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Written Question
Procurement: Coronavirus
Monday 6th July 2020

Asked by: Lord Haskel (Labour - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on the transmission of COVID-19 by reducing the use of paper in supply chains; and whether the regulations on (1) e-signatures, and (2) e-transactions, apply to every aspect of a supply chain.

Answered by Lord Callanan - Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)

According to the World Health Organisation, the likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package, including paper package, that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperate is also low.

The Government has endorsed the conclusions reached in the Law Commission’s report Electronic Execution of Documents that the existing legal framework in England and Wales makes clear that businesses and individuals can feel confident in using e-signatures in commercial transactions.

Written Question
Manufacturing Industries: Digital Technology
Friday 17th November 2017

Asked by: Lord Haskel (Labour - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy:

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Henley on 2 November (HL Deb, cols 1434-5), in implementing the Made Smarter Review what arrangements they will make for those who are displaced by digitalisation; whether they intend to introduce a safety net; and what procedures will be implemented to ensure that people are not damaged by its introduction.

Answered by Lord Henley

The Government believes that digitalisation of industry has the potential to achieve great benefits for the labour market, which can offset the impact of job displacement. Extensive research conducted for the review found that industrial digitalisation can result in a net gain of 175,000 jobs. However, government recognises that there will be challenges of job displacement in the short term and has already made preparations to mitigate this (see below).

We are working closely with industry and experts to consider its findings.

Examples of specific action government is taking now to upskill the current workforce and future workforce include:

  • Digital skills Partnership (currently in development), which sets out a high level proposal for some type of partnership to bring together private and public sector organisations to actively tackle the digital skills gap.
  • As indicated in the Digital Economy Act (April 2017), the Government will introduce an entitlement for adults who lack basic digital skills to undertake fully-funded training as part of the publicly-funded adult education offer.
  • A £10m fund for the Future Digital Inclusion project supports approximately 5,000 businesses and centres targeting those who are deprived and most likely to need support to deliver basic digital skills to adults in England.
  • Career/Lifelong learning - The Spring Budget 2017 announced spending of up to £40m by 2018-19 to test different ambitious new approaches to tackle the barriers to lifelong learning.
  • Cyber Apprenticeships – working with employers to help develop cyber security apprenticeships to help address the cyber skills gap in critical sectors, including Energy, Transport, Water, Telecoms and Broadcasting Media.