Lord Stevenson of Balmacara Portrait

Lord Stevenson of Balmacara

Labour - Life peer

Became Member: 13th July 2010

Shadow Spokesperson (Science, Innovation and Technology)

(since February 2023)

Lord Stevenson of Balmacara is not a member of any APPGs
1 Former APPG membership
Ireland and the Irish in Britain
Draft Online Safety Bill (Joint Committee)
22nd Jul 2021 - 30th May 2024
Shadow Spokesperson (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Oct 2022 - 20th Feb 2023
Communications and Digital Committee
28th Jan 2021 - 19th Jan 2022
Opposition Whip (Lords)
17th Oct 2011 - 28th Jan 2021
Shadow Spokesperson (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th May 2020 - 28th Jan 2021
Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and International Trade)
15th Apr 2020 - 28th Jan 2021
Shadow Spokesperson (International Trade)
1st May 2019 - 14th Apr 2020
Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Jul 2016 - 21st Jun 2017
Shadow Spokesperson (Education)
1st Jul 2016 - 21st Jun 2017
Shadow Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Oct 2010 - 21st Jun 2017
Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Bill [HL] Special Public Bill Committee
13th Sep 2016 - 9th Nov 2016
Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills)
5th Sep 2011 - 14th Jul 2016
Communications and Digital Committee
15th Nov 2010 - 21st Jan 2011


Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Lord Stevenson of Balmacara has voted in 246 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
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Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Lord Callanan (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
(83 debate interactions)
Baroness Barran (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
(83 debate interactions)
Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
(70 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(28 debate contributions)
Leader of the House
(25 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Online Safety Act 2023
(32,140 words contributed)
Trade Bill 2019-21
(21,421 words contributed)
United Kingdom Internal Market Act 2020
(17,195 words contributed)
Financial Services Bill 2019-21
(15,132 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Lord Stevenson of Balmacara's debates

Lords initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Lord Stevenson of Balmacara, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.


1 Bill introduced by Lord Stevenson of Balmacara


A bill to repeal the Bills of Sale Acts 1878 and 1882; to make provision for a new form of non-possessory security that may be created over goods owned by individuals; and for connected purposes

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Wednesday 5th February 2020
(Read Debate)

Lord Stevenson of Balmacara has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


Latest 49 Written Questions

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
2 Other Department Questions
23rd Apr 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to give effect to the recent United Nations Human Rights Council resolution affirming the rights of intersex people; and what is their planned timetable for addressing the rights violations experienced by people born with variations in their sex characteristics, including genital-normalising operations carried out on intersex children.

The UK recognises the fundamental importance of protecting the human rights of all people, including those with variations in sex characteristics (VSC), and we await the OHCHR report on the human rights of intersex people.

It is important to understand the experiences of people living with VSC in the UK and to use this insight to shape policy. In this vein, the Government is currently monitoring and considering evidence and research specific to people living with VSC.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Oct 2023
To ask the Senior Deputy Speaker what plans the House of Lords has to provide a facility within the Palace of Westminster for Members to organise screenings of high-quality audio-visual work.

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. Ministers will correspond directly with the Member.

13th Sep 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to promote greater awareness of cyberthreats among (1) the civil service, (2) public sector workers, and (3) the general public.

The Government Cyber Security Strategy, published in January 2022, sets out how we will build and maintain our cyber defences - by building greater cyber resilience across all government organisations and working together to ‘defend as one’ which enables a greater defensive force. A key component of the strategy is that the civil service and the public sector at large will have sufficient cyber security knowledge and awareness to identify and respond to cyber threats. In central government this work is being led by the Security, Education and Awareness Centre which promotes awareness of all security issues, including cyber threat, across government.

The National Cyber Security Centre’s Cyber Aware campaign is encouraging the public to take the necessary steps to improve their online security. The campaign sets out the six behaviours they can adopt to stay safe. These range from creating stronger passwords using three random words to turning on two-step verification.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
8th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, as part of their ongoing negotiations with the EU, they have considered arrangements for short-term business visits; and whether musicians and their crews will be included in any such scheme.

We are open to negotiating reciprocal arrangements to facilitate business visits to deliver services, building on provisions that are standard in trade agreements.

A reciprocal agreement based on best precedent will mean that UK citizens will be able to undertake some business activities in the EU without a work permit, on a short-term basis. The same would apply for EU citizens making business visits to the UK.

Lord True
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
8th Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government whether they consider predictive text engines such as ChatGPT and Google's LaMDA BARD to be within the scope of the Online Safety Bill, as currently drafted; and if not, what other measures they will introduce to hold companies responsible for the operation of such software should it be likely to be accessed by children or by vulnerable UK citizens.

The Online Safety Bill has been designed to be technology-neutral to future-proof it and to ensure that the legislation keeps pace with emerging technologies. It will apply to companies which enable users to share content online or to interact with each other, as well as search services. Content generated by artificial intelligence ‘bots’ is in scope of the Bill, where it interacts with user-generated content, such as on Twitter. Search services using AI-powered features will also be in scope of the search duties outlined in the Bill.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to assist the Construction Leadership Council in achieving zero retentions within the construction sector by the target date of 2025.

The Government, in conjunction with the Construction Leadership Council, is working to identify a sustainable strategy on retentions for the whole construction sector.

Through the Business Models workstream of the Council, the practice of cash retentions and route to achieving zero retentions is being taken forward. This includes the options available, or could be developed, to provide an alternative to cash retentions and for the industry to reduce or eliminate defective construction work and having a procurement and delivery model that recognises, incentivises and rewards good quality work.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
13th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the Prompt Payment Code on SMEs in the construction sector, given that only a small minority of construction businesses are signatories to the Code.

The Government is committed to fulfilling its manifesto commitment to clamp down on non-payment and late payment to support small businesses in the UK.

We have introduced a number of measures to tackle late payment. These include the Payment Practices Reporting Duty which creates transparency in payment behaviour, and the Prompt Payment Code which sets standards and best practice in payment culture. Both measures are applicable in the construction sector.

Since September 2019, suppliers also risk being excluded from winning large Government contracts if they cannot demonstrate prompt payment. This policy applies to Central Government contracts valued above £5m per annum, subject to the Public Contracts Regulations.

In addition, in May 2020 the Government issued a Guidance Note on responsible contractual behaviour in the performance and enforcement of contracts impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government will continue to review behaviours in contracting, including public sector procurement, prompt payment and contract management arrangements.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
19th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many vouchers were sent out by email to successful applicants to the Green Homes Grant scheme in 2020.

As of 31 December 2020, 11,298 applications were approved, with 12,849 vouchers issued by email to successful applicants.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
19th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) how many applications were approved for, and (2) what was the total amount awarded through, the Green Homes Grant scheme in 2020

As of 31 December 2020:

(1) 11,298 applications were approved, corresponding to 12,849 vouchers issued;

(2) The vouchers issued represents £52.1 million of approved funding. This will not be awarded until the scheduled works are completed and vouchers are redeemed.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
30th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Callanan on 3 August (HL7046), whether the OneWeb offering has changed to include defence specific applications since 3 August.

While Her Majesty's Government has a stake in the company, it will operate as a commercial entity. The point raised is a commercial matter and should be directed to the company.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the estimated costs, to date, (1) of preparing for the UK's participation in the Unified Patent Court, and (2) of any future wind down costs consequent on their decision to withdraw their ratification of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court and the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities of the Unified Patent Court. [T]

UK contribution to the project to date has been from multiple sources and amounted to £9.5m.

The Government committed to leasing accommodation for the UPC in London which is currently being utilised by the IPO and other tenants. We have invoked the break clause set out in the lease. We estimate future IPO costs of approximately £420,000 in net rent, plus costs to return the accommodation to its original state.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
23rd Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the economic impact to the UK of the unauthorised use by persons or companies based in China of intellectual property developed in the UK.

The UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is an executive agency of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. It is responsible for intellectual policy (IP) policy; educating businesses and consumers about IP rights and responsibilities; supporting IP enforcement; and granting UK patents, trade marks and design rights.

The IPO recognises the significant harm that IP crime causes to the UK economy and is working alongside domestic and international partners to address the problem.

17th Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government whether they are having discussions with the Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, and other partners regarding (1) cultural cinema programme activity in Edinburgh, and (2) the 2023 Edinburgh International Film Festival, following the closure of the Edinburgh Film House.

Cultural cinema programme activity in Edinburgh is a matter for the Scottish Government, since this is a devolved policy area. Following the Centre for the Moving Image (CMI) going into administration in October 2022, Screen Scotland purchased the intellectual property for the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

DCMS officials have spoken to the British Film Institute (BFI) about this issue. The BFI operates UK-wide and has a close working relationship with Creative Scotland and its dedicated screen agency, Screen Scotland. Throughout the period covered by the British Film Institute’s previous corporate strategy, British Film Institute 2022, Screen Scotland has been its delivery partner for the National Lottery-backed British Film Institute NETWORK programme, Short Circuit. The British Film Institute’s new strategy, Screen Culture 2033, is UK-wide and Scotland-based applicants are able to apply for applicable National Lottery funds.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
17th Nov 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government how much Ofcom has spent on its work to promote online media literacy in each of the last three years.

Ofcom is operationally independent from His Majesty’s Government and is accountable to Parliament. Information on Ofcom’s budget and funding arrangements can be found in its Annual Report and Accounts, which are lodged in the House of Commons Library and published on Ofcom's website.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Frost on 27 May (HL Deb, cols 1103–6), which EU countries were involved in bi-lateral discussions with the UK Government about touring visas for workers in the cultural sector; and whether the Home Office was party to these discussions.

As the Secretary of State has said, we have moved at pace and with urgency on plans to support the creative sectors to tour in Europe. We are engaging on a bilateral basis with all 27 EU Member States, and through this engagement we have established that in at least 17 out of 27 Member States some touring activities are possible without visas or work-permits. The UK has significantly more generous arrangements for touring professionals than many Member States. We are now working closely with individual Member States to encourage them to adopt a more flexible approach, in line with the UK’s own rules which allow creative professionals to tour easily here. We are working with a number of departments on this engagement strategy, including the Home Office.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government why non-professional music activity in England has not been permitted to resume indoors without limits on numbers.

Non-professional activities are permitted indoors within the legal gathering limits in a group of up to 6 people, or as a group of 2 households/bubbles. Activities can take place with multiple permitted groups, provided the groups are kept separate throughout the activity, and the event is organised in line with the organised events guidance for local authorities. However, non-professional singing indoors should only take place in a single group of up to 6 people. Activities should be organised to allow for social distancing to be maintained.

We have followed the views of public health experts on singing. We are aware that singing can increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission through the spread of aerosol droplets. We will continue to keep guidance and restrictions under review, in line with the changing situation. Further detail on step 4 will be set out as soon as possible.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to communicate with (1) the public, (2) businesses, and (3) charities, about the forthcoming switch-off of the Public Switched Telephone Network; and what assessment they have made of the impact the switch-off will have for (a) alarm manufacturers, and (b) vulnerable users of analogue technology enabled care products.

The retirement of the public switched telephone network (PSTN), and its replacement with Internet Protocol technology, is being led by Openreach and Virgin Media, as the relevant infrastructure owners. Openreach and Virgin Media have publicly set out their plans to withdraw these services by the end of 2025. The migration is likely to affect all fixed exchange lines, of which there are 31.3 million in the UK.

In June 2020, the Broadband Stakeholder Group, a Government advisory forum on telecoms policy, launched the ‘Future of Voice’ website. This consumer-facing website is designed to inform the public and businesses of the PSTN switchover process and was developed with the support of telecoms companies, Ofcom and DCMS. The website will also be a useful resource for charities, trade associations and public sector bodies to inform their members of the change.

Ofcom estimates that 81% of UK households have a landline service, with 4% of UK adults living in a home with a landline and no mobile phone, while 3% of UK households have only a landline without any broadband.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to consult on the operation of the Electronic Communications Code.

We are committed to consulting on whether further reforms to the Electronic Communications Code are necessary to support the delivery of digital connectivity. Timings for this consultation are still to be finalised, and we will confirm this as soon as possible.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Baroness Barran on 9 November (HL Deb, col 808), what proportion of the £119 million of funding available through Arts Council England has been paid directly to individual freelance workers; and what is the breakdown of payments by (1) art form, and (2) category of freelance worker.

Of the £119m available through Arts Council England as part of their Covid emergency support, over £26m has been distributed to individuals, including freelance workers, and organisations via the Emergency Relief Fund and Project Grants Funding (as of 5 November 2020).

Within the £26m, £17m has been distributed to individuals via ACE’s Emergency Response Fund (now closed) and c.£9m has so far been distributed to both organisations and individuals via Project Grants (out of a total of c.£80m available until April 2021).

In addition to the two Funds above, the £119m also includes the following:

  • £6 million distributed by a series of Benevolent Funds focused on self employed individuals; and

  • £18 million available through their Developing Your Creative Practice Fund

The split by art form and category of freelance worker will be made available in due course.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to bring forward proposals for a pilot study allowing the use of digital forms of identification for age verification purposes in retail and hospitality settings.

A Document Checking Service pilot is currently underway to test the use of digital means of identification-proofing across the economy. Age verification is a key requirement in a range of sectors where there are age restricted goods and services, including hospitality and retail. It is important we get our approach right. Therefore, we are working with industry and civil society to develop standards that will provide confidence to retailers and consumers that digital identity products are secure and fit for purpose. We continue to work in close collaboration with other Government departments on this matter.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to maintain the European Electronic Communications Code beyond the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December; and, if they intend to maintain the Code, what assessment they have made of its impact on the use of digital technologies designed to detect and prevent online harms against children.

Under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, it is a legal requirement to implement the European Electronic Communications Code Directive (EECC) by 21 December 2020. The Government's approach to implementing the Directive was published at gov.uk on 22 July (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/implementing-the-european-electronic-communications-code), and was laid in the House of Lords Library on the same date.

Amendments made in UK legislation to implement the Directive will be retained after 31 December, save for limited instances where corrections are required to reflect the UK’s exit from the European Union. The Directive is infrastructure focused and does not include measures relating to the regulation of content, and our transposition approach as set out does not impinge on online harms.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to make regulations under the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 to protect museum collections from sale when holding bodies go into administration.

The Government is aware of this important issue and DCMS is exploring options, including legislation, for how we may be able to prevent the dispersal, and therefore potential loss of these collections. One option is considering whether the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 can be used as a means of saving museum collections in the event of insolvency.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis officials and ministers have been in even more regular contact with museums and sector organisations to understand the impact of the pandemic, the measures the Government has taken to fight it and to understand what support museums and heritage organisations need and how best to get it to them. On 5th July, the Government announced a £1.57 billion support package to protect Britain’s world-class cultural, arts and heritage institutions. In addition, DCMS arms’ length bodies have created sector specific support. Arts Council England launched a £160 million Emergency Funding Package, the National Lottery Heritage Fund launched the £50 million Heritage Emergency Fund, and Historic England launched a £2 million Emergency Fund. This emergency short-term funding will help address pressures over the next 3-6 months for those organisations most in immediate need.

The Government has also announced unprecedented support for business and workers, to protect them against the current economic emergency. This includes the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme and VAT payment deferrals. We know that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, in particular, has been a lifeline for the museum sector. The Government continues to monitor the impact of these and other measures.


Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on 9 July (HC Deb, col 1099), what plans they have to ensure that the universal rollout of gigabit-capable broadband is completed by 2025.

The Government is committed to delivering nationwide coverage of gigabit capable broadband as soon as possible. The latest Ofcom figures demonstrate full fibre coverage has increased to 3.5 million premises (or 12% of the UK), and by 1.5 million premises in the past year. Estimates of gigabit coverage are even higher at over 20% of UK premises, as a result of Virgin Media’s upgrades of its existing network.

To help the private sector deploy gigabit capable broadband more quickly and easily, we are removing barriers to deployment. For example, the Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill will make it easier to connect properties with an unresponsive landlord. For harder to reach areas of the UK, we have committed to invest £5 billion in subsidising the deployment of gigabit capable broadband.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the prevalence of the deliberate sharing of material capable of causing an epileptic seizure on social media platforms, and (2) the case for including measures against such behaviour in their forthcoming online harms legislation.

The Online Harms White Paper sets out the government’s plans for world leading legislation to make the UK the safest place to be online. We intend to establish in law a new duty of care on companies towards their users which will be overseen by an independent regulator. The ‘duty of care’ will ensure companies take risk-based and proportionate steps to keep their users safe. The regulator will also have the power to require companies to publish transparency reports, which will improve users’ understanding about the prevalence of harmful content and the countermeasures companies are taking. We will publish a full response to the white paper consultation later this year, which will set out final details regarding the scope of the duty of care and the obligations on companies. We will follow this with legislation.

In addition to this new legislation, it is important to make sure that the criminal law is fit for purpose to deal with online harms. DCMS and the Ministry of Justice have engaged the Law Commission on a second phase of their review of abusive and offensive online communications. This will include considering whether co-ordinated harassment by groups of people online could be more effectively dealt with by the criminal law, whether it is targeted at individuals with epilepsy or others. The Law Commission will review existing communications offences and make specific recommendations about options for reform, to ensure that criminal law provides consistent and effective protection against such behaviour.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to commission an independent review of the BBC’s funding needs to ensure that it receives the resources needed to meet the responsibilities set out in its Charter.

The BBC’s funding model is agreed with the Corporation as part of the Royal Charter. It was last considered as part of Charter Review 2015-16, during which process the Government committed to maintain the licence fee funding model for the BBC for the duration of the current Charter period, lasting until the end of 2027.

The current licence fee settlement is agreed until April 2022. Negotiations between the Government and the BBC for the next licence fee period, 2022-27, will begin in due course. The Government will set out more detail on the process to be followed ahead of negotiations.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many individuals have enquired about the availability of higher speed broadband under the Universal Service Obligation launched on 20 March.

The broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) provides every household with the legal right to request a broadband connection that provides download speeds of at least 10Mbps and an upload speed of at least 1Mbps, where this is not already available commercially.

Performance monitoring of the Universal Service Obligation is the responsibility of Ofcom. Chapter 9 of the Universal Service Statement by Ofcom sets out the reporting requirements for Universal Service Providers (BT and KCOM) who will be required to report at least every six months on the number of USO requests received, the number of requests accepted, the number of Confirmed Orders received that involved a customer agreeing to pay excess costs and the number of requests rejected by the Universal Service Provider including an explanation of the reason why.

As the Universal Service Obligation launched on 20 March 2020, no statistics on its progress have yet been published by Ofcom.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the average cost quoted to individuals who have sought a better broadband connection under the Universal Service Obligation launched on 20 March.

The broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) provides every household with the legal right to request a broadband connection that provides download speeds of at least 10Mbps and an upload speed of at least 1Mbps, where this is not already available commercially.

Performance monitoring of the Universal Service Obligation is the responsibility of Ofcom. Chapter 9 of the Universal Service Statement by Ofcom sets out the reporting requirements for Universal Service Providers (BT and KCOM) who will be required to report at least every six months on the number of USO requests received, the number of requests accepted, the number of Confirmed Orders received that involved a customer agreeing to pay excess costs and the number of requests rejected by the Universal Service Provider including an explanation of the reason why.

As the Universal Service Obligation launched on 20 March 2020, no statistics on its progress have yet been published by Ofcom.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what involvement they have in Community Fibre Partnerships; and what assessment they have made of the impact of that scheme on the cost to consumers of better broadband connections.

Community-led schemes, including Community Fibre Partnerships, allow a group of premises to work together to upgrade their broadband connection through a joint funding arrangement with any broadband supplier who offers it. Community Fibre Partnerships can be successful in lowering the cost of improving broadband connections across a community, such schemes are not government run or administered. A Community Fibre Partnership is specifically only offered by Openreach and is but one example of a community-led broadband scheme. Such community-led schemes can take a variety of different forms to help suit the needs of the individual community. Further details of such schemes can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/community-led-broadband-schemes/introduction-to-community-led-schemes.

There are a variety of funding sources to help communities commence a community-led scheme. The Government has set out a number of alternative schemes to help businesses and residents upgrade their broadband connection through a community partnership.

A rural component of the Scheme launched in May 2019 with funding provided through the Rural Gigabit Connectivity (RGC) programme. Up to £3,500 is available to rural SMEs and up to £1,500 for rural premises is available to support the installation of gigabit-capable broadband when part of a group scheme. These vouchers can be used in community broadband projects to offset the cost of installing gigabit-capable connectivity that communities would otherwise wholly fund themselves.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the likelihood of any restrictions introduced on EU musicians touring in the UK following the completion of the transition period being reciprocated for UK musicians touring in the EU.

DCMS has engaged extensively with union bodies, artists and cultural organisations to help understand the needs of the creative and cultural sector on their preparations for the ending of the transition period. We understand the diverse circumstances of companies, organisations and individual practitioners and how they may need to adapt as the transition period ends.

On temporary entry for business purposes (mode 4) as part of a free trade agreement, we want a reciprocal agreement that would enable UK citizens will be able to undertake some paid business activities in the EU without a work permit, on a short-term basis. The precise details, including range of activities, documentation needed, and the time limit, is a matter for negotiation

We are confident that such a free trade agreement based on friendly cooperation can be achieved.

However, in all circumstances, we expect UK musicians’ work to continue to be an export that is highly valued in the EU as it is across the world.

We will continue to work with these stakeholders in the coming months and we will continue to keep Parliament informed with analysis at appropriate times in a way that does not impede our ability to strike the best deal for the UK.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, as part of their preparations for exiting the transition period, of the economic viability of UK venues booking acts from EU member states for live music events and studio performances.

DCMS has engaged extensively with union bodies, artists and cultural organisations to help understand the needs of the creative and cultural sector on their preparations for the ending of the transition period. We understand the diverse circumstances of companies, organisations and individual practitioners and how they may need to adapt as the transition period ends.

We will continue to work with these stakeholders in the coming months and we will continue to keep Parliament informed with analysis at appropriate times in a way that does not impede our ability to strike the best deal for the UK.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th May 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government whether children in low-income families are permitted to use funding from the apprenticeship levy to stay on at secondary school.

Apprenticeships are jobs with training that are open to anyone aged 16 and over. The apprenticeship levy was introduced to support employers of all sizes to invest in high-quality apprenticeship training. The department’s annual budget for apprenticeships in England has increased to over £2.7 billion in the 2024/25 financial year. This budget is ringfenced for spend on apprenticeships training and assessment only to meet employer demand for high-quality apprenticeships and cannot be used for other purposes.

To ensure that every child, regardless of their background, can excel at school and achieve their full potential, the department has targeted a greater proportion of the schools national funding formula towards deprived pupils than ever before. In total, 10.2%, over £4.4 billion, of the formula will be allocated according to deprivation factors in the 2024/25 financial year and 17.8%, or £7.8 billion, will be allocated for additional needs overall. This will help schools in their vital work to close attainment gaps and level up educational opportunities.

The pupil premium grant, introduced in 2011, also offers direct funding to schools to improve educational outcomes for disadvantaged 5 to 16 year olds in state-funded schools in England. The department increased the premium pupil funding to over £2.9 billion this financial year to ensure the most disadvantaged pupils receive the support they need to succeed at school.

The department is providing funding to ensure that every 16 to 18 year old has a place in further education or training if they want one. The department invested over £7 billion on 16 to 19 programme funding during the 2023/24 academic year, which included over £590 million to support students who are economically deprived and to account for low prior attainment in English and mathematics. Over £35 million has also been allocated in the 2023/24 academic year to provide free meals for 16 to 19 year olds in further education. Additionally, the department allocated over £159 million of bursary funding to institutions in the 2023/24 academic year to help disadvantaged 16 to 19 year olds with costs such as travel, books, equipment and trips, which is nearly 12% higher than published allocations for the 2022/23 academic year.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Nov 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment Ofsted has made of Ofcom's progress towards improving the online media literacy of internet users.

Ofsted is not responsible for evaluating the work of Ofcom and has made no assessment of Ofcom’s progress on this matter.

Ofsted sets clear expectations that schools teach pupils how to understand and recognise risks they may encounter online. This should include a well constructed relationship, sex and health education curriculum that addresses online abuse and harassment, online safeguarding risks, and what constitutes a healthy relationship online. Ofsted also expects schools to act to ensure bullying, discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and sexual violence, online or offline, are unacceptable and dealt with quickly, consistently, and effectively should they occur.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Nov 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to increasing the time devoted to online media literacy as part of the national curriculum.

The Department continues to support schools to deliver media literacy education. There are many opportunities across the national curriculum for pupils to acquire knowledge of online media literacy. It is taught through the compulsory subjects of computing and citizenship and relationships, sex and health education (RSHE), which was introduced in September 2020. Non-online media literacy is also covered in history and English.

The computing curriculum teaches children how to use technology safely. This includes understanding the internet, using search technologies effectively, and being discerning when evaluating digital content.

Citizenship education equips pupils with the knowledge to explore issues critically, weigh evidence, make reasoned arguments, and take informed action. Pupils are taught the role of responsible journalism in democratic society, enabling them to identify misinformation.

The RSHE curriculum includes online relationships, the implications of sharing private or personal data, including images, online, harmful content and contact, cyberbullying, overreliance on social media, and where to get help and support for issues that occur online.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the responses by Lord Benyon on 25 May (HL Deb, cols 890–3), whether the evidence they used to ban the use of neonicotinoid pesticides in 2018 has changed; and, if so, (1) whether this has led to a change of policy, and (2) what plans they have to make any such evidence available as soon as practicable.

The 2018 restrictions on neonicotinoids were justified by the growing weight of scientific evidence that they are harmful to bees and other pollinators. The Government supported these restrictions because we were not prepared to put our pollinator populations at risk.

Our position on these pesticides remains the same. We support the restrictions on neonicotinoids but can consider applications for emergency authorisations.

We will only grant an emergency authorisation where the relevant statutory requirements are met. They will only be granted for limited and controlled use where the product is necessary because of a danger which cannot be contained by any other reasonable means. We will carefully consider any potential risks to humans, animals and the environment, including pollinators.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to reports of possible human rights, modern slavery, and security concerns relating to exports from China, what plans they have to establish a trade agreement with the government of China; what sectors any such agreement would cover; and what assessment they have made of whether any such agreement would meet the Government's environmental, food, and animal welfare standards.

HM Government is clear that trade does not have to come at the expense of our values.

Our focus at the current time is negotiating Free Trade Agreements with the United States of America, Japan, Australia and New Zealand; alongside considering accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

We do not currently have plans to negotiate a free trade agreement with China.

China is – and remains – an important trading partner for the United Kingdom.

16th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (1) personal confidentiality agreements, and (2) non-disclosure agreements the Department for International Trade has signed with (a) businesses, (b) individuals, and (c) third parties advising, the department on its response to COVID 19.

The Department for International Trade has not signed any personal confidentiality agreements, nor non-disclosure agreements with businesses, individuals nor third parties advising HM Government on its response to COVID-19.

15th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many civil servants in the Department for International Trade are dedicated to trade negotiations with (1) the United States, (2) Japan, and (3) Australia. [T]

The Department for International Trade’s Trade Policy Group (TPG) has a strong core of trade policy officials which has significantly grown from 45 to 723 (excluding the Export Control Joint Unit and Trade Remedies Investigations Directorate) since 2016. In TPG, we have dedicated teams in charge of coordinating each of our new free trade agreement negotiations, including the US, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. We have 3 Chief Negotiators and 3 Deputy Chief Negotiators currently, as well as the Government’s Chief Trade Negotiation Advisor.

Trade negotiations will be progressed by teams of differing sizes depending on their complexity and the Department also works closely with experts in other Departments.

13th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the aim expressed in OUR PLAN TO REBUILD: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy (CP 239) to deliver a “cleaner, more sustainable” world economy after the COVID-19 pandemic, what steps they are taking to achieve this aim through trade policy.

HM Government intends to support Britain’s economy to become stronger, cleaner, and more resilient after this crisis. A clean and resilient economic recovery will boost exports and create employment in the low-carbon industries of the future, while ensuring we address the linked challenges of public health, climate change, and biodiversity. Our ambitious trade policy agenda can support these aims, by promoting trade in low-carbon goods and services through Free Trade Agreements and at the WTO. HM Government will also continue to lead work on the international economic recovery through our upcoming COP26 and G7 Presidencies.

2nd Nov 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, if any, of the impact that the practice of stopping and reviewing benefits for disabled people who earn over a certain monthly threshold has had on the advertising industry’s project to increase diversity within the sector.

The department has not assessed whether benefit rules in relation to earnings have impacted on the advertising industry’s project to increase diversity within this sector.

24th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the (1) feasibility, and (2) benefits, of promoting the use of digital identification in retail and hospitality settings to help address the spread of COVID-19.

Having a more open economy is reliant on having measures in place to minimise transmission of the virus and keep the public safe. Where someone who has visited a venue in the hospitality sector or other designated sectors tests positive, NHS Test and Trace or local public health officials may request the records maintained by that venue of staff, customers and visitors. This will help them to identify people who may have been exposed to the virus and provide the necessary public health advice.

Since 18 September 2020, the Test and Trace strategy has included mandatory requirements for designated venues, including displaying an official National Health Service QR code poster from 24 September, so that customers and visitors can ‘check in’ using the NHS COVID-19 app as an alternative to providing their contact details.

10th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies Who is excluded from the government's Self Employment Income Support Scheme and what could the government do about it?, published on 27 January; and what plans they have to introduce targeted support to freelance workers in the creative industries who do not qualify for the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (1) who became self-employed after 2019, and (2) who are on zero-hour contracts.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has provided and will continue to provide generous support to self-employed people who meet the eligibility criteria.

The Government has recognised taxpayers have faced immense challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has prioritised delivering support to as many people as possible while guarding against the risk of fraud or abuse.

The design of the SEISS, including the eligibility requirement that an individual’s trading profits must be no more than £50,000 and at least equal to their non-trading income, means it is targeted at those who most need it, and who are most reliant on their self-employment income.

The SEISS is among the most generous schemes for the self-employed in the world. The claims window for the third grant closed on 29 January 2021. As of 31 December, it received claims from 1.9 million individuals so far, amounting to £5.4bn.

The fourth grant will cover February to April 2021. The Government will set out further details at the Budget in March.

The SEISS continues to be just one element of a substantial package of support for the self-employed which includes Bounce Back loans, tax deferrals, rental support, mortgage holidays, self-isolation support payments and other business support grants.

The Government recognises the value of the cultural sector and creative professionals and has announced a £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to protect the cultural sectors through the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, more than £790m of grants and loans have been allocated to over 3,000 cultural organisations in England. Organisations supported include galleries, theatres, museums, orchestras, music venues, comedy clubs and festivals. This funding will help to support jobs and organisations across the country.

9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much they have spent on (1) developing, and (2) trialling, the Job Support Scheme.

HM Treasury, along with other Government departments including HMRC, developed the Job Support Scheme through the usual government processes using a range of Civil Service policy expertise and experience. It is not possible to determine the cost of developing individual policies. The Chancellor postponed the Job Support Scheme and has announced the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until the end of March 2021 for all parts of the UK. HMG will review the policy in January to consider whether any changes to the policy are appropriate in light of the economic and health situation at that time.

5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to develop long-term COVID-19 recovery plans for businesses which (1) stimulate demand, and (2) address any increase in unemployment. [T]

The Government has announced unprecedented support for business and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency including around £300 billion of guarantees – equivalent to 15% of UK GDP. As the Prime Minister set out in his statement in Parliament on 11 May, the Government’s economic strategy will be closely coordinated with the public health strategy to ensure a safe return to economic activity. The Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy is set out on gov.uk.

13th Sep 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what contribution they are making to international efforts to (1) identify, (2) and counter, cybercriminal gangs who target networks and users in the UK.

The UK is a world leader in cyber security. Our operational agencies, such as the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and National Crime Agency (NCA) are a source of international best practice, and we strongly support international cooperation to tackle cyber crime. The Government’s approach to countering this threat is set out in the National Cyber Strategy (2022), under the pillar of detecting, disrupting and deterring our adversaries.

Cyber-crime is a global threat. Criminals and the technical infrastructure they use are often based in uncooperative jurisdictions, making international collaboration essential. Across our law enforcement network, we seek to maximise international links as part of our response to criminal activity. Alongside working closely with UK police and regional organised crime units, the NCA have built crucial relationships with partners such as Europol, the FBI, and the US Secret Service to assess cyber crime risks, share intelligence and coordinate action.

The NCA works to identify cyber criminals impacting the UK, wherever they are in the world. Working with international partners to target and disrupt cyber criminal gangs and the illicit cyber crime ecosystem that supports them. For example, in February 2023, we announced sanctions against seven Russian cyber criminals involved in the notorious organised crime group behind many of the most damaging ransomware groups in the last few years involving TRICKBOT, CONTI and RYUK ransomware. A second wave of sanctions was announced in September demonstrating the NCA’s unrelenting targeting of cyber-criminals.

The UK continues to shape the global conversation at multilateral forums and bilaterally to drive cooperation to deter malicious cyber activity. We have promoted the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime since it was agreed in 2001, and we are taking an active role in the development of the proposed UN treaty on cybercrime, to ensure that it supports international cooperation on tackling crimes that all countries face, while protecting human rights.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Sep 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce legislation relating to cybersecurity practices and offences.

The Government keeps the UK’s cyber legislation under regular review to ensure that it can be used to tackle new and emerging threats. The UK’s regulatory framework for cyber resilience is a mixture of: sector-based regulation such the Network and Information Systems (NIS) Regulations 2018; thematic regulation such as the Data Protection Act 2018; and criminal legislation such as the Computer Misuse Act 1990.

The Government has undertaken several amendments to legislation to ensure it keeps pace with the evolving cyber threat, including updating the Computer Misuse Act in 2015 and updating the Network and Information Systems Regulations (2018) in 2020.

In 2022 the Government published proposals to make changes to the Network and Information Systems Regulations and these will be implemented as soon as Parliamentary time allows. The government has also carried out a review of the Computer Misuse Act and is currently considering whether to bring forward legislative proposals.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the impact of COVID-19 on live music events, what plans they have to consult with music industry representatives on how that sector can be supported through amendments to the Immigration Rules.

The Government continues to engage with the creative sector to ensure the future immigration system will enable the UK’s cultural life to continue to thrive.

Currently, visiting artists, entertainers and musicians can perform at events, take part in competitions and auditions, make personal appearances and take part in promotional activities for up to 6 months without the need for formal sponsorship or a work visa.

Artists wishing to come to the UK for longer-term work will need to do so under the future points-based system. There will continue to be special arrangements for creative workers, which in future will encompass both EEA and non-EEA citizens.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
8th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the commercial and cultural cases for facilitating continued ease of movement for musicians between the UK and EU; and what steps they are taking to ensure that this is reflected in the Immigration Rules.

The Government continues to engage with the creative sector to ensure the future immigration system will enable the UK’s cultural life to continue to thrive.

Currently, visiting artists, entertainers and musicians can perform at events, take part in competitions and auditions, make personal appearances and take part in promotional activities for up to 6 months without the need for formal sponsorship or a work visa.

Artists wishing to come to the UK for longer-term work will need to do so under the future points-based system. There will continue to be special arrangements for creative workers, which in future will encompass both EEA and non-EEA citizens.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)