Virginia Crosbie Portrait

Virginia Crosbie

Conservative - Ynys Môn

Women and Equalities Committee
2nd Mar 2020 - 7th Sep 2020


Scheduled Event
Friday 10th September 2021
Private Members' Bills - Main Chamber
Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Bill: Second Reading
View calendar
Division Votes
Wednesday 9th June 2021
Information Commissioner (Remuneration)
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 359 Conservative Aye votes vs 0 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 369 Noes - 2
Speeches
Tuesday 20th July 2021
Dogs (Protection of Livestock)

I beg to move,

That leave be given to bring in a Bill to amend the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) …

Written Answers
Thursday 22nd July 2021
National Savings Bonds: Environment Protection
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for what reason nuclear energy projects are excluded from the new green savings …
Early Day Motions
Monday 13th January 2020
Protecting the Welsh language
That this House notes the importance of the Welsh language to the cultural identity of Wales and its residents; is …
Bills
Tuesday 20th July 2021
Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Bill 2021-22
A Bill to amend the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953; and for connected purposes.
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 28th June 2021
1. Employment and earnings
Payment of £120 expected for a survey completed on 15 June 2021. Hours: 30 mins. (Registered 25 June 2021)

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Virginia Crosbie has voted in 366 divisions, and 1 time against the majority of their Party.

27 Apr 2021 - Delegated Legislation - View Vote Context
Virginia Crosbie voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 77 Conservative No votes vs 222 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 431 Noes - 89
View All Virginia Crosbie 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
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(12 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(9 debate interactions)
Alok Sharma (Conservative)
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
(7 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(22 debate contributions)
Home Office
(22 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Virginia Crosbie's debates

Ynys Môn Petitions

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

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

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

Petition Debates Contributed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Latest EDMs signed by Virginia Crosbie

13th January 2020
Virginia Crosbie signed this EDM as a sponsor on Monday 13th January 2020

Protecting the Welsh language

Tabled by: Virginia Crosbie (Conservative - Ynys Môn)
That this House notes the importance of the Welsh language to the cultural identity of Wales and its residents; is aware of the importance of the teaching of the Welsh language in schools; believes that Government bodies should play their part in advancing the language; and calls on the Government …
10 signatures
(Most recent: 29 Jan 2020)
Signatures by party:
Plaid Cymru: 3
Labour: 2
Independent: 2
Conservative: 1
Scottish National Party: 1
Alba Party: 1
View All Virginia Crosbie's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Virginia Crosbie, 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.


Virginia Crosbie has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Virginia Crosbie has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Virginia Crosbie


A Bill to amend the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Tuesday 20th July 2021
(Read Debate)
Next Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 10th September 2021
Order Paper number: 20
(Unlikely to be Debated - would require unanimous consent to progress)

Virginia Crosbie has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


144 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
4 Other Department Questions
4th Jun 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what discussions he has had with (a) the Welsh Government, (b) the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and (c) industry bodies to use the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference to promote the renewables industry of (i) Wales and (ii) Ynys Môn.

I have regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues, including the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to help promote the UK's clean energy transition. I have met with companies in the renewable energy industry in Wales to explore how they can support a successful COP26. The Government has a long history of supporting the development and deployment of wave and tidal stream technologies in the UK, including in Wales. Since 2003 various bodies across Government have provided innovation/R&D funding of £175m to the wave and tidal sectors (almost £80m since 2010).

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. As part of this, I chair the COP26 Devolved Administrations (DAs) meetings with climate change ministers from the DAs. 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)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what steps he is taking to work with his international counterparts to reduce the impact of global deforestation; and what support the Government has provided to protect rainforests.

The UK Presidency is working with international counterparts and partners to secure global action to protect and restore forests, and shift international agricultural commodity supply chains away from deforestation and transition towards more sustainable practices. We have established the Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT) Dialogue to achieve this. The FACT Dialogue is a ground-breaking partnership between governments of producer and consumer countries committed to taking action to transition to more sustainable commodity production and global trade.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what steps he is taking to work with the Welsh Government to ensure there are opportunities for civil society to engage with COP26.

Civil society, with their links to on-the-ground communities and practitioners, are key partners to achieve the goals we have set for COP26. This is why I have set up an International COP26 Civil Society and Youth Advisory Council so that we can hear and act on the knowledge of civil society groups. My officials run regular, open-invite calls with a large network of civil society organisations to share updates on our planning for COP26, which are regularly attended by Welsh groups.

We are working with the Welsh Government, alongside the other devolved administrations, to ensure an inclusive and ambitious COP26 for the whole of the UK. As part of this, I chair the COP26 Devolved Administrations (DAs) Ministerial meeting with climate change ministers from the DAs. The COP26 Unit also worked with the Welsh Government and other DAs to encourage proposals from stakeholders 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)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what steps he is taking with global partners to ensure (a) food and commodity supply chains are environmentally responsible (b) that the finance industry is bound by net-zero and the Paris Agreement targets.

The Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT) Dialogue is critical to ensuring supply chains are environmentally responsible. This is a ground-breaking partnership between producer and consumer countries committed to taking action to transition to more sustainable commodity production and global trade. Building on the Just Rural Transition Initiative, we also aim to build momentum for policy action, innovation, and investment for sustainable agriculture and food systems, particularly through the ‘Transition to Sustainable Agriculture’ Policy Dialogue.

On the finance industry, the UK is implementing a framework for embedding climate into every financial decision and creating a more sustainable financial system to support the path to net zero. The agenda for private finance can be seen here.

In addition, we have now launched the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), which brings together over 160 firms (together responsible for assets in excess of $70 trillion) from the leading net zero initiatives across the financial system. GFANZ will work to mobilise the trillions of dollars necessary to build a global zero emissions economy and deliver the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
13th Apr 2021
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 allowing civil servants in his Department to receive their Imperial Service Medal whilst still serving, as is the case with his Department's service personnel.

The Imperial Service Medal (ISM) is awarded to recognise long and faithful service in the Civil Service by an individual in an eligible grade. The ISM is awarded on the recommendation of the employing department on the retirement, redundancy, resignation, or transfer to the private sector of an individual with at least 25 years of meritorious service. Eligibility for the ISM is set in Statute and there are currently no plans to change the qualifying criteria.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he has taken to negotiate with the Greek Government the granting of special permits to allow the up to 180 days that are permitted per year under Schengen rules to be used in a single block of any length up to 180 days by travellers from the UK.

The 90 days in a rolling 180-day period is the standard length of stay that the EU offers to the nationals of eligible third countries that reciprocate visa-free travel access for EU citizens. There is no precedent for the EU offering a longer length of visa-free stay than 90 / 180 days to the nationals of any third country and the Government does not typically enter into bilateral agreements on visa-free travel. Both the UK and the EU provide visa-free arrangements for tourists and short-term business visitors.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he has taken to facilitate freight traffic through Holyhead Port since 1 January 2021.

HMG worked with Welsh Government and local stakeholders to share planning assumptions about potential disruption ahead of the end of the Transition Period and put in place contingency plans, including to manage potential traffic disruption at Holyhead. As there has not been significant traffic disruption to the port, additional facilitative steps have not been needed.

We recognise the need to provide as much support to traders, ports and hauliers as possible. The Government has introduced a range of measures to help the industry meet new export requirements, including training, webinars and extensive guidance on GOV.UK. We are increasing our communication and engagement efforts to ensure that traders are confident using Welsh routes.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to include nuclear power in discussions on clean energy with the US Administration; and what recent assessment he has made of potential areas for co-operation between the UK and US on clean energy.

The United States is our closest strategic partner and we regularly discuss clean energy policy with them, including on nuclear energy. For example, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister and President Biden announced a new Strategic Dialogue in advance of the G7 Summit. The Dialogue will build upon our existing extensive co-operation, deepening it in areas such as the development and deployment of innovative, clean energy technologies such as nuclear energy, industrial decarbonisation, energy security and resilience, joint priorities in multilateral energy forums, and shared science, research, and innovation cooperation.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of nuclear energy on (a) long term economic growth and (b) the number of high value regional jobs.

The 2016 Oxford Economics’ Nuclear Activity Report suggested that, in 2016, the nuclear sector contributed approximately £6.4bn GVA to the UK economy, where each civil nuclear worker contributed an average of £96,600 – significantly higher than the UK average of £56,200.

The Nuclear Skills Strategy Group – of which BEIS is a member – published the Nuclear Workforce Assessment 2019 and estimated that the sector employed approximately 89,000 full-time equivalents across the UK. This Group is expecting to update its assessment later this year.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent estimate he has made of the contribution of nuclear fission to the economy.

In 2018, the Nuclear Skills Strategy Group – of which BEIS is a member - estimated that the sector employed approximately 89,000 full-time equivalents across the UK. The 2016 Oxford Economics’ Nuclear Activity Report suggested that, in 2016, the nuclear sector contributed approximately £6.4bn GVA to the UK economy, where each civil nuclear worker contributed an average of £96,600 – significantly higher than the UK average of £56,200.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
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 using Advanced Modular Reactors for the production of hydrogen energy.

The Government believes that nuclear could have a role in low-carbon hydrogen production and is aware of industry proposals showing how current nuclear technologies could play a role during the 2020s, while small and advanced modular reactors could unlock greater efficiencies in the production process.

While work continues to better understand the role that emerging technologies could play in our net zero future, the recent Nuclear Industry Association hydrogen roadmap suggests nuclear could provide up to a third of anticipated 2050 demand for hydrogen and modelling from the Energy Systems Catapult predicts a similar outcome.

We will say more on the role of various hydrogen production technologies in our forthcoming UK Hydrogen Strategy.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will take steps to ensure that UK expertise and capability in gas-cooled nuclear reactors is utilised to deliver next generation reactors, rather than obtaining this from an international vendor.

The UK has a wealth of expertise and capability in civil nuclear power. In 2018, the Nuclear Skills Strategy Group – of which the Department is a member - estimated that the sector employed approximately 89,000 full-time equivalents across the UK, including North Wales. The development and deployment of next generation technologies such as Small and Advanced Modular Reactors, will create new, exciting opportunities both for our existing highly skilled workforce and for those outside of the sector wishing to pursue a career in nuclear to support net zero.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to his Department's policy paper entitled 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, published on 18 November 2020, what progress he has made on delivering the programme for Advanced Modular Reactors within the timeframe as set out by the Government.

This Government is committed to progressing new nuclear projects, including advanced nuclear technologies, to help decarbonise the UK energy system. In his Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced an up to £385 million Advanced Nuclear Fund to invest in the next generation of nuclear technologies. The Advanced Nuclear Fund includes up to £215 million to develop a domestic Small Modular Reactors (SMR) design and up to £170 million for an Advanced Modular Reactors (AMRs) research and development programme, with an aim to build an AMR demonstrator by the early 2030s.

We are also committed to supporting the wider UK nuclear energy sector to help deliver advanced nuclear technologies to market. That is why, in addition to the Advanced Nuclear Fund, we have committed to invest in the nuclear regulatory frameworks and support UK supply chains.

In May 2021, we published new guidance for Advanced Nuclear Technologies to apply to enter the Generic Design Assessment (GDA). GDA allows the UK’s independent nuclear regulators to assess new reactor designs and provide the confidence that these new designs are capable of meeting the UK’s statutory regulatory requirements.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help develop advanced nuclear technology within the UK; and if he will make a statement.

This Government is committed to progressing new nuclear projects, including advanced nuclear technologies, to help decarbonise the UK energy system. In his Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced an up to £385 million Advanced Nuclear Fund to invest in the next generation of nuclear technologies. The Advanced Nuclear Fund includes up to £215 million to develop a domestic Small Modular Reactors (SMR) design and up to £170 million for an Advanced Modular Reactors (AMRs) research and development programme, with an aim to build an AMR demonstrator by the early 2030s.

We are also committed to supporting the wider UK nuclear energy sector to help deliver advanced nuclear technologies to market. That is why, in addition to the Advanced Nuclear Fund, we have committed to invest in the nuclear regulatory frameworks and support UK supply chains.

In May 2021, we published new guidance for Advanced Nuclear Technologies to apply to enter the Generic Design Assessment (GDA). GDA allows the UK’s independent nuclear regulators to assess new reactor designs and provide the confidence that these new designs are capable of meeting the UK’s statutory regulatory requirements.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential opportunities for creating new, highly-skilled jobs in Wales through the development of advanced nuclear technology.

We recognise the highly skilled jobs Advanced Nuclear Technologies could create in local communities across the UK, in construction, manufacturing and support services.

We are also delighted by the recent announcement that the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) will be opening its first formal base in North Wales at the Menai Science Park (M-Sparc) in Anglesey. This announcement demonstrates their commitment to driving nuclear innovation, investment and the employment of a skilled workforce in Wales.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
7th Jul 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 Transport on increasing the number of electric vehicle public charging points across the UK to meet the Climate Change Committee's recommendation of 150,000 points by 2025.

The Department regularly engages with the Department for Transport on tackling climate change and delivering our net zero commitments.

The Government is investing £1.3 billion in accelerating the roll out of charging infrastructure over the next four years, targeting support on rapid chargepoints on motorways and major roads, and installing more on-street chargepoints near homes and workplaces to make charging as easy as refuelling a petrol or diesel car. Our grant schemes and the £400 million Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund will see thousands more electric vehicle charge-points installed across the UK.

Government and industry have supported the installation of almost 25,000 publicly available charging devices. This includes more than 4,500 rapid devices. In order to ensure the private sector can continue to expand the charging network at pace in the 2020s, the Government will invest £950 million in future proofing grid capacity along the Strategic Road Network and launching a £90 million Local EV Infrastructure Fund to support the roll out of large on-street schemes and potentially rapid charging hubs in England.

However, we have not set an overall target for the number of chargepoints. Having a “target” number risks assuming technology stands still and creating a uniform approach to charging mixes and needs across the country.

Later this year we will publish an EV Infrastructure Strategy to set out the vision and action plan for charging infrastructure rollout needed to achieve the 2030/35 phase out successfully.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to make transmission investments to increase electricity network capacity to accommodate the changing electricity generating mix as more renewables from onshore and offshore wind come online.

Electricity network companies are responsible for building, owning and operating the onshore electricity network, and are regulated by Ofgem, the independent energy regulator, in doing so. Ofgem sets a price control, called RIIO, which sets allowances and revenues for the networks during the price control period, incentivising networks to act efficiently in consumers’ best interests. This ensures there is sufficient capacity on the network to meet demand, including connecting to new renewable generation.

The Offshore Network Transmission Review (OTNR) is reviewing how offshore transmission can be better coordinated to support the Government’s target of 40GW of offshore wind by 2030, and net zero by 2050. This will support investment in transmission over the coming decades to accommodate the changing electricity generating mix.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he plans to take to support the development of the onshore supply for tidal stream and wave technology; and if he will make a statement.

Tidal and wave technologies could have a potentially important role in the long-term decarbonisation of the UK, however, they will have to reduce their costs sufficiently, to compete with other renewable technologies. We are committed to growing a development of a competitive UK supply chain in parallel with our plans for increasing the deployment of renewable electricity generating technologies. We are continuing to consider policy related to these technologies in light of the information received from the recent Marine Energy Call for Evidence on the potential of marine energy projects.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he has taken to prepare for the Contracts for Difference Auction Round 4 taking place in 2021, in relation to dedicated capacity; and what steps he is taking to put in place strike price arrangements to support tidal stream and wave technology deployment in Welsh waters and across the UK.

Wave and tidal stream projects remain eligible to compete in Pot 2 for Contracts for Difference auctions. We are currently developing parameters for Allocation Round 4 and will publish these well in advance of the next auction, including consideration of technology-specific minima.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what criteria he will use to assess the business case for large-scale nuclear power project proposals being brought to the Final Investment Decision by the end of the 2019 Parliament.

As with the business cases for all major projects and programmes, the case for a large-scale nuclear power project will be assessed consistent with the approach set out in HM Treasury’s Green Book and Guide to Developing Project Business Cases:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-green-book-appraisal-and-evaluation-in-central-governent.

Before entering into commitments to support any nuclear project, as stated in the nuclear Regulated Asset Base (RAB) consultation document, the Government will assess the project business case on whether the project was expected to contribute to the target of net zero emissions by 2050 and deliver security of supply, at a lower total electricity system cost for consumers than alternatives without the project.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential contribution of Hinkley Point C to electricity supply.

Once operational, Hinkley Point C will provide 3.2 gigawatts of secure, low carbon electricity for around 60 years, meeting around 7% of the UK’s current electricity requirements and providing enough electricity to power the equivalent of around 6 million homes.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the role of nuclear power in a net zero energy system.

BEIS analysis of the electricity system in 2050 – published alongside the Energy White Paper in December 2020 – shows that in the majority of modelled scenarios, more new nuclear beyond Hinkley Point C will be required to achieve net zero at low cost by 2050. That is why the Government confirmed in the Energy White Paper that it aims to bring at least one large-scale nuclear project to a Final Investment Decision by the end of this Parliament (subject to clear value-for-money and all relevant approvals), and that it will provide up to £385m in an Advanced Nuclear Fund (subject to future Spending Reviews) for the next generation of nuclear technology aiming, by the early 2030s, to develop a Small Modular Reactor design and to build an Advanced Modular Reactor demonstrator.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the need for new nuclear power plants in addition to Hinkley Point C in order to meet net zero targets.

BEIS analysis of the electricity system in 2050 – published alongside the Energy White Paper in December 2020 – shows that in the majority of modelled scenarios, more new nuclear beyond Hinkley Point C will be required to achieve net zero at low cost by 2050. That is why the Government confirmed in the Energy White Paper that it aims to bring at least one large-scale nuclear project to a Final Investment Decision by the end of this Parliament (subject to clear value-for-money and all relevant approvals), and that it will provide up to £385m in an Advanced Nuclear Fund (subject to future Spending Reviews) for the next generation of nuclear technology aiming, by the early 2030s, to develop a Small Modular Reactor design and to build an Advanced Modular Reactor demonstrator.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the progress of international projects to produce green hydrogen from nuclear energy.

The Government is aware of a number of international projects to produce low carbon hydrogen from nuclear energy. International collaboration is an important part of Government’s policy to successfully develop nuclear technology and Government is engaged in international initiatives such as the Clean Energy Ministerial, Mission Innovation and the Generation IV International forum where opportunities for low carbon hydrogen production from nuclear energy are being considered.

The Government welcomes the UK nuclear industry’s growing ambition to support low-carbon hydrogen production and the forthcoming UK Hydrogen Strategy will provide further detail on the role of production technologies in meeting our 5GW ambition. The Strategy will set out how the UK will position itself as a leader in the production, use and export of low carbon hydrogen, alongside the export of skills, technology and expertise. It will also set out our strong ambition to collaborate with key partners. By sharing expertise, building common standards and working together to remove deployment barriers, we can expedite hydrogen’s contribution to tackling climate change and creating green jobs. We look forward to engaging in more detailed discussions with overseas partners, including on nuclear-linked production, in light of the Strategy’s publication.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to create well paid and quality green jobs to level up opportunities in the UK; and what assessment he has made of the potential number of such new jobs to be created in (a) Wales and (b) Ynys Môn constituency.

We are 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.

Through the Ten Point Plan, we will support a further 90,000 green collar jobs across the UK by 2024, and up to 250,000 by 2030. The Plan announced that we will invest up to £1 billion to support the establishment of carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) in at least two industrial clusters by the mid-2020s, and four by 2030 at the latest, creating ‘SuperPlaces’ in areas potentially including south Wales. The UK Community Renewal Fund will also provide £220 million of additional funding over 2021-22, to better support people and communities in need across the whole of the UK, including Wales.

In order to ensure we have the skilled workforce to deliver net zero and our Ten Point Plan, we have launched the Green Jobs Taskforce. The Taskforce will conclude its work in summer 2021, with the actions feeding into our Net Zero Strategy to be published later in the year.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing support to former business owners whose businesses have been liquidated as a result of the covid-19 outbreak and who are unable to start new business ventures as a result of that liquidation disqualifying them from obtaining insurance and other basic business support.

There is no legislation in the Insolvency Act or Company Directors Disqualification Act that would disqualify a business owner from obtaining insurance and other business support solely as a result of their previous company being subject to liquidation proceedings. A business owner in this position would have access to support from the Government, such as that provided through Growth Hubs and the free Business Support Helpline, on the same terms as any other business. Individual lenders and insurers may have policies in place that would take account of a previous insolvency and this would be a commercial matter for them.

Businesses of all sizes and all stages of growth can access free support and advice from their local Growth Hub, led by Local Enterprise Partnerships in England. Contact details can be found online: www.lepnetwork.net/local-growth-hub-contacts/. Firms based in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have access to similar support through their devolved governments: www.gov.uk/business-support-helpline.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to (a) ensure the economic viability of hydrogen-ready boilers, (b) ensure the successful roll out and uptake of heat pumps and hybrid heat pumps and (c) help reduce the running costs of electricity powered heating systems and (iv) encourage the transition away from fossil fuel domestic heating systems.

Meeting our carbon goals will require the vast majority of the UK’s homes and non-domestic buildings to be zero carbon by 2050, through a combination of energy efficiency measures and moving to low carbon heating.

(a) We are supporting a range of research, development and testing projects designs to help determine the feasibility of using low carbon hydrogen as an alternative to the use of natural gas for heating. The Government has been supporting the development of hydrogen-ready boilers through the Hy4Heat programme. The programme includes ongoing projects to assess the timelines for the scale up of hydrogen-ready boiler production and their potential future costs. We will be consulting on the potential role of hydrogen-ready boilers in the transition to Net Zero later this year.

(b) The Government is bringing forward a wide-ranging package of policies to support the development of the heat pump market towards our ambition for 600,000 installations per year by 2028 including targeted regulations and financial support. We are working closely with industry to grow the supply chain, manage any impacts on the electricity network and provide support to consumers. Furthermore, the Government is helping to drive wider consumer acceptance and demonstrating the suitability of heat pumps, including hybrid heating systems, across the UK housing stock, through the £14.6 million Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project.

(c) The Government is keen to ensure that households and businesses are aware that all energy users are fairly sharing in the benefits and costs of the UK’s transition to Net Zero. Ensuring costs of the transition are allocated fairly is a priority for this Government, and we will shortly begin a dialogue on this between Government, consumers and industry, by publishing a call for evidence on affordability and fairness.

(d) Transitioning away from fossil fuels will not be simple and will require clear, long-term policy. The Government will shortly unveil a comprehensive policy package to support this ambition, including targeted regulatory, market-based and public investment measures, and will set out further detail on this in our forthcoming Heat and Buildings Strategy.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress he has made on the funding models for nuclear energy announced in the Energy White Paper; and what assessment he has made of the potential effect of those models on Ynys Môn.

As we stated in our response to the consultation on a Regulated Asset Base (RAB) for nuclear published on 14th December 2020, the Government is continuing to explore a RAB model. We will also continue to consider the potential role of Government finance during construction, provided there is clear value for money for consumers and taxpayers and subject to relevant approvals.

We believe that a RAB remains a credible model for large-scale nuclear projects, including future projects proposed for Wales, as it has the potential to help reduce the cost of raising private finance and thereby reduce consumer bills in the long run.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential for the new hydrogen hub on Ynys Môn to contribute to the decarbonisation of the transport sector particularly through the use of hydrogen-powered heavy trucks.

The UK Government has made available £4.8 million, subject to business case and other approvals, to support the development of the Holyhead Hydrogen Hub. The project proposes a hydrogen pilot production plant that would supply hydrogen fuel to the heavy goods and maritime vehicle markets on Ynys Môn. Officials are liaising with the developer and expect to consider the business case for the project in due course.

Hydrogen is expected to play a key role in transport decarbonisation, but it is likely to be most effective in the areas ‘that batteries cannot reach’, where energy density requirements or duty cycles and refuelling times make it the most suitable low carbon energy source. This might include its use in heavy goods vehicles, buses, rail, shipping and aviation. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will continue to work closely with the Department for Transport to explore the possibilities hydrogen can offer across different transport modes.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential contribution of tidal power to the energy base load; and what funding the Government has allocated from the public purse to (a) Morlais on Ynys Môn and (b) other tidal energy projects.

The Morlais project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and has received funding through the North Wales Growth Deal. Since 2003, various bodies across Government have provided innovation funding of £175m to the wave and tidal sectors.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how the UK carbon budget contributes to the Government's Climate Change mitigation strategy; and what assessment he has made of what investment is required in educational buildings to retro-fit those building to net zero emissions standards as part of the Build Back Better Strategy.

The Climate Change Act 2008 introduced our framework of carbon budgets to mitigate climate change by ensuring continued progress towards our emission reduction target, capping emissions in successive five-year blocks. Through this legal framework and ambitious policy action, we have shown that cutting emissions and growing the economy go hand-in-hand – reducing our emissions by over 43% since 1990 while growing the economy by 78%.

We are going further and faster to mitigate climate change. This year we will set the sixth carbon budget in legislation and publish a Net Zero Strategy ahead of COP26, setting out the Government’s vision for transitioning to a net zero economy.

The Government remains committed to its manifesto pledge to invest £9.2 billion in the energy efficiency of homes, schools, and hospitals, helping to decarbonise buildings to keep us on track to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

The Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme is a government-funded grant scheme to help public sector organisations in England, including schools, colleges and universities, and reserved public services across to the UK to install low carbon heating and energy efficiency measures on their estates. On 17th March 2021, £75m of funding was announced for Phase 2 Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) pregnant women and (b) mothers are not disproportionately affected by redundancy in work.

Pregnancy and maternity discrimination is unlawful. Redundancies which are based on unlawful discrimination are unacceptable. Legislation is in place to ensure processes are fair and reasonable - and informed by appropriate equalities considerations. Employees who believe their redundancy was unfair may be able to complain to an employment tribunal.

The Government is determined to do more to ensure pregnant women and new mothers are not disproportionately affected by redundancy. Following a consultation last year, the Government has committed to extend the statutory redundancy protection which a mother currently enjoys while on maternity leave, shared parental leave or adoption leave for a period for six months following a return to work. We will bring these measures forward as soon as there is an appropriate opportunity.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he is taking steps to provide support for the UK hydrogen sector which is equivalent to EU support for that sector in mainland Europe.

The Government is committed to the development of hydrogen as a strategic decarbonised energy carrier. We are currently developing our strategic approach to hydrogen and its potential to deliver against our net zero goals.

We are investing up to £121m (between 2015 and 2021) in hydrogen innovation across the value chain. We are developing new policy, in partnership with industry, to bring forward the technologies and supply chain we will need to grow the UK hydrogen economy. This includes business models to support the deployment of, and investment in, low carbon hydrogen production, and a £100m Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund to stimulate capital investment.

We are closely monitoring international hydrogen developments and participate in a range of international fora, including the International Partnership for Hydrogen for Fuel Cells in the Economy, Mission Innovation and Clean Energy Ministerial where we engage with partners including the EU. This is informing our own strategic approach to the development of hydrogen in the UK context, including the role of Government in ensuring that the UK can harness opportunities for partnership and economic benefit.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support the creation of the infrastructure required for further roll out of hydrogen gas as an alternative to less environmentally friendly options.

The Government is already investing up to £121m (between 2015 and 2021) in innovation across the hydrogen supply chain to grow the UK hydrogen economy. This includes the £33m Hydrogen Supply competition, supporting projects including renewable hydrogen at scale through offshore floating wind (Dolphyn), and the world’s largest electrolyser production facility (ITM Gigafactory). The HyDeploy project has been commissioned by Gas Network Operators to investigate the option of blending up to 20% hydrogen with natural gas in the gas grid, while the Government’s £25m Hy4Heat programme is exploring the safety and feasibility of using 100% hydrogen for heat in homes.

In addition, a £100m Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund was announced in August 2019, to stimulate capital investment in new low carbon hydrogen production, and at the Budget this year we announced at least £800m to support carbon capture and storage infrastructure that could help enable production of low carbon hydrogen at scale.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has (a) met or (b) had discussions with with representatives of the Protect and Connect campaign since 1 January 2021; and how many times he has (i) met or (ii) had discussions with representatives from mobile phone operators in that time.

The full list of Ministerial meetings is published on gov.uk on a quarterly basis.

Ministers and officials engage regularly with the telecoms industry on a range of issues. However, it would not be appropriate to have conversations with stakeholders about reforms to the Electronic Communications Code while the responses to the consultation on that issue are being considered.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on the potential effect of the proposed Electronic Communications Code changes on local government finances.

Ministers and officials regularly engage with their counterparts in other government departments as part of the policy making process. Our proposals for amending the Electronic Communications Code are no exception and we will continue to work together to ensure that the proposals reflect the importance of both digital infrastructure and the vital role that local government has in supporting deployment.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits to the (a) Welsh economy and (b) tourism sector of Ynys Môn constituency of holding the Commonwealth Games in Wales.

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games provide a unique and significant opportunity to accelerate economic growth and support the recovery of our tourism sectors across the UK after the impact of COVID-19. The government is working closely with our Games partners to ensure we make the most of these opportunities.

Central government is funding £594 million of the total £778 million investment into hosting the Commonwealth Games. This significant investment is driving legacy opportunities across both the West Midlands and UK, including job creation, visitor attraction and a timely boost to businesses. There is also a wealth of opportunities for the people of Wales to get involved in the Games, such as the Queen’s Baton Relay, which will travel through Wales ahead of the Games, Games-time volunteering opportunities and potential business contracts.

An additional £24 million investment from the government and the West Midlands Combined Authority to create a Business and Tourism Programme will ensure the region and the UK can take advantage of the economic opportunities hosting the Games provides. Fully integrated with the Games, the Business And Tourism Programme will use the event’s profile to boost our global reputation as a leading destination for tourism, trade, and investment.

The matter of a bid for a future Commonwealth Games in Wales would be a matter for the Welsh government.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to (a) encourage private businesses in the tourism sector to increase their accessibility to disabled people and (b) work with the Welsh Government to supply businesses with free access to accessibility guides.

My Department, alongside VisitBritain and VisitEngland, have taken a number of steps to improve accessibility within the tourism sector.

For example, VisitBritain and VisitEngland launched the Channel 4 Mission: Accessible series last year, which highlighted the perspective of visitors with access needs enjoying the tourism landscape and included an episode filmed in Wales.

VisitEngland has a dedicated web portal providing tailored business advice to tourism businesses, including guidance on how to welcome guests with different access needs.

The Tourism Sector Deal, published in June 2019, set out an ambition to make the UK the most accessible destination in Europe by 2025. The Tourism Recovery Plan will set out how we will support the tourism sector to build back better from the pandemic, including by making it more accessible.

More generally, the Government is committed to improving the lives of disabled people, and will publish the National Strategy for Disabled People this year. The strategy will take into account the impacts of the pandemic on disabled people and will focus on the issues that disabled people say affect them the most in all aspects and phases of life.

As tourism is devolved, the Welsh Government is responsible for any targeted initiatives to support the sector in Wales - though we will continue to engage with the Devolved Administrations to discuss issues relevant to the tourism sector.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to (a) encourage private businesses in the tourism sector to be more accessible to disabled people and (b) work with the Welsh Government to supply businesses with free access to accessibility guides.

My Department, alongside VisitBritain and VisitEngland, have taken a number of steps to improve accessibility within the tourism sector.

For example, VisitBritain and VisitEngland launched the Channel 4 Mission: Accessible series last year, which highlighted the perspective of visitors with access needs enjoying the tourism landscape and included an episode filmed in Wales.

VisitEngland has a dedicated web portal providing tailored business advice to tourism businesses, including guidance on how to welcome guests with different access needs.

The Tourism Sector Deal, published in June 2019, set out an ambition to make the UK the most accessible destination in Europe by 2025. The Tourism Recovery Plan will set out how we will support the tourism sector to build back better from the pandemic, including by making it more accessible.

More generally, the Government is committed to improving the lives of disabled people, and will publish the National Strategy for Disabled People this year. The strategy will take into account the impacts of the pandemic on disabled people and will focus on the issues that disabled people say affect them the most in all aspects and phases of life.

As tourism is devolved, the Welsh Government is responsible for any targeted initiatives to support the sector in Wales - though we will continue to engage with the Devolved Administrations to discuss issues relevant to the tourism sector.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to improve broadband provision in Ynys Mon constituency.

Good progress has been made in the Ynys Mon constituency, with over 93% of premises in the constituency able to access superfast broadband. This is up from 6% in March 2013. Gigabit-capable coverage in the constituency stands at 19%, above the Welsh coverage figure of 16%.

The Ynys Mon constituency is included in the North Wales Wave 3 project as part of the Local Full Fibre Networks programme. The project is connecting 413 public sector sites across the six local authorities (Conwy County Borough Council, Denbighshire County Council, Flintshire County Council, Gwynedd County Council, Isle of Anglesey County Council, Wrexham County Borough Council) that make up North Wales.

In addition, there is a Rural Gigabit Connectivity project that is looking to connect a further 103 public sector sites across Wales - the Ynys Mon constituency is included in this project too.

For those premises that are still struggling from slow speeds, DCMS runs a voucher scheme that can be used by rural communities across the UK to reduce the cost of installing gigabit-capable connectivity. This provides a voucher worth up to £3,500 for eligible small businesses and vouchers worth up to £1,500 for residents. Increased funding is available for eligible small businesses and residents in Wales, where the Welsh Government is ‘match funding’ the vouchers, doubling the above figures.

Furthermore the government has pledged £5 billion to invest in the hardest to reach areas of the UK. Supplier engagement has taken place over the summer, and their feedback will be used to refine and finalise the delivery vehicle of the programme.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the BBC on the decision to remove the free TV license for over 75s.

The government meets with the BBC on regular occasions to discuss a wide range of issues, including the over 75 concession. The Government has consistently made clear its disappointment 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.

The BBC remains responsible for the administration of the concession and it will be responsible for setting out what those affected will need to do. It 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.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to encourage schools and UK universities to promote nuclear science as a career path for apprentices and graduates.

My right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, has made it clear that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects are of great importance.

We want to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to pursue a STEM career, regardless of their background. To support this, we have made substantial spending commitments on programmes to enhance STEM teaching and participation in schools, through programmes such as Isaac Physics and Science Learning Partnerships. Isaac Physics is an online learning platform designed to increase the number of students studying physics, with a particular focus on those from disadvantaged backgrounds, and Science Learning Partnerships is a national network supporting teacher continuing professional development.

The department recognises that careers education has a crucial role to play in inspiring pupils towards STEM careers, including those in the nuclear industry. Secondary schools are expected to provide pupils with at least one interaction with employers per year, with a particular emphasis on STEM employers. These interactions demonstrate the range of different career possibilities in STEM and challenge stereotypes. Furthermore, the Careers and Enterprise Company (CEC) is making sure that every young person has access to inspiring encounters with the world of work, including work placements, work experience and other employer-based activities. The CEC encourage use of labour market information to identify which sectors are growing and promote sector-based campaigns through their networks.

This government has also been working to champion the diversity of roles and people that make up the STEM sector in order to remove pupils’ misconceptions around working in STEM. Through continuing to fund the STEM ambassador programme, we are ensuring that extracurricular activities related to STEM are delivered by volunteers representative of the local population so that young people can be inspired by people they relate to. We have also recently funded and published Behavioural Insights Trials, with a cohort of 11,000 students, to better understand the low participation of girls in STEM.

We have also been improving our offer of apprenticeships so that anybody, regardless of their background, has the opportunity to pursue STEM careers whether they come via a technical or academic route. There are now 625 high-quality apprenticeship standards to choose from that have been designed by employers to meet their skills needs. Employers in the nuclear science sector can take advantage of standards in a number of occupational routes. Available standards include level 2 Nuclear Operative, level 5 Nuclear Technician and level 6 Nuclear Reactor Desk Engineer.

The institutional autonomy of universities is protected by law, meaning that what they include in their course content and careers programmes is at their discretion. Through the National Careers Service, anyone can access independent, professional advice on careers, skills and the labour market. Employers and professional bodies in the nuclear science sector can sign up to the ‘Inspiring the Future’ programme, which allows volunteers to visit state schools to talk to pupils about their job. This will raise the profile of various careers within nuclear science.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of the UK becoming an e-Twinning country as part of the Turing Scheme in order to benefit (a) pupils aged 3-19 years in educational collaborations with similar aged children abroad and (b) teachers' continuous professional development.

The government has decided that it is not in the UK's interests to seek continued participation in the Erasmus+ programme. eTwinning is an EU initiative which is part of the Erasmus+ programme, so as a result our participation in eTwinning has also ended. There are currently no plans for the UK to join eTwinning in the future.

The new Turing Scheme will provide funding for school pupils to participate in international placements and exchanges, and the scheme is currently open for schools to apply. The scheme is not a like-for-like replacement of Erasmus+, and does not replicate the eTwinning online platform, but is focused on providing funding for school pupils to benefit from going overseas. We want to give as many pupils as possible the opportunity to travel abroad to experience different cultures, improve language skills and build independence, character, and resilience. The Turing Scheme offers guidance for schools on how to establish international partnerships, including through the British Council Schools Partner Finder. These partnerships also offer teachers the chance to share experiences and best practice with colleagues in other countries.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to support outdoor education centres at risk of permanent closure as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department’s advice on educational visits can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools. This guidance is in line with guidance from Public Health England, the Cabinet Office and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office; it is currently under review and the findings will be available at the end of November.

The Government has introduced an unprecedented and comprehensive package of support to help as many individuals and businesses as possible during this difficult period. This includes small business grants, coronavirus loan guarantee schemes, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and the deferral of VAT and income tax payments. The measures introduced have been designed to be accessible to businesses in most sectors and across the UK.

Further measures have been announced by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that build on the significant support already available and set out how current support will evolve and adapt. This includes the extension of the CJRS until the end of March 2021 and the introduction of the Local Restrictions Support Grant, which will provide grants of up to £1,500 for each 3-week period that a business is closed following the implementation of localised restrictions and business closures.

The Government will continue to work closely with local authorities, businesses, business representative organisations and the financial services sector to monitor the implementation of current support and understand whether there is additional need. Businesses can also access tailored advice through our Business Support Helpline, online via the business support website or through their local growth hubs in England.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
1st Jul 2021
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 change in EU rules to allow the use of (a) processed animal protein from mammals in the feed for poultry and pigs and (b) gelatine and collagen from sheep and cattle being fed to other farm animals; and whether he plans to ban those products from entering the food chain in the UK.

The current EU rules for the production of animal feed are more stringent than those of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

The EU’s forthcoming changes are in line with the OIE and with the EU TSE Roadmaps. The Roadmaps are a programme of stepwise relaxations in line with the latest scientific advice which the UK, an EU Member State at the time, supported. They would permit the feeding of porcine Processed Animal Protein (PAP) to poultry and poultry PAP to pigs, and ruminant gelatine and collagen and protein derived from insects to pigs and poultry.

Now that we have left the EU, the restrictions on feeding of livestock in the UK will not be altered by EU legislation and they apply whether the feed is imported or produced here.

The UK does not ban the imports of animals or products of animal origin from countries where the feed rules comply with the OIE requirements. This means that imports of animals or products of animal origin from the EU or Northern Ireland will continue to be accepted into Great Britain.

The Government is in the process of assessing the implications of these changes for the UK and will use the latest scientific evidence to decide if any policy changes should be made in England.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that mechanisms are in place to allow data exchange with EU (a) institutions and (b) member states to help manage fish stock levels.

Fisheries protection is a devolved matter. Nonetheless, Defra, the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive continue to work together to share information and ensure a coordinated approach to monitoring, compliance and enforcement across UK waters.

The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement requires both Parties to share information on such matters. The two parties exchange information on records of catches of quota species from the UK Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) on a monthly basis, supplemented with International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)-rectangle (geographical areas) level data to provide assurance of the robustness of the EEZ-level data.

We are working closely with counterparts in EU Member States to ensure effective coordination of intelligence-sharing and inspections. It is a legal requirement for all registered fishing vessels over 12m operating within UK waters, including EU vessels, to be fitted with a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) device. Data from this device is relayed via the flag member states providing the UK Fisheries Authorities with live positional data.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taken to increase quotas for UK fishing vessels since the UK's departure from the EU; and if he will distribute the UK quota to increase allocation to small-scale fishing boats.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU provides for a significant uplift in quota for UK fishers equal to 25% of the value of the average annual EU catch from UK waters and will be phased in over five years, with the majority of this value (15%) being transferred in the first year (2021). It ensures a smooth and managed transition to new quota sharing arrangements and a framework for annual negotiations between the UK and the EU.

We set out how the additional quota would be apportioned between the four administrations on 24 March. How each administration distributes that to industry is a devolved issue.

For England we set out the new distribution method on 14 April and this provided significant uplifts for under 10 metre vessels.

Full details, including what has been allocated to Wales, have been published on the Marine Management Organisation’s website.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fishing-quota-allocations-for-2021-for-england-and-the-uk

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to introduce food labelling that specifies the (a) method of production and (b) country of origin for all raw and processed food.

Country of origin information is required for all prepacked food where its omission would be misleading to consumers, and is required for fresh and frozen meat of beef, sheep, goat, pigs and poultry, as well as for uncut fresh fruit and vegetables, honey, olive oil and wine. For processed food, where the origin of the primary ingredient is different to that of the food itself and the origin of the food is given, an indication that the origin of the primary ingredient is different or the specific origin must also be provided. In any case, where an indication, in words of pictures, of origin or provenance is given this must be accurate.

For method of production, an indication must be provided on shell eggs when sold as such and in the case of poultry, where it is stated must meet strict criteria. For other species and for dairy products, any claims around method of production either in words or pictures must not be misleading.

We have the opportunity to review food labelling now we are no longer bound by EU rules to ensure information supports UK consumers' food choices and the marketing of quality British food products. This review will be made in the context of the government’s food strategy white paper which will be published following Henry Dimbleby’s independent review of the food system later this year.

The Government has further committed to consult on what can be done through labelling to promote high standards and high welfare across the UK. There will be a call for evidence launched this summer which will look to address evidence gaps on the impact, costs and deliverability on different types of labelling reforms. This, alongside Henry Dimbleby’s review, will inform a full consultation later this year which will seek stakeholder and public views on how welfare information should be presented to consumers.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to prevent illegal fishing in UK waters.

Illegal fishing in UK waters by vessels of any nationality is an extremely serious matter which endangers the sustainability of our stocks and the long-term interests of the UK fishing fleet. Given that fisheries management is a devolved matter, the four UK fisheries authorities work together to combat illegal fishing by a range of means. These include: applying scientific data and evidence to fisheries management to ensure sustainable fishing; sharing intelligence and coordinating assets when required through the Joint Maritime Security Centre; significantly increasing the number of onshore personnel and maritime surveillance assets; ensuring that all commercial fishing vessels operating in UK waters are licenced in a way which means that, regardless of nationality, they must all abide by the same regulations as UK vessels; and working closely with counterparts in EU Member States to ensure effective coordination of intelligence-sharing and inspections.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of restoring the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act 1988.

Restoring the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act would be inconsistent with wider government policy which welcomes foreign investment in UK industry. Our investment commitments under the UK / EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement reflect this policy.

We believe that ensuring all vessels over 10 metres in length that land more than 2 tonnes of per annum and are fishing against English quota demonstrate a link to the UK would provide a stronger benefit to the UK economy. We consulted on proposals to strengthen the economic link licence condition for English vessels last year and intend to publish the government response this summer.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many UK registered foreign-owned vessels fished against the UK quota in (a) 2020 and (b) 2021.

UK fishing quota is not held by EU registered vessels. It is only allocated to UK registered vessels.

We do not keep records of the nationality of UK registered vessel owners.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the proportion of the UK fishing quota that is held by EU registered vessels.

UK fishing quota is not held by EU registered vessels. It is only allocated to UK registered vessels.

We do not keep records of the nationality of UK registered vessel owners.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what (a) fishing quota, (b) tonnage and (c) species will be allocated to Wales.

Full details, including what has been allocated to Wales, have been published on the Marine Management Organisation’s website.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fishing-quota-allocations-for-2021-for-england-and-the-uk

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to take steps to include actions that benefit the restoration and protection of blue carbon habitats in his Departments (a) Environmental Land Management Scheme and (b) other schemes.

The UK recognises the important role that blue carbon habitats – such as saltmarsh and seagrass - can play to prevent biodiversity loss and support adaptation and resilience to climate change, alongside carbon sequestration benefits. The protection and restoration of these habitats therefore provides a nature-based solution.

The UK is a global leader in ocean protection with 38% of UK waters in Marine Protected Areas, covering the majority of saltmarsh and seagrass habitats. Our focus is now on ensuring these are effectively protected.

The Government recently published its response to the Benyon Review into Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs), accepting the central recommendation that we should identify a number of locations to pilot this approach. HPMAs will be identified on the basis of their ecological value, including areas with potential to recover, and blue carbon habitats. Social and economic principles will then be used to help us understand and minimise the impacts on sea users.

In addition, a number of coastal and estuarine habit restoration initiatives are underway. The Environment Agency’s Restoring Meadow, Marsh and Reef (ReMeMaRe) initiative is working to restore our estuarine and coastal habitats, including blue carbon habitats, to benefit people and nature. Natural England is also leading the EU-funded LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES (Reducing and Mitigating Erosion and Disturbance Impacts affecting the Seabed) project, which aims to restore seagrass and maerl habitat in five Special Areas of Conservation.

We are also introducing three schemes that reward the delivery of environmental benefits, including for coastal habitat: the Sustainable Farming Incentive, the Local Nature Recovery scheme and the Landscape Recovery scheme. We are working with stakeholders and end users to determine the specific land management actions that will be paid for under our new schemes. The Agricultural Transition Plan set out examples of the types of actions that we envisage paying for under the schemes, including creating, managing, and restoring coastal habitats such as wetlands and salt marsh.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including data about blue carbon ecosystems in the (a) greenhouse gas inventory and (b) Nationally Determined Contribution calculations.

The UK greenhouse gas (GHG) Inventory will be used to report progress against the UK’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). UK NDC performance will be assessed in 2032 based on the UK 1990-2030 GHG Inventory submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The UK does not currently have the required data to report on anthropogenic activities impacting saltmarsh and seagrass (blue carbon habitats), as set out in the 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Wetlands Supplement, and they are therefore not currently included in the UK GHG Inventory. We continue to build the evidence base on blue carbon habitats to help inform future, robust GHG reporting and accounting.

The Government recognises the role that blue carbon habitats, such as saltmarsh and seagrass, can play to prevent biodiversity loss and support adaptation and resilience to climate change, alongside carbon sequestration benefits. The importance of marine habitats was acknowledged in the UK NDC’s information to facilitate clarity, transparency and understanding, as well as in the UK’s Adaptation Communication.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits for the future long-term sustainability of the British sheep industry of amending the sanitary conditions relating to the importation of live sheep and ram semen from Australia and New Zealand to enable imports from animals bearing the scrapie genotype group 2, specifically scrapie genotypes ARR/ARQ, ARR/ARH or ARR/AHQ.

There have been no changes in our import conditions for scrapie, Annex IX chapter H of regulation (EC) No. 999.2001 details the requirements for import of ovine and caprine semen, oocytes and embryos, which was adopted into UK law. These germinal products of non-ARR/ARR prion protein genotypes may be imported provided they meet the other scrapie requirements set out in the legislation and corresponding import health certificate.

Ovine and caprine germinal products: health certificates - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The UK maintains its own sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) imports regime to protect public, animal and plant life and health and the environment. We have repatriated the functions of audit and inspections to ensure that trading partners, including those we secure trade deals with, continue to meet our import conditions. This provides a standing, robust system that works alongside border controls to maintain our high standards going forward.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ban the imports of trophy hunting memorabilia; and what his planned timescale is for such a ban.

This Government takes the conservation of endangered species very seriously, which is why we will be banning the import of hunting trophies from endangered species. Our approach will be comprehensive, robust and effective and will deliver the change we promised to help protect thousands of species worldwide. We will be setting out plans soon.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a statutory deforestation target for UK supply food and commodity supply chains; and what steps he is taking to bind the finance industry into net-zero and Paris Agreement targets.

There is no requirement in the Environment Bill for a deforestation target. This does not preclude the Government from setting one if it is judged to be the best way to deliver long-term environmental outcomes. The Bill framework allows for long-term targets to be set on any aspect of the natural environment, or people’s enjoyment of it. The Government is committed to setting targets through a robust, evidence-led process that seeks independent expert advice, provides a role for stakeholders and the public, as well as scrutiny from Parliament.

We have commissioned the Joint Nature Conservation Committee to develop a global environmental footprint indicator to help us understand the UK’s global footprint. The first phase of this work was published in May 2021, with further development following in the summer. The outcomes of this work will help inform our future thinking on the most appropriate approach to drive change in this area.

On finance, delivering our net zero objective will require deep decarbonisation of all sectors. We know that financial services will be a critical enabler in mobilizing green investment at the pace and scale required – and that is why green finance is a key priority for this Government.

Furthermore, the UK will become the first G20 country to make Taskforce on Climate- related Financial Disclosures-aligned disclosures fully mandatory across the economy, with most requirements introduced in the next three years. The Government is also actively supporting the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures.

Finally, the UK will implement a green taxonomy, a common framework for determining which activities can be defined as environmentally sustainable, which will improve understanding of the environmental impact of firms’ activities and investments.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to reduce microplastic contamination in rivers arising from the discharge of untreated sewage and wastewater by water companies.

Although there has been research reporting the presence and impacts of microplastics in the marine environment, little is known about their sources, release and impact on rivers. Defra has published research to contribute to better understanding of these issues, and will use the outcomes from this and other studies to develop policy options to help mitigate the impact of microplastics in the environment.

Defra is also working with the Environment Agency, academics and the UK water industry to understand the scale of the microplastic pollution problem and to establish detection methods to identify, characterise and quantify the types of microplastics entering wastewater treatment plants; evaluate the efficiency of treatment processes for the removal of microplastics from domestic wastewaters, and assess the fate and biological effects of microplastics in receiving rivers.

With regards to discharges of untreated waste water, tackling the harm caused by sewer overflows is a top priority for this department.

To achieve this, the new Storm Overflows Taskforce - bringing together Government, the water industry, regulators and environmental NGOs - has agreed to set a long-term goal to eliminate harm from storm overflows. The Taskforce is meeting regularly and working on plans to start making progress towards that goal, and they have commissioned research to gather evidence on the costs, benefits and feasibility of different options.

We are also introducing new duties in the Environment Bill that will require the Government to publish a plan by September 2022 to reduce sewage discharges from storm overflows and to report progress to Parliament on implementing that plan. We are also introducing duties requiring water companies and the Environment Agency to publish data on storm overflow operations on an annual basis. These legally binding obligations on water companies and Government will help reduce pollution in rivers, including microplastic contamination, protecting wildlife and public health.

Water companies are committed in the five-year business planning period (2020-25) to a significant programme of improvements to the monitoring and management of storm overflows at a cost of around £1.3 billion.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the environmental and biodiversity gains of promoting the planting of hedgerows.

Analysis carried out by ADAS consultants in 2020 showed planting hedgerows has a range of environmental gains, including positive impacts on biodiversity, landscape character and protection from, and mitigation of environmental hazards.

Recent reports and research from Natural England and Defra have further evidenced that hedgerows can deliver habitat and resources for a range of important wildlife, support ecosystem services, and sequester and store carbon.

In England, the Environmental Stewardship (ES) and Countryside Stewardship (CS) schemes are currently our primary tools in delivering environmentally beneficial hedgerow management and hedgerow creation, which support the goals of the 25 Year Environment Plan. Hedgerow management is one of the most popular options within the CS scheme.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his timescale is for (a) publishing the results of the consultation on the export ban of live animals for slaughter and fattening and (b) implementing the recommendations arising from that consultation.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Caerphilly on 15 April 2021, PQ UIN 178842.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has had discussions with the British Horseracing Association on when they plan to undertake a consultation on the use of the whip, as recommended in the Horse Welfare Board's five-year Horse Welfare Strategy; and what assessment he has made of the potential merits of banning the use of the whip in horseracing.

The Horse Welfare Board’s five-year Horse Welfare Strategy (HWS) A life well-lived was published on 20 February 2020. The HWS contains 20 recommendations for improving the welfare of horses bred for racing. The HWS recommends that, as a minimum, the penalties for misuse of the whip need to increase and that the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) should conduct a consultation on the use of the whip. The Strategy also recommends that this consultation should gather views on future restrictions on whip use and on a possible ban. Defra has been informed by the British Horse Racing Authority that the delayed opening of the consultation due to COVID-19 disruption will take place later in 2021.

Defra officials will remain engaged with the BHA on the progress being made with the consultation. I would encourage anyone with evidence that a racehorse has suffered unnecessarily from being whipped to get in touch with the BHA and share their concerns. In the most severe cases of misuse, an individual may be investigated under the 2006 Animal Welfare Act, as well as receiving significant sanctions from the sport.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what support he is giving to pig farmers who have lost trade as a result of the covid-19 outbreak and African swine fever.

This pandemic has had a huge impact on businesses up and down the country

We are continuing to monitor the pig sector recognising the challenges it has faced as a result of both Covid-19 outbreaks in processing plants and the end of the Transition period. The Secretary of State and I held a roundtable with the pig industry on 9 February to discuss these issues.

A further roundtable with the retail sector is planned for this week. Approving and maintaining the approvals of UK Food Business Operators (FBOs) for pork exports to China is a decision for the Chinese Authorities but Defra will continue to work closely with UK industry and the British Embassy in Beijing with the aim of securing China’s agreement to reinstate the approval of pork exports from de-listed UK FBOs. The Government has already made available considerable support for businesses impacted by the pandemic. Where appropriate, we would encourage pig farmers to access these funds.

African swine fever remains one of our key priorities in terms of exotic notifiable diseases. Whilst we have never had an outbreak in the UK, we continue to prepare for this eventuality.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of a ban on the sale of glue traps.

We are aware of the concerns around the use of glue traps, which can cause immense suffering to both target and non-target animals.

It is an issue we are looking at very closely as part of our continued drive to maintain the highest animal welfare standards in the world.

Anyone using glue traps has a responsibility under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to act within the law to ensure their activities do not cause any unnecessary suffering.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to prevent untreated sewage from entering rivers and seas in the UK; and what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing the penalties for water companies that breach the regulations on discharge.

Tackling the harm caused by sewer overflows is a top priority for this Department.

During periods of significant rainfall untreated sewage diluted by rainwater will discharge through storm overflows to avoid streets, premises and sewage treatment plants from being flooded. Water companies are committed in the five-year business planning period (2020-2025) to a significant programme of improvements to the monitoring and management of storm overflows at a cost of around £1.1 billion. This investment includes undertaking 800 investigations and 798 improvement schemes to provide environmental improvements by reducing spills from frequently spilling overflows.

I recognise that there is more to do to manage sewage pollution. I met water company CEOs and made clear that the volume of sewage discharged into rivers and other waterways in extreme weather must be reduced.

To achieve this, the new Storm Overflows Taskforce - bringing together Government, the water industry, regulators and environmental NGOs - has agreed to set a long term goal to eliminate harm from storm overflows. The Taskforce is now working on plans to start making progress towards that goal, and they have commissioned research to gather evidence on the costs, benefits and feasibility of different options.

We are introducing new duties requiring the Government to publish a plan by September 2022 to reduce sewage discharges from storm overflows and to report progress to Parliament on implementing that plan. We are also introducing duties requiring water companies and the Environment Agency to publish data on storm overflow operations on an annual basis. These legally-binding obligations on water companies and government will reduce pollution in rivers – protecting wildlife and public health.

Water companies are currently producing for the first time comprehensive Drainage and Wastewater Management Plans to assess the capacity of their wastewater networks. We are also taking key steps through the Environment Bill to require water companies to produce such Plans on a statutory basis. These plans will be another tool to help address the risks that storm overflows pose to the environment.

The Environment Agency uses a range of enforcement options ranging from warning letters to prosecutions. The Environment Agency has brought 44 prosecutions against water companies in the last five years, securing fines of £34 million. £7.9 million has also been donated to environmental and wildlife trusts organisations in the same period through enforcement undertakings. The Environment Agency will continue to prosecute water companies which fail to uphold the law or cause serious environmental harm.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to ban the use of cages in the breeding of game birds; how many animal welfare inspections of game bird farms in England and Wales were undertaken in (a) 2019 and (b) 2020; how many of those visits resulted in action being taken against the person responsible for a welfare breach; and whether follow up inspections were carried out in those circumstances.

We are committed to improving our already high standards of animal welfare and are examining the evidence around the use of cages in farming, including their use for breeding pheasants and partridges.

The welfare of gamebirds is protected by the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to any animal. The Statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Gamebirds Reared for Sporting Purposes offers additional protection and provides keepers with guidance on how to meet the welfare needs of their gamebirds as required by the 2006 Act. It recommends that barren cages for breeding pheasants and small barren cages for breeding partridges should not be used and that any system should be appropriately enriched.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) carries out targeted inspections on gamebird farms. Advice on compliance is a key component of all APHA inspections.

APHA game bird inspections conducted and action taken:

Inspections

District Holdings Inspected

Advisory Letter

Follow Up Visit

2019

10

7

3

0

2020

14

3

6

4

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to (a) help prevent the depletion of fish stocks and (b) reduce the amount of bycatch discarded back into the sea; and how the amount of that discarded bycatch is monitored.

The Government’s ambition is for world-class fisheries management to achieve sustainable fisheries, safeguarding stocks and the marine environment. This commitment is clearly set out in the Fisheries Act 2020 objectives and the 25 Year Environment Plan.

The bycatch objective in the Fisheries Act underlines the UK's commitment to avoid or reduce bycatch and the wasteful practice of discarding. It also sets out a commitment to ensure that any unavoidable bycatch is recorded and accounted for. There are rules in force (commonly referred to as the ‘landing obligation’) that prohibit the discarding of fish.

We also manage other bycatch through a comprehensive and well-respected bycatch monitoring programme which helps to protect sensitive marine species and to monitor and reduce any potential fisheries impacts on these species. The UK has an additional observer programme that collects data on fisheries catch and bycatch for scientific advice and management. Additionally, the Government funds Clean Catch UK which is a collaborative research programme dedicated to better monitoring, reducing, and, where possible, eliminating the bycatch of sensitive marine species in UK fisheries.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to protect the seas around the UK as part of the Government's work on helping to tackle climate change.

The Government recognises that a healthy ocean is vital to life and livelihoods on Earth. Tackling climate change is vital for ocean health and as COP26 President we are pushing for ambitious and accelerated action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. Ocean conservation and the protection of marine biodiversity are particularly important for building resilience and adapting to the impacts of climate change, as well as supporting climate change mitigation.

The UK Marine Strategy is vital in achieving the Government's vision for 'clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse ocean and seas' and our climate change objectives. It provides the framework for monitoring, assessing and taking measures to achieve and maintain Good Environmental Status in our seas. Marine nature-based solutions, including marine protection, restoration and sustainable management, have a crucial role to play as part of measures to prevent biodiversity loss and support climate change adaptation, resilience and mitigation.

We are a global leader in ocean protection, with 38% of UK waters in Marine Protected Areas. We have also stated our intention to pilot Highly Protected Marine Areas in Secretary of State waters and look forward to publishing the Government's response to Richard Benyon's review in due course.

The UK Government is committed to reducing the impact of the fishing industry on the marine environment. The Climate Change Objective in clause 1 of the Fisheries Act ensures that consideration is taken of how fisheries management policy can mitigate against the effects of climate change, where appropriate, as well as adapting to any future impacts of climate change. Fisheries Administrations will introduce policies to achieve this objective in the legally binding Joint Fisheries Statement.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on fish stocks of limiting the size of fishing vessels in the (a) UK's Marine Protected Areas and (b) 6-12 nautical mile fishing zone.

Marine protection is a devolved matter and the information below relates to England only.

No such assessments have been made as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) commonly protect seabed habitats and are generally not the best method of protecting commercial fish stocks, which need to be protected across their range and not just within the boundaries of an MPA. In addition, the impact a fishing vessel has on a site is determined by how damaging the fishing method is, rather than the size of the vessel.

Vessels fishing in the 6-12nm tend to be smaller and more local day boats. Their catches are limited by quotas, effort limits or local rules. Larger vessels have more flexibility about where they can fish and tend to go further off-shore. There are restrictions on gear types and engine size in the zone, for example restricting the size of beam trawlers, and these apply to UK and EU vessels.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has made an estimate of the number of red squirrel numbers in the UK; and if he will take steps with the Welsh Government to set a target for increasing red squirrel numbers by the end of the Parliament.

The latest ‘Review of the Population and Conservation Status of British Mammals’ estimates red squirrel populations in Britain as 287,000.

The conservation of red squirrels is a devolved matter and this response is with regards to England only. Defra, Natural England and the Forestry Commission are signatories to the United Kingdom Squirrel Accord, working with over 30 other signatories to secure and expand red squirrel populations.

The Environment Bill contains measures that will help improve the status of threatened species. This will include setting at least one biodiversity target in law, as well as enhancing duties for public authorities to carry out strategic assessments of the actions they can take to enhance and conserve biodiversity.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of a plastic bottle return scheme on glass packaging use; what his planned timescale is for introducing such a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles; and whether he plans to introduce return schemes for (a) batteries, (b) tyres, (c) electrical equipment and (d) other materials.

The Government committed, in its 2019 manifesto, to introduce a deposit return scheme to incentivise people to recycle drinks containers.

On 24 March we published our second consultation on implementing a deposit return scheme for drinks containers. The materials we propose would be in-scope of the scheme are PET plastic containers, aluminium and steel cans, and glass bottles. Further details of the proposed deposit return scheme are presented in this second consultation.

Timelines have been reviewed to ensure we allow sufficient time for the roll out of a complex policy, and we therefore propose to implement the scheme in 2024, with views on this being taken in the consultation.

Powers from the Environment Bill will give us the option to establish deposit return schemes for other materials in the future and we will continue to consider these as policy options.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of granting equivalence with the EU regulations for bivalve molluscs; and what discussions he has had with his European counterparts on supporting bivalve mollusc exporters in (a) Ynys Môn constituency and (b) the UK.

There is no scientific or technical justification for the European Commission banning this trade in live bivalve molluscs from GB from Class B waters. Our exports remain of high quality. We are continuing to apply the same rules that we did before EU Exit, exactly reflecting those of the EU. We are willing to provide additional reassurances to demonstrate shellfish health within reason, but this must recognise the existing high standards and history of trade between us.

We know this is an important trade for shellfish exporters in Great Britain and the EU ban has had a significant impact on the businesses. This includes those in Ynys Môn and I have met representatives from the area. We are working with the Food Standards Agency, Cefas and others to look at grading of the waters as this may provide some help to the businesses.

The current restrictions are affecting businesses on each side of the channel and we are talking to Member States in the EU whose businesses are also damaged by the ban.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent estimate he has made of hedgehog numbers in the UK; and if he will take steps to move hedgehogs to schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to strengthen their protections.

The latest ‘Review of the Population and Conservation Status of British Mammals’ estimates the hedgehog populations in the UK is 522,000.

Wildlife policy is a devolved issue and this response is with regard to England only.

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 sets out a legal duty for the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) to undertake a review of Schedule 5 and 8 (protected species) every five years to determine whether any further species warrant inclusion, and for the Secretary of State to lay this advice before Parliament. This review process is science led and evidence based, with criteria for consideration of species agreed across the jurisdictions of the UK. The JNCC is currently reviewing schedule 5 and will make recommendations for any additions at the end of this year.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he plans to take to ensure that businesses in the fishing industry are not adversely affected by (a) increased administrative requirements and (b) potential tariffs in the event that an agreement is not reached on a future relationship with the EU by the end of the transition period.

The Government is clear that it wants to secure a Canada-style free trade deal with the EU which has at its heart a zero tariff trading regime.

At the end of the transition period, the UK will leave the EU’s customs area and the EU’s single market which means that traders will have to comply with new processes to trade with the EU, whether or not we reach an agreement with the EU.

Planning for the end of the transition period is well underway and the Government is working closely with businesses and other partners across the UK to ensure that the trade of seafood with the EU can continue as smoothly as possible.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps he has taken to support the fishing industry in Ynys Môn constituency.

Fisheries management is largely devolved and specific measures to support local industry would be a matter for each Fisheries Administration.

The introduction of the Fisheries Bill will allow the four Fisheries Administrations to reform the management of fisheries over time, creating a flexible and adaptive regime that is better suited to the individual needs of our fisheries. Defra has worked very closely with the Devolved Administrations during the development of the Fisheries Bill. At their requests, the Bill contains significant new powers for the Devolved Administrations that in most cases mirror those of the Secretary of State.

The UK Government will put in place new, domestic, long-term arrangements to support the UK’s fishing industry from 2021, through the creation of four new schemes comparable to the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund to deliver funding for each nation.

Seafish is working with industry from across the UK to develop a tool box of measures that can be used to better manage inshore fisheries and to develop more effective management for shellfish.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the Fisheries Bill on (a) fisher employment levels (b) access to healthy food sources and (c) food security.

Fisheries management is of course devolved. The extent to which the benefits of the Fisheries Bill and the fisheries negotiations on access and quota will be felt across the UK, will largely be a matter for each fisheries Administration.

The Joint Fisheries Statement will provide an opportunity to describe how the Administrations will jointly or individually as appropriate deliver policies to achieve the eight fisheries objectives in the Bill. The objectives cover fish as a food source and the national benefit objective.

In England, we will shortly be consulting on strengthening the economic link criteria to ensure the UK benefits from the additional quota we intend to negotiate to secure for the UK. This will boost opportunities for fishers.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, there have been promising signs that the public are eating more locally caught fish. The "Sea for Yourself" campaign being run jointly by the Sea Fish Industry Authority and Defra aims to increase consumption of seafood caught in UK waters.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that fair trade goods continue to have access to UK markets under new trading arrangements.

The UK’s Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) and Generalised Scheme of Preferences support developing countries to export agricultural products and other goods to the UK. We have secured EPAs with 30 African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries, covering £18bn of trade. We plan to deepen our EPA agreements and expand them to new countries in the future.

Independent certification schemes, such as Fairtrade, which set standards on social, economic and environmental issues for companies, continue to operate within the context of UK trading arrangements.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to help small Fairtrade producers tackle climate change without making their produce unaffordable ahead of COP26.

We are committed to addressing the challenges of climate change, whilst ensuring that developing countries benefit from of a global transition to low emission, sustainable land use and food systems. Ahead of COP26, the UK will be convening a global dialogue on trade in forest and agricultural commodities, to support producer countries in achieving their economic goals, while transitioning to more sustainable land use.

Through the Vulnerable Supply Chains Facility, the UK is working in partnership with the Fairtrade Foundation and Mondelēz International in Ghana to ensure cocoa farmers and their families are resilient to the pandemic, and to accelerate income diversification through climate-smart farming.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
25th Feb 2021
What steps her Department is taking to ensure that fair trade goods continue to have access to UK markets in new trade agreements.

Britain’s Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) and Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) support emerging markets around the world to export agricultural products – and more – to these shores. We have secured EPAs with 29 African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries, covering £18bn of trade. We plan to deepen our EPAs – and expand them to new markets in the future. From working in Ghana to ensure cocoa farmers and their families are resilient to the pandemic, and accelerating diversification through climate-smart farming, to Ethiopia where we are supporting people to help sell their unique wild coffee at a fair price and build resilience to climate change at the same time, Global Britain is delivering.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to increase the number of electric vehicle public charging points across the UK to help meet the Climate Change Committee's recommendation of 150,000 points by 2025.

Government is investing £1.3 billion in accelerating the roll out of charging infrastructure over the next four years, targeting support on rapid chargepoints on motorways and major roads, and installing more on-street chargepoints near homes and workplaces to make charging as easy as refuelling a petrol or diesel car. Our grant schemes and the £400 million Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund will see thousands more electric vehicle charge-points installed across the UK.

We have set ambitious targets for chargepoints on our strategic road network in England to support long distance journeys. By 2023, we aim to have at least 6 high powered, open access chargepoints (150 - 350 kilowatt capable) at all motorway service areas and by 2030, we are planning for there to be around 2,500 high powered chargepoints across England’s motorways and major A roads. However, we have not set an overall target for the number of chargepoints. Having a “target” number risks assuming technology stands still and creating a uniform approach to charging mixes and needs across the country.

Government and industry have supported the installation of almost 25,000 publicly available charging devices. This includes more than 4,500 rapid devices. To ensure the private sector can continue to expand the charging network at pace in the 2020s, the Government will invest £950 million in future proofing grid capacity along the Strategic Road Network and launching a £90 million Local EV Infrastructure Fund to support the roll out of large on-street schemes and potentially rapid charging hubs in England.

Later this year we will publish an EV Infrastructure Strategy to set out the vision and action plan for charging infrastructure rollout needed to achieve the 2030/35 phase out successfully. This will set expected roles for different stakeholders and how government will intervene to address the gaps between the current market status and our vision.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will take steps to introduce a railcard for NHS staff allowing discounted travel on the rail network.

The Department recognises the vitally important role NHS and other keyworkers have played in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, there are currently no plans to extend or launch any new railcards at this time.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to encourage people to use public transport instead of private cars; and what assessment he has made of the benefits of introducing flexible season tickets for commuters.

On 15 March the Government launched England’s long-term National Bus Strategy, setting out a bold vision for bus services across the country. Backed by £3 billion of transformational funding, the strategy’s central aim is to get more people travelling by bus, by making services more frequent, more reliable, easier to understand and use, better co-ordinated and cheaper. The Williams-Shapps Rail Review was launched in May and set out a series of measures to support the government’s vision for the UK to have a world-class railway, recognising that the railways must become better at meeting passenger needs to avoid a society dependent on the car.

We recognise the need to provide better value and a more convenient option to meet the needs of flexible commuters, which is why we are introducing new rail flexible season tickets across England. These tickets will be available to purchase on 21 June and valid from 28 June, and will offer most 2 and 3 day per week commuters savings against buying daily tickets or traditional seasons. Transport for Wales Rail currently offers the Multiflex product to support flexible commuters in Wales.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to support essential transitional technologies in the marine industry.

The Maritime 2050 Strategy highlights the importance of new technologies to the future of the maritime sector and sets out the ambition to become a world leader in marine innovation. To support this, DfT has provided over £5m in funding to Maritime Research and Innovation UK (MarRI-UK), which acts as a national body to coordinate research and development in maritime innovation.

Technology development is also critical to support the UK’s wider decarbonisation agenda. The Department’s Clean Maritime Plan (CMP), published in July 2019, outlined the UK’s pathway to zero carbon emissions in the domestic maritime arena. In March, DfT launched the £20 million Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC) to enable the development and commercialisation of novel solutions for clean maritime technologies. Further details of our policies will be set out in the Transport Decarbonisation Plan, which will be published this year.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
29th Apr 2021
What steps his Department is taking to support a green maritime sector in the UK.

My Department recently launched a £20 million Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, building on the vision set out in the Clean Maritime Plan published in 2019 and will announce further policy proposals in the Transport Decarbonisation Plan this Spring.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential benefits of HS2 for people in Ynys Môn; and what plans he has for rail investment in North Wales.

HS2 will free up capacity on the existing West Coast Main Line which could be used for additional services. Current plans would see North Wales passengers benefiting from an HS2 interchange at Crewe, with shorter journey times than those currently possible on the West Coast Main Line to Holyhead.

In addition, we are progressing the development of a line speed enhancement scheme for the North Wales Coast Line, and the Prime Minister has asked Sir Peter Hendy CBE to undertake an independent review into transport connections across Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England. The review will make recommendations on how the UK Government can level up transport infrastructure, boosting access to opportunities and improving people’s everyday connections.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with (a) ferry operators and (b) haulage companies on the reduced use of the UK land bridge affecting Holyhead Port since 1 January 2021.

My officials or I have had a number of discussions with ferry, port and haulage operators in relation to Irish Sea traffic since 1 January, encompassing reductions in traffic at Holyhead, Fishguard and Pembroke compared with equivalent weeks in previous years. A significant proportion of these reductions is likely to be attributable to the expansion and take-up of direct services recently introduced and strongly promoted between the Republic of Ireland and other EU ports. It is, however, too early to identify any longer term trends or say what the longer term impacts will be. The Government is, however, confident that Welsh ports, and Holyhead in particular, will continue to provide critical routes to and from the Republic of Ireland and continental Europe, irrespective of direct links for haulage between Ireland and France. The land bridge route has significant advantages for hauliers over maritime routes and the Government is confident that Welsh ports will continue to thrive as we build on the opportunities provided by being an independent trading nation.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of direct ferry links for haulage from the EU to the Republic of Ireland on (a) Holyhead Port and (b) the Welsh economy.

My officials or I have had a number of discussions with ferry, port and haulage operators in relation to Irish Sea traffic since 1 January, encompassing reductions in traffic at Holyhead, Fishguard and Pembroke compared with equivalent weeks in previous years. A significant proportion of these reductions is likely to be attributable to the expansion and take-up of direct services recently introduced and strongly promoted between the Republic of Ireland and other EU ports. It is, however, too early to identify any longer term trends or say what the longer term impacts will be. The Government is, however, confident that Welsh ports, and Holyhead in particular, will continue to provide critical routes to and from the Republic of Ireland and continental Europe, irrespective of direct links for haulage between Ireland and France. The land bridge route has significant advantages for hauliers over maritime routes and the Government is confident that Welsh ports will continue to thrive as we build on the opportunities provided by being an independent trading nation.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has drawn up criteria for evaluating the outcomes of his Department’s trials of electric scooters.

The Department set how it will evaluate rental e-scooter trials in its guidance to local areas and rental operators in September 2020. As stated in the guidance, the primary areas of focus for DfT and its monitoring and evaluation contractors include:

  • safety outcomes for e-scooter users and what influences this

  • interaction with, and effect on, other road users

  • public perceptions of e-scooters, including by people with disabilities and related groups

  • nature of modal shift and new journeys that have been enabled

  • characteristics of users, and how uptake and outcomes differ for different groups

  • The evidence gathered during trials, the responses to the Future of Transport regulatory review call for evidence and other research will inform legal changes that may be necessary after the trial period ends.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 pandemic on rates of pay for (a) seafarers and (b) maritime workers.

The Department is working with unions and industry to understand what steps can be taken to further protect jobs and livelihoods in the sector. However, no recent in-depth assessment has been made on the impact of Covid-19 on rates of pay for seafarers or maritime workers.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he plans to take to help prevent accidents as a result of collisions between jet skis and boats.

Local and harbour authorities already have powers to introduce measures controlling personal water craft and boat use in the waters they manage. They are best placed to consider what provisions are necessary in their local areas to ensure safety and deliver an appropriate balance between the requirements and priorities of different water users.

While the majority of personal watercraft riders use their craft sensibly and safely, we are currently considering the introduction of new enforcement measures to ensure that any who willfully or neglectfully cause accidents or endanger the safety of others can be prosecuted.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to her plans for a Health and Disability Green Paper, what steps her Department has taken to engage disabled people in discussions on how the benefits system is working in preparation for publication of that Paper; what plans he had to incorporate disabled people's insights from the consultation into the recommendation of that paper; and what her timescale is for publication of that Paper.

It is vital that the voices of disabled people are at the centre of health and disability policy development. Over the past 18 months I have personally led a series of events in which I have heard directly from disabled people about their lived experiences with the benefits system. The forthcoming Health and Disability Green Paper will reflect themes coming out of those conversations and ask for views on how best to address them.

Given the necessary focus on the departmental response to Covid-19, we are working to a longer timescale than previously anticipated. We will continue the engagement with disabled people and their representatives and plan to publish the formal consultation document in the coming months.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Answer of 25 March 2021 to Question 173228 on Social Security Benefits: Terminal Illnesses, what her timescale is for (a) publishing and (b) implementing the recommendations of her Department's review of the benefits system for terminally ill people and the Special Rules for Terminal Illness scheme announced in July 2019.

The Department is committed to delivering an improved benefit system for claimants that are nearing the end of their lives and is working across Government to bring forward proposals following the evaluation. The Department remains committed to implementing the key areas identified in the evaluation and will announce the outcome in due course.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to bring forward legislative proposals on the legal recognition of British Sign Language; and what steps she has taken to ensure local authorities raise awareness of British Sign Language.

On 18 March 2003 the UK government formally recognised that British Sign Language (BSL) is a language in its own right. Provision for accessing services by users of BSL are covered by the Equality Act 2010 and the Public Sector Equality Duty.

Existing equality legislation already means employers, service providers and public bodies have to provide services in BSL and other formats when it is reasonable to do so. The Public Sector Equality Duty requires public bodies, when carrying out their functions, to have due regard to the needs of a range of protected characteristics, including disability.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what her timescale is for (a) publishing and (b) implementing the recommendations from her Department’s review of the benefits system for terminally ill people and the Special Rules for Terminal Illness scheme announced in July 2019.

The Department is committed to delivering an improved benefit system for claimants that are nearing the end of their lives and is working across Government to bring forward proposals following the evaluation. I remain committed to implementing the key areas identified in the evaluation; a consensus to change the six-month rule; improving ​consistency with other services used by people nearing the end of their lives; and raising awareness of the support that is available.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when her Department's review of the Special Rules for Terminal Illness will be published.

The Department is committed to delivering an improved benefit system for claimants that are nearing the end of their lives and is working across Government to bring forward proposals following the evaluation. I remain committed to implementing the key areas identified in the evaluation; a consensus to change the six-month rule; improving ​consistency with other services used by people nearing the end of their lives; and raising awareness of the support that is available.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the ONS Updated estimates of coronavirus (COVID-19) related deaths by disability status, England: 24 January to 20 November 2020, what assessment she has made of the potential benefit of providing an emergency support package to support disabled people during the covid-19 outbreak.

I refer the Hon Member to the answer I gave on 09 February to question number 149299.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential for delays in reporting work place accidents to allow employers time to conceal evidence important to investigations.

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) places duties on employers, the self-employed and people in control of work premises (the Responsible Person) to report certain workplace injuries, occupational diseases and specified dangerous occurrences (near misses).

The timescales for submitting reports under RIDDOR are contained within Schedule 1 to the regulation. In respect of injuries, fatalities and dangerous occurrences the responsible person must notify the relevant enforcing authority of the reportable incident by the quickest practicable means without delay; and send a report of that incident in an approved manner to the relevant enforcing authority (the Health and Safety Executive) within 10 days of the incident occurring.

Should there be either a failure or significant delay in a report being made by the responsible person, then the Enforcing Authority would include this factor as a line of enquiry in any subsequent investigation.

Failure to report under RIDDOR is a criminal offence and the responsible person can be sentenced in the Magistrates’ Court with a fine up to £20,000, or in the Crown Court with an unlimited fine.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has made an assessment of the effect of the rate of statutory sick pay on the number of people who choose to remain at home when they experience symptoms of covid-19.

This Government has a strong safety net that helps people who are facing hardship and are unable to support themselves financially. We have taken steps to strengthen that safety net so that people are supported to do the right thing where they are required to self-isolate. We have extended eligibility for SSP, and made it payable from day 1 – rather than day 4 – for employees who are sick or need to self-isolate because of covid-19. Employers can choose to pay more than SSP and many do.

SSP is just one part of our welfare safety net and our wider government offer to support people in times of need. Where an individual’s income is reduced while off work sick and they require further financial support they may be able to claim Universal Credit and new style Employment and Support Allowance, depending on individual circumstances. Working people on low incomes who are required to remain at home by NHS Test and Trace to help stop the spread of the virus and cannot work from home could be eligible for a £500 payment to financially support them while self-isolating.

Background

  • SSP is paid entirely by the employer at £95.85 per week for up to 28 weeks.
  • Approximately 60% of employees receive more than the statutory minimum from their employer.
  • If an individual claims Universal Credit while receiving SSP their SSP will be taken into account when calculating their Universal Credit.
  • We have strengthened our wider safety net by temporarily increasing the standard allowance of Universal Credit by the equivalent of £20 per week, meaning that claimants will be up to £1,040 better off for the 20/21 tax year.
Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make it her policy to permit personal independence payments assessment forms to be completed online during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are focused on transforming the PIP claimant journey overall to provide a more streamlined and user-friendly approach. We are committed to providing a digital channel - “PIP Apply” - to widen claimants’ choices on how to make a new claim for PIP. Using the digital channel is optional and we will ensure we provide effective alternatives for those who are unable or prefer not to use our online services. We are aiming to provide this service by the end of the year.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what her plans are for the personal independence payments assessment centre in Bangor.

Face-to-face assessments for health and disability related benefits continue to be suspended since 17 March. This temporary suspension was brought in to protect vulnerable people (and assessment centre staff) from unnecessary risk of exposure to COVID-19. We are regularly reviewing this position in line with public health advice, and will also review our estates requirements as part of this work.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment providers are responsible for supplying their own estate. Whilst the use of the Storiel venue has been a temporary arrangement, Capita has confirmed that it is suitable for use as it meets all contractual requirements in terms of size, location and access. The department is exploring options for securing a long term lease with a view to this becoming a more permanent fixture in the future.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with Bahrain pro-Democracy leaders Dr. Saeed Alshehabi, Mr. Ali Mushaima, and Mr. Moosa Mohammad; and whether he has plans to meet those people.

Ministers have not had discussions with Dr. Saeed Alshehabi, Mr Moosa Mohammad or Mr Ali Mushaima.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the (a) potential effect of the reduction in aid to Syria in 2021 and (2) effect of recent reductions in UN authorised aid mechanisms on the delivery of UK led and funded health programmes in Syria.

The UK has announced a pledge of at least £205 million in 2021 to continue the delivery of essential humanitarian aid, including the provision of food, healthcare and water, to millions of people affected by the brutal conflict in Syria. We are working to finalise ODA budget allocations for financial year 2021/22 and until that is done will not be able to confirm individual country allocations. Final decisions have not yet been made.

In addition to our financial support, the UK will continue to use its position at the UN Security Council to push for greater access into Syria and strongly supports the renewal of UNSCR 2533 to maintain cross-border aid. Nothing can replace the scale and scope of UN operations in northern Syria. In north-east Syria, cross-line aid delivery from Damascus has failed to fill the gaps left by of the closure of the Yaroubiya crossing last year; health supplies are taking longer to reach populations in need, at a greater cost and in reduced quantities. We are appalled that Russia and China continue to place political support for the Assad regime above lifesaving support for the Syrian people; we urge the members of the UN Security Council to vote in favour of renewing the resolution in July to avoid further humanitarian disaster.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether the Government plans to send a representative to the meeting of states party to the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on 12-14 January 2022 in Vienna.

The United Kingdom will not send Observers to the First Conference of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). The Government has been clear it will not sign the TPNW. We do not believe this Treaty will bring us closer to a world without nuclear weapons. The Government believes that the best way to achieve our collective goal of a world without nuclear weapons is through gradual multilateral disarmament negotiated using a step-by-step approach, under the framework of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he has taken to provide support for refugees in Lesbos after the fire at the Moira refugee camp.

The UK has responded to requests by the Greek Government to provide specific humanitarian goods for the migrants affected by the Moria fires. UK support will help nearly 2,000 vulnerable families prepare, cook and serve food, and solar lanterns will help people to stay safe. We will work with our partners to ensure these supplies are fairly distributed and reach those most in need.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to help ensure that the people responsible for crimes committed against Rohingya children are held to account; and if he will make it his policy to provide humanitarian support and protection for Rohingya refugee children.

The UK has been clear that those responsible for serious human rights violations should be held to account. We will continue to shine a spotlight on gross human rights violations committed by the Myanmar Military across the country. This includes horrific violence against children. The UK has been at the forefront of international demands for accountability. We have used our role on the UN Security Council to increase international attention on the Rohingya crisis and continue to lead calls for accountability. On 23 June, I spoke to the Myanmar Minister for International Cooperation. I encouraged Myanmar to continue to engage with the International Court of Justice process in a transparent way. The UK has worked with partners to try and implement the Fact Finding Mission recommendations, including establishing the UN Independent Investigative Mechanism on Myanmar to collect and preserve evidence of atrocities. On 6 July, the UK's Global Human Rights sanction regime (GHR) listed the Myanmar military's Commander-in-Chief and Deputy Commander-in-Chief, for overseeing the systematic and brutal violence against the Rohingya and other minorities, as set out in the Independent Fact Finding Mission Report. This is in addition to the sanctions which the UK secured through the EU, against 14 members of the Myanmar military responsible for serious human rights violations.

The UK is committed to protecting the most vulnerable populations around the globe including the Rohingya, and especially children. We work with humanitarian partners such as UNICEF in the Rohingya response to deliver robust child protection systems. UK aid is helping run community-based child protection and child-friendly centres in the Rohingya camps and supporting 3,000 children living with foster families, including victims of trafficking, to receive cash assistance, case management and psycho-social support. Improving access to and quality of education also remains a priority, including the roll out and expansion of the Myanmar curriculum.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for what reason nuclear energy projects are excluded from the new green savings bonds; and how his Department plans to attract private investment to support point 3 of the 10 point plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.

The government recognises that reaching net zero emissions by 2050 will require power to be generated from low carbon sources. As set out in the Government’s Energy White Paper last autumn, nuclear power will play an important role in achieving net zero.

Some energy sources have been excluded from the UK Government Green Financing Framework, including nuclear energy. This is in line with current international market standards for sovereign green bonds, it does not represent an assessment of what the Government considers ‘green’ or affect an expenditure’s eligibility for traditional financing instruments. We will review the framework on a regular basis with the aim of adhering to best practices in the market.

In December, the Government published responses to the consultation on the proposed regulated asset base (RAB) funding model for nuclear projects, which involves an economic regulator granting a licence to a company to charge a regulated price to users of the infrastructure. The funding model could help secure private investment and cost consumers less in the long run. The Government is continuing to explore a range of financing options, including the RAB model and the potential role of government finance during construction, provided there is clear value for money for consumers and taxpayers.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will (a) take steps to ensure parity of funding for Freeports for England and Wales and (b) allocate £25 million for a Freeport in Wales to match the funding allocated to each of the eight Freeports in England.

Freeports will regenerate communities across the UK by attracting new businesses, spreading jobs, investment and opportunity to towns and cities up and down the country. The UK Government remains committed to establishing at least one Freeport in Wales and I’d welcome the support of the Welsh Government to ensure Freeports are introduced in Wales as soon as possible.

The Welsh Government is due to receive Barnett in the usual way and it should be for the Welsh Government to decide how much seed funding to provide to a Freeport in Wales. It is also important to recognise that the seed funding is only one part of the offer available to ports and businesses. There are a variety of benefits from Freeports, including on tax, customs, planning and innovation, many of these which will be delivered by the UK Government.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
19th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of designating Anglesey a Freeport on the ability to (a) resolve the issue of reduced trade flows in the central corridor and (b) use the central corridor to facilitate the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Freeports will be national hubs for international trade, innovation and commerce, regenerating communities across the UK by attracting new businesses, spreading jobs, investment and opportunity to towns and cities up and down the country.

We want to ensure that the whole of the UK can benefit, which is why we remain committed to establishing a Freeport in Wales as soon as possible.

Any Freeport in Wales will be allocated by a fair and open process. The government will not be analysing the merits of any specific locations in advance of that.

We have reiterated our commitment to ensure Freeports policy upholds our obligations under the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what financial support he plans to make available to people who are carers for a disabled partner and who have been denied access to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme by their employers.

The Government recognises and values the vital contribution made by carers in supporting some of the most vulnerable in society.

Carers who are not put on furlough by their employer could be eligible for a number of benefits. Unpaid carers may be able to apply for Carer’s Allowance if they meet the qualifying conditions, such as providing 35 hours of care a week. In order to ensure that carers already in receipt of Carer’s Allowance do not inadvertently stop receiving it because of changes to patterns of care during COVID-19, the Government has allowed emotional support to count towards the 35 hours of care being provided by the carer. The Government has also relaxed the rules on breaks in care. These measures recognise that carers need extra flexibility in the way they provide care during the current emergency.

The Government continues to protect the value of benefits paid to carers while also spending record amounts in real terms. Since 2010, the rate of Carer’s Allowance has increased from £53.90 to £67.25 a week, meaning about an additional £700 a year for carers. Between 2020/21 and 2025/26, real terms expenditure on Carer’s Allowance is forecast to increase by nearly a third (about £1 billion). By 2025/26, the Government is forecast to spend just over £4 billion a year on Carer’s Allowance.

Furthermore, Carer’s Allowance is not the only benefit available to carers. Carers have access to the full range of social security benefits depending on their individual circumstances. Many of these benefits have additional elements to recognise the additional contribution and responsibilities associated with caring. For example, Universal Credit includes a carer element at the rate of £162.92 per monthly assessment period.

Carers will also benefit from the Government’s wider changes to the welfare system to support individuals during the pandemic, worth £7.4bn in 2020/21 according to Office for Budget Responsibility estimates. This includes carers on Universal Credit who will benefit from the temporary increase to the standard allowance by £20 per week.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of extending (a) the reduction of VAT to 5 per cent for hospitality businesses beyond March 2021 and (b) business rates relief for financial year 2021-22 for hospitality businesses.

The temporary VAT reduced rate came into effect on 15 July 2020 and was initially scheduled to end on 12 January 2021.

In order to continue supporting the cash flow and viability of over 150,000 businesses and to protect 2.4 million jobs, the Government extended the temporary reduced rate of VAT (five per cent) to goods and services supplied by the tourism and hospitality sectors until 31 March 2021.

The Government has also provided an unprecedented business rates holiday for eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties due to the direct adverse effects of COVID-19, worth over £10 billion, and has frozen the business rates multiplier for all businesses for 2021-22.

The Government keeps all taxes under review, and any future decisions will be made at Budget.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department is taking steps to facilitate the introduction of a digital app for use by those approved under the EU Settlement Scheme to demonstrate their approved status.

We continue to welcome feedback on how we can improve our services.

Home Office officials are planning to meet with the 3million group to discuss the feasibility of their suggested approach of using a digital app for this purpose.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to (a) raise awareness of the application process and deadline for the EU Settled Status Scheme for (i) children, (ii) looked after children, (iii) people over 65 and (iv) vulnerable people and (b) ensure that people who apply before 30 June 2021 but who have not received a decision by that date will not lose their rights immediately.

The Home Office remains committed to ensuring those who are eligible can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), including those who are vulnerable, need extra support or are harder to reach.

£22 million of funding, through to 30 September 2021, has been awarded to a network of 72 charities and local authorities across the UK, to ensure important information and assistance gets through to those who are hardest to reach, and no one is left behind. These organisations have helped more than 310,000 vulnerable people to apply to the EUSS already.

Local authorities have relevant statutory duties where looked after children are concerned and we have been working closely with them since 2018 to help ensure these duties are fulfilled in relation to making or supporting applications to the EUSS, with additional funding provided following a new burdens assessment. A child-friendly EUSS leaflet has been shared with our extensive network of stakeholders who support children, including local authorities, children’s charities and the education sector.

Communications to support the EUSS have been live since 2019, with almost £8 million spent on marketing ahead of the 30 June 2021 deadline to reach EEA and Swiss citizens in all UK regions and nations. This activity, which also includes toolkits, assets and information translated into 26 EEA languages, including Welsh, has helped to drive over 5.6 million applications to the scheme to 31 May 2021.

Under the Citizens’ Rights (Application Deadline and Temporary Protection) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020, those who apply before the 30 June 2021 deadline, but whose application is not decided until after it, will have their existing EU law rights protected pending the outcome of their application, including any appeal. Also in line with the Citizens’ Rights Agreements, those with reasonable grounds for missing the deadline will be able to make a late application, with non-exhaustive guidance published on 1 April 2021 to underpin a flexible and pragmatic approach to dealing with late applications.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Danish workers have been turned back from the UK's borders since 1 January 2021; and what steps she is taking to enforce the work permit and cross border rules that apply to Danish citizens working in the UK, particularly those in the offshore and the wind farm sector.

EU Nationals who do not have status under the EUSS and are not eligible to apply for it, can enter the UK for up to six months as visitors, visa free. However, now freedom of movement has ended, those coming to work or study must prove they meet our entry requirements.

In addition to the immigration rules, any travel to the UK at this time must be in line with the Border Health Requirements relating to the global pandemic set by the UK Government and the three devolved administrations. We urge people to check these requirements carefully before travelling, as entry to the UK may also be denied by Border Force on the basis of failure to comply with these regulations.

Border Force treat all arrivals with respect and consider each passengers situation on an individual basis to check everyone entering the UK has the right to do so.

We have issued instructions to our officers to reinforce the principle; in all cases there exists a presumption in favour of bail.

The Home Office published data on how many people are detained or returned on gov.uk. the latest publication can be found at:

www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-december-2020/how-many-people-are-detained-or-returned

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the potential merits to the economy of increasing the number of graduate entrepreneurs by amending legislation to (a) encourage and (b) allow international students to be self-employed.

The UK welcomes international students and recognises the valuable contribution they make to the UK economy. Students can switch into the Graduate or Start-up routes once they have completed their studies; self-employment is permitted under each of these routes.

The Graduate route, which launches on 1 July, enables students who successfully complete an eligible qualification to stay and work or look for work for two years (three for PhD students), including self-employment.

Those on the Graduate route who establish an innovative, viable and scalable business will be able to switch into the Innovator route subject to securing the required endorsement from a relevant endorsing body.

Students can also switch into the Start-up route. The Start-up route is reserved for early-stage, high-potential entrepreneurs starting an innovative, viable and scalable business in the UK for the first time.

The restrictions on employment whilst studying on the Student route are designed to ensure their primary purpose for being in the UK is to study as indicated, rather than to work.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to educate young people on the illegality of carrying knives without reasonable cause.

It is vitally important that we prevent young people from being drawn into violent crime and carry knives in the first place. Raising awareness of the risks and consequences of carrying a knife is an important part of the Government’s approach to knife crime prevention. And there are many sources of funding we have put in place to ensure this education exists for young people:

The Government has invested over £200 million specifically in early intervention and prevention initiatives to support children and young people at risk of exploitation and involvement in serious violence. The Youth Endowment Fund and their National Centre of Excellence are sharing knowledge and expertise with those working with vulnerable children and young people at risk of involvement in serious youth violence.

This funding is in addition to the £22 million Early Intervention Youth Fund which ran from 2018 – 2020 that directly funded awareness raising and education programmes, diversionary activities, tailored interventions, and programmes which aimed to cease offending or reoffending.

Locally we have set up Violence Reduction Units in 18 of the highest violence hotspots whose job it is to bring together police, local government, health and education professionals, community leaders and other key partners to identify the drivers of serious violence, to help them to implement a long term, multi-agency, preventative approach, to stop violence from happening in the first place. We know that a number of these Units are funding education/awareness programmes.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that policing strategy is up to date and effective at tackling crime that takes place digitally.

Tackling digital crime is a cross government agenda in which the Home Office and its agencies has a key role to play.

The National Digital Policing Strategy 2020-2030: Digital, Data and Technology Strategy was partly developed in response to the pace of digital change and was launched at the Police ICT Summit 2020. The strategy was developed by the Police ICT Company and the National Police Technology Council in collaboration with the Home Office.

Under this strategy, the Home Office is committed to ensuring new capabilities are available to the police to tackle crime in an evolving digital landscape, to cooperate more efficiently and to support their contributions to the effectiveness and efficiency of the CJS. We are clear that technology will make it easier for the public to report a crime and enable the police to make better use of digital evidence as part of their investigations.

The Strategic Change and Investment Board (SCIB), is chaired by the Policing Minister and forms part of the sub-governance of the National Policing Board (NPB). The SCIB oversees investment across the policing system to meet Government priorities. This includes investment in digital technology to drive convergence of police forces towards delivery of the policing digital strategy.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether he has plans to move additional Red Arrows depth work to RAF Valley on Ynys Môn.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave her on 19 April 2021 in response to Question 180656.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what plans he has to move any of the operations from RAF Valley on Anglesey to RAF Leeming.

There are no plans to move any flying operations from RAF Valley to RAF Leeming. RAF Valley will remain the home of UK Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS) Hawk T2, Texan T1 and Jupiter fleets.

We have announced that the Qatar Emiri Air Force will base their new Hawk Mk167 aircraft at RAF Leeming and these will be jointly manned by RAF personnel. We have also announced Hawk T1 with 100 Squadron will drawdown at RAF Leeming later in the decade.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he has taken to make efficiencies in the Hawk UK programme (a) in the UK and (b) on Anglesey.

It was announced in the Defence Command Paper that Hawk T1 aircraft would be retired from combat support roles reflecting improvements in synthetic training capabilities.

Work continues on the optimum drawdown profile and transition to new operational training capabilities. It is therefore too early to determine what efficiencies might be implemented for the Hawk fleet in the UK as a whole or on Anglesey.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, what estimate he has made of the cost of the additional nuclear warheads.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Members for Brighton, Pavilion and Glasgow South on 13 April 2021 to Questions 174806 and 175921.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to increase the allocation of Red Arrows depth work to RAF Valley to mitigate the effect of any T1 Black Fleet reductions; and what effect that increase in allocation will have on employment levels in Ynys Môn.

The Ministry of Defence is committed to RAF Valley which delivers world leading aircrew fast jet training, and the advanced Hawk T2 aircraft, used for lead-in fighter training, together with Texan T1 aircraft in the basic fast jest training role will continue to be operated, maintained and upgraded at the station, thereby sustaining high quality engineering employment on Ynys Môn.

The retirement of Royal Air Force (RAF) Hawk T1 aircraft from combat support roles was announced in the recent Defence Command Paper but the out of service date is yet to be determined, as are any potential implications of the withdrawal of these aircraft on employment on Ynys Môn. No decision has yet been taken on the location of the future maintenance for the RAF Aerobatic Team (Red Arrows), within the framework of the Future Hawk Support Contract.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
9th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether he has plans to offer non-religious pastoral care to members of the Armed Forces.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) takes all aspects of the health and wellbeing of its personnel very seriously; we are working to create and sustain an environment where people feel able to be authentic in the workplace; where people feel respected and able to achieve their full potential.

All military Chaplains have long provided pastoral care to those of all faiths and none. Assurance work in this area consistently indicates that Service personnel have a high degree of satisfaction with this pastoral care – which is always non-invasive, professionally qualified and non-partisan. In addition, all Service personnel can access pastoral care from a variety of sources, including from within their Chain of Command, through the Services’ professional social workers, medical staff, welfare staff and via the various staff networks.

In Defence we encourage and support a number of faith and belief staff networks to support and connect people with each other and help to create a better working environment for our staff. They also play an important role connecting Defence to local faith and belief communities, who often have a strong interest in our work. The Defence Humanist Network (DHN) is a thriving community, led by a strong champion, promoting Humanism consistently within Defence.

The DHN is committed to giving personnel with humanist beliefs the option to talk to someone with a similar view on life, should they need pastoral support. The DHN, working together with the MOD’s Diversity and Inclusion team, have an active ongoing project which seeks to address the delivery of pastoral care to Defence personnel.

20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to his Department's News story of 17 July 2020 entitled £200-million announced for vital improvements to troops' accommodation, if he will allocate a portion of that funding to RAF Valley to support personnel visiting for short training stints thereby making sourcing accommodation challenging.

The funding allocated to the Royal Air Force as part of this announcement will be prioritised to improve existing accommodation across its estate. No current requirement has been identified for additional accommodation to support visiting personnel at RAF Valley.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to protect hedgehogs by ensuring that new housing developments include hedgehog highways, a hole at the bottom of a fence that allows hedgehogs to move freely between gardens.

The Government welcomes any action by individual developers who wish to provide hedgehog highways. The National Planning Policy Framework makes clear that planning policies and decisions should minimise the impacts on biodiversity and provide net gains. Moreover, our Planning Practice Guidance was updated in 2019 to highlight that relatively small features can often achieve important benefits for wildlife, including providing safe routes for hedgehogs between different areas of habitat

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to make housing more affordable for young people.

We are building the homes our country needs and helping a new generation to own their own home – and making sure young people are not priced out of their area.

We are investing over £12 billion in affordable housing over 5 years, the largest investment in affordable housing in a decade. This includes our new £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme which will leverage up to £38 billion of private finance and deliver up to 180,000 homes should economic conditions allow. Half of these homes will be for affordable home ownership, supporting aspiring homeowners to take their first step on to the housing ladder. This includes our new, fairer model for Shared Ownership and 1,500 First Homes for first-time buyers and key workers.

First Homes are homes which are sold to first-time buyers with a discount of at least 30 per cent from full market value, making both deposits and mortgage requirements cheaper and opening up the dream of home ownership to even more people. The discount will be funded by developers themselves as part of their contributions through planning obligations, without a direct cost to central Government or local authorities.

Crucially, the discount will be passed on to all future purchasers in perpetuity, so these homes will keep helping first-time buyers onto the property ladder for generations to come.

In future, 25 per cent of all affordable homes delivered by developers as part of their obligatory contributions will be First Homes. This new First Homes Requirement means that there will be a steady and sustained supply of these homes, helping first-time buyers across England.

This is in addition to our Help to Buy: Equity Loans, which have helped over 257,000 first-time buyers into homeownership since its launch in 2013 to 1 December 2020. The new Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme opened on 1 April 2021 and will run to March 2023. It is targeted at first-time buyers only and has regional property price caps based on average first time buyer property prices.

The mortgage guarantee scheme launched on 19 April 2021 and will be available until December 2022, enabling lenders to offer 95% loan-to-value (LTV) mortgages to both first-time buyers and existing homeowners, throughout the whole UK, on homes up to £600,000 in value. 95% mortgages supported through the scheme are open to all adults, including young adults.

For renters, in response to Covid-19 pressures, the Government has put in place an unprecedented support package to help renters and ensure they can continue to afford their housing costs, including retaining the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Universal Credit uplift until September.

In the long run we need to build more homes to tackle affordability. This is why we are bringing forward an ambitious near-£20 billion investment to underpin the Government’s long-term housing strategy. We are also pushing forward with our planning reforms to establish a simpler, faster and more predictable system and ensure that the right homes are built in the right places where they are needed.

We are making good progress towards achieving our supply ambitions of delivering 1 million homes this Parliament and building 300,000 homes a year over the longer term. Last year, around 244,000 homes were delivered – the highest level for over 30 years and the seventh consecutive year that net supply has increased.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether his Department has issued guidance on the likelihood of success for a second category submission to the Levelling Up Fund; and whether his Department has targets for the proportion of successful bids in the (a) first, (b) second and (c) third category.

The £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund will invest in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK, including regenerating town centres and high streets, upgrading local transport and investing in cultural and heritage assets.

The Fund will be allocated competitively, and funding will be targeted towards places in England, Scotland and Wales with the most need, as measured by an index taking into account the following place characteristics: need for economic recovery and growth, need for improved transport connectivity, and need for regeneration.   The bandings do not represent eligibility criteria, nor the amount or number of bids a place can submit. Bids from categories 2 and 3 will still be considered for funding on their merits of deliverability, value for money and strategic fit, and could still be successful if they are of exceptionally high quality.

Further detail on how the Levelling Up Fund will operate from 2022-23 onwards will be set out later this year.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many bids local authorities in the second category can submit to the Levelling Up Fund (a) in the first tranche of bidding and (b) over the lifetime of the Fund.

The £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund will invest in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK, including regenerating town centres and high streets, upgrading local transport and investing in cultural and heritage assets.

The Fund will be allocated competitively, and funding will be targeted towards places in England, Scotland and Wales with the most need, as measured by an index taking into account the following place characteristics: need for economic recovery and growth, need for improved transport connectivity, and need for regeneration.   The bandings do not represent eligibility criteria, nor the amount or number of bids a place can submit. Bids from categories 2 and 3 will still be considered for funding on their merits of deliverability, value for money and strategic fit, and could still be successful if they are of exceptionally high quality.

Further detail on how the Levelling Up Fund will operate from 2022-23 onwards will be set out later this year.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to £125,000 of capacity funding for Welsh local authorities in the Levelling Up Fund, how the Government plans to allocate that funding; what the timeframe is for allocating that funding; whether the Government plans to undertake an assessment of the effort made by each local authority in respect of the awarding of that funding; and whether the Government plans to award that funding in the event that a local authority does not make a bid.

The Levelling Up Fund will invest in local infrastructure that will have a visible impact on people and their communities.

For the first round of funding, capacity funding of £125,000 will be provided to the 93 local authorities in England that fall into category 1 on the index of priority places published alongside the prospectus; and all local authorities in Scotland and Wales to help build their relationship with UK Government for the purpose of the Fund.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will take steps to remove fees for child trust funds access that may unfairly disadvantage families with children with disabilities.

A parent (or a guardian) of a child with a disability can make decisions on their behalf, but only while the child is under 18. In order for the parents of adult children to make decisions on their behalf, including in relation to their financial affairs, they must be granted powers to do so, either by a Lasting Power of Attorney or by authorisation from the Court of Protection – the specialist court that deals with issues concerning a lack of capacity.

Fees are payable in respect of applications to the Court and applications to register Lasting Powers of Attorney. We recognise that these fees may be difficult for some people to afford.

Help with Lasting Power of Attorney registration fees, Court of Protection fees and deputy supervision fees is available, depending upon the financial circumstances of the person who lacks mental capacity, and in some cases a full fee exemption may be available.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th Apr 2020
What steps his Department is taking to protect the public in response to the temporary release of prisoners during the covid-19 outbreak.

On 4 April, this Government announced its intention to temporarily release risk-assessed prisoners as part of the national plan to protect the NHS and save lives.

Public protection is our top priority. No high-risk offenders will be considered for release, nor any prisoners who have not served at least half their custodial term. Likewise, no prisoner will be released if they have symptoms of coronavirus or without housing and health support being in place.

Prisoners who pass the stringent criteria for early release will be subject to strict conditions, and will be electronically monitored, including with GPS tags, with the option to recall to prison if necessary.

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the (a) process of, (b) timeframe for and (c) allocation of funding for the establishment of a freeport in Wales.

Freeports will regenerate communities across the UK by attracting new businesses, spreading jobs, investment and opportunity to towns and cities up and down the country.

I have regular discussions with the Welsh Government on a range of issues, including Freeports. The UK Government remains committed to establishing at least one Freeport in Wales. We wrote to the Welsh Government on 11 July and I would welcome the support of the Welsh Government to ensure Freeports are introduced in Wales as soon as possible.

The Welsh Government is due to receive Barnett in the usual way and it should be for the Welsh Government to decide how much seed funding to provide to a Freeport in Wales. Through the application of the Barnett formula at the 2020 Spending Review, the Welsh Government is receiving around £123 per head in 2021-22 for every £100 head spent by the UK Government on devolved matters in England. However, it is important to recognise that the seed funding is only one part of the offer available to ports and businesses. There are a variety of benefits from Freeports, including on tax, customs, planning and innovation, many of these which will be delivered by the UK Government.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what discussions he has had with representatives of the Welsh fishing industry on the effect on that sector of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

I have regular discussions with stakeholders, including those from the seafood sector on maximising opportunities from the UK-EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement.

Under the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the UK has secured tariff-free access for fisheries products and a substantial transfer of quota from the EU benefitting fishing communities across the UK including those in Wales. The transfer is equivalent to 25% of the value of the EU’s historic catch in UK waters worth £146 million delivered over 5 years. All fisheries administrations will have regulatory control, giving the Welsh Government powers over part of the UK's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) adjacent to Wales.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of a freeport on Anglesey on (a) jobs and (b) employment opportunities (i) on Anglesey and (ii) in North Wales.

Freeports will increase trade, create employment and attract investment. We want to ensure that the whole of the UK can benefit, and remain committed to establishing at least one Freeport in Wales as soon as possible.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, how traffic flows through (a) Holyhead Port and (b) the land bridge route for hauliers have developed since 1 January 2021; and what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on the effect of direct ferry links from the Republic of Ireland to Europe on the Welsh economy.

There has been a steady, continual increase in the roll-on roll-off freight flow through the port of Holyhead since the start of the year. Freight flows have increased each week since the start of the year and data for the last week in February showed there was almost double the number of HGVs travelling via Holyhead compared to the first week of January. However, freight volumes at Holyhead remain below 2020 levels.

I am having regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues about traffic levels at the Welsh ports and the effects of increased direct ferry links between Ireland and continental Europe on the land bridge route. The Government is confident in the prospects for Welsh ports over the medium to long-term. We are clear that the land bridge continues to be the most advantageous route for hauliers travelling between Ireland and much of mainland Europe in terms of costs and time. We are continuing to work with hauliers in the UK and the EU to ensure they fully understand the new systems and processes following the end of the Transition Period.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
22nd Apr 2020
What steps the Government has taken to repatriate Welsh citizens stranded abroad as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is fully committed to helping stranded British nationals return home. Through our work with airlines and with foreign governments, we estimate over 1.3 million British nationals have returned to the UK via commercial routes and we have brought back more than 13,000 people on 63 chartered flights.

I am in regular contact with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Welsh Government on this vital work.

David T C Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Wales Office)