Alex Sobel Portrait

Alex Sobel

Labour (Co-op) - Leeds North West

First elected: 8th June 2017


23 APPG memberships (as of 8 Apr 2024)
22q11 Syndrome, Aid Match, Albania, British Jews, Cayman Islands, Global Deforestation, Heritage and Regeneration, Hospitality and Tourism, Human-Relevant Science, Internet, Communications and Technology, Investment Fraud and Fairer Financial Services, Kosovo, Modern Conflict, Montenegro, Music, Net Zero, North Macedonia, Renewable and Sustainable Energy, Sweden, United Nations, Video Games and Esports, West Papua, Zoos and Aquariums
64 Former APPG memberships
American Football, Antisemitism, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, Baseball, Baseball and Softball, Baseballand Softball, Basketball, Channel 4, Clean Quarrying, Climate and Security, Climate Change, Conservation, Places and People, Côte d’Ivoire, Critical Minerals, Drones, Drones and Modern Conflict, East Coast Main Line, Electoral Reform, Electric Aviation, Electric Vehicles, Esports, Estonia, Events, Fair Business Banking, Food Waste, Future of UK-Australia Trade, Greenland, Gypsies, Travellers and Roma, Holocaust Memorial, Hydrogen, International Conservation, Investment Fraud, Kurdistan in Turkey and Syria, Loan Charge and Taxpayer Fairness, Local Resilience and Civil Contingencies, Mutuals, Northern Culture, Pacific Islands, Park Homes, Parkrun, Plastic Waste, Polo, Race and Community, Rare, Genetic and Undiagnosed Conditions, Religion in the Media, Renters and Rental Reform, Running, Rural Business and the Rural Powerhouse, Slovakia, Small Island Developing States, Social Enterprise, Space, Students, Sustainable Finance, Sustainable Resource, Technology Addiction, Ticket Abuse, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vegetarianism and Veganism, Video Games, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Western Sahara, Yoga in Society
Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Dec 2021 - 5th Sep 2023
Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform Bill)
2nd Nov 2022 - 29th Nov 2022
Shark Fins Bill
9th Nov 2022 - 16th Nov 2022
Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Apr 2020 - 4th Dec 2021
Highgate Cemetery Bill Committee
16th Jun 2021 - 16th Jun 2021
Environmental Audit Committee
2nd Mar 2020 - 22nd Feb 2021
Backbench Business Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Environmental Audit Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019


Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Alex Sobel has voted in 708 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Alex Sobel Division Votes

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
Rebecca Pow (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
(17 debate interactions)
Rishi Sunak (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(10 debate interactions)
Nigel Evans (Conservative)
(10 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Legislation Debates
Environment Act 2021
(7,014 words contributed)
Finance Act 2020
(1,119 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Alex Sobel's debates

Leeds North West Petitions

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).

Petition Debates Contributed

Mark Avery , Chris Packham and Ruth Tingay (Wild Justice) want the opening of the Woodcock shooting season to be pushed back to 1 December. 160,000 Woodcock are shot for fun across the UK whilst their population is declining. The Defra Secretary of State has powers to vary the shooting season.

The Government should create an emergency fund to deal with the massive waiting lists for autism & ADHD assessments for children AND adults. This would provide resources for local health services deal with current waiting lists and new patients.

The Government should commission a review of how Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) assessments are managed by the NHS, including through Shared Care Agreements, and increase funding to reduce waiting times.

Ensure any ban fully includes trans people and all forms of conversion therapy.

Make specialist training mandatory for all police and other government agencies that support black women and girls affected by domestic abuse. Police and agencies should have culturally appropriate training to better understand the cultural needs of black women affected by domestic abuse.

The Government needs to change the law so laboratory animals are included in the Animal Welfare Act. Laboratory animals are currently not protected by the Act and are therefore victims of 'unnecessary suffering' (see section 4 of the Act: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/45/section/4).

We ask Parliament to repeal the High Speed Rail Bills, 2016 and 2019, as MPs voted on misleading environmental, financial and timetable information provided by the Dept of Transport and HS2 Ltd. It fails to address the conditions of the Paris Accord and costs have risen from £56bn to over £100bn.

Advice from the JCVI on the priority groups for a Covid-19 vaccine does not include school/childcare workers. This petition calls for these workers, who cannot distance or use PPE, to be kept safe at work by being put on the vaccine priority list when such a list is adopted into government policy.


Latest EDMs signed by Alex Sobel

21st March 2024
Alex Sobel signed this EDM on Tuesday 16th April 2024

One year anniversary of the kidnapping of Elizabeth Tsurkov

Tabled by: Tommy Sheppard (Scottish National Party - Edinburgh East)
That this House notes that today marks the one year anniversary of the kidnapping of Elizabeth Tsurkov, a dual Russian-Israeli national, who is being held hostage in Iraq by the militant group Kata'ib Hezbollah; expresses dismay at her kidnapping and calls for her immediate release; extends solidarity to her family …
27 signatures
(Most recent: 23 Apr 2024)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 11
Liberal Democrat: 4
Labour: 4
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 2
Green Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Alba Party: 1
8th January 2024
Alex Sobel signed this EDM on Friday 26th January 2024

Pension restitution for women born in the 1950s

Tabled by: Kim Johnson (Labour - Liverpool, Riverside)
That this House welcomes the positive interventions from so many hon. Members from across the House on behalf of women born in the 1950s who have suffered pensions loss through the targeting of their pension rights; pays tribute to constituents and campaigners in their ongoing fight for justice; recalls that …
98 signatures
(Most recent: 16 Apr 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 44
Scottish National Party: 31
Democratic Unionist Party: 6
Independent: 6
Plaid Cymru: 3
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 2
Alba Party: 2
Liberal Democrat: 2
Green Party: 1
Alliance: 1
Conservative: 1
Workers Party of Britain: 1
View All Alex Sobel's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Alex Sobel, 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.


Alex Sobel has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Alex Sobel has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Alex Sobel


A Bill to require the United Kingdom to achieve climate and nature targets; to give the Secretary of State a duty to implement a strategy to achieve those targets; to establish a Climate and Nature Assembly to advise the Secretary of State in creating that strategy; to give duties to the Committee on Climate Change and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee regarding the strategy and targets; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Thursday 21st March 2024
Next Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 17th May 2024
Order Paper number: 11
(Unlikely to be Debated - would require unanimous consent to progress)

19 Bills co-sponsored by Alex Sobel

Illegal and unsustainable fishing (due diligence) Bill 2023-24
Sponsor - Chris Grayling (Con)

Co-operatives (Permanent Shares) Bill 2022-23
Sponsor - Gareth Thomas (LAB)

Firearms and Hate Crime Bill 2021-22
Sponsor - Luke Pollard (LAB)

Wellbeing of Future Generations (No. 2) Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Caroline Lucas (Green)

Fur Trade (Prohibition) Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Taiwo Owatemi (Lab)

Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies (Environmentally Sustainable Investment) Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Anna McMorrin (Lab)

Planning (Affordable Housing and Land Compensation) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Helen Hayes (Lab)

Dockless Bicycles (Regulation) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Daniel Zeichner (Lab)

Plastic Pollution (No. 2) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Alistair Carmichael (LD)

Plastic Pollution Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Alistair Carmichael (LD)

Packaging (Extended Producer Responsibility) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Anna McMorrin (Lab)

Marriage and Civil Partnership (Consent) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Fabian Hamilton (Lab)

Energy Consumption (Innovative Technologies) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Rebecca Pow (Con)

Banking (Cash Machine Charges and Financial Inclusion) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Ged Killen (LAB)

Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018
Sponsor - Karen Buck (Lab)

Local Electricity Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Jeremy Lefroy (Con)

Youth (Services and Provisions) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Lloyd Russell-Moyle (LAB)

Assaults on Retail Workers (Offences) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Alex Norris (LAB)

DiGeorge Syndrome (Review and National Health Service Duty) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - David Duguid (Con)


Latest 50 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
5 Other Department Questions
13th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has a process for designating an activity as either a sport or a game.

The Government’s arm’s length body (ALB) for grassroots sport, Sport England, has a process for recognising activities. The objective of the recognition process is to identify sports that Sport England may wish to work with and the national bodies that govern them. The process is run jointly with the other three Home Country Sports Councils and UK Sport.

When deciding if an activity can be recognised, the Sports Councils refer to the definition of sport contained within the Council of Europe’s European Sports Charter. This states that:

“Sport means all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation aim at expressing or improving physical fitness and mental well-being, forming social relationships or obtaining results in competition at all levels.”

As an example of this process, the English Chess Federation made an application for recognition in 2008, but this was turned down as the Sports Councils did not consider chess to be a physical activity. Therefore, it did not meet the Council of Europe’s definition.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will take steps to encourage companies to include the gender-neutral title Mx on application and administrative forms.

We are aware that some people use titles that do not indicate gender – for example Dr, Rev, Major or Mx. Individuals can decide what title they want to use on forms, without going through a formal process, and organisations are free to decide the best way of collecting titles for their needs.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will take steps to encourage public bodies to include the gender-neutral title Mx on application and administrative forms.

We are aware that some people use titles that do not indicate gender – for example Dr, Rev, Major or Mx. Individuals can decide what title they want to use on forms, without going through a formal process, and organisations are free to decide the best way of collecting titles for their needs.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what progress she has made on encouraging organisations to include the gender-neutral title Mx on their forms; and if she will make a statement.

We are aware that some people use titles that do not indicate gender – for example Dr, Rev, Major or Mx. Individuals can decide what title they want to use on forms, without going through a formal process, and organisations are free to decide the best way of collecting titles for their needs.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, whether her Department plans to continue the work of the Period Poverty Taskforce.

The cross-sectoral Period Poverty Taskforce has provided a clearer understanding of the problem of period poverty and the expert solutions to address the barriers faced by all who have periods. Alongside this, work across government will ensure that people in schools, colleges, hospitals and police custody can access period products with dignity. Further announcements on the plans and the work of the Taskforce will be made in due course.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
24th Jan 2023
To ask the Attorney General, pursuant to the Answer of 19 December 2022 to Question 108334, on Sexual Offences: Disclosure of Information, and with reference to the revision of the Attorney General’s Disclosure Guidelines published in May 2022, what steps she is taking to help ensure that survivors of sexual violence remain engaged with the criminal justice system.

In 2022 following the publication of independent research, the CPS launched its long-term Victim Transformation Programme, setting out their commitment to improve the service they provide to all victims. This programme will deliver a new Universal Service to improve the experience of all victims, and an Enhanced Service to support victims with the greatest need, helping ensure they remain engaged with the criminal justice system. Under Operation Soteria, and as part of the programme, over half of all CPS areas are now testing new, innovative approaches to engaging with adult rape victims. I was glad to see this work on a visit to the CPS in Bristol last November where I heard first hand from the CPS and support service providers about the success of the work so far.

Michael Tomlinson
Minister of State (Minister for Illegal Migration)
24th Jan 2023
To ask the Attorney General, pursuant to the Answer of 19 December 2022 to Question 108334, on Sexual Offences: Disclosure of Information, and with reference to the revision of the Attorney General’s Disclosure Guidelines published in May 2022, whether her Department will monitor the potential impact on victims of the changes to those guidelines.

The revised Attorney General’s Disclosure Guidelines published in May 2022 introduced increased privacy protections for victims in respect of their counselling notes being accessed during the course of a criminal investigation. Prior written reasons must be recorded before accessing counselling notes of victims, and access can only occur where it is necessary and proportionate. The Attorney General’s Disclosure Guidelines are kept under constant review to ensure they are operating as intended. My officials and I engage with victims’ representatives, as did my predecessor and extensively so during the recent review. I will continue to monitor the effective operation of Disclosure to ensure my guidelines support victims by ensuring the recently introduced robust tests to accessing sensitive material are applied by investigators and prosecutors.

Michael Tomlinson
Minister of State (Minister for Illegal Migration)
14th Dec 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what steps she is taking to protect the privacy rights of victims of sexual offence cases in a court of law by ensuring the non-disclosure of their counselling records.

The recent review of Disclosure found that too much third-party material, including victims counselling and therapy notes, were being accessed. The revised Attorney General’s Disclosure Guidelines published in May 2022 addressed this and introduced increased privacy protections for victims. Prior written reasons must be recorded before accessing this material, and access can only occur where it is necessary and proportionate. Pre-trial therapy notes will now only be accessed in the rare circumstances that they are absolutely necessary to a reasonable line of inquiry. This ensures significant protections for victims while maintaining a fair trial.

Michael Tomlinson
Minister of State (Minister for Illegal Migration)
12th Dec 2022
To ask the Attorney General, whether she plans to bring forward legislative proposals to only allow the (a) police and (b) Crown Prosecution Service to request scrutiny of counselling records of sexual violence and abuse survivors that relate to a specific offence.

The revised Attorney General’s Disclosure Guidelines published in May 2022 introduced increased privacy protections for victims in respect of their counselling notes being accessed during the course of a criminal investigation. Prior written reasons must be recorded before accessing counselling notes of victims, and access can only occur where it is necessary and proportionate The CPS guidance on pre-trial therapy for prosecutors and investigators is clear that prior to approaching a therapist about material relating to the victim that might be relevant to the investigation, the police should seek the agreement of the victim to this approach being made and inform the victim of their right to object at any time to the processing of their personal data which may follow. The Home Office has also recently concluded a consultation on police requests for personal records (‘third party material’). The response to this consultation and next steps will be published shortly.

Michael Tomlinson
Minister of State (Minister for Illegal Migration)
12th Dec 2022
To ask the Attorney General, whether it is his Department's policy that a victim of sexual assault undertaking (a) police-provided and (b) private counselling is made aware that they can retract any information provided from session notes.

The revised Attorney General’s Disclosure Guidelines published in May 2022 introduced increased privacy protections for victims in respect of their counselling notes being accessed during the course of a criminal investigation. Prior written reasons must be recorded before accessing counselling notes of victims, and access can only occur where it is necessary and proportionate. Simultaneously with the amended Attorney General’s Disclosure Guidance the CPS published guidance on pre-trial therapy for prosecutors and investigators. The CPS Guidance is clear that prior to approaching a therapist about material relating to the victim that might be relevant to the investigation, the police should seek the agreement of the victim to this approach being made and inform the victim of their right to object at any time to the processing of their personal data which may follow.

Michael Tomlinson
Minister of State (Minister for Illegal Migration)
12th Dec 2022
To ask the Attorney General, if her Department will make an assessment with Cabinet colleagues of the potential impact of the scrutiny of counselling records of sexual violence and abuse survivors by the police and Crown Prosecution Service on (a) the reporting of crimes and (b) the uptake of counselling services by those survivors.

The recent review of Disclosure found that too much third-party material, including victims counselling and therapy notes, were being accessed. The review heard from victims’ groups that this leads to victims facing an impossible decision to either seek justice or seek therapy The revised Attorney General’s Disclosure Guidelines published in May 2022 addressed this and introduced increased privacy protections for victims. Prior written reasons must be recorded before accessing this material, and access can only occur where it is necessary and proportionate.In alignment and simultaneously with the amended Attorney General’s Disclosure Guidance the CPS published guidance on pre-trial therapy for prosecutors and investigators. The guidance opens with the clear and definitive principles that: The health and wellbeing of the victim should always be the determinative factor in whether, when and with whom they seek pre-trial therapy. It is for the victim to make decisions about therapy with their therapist, including what type of therapy is obtained and when that therapy is obtained.

Michael Tomlinson
Minister of State (Minister for Illegal Migration)
26th Oct 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what steps she is taking to protect the privacy rights of survivors of sexual offence cases in a court of law by ensuring the non disclosure of their counselling records.

In May, the Government published the review of disclosure and amended the Disclosure Guidelines, in order to further support victims of crime. Updated principles on accessing third party material have strengthened protections for victims and restrict access to such material only where it is necessary, proportionate and linked to a reasonable line of inquiry in the case. The police must have clear, written reasons in place before accessing any material such as therapy notes. This is a new requirement which improves transparency and accountability. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has also issued clear guidance on accessing pre-trial therapy notes. This makes clear that victims should get the help that they feel they need and that neither investigators nor prosecutors will stand in the way of this.

Michael Tomlinson
Minister of State (Minister for Illegal Migration)
26th Apr 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of recognising the disabled person's bus pass as an official form of identification across Government services.

Each individual government service decides what constitutes acceptable forms of identification, based on the requirements of the service.

In Cabinet Office, Government Digital Service, in collaboration with other government departments, is developing a single sign-on and identity verification service, named GOV.UK One Login. One Login will allow people to create and reuse a digital identity to access public services.

One Login’s secure and robust identity checking process currently accepts two forms of photographic documentation: passports and driving licences.

We recognise that not everyone has a passport or driving licence and therefore, over time, we will implement other ways for users to verify their identity when using GOV.UK One Login. This is to ensure as many people as possible can access the services they need online.

This will involve reviewing options to use the disabled persons bus pass in due course.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
10th May 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the background work is expected to commence to establish the Commission on Covid Commemoration; and when he plans to publish a detailed timetable for setting up the Commission on Covid Commemoration.

As the Prime Minister previously announced, the Government will set out the Commission membership and terms of reference in due course.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the timetable is to bring forward legislative proposals to allow UK citizens living abroad for more than fifteen years the right to vote in UK elections.

On 5 July, the Government introduced the Elections Bill which includes measures to remove the current 15 year rule and enfranchise all British citizens for UK Parliamentary elections who were previously registered or resident in the UK.


The passage of the Bill can be followed here https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/3020.

15th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many deaths have been officially attributed to lead poisoning in the last 10 years.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have, therefore, asked the Authority to respond.

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether people without internet access who have been unable to reach the census 2021 helpline as a result of reported waiting times will receive a fine for not submitting a census form by the given deadline.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have, therefore, asked the Authority to respond.

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many requests the census 2021 helpline has had for paper forms since it opened in 2021.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have, therefore, asked the Authority to respond.

5th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has to issue covid-19 related guidance on trick or treating.

We appreciate that people will be thinking about how they can safely mark halloween. Local Authorities will communicate relevant advice on halloween in their area, and the Government is working with Local Authorities to support understanding of how the social distancing rules apply.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department is taking steps to ensure that there is an investigation of alleged links between financial backers of the Vote Leave campaign and Russian intelligence.

We have seen no evidence of successful interference in the EU Referendum. The Intelligence and Security Agencies produce regular assessments of the threat posed by Hostile State Activity, including around potential interference in UK democratic processes.

4th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he plans to release sex-disaggregated data on covid-19 victims.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

6th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people died from (a) asthma and (b) lung cancer in England in each of the last 10 years.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

7th Mar 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps her Department is taking to ensure the Export Control Joint Unit reviews urgent trade sanctions license applications in a timely manner.

In making decisions on whether to grant a licence to permit something otherwise prohibited by sanctions legislation & regulations, the Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU), comprised of subject matter experts and officials in the Department for Business and Trade, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the Ministry of Defence, acts on behalf of the Secretary of State. ECJU is obligated to consider applications on a case-by-case basis, determining whether granting a licence would be consistent with the stated purposes of the sanctions regime, licensing grounds, and United Nations or international law obligations. When assessing applications ECJU also consults and considers views from a range of other government departments.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
9th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether her Department plans to provide support to businesses who are unable to make repayments on their Bounce Back loans.

The Government has always been clear that businesses are expected to make every effort to repay their Bounce Back Loans (BBLs). However, the Government also recognises that some borrowers might require greater flexibility and more time to make their repayments. That is why, for BBLs, the then Chancellor introduced ‘Pay as You Grow’ measures, allowing borrowers to tailor repayments to their individual circumstances. ‘Pay as You Grow’ provides borrowers with a range of options to manage their repayments flexibly. A business facing difficulty making BBLs repayments should contact their lender in the first instance to discuss their options.

Kevin Hollinrake
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
17th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether she has held recent discussions with the (a) agriculture, (b) food standards, and (c) labour rights sectors on a potential trade deal with the US.

The UK and U.S. are expanding the work we do together across the full spectrum of our economic, technological, commercial and trade relations through the Atlantic Declaration. Discussions with the U.S. on next steps under this first-of-its-kind agreement are ongoing.

Ministers and officials regularly engage with a wide range of stakeholders including business groups, civil society and SMEs in both the UK and the U.S. on a range of trade matters.

We will also continue to update Parliament as our work develops. The Department also hosts updates on the Government’s trade agenda. These sessions are open to all MPs.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether her Department has made a comparative assessment of standards on pesticides in CPTPP between members states and the UK; and if she will make a statement.

The Government will not compromise on our high environmental protections and food standards in trade deals. Trade agreements to which we sign up will respect the regulatory autonomy of both the UK and our trading partners, including on pesticides. All agri-food products imported into the UK under existing or future free trade agreements will, as now, have to comply with our import requirements. This applies to the UK’s accession to CPTPP, as it does to our other deals. We will ensure decisions on the use of pesticides are based on careful scientific assessment and will not authorise pesticides that may carry unacceptable risks to people or the environment.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Mar 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what estimate she has made of the average annual tonnage of wood burnt in homes in the UK.

Figures on the amount of imported wood and waste wood by country is published in The Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES) Table 6.6, but information on sites is not collected. Imports of waste wood are used in the industrial, commercial and agricultural sectors and all imports of wood are burnt in the domestic sector; of the 2,319 thousand tonnes of wood consumed in the domestic sector in 2022, 198 thousand tonnes were imported.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
12th Mar 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what estimate she has made of the average annual tonnage of wood imported for burning in (a) industrial and (b) domestic settings; which (i) countries and (ii) sites in those countries that wood is imported from; and how many tonnes on average comes from each of those countries each year.

Figures on the amount of imported wood and waste wood by country is published in The Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES) Table 6.6, but information on sites is not collected. Imports of waste wood are used in the industrial, commercial and agricultural sectors and all imports of wood are burnt in the domestic sector; of the 2,319 thousand tonnes of wood consumed in the domestic sector in 2022, 198 thousand tonnes were imported.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if she will make a comparative assessment of the adequacy of access to carbon capture and storage capabilities in each region; and whether she is taking steps to help ensure the (a) equity and (b) efficiency of the distribution of such capabilities.

The Department has previously undertaken assessments of the potential CCUS capabilities of industrial clusters across the UK, including the HyNet, East Coast Cluster, Acorn, and Viking clusters, as part of the Cluster Sequencing Process. The guidance and eligibility criteria for these assessments is available on gov.uk.

CCUS will be essential to meeting the UK’s 2050 net zero target, playing a vital role in levelling up the economy, supporting the low-carbon economic transformation of our industrial regions, creating new high value jobs across the UK. We remain committed to industrial decarbonisation across all nations and regions of the UK as we work toward net zero.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the finding in paragraph 21 of the Public Accounts Committee's report entitled Update on the rollout of smart meters, HC 1332, that estimates that seven million energy smart meters will need to have their communications hubs replaced when 2G and 3G mobile networks are switched off.

Mobile Network Operators have announced long-term plans for sunsetting 2G and 3G networks by the end of 2033. The Government is already working with industry to support a smooth transition for consumers in advance of this.

Energy suppliers are obliged to upgrade smart meter communications hubs for those customers that will require this, as part of ensuring continuity of connectivity.

The Data Communications Company, which is licensed to operate the national communications network for smart metering, has already procured the services to enable future 4G smart metering network infrastructure.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether her Department has made a recent assessment of the effectiveness of smart meter connectivity in apartment blocks with solid concrete floors.

Energy suppliers have a range of technologies to extend smart metering Home Area Network (HAN) connectivity where there are obstacles such as solid concrete floors between the apartment and the meter.

Suppliers are already rolling out 'dual band' communications hubs which can operate on two different frequencies and therefore serve many previously hard to reach properties.

For the minority of properties that cannot be served by the 'dual band' communications hub, deployment of an ‘Alternative Home Area Network’ (ALT HAN) solution began earlier this year, which provides smart meter connectivity for additional properties, such as the higher floors of high-rise buildings.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
22nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether he plans to amend the Energy Bill to update to the Energy Performance Certificate system and Energy Smart Appliance clauses which incorporate bidirectional charging capabilities as part of the Government's plans to safeguard a sustainable energy eco-system.

The Energy Bill will provide powers for setting technical standards for Energy Smart Appliances (ESAs), including EV chargepoints, and for future reform of the Energy Performance of Buildings (EPB) Regulations.

The Government intends to consult on possible changes to EPB regulations and on draft ESA regulations and will work with industry to deliver the necessary protections for the energy system and consumers.

However, there are no immediate plans to update the Energy Performance Certificate system for the emerging bidirectional technology and market. There are also no plans to amend the Energy Bill.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
22nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the cybersecurity provisions of the EV (Smart Charge Points) Regulations 2021 are equally enforced on all EV charging manufacturers that operate in the UK market to protect consumers and compliant British businesses.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) enforces the Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations 2021. The legislation includes investigatory and civil sanctions powers, and requires enforcement decisions to be taken on a case-by-case basis. OPSS uses its powers to accept time-limited enforcement undertakings, including in relation to the cybersecurity provisions, as a proportionate measure to bring chargepoint sellers into compliance where appropriate and as prescribed under the regulations. Government continues to monitor the domestic and workplace chargepoint market to ensure that consumer protections and a thriving market are in place to help maximise the uptake of smart charging.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
22nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether he has made an assessment of the potential impact of reducing the time limitations under the Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations 2021 on electric vehicle (a) chargepoint manufacturers and (b) drivers’ home energy supplies.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) enforces the Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations 2021. The legislation includes investigatory and civil sanctions powers, and requires enforcement decisions to be taken on a case-by-case basis. OPSS uses its powers to accept time-limited enforcement undertakings, including in relation to the cybersecurity provisions, as a proportionate measure to bring chargepoint sellers into compliance where appropriate and as prescribed under the regulations. Government continues to monitor the domestic and workplace chargepoint market to ensure that consumer protections and a thriving market are in place to help maximise the uptake of smart charging.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
22nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether he plans to reduce the time limitations for derogations under the Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations 2021.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) enforces the Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations 2021. The legislation includes investigatory and civil sanctions powers, and requires enforcement decisions to be taken on a case-by-case basis. OPSS uses its powers to accept time-limited enforcement undertakings, including in relation to the cybersecurity provisions, as a proportionate measure to bring chargepoint sellers into compliance where appropriate and as prescribed under the regulations. Government continues to monitor the domestic and workplace chargepoint market to ensure that consumer protections and a thriving market are in place to help maximise the uptake of smart charging.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
7th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, how many private suppliers were not included in the initial energy rebate programme.

All licensed domestic electricity suppliers are participating in delivering the Energy Bills Support Scheme. On 25th September 2022, The then Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy issued a Direction under Section 7(3) of the Electricity Act 1989 to enable Ofgem to implement the scheme through modifications to suppliers’ standard licence conditions.

Households without a licensed domestic electricity supply contract are not eligible for the Scheme and can apply for equivalent support through the EBSS Alternative Funding.

Companies supplying no more than 5MW of electricity which they generate themselves, of which only 2.5MW are supplied to domestic consumers, are not required to hold or register for a supply licence.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
31st Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what his planned timetable is for private energy suppliers (a) receiving and (b) disbursing payments to customers under the Energy Bill Support Scheme Alternative Funding scheme.

The Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding (EBSS AF) will be delivered by Local Authorities in Great Britain, and a contracted delivery partner in Northern Ireland, rather than private energy suppliers. We are expecting to pay Local Authorities and the contracted delivery partner ahead of scheme launch, or as soon after that as we receive their payment details, which we have requested. The exact date that an eligible household will receive support will depend on when the application is made and when the payment can be processed by the relevant Local Authority.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
31st Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what information his Department holds on how many (a) private energy suppliers and (b) local authorities are awaiting guidance on administering payments under the Energy Bill Support Scheme Alternative Funding scheme.

Private energy suppliers will not administer payments for the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding (EBSS AF). EBSS AF payments will be delivered by 363 Local Authorities across England, Scotland and Wales, and by a contracted delivery partner in Northern Ireland. Guidance will be provided to them this month, ahead of the scheme launch.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
30th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, with reference to the survey on Public attitudes to animal research, last conducted for the Office for Life Sciences in 2018, when her Department plans to commission a further survey.

The department does not currently have plans to run the Public Attitudes in Animal Research Survey. Policy teams are working with a variety of external and internal stakeholders to determine the future of the survey.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
15th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of a Government scheme to fund internet connectivity improvements in housing estates with copper wires.

Project Gigabit is the Government’s flagship £5 billion programme to enable hard-to-reach communities, left out of commercial delivery plans, to access lightning-fast gigabit-capable broadband.

We expect most premises which require a Government subsidy through Project Gigabit to be in rural areas. However, to achieve our mission of nationwide coverage, which we expect to be at least 99% of premises having access to a gigabit capable connection, we are aware that there are pockets of more urban areas that are left out of commercial plans. Work is ongoing to identify an appropriate course of action for these premises. The solution here may involve working with suppliers to help remove barriers to commercial delivery rather than using public subsidy.

We have already amended building regulations so that new homes are future-proofed with gigabit connectivity; and where this is not available within a per-home cost cap, with gigabit-ready infrastructure to facilitate a gigabit-capable connection when this becomes available.

Alongside government intervention, the telecoms industry is leading on upgrading the UK’s landline network from the analogue Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), delivered over copper wires, to more reliable and future proofed services delivered over digital landlines, also referred to as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). These services will predominantly rely on fibreoptic cables for their infrastructure. Government is monitoring this switch-off closely, to ensure that vulnerable consumers are protected.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
12th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether her Department is taking steps to (a) accelerate and (b) support the transition to new approach methodologies for (i) research and (ii) experiments; and if she will make a statement.

The Government is actively supporting and funding the development and dissemination of techniques that replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in research (the 3Rs). UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is strongly committed to the 3Rs and provides funding for the National Centre for 3Rs (NC3Rs), which works to drive the uptake of 3Rs technologies and ensure that advances are reflected in policy, practice and regulations on animal research. Since it was established, the NC3Rs has invested £77 million in research and almost £27 million in contracts through its CRACK IT Challenges innovation scheme to UK and EU-based institutions.

23rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what progress her Department has made on delivering fast and reliable broadband in Leeds North West constituency.

Thanks to our efforts to make it as easy and attractive as possible to deploy gigabit-capable networks, 86% premises in Leeds North West can access gigabit-capable broadband, which is up from just 15% in March 2019. This is expected to increase further as suppliers continue to extend their networks. Additionally, 98% of premises in Leeds North West have access to superfast broadband speeds (>=30 Mbps). These coverage increases have been achieved entirely through commercial investment at zero cost to the taxpayer.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
23rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals on abolishing broadband and telephone line rental charges.

As the independent regulator for telecoms, it is the responsibility of Ofcom to make decisions relating to pricing regulation. In 2017, Ofcom conducted a review of the market which found that customers who only have a landline were getting poor value for money compared to customers who had bundles of landline, broadband and pay-TV services.

As a result of this review, Ofcom proposed new regulation which requires BT to reduce the price of line rental for these landline-only customers, from £18.99 to £11.99. At the time this represented a saving of £84 a year, or 37%, for up to one million of BT’s customers who didn’t also have a BT broadband service. BT also committed to capping any overall increases to line rental and call charges to inflation for three years.

BT’s original commitments ran to the end of March 2021. However, it committed to continue these protections for a further five years, which Ofcom accepted.

Given Ofcom’s statutory independence, it would not be appropriate for the Government to further comment on its regulatory decisions, which are taken independent of the Government.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
12th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has had recent discussions with Ofgem on the adequacy of their enforcement of (a) the social obligation to offer non-financial support for customers in vulnerable situations and (b) other aspects of Supply Licence Condition 32.

Under Supply Licence Condition 32, suppliers are required to submit quarterly and annual data to Ofgem on a variety of areas of their operation. This includes debt levels, disconnection rates, prepayment meters, smart meters, payment methods used by customers and help for vulnerable customers.

The information is used to review suppliers’ performance in relation to specific social obligations, including areas of operation where vulnerable customers may be affected. Ofgem monitors these statistics to identify areas where improvement is needed. Ministers regularly meet with Ofgem to discuss a range of topics, including issues that have an impact on vulnerable consumers.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
11th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions his Department has had with Ofgem on enforcing supplier Licence Conditions when supporting the vulnerable conditions as in the Consumer Vulnerability Strategy 2025.

The Government works closely with energy regulator Ofgem and energy suppliers to ensure vulnerable customers are protected.

Ofgem is responsible for ensuring energy suppliers comply with their regulatory obligations.

Details of Ofgem’s ongoing supplier compliance and enforcement activity, including individual decisions, are at this link https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/energy-policy-and-regulation/compliance-and-enforcement/retail-compliance-and-enforcement.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
12th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to include micro urban wind turbines in the Government's solar and wind strategy.

The Government is serious about delivering cheaper, cleaner, more secure energy, and will consider all options for increasing electricity generation from renewable sources, including at the small-scale. The Government already supports small-scale onshore wind through the Smart Export Guarantee, which ensures small-scale (5MW) low-carbon electricity generators, such as homes with wind turbines, get payment for the renewable electricity they export to the grid.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
6th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many SMEs in Leeds North West constituency have received Government funding for support in 2022.

The Government recognises the impact rising prices are having on businesses.

Businesses in Leeds North West will have benefitted from the Government’s reversal of the National Insurance rise, saving SMEs approximately £4,200 on average, the cut to fuel duty for 12 months and raising the Employment Allowance to £5,000. In addition, we have brought in the Energy Bill Relief Scheme to protect SMEs from high energy costs over the winter.

The Government is also providing financial support through the Start Up loan scheme - 138 SMEs in Leeds North West have received loans to the value of £1,447,433 as of October 2022.

Kevin Hollinrake
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)