Written Question
Wines: Imports
10 Aug 2020, 3:36 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Moynihan

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made, if any, on developing a new IT system for pre-lodgement for the wine trade to assist movement through roll-on roll-off ports after 31 December.

Answer (Lord Agnew of Oulton)

HMRC’s IT delivery of the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) is expected to be ready from January 2021.


Written Question
Revenue and Customs: Finance
10 Aug 2020, 3:36 p.m.

Questioner: Baroness Randerson

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to their announcement on 12 June of an additional £50 million being made available for customs agent recruitment, training and IT, what that money is intended to cover; and what assessment they have made of the statement by the Road Haulage Association that the amount of money allocated is insufficient.

Answer (Lord Agnew of Oulton)

The Government has already injected £34 million into growing the intermediary sector, in order to encompass EU trade after 2020. Thousands of agents, freight forwarders and parcel operators have taken advantage of this funding to make improvements, from IT hardware to staff training. To date, this funding has supported over 20,000 training courses, nearly 15,000 units of IT, the recruitment of an additional 600 new customs agents, and the online customs academy training centre (where Government has procured training capacity directly) which has delivered 1,139 courses so far.

The new £50 million support package will further boost the capacity of the customs intermediary sector to help provide businesses with support ahead of the new processes taking effect in July 2021. Having listened to industry feedback, the focus of support will continue to be on IT, recruitment, and training. This new investment will provide a significant boost to the sector and build on the success of the grant scheme to date.

This additional funding is one element of the wider package of measures announced in June to help lay the foundations for a diverse, innovative and competitive intermediary sector. The Government also intends to change rules which will remove the financial liability from intermediaries operating on behalf of their clients, and allow parcel operators to continue declaring multiple consignments in a single customs declaration.


Written Question
Working Hours
10 Aug 2020, 3:32 p.m.

Questioner: Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to encourage and support firms in reducing working hours in an equitable manner while avoiding redundancies, on a model similar to the German Kurzarbeit scheme.

Answer (Lord Agnew of Oulton)

The Government is committed to ensuring that people are able to return to work in a manner that is sustainable and adjustable to the reopening of the economy.

The Government therefore introduced flexible furloughing from 1 July. Firms can now bring back employees that have been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grants for the hours not worked, with no minimum furlough period.

It is right that state support is slowly reduced and the focus shifts to getting furloughed employees back to work. As such, from August 2020, the level of the grant will be slowly tapered to reflect that people will be returning to work. Employees will continue to receive 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 when furloughed.

While other countries have announced similar schemes, the UK response remains among the most comprehensive.


Written Question
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
10 Aug 2020, 3:31 p.m.

Questioner: Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what recent discussions they have had, and with whom, about the effect of the withdrawal of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on those with protected characteristics.

Answer (Lord Agnew of Oulton)

In making decisions about the withdrawal of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, HM Treasury worked closely with key stakeholders, including business representatives, and other Government departments.

HM Treasury considers the equality impacts of individual policies on those with protected characteristics carefully and consistently, in line with both its legal obligations and its strong commitment to equality; and there are internal procedural requirements and support in place for ensuring that such considerations inform decisions taken by Ministers.


Written Question
Taxation: Self-assessment
10 Aug 2020, 3:30 p.m.

Questioner: Baroness Kennedy of Cradley

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the size of the tax return backlog; and when they estimate to complete processing those returns.

Answer (Lord Agnew of Oulton)

HMRC currently have 57,000 2019-20 Self-Assessment tax returns on hand and aim to process 99% of these by the end of December; this is in line with previous years.


Written Question
Taxation: Electronic Government
10 Aug 2020, 3:30 p.m.

Questioner: Lord West of Spithead

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the Making Tax Digital programme on the productivity of the self-employed.

Answer (Lord Agnew of Oulton)

The Government expects the Making Tax Digital programme to have a positive impact on the productivity of self-employed businesses, as set out in the Financial Secretary to the Treasury’s written ministerial statement on 21 July (HCWS400) and HMRC and HM Treasury’s publication “Building a trusted, modern tax administration” of the same date.

About 1.4 million businesses, some of whom are self-employed, have already joined Making Tax Digital (MTD) for their VAT affairs and many of these are already experiencing productivity gains associated with more digital ways of working, as set out in HMRC’s Evaluation of the MTD for VAT service published in March.

The Enterprise Research Centre (2018) found that for micro-businesses, web-based accounting software delivered productivity increases of over 10%.


Written Question
Overseas Aid
6 Aug 2020, 3:13 p.m.

Questioner: Baroness Goudie

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to their announcement that they have identified a £2.9 billion package of reductions in their planned Official Development Assistance spend, whether the budgets of other Government departments will be affected by those reductions; if so, which; and in each case, what will be the value of such reductions.

Answer (Lord Agnew of Oulton)

Official Development Assistance (ODA) spending departments have identified changes to their budget to make sure we meet, but do not exceed the 0.7% commitment. This package includes underspends, delaying activity and stopping some activity to maintain our flexibility in managing our ODA spending against an uncertain 0.7% position.

As normal, there will continue to be adjustments in-year to individual departmental ODA spend to meet the 0.7% commitment. Revised ODA allocations for 2020/21 will be published by HM Treasury at Autumn Budget and the Statistics for International Development to be published in 2021 will provide a full breakdown of the UK’s ODA spend for 2020.


Written Question
Overseas Aid
6 Aug 2020, 3:12 p.m.

Questioner: Baroness Sheehan

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government which departmental budgets will be affected by the £2.9 billion package of reductions to the Government’s planned Official Development Assistance spend for 2020 announced by the First Secretary of State on 22 July; and what is the value of each department’s reduction in spending.

Answer (Lord Agnew of Oulton)

Official Development Assistance (ODA) spending departments have identified changes to their budget to make sure we meet, but do not exceed the 0.7% commitment. This package includes underspends, delaying activity and stopping some activity to maintain our flexibility in managing our ODA spending against an uncertain 0.7% position.

As normal, there will continue to be adjustments in-year to individual departmental ODA spend to meet the 0.7% commitment. Revised ODA allocations for 2020/21 will be published by HM Treasury at Autumn Budget and the Statistics for International Development to be published in 2021 will provide a full breakdown of the UK’s ODA spend for 2020.


Written Question
VAT
4 Aug 2020, 4 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Marlesford

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Agnew of Oulton on 20 May (HL4033), what has been the net income to HM Treasury from VAT in each month since March.

Answer (Lord Agnew of Oulton)

HM Revenue & Customs publish monthly net VAT receipts within the National Statistics release “HMRC tax receipts and National Insurance contributions for the UK”. Since March 2020, HM Revenue & Customs have received the following net VAT monthly amounts:

March 2020: £2,362 million

April 2020: -£897 million

May 2020: -£635 million

June 2020: £1,104 million

Net VAT receipts during this period have been affected by the policy measure providing a deferral of VAT payments. This measure allowed UK VAT registered traders to defer VAT payments between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020, up until 31 March 2021.


Written Question
Beer: Excise Duties
4 Aug 2020, 4 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to ensure that the proposed changes to the Small Brewers’ Relief will not increase the tax burden for brewers who produce between 2,100 hectolitres and 5,000 hectolitres a year.

Answer (Lord Agnew of Oulton)

The Treasury has been reviewing the Small Brewers Relief (SBR) scheme since 2018. The SBR scheme in part aims to provide smaller brewers support with their higher production costs. Small brewers receive a 50% reduction from their beer duty bills, but currently once brewers produce more than 5,000 hectolitres this is rapidly withdrawn.

Based on evidence provided by a survey of brewers conducted in 2019, which received over 300 responses, and data provided by the Society of Independent Brewers and other brewing groups, the Treasury has concluded that production costs for brewers in the range of 2,100-5,000 hectolitres are not significantly different for those in the 5-10,000 hectolitres range.

Accordingly, the Treasury considers that the radically different tax treatment both groups currently face is not appropriate. It disincentivises growth and distorts business decisions.

Therefore, the Treasury has concluded that both groups of brewers should be brought in scope of the scheme’s taper. The Treasury will discontinue the “cliff edge” design of the current taper in favour of a new one, which tapers relief more smoothly over a broader range of production.

The details of these proposals are subject to further consultation, and the final shape of these reforms has not yet been determined. The Treasury expects that more than 80% of all brewers will be unaffected by these changes, and brewers who are affected will benefit from the improved economics of the scheme. Final changes will not take effect until at least 31 December 2021.


Written Question
Revenue and Customs: Staff
30 Jul 2020, 1:14 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Wills

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the statement on COVID-19 by the Prime Minister on 17 July, what plans they have for the return of staff of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs to work in offices.

Answer (Lord Agnew of Oulton)

HMRC follow Government guidelines on social distancing and safe workplaces. HMRC’s current estate capacity is therefore reduced. Use of that space is prioritised for the delivery of services that cannot be completed effectively at home, or for staff who are unable to work at home for personal reasons.

About 5,000 colleagues have been working in HMRC offices throughout the COVID-19 response. Within the limited capacity available, HMRC expect to increase the number of colleagues safely using their offices from August in order to deliver their full range of tax and customs functions and support a returning economy.


Written Question
Taxation: Self-assessment
30 Jul 2020, 1:13 p.m.

Questioner: Lord West of Spithead

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what (1) allowances will be available, or (2) payment will be made, to anyone who is self-employed for the time spent complying with the requirements of the Making Tax Digital programme.

Answer (Lord Agnew of Oulton)

The Government understands that some people with disabilities, those in rural locations with poor broadband services, and those who are digitally excluded for other reasons may find it more difficult to comply with Making Tax Digital (MTD) requirements. MTD exemptions have operated successfully since the introduction of MTD for VAT in April 2019 for businesses with taxable turnover in excess of the VAT threshold. These exemptions will continue to be available to businesses within the expanded scope of MTD.

There will be no specific allowances or payment made to those using MTD for time spent complying with MTD requirements. However, the Government accepts that there will be time spent in familiarisation with the new MTD obligations (digital record keeping and quarterly submission of information). The Lloyds Bank UK Consumer Digital Index 2019 found that those who are the most digitally engaged save a day a week in administration by going digital. Once businesses are used to operating the new MTD processes, the Government anticipates that they will find that MTD makes it easier for them to get things right, reducing errors and saving time in administering their tax affairs.

MTD is not a response to any changes in HMRC workforce. It is a key part of the Government’s long term goal for HMRC to become one of the most digitally advanced tax authorities in the world, and forms part of the Government's 10-year strategy to build a trusted, modern tax administration system. As well as helping to tackle the part of the tax gap arising due to error and failure to take reasonable care, MTD will help to make the tax administration system more resilient and effective in responding to future shocks, while also providing businesses with access to real-time data and a more accurate overview of their financial position.

The Government will not be funding specialist software or training, but will continue to work to ensure that any additional costs to business are minimised. Free Income Tax software will be available for businesses with the simplest tax affairs. For VAT, there are already over a dozen free packages available as part of a highly competitive market with over 500 products for different business needs. On training, the HMRC customer support model includes a multi-layered approach stretching across agents, third party software support, through to telephony support, webchat, and HMRC’s Extra Support service, as well as signposting to information and guides and to local or third party providers of digital skills courses or support already offered by external providers.

For those with slow speeds and no access to other commercial alternatives, the broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) came into force in March 2020. The USO gives people in the UK the right to request a decent and affordable broadband connection. The Government has pledged £5 billion to support the rollout of gigabit-capable networks to the hardest to reach 20% of the country.


Written Question
Taxation: Electronic Government
30 Jul 2020, 1:13 p.m.

Questioner: Lord West of Spithead

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Making Tax Digital programme has been introduced due to reductions in the HMRC workforce.

Answer (Lord Agnew of Oulton)

The Government understands that some people with disabilities, those in rural locations with poor broadband services, and those who are digitally excluded for other reasons may find it more difficult to comply with Making Tax Digital (MTD) requirements. MTD exemptions have operated successfully since the introduction of MTD for VAT in April 2019 for businesses with taxable turnover in excess of the VAT threshold. These exemptions will continue to be available to businesses within the expanded scope of MTD.

There will be no specific allowances or payment made to those using MTD for time spent complying with MTD requirements. However, the Government accepts that there will be time spent in familiarisation with the new MTD obligations (digital record keeping and quarterly submission of information). The Lloyds Bank UK Consumer Digital Index 2019 found that those who are the most digitally engaged save a day a week in administration by going digital. Once businesses are used to operating the new MTD processes, the Government anticipates that they will find that MTD makes it easier for them to get things right, reducing errors and saving time in administering their tax affairs.

MTD is not a response to any changes in HMRC workforce. It is a key part of the Government’s long term goal for HMRC to become one of the most digitally advanced tax authorities in the world, and forms part of the Government's 10-year strategy to build a trusted, modern tax administration system. As well as helping to tackle the part of the tax gap arising due to error and failure to take reasonable care, MTD will help to make the tax administration system more resilient and effective in responding to future shocks, while also providing businesses with access to real-time data and a more accurate overview of their financial position.

The Government will not be funding specialist software or training, but will continue to work to ensure that any additional costs to business are minimised. Free Income Tax software will be available for businesses with the simplest tax affairs. For VAT, there are already over a dozen free packages available as part of a highly competitive market with over 500 products for different business needs. On training, the HMRC customer support model includes a multi-layered approach stretching across agents, third party software support, through to telephony support, webchat, and HMRC’s Extra Support service, as well as signposting to information and guides and to local or third party providers of digital skills courses or support already offered by external providers.

For those with slow speeds and no access to other commercial alternatives, the broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) came into force in March 2020. The USO gives people in the UK the right to request a decent and affordable broadband connection. The Government has pledged £5 billion to support the rollout of gigabit-capable networks to the hardest to reach 20% of the country.


Written Question
Taxation: Electronic Government
30 Jul 2020, 1:13 p.m.

Questioner: Lord West of Spithead

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures they have in place for anyone (1) without access to computers, and (2) who is not online, when the Making Tax Digital programme comes into operation

Answer (Lord Agnew of Oulton)

The Government understands that some people with disabilities, those in rural locations with poor broadband services, and those who are digitally excluded for other reasons may find it more difficult to comply with Making Tax Digital (MTD) requirements. MTD exemptions have operated successfully since the introduction of MTD for VAT in April 2019 for businesses with taxable turnover in excess of the VAT threshold. These exemptions will continue to be available to businesses within the expanded scope of MTD.

There will be no specific allowances or payment made to those using MTD for time spent complying with MTD requirements. However, the Government accepts that there will be time spent in familiarisation with the new MTD obligations (digital record keeping and quarterly submission of information). The Lloyds Bank UK Consumer Digital Index 2019 found that those who are the most digitally engaged save a day a week in administration by going digital. Once businesses are used to operating the new MTD processes, the Government anticipates that they will find that MTD makes it easier for them to get things right, reducing errors and saving time in administering their tax affairs.

MTD is not a response to any changes in HMRC workforce. It is a key part of the Government’s long term goal for HMRC to become one of the most digitally advanced tax authorities in the world, and forms part of the Government's 10-year strategy to build a trusted, modern tax administration system. As well as helping to tackle the part of the tax gap arising due to error and failure to take reasonable care, MTD will help to make the tax administration system more resilient and effective in responding to future shocks, while also providing businesses with access to real-time data and a more accurate overview of their financial position.

The Government will not be funding specialist software or training, but will continue to work to ensure that any additional costs to business are minimised. Free Income Tax software will be available for businesses with the simplest tax affairs. For VAT, there are already over a dozen free packages available as part of a highly competitive market with over 500 products for different business needs. On training, the HMRC customer support model includes a multi-layered approach stretching across agents, third party software support, through to telephony support, webchat, and HMRC’s Extra Support service, as well as signposting to information and guides and to local or third party providers of digital skills courses or support already offered by external providers.

For those with slow speeds and no access to other commercial alternatives, the broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) came into force in March 2020. The USO gives people in the UK the right to request a decent and affordable broadband connection. The Government has pledged £5 billion to support the rollout of gigabit-capable networks to the hardest to reach 20% of the country.


Written Question
Taxation: Self-assessment
30 Jul 2020, 1:13 p.m.

Questioner: Lord West of Spithead

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to fund any (1) specialised computer software, and (2) training, required by the self-employed for the Making Tax Digital programme.

Answer (Lord Agnew of Oulton)

The Government understands that some people with disabilities, those in rural locations with poor broadband services, and those who are digitally excluded for other reasons may find it more difficult to comply with Making Tax Digital (MTD) requirements. MTD exemptions have operated successfully since the introduction of MTD for VAT in April 2019 for businesses with taxable turnover in excess of the VAT threshold. These exemptions will continue to be available to businesses within the expanded scope of MTD.

There will be no specific allowances or payment made to those using MTD for time spent complying with MTD requirements. However, the Government accepts that there will be time spent in familiarisation with the new MTD obligations (digital record keeping and quarterly submission of information). The Lloyds Bank UK Consumer Digital Index 2019 found that those who are the most digitally engaged save a day a week in administration by going digital. Once businesses are used to operating the new MTD processes, the Government anticipates that they will find that MTD makes it easier for them to get things right, reducing errors and saving time in administering their tax affairs.

MTD is not a response to any changes in HMRC workforce. It is a key part of the Government’s long term goal for HMRC to become one of the most digitally advanced tax authorities in the world, and forms part of the Government's 10-year strategy to build a trusted, modern tax administration system. As well as helping to tackle the part of the tax gap arising due to error and failure to take reasonable care, MTD will help to make the tax administration system more resilient and effective in responding to future shocks, while also providing businesses with access to real-time data and a more accurate overview of their financial position.

The Government will not be funding specialist software or training, but will continue to work to ensure that any additional costs to business are minimised. Free Income Tax software will be available for businesses with the simplest tax affairs. For VAT, there are already over a dozen free packages available as part of a highly competitive market with over 500 products for different business needs. On training, the HMRC customer support model includes a multi-layered approach stretching across agents, third party software support, through to telephony support, webchat, and HMRC’s Extra Support service, as well as signposting to information and guides and to local or third party providers of digital skills courses or support already offered by external providers.

For those with slow speeds and no access to other commercial alternatives, the broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) came into force in March 2020. The USO gives people in the UK the right to request a decent and affordable broadband connection. The Government has pledged £5 billion to support the rollout of gigabit-capable networks to the hardest to reach 20% of the country.


Written Question
Taxation: Electronic Government
30 Jul 2020, 1:13 p.m.

Questioner: Lord West of Spithead

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to fund appropriate standards of broadband connection for those who live in areas with poor broadband connectivity to ensure that they can participate in the Making Tax Digital programme.

Answer (Lord Agnew of Oulton)

The Government understands that some people with disabilities, those in rural locations with poor broadband services, and those who are digitally excluded for other reasons may find it more difficult to comply with Making Tax Digital (MTD) requirements. MTD exemptions have operated successfully since the introduction of MTD for VAT in April 2019 for businesses with taxable turnover in excess of the VAT threshold. These exemptions will continue to be available to businesses within the expanded scope of MTD.

There will be no specific allowances or payment made to those using MTD for time spent complying with MTD requirements. However, the Government accepts that there will be time spent in familiarisation with the new MTD obligations (digital record keeping and quarterly submission of information). The Lloyds Bank UK Consumer Digital Index 2019 found that those who are the most digitally engaged save a day a week in administration by going digital. Once businesses are used to operating the new MTD processes, the Government anticipates that they will find that MTD makes it easier for them to get things right, reducing errors and saving time in administering their tax affairs.

MTD is not a response to any changes in HMRC workforce. It is a key part of the Government’s long term goal for HMRC to become one of the most digitally advanced tax authorities in the world, and forms part of the Government's 10-year strategy to build a trusted, modern tax administration system. As well as helping to tackle the part of the tax gap arising due to error and failure to take reasonable care, MTD will help to make the tax administration system more resilient and effective in responding to future shocks, while also providing businesses with access to real-time data and a more accurate overview of their financial position.

The Government will not be funding specialist software or training, but will continue to work to ensure that any additional costs to business are minimised. Free Income Tax software will be available for businesses with the simplest tax affairs. For VAT, there are already over a dozen free packages available as part of a highly competitive market with over 500 products for different business needs. On training, the HMRC customer support model includes a multi-layered approach stretching across agents, third party software support, through to telephony support, webchat, and HMRC’s Extra Support service, as well as signposting to information and guides and to local or third party providers of digital skills courses or support already offered by external providers.

For those with slow speeds and no access to other commercial alternatives, the broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) came into force in March 2020. The USO gives people in the UK the right to request a decent and affordable broadband connection. The Government has pledged £5 billion to support the rollout of gigabit-capable networks to the hardest to reach 20% of the country.


Written Question
Social Security Benefits: Coronavirus
28 Jul 2020, 4:44 p.m.

Questioner: Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide income and other support for individuals forced to self-isolate or find a safe place to remain during a geographically-defined or workplace-related COVID-19 lockdown.

Answer (Lord Agnew of Oulton)

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) has been extended to those told to self-isolate due to whole household quarantine, or due to the Test and Trace programme. The Government has taken additional measures to make SSP payable from day 1, not day 4 for these cases. SSP should only be paid to those unable to work, and those able to work from home should receive their normal wage. These changes apply in areas under local lockdown.

In addition to the changes to SSP, those living in areas of local lockdown can benefit from the unprecedented set of measures introduced by the Chancellor to help individuals affected by COVID-19. This includes the introduction of the Coronavirus Job Retention and Self-Employment Income Support Schemes, as well as the injection of an additional £9.3bn into the welfare system according to OBR estimates.

On accommodation, the Government recognises the challenges faced by many who are sleeping rough and it is committed to helping them. So far, over 90 per cent of those on the streets at the beginning of the crisis and known to local authorities have been offered safe accommodation.

The Government has provided £221m of additional funding for rough sleepers during the crisis, including £3.2m specifically to help those who need to self-isolate. This brings total support for rough sleepers in 2020/21 to over half a billion pounds. All local authorities in England will be able to benefit from these measures, including those under local lockdown.


Written Question
Insolvency
28 Jul 2020, 4:44 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have received about their plans to restore Crown Preference in insolvency proceedings from December.

Answer (Lord Agnew of Oulton)

Reforms to HMRC’s preferential creditor status will not restore Crown Preference. The Government has taken a proportionate approach, applying changes only to taxes paid in good faith by employees and customers, but held temporarily by the business, including Pay as You Earn (PAYE) Income Tax and VAT. Since reforms were announced at Budget 2018, officials and interested parties have maintained productive and fruitful discussion. The Government held a formal consultation between February and May 2019, seeking views from businesses, lenders and insolvency practitioners. Having balanced the interests of taxpayers, the Exchequer and other creditors, the Government believes these reforms take a fair and proportionate approach. This measure was legislated for in Finance Act 2020, to take effect from 1 December.


Written Question
Nostrum Oil and Gas
28 Jul 2020, 11:42 a.m.

Questioner: Mr Ben Bradshaw

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what investigations the Financial Conduct Authority has undertaken on the listing of Nostrum Oil and Gas on the London Stock Exchange, via the Isle of Man.

Answer (John Glen)

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), as the UK’s securities regulator, oversees equity markets and is responsible for maintaining the Official List. The FCA does not normally make public the fact that it is or is not investigating a particular matter, or any of the findings or conclusions of an investigation.


Written Question
Nostrum Oil and Gas
28 Jul 2020, 11:42 a.m.

Questioner: Mr Ben Bradshaw

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the losses incurred by UK investors as a result of the collapse of the share price of Nostrum Oil and Gas.

Answer (John Glen)

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), as the UK’s securities regulator, oversees equity markets and is responsible for maintaining the Official List. The FCA does not normally make public the fact that it is or is not investigating a particular matter, or any of the findings or conclusions of an investigation.


Written Question
Business: Coronavirus
28 Jul 2020, 11:34 a.m.

Questioner: Charlotte Nichols

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on businesses of not receiving coronavirus-related business interruption payouts from insurers; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (John Glen)

The Government has been in continual dialogue with the insurance sector and is encouraging insurers to do all they can to support customers during this difficult period.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules require insurers to treat customers fairly, and has said that, in light of COVID-19, insurers must consider very carefully the needs of their customers and show flexibility in their treatment of them. The Government is working closely with the FCA to ensure that the rules are being upheld during this crisis and fully supports the regulator in its role.

On 1 May the FCA outlined its intention to seek a court declaration, on an agreed and urgent basis, and for a selected number of key issues, to resolve uncertainty for many customers making business interruption claims. Subsequently on 1 June, the FCA announced the policy wordings that would be tested in the court action and insurers it had invited to participate directly. On 15 July, the FCA published a final list of all the relevant insurers and policies that may have wordings impacted by the final decision of the court. The court hearing began on 20 July, and the FCA expect the court to reach a final decision in early August.

However, many businesses have not purchased insurance that covers losses from Covid-19 related losses. The Government encourages businesses who do not have appropriate insurance cover to seek assistance through the wider support package if they are in financial difficulty.


Written Question
Treasury: Renewable Energy
27 Jul 2020, 1:30 p.m.

Questioner: Layla Moran

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 26 June 2020 to Question 60662 on Renewable energy, what plans his Department has to install solar panels and wind turbines in 1 Horse Guards Road in the next five years.

Answer (Kemi Badenoch)

HM Treasury has no plans to install solar panels and wind turbines in 1 Horse Guards Road in the next five years.


Written Question
Working Tax Credit
24 Jul 2020, 11:14 a.m.

Questioner: Neil Gray

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of removing the minimum hours requirements for working tax credits.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

In response to the Covid-19 crisis, HMRC has changed the Working Tax Credit regulations so that any interruption or lowering of hours worked is treated as temporary for the duration of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This allows claimants to remain on Working Tax Credit when entitlement would otherwise have ended.

This is in addition to a wider package of welfare measures to support families including a £20 per week increase to the basic element of Working Tax Credit and the Universal Credit standard allowance.


Written Question
Employment: Disability
24 Jul 2020, 11:07 a.m.

Questioner: Dr Lisa Cameron

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing a jobs strategy for disabled people as part of the Government’s covid-19 recovery strategy.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

On 8 July 2020, the Chancellor announced the Plan for Jobs, a package of measures which will help people find work by significantly increasing help offered through Jobcentres and providing individualised advice through the National Careers Service. The Chancellor also announced the Kickstart Scheme, a £2bn fund to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people. People with disabilities are able to access all of the above measures, in addition to the existing disability employment and support offer.

The government’s manifesto committed to reducing the disability employment gap and the government is very aware that people with disabilities face extra barriers in both recruitment and retention.

On recruitment, people with disabilities who have lost their job and require more intensive employment support have access to both the Work and Health Programme and Intensive Personalised Employment Support. In addition, the Disability Confident scheme provides employers with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to attract, recruit, retain and develop people with disabilities in the workplace.

On retention, the Access to Work programme offers people with disabilities practical in-work support above the level of statutory reasonable adjustments, including a discretionary grant of up to £60,700 per year. The government will continue to look at ways of supporting people with health conditions to stay in work. The government plans to publish a response to the Health is Everyone’s Business consultation by the end of the year. The consultation set out proposals to assist all employers to take early and supportive action to help staff who are managing health conditions in work.


Written Question
Government Departments: Procurement
24 Jul 2020, 11 a.m.

Questioner: Ruth Cadbury

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to update his Department's Green Book to include a social value case.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

The Government is currently reviewing the Green Book - the government’s core guidance on how to develop and appraise schemes against government objectives – to ensure it is consistent with the Government’s ambition to level-up opportunity across the United Kingdom.

The economic case within the Green Book is concerned with social value. It requires all impacts – social, environmental, economic, financial etc. – to be assessed relative to what would have taken place in absence of intervention, referred to in the Green Book as business as usual. The relevant costs and benefits are those for UK society overall, not just to the public sector or originating institution.

As part of the review, the Chancellor set out at the Budget earlier this year that the government is keen to ensure that government spending is not just narrowly focused on where it will bring the highest immediate return, but also on where it may unlock the productive potential of an area and achieve broader long-term benefits.

The review is looking to enhance the strategic development and assessment of projects, consider how to assess and present local impacts, and looking to develop new analytical methods for place-based interventions.

An updated Green Book will be published later in the year, and early findings will inform the Spending Review in Autumn.