The Office of the Secretary of State for Wales supports the Welsh Secretary and the Parliamentary Under Secretaries of State in promoting the best interests of Wales within a stronger United Kingdom. It ensures Welsh interests are represented at the heart of the UK Government and the UK Government’s responsibilities are represented in Wales.
Simon HartSecretary of State for Wales
Oral Answers to Questions is a regularly scheduled appearance where the Secretary of State and junior minister will answer at the Dispatch Box questions from backbench MPsOther Commons Chamber appearances can be:
Westminster Hall debates are performed in response to backbench MPs or e-petitions asking for a Minister to address a detailed issue
Written Statements are made when a current event is not sufficiently significant to require an Oral Statement, but the House is required to be informed.
Wales Office does not have Bills currently before Parliament
Wales Office has not passed any Acts during the 2019 Parliament
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).
Commons Select Committees are a formally established cross-party group of backbench MPs tasked with holding a Government department to account.
At any time there will be number of ongoing investigations into the work of the Department, or issues which fall within the oversight of the Department. Witnesses can be summoned from within the Government and outside to assist in these inquiries.
Select Committee findings are reported to the Commons, printed, and published on the Parliament website. The government then usually has 60 days to reply to the committee's recommendations.
I regularly meet with my ministerial colleagues to discuss a range of topics, including our future trade agreements. This includes the quarterly Inter-Ministerial Trade Advisory Groups, in addition to regular bi-lateral meetings.
Leaving the EU has given us the ability to strike our own trade deals, creating new opportunities for our excellent businesses in Wales to trade internationally. The Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is the first we have negotiated from scratch since leaving the EU and shows what we are capable of as a sovereign trading nation. This trade deal can boost Wales’ economy by around £60 million. We have further achieved an agreement in Principle with New Zealand, and through this Welsh automotive companies will benefit from the removal of tariffs of up to 10% and build on their £3.4m of exports to New Zealand in 2020.
Further trade agreements in the pipeline include agreements with India, the US, Gulf Co-Operation Council, along with the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Joining CPTPP puts us into the dynamic economies of the Pacific region, with UK exports to current CPTPP countries already set to increase by 65% by 2030, equating to £37 billion for the UK as whole.
In addition to this, we are also renegotiating FTAs with Canada and Mexico later in the year to build on our existing bilateral trade relationship with these countries. These exciting trade deals will open up new markets to Welsh businesses and create exciting new export opportunities.
Businesses across Wales and the UK have the ability to seize the opportunities provided by these trade agreements, and the UK Government will continue to support businesses to achieve their trading potential. To support this vision, the UK Government has announced its new Export Strategy called ‘Made in the UK, Sold to the World’, with the aim of helping UK businesses hit £1 trillion in exports. This twelve-point strategy includes support for businesses through the UK Export Academy, UK Export Finance, and a new UK Tradeshow Programme, all designed to provide UK businesses with the tools they need to promote and export their products abroad, and help the UK become a nation of exporters.
The Common Travel Area (CTA) is an administrative arrangement between the UK and Ireland, as well as the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey.
It allows British and Irish citizens to travel freely between the UK and Ireland and reside in either jurisdiction. It also facilitates the enjoyment of associated rights and privileges including the right to work, to study and to access social security benefits and health services. We have always been clear on the shared commitment to protect the rights of our citizens in each other’s state, and this is already underpinned by domestic legislation, and will be updated as necessary, to ensure that the agreed CTA rights and privileges are properly reflected and Wales as part of the UK would continue to benefit from the CTA.
My ministerial colleagues and I regularly meet to discuss a range of topics, including the Welsh insuretech sector. Admiral is a household name that is founded in Wales and is very much rooted in Wales.
Like many other businesses, Admiral have made a business decision to close some of their offices to facilitate a hybrid-working model, in response to Covid-19. The UK Government will continue to support businesses, employees and families affected by Covid-19.
We have supported Welsh businesses and people throughout the pandemic, this includes the provision of £1.1 billion through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, £2.4 billion in business support loans and 474,000 employees supported through the furlough scheme.
Furthermore, the UK Government has reintroduced the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme to help small and medium-sized employers cover the cost of Covid-related sick absences, covering up to two weeks per employee.
I regularly meet with various representatives from across the farming sector in Wales. I met with the President of NFU England and Wales in December 2021 and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State attended the Royal Welsh Winter Fair in November 2021, where he met with various representatives from the farming unions in Wales.
The Trade and Cooperation Agreement maintains zero tariffs and zero quotas on trade in goods between the UK and EU. It provides for ongoing cooperation regarding public, animal and plant health, whilst limiting technical barriers to trade and maintaining full control over our domestic regimes.
With EU Exit, new trading opportunities have opened up, and the UK Government continues to support businesses – including those in the Welsh farming sector – to achieve their trading potential. The UK Government is supporting farming businesses to seize new global export opportunities and is working in lockstep with partners like the NFU and the Food and Drink Federation to deliver tailored support on the ground for Welsh farmers in the wake of EU Exit.
The floor area of the Office of the Secretary of Wales’ estate between 2010-11 to 2020-21 was
Total Net Internal Floor Area (m2) *
* The floor area is taken from the “State of the Estate Reports” which are laid in Parliament and provide an annual summary of the central government estate.
Representatives from across Government, including the Minister for Afghan Resettlement, meet frequently with colleagues in the Welsh Government and across the Devolved Administrations to update them on the resettlement of Afghans in the UK.
Through the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme, the government will resettle up to 20,000 people over the coming years, and will prioritise those who have assisted the UK efforts in Afghanistan and stood up for values such as democracy, women’s rights, freedom of speech, and the rule of law, as well as vulnerable people, including women and girls at risk, and members of minority groups at risk (including ethnic and religious minorities and LGBT+).
I have regular discussion with representatives from various stakeholders in relation to UK-EU trade. My officials have also met with representatives from the Welsh fishing industry.
The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) upholds UK sovereignty, protects our rights as an independent coastal state and takes back control of our waters. Throughout the five and a half year adjustment period, the UK Government will invest in fishing communities, and will do everything it can to rebuild the industry after more than forty years of being bound to the Common Fisheries Policy.
Furthermore, the UK Government has gone well beyond its manifesto commitment to replace EU funding, by investing an additional £100 million through the UK-wide UK Seafood Fund (UKSF). A year on from the TCA, a positive picture is emerging for the fishing industry. The UKSF is tangible evidence of the UK Government’s commitment to Wales’ fishing industry and ensuring that it has a sustainable and prosperous future.
The Government is monitoring and assessing these critical trade routes between Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland and the rest of the UK. Ministers meet regularly to discuss such matters, to ensure effective implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement and support the implementation of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
Our overall aim is to re-negotiate the Northern Ireland Protocol and any solution must respect the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement. We have worked hard, and in good faith, to make the Protocol work, while the EU finally acknowledged in October that the operation of the Northern Ireland Protocol is causing problems for people and businesses. Our preference is to reach a comprehensive solution dealing with all the issues now.
We want a positive relationship with the EU, underpinned by trade and our shared belief in freedom and democracy. Resolving the current issues is critical to unleashing that potential.
My ministerial colleagues and I have regular discussions with the Welsh Government on a range of topics, including the rise in the number of positive Omicron and Covid-19 cases. The UK Government is closely monitoring the impact of the virus on the economy.
I am pleased that the Welsh Government has followed the UK Government’s lead in offering business rate relief to support the hospitality sector, as announced by the Chancellor at the Budget in October. We have supported Welsh businesses and people throughout the pandemic, this includes the provision of £1.1 billion through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, £2.4 billion in business support loans and 474,000 employees supported through the furlough scheme.
The Welsh Government has also benefitted from an extra £3.8 billion of Barnett-based funding during this financial year – taking total block grant funding for the Welsh Government in 2021-22 to £19.3 billion that can be used to support Welsh Businesses. We have further confirmed £270 million the Welsh Government can spend in advance of budgets being finalised at Supplementary Estimates, to support the vaccine roll out and ongoing Covid-19 response in Wales.
Furthermore, the UK Government has reintroduced the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme to help small and medium-sized employers cover the cost of Covid-related sick absences, covering up to two weeks per employee. This is in addition to a reduced VAT rate until the end of March 2022 for tourism and hospitality businesses, helping to support around 150,000 businesses, as well as continued access to the Recovery Loan Scheme until June 2022.
The UK Government is committed to supporting Welsh businesses and continues to assess what support is needed as a result of Covid-19. This includes the provision of £1.1 billion through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, £2.4 billion in business support loans, and 474,000 employees supported through the furlough scheme.
The Welsh Government has also benefitted from an extra £3.8 billion of Barnett-based funding during this financial year – taking total block grant funding for the Welsh Government in 2021-22 to £19.3 billion that can be used to support Welsh Businesses. A further £270 million has been confirmed, which the Welsh Government can spend in advance of budgets being finalised at Supplementary Estimates, to support the vaccine roll out and ongoing Covid-19 response in Wales.
Furthermore, the UK Government has reintroduced the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme to help small and medium-sized employers cover the cost of Covid-related sick absences, covering up to two weeks per employee.
The UK Government recognises the importance of the steel industry in Wales and the UK. This House only needs to look at the £30 million loan we secured for Celsa to see our commitment to the sector. Our response during the pandemic helped secure more than 1,000 steel jobs.
The lifting of this ban is fantastic news and brings Welsh farmers one step closer to putting their first-class lamb on US menus for the first time in 20 years.
Farmers will now be able to reach a new market of over 300 million people. This win will support vital jobs and growth in Wales.
Effective working relationships already exist between the Crown Estate and the Welsh Government.
There is no public appetite at all in Wales to devolve the Crown Estate, which would serve merely to fragment the market and delay the further development of key projects in Wales.
The UK Government has supported Welsh businesses and people throughout the pandemic, including providing £1.1bn through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, £2.4bn in business support loans, and supported 475,000 employees through the furlough scheme.
We have further confirmed £270m the Welsh Government can spend in advance of budgets being finalised at Supplementary Estimates.
The Government fully supports the fundamental rights as set out in the European Convention for Human Rights. The framework for the application of human rights in Wales and across the UK – through the Human Rights Act 1998 – has however proved flawed. We are therefore consulting on proposals for a Bill of Rights that will protect people’s fundamental rights whilst safeguarding the broader public interest and respecting the will of elected representatives in Parliament. We are seeking views from across the UK, including on how our reforms can best reflect the different interests, histories and legal traditions of all parts of the UK.
This information is not collected. At the time, staff were expected to work from home and undertake meetings remotely, wherever possible.
This is a devolved matter, however, the UK Government works with the devolved administrations to seek a coordinated response wherever possible to control disease. In November, the Chief Veterinary Officers for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland worked together to bring in an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) across Great Britain on 3 November 2021, and in Northern Ireland on 17 November 2021, with additional housing measures coming into force across the UK on 29 November 2021. These measures were introduced to protect poultry and captive birds from avian influenza following a number of confirmed cases across Great Britain and means it a legal requirement for all bird keepers across the UK (whether they have pet birds, commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock) to keep their birds indoors and follow strict biosecurity measures to limit the spread of avian influenza.
All four administrations are an integral part of the UK-wide decision-making processes. All attend the Defra Group’s National Disease Control Centre meetings, are members of the Animal Disease Policy Group (ADPG) and participate in daily stocktakes to review on-going disease control strategy. Decisions on disease control measures, made through these groups, are based on risk assessments containing the latest scientific and ornithological evidence and veterinary advice.
The risk of incursion of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 in wild birds is currently assessed as very high for England and high for Wales and Scotland for wild birds. The risk of poultry exposure to HPAI H5 across Great Britain is currently assessed as medium where good biosecurity is applied at poultry premises, but high where there are substantial biosecurity breaches and poor biosecurity. If, however, stringent biosecurity is in place at poultry premises the risk would be low for these premises.
All bird keepers are encouraged to maintain high standards of biosecurity as good practice for the health of their birds, and that good biosecurity is an essential defence against diseases such as avian influenza and is key to limiting the spread of avian influenza in any potential outbreak.
There has been a notable recovery in Great Britain (GB) trade with Ireland throughout 2021, with the latest September statistics showing a 118% increase for GB exports and a 48% increase for imports compared to January 2021.
Ministers meet regularly to monitor and assess the critical trade routes between Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland and the rest of the UK, to ensure effective implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement and support the implementation of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
We will continue to help businesses get the support they need to trade effectively with Europe, including running export helplines such as the Export Support Service and webinars with experts, providing financial support to SMEs, and delaying the introduction of full import controls.
UK Government is in regular engagement with the Welsh Government on a wide range of subjects, including the Windrush Compensation Scheme.
Home Office officials wrote to the Devolved Administrations, including the Welsh Government, to inform them of significant changes we made to the Windrush Compensation Scheme in December. Home Office officials have also engaged with the Welsh Government to encourage the promotion of engagement events the UK Government has held in Swansea, Newport and Cardiff.
The Government also raised awareness of the Windrush Schemes through the national advertising campaign, launched in August 2020, which included radio stations, digital channels and local press in Wales. Campaign materials were also made available in Welsh.
In addition, the Windrush Community Fund, which is a £500k fund to promote awareness of Windrush Schemes to affected communities, was promoted across the UK, including in Wales. The UK Government awarded over £24,000 in funding to Butetown Community Association who are a longstanding organisation in Cardiff, to deliver a series of projects to reach their local communities.
I regularly meet with various representatives from across the farming sector in Wales.
I will be meeting with the President of NFU England and Wales this week and will also be holding an engagement session with all farming unions and interests in the New Year. Furthermore, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State has met with representatives and spoken to NFU Cymru many times in recent months and is meeting them again today (30 November) along with other farming unions.
Moreover, the NFU are part of the UK Governments Strategic Trade Advisory Group and Trade Advisory Group, where stakeholders represent a cross-section of interests from all parts of the UK on trade policy matters, including on agriculture.
I have regular discussions with representatives from various stakeholders in relation to animal welfare.
Whilst animal welfare policy is a devolved matter in Wales, as well as in Scotland and Northern Ireland, both the Office for Secretary of State for Wales and Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs engages with stakeholders across the UK to promote our animal welfare policy objectives or to seek views where appropriate to do so.
I have regular discussions with my Cabinet colleagues on a wide range of subjects, including the steps required to tackle drink spiking across the UK.
Reports of spiking, whether that is adding substances to drinks or injecting people with needles, are extremely concerning, and this is an issue that the Government takes very seriously. We have every sympathy with victims and anyone who might feel unable to enjoy a night out without fear.
The Home Secretary has already asked the National Police Chiefs’ Council to urgently review the extent and scale of the issue, and we are receiving regular updates from the police who are working locally, regionally and nationally, including with our partners in the National Crime Agency.
The abhorrent crimes of spiking also speak to broader issues of violence against women and girls. We published our new cross-Government tackling violence against women and girls (VAWG) strategy this summer to help to ensure that women and girls are safe everywhere. We are delivering a pilot £5 million safety of women at night fund, focused on preventing violence against women and girls in public spaces at night, particularly in the night-time economy. This is in addition to the £25 million safer streets fund, which focuses on improving public safety, with an emphasis on the safety of women and girls and their feelings of safety in public spaces.
By improving regional connectivity, the Integrated Rail Plan will unify labour markets, so that people can access a much wider range of jobs; bring businesses closer together; and improve access to key international gateways and markets so they become even more attractive locations for business investment.
Crewe Northern Connection would improve connections from North Wales to the HS2 network, potentially bringing many passengers within 2 hours 15 minutes of London. Work to progress options on completing the Midlands Rail Hub could give passengers from South Wales easy access to the HS2 network at Birmingham Curzon Street.
I have regular discussions with representatives from various industries, including those in the haulage industry.
The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales hosted a roundtable with Welsh hauliers and their representative bodies earlier this year to discuss issues facing the industry.
The Department for Transport has discussions with the Devolved Administrations on issues relating to road haulage. The Minister for Transport Baroness Vere is due to talk to her counterpart in December on the HGV situation in Wales.
No Ministers from the Office of the Secretary of State for Wales travelled to COP26 by air. I travelled to the conference by train. No other Wales Office Ministers attended.
The Office of the Secretary of State for Wales has five SCS roles (including job shares). They are split between our London and Cardiff offices as follows:
1 March 2019
1 March 2020
1 March 2021
1 September 2021
Ministers holding meetings or phone calls on government business are routinely accompanied by a private secretary or other official, in line with paragraph 8.14 of the Ministerial Code.
Formal, structured meetings are usually minuted, however, not all internal meetings need to be minuted. In line with the Civil Service Code obligation to ‘keep accurate official records’, officials make judgements as to which meetings need to be minuted.
Specific procedures are in place for external meetings involving ministers. These are publicly available and can be found in the Guidance on the management of Private Office Papers.
I have regular discussions with representatives from various religious groups.
The Government wholeheartedly supports the invaluable work being done by the Muslim community, and indeed all of our faith communities, who are inspired by their faith or belief.
The Government believes that people need to be able to feel strong in their religious identities and we are making sure that the voices of people of faith are heard in Government.
Increasing understanding and respect between faith communities is central to the Government’s integration agenda.
We continue to work with all of our faiths, and even more so during the pandemic. A Places of Worship Taskforce and faith-specific roundtables, including a Muslim roundtable, chaired by the Faith Minister were established so we can best support our faith communities, and listen and act on their concerns.
The Office of the Secretary of State for Wales has offices in Cardiff and London. The workforce split across each location on the dates requested is:
1 March 2021
1 June 2021
1 September 2021
The Government’s recently published Net Zero Strategy is clear that nuclear is an important part of our plans to achieve net zero. Wylfa is one of the best sites for large and small-scale projects in the world and we will continue to work with industry to exploit the opportunities for nuclear power in Wales.
The Secretary of State for Wales has regular discussions with colleagues in the Welsh Government on a wide range of subjects, including the request for additional financial assistance to make coal tips safe.
The Secretary of State for Wales met with the Welsh Government Minister for Finance and Local Government on 20 October 2021, where they discussed this matter, among others. The matter was also discussed at the recent Coal Tip Safety Summit which was co-chaired by the Secretary of State for Wales and the First Minister. The Secretary of State reiterated that the management of coal tips in Wales is a devolved matter and therefore not a matter the UK Government would expect to provide additional funding for. Nevertheless, as a testament to our commitment, we provided £31 million to the Welsh Government to ensure that vital work to help with the unforeseen consequences of Storm Dennis could be delivered.
The Welsh Government is more than adequately funded to manage the costs of its devolved responsibilities. The UK Government has provided the Welsh Government with an additional £2.5 billion a year over the SR21 period through the Barnett formula. This spending review settlement provides Welsh Government with around £120 per person for every £100 of equivalent funding in England, which is over 20% higher than equivalent funding in England. This is around £1 billion per year more than the agreed level of fair funding set out in the Welsh Government's fiscal framework. Therefore, the Welsh Government can pay for coal tip maintenance and still have more than fair funding for their other devolved responsibilities.
The Office of the Secretary of State for Wales has not made any estimates of the number of ivory items owned by or collated in this Department or institutions owned or managed by the Government.
The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) will replace the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund. It will ramp up to £1.5 billion a year in 2024-25 as EU Structural Funds tail off and total funding will at a minimum match the size of EU Funds in all nations, each year. UKSPF funding in the next Spending Review period will total over £2.6 billion.
The UKSPF is key to levelling up the whole of the UK. It will help people access opportunity in places in need, such as former-industrial areas, deprived towns, rural and coastal communities and for people in disadvantaged groups across the UK. Further details about the Fund will be set out later this year.
In addition to the UKSPF, Wales will also receive £121 million from the first round of the Levelling Up Fund, £46 million from the UK Community Renewal Fund and £464,000 from the Community Ownership Fund. We are also providing the Welsh Government with an additional £2.5 billion per year on average through the Barnett formula, on top of its annual baseline funding of £15.9 billion. These are the largest annual block grants of any spending review settlement since devolution began.
The Equality Hub has held discussions with the Welsh Government about its LGBTQ+ action plan for Wales as well as wider LGBT policy, including most recently the proposals to ban conversion therapy in England and Wales.
None. The Office of the Secretary of State for Wales has not allocated any funding to Stonewall during the last five years.
I have regular discussions with my Cabinet colleagues on a wide range of subjects, including the provisions for female prisoners in Wales.
On 20 September, the Ministry of Justice published a new policy on pregnancy, Mother and Baby Units and maternal separation from children up to the age of two in women’s prisons, which contains a range of reforms for improving the care of pregnant women.
Women in prison are entitled to the same quality and range of healthcare services compared with that which they have access to in the community. Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service is responsible for working in partnership with local healthcare providers to secure access to these services.
In addition, the Government announced last year that the first residential women’s centre for female offenders will be in Wales. Having carefully considered the evidence, the Ministry of Justice has confirmed that the first residential women’s centre will be located in South Wales. Officials have been undertaking a scoping exercise to understand how the needs of mothers with children might be met within the pilots.
No Ministers from the Office of the Secretary of State for Wales have travelled to a covid-19 red list country for the purpose of conducting official business, therefore no Ministers have been exempted from quarantine.
The Government recognises the importance of responding to members of the public in an effective and timely manner, and the Cabinet Office published an updated Guide to Handling Correspondence for government departments and agencies in July 2021.
The guidance reasserts the standards for handling correspondence, including a 20 working day deadline for departments to respond to members of the public, criteria outlining when a response to a member of the public is required, and when a piece of correspondence from a member of the public should be transferred to another department. Following publication of the updated guidance, all departments have been reminded that they must follow the processes outlined in the guidance.
The Office of the Secretary of State for Wales has a 15 working day deadline to reply to correspondence where a response is required. Correspondence response times are regularly monitored and reported to the Departmental Board. Internal processes have been improved to ensure members of the public are responded to in a timely manner.
Representatives from across Government meet frequently with colleagues in the Welsh Government to update them on the resettlement of Afghans in the UK.
In recent weeks, both the Minister for Safeguarding and Afghan Resettlement and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster have chaired meetings to discuss Operation Warm Welcome with Ministers from all the devolved administrations.
The UK Internal Market Act has not taken a single power away from the devolved administrations.
What it has done is protect seamless trade within our United Kingdom which is vital to Welsh business and the Welsh economy, with Wales selling more to the rest of the UK than to the rest of the World put together.
The funding provided to Wales by the UK Government demonstrates the value of the Union to Wales and reflects Wales’ value to the Union.
The UK Government has provided over £3.4 billion in direct support to businesses across Wales, an additional £8.6 billion to the Welsh Government to tackle the pandemic.
It is for the Welsh Government to consider the merits of a separate public inquiry. It is vital that all such inquiries rigorously examine public bodies’ handling of the Covid crisis and provide at least the same level of scrutiny as the UK public inquiry.
The UK Government is working closely with the devolved administrations on the scope of the UK public inquiry. I look forward to this beginning its work next year.
The Secretary of State for Wales and I have a wide range of discussions with Ministerial colleagues, including how to solve the current shortage of lorry drivers.
That is why the government is increasing the availability of HGV driving testing. However, I would like to remind the honourable Member that the HGV driver shortage is not exclusive to the UK and is a Europe wide issue.
The Office of the Secretary of State for Wales does not own any properties.
The UK Government is working intensively with countries, businesses and civil society organisations around the world to secure our path to global net zero emissions by 2050 and deliver a safe, secure, sustainable and inclusive COP26. The UK set the tone for the level of ambition we invite all countries to rise to when earlier this year we announced our commitment to reduce emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels.
Climate change does not recognise territorial borders. The summit aims to mobilise countries to bring down global emissions, improve air quality, reduce pollution and protect and restore natural ecosystems globally. These benefits would be felt by citizens and communities in Newport, Wales and beyond.
COP26 is also an opportunity to showcase the breadth of engagement in climate action across the UK. All parts of the UK will have important roles to play in ensuring the summit’s success and will benefit from the collective momentum generated by COP26. We are working with the Welsh Government to ensure an inclusive and ambitious summit for the whole UK. We are grateful to those organisations from Wales that applied to have a physical presence at the summit in the UK-managed Green Zone, about which we hope to make an announcement in due course. Welsh communities have also taken part in the Together for Our Planet and Race to Zero campaigns and engaged with the COP26 Schools Pack.
The UK is committed to playing a leading role in developing an ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework to be adopted at COP 15.
As part of this framework, the UK will be supporting ambitious global targets to bend the curve of biodiversity loss by 2030, including targets to ensure more ocean and land is protected, ecosystems are restored, species population sizes are recovering and, that by 2050 extinctions are halted. This ambitious set of targets must be supported by increased finance for nature and strengthened reporting and review mechanisms to facilitate the achievement of them.
There is close working between the UK Government and the devolved administrations on our ambitious objectives for COP 15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity to ensure we deliver the transformational change required.
The Government is wholeheartedly committed to tackling abuse online and we continue to press social media platforms to take a much tougher approach in their response to such abuse. UK Government officials have been working closely with officials in the Welsh Government, throughout the development of the Online Safety Bill, and will continue to engage throughout the legislative process.
Similarly, UK Government Ministers, including the Home Secretary, and officials regularly meet social media companies to discuss the steps that they are taking to address harmful content on their platforms, including hate crimes and racist abuse.
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.