UK industry of increased divergence between EU and UK chemicals regulation.

The UK is committed to a modern and effective system for the regulation of chemicals, based on the best scientific advice, that effectively protects both people and our environment.

We will continue to engage closely with industry and monitor impacts on businesses and supply chains.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the level of fly tipping in England, by local authority area.

Defra publish fly-tipping statistics for England annually. A detailed breakdown of the incidents reported by local authorities is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fly-tipping-in-england

Data from 2020/21 is in the final stages of quality assurance and will be published in early December.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the cleanliness of England's waterways.

The Environment Agency's most recent water body classification results taken in 2019 showed that 16% of waters overall and 14% of rivers in England are at Good Ecological Status. The Government remains committed to bringing at least three quarters of our water to as close as possible to its natural state as soon as is practicable, supported by at least one legally binding water target in the new Environment Act.

Water pollution comes from a number of sources and requires concerted action from government, industry and the public. We are tackling pollution from poor farming practice with regulation, financial incentives and by providing advice and training. Water company investment in environmental improvements will increase to £7.1 billion in current Price Review period (2020-25). Our draft statement of the strategic priorities of Ofwat, the water company regulator, puts enhancing environmental quality as a clear key priority. The storm overflow task force, comprising government, regulators and water companies, will help address the problem of sewage discharge from overflows and our new chemicals strategy will build on an already robust statutory regime to ensure chemicals are managed and handled safely.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps he has taken to stop deforestation.

The UK continues to take a leading role working with global partners to halt and reverse deforestation. At COP26, the UK led the way on securing agreement from 128 world leaders to work together to halt and reverse forest loss by 2030 under the Glasgow Leader's Declaration on Forests and Land Use. Signatory countries account for almost 90% of the world’s forests, including first-time commitments from Brazil and China.

Unlocking finance is a crucial element in delivering shared global objectives for preventing deforestation. This is why Defra, along with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), has secured strong financial commitments at COP26 from partner states and philanthropic organisations in the fight against deforestation. This total includes a commitment of $12 billion from 12 countries for a new Global Forest Finance Pledge for the protection, restoration and sustainable management of forests; $7.2 billion of private sector funding was mobilised for protecting forests and nature and CEOs from more than 30 financial institutions representing $8.7 trillion of global assets committed to eliminate investment in activities linked to agricultural commodity-driven deforestation.

Defra supports several programmes which protect and restore diverse types of forests. This includes the 'Blue Forests' project in Madagascar and Indonesia, which has protected and restored over 180,000 hectares of mangrove forests and avoided 487 hectares of deforestation to date; and an investment of over £62 million to promote sustainable agriculture in Brazil, through low carbon technology, agroforestry and recovery of degraded lands with forests or pastures.

Defra and BEIS established the Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade Dialogue at COP26, where we are working with other producer and consumer governments to develop a joint approach to protect forests and other ecosystems while promoting sustainable development and trade.

The UK Government has doubled its international climate finance to £11.6 billion for the period from 2021-26, of which at least £3 billion will be spent on nature and nature-based solutions, including protecting and restoring forests.

Defra has introduced due diligence legislation through the Environment Act to tackle illegal deforestation in UK supply chains. This law will help us ensure there is no place on our supermarket shelves for commodities that have been grown on land that is illegally owned or used, and to support other countries to strengthen and enforce their forest protection measures. To maintain pace, we plan to launch a consultation to further inform the design of the law in late 2021. This is one part of a wider package of measures to improve the sustainability of our supply chains and will contribute to global efforts to protect forests and other ecosystems.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he travelled by (a) rail, (b) road or (c) air to COP26 in Glasgow.

All delegates have been encouraged to consider low-carbon travel options to attend COP26. The Secretary of State travelled by train.

The UK will be offsetting carbon emissions associated with running the event, including the emissions associated with travel.

As the IPCC report underlines, COP26 is vital this November to allow world leaders to come together and set out decisive commitments to tackle climate change.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 28 October 2021 to Question 59956, on Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Ministerial Responsibility, whether the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in his Department, the hon. Member for Bury St Edmonds, is a paid member of the Government.

The ministerial responsibilities of the hon. Member for Bury St Edmonds have been published on gov.uk. External meetings will be published in the usual way on the transparency data publications, available on gov.uk in due course.

I can confirm the hon. Member for Bury St Edmonds is a paid member of the Government.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Answer of 28 October 2021 to Question 59956, on Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Ministerial Responsibility, which policy areas the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in his Department, the hon. Member for Bury St Edmonds, has covered in meetings at the Department.

The ministerial responsibilities of the hon. Member for Bury St Edmonds have been published on gov.uk. External meetings will be published in the usual way on the transparency data publications, available on gov.uk in due course.

I can confirm the hon. Member for Bury St Edmonds is a paid member of the Government.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 28 October 2021, how many departmental meetings the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in his Department, the hon. Member for Bury St Edmonds, has attended since 17 September 2021.

The ministerial responsibilities of the hon. Member for Bury St Edmonds have been published on gov.uk. External meetings will be published in the usual way on the transparency data publications, available on gov.uk in due course.

I can confirm the hon. Member for Bury St Edmonds is a paid member of the Government.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of barriers to the supply of turkeys for Christmas 2021.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain which has coped well in responding to unprecedented challenges. Defra works closely with businesses and other stakeholders to monitor and assess food supply.

We have listened to concerns from the sector and we know that the run-up to Christmas is a particularly important time for farmers and food producers, who need more workers on their farms to meet seasonal demand and more HGV drivers on the roads to deliver food across the country in this period.

In response to these exceptional circumstances, Defra has announced that up to 5,500 poultry workers and 5,000 HGV drivers transporting food and fuel will be able to enter the UK on temporary visas for work in the lead up to Christmas 2021. These are temporary, emergency measures.

The Government also took decisive action to support the CO2 industry to reach a deal which will continue the supply of CO2 to UK businesses, including those in the poultry processing sector. The deal will run until January 2022 ensuring the CO2 supply over Christmas.

The actions we have taken will ensure that poultry businesses have access to the necessary workforce and materials to mitigate any potential risks to food supply in the run up to Christmas.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of sales by food manufacturers in Great Britain to Northern Ireland since January 2021.

The Northern Ireland Protocol has led to considerable disruption in the movement of goods. There has been clear diversion of trade. Supply chains have been disrupted and costs increased due to new bureaucracy.

Therefore, we put forward proposals to fix the problems in our Command Paper in July. The Government is now in intensive discussions with the EU with the aim of delivering significant changes to the NI Protocol.

A recent survey (4-19 October) of the members of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) found that the sales volumes from GB to NI had fallen by an average of 13% since the Northern Ireland Protocol came into effect on 1 January 2021. This was across the 83 businesses surveyed. It should be noted that this is a sub sample of FDF’s over 300 members and not necessarily representative.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has read the UN Environment Programme's The Emissions Gap Report 2021; and if he will make a statement.

We welcome the UN Environment Programme's Emissions Gap Report 2021. As this report makes clear, it is important that each country delivers on their 2030 Nationally Determined Contributions and net zero commitments. The UK’s pledge to cut emissions by at least 68% by 2030 is one of the most ambitious in the world.

The UK has been pressing all leaders to commit to ambitious climate action ahead of COP26 to help keep 1.5°C in reach. We will continue to do this, at COP and throughout our Presidency year.

Domestically, we are taking vital steps through our recently published Net Zero Strategy to play our part. My department has a crucial role to play in helping this government achieve its net zero target. As set out in the Net Zero Strategy, we will support our agriculture and land use sectors to reduce emissions, restore huge swathes of peat, create vast woodlands, and take action to reduce harmful waste and gases. This is central to our ambition to be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we found it.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what proportion of his Department's work is dedicated to tackling toxic air.

Improving air quality is a priority for this Government. We are committed to tackling a diversity of pollutants which harm human health and the environment. My department is taking urgent action through our ambitious Clean Air Strategy, our landmark Environment Bill and delivery of our £3.8 billion programme to clean up transport and tackle roadside NO2 pollution.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many times he has discussed air quality with the Prime Minister since July 2019.

The Secretary of State has regular discussions with the Prime Minister on all Defra matters, including air quality.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the impact of unclean air on the health and well-being of children.

Air pollution poses the biggest environmental threat to public health and children are particularly vulnerable to its effects. I and my Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs work closely with our counterparts in other Departments on issues related to air pollution, including on understanding and reducing the harms it causes.

The Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP) provides independent advice to Government departments and agencies on how air pollution impacts on health, including the health of children (published reports). Defra continues to work across Government, including with DHSC and the new UK Health Security Agency, to understand the relationship between air quality and health.

The improvement of air quality and reduction in associated health harms remains a top priority for the Government. The Government is therefore taking a range of actions to tackle air pollution, including through the landmark Environment Bill and by implementing the Clean Air Strategy.

Defra’s Air Quality Grant Programme provides funding to local authorities, for projects in local communities to tackle air pollution and reduce emissions affecting schools, businesses and residents. This year we have awarded over £5 million, of which over £1 million has been awarded to projects specifically targeted at making improvements for children. Next year £9 million of funding will be awarded, of which at least £1 million will be dedicated to projects to improve public awareness in local communities about the risks of air pollution. Particular focus will be given to projects that deliver measures that focus on vulnerable groups, including children.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the ability of UK suppliers to meet demand for domestic food consumption.

Our food security depends on supply from diverse sources; strong domestic production as well as imports through stable export routes. Overall we produce 60% of all the food we need. That figure increases to 74% as a percentage of the food which UK conditions allow us to grow or rear in the UK for all or part of the year. These figures have changed little over the last 20 years. UK consumers have almost constant access through international trade to food products that we cannot produce here, or can only produce for some of the year; this also supplements our excellent domestic production. Importantly, this also ensures that any disruption from risks such as adverse weather or disease does not affect the UK's overall security of supply.

The Government has committed in the Agriculture Act 2020 to publishing a triennial report on subject of food security which will provide detailed analysis of relevant statistical data. The food security report will be a significant body of work that will cover both global and domestic food security, including global food availability, supply sources for food, supply chain resilience, food safety, and household food security. The first report will be published prior to the House rising for Christmas recess in 2021.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to publish the Ministerial responsibilities of the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in his Department, the hon. Member for Bury St Edmonds.

The Ministerial responsibilities of the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in my Department, the hon. Member for Bury St Edmonds, will be published on gov.uk in due course.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is taking steps to increase the UK's domestic capacity for the disposal of flexible plastic waste.

In our second consultation on 'Consistency in Household and Business Recycling in England' we consulted on proposals to require plastic films and flexible packaging be included in household and business recycling collections. We also asked for views on how plastic films should be collected to avoid contamination of other recyclables, contamination with food and to make sorting easier. The consultation closed on 4th July and we will publish our response in due course.

Through consistent household collections and extended producer responsibility in the Environment Bill, alongside measures such as the plastic packaging tax, we will significantly support the market for all plastics recycling, including flexibles, giving businesses the confidence to invest in enhanced domestic capacity. In pursuit of this, the government, through the UK Research and Innovation Industrial Strategy Challenge, has also invested £20m into four plastics reprocessing facilities to develop new technologies in this area.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that there is better separation of recyclable materials at source to minimise the contamination of flexible plastic waste by food waste.

In our second consultation on 'Consistency in Household and Business Recycling in England' we consulted on proposals to require plastic films and flexible packaging be included in household and business recycling collections. We also asked for views on how plastic films should be collected to avoid contamination of other recyclables, contamination with food and to make sorting easier. The consultation closed on 4th July and we will publish our response in due course.

Through consistent household collections and extended producer responsibility in the Environment Bill, alongside measures such as the plastic packaging tax, we will significantly support the market for all plastics recycling, including flexibles, giving businesses the confidence to invest in enhanced domestic capacity. In pursuit of this, the government, through the UK Research and Innovation Industrial Strategy Challenge, has also invested £20m into four plastics reprocessing facilities to develop new technologies in this area.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the impact of the recent flash flooding on urban communities.

The Secretary of State and Defra Ministers regularly meet with colleagues and stakeholders to discuss flooding and coastal erosion.

I want to praise the work of the Environment Agency, local authorities, and our blue light services for the response they provided to all the areas which experienced flooding in the summer, and earlier this month.

Policy and funding for flood and coastal erosion is a devolved matter. In England, this Government has doubled investment to £5.2 billion in flood and coastal erosion risk management schemes between now and 2027. This will better protect 336,000 properties, benefiting urban areas as well as coastal and rural communities.

Surface water is one of the sources of flooding in urban areas and the Government is taking action to tackle this. In July we published our update and progress report on our surface water management action plan.

We have already changed our flood defence partnership funding rules to enable more surface water schemes and launched a £200 million innovation fund which includes actions to support surface water flood risk actions. We are putting water company Drainage and Wastewater Plans on a statutory footing through the Environment Bill, to ensure drainage and sewerage systems are resilient to withstand the current and future pressures on them.

In England, Lead Local Flood Authorities (county and unitary authorities) have the leadership role on surface water flood risk management, and are working with those impacted by the recent flooding to help them return to their homes and businesses as quickly as possible.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of limiting the materials included in the proposed Deposit Return Scheme on the UK’s ability to achieve its net zero emissions targets.

We have now consulted twice on introducing a DRS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and are analysing the responses to the second consultation, including those on scope and materials.

In developing proposals, the government have considered the inclusion of cartons in the scheme. However, the recent consultation proposed that cartons would not be captured by DRS and instead could be collected through kerbside collections. Cartons could be included in the core list of materials to be collected in the dry recyclable waste streams, and producers could pay for disposal of the packaging through the reformed packaging producer responsibility regime.

Final details of the scope of the DRS will be presented in a government response which will be published in due course. An impact assessment to support final proposals for the introduction of the scheme will also be published alongside the government response.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will use the postponement of the introduction of a Deposit Return Scheme until 2024 as an opportunity to include a wider range of materials in that scheme, including carton packages.

We have now consulted twice on introducing a DRS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and are analysing the responses to the second consultation, including those on scope and materials.

In developing proposals, the government have considered the inclusion of cartons in the scheme. However, the recent consultation proposed that cartons would not be captured by DRS and instead could be collected through kerbside collections. Cartons could be included in the core list of materials to be collected in the dry recyclable waste streams, and producers could pay for disposal of the packaging through the reformed packaging producer responsibility regime.

Final details of the scope of the DRS will be presented in a government response which will be published in due course. An impact assessment to support final proposals for the introduction of the scheme will also be published alongside the government response.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential impact on carton recycling rates of including carton packages in the Government's proposed Deposit Return Scheme.

We have now consulted twice on introducing a DRS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and are analysing the responses to the second consultation, including those on scope and materials.

In developing proposals, the government have considered the inclusion of cartons in the scheme. However, the recent consultation proposed that cartons would not be captured by DRS and instead could be collected through kerbside collections. Cartons could be included in the core list of materials to be collected in the dry recyclable waste streams, and producers could pay for disposal of the packaging through the reformed packaging producer responsibility regime.

Final details of the scope of the DRS will be presented in a government response which will be published in due course. An impact assessment to support final proposals for the introduction of the scheme will also be published alongside the government response.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the ability of reverse vending machines to break glass drink bottles into a natural broken state.

Our impact assessment, published alongside the second consultation on introducing a deposit return scheme, showed that the currently available reverse vending machines will be readily capable of compacting glass into suitably sized pieces for recycling. Our engagement with industry has been important in informing this assessment. The compaction can involve breaking glass bottles into 4, 5, or 6 separate parts and is to be clearly distinguished from crushing glass. The advantage of such compaction is that it substantially reduces the volume and thereby the storage and transport costs compared to whole, “soft drop”, bottles whilst still fulfilling the principles of the circular economy. It also avoids the difficulties involved with crushing glass on collection which results in material loss.

The impact assessment which accompanies the second consultation assumed that the glass collected would be of high quality and therefore able to be sent on for recycling. We are continuing to finalise the policy of the DRS and further details will be provided in a Government response which will be published in due course. This will also be accompanied by an impact assessment on the final scope and policy agreed for the scheme.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what comparative assessment he has made of the level of leakage of glass recyclate through (a) a deposit return scheme where glass is handled multiple times throughout collection and (b) local authority household collections.

Our impact assessment, published alongside the second consultation on introducing a deposit return scheme, showed that the currently available reverse vending machines will be readily capable of compacting glass into suitably sized pieces for recycling. Our engagement with industry has been important in informing this assessment. The compaction can involve breaking glass bottles into 4, 5, or 6 separate parts and is to be clearly distinguished from crushing glass. The advantage of such compaction is that it substantially reduces the volume and thereby the storage and transport costs compared to whole, “soft drop”, bottles whilst still fulfilling the principles of the circular economy. It also avoids the difficulties involved with crushing glass on collection which results in material loss.

The impact assessment which accompanies the second consultation assumed that the glass collected would be of high quality and therefore able to be sent on for recycling. We are continuing to finalise the policy of the DRS and further details will be provided in a Government response which will be published in due course. This will also be accompanied by an impact assessment on the final scope and policy agreed for the scheme.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of (a) the crushing of glass and (b) soft drop glass return through reverse vending machines on the quality of glass recyclate for re-melt.

Our impact assessment, published alongside the second consultation on introducing a deposit return scheme, showed that the currently available reverse vending machines will be readily capable of compacting glass into suitably sized pieces for recycling. Our engagement with industry has been important in informing this assessment. The compaction can involve breaking glass bottles into 4, 5, or 6 separate parts and is to be clearly distinguished from crushing glass. The advantage of such compaction is that it substantially reduces the volume and thereby the storage and transport costs compared to whole, “soft drop”, bottles whilst still fulfilling the principles of the circular economy. It also avoids the difficulties involved with crushing glass on collection which results in material loss.

The impact assessment which accompanies the second consultation assumed that the glass collected would be of high quality and therefore able to be sent on for recycling. We are continuing to finalise the policy of the DRS and further details will be provided in a Government response which will be published in due course. This will also be accompanied by an impact assessment on the final scope and policy agreed for the scheme.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of potential effect of the glass-drink packaging recyclate going to aggregate through (a) Deposit Return Schemes and (b) local authority household collections.

Our impact assessment, published alongside the second consultation on introducing a deposit return scheme, showed that the currently available reverse vending machines will be readily capable of compacting glass into suitably sized pieces for recycling. Our engagement with industry has been important in informing this assessment. The compaction can involve breaking glass bottles into 4, 5, or 6 separate parts and is to be clearly distinguished from crushing glass. The advantage of such compaction is that it substantially reduces the volume and thereby the storage and transport costs compared to whole, “soft drop”, bottles whilst still fulfilling the principles of the circular economy. It also avoids the difficulties involved with crushing glass on collection which results in material loss.

The impact assessment which accompanies the second consultation assumed that the glass collected would be of high quality and therefore able to be sent on for recycling. We are continuing to finalise the policy of the DRS and further details will be provided in a Government response which will be published in due course. This will also be accompanied by an impact assessment on the final scope and policy agreed for the scheme.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the level of the recommended bulk density for glass recyclate collected for recycling back into bottles in respect of the principles of the circular economy.

Our impact assessment, published alongside the second consultation on introducing a deposit return scheme, showed that the currently available reverse vending machines will be readily capable of compacting glass into suitably sized pieces for recycling. Our engagement with industry has been important in informing this assessment. The compaction can involve breaking glass bottles into 4, 5, or 6 separate parts and is to be clearly distinguished from crushing glass. The advantage of such compaction is that it substantially reduces the volume and thereby the storage and transport costs compared to whole, “soft drop”, bottles whilst still fulfilling the principles of the circular economy. It also avoids the difficulties involved with crushing glass on collection which results in material loss.

The impact assessment which accompanies the second consultation assumed that the glass collected would be of high quality and therefore able to be sent on for recycling. We are continuing to finalise the policy of the DRS and further details will be provided in a Government response which will be published in due course. This will also be accompanied by an impact assessment on the final scope and policy agreed for the scheme.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he last met representatives of the Chemical Business Association.

The Secretary of State last met representatives of the Chemical Business Association on 21 July 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the amount of chemicals required for the effective treatment of waste water.

The amount of chemicals required for the effective treatment of waste water varies from site to site. Chemicals used include coagulants, antifoamers and waste odour limiters, for example. There is currently no shortage of chemicals required for waste water treatment.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the supply of ferric sulphate in England.

England has an adequate supply of water chemicals, including ferric sulphate.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he last had discussions with the Mayor of London on toxic air.

The Secretary of State met the Mayor of London on 5 July. Air quality was one of the topics that were discussed.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential for a link between toxic air and covid-19 symptoms.

We published a report on 1 July 2020 outlining the findings from the recent rapid Call for Evidence we ran with our Air Quality Expert Group, to ensure we can more fully understand the impact the pandemic had on air pollutant emissions, concentrations and human exposure: https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/library/reports.php?report_id=1005.

In August 2020, we also published the findings of a study done by the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and the Office for National Statistics (ONS), in collaboration with Defra, Public Health England and both air quality expert groups (Defra’s Air Quality Expert Group and DHSC’s Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants).

This research did not suggest a strong link between exposure to air pollution and mortality rates from Covid-19:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/environmentalaccounts/methodologies/coronaviruscovid19relatedmortalityratesandtheeffectsofairpollutioninengland

In line with previous studies, this report shows that people who are at greater risk of severe illness from Covid-19 are also at most risk of exposure to air pollution, but the evidence is not strong enough to suggest that air pollution is having a direct link to the spread or severity of Covid-19. Nevertheless, it is clear, that improved air quality is an important measure in helping us to reduce the burden placed on people’s health.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he last met Ministers in the Welsh Government.

The Secretary of State meets regularly with Ministers from the Welsh Government at the Inter-Ministerial Group EFRA meetings. He met the Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd; and the Minister for Climate Change at the last meeting on 13 September and they are due to meet again on 25 October.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of modern LED streetlights on the behaviour of nocturnal moths.

Protecting insects is a priority, and we are taking action to support them and the wider natural environment of which they are a vital component. Our commitment to setting a legally binding target to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030 underlines our ambition.

Defra has published or contributed to a range of national and global assessments of the pressures on insects and wider biodiversity, including on the impacts of artificial light. We welcome recently published research on the impacts of sodium and LED lighting on the local abundance and distribution of caterpillars. We will continue to work closely with researchers, NGOs and across the Government to improve our understanding of the impacts of light pollution.

The Government is taking action to ensure that light pollution is managed for wildlife and for people, through controls in the planning system, the statutory nuisance regime and improvements in street lighting.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he last met with the chief executive of the Environment Agency.

Defra Ministers and officials meet regularly with the chief executive of the Environment Agency.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of poaching on elephant numbers in Zimbabwe.

The UK does not undertake its own assessment. Global assessments of poaching and illegal trade in elephants and their ivory are carried out through two programmes operated through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The MIKE (Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants) system monitors trends in levels of illegal killing of elephants and ETIS (Elephant Trade Information System) monitors the pattern and scale of illegal trade in ivory and other elephant specimens.

The IUCN African Elephant Specialist Group also carries out African elephant population assessments and trends by country and published the African Elephant Status Report in 2016. This report includes elephant numbers at a national level.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of poaching on elephant numbers in Kenya.

The UK does not undertake its own assessment. Global assessments of poaching and illegal trade in elephants and their ivory are carried out through two programmes operated through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The MIKE (Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants) system monitors trends in levels of illegal killing of elephants and ETIS (Elephant Trade Information System) monitors the pattern and scale of illegal trade in ivory and other elephant specimens.

The IUCN African Elephant Specialist Group also carries out African elephant population assessments and trends by country and published the African Elephant Status Report in 2016. This report includes elephant numbers at a national level.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his African counterparts on tackling poaching on the African continent.

The UK is committed to protecting endangered animals and plants from poaching and illegal trade to benefit nature, people, the economy and protect global security.

The UK Government engages regularly with key counterparts across Africa on the illegal wildlife trade, including through our overseas missions. We are mobilising the expertise of the British military to provide professional training to Zambian park rangers in more effective and safer counter-poaching techniques. Furthermore, we engage regularly in the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA) to support the delivery of the Biodiverse Landscapes Fund, a new £100 million programme, that will deliver conservation, poverty reduction and climate outcomes, including tackling the illegal wildlife trade and poaching. KAZA is an area spanning five countries in southern Africa and hosting fifty percent of Africa's savannah elephants.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the initial work of the Interim Office for Environmental Protection.

I am satisfied that the Interim Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) is fulfilling its interim functions and undertaking all necessary preparations to establish the OEP as a body corporate, ready to meet its objectives by the time the Environment Bill provisions relevant to the OEP are commenced

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he last met with the senior management of Thames Water.

The Secretary of State met with senior management of water companies, including Thames Water, on 20 March 2020 to discuss the industry’s response to the COVID pandemic.

I have met with Thames Water management at the Thames Tideway Roundtable on 13 July 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he discussed Walley's Quarry, in Newcastle Under Lyme, at his last meeting with the Chief Executive of the Environment Agency; and if he will make a statement.

Walley’s Quarry was discussed during the most recent meeting between the Secretary of State and the Environment Agency (EA) Chief Executive and Chair. The EA and central Government are committed to finding a long-term solution to the issue of odour at the site as quickly as possible to protect the health and wellbeing of local communities and are working together to deliver this.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the UK food supply chain.

We have a highly resilient food supply chain, as demonstrated throughout the Covid-19 response. It is well equipped to deal with situations with the potential to cause disruption.

The UK's high degree of food security is built on access to a range of sources, including robust supply chains domestically, and from other countries. Defra has well established ways of working with the industry and across Government to ensure that we maintain close ties internationally and monitor any risks that may arise.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the UK's preparedness for the COP-15 summit in October 2021.

The Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) announced on 18 August that CBD COP15 will now be scheduled to take place as a two-part Summit. In August, China announced that there will be a virtual, High-Level Segment from the 11 to 15 October 2021 followed by an in-person event in Kunming, China, from 25 April to 8 May 2022.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is responsible for representing the UK at meetings of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and is committed to playing a leading role in developing an ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework to be adopted at COP15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity. As part of this framework the UK is advocating ambitious global targets to bend the curve of biodiversity loss by 2030, including targets to ensure more ocean and land is protected, ecosystems are restored, species population sizes are recovering and, that by 2050 extinctions are halted. This ambitious set of targets must be supported by increased finance for nature and strengthened reporting and review mechanisms to facilitate the achievement of them.

To secure this ambition, the UK has participated fully in each of the virtual negotiations sessions which have taken place this year. In addition, the UK, in partnership with Norway, is leading a programme of workshops for Parties to enhance planning, reporting and review mechanisms to strengthen the implementation mechanisms of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework and the CBD. We are working internationally, including through the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature; the UK-led Global Ocean Alliance; in our role as Ocean Co-Chair of the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People and bilaterally with priority countries to secure a successful CBD outcome.

We must tackle the biodiversity crisis head on, and the delay to these important negotiations is no excuse for taking our foot off the pedal. We hope more countries will use the extra time to join us in safeguarding and financing nature conservation to ensure the adoption of a truly ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent estimate he has made of the number of Black and ethnic minority staff employed in his Department.

As at 30 July, the Defra Ministerial department had 660 staff who had declared they were from a Black or Ethnic Minority background. This equates to 14% of staff who had made a declaration.

Each year as at 31 March and in line with all departments, Defra contributes to the Annual Civil Service Employment Survey which covers key Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Data. These statistics can be found here: Annual Civil Service statistics 2021. This shows the Department had 600 staff who had declared they were from a Black or Ethnic Minority background.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the effect of air quality on (a) death and (b) infection from covid-19; and when such discussions occurred.

Defra continues to hold extensive discussions with the Department for Health and Social Care on the relationship between air quality and health. These have included the specific relationship between air quality and covid-19 transmission, infections and deaths.

In response to Defra's call for evidence on COVID-19 and air quality (April 2020 and published in June 2020), the scientific community and appointed experts from Defra and Public Health England (PHE) considered the possible link between air quality and COVID-19 infection. They concluded that there was no clear empirical evidence of a link at that stage:

2007010844_Estimation_of_Changes_in_Air_Pollution_During_COVID-19_outbreak_in_the_UK.pdf (defra.gov.uk)

Officials and appointed experts from Defra, PHE and the Office for National Statistics delivered a project to describe the relationship between air pollution exposure and COVID-19 deaths. The results and methodology were shared with the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), and a summary of the findings were published in August 2020 at the following URL:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ons-air-pollution-and-covid-19-mortality-rates-in-england-6-august-2020

The methodology used in this analysis project was also published at the following URL:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/environmentalaccounts/methodologies/coronaviruscovid19relatedmortalityratesandtheeffectsofairpollutioninengland

The Departments continue to actively engage on a regular basis.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will further explore the feasibility of developing (a) compostable plastics and (b) other innovative and sustainable methods of waste disposal to reduce the amount of non-biodegradable conventional single-use flexible plastic produced.

Ideally we want to tackle litter of all kinds, including plastics, to stop them from being released in the natural environment in the first place. Furthermore, when littered in the open environment, compostable plastics will typically behave similarly to conventional plastics. Indeed, a plastic product that is designed to degrade or disintegrate more rapidly may accelerate the production of microplastic fragments. This is because the existing standard that applies to industrial composting, BS EN 13432, is only effective if the compostable plastic is collected and sent to an appropriate treatment facility.

Therefore, until the appropriate infrastructure is in place across the country to accept compostable plastics, the government's preference is that they are used in closed loop systems where no reusable or recyclable options are available; and with appropriate collection and disposal arrangements in place. We recommend that businesses consult available guidance and evidence summaries on this to help assess if this may be the case for their intended purpose. In accordance with the waste hierarchy, our current preference remains that most plastics are reusable or recyclable.

As set out in our response to the call for evidence on Standards for bio-based, biodegradable, and compostable plastics, published in April 2021, we want to ensure that innovation in the plastics industry continues but it is vital to ensure that new materials really are more sustainable than conventional plastics and other alternatives. As already highlighted, concerns persist that plastics which are claimed to be biodegradable, if littered or otherwise released into the environment in an uncontrolled way, may not degrade quickly or even at all.

The Government has invested nearly £100 million into research and innovation to tackle the issues that arise from plastic waste. £20 million was set aside through the Plastics Research and Innovation Fund, the last funding competition of which opened in June 2020. The Resource Action Fund included £10 million specifically to pioneer innovative approaches to boosting recycling and reducing litter. The Government has also announced £60 million of funding through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, alongside a £150 million investment from industry, towards the development of smart, sustainable plastic packaging (SSPP), which will aim to make the UK a world leader in sustainable packaging for consumer products. Two SSPP funding opportunities have been open for bids in 2021: the SSPP Demonstrator Round 2 and the SSPP business-led research and development competition.

Additionally, the UK Research and Innovation Industrial Strategy Challenge funded by the Government has recently invested £20 million into four plastic reprocessing facilities in the UK to support the development of new technologies to recycle plastic waste. These projects will increase domestic reprocessing capacity. Three of these projects include the development of chemical recycling plants which turn plastic waste back into oil which can be used to replace virgin oil for use in new plastic products.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of compostable plastics on reducing the plastic contamination of (a) soil and (b) the sea.

Ideally we want to tackle litter of all kinds, including plastics, to stop them from being released in the natural environment in the first place. Furthermore, when littered in the open environment, compostable plastics will typically behave similarly to conventional plastics. Indeed, a plastic product that is designed to degrade or disintegrate more rapidly may accelerate the production of microplastic fragments. This is because the existing standard that applies to industrial composting, BS EN 13432, is only effective if the compostable plastic is collected and sent to an appropriate treatment facility.

Therefore, until the appropriate infrastructure is in place across the country to accept compostable plastics, the government's preference is that they are used in closed loop systems where no reusable or recyclable options are available; and with appropriate collection and disposal arrangements in place. We recommend that businesses consult available guidance and evidence summaries on this to help assess if this may be the case for their intended purpose. In accordance with the waste hierarchy, our current preference remains that most plastics are reusable or recyclable.

As set out in our response to the call for evidence on Standards for bio-based, biodegradable, and compostable plastics, published in April 2021, we want to ensure that innovation in the plastics industry continues but it is vital to ensure that new materials really are more sustainable than conventional plastics and other alternatives. As already highlighted, concerns persist that plastics which are claimed to be biodegradable, if littered or otherwise released into the environment in an uncontrolled way, may not degrade quickly or even at all.

The Government has invested nearly £100 million into research and innovation to tackle the issues that arise from plastic waste. £20 million was set aside through the Plastics Research and Innovation Fund, the last funding competition of which opened in June 2020. The Resource Action Fund included £10 million specifically to pioneer innovative approaches to boosting recycling and reducing litter. The Government has also announced £60 million of funding through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, alongside a £150 million investment from industry, towards the development of smart, sustainable plastic packaging (SSPP), which will aim to make the UK a world leader in sustainable packaging for consumer products. Two SSPP funding opportunities have been open for bids in 2021: the SSPP Demonstrator Round 2 and the SSPP business-led research and development competition.

Additionally, the UK Research and Innovation Industrial Strategy Challenge funded by the Government has recently invested £20 million into four plastic reprocessing facilities in the UK to support the development of new technologies to recycle plastic waste. These projects will increase domestic reprocessing capacity. Three of these projects include the development of chemical recycling plants which turn plastic waste back into oil which can be used to replace virgin oil for use in new plastic products.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the amount of flexible plastic waste using sustainable methods.

The Government wants to see the reduction in plastic waste, and where plastic waste still exists, to increase the recycling of plastic film and flexibles. In our 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy, we outlined out intention to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste throughout the lifetime of the 25 Year Environment Plan (by 2042).

We have recently undertaken a second consultation on introducing extended producer responsibility (EPR) for packaging. This would see producers required to pay the costs of managing the packaging they place on the market including when it becomes waste. It also proposed that producers' fees will be varied so that those who use unrecyclable or difficult to recycle packaging such as flexible plastics would be required to pay higher fees. This will incentivise producers to consider their packaging choice.

In addition, we proposed that where producers see a need for additional investment to increase recycling and meet recycling targets under Packaging EPR, they could choose to raise further funding through the scheme. For example, to upgrade sorting and recycling infrastructure so that more types of film plastics can be recycled.

In our recently published second consultation on 'Consistency in Household and Business Recycling in England,' we consulted on proposals to include plastic films and flexible packaging in household collection services by the end of the financial year 2026/27. We also consulted on proposals to introduce plastic films and flexible packaging into business collection services by the end of the financial year 2024/25.

We are now analysing the responses that were received in response to these consultations and will publish our response in due course.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of food contamination on the recyclability of flexible plastic waste.

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has produced guidance for local authorities to tackle the problems of contamination in recycling, which can be found here: wrap.org.uk/sites/default/files/2021-05/WRAP-Tackling-contamination-dry-recycling-May2021.pdf. WRAP also produces the Recycling Tracker which is the largest and longest running survey on recycling attitudes, values and behaviours. The surveys can be found at this link: https://wrap.org.uk/resources/report/recycling-tracker-report-2020-behaviours-attitudes-and-awareness-around-recycling.

The Government wants to see the recycling of plastic film increased and plastic films included into the plastic recyclable waste stream for consistent collections. We have worked with stakeholders across the plastic packaging value chain to gather evidence on the issues related to introducing plastic films into kerbside collections, including food contamination. In our recent consultation on 'Consistency in Household and Business Recycling in England, we sought views on best practice around the separate collection of plastic films, to include guidance on this recognising that ideally plastic films would be segregated from other recyclable materials within the plastics waste stream to facilitate easier sorting and reduce contamination. We are currently analysing responses to the consultation and gathering further evidence around issues relating to material quality, sorting, reprocessing and contamination to include in best practice guidance.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of his Department's energy usage in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021.

The Department’s energy costs over the last three years are detailed below.

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21

Total energy costs ('000£)

17,238

17,145

17,122

This information will be available in our Annual report and Accounts which will be published shortly.

The Department is defined as comprising the following bodies:

Defra Core Department

Executive Agencies

  • Animal and Plant Health Agency
  • Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture
  • Rural Payments Agency
  • Veterinary Medicines Directorate

Non-Departmental Public Bodies

  • Environment Agency
  • Marine Management Organisation
  • Natural England
  • Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
  • Forestry Commission

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his policy is on his Department's rates of recycling of plastic, paper, metal and other products; and if he will make a statement.

We continually review the waste generated on our estate and work with our commercial colleagues on circular economy principles to reduce the amount of waste that arrives on our sites. Where we cannot avoid this, we work with our suppliers to move any waste we generate up the waste hierarchy.

Further information on Greening Government Commitments can be found at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/883779/ggc-annual-report-2018-2019.pdf.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary