Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.
These initiatives were driven by Lord Randall of Uxbridge, 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.
Lord Randall of Uxbridge has not been granted any Urgent Questions
Lord Randall of Uxbridge has not been granted any Adjournment Debates
A Bill to prohibit the use of raised laying or battery cages to keep certain game birds for the purpose of producing eggs; to set minimum space requirements for enclosures for such birds; and for connected purposes
A Bill to repeal the Hares Preservation Act 1892 and to make provision to prohibit the killing or taking of hares during the breeding season.
Lord Randall of Uxbridge has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting
The Government only supports the use of biomass for energy generation where it complies with our strict sustainability criteria. The sustainability criteria require, among other things, that where biomass is sourced from forests, irrespective of its location, it needs to be sourced from forest areas which are managed in a way that is consistent with sustainable forest management practices.
The use of sustainable biomass for power generation has been shown to have significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels. Statistics on energy generation from renewable sources including biomass is publicly available on the GOV.UK website. In 2020, around 9% of total electricity generated in the UK was from plant biomass, the majority of which is wood pellets.
Supply chain greenhouse gas emissions data reported as part of compliance with the UK’s stringent sustainability criteria under existing renewable energy schemes are available on Ofgem's website.
The UK Overseas Territories Bermuda, Gibraltar, the Cayman Islands and the Falkland Islands have had UK ratification of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change extended to them. Currently no UK Overseas Territories have had UK ratification of the Paris Agreement extended to them.
The Department is consulting with UK Overseas Territories as to whether they would like to have the UK’s ratification of the Paris Agreement extended to them.
The Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia comprise a UK Overseas Territory on the island of Cyprus. UK ratification of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has not been extended to the Sovereign Base Areas. The Department will consult with the Sovereign Base Areas should they formally request the extension.
We welcome events which celebrate our rich global heritage, and the 400th anniversary celebrations of the Mayflower setting sail to the United States offers a unique opportunity to do this.
I am pleased that we have provided significant funding to the Mayflower 400 organisers, who are responsible for delivering the commemorations. This is demonstrated by the £750,000 of funding my Department has provided through VisitEngland, which will help to ensure a strong legacy for the commemorations across the UK and globally.
In 2015, DCMS provided £35,000 to invest in the Mayflower museum. Last year, we also awarded Plymouth £3.5m through the Cultural Development Fund - part of which will support digital product development for Mayflower’s programme.
The Government will continue to support theatres through the unprecedented financial measures we have announced. DCMS has also worked closely with its arm’s-length bodies to deliver tailored support packages at speed, including the £160m Emergency Funding Package announced by Arts Council England, made possible by Government funding.
Alongside this, DCMS continues to engage with the sector extensively in order to best understand the challenges faced. We are working closely with the Arts Council to consider the additional support that may be needed to support the long-term recovery of the cultural sector, including theatres.
The department recognises that students due to sit exams and assessments next year will have experienced disruption to their education due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The government is committed to working closely with Ofqual to ensure that next year’s exam series proceeds fairly, and students receive the qualifications they deserve. Ofqual has already consulted on a range of possible adaptations to GCSE, AS and A level exams and assessments next year on a subject-by-subject basis, and has announced some changes that will reduce pressure on teaching time, and help ensure those young people taking exams next year have the same opportunities to progress as the students before them.
As for the timing of exams next year, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, asked Ofqual in June to consider a short delay to the GCSE, A and AS level exam timetable in 2021, to free up additional teaching time. We are continuing to work with Ofqual, the exam boards, regulators in the devolved administrations, and groups representing schools, colleges and higher education to consider the best approach, and decisions will be confirmed as soon as possible.
The government has also provided a £1 billion fund of catch up premium designed to support schools in making up for some lost learning time.
The UK Government published a consultation on 3 December 2021 to seek views on how the world-leading due diligence provisions introduced in the Environment Act should be implemented. The consultation will be open until 11 March 2022 and is available at: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/international-biodiversity-and-climate/implementing-due-diligence-forest-risk-commodities/
Although the legislation will only apply to relevant businesses operating in the UK, the consultation is open to respondents across the world. We want to hear from a wide range of stakeholders in the UK and internationally on the principles of our proposal, and to use their feedback to ensure that we design secondary legislation in the most effective way. Whilst we do not have plans to issue translations of the technical consultation document and online survey, Defra will continue to work closely with the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office to help ensure relevant stakeholders in other countries can engage effectively in the consultation.
When used improperly, snares can cause immense suffering and we are looking at whether changes are needed to address these concerns. The call for evidence on the use of snares will be launched in due course, and this is an issue we are looking at closely as part of our continued drive to maintain the highest animal welfare standards in the world.
We expect the increased Darwin Plus scheme to be launched later in 2021 with the first payments being made in 2022. Because of the increased funding we also expect to support a greater number of projects under the current Darwin Plus round. These projects will be announced in due course.
The Government funds Clean Catch UK which is a collaborative research programme dedicated to better monitoring, reducing, and, where possible, eliminating bycatch of sensitive species in UK fisheries. We are taking a risk-based approach to implementing this, focussing on fisheries which experience the highest rates of bycatch in the first instance. As a known hotspot for bycatch, work is already underway in the South West of England. We are currently undertaking trials for a range of mitigation measures in different fisheries along Cornwall’s south coast and will be looking to include more fisheries in this over the next 12 months.
The Government remains committed to monitoring and enforcing our fisheries so that we can manage them sustainably. As part of this, we continue to explore the potential uses of Remote Electronic Monitoring alongside other tools such as observer coverage and self-reporting apps.
The UK Government funds 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 which collects data on fisheries catch and bycatch for scientific advice and management.
The Government also 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.
In addition, we also fund the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme, which conducts research on threats facing cetaceans (dolphins, porpoises and whales) through carrying out post-mortems on stranded animals. We are about to let a new 10-year contract for this programme, which demonstrates our long-term commitment to monitoring and mitigating such threats, including bycatch.
These programmes all contribute to the assessment of bycatch on populations and associated welfare implications of sensitive marine species.
The process for considering an emergency authorisation for a pesticide is set out in the legislation and includes consideration of potential risks to people and to the environment. The process was followed for this application and the Secretary of State decided that the criteria for an emergency authorisation have been met in this case. His decision was informed by assessments and advice from the Health and Safety Executive, the Expert Committee on Pesticides (ECP) and Defra's Chief Scientific Adviser. Natural England is sighted on emergency authorisation applications. No advice was requested or received on this application.
The information contained in applications made for emergency authorisations is not normally published. The ECP publishes the minutes of its discussions, and its advice on the Cruiser SB application is contained in the minutes from the 24 November 2020 meeting (attached to this answer and also available online at the following link):
As part of their planning for River Basin Management Plans the Environment Agency have assessed the impact of sewage discharges on the water environment, along with the impact from other sectors such as Agriculture. This assessment is published on gov.uk as part of the Environment Agency’s consultation on the choices and challenges associated with third cycle River Basin Planning for the Water Framework Directive which closed on 24 September 2020. The consultation can he found here:
There have been a number of improvements to sewage discharges over the last 25 years. For example sewage treatment works put 60% less phosphate and 70% less ammonia into the water environment than they did in 1995. The latest data from 2019 also suggests that 36% of water bodies in England are affected by pollution from sewage discharges.
This assessment has been used to inform the investment planning undertaken by the water industry which will see more than £4bn of environmental improvements implemented by them over the next 5 years. Many of these improvements are targeted at improving river water quality to support fisheries and improved habitats for wildlife.
On 16 March 2020, the Environment Agency published Meeting our Future Water Needs: a National Framework for Water Resources. The report is available on GOV.UK here. This report explores England’s long term water needs, setting out the scale of action needed to ensure resilient supplies and an improved water environment.
Key findings of the report show that if no action is taken between 2025 and 2050, around 3,435 million extra litres of water per day will be needed for public water supply. This includes:
We announced a £640 million Nature for Climate Fund and are developing plans to deploy that funding in England over this parliament.
We will shortly publish a new England Peat Strategy and are consulting on a new England Tree Strategy. These will set out policies and programs to meet our manifesto commitments, driving up tree-planting and peat restoration, working together to address the combined climate and biodiversity crises.
The Government is committed to further strengthening our world-leading animal welfare standards. We have committed to bringing in new laws on animal sentience. Any necessary changes required to domestic legislation will be made in a rigorous and comprehensive way and will be brought forward when Parliamentary time allows.
Additionally, we have committed to ending excessively long journeys, and banning the keeping of primates as pets. We want to increase maximum sentences for animal cruelty, which is being taken forward as a Private Members Bill.
The Government is supporting the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill as it makes its way through Parliament. The Bill will increase the maximum custodial penalty for animal cruelty from 6 months’ imprisonment to 5 years’ imprisonment.
The new maximum penalty of five years is in line with campaigns by key stakeholders such as Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Dogs Trust and the RSPCA. This is a positive step forward in improving animal welfare and will act as a serious deterrent against cruelty and neglect. Northern Ireland has already set the maximum penalty for animal cruelty offences at five years’ imprisonment, and the Scottish Government introduced the Animals and Wildlife (Penalties, Protections and Powers) (Scotland) Bill on 30 September 2019. The Welsh Government have confirmed that the new maximum penalty being proposed should apply in Wales.
The increase to five years' imprisonment will provide one of the toughest sanctions in Europe, strengthening the UK's position as a global leader on animal welfare. This builds on recent positive action the Government has taken to improve animal welfare standards, such as a requirement for CCTV in all slaughterhouses and implementing one of the world's toughest ivory bans. For companion animals, we have introduced new updated minimum welfare standards for pet selling, dog breeding, riding schools, animal boarding and exhibiting animals; as well as a ban on the commercial third-party sale of puppies and kittens.
Where construction activities occur within a chalk aquifer, or any other designated aquifer, HS2 Ltd works closely with the Environment Agency and relevant third parties to ensure that any risks are identified and that the design and delivery of the scheme causes no damage to the aquifer. The Environment Agency, as the regulatory body responsible for managing groundwater resources, will not provide the necessary approvals for work to commence until it is satisfied that there will be no detrimental impact to the aquifer.
In order to provide all necessary protections and to mitigate identified risks, HS2 Ltd has produced comprehensive and detailed risk assessments for its activities which affect aquifers. The HS2 project is funded to ensure that works can progress with minimal impact on the water environment and no interruption to the continued provision of high-quality drinking water from aquifers. Protective measures include the selection of the cleanest tunnelling technologies and the enhancement of water treatment and supply capabilities.
There will be no increase in the cost of public water supply as a result of HS2 works. The HS2 project is funded to cover the cost of any actions required to ensure that the provision of high-quality drinking water is maintained. HS2 Ltd, not water companies or their customers, will therefore cover the costs of any mitigation or risk reduction measures that are implemented to maintain public water supplies.
The Department received a request from Canada in November 2020 to conclude a reciprocal agreement to state pension up-rating.
At present, only civil partnerships or marriages conducted under the special procedure, for those who are seriously ill and not expected to recover, are being conducted, and only where the Registrar General thinks it is safe to do so according to Public Health England guidelines. The Government has no plans to introduce virtual registration of civil partnerships.
We understand the frustration couples planning a civil partnership or a wedding must be feeling, and as with all coronavirus restrictions we will look to ease them as soon as it is safe to do so. As set out in our roadmap, those decisions will be based on scientific evidence.
The UK Government is working closely with the Overseas Territories to ensure that their valuable contribution to address the environmental issues they face is featured appropriately during COP26, including in the UK Pavilion. The Overseas Territories are collectively participating in COP26 to showcase their unique biodiversity, environments and marine protected areas.
Representatives of the Overseas Territories will attend COP26. However, the number of attendees from the Overseas Territories is not currently finalised.
The UK Government continues to support conservation and biodiversity projects in the Overseas Territories following the UK's exit from the EU. The UK Government is monitoring the impact of EU Exit on the territories and taking action to mitigate against the impact of loss of EU environmental funding for the Overseas Territories including the British Virgin Islands, through initiatives such as Darwin Plus. Round 9 of Darwin Plus saw a record investment in 31 projects across the Overseas Territories, totalling more than £8m over three years.
Tackling climate change in collaboration with international partners remains a high priority for this Government. By aligning our efforts, the creation of the new Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office will allow us to seize the opportunities ahead, as we prepare to take on the G7 presidency and host COP26 next year. Further details on how the new Department's strategic priorities will be implemented, including through a blend of bilateral and multilateral assistance, will be set out in due course.
The safety and security of those in the British Overseas Territories (OTs) is a UK Government priority. Multiple government departments, led by DFID and the FCO, have been working with OT Governments to respond to the pandemic.
It is first and foremost for the OTs to make full use of their financial resources in order to address their needs. The UK Government will consider requests for further support/funding on a case-by-case basis. All UK financial support is subject to robust governance and needs assessments.
To address immediate healthcare, access and security needs, FCO has reallocated £15m of 2020/21 CSSF and £5m of 2020/21 International Programme funds to COVID-19 support. DFID is providing an initial £10m from its budget to mitigate immediate non-health impacts in the three ODA-eligible OTs, and has earmarked an additional £20m to mitigate short to medium term impacts of the outbreak on these OTs.
To date, the UK Government has procured and delivered medical supplies to all the inhabited OTs (except Pitcairn, which has had no confirmed cases of COVID-19), delivered testing systems to 6 territories and boosted testing capabilities in three other OTs. Health professionals from Public Health England are providing advice and support to each OT, and the Government has supported OTs to recruit medical personnel.
MoD and Home Office have provided in-territory security support to Turks and Caicos Islands through a Security Assistance Team and an additional 29 military personnel have reinforced TCI's Maritime Police Unit to counter illegal migration. A further Security Assistance Team is supporting the Cayman Islands to assist planning on security, logistics, COVID-19 and hurricane response. RFA ARGUS arrived in the Caribbean earlier than planned to provide support to the OTs during the hurricane season; she could also provide support for COVID-19 impacts if required.
The UK Government has arranged four flights to the Caribbean, including two paid for by the Cayman Islands Government, and a flight to the South Atlantic, flying residents of the Overseas Territories home from the UK as well as repatriating British Citizens and other nationalities from the Bahamas, Bermuda, Turks and Caicos Islands, the Cayman Islands and St Helena. The Government has also repatriated people from Ascension and the Falkland Islands using regular RAF flights.
The UK Overseas Territories' are constitutionally responsible for their marine environments. The Blue Belt programme has supported Territories to designate and manage large-scale protected areas around the British Indian Ocean Territory, South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands, Pitcairn, St Helena, Ascension and within the British Antarctic Territory. The programme is on track to deliver over 4 million square kilometres of protected ocean during this year, with the anticipated future designation of a management regime across Tristan da Cunha's maritime area.
Other Territories indicated that they did not wish to pursue the development of large-scale marine protected areas within their waters though the Blue Belt programme. Many of these Territories have already implemented a range of marine management measures within their waters. Funding from the Blue Belt programme has been used to enhance the annual Darwin Plus initiative, to enable those Territories to bid for funding to undertake local marine projects, which many have done, including projects with the Blue Belt delivery partners.
The next phase of the Blue Belt programme, subject to the comprehensive Spending Review, will seek to expand engagement, and provide broader support for all Territories to protect their marine environment, while further developing sustainable marine economies.
The Government has carefully considered the arguments for extending the Self-Assessment filing date deadline from 31 January but presently has no plans to extend that deadline. The January deadline has been in place for many years and changing it could undermine taxpayer understanding and trust in how the Self-Assessment system works. However, the Government recognises that some taxpayers will have difficulty submitting their Self-Assessment return due to the impact that COVID-19 has had on their personal or business circumstances.
HMRC do not charge penalties for failure to submit a return on time where taxpayers have a reasonable excuse. HMRC’s guidance explains that they will accept the impact of COVID-19 as a reasonable excuse for submitting a return late, provided that taxpayers explain how they were affected and submit the return as soon as they can. More information is available in the HMRC online guidance covering the reasonable excuse provisions.
Once they have submitted their return, taxpayers who are unable to pay all of their Self-Assessment tax due on 31 January can then access HMRC’s enhanced online Time to Pay arrangements. This allows Self-Assessment liabilities of up to £30,000 – increased from £10,000 - to be paid in up to 12 instalments without having to contact HMRC beforehand. Taxpayers with Self-Assessment liabilities over £30,000 can contact HMRC directly to agree a Time to Pay instalment arrangement.
Accommodation for supported asylum seekers is arranged by private sector providers through contractual arrangements with the Home Office.
Details of these contracts can be found on gov.uk under 'New asylum accomodation contracts awarded'.
All asylum seekers have access to a 24/7 AIRE (Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility) service provided for the Home Office by an independent third party, Migrant Help.
Prepaid Finance Services are contracted to provide Asylum Seekers with ASPEN cards.