Alyn Smith Portrait

Alyn Smith

Scottish National Party - Stirling

First elected: 12th December 2019

Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Europe)

(since December 2022)

Shadow SNP Spokesperson (EU Accession)

(since December 2022)

Alyn Smith is not a member of any APPGs
1 Former APPG membership
University
Animals (Low-Welfare Activities Abroad) Bill
1st Mar 2023 - 8th Mar 2023
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)
7th Jan 2020 - 12th Dec 2022


Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Alyn Smith has voted in 601 divisions, and 1 time against the majority of their Party.

25 Jan 2022 - Judicial Review and Courts Bill - View Vote Context
Alyn Smith voted No - against a party majority - in line with the party majority and in line with the House
One of 4 Scottish National Party No votes vs 4 Scottish National Party Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 187 Noes - 315
View All Alyn Smith 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
Lindsay Hoyle (Speaker)
(44 debate interactions)
Dominic Raab (Conservative)
(32 debate interactions)
Nigel Adams (Conservative)
(26 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
HM Treasury
(20 debate contributions)
Department for International Trade
(16 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Fisheries Act 2020
(1,546 words contributed)
Nationality and Borders Act 2022
(1,037 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Alyn Smith's debates

Stirling 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

We want the UK to be neutral in the conflict between Israel and Palestine, and withdraw offers of support for Israel.

We want the Government to seek a ceasefire and also seek to address the root cause of the current conflict by promoting dialogue and advocating for the end of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The UK Government should urge the Israeli Government to stop the blockade of Food, Fuel and Electricity to the already impoverished city of Gaza

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

Recognise the state of Palestine to help stop the conflict from Israel. Not recognising the Palestinian state allows Israel to continue their persecution of the Palestinians.

The Government should introduce sanctions against Israel, including blocking all trade, and in particular arms.

I would like the Government to:
• make running conversion therapy in the UK a criminal offence
• forcing people to attend said conversion therapies a criminal offence
• sending people abroad in order to try to convert them a criminal offence
• protect individuals from conversion therapy

The Government should explore using the new sanctions regime that allows individuals and entities that violate human rights around the world to be targeted, to impose sanctions on members of the Nigerian government and police force involved in any human rights abuses by the Nigerian police.


Latest EDMs signed by Alyn Smith

26th March 2024
Alyn Smith signed this EDM on Tuesday 26th March 2024

Referral of matters of 21 February 2024 to the Committee of Privileges

Tabled by: William Wragg (Independent - Hazel Grove)
That this House notes the Speaker’s decision on selection and calling of amendments on 21 February 2024 was not in accordance with the established precedent for Opposition days; and accordingly considers that, notwithstanding the Resolution of this House of 6 February 1978, the matter of whether undue pressure was placed …
71 signatures
(Most recent: 19 Apr 2024)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 42
Conservative: 25
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 1
23rd February 2024
Alyn Smith signed this EDM on Tuesday 5th March 2024

Closure of the Inter Faith Network

Tabled by: Wera Hobhouse (Liberal Democrat - Bath)
That this House deeply regrets the Government’s announcement that it will cut off funding to the Inter Faith Network; further regrets that this decision came despite new Government funding having been promised; notes with concern that islamophobia is rising and antisemitism in the UK is at the highest level on …
15 signatures
(Most recent: 7 Mar 2024)
Signatures by party:
Liberal Democrat: 7
Scottish National Party: 5
Labour: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
View All Alyn Smith's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Alyn Smith, 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.


1 Urgent Question tabled by Alyn Smith

Alyn Smith has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

2 Bills introduced by Alyn Smith


A Bill to amend the Scotland Act 1998 to provide that Members of the House of Commons may not be Members of the Scottish Parliament; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Thursday 25th March 2021

A Bill to make provision about enabling arms exports oversight by the United Kingdom Parliament and the devolved Parliaments and Assemblies; to prohibit the use of lethal autonomous weapons; to make requirements about transparency in arms exports and the use of drones and other remote weapons; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Wednesday 16th December 2020
(Read Debate)

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
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for Stirling of 11 August 2020, ref: AL2637, on the procurement of PPE.

This letter was transferred to DHSC, who will be issuing a response as they are responsible for policy regarding PPE procurement. May I apologise for the delay in considering and responding to the issues the hon. Member has raised.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the UK Government holds data on the number of former senior crown servants who (a) have and (b) have had in the last five years business relationships with Russian state-backed organisations.

Some information on former senior officials taking up appointments is published by ACOBA and available online.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has to improve oversight and transparency of the financial and business interests of Members of the House of Lords.

As has always been the case, this is a matter for the House itself and the Code of Conduct for the House of Lords sets out that there is a duty on peers to declare their interests.

19th Dec 2019
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he will confirm the appointment of a new Member of the European Parliament for Scotland.

The European Parliamentary Elections (EPE) Regulations 2004 set out the procedure to be followed when an MEP vacancy arises in the United Kingdom.

14th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what discussions his Department has had with industry stakeholders on tackling (a) misrepresentation and (b) aggressive sales of holiday timeshares.

The Timeshare, Holiday Products, Resale and Exchange Contracts Regulations 2010, as amended in 2018, provide consumers with robust protections relating to the sale, marketing and content of timeshare contracts. We keep the system under review and engage with industry representatives as appropriate.

Furthermore, the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (2008), which prohibit unfair commercial practices, are being restated in the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill, currently in Parliament. Unfair commercial practices include misleading actions and omissions which are likely to persuade consumers into taking decisions they otherwise would not have.

Kevin Hollinrake
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps his Department is taking to help prevent consumers being mis-sold timeshare agreements.

The Timeshare, Holiday Products, Resale and Exchange Contracts Regulations 2010, as amended in 2018, provide consumers with robust protections relating to the sale, marketing and content of timeshare contracts. We keep the system under review and engage with industry representatives as appropriate.

Furthermore, the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (2008), which prohibit unfair commercial practices, are being restated in the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill, currently in Parliament. Unfair commercial practices include misleading actions and omissions which are likely to persuade consumers into taking decisions they otherwise would not have.

Kevin Hollinrake
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what recent steps he has taken with Cabinet colleagues to help protect consumers from being mis-sold timeshare arrangements.

The Timeshare, Holiday Products, Resale and Exchange Contracts Regulations 2010, as amended in 2018, provide consumers with robust protections relating to the sale, marketing and content of timeshare contracts. We keep the system under review and engage with industry representatives as appropriate.

Furthermore, the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (2008), which prohibit unfair commercial practices, are being restated in the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill, currently in Parliament. Unfair commercial practices include misleading actions and omissions which are likely to persuade consumers into taking decisions they otherwise would not have.

Kevin Hollinrake
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
19th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if she will encourage energy companies to reduce standing charges on (a) electricity and (b) gas.

Setting the level of standing charges falls within the remit of Ofgem. I regularly meet with Ofgem to discuss the energy retail market, including standing charges. Ofgem’s recent Call for Input (CfI) on standing charges closed on January 19th 2024. The Call for Input seeks to gain greater understanding on how standing charges are applied to energy bills and what alternatives could be considered. Government welcomes this and looks forward to Ofgem’s conclusions.

Further information on the CfI may be found online at: www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications/launch-review-standing-charges-energy-bills

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
11th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether it is his Department’s policy to become a full member of the North Seas Energy Cooperation.

The UK is working closely with North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC) states following my signing of the MOU in December. The UK is not seeking to become a full member.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
11th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether it is his Department’s policy to seek closer collaboration with the North Seas Energy Cooperation beyond the terms of the NSEC-UK Memorandum of Understanding, published on 18 December 2022.

The UK is working closely with North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC) states following my signing of the MOU in December. The UK is not seeking to become a full member.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
19th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what recent assessment she has made of the potential impact of increasing the cost of (a) the immigration health surcharge and (b) student visas on the (i) global influence of UK-based science and (ii) ability to attract international (A) researchers and (B) innovators.

The Science & Technology Framework sets out the government’s plan to cement the UK as a Science and Technology superpower by 2030 and the government is committed to ensuring the UK’s immigration system supports economic growth and remains competitive in attracting and retaining the best international researchers and innovators.

As announced on 13 July, increases to student visa fees and the immigration health surcharge will help to cover the cost of the migration and border system and help to improve it, as well as cover the genuine cost to the NHS of providing healthcare to those who use it.

5th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what support her Department has provided to businesses to support the rollout of improved broadband services in (a) urban, (b) rural and (c) semi-urban areas.

Currently, 97.6% premises across the UK have access to a superfast connection (>=30 Mbps) and 76.4% have gigabit-capable coverage. In Scotland, these figures are 95.7% and 70.2% for superfast and gigabit-capable respectively. Through Project Gigabit the Government aims to reach at least 85% gigabit-capable coverage across the UK by 2025 and then to reach near-universal coverage as soon as possible.

For urban areas, a key part of the Government’s approach is to promote increased competition in broadband delivery. We have made it as easy and attractive as possible for firms to build their networks in the UK, and we now have a thriving market of over 80 providers investing nearly £35bn rolling out gigabit broadband all over the UK.

To support coverage in rural areas, 31 local and regional procurements have now been launched within England, with 12 of these now in the contract delivery stage.

Within Scotland, the Scottish Government undertook a Public Review during March and April 2023 to seek responses from broadband suppliers and other interested parties on current and planned commercial coverage of gigabit broadband. The Scottish Government has also undertaken initial market engagement with suppliers on their potential interest in Project Gigabit contracts in Scotland, prior to procurements commencing later this year.

The Scottish Government’s Reaching 100% (R100) project is also providing gigabit broadband coverage to 115,000 premises that do not have access to superfast broadband, with £49.5 million funding from the UK government. This project has covered over 24,000 premises to date.

Premises in Scotland can also benefit from support through the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, which provides up to £4,500 towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable infrastructure for homes and businesses, while remaining sub-superfast premises are also eligible for support from the Scottish Government’s Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
5th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what recent discussions her Department has had with (a) the Scottish Government and (b) local government on improving broadband speeds in semi-rural areas.

Currently, 97.6% premises across the UK have access to a superfast connection (>=30 Mbps) and 76.4% have gigabit-capable coverage. In Scotland, these figures are 95.7% and 70.2% for superfast and gigabit-capable respectively. Through Project Gigabit the Government aims to reach at least 85% gigabit-capable coverage across the UK by 2025 and then to reach near-universal coverage as soon as possible.

For urban areas, a key part of the Government’s approach is to promote increased competition in broadband delivery. We have made it as easy and attractive as possible for firms to build their networks in the UK, and we now have a thriving market of over 80 providers investing nearly £35bn rolling out gigabit broadband all over the UK.

To support coverage in rural areas, 31 local and regional procurements have now been launched within England, with 12 of these now in the contract delivery stage.

Within Scotland, the Scottish Government undertook a Public Review during March and April 2023 to seek responses from broadband suppliers and other interested parties on current and planned commercial coverage of gigabit broadband. The Scottish Government has also undertaken initial market engagement with suppliers on their potential interest in Project Gigabit contracts in Scotland, prior to procurements commencing later this year.

The Scottish Government’s Reaching 100% (R100) project is also providing gigabit broadband coverage to 115,000 premises that do not have access to superfast broadband, with £49.5 million funding from the UK government. This project has covered over 24,000 premises to date.

Premises in Scotland can also benefit from support through the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, which provides up to £4,500 towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable infrastructure for homes and businesses, while remaining sub-superfast premises are also eligible for support from the Scottish Government’s Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
5th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what recent assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of the rollout of broadband services in semi-rural areas in (a) the UK and (b) Scotland.

Currently, 97.6% premises across the UK have access to a superfast connection (>=30 Mbps) and 76.4% have gigabit-capable coverage. In Scotland, these figures are 95.7% and 70.2% for superfast and gigabit-capable respectively. Through Project Gigabit the Government aims to reach at least 85% gigabit-capable coverage across the UK by 2025 and then to reach near-universal coverage as soon as possible.

For urban areas, a key part of the Government’s approach is to promote increased competition in broadband delivery. We have made it as easy and attractive as possible for firms to build their networks in the UK, and we now have a thriving market of over 80 providers investing nearly £35bn rolling out gigabit broadband all over the UK.

To support coverage in rural areas, 31 local and regional procurements have now been launched within England, with 12 of these now in the contract delivery stage.

Within Scotland, the Scottish Government undertook a Public Review during March and April 2023 to seek responses from broadband suppliers and other interested parties on current and planned commercial coverage of gigabit broadband. The Scottish Government has also undertaken initial market engagement with suppliers on their potential interest in Project Gigabit contracts in Scotland, prior to procurements commencing later this year.

The Scottish Government’s Reaching 100% (R100) project is also providing gigabit broadband coverage to 115,000 premises that do not have access to superfast broadband, with £49.5 million funding from the UK government. This project has covered over 24,000 premises to date.

Premises in Scotland can also benefit from support through the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, which provides up to £4,500 towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable infrastructure for homes and businesses, while remaining sub-superfast premises are also eligible for support from the Scottish Government’s Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether (a) he or (b) any other ministers in his Department have met with any Russian-based companies since 24 February 2022.

Ministers regularly meet with external stakeholders. Details of ministerial meetings with external organisations are published quarterly and can be found on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/beis-ministerial-gifts-hospitality-travel-and-meetings.

Data for January to March 2022 will be published shortly.

21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department has taken to ensure the UK has a strong disaster risk disclosure for UK licenced companies that work internationally.

The UK has responded to the growing demand for non-financial information in UK corporate reporting, by introducing measures to increase and improve the public disclosures entities make. In 2013, the UK introduced the requirement for certain entities to produce a strategic report, an ambitious change which required directors and boards to take a broad range of issues into account in the running of their company, including on social and environmental matters.

These requirements were expanded in 2016, through the introduction of additional disclosure requirements for all large Public Interest Entities (PIEs), to require a description of the principal risks relating to social and environmental matters. In addition to this, and where relevant, the entity must also include a description of the business relationships, products and services which are likely to cause adverse impacts on risks relating to social and environmental matters, and provide a description of how the entity manages those risks.

More recently, in 2022, the UK became the first country in the G20 to mandate large public and private businesses to report their climate-related financial disclosures in line with the framework set out by the Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosure, including their exposures to climate change-based risks.

1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many communications staff are employed (a) full time (b) part time and (c) with flexible working arrangements in his Department.

The number of staff working in BEIS to deliver the communications functions currently is 104. Eighty seven are employed on full time contracts, 14 are employed on part time. 3 have flexible working arrangements.

1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much his Department spends on the employment of communications staff annually.

The pay cost of communications staff for the financial year 2021 to 2022 is £6.86m. This covers all areas of the Communications team – Press Office, Strategic Comms, External Affairs, Digital Comms, Marketing, Internal Comms, administrative support and the BEIS public enquiry contact centre.

26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the role of HMRC reference numbers was in the delivery of coronavirus Bounce Back Loans.

Working with government, the British Business Bank introduced a turnover check for the Bounce Back Loan Scheme which used HMRC data to enable lenders to voluntarily verify whether turnovers provided by businesses on BBLS application forms were accurate. This was put in place from December 2020 and was one of a number of additional checks introduced after the launch of the scheme.

10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department consulted representatives from the night time economy sector on the effect of covid-19 restrictions on that sector; and if he will make a statement.

The Government recognises the impact COVID-19 has had on night time economy businesses. Both BEIS and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) have worked closely with the sector throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have introduced an extensive package of support accessible to night time economy business, including the furlough scheme, which has been extended until March 2021, Local Restrictions Support Grants of up to £3000 per month, as well as loans, business rates relief and imposing a moratorium on the forfeiture of a lease for non-payment of rent until 31 December in England and Wales. In addition, so far over £500m of direct grants from the £1.57bn Cultural Relief Fund have helped 3000 cultural organisations, including nightclubs such as Ministry of Sound, Fabric and MADE Festival.

12th Apr 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to (a) promote and (b) protect education exports.

The International Education Strategy (IES) is a UK wide strategy which commits to growing the value of education exports. An update to the department’s IES was published on 26 May 2023. This is the third annual progress update to the original 2019 IES. A link to the 2023 update can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/international-education-strategy-2023-update.

The UK has met the IES international student ambition of 600 thousand per year by 2030 for two years running in both 2020/21 and 2021/22. The department is on track and will continue working towards the IES education export ambition of £35 billion per year by 2030 with £27.9 billion revenue in 2021. Data used to track progress against these two ambitions is published annually.

As the International Education Champion, Professor Sir Steve Smith continues to promote UK education export growth and supports ministers to engage in strategic discussions on progress on implementing the strategy with the education sector.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Education)
12th Apr 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress her Department has made in implementing the objectives of the International Education Strategy to increase the (a) value of education exports and (b) number of international higher education students studying in the UK.

The International Education Strategy (IES) is a UK wide strategy which commits to growing the value of education exports. An update to the department’s IES was published on 26 May 2023. This is the third annual progress update to the original 2019 IES. A link to the 2023 update can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/international-education-strategy-2023-update.

The UK has met the IES international student ambition of 600 thousand per year by 2030 for two years running in both 2020/21 and 2021/22. The department is on track and will continue working towards the IES education export ambition of £35 billion per year by 2030 with £27.9 billion revenue in 2021. Data used to track progress against these two ambitions is published annually.

As the International Education Champion, Professor Sir Steve Smith continues to promote UK education export growth and supports ministers to engage in strategic discussions on progress on implementing the strategy with the education sector.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Education)
19th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the impact of increases in visa costs for international students and researchers on the higher education sector.

The department has been successful in delivering the International Education Strategy ambition of hosting at least 600,000 students per year by 2030 for the last two years, and the government fully expects the UK to continue to be an attractive destination for international students.

We are increasing fees across a range of immigration routes, including for people coming here to live, work and study, at a time of record high migration numbers. It is the government’s policy that those who use and benefit most from the immigration system should contribute towards the cost of operating the system, reducing the burden on the UK taxpayer.

Our visa fees are competitive globally and there is little evidence that fee increases to date have significantly affected demand on work, study and tourism routes.

25th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department has taken steps with Cabinet colleagues to help tackle national security concerns arising from the work of the Confucius Institute in (a) British academia and (b) wider society.

The government continuously assesses threats posed to the UK. As a matter of longstanding policy, we are unable to release information regarding threat assessments, on the grounds of national security.

The government is clear that any challenges to our core values, whatever their origin, will not be tolerated. Departmental officials will continue to work closely with their counterparts across government to strengthen protective measures.

The National Security Bill currently before Parliament brings together vital new measures to protect our national security. The new Foreign Influence Registration Scheme (FIRS) has now been added to the Bill, which has been created to tackle covert influence in the UK. The scheme is designed to strengthen the integrity of our politics and institutions, and protect the UK from state threats.

The Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill will ensure that lawful freedom of speech is fully supported in English higher education (HE), regardless of where the challenge comes from. It will require and empower registered HE providers, colleges and students’ unions to push back on freedom of speech related threats from overseas. The Bill will also address concerns about the possible influence of overseas money in English HE. These new measures will help the Office for Students (OfS) understand the possible impact of overseas income on freedom of speech and academic freedom, and monitor any trends and patterns of concern. The Bill will allow the OfS to take appropriate action, including issuing penalties, if there is evidence that an HE provider has breached its freedom of speech duties.

The department continuously strengthens protective measures, and expects universities to do the same. Universities UK, with government support, continues work to increase the understanding and awareness of the threat from interference within the HE sector. A key output of this is the publication of two sets of guidelines and a set of case studies, which can be found at the following links: https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/what-we-do/policy-and-research/publications/managing-risks-internationalisation, https://www.ukri.org/publications/managing-risks-in-international-research-and-innovation/ and: https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/universities-uk-international/insights-and-publications/uuki-insights/case-studies-how-universities-are.

With regards to Confucius Institutes, like all similar bodies they should operate transparently, and with a full commitment to our values of openness and freedom of expression. Universities have a responsibility to ensure that any partnership with a Confucius Institute is managed appropriately, and the right due diligence is in place. The government encourages any providers with concerns to contact the government.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
25th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to help counter the potential undue influence of Confucius Institutes on universities’ wider relationships with China.

The government continuously assesses threats posed to the UK. As a matter of longstanding policy, we are unable to release information regarding threat assessments, on the grounds of national security.

The government is clear that any challenges to our core values, whatever their origin, will not be tolerated. Departmental officials will continue to work closely with their counterparts across government to strengthen protective measures.

The National Security Bill currently before Parliament brings together vital new measures to protect our national security. The new Foreign Influence Registration Scheme (FIRS) has now been added to the Bill, which has been created to tackle covert influence in the UK. The scheme is designed to strengthen the integrity of our politics and institutions, and protect the UK from state threats.

The Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill will ensure that lawful freedom of speech is fully supported in English higher education (HE), regardless of where the challenge comes from. It will require and empower registered HE providers, colleges and students’ unions to push back on freedom of speech related threats from overseas. The Bill will also address concerns about the possible influence of overseas money in English HE. These new measures will help the Office for Students (OfS) understand the possible impact of overseas income on freedom of speech and academic freedom, and monitor any trends and patterns of concern. The Bill will allow the OfS to take appropriate action, including issuing penalties, if there is evidence that an HE provider has breached its freedom of speech duties.

The department continuously strengthens protective measures, and expects universities to do the same. Universities UK, with government support, continues work to increase the understanding and awareness of the threat from interference within the HE sector. A key output of this is the publication of two sets of guidelines and a set of case studies, which can be found at the following links: https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/what-we-do/policy-and-research/publications/managing-risks-internationalisation, https://www.ukri.org/publications/managing-risks-in-international-research-and-innovation/ and: https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/universities-uk-international/insights-and-publications/uuki-insights/case-studies-how-universities-are.

With regards to Confucius Institutes, like all similar bodies they should operate transparently, and with a full commitment to our values of openness and freedom of expression. Universities have a responsibility to ensure that any partnership with a Confucius Institute is managed appropriately, and the right due diligence is in place. The government encourages any providers with concerns to contact the government.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
4th Mar 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to improve food labelling so that (a) consumers are effectively informed on which products have been produced (i) locally and (ii) in the UK and (b) local products are not undercut by external competition which is not produced to the same standard.

Country of origin information is required for fresh and frozen meat derived from beef cattle, sheep, goat, pigs and poultry, as well as uncut fresh fruit and vegetables, honey, olive oil, wine and some fish products. It is also required for all prepacked food where its omission would be misleading to consumers. In any case, where an indication of origin or provenance is given, either in words or pictures, this must be accurate. Buying food locally and supporting their local food economy is important to many consumers and where any label indicates that a food is produced locally, this must not be misleading to a consumer.

As recently announced by the Secretary of State, we will soon be launching a consultation on clearer food labelling. This will explore how we can better highlight imports that do not meet UK welfare standards. The consultation will also seek evidence and views on how origin information could be improved for consumers.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether licences from the Rural Payments Agency will be required for ethyl alcohol imported from the EU after the transition period.

Yes, under retained EU law, amended by the Import and Export Licences (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, any import of ethyl alcohol into the UK after the end of the transition period will need to be accompanied by an import licence issued by the Rural Payments Agency.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether she has had discussions with Cabinet colleagues on the ethical implications of supplying weapons and military support to the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen.

I can assure you that HM Government takes its export control responsibilities very seriously. We assess all applications against the Strategic Export Licensing Criteria, which take into account our obligations under the Arms Trade Treaty and other relevant rules of international law. They provide a thorough risk assessment framework and require us to think hard about the possible impact of providing equipment and its capabilities.

In making our decisions on the exports of arms, we take advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the Ministry of Defence.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how much his Department spends on the employment of communications staff annually.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) has an annual budget of £7.5m for the employment of Communication and Marketing staff in 2021/22.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many communications staff are employed (a) full time, (b) part time and (c) with flexible working arrangements in her Department.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) employed 100 Civil Servants within the Communications and Marketing directorate as of 31 January 2022. In addition to the usual communications functions, DIT also has a crucial role in driving and generating business, trade and investment for UK business. Marketing campaigns led by the department in the UK and around the world promote British goods and services, and secure investment into the UK.

DIT is committed to supporting a variety of flexible working patterns, meaning that staff work several different patterns including full-time, part-time, flexitime and job-sharing. As part of DIT’s Smarter Working approach, hybrid working is also available to DIT employees.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to the Government’s Strategic Export Licensing Criteria, whether she has conducted a review of relevant licences following the 19 January 2022 bombings of the C-Plas and the Ibn Sina Hospitals in Amanat Al Asimah, Yemen; and whether any licences have been suspended or revoked as a result of that review.

All licences – to all markets – are kept under careful and continual review and we are able to suspend, refuse or revoke licences as circumstances require. An export licence will not be granted (or, if extant, it would be revoked) if it is incompatible with any of the Strategic Export Licensing Criteria. This includes Criterion 2c, whether there is a clear risk that the items might be used to commit or facilitate a serious violation of international humanitarian law.

15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to the Written Statement of 8 December 2021, HCWS449, on Trade Policy Update, what assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of new arms licensing criteria in preventing (a) internal repression and (b) the commission of violations of international humanitarian law.

The revised Criteria announced in the Written Statement of 8 December 2021, HCWS449, reflect the UK’s policy considerations and take into account a full range of factors including our international legal obligations including the Arms Trade Treaty.

HM Government is satisfied that the Strategic Export Licensing Criteria provides a thorough risk assessment framework for assessing all export licence applications. With regard to internal repression and the commission of violations of international humanitarian law, the key tests are Criterion 2a and Criterion 2c. These criteria have not substantially changed; indeed they have been made stronger by the addition of “facilitation” within their scope.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to Written Statement of 8 December 2021, HCWS449 on Trade Policy Update, whether her Department has made an assessment of the impact of new licensing criteria on the likelihood of UK arms to be used in humanitarian contexts.

HM Government takes its arms export responsibilities seriously and assesses export licence applications in accordance with the Strategic Export Licensing Criteria.

These Criteria provide a thorough risk assessment framework for assessing export licence applications and require us to think hard about the impact of providing equipment and its capabilities. They maintain the high standards we and European partners share on internal repression, international humanitarian law and the upholding of international obligations more generally.

We will not license the export of equipment where to do so would be inconsistent with these Criteria.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of the amended proposal by the South African and Indian Governments to the World Trade Organisation to waive certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement for the prevention, containment and treatment of covid-19.

I refer the Hon. Gentleman for Stirling to the answer given to the Hon. Gentleman for Dundee West on 19th July (UIN: 31441)

15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if the Government will support the South African and Indian Governments' amended proposal to the World Trade Organisation to waive certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement for the prevention, containment and treatment of covid-19.

I refer the Hon. Gentleman for Stirling to the answer given to the Hon. Gentleman for Dundee West on 19th July (UIN: 31441)

8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what the value was of exports of arms and military equipment to (a) Afghanistan, (b) Bahrain, (c) Bangladesh, (d) Belarus, (e) Central African Republic, (f) China, (g) Colombia, (h) Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, (i) Democratic Republic of Congo, (j) Egypt, (k) Eritrea, (l) Iran in 2020.

Such exports require an export licence, which are assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the “Consolidated Criteria”).

HM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) on export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK containing detailed information including the overall value, type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences. The most recent publication was on 13th July 2021.

8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what the value was of exports of arms and military equipment to (a) Iraq, (b) Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, (c) Libya, (d) Mali, (e) Myanmar, (f) Nicaragua, (g) Pakistan, (h) Russia, (i) Saudi Arabia, (j) Somalia, (k) South Sudan, (l) Sri Lanka, (m) Sudan, (n) Syria, (o) Turkmenistan, (p) Uzbekistan, (q) Venezuela, (r) Yemen and (s) Zimbabwe in 2020.

Such exports require an export licence, which are assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the “Consolidated Criteria”).

HM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) on export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK containing detailed information including the overall value, type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences. The most recent publication was on 13th July 2021.

19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to improve reporting on open licences.

The United Kingdom operates one of the most robust and transparent export control regimes in the world. We rigorously examine each export licence application on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria.

HM Government publishes Official Statistics on a quarterly and annual basis on export licences (including open individual licences) granted, refused and revoked. We also provide information on registrations and de-registrations of open general licences. This information is publicly available at: gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data

We have made public the ability to search and run reports on published licensing data too. This is available at: exportcontroldb.trade.gov.uk

My Department has explored further increasing transparency on open licence usage, whilst being mindful of administrative burdens on industry and will continue to do so.

19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many licences for arms exports to Saudi Arabia have been denied since 2015.

Arms exports require an export licence, and all export licence applications are assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the “Consolidated Criteria”).

HM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) on export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK containing detailed information including the overall value, type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences. This information is available at: gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data and the most recent publication was on 13th October 2020, covering the period 1st April – 30th June 2020.

We are able to place conditions on how goods are used in situations where goods remain under an exporter’s control following export, such as temporary exports. We rigorously examine all applications on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated Criteria, which takes into account our obligations under the Arms Trade Treaty and other relevant rules of international law. Whilst no Standard Individual Export Licences (SIELs) have been refused since 2015, 11 Open Individual Export Licences (OIELs) have been rejected for arms exports to Saudi Arabia. This shows the Consolidated Criteria provide a thorough risk assessment framework and require us to think hard about the possible impact of both providing equipment and its capabilities.

19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what conditions on arms use her Department has placed on Saudi Arabia.

Arms exports require an export licence, and all export licence applications are assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the “Consolidated Criteria”).

HM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) on export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK containing detailed information including the overall value, type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences. This information is available at: gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data and the most recent publication was on 13th October 2020, covering the period 1st April – 30th June 2020.

We are able to place conditions on how goods are used in situations where goods remain under an exporter’s control following export, such as temporary exports. We rigorously examine all applications on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated Criteria, which takes into account our obligations under the Arms Trade Treaty and other relevant rules of international law. Whilst no Standard Individual Export Licences (SIELs) have been refused since 2015, 11 Open Individual Export Licences (OIELs) have been rejected for arms exports to Saudi Arabia. This shows the Consolidated Criteria provide a thorough risk assessment framework and require us to think hard about the possible impact of both providing equipment and its capabilities.

13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 22 September 2020 to Question 91155 on Georgia: Freedom of Expression, what assessment the Government has made of the investment climate in the Republic of Georgia.

Georgia is ranked seventh in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ index, as she has an open business environment and a strong investment climate.

At the recent United Kingdom-Georgia Wardrop Dialogue, opportunities for British business were identified in areas such as renewable energy, business services and light manufacturing. The Strategic Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between both countries – signed on 21st October 2019 – will allow businesses to continue to trade on preferential terms following its entry into force at the end of the Transition Period.

2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to ensure that UK-exported weapons are not used in attacks that breach international (a) humanitarian and (b) human rights law.

Weapons exported from the UK require an export licence. All export licence applications are considered on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (known as the Consolidated Criteria), based on the most up-to-date information and analysis available, including reports from NGOs and our overseas network. The Consolidated Criteria provides a thorough risk assessment framework and requires us to assess the impact of providing equipment and its capabilities.

Licensing decisions take into account international humanitarian and human rights law. We will not issue any export licences where we assess there is a clear risk that the goods might be used for internal repression or in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the backlog of driving theory tests.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is aware that demand for theory tests in Scotland is currently high and it is doing all it can to offer more tests at centres by increasing opening hours and running tests on extra days where possible. The provision of additional testing is dependent upon the availability of venues and agreements with landlords. The DVSA is working with its theory test provider, Pearson VUE, to explore further ways in which it can further increase theory test capacity.

The DVSA is continuing to work with the Scottish Government but as a result of the 2 metre physical distancing restrictions in Scotland, as required by the Scottish Government, it is unable to increase the number of desks used to take tests. This has reduced capacity at most theory test sites by 50%.

The DVSA and its theory test contract provider, Pearson VUE, have explored the possibility of delivering the theory tests outside of existing sites, but this was found to be not suitable as it is dependent upon a physical infrastructure within the Pearson VUE network.

27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the timeliness of the next available date for a practical driving test for a (a) car, (b) HGV, (c) motorcycle and (d) tractor in Stirling.

As of 24 May 2021, the next available date to take a practical driving test in Stirling is:

(a) 6 weeks for car

(b) 10.5 weeks for HGV (nearest centres: Livingston - 10 weeks, Perth - 11 weeks, Glasgow - 10 weeks)

(c) 6 weeks for motorcycle (nearest centres: Glasgow Shieldhall module one - 11 weeks / module two -1 week, Edinburgh Musselburgh module one - 1 week, module two - 1 week, Livingston module two only - 1 week)

(d) 13 weeks for tractor

19th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of legislation on private pension schemes for (a) support for pensioners during the cost-of-living crisis and (b) introducing an ethics code in the decision of payments.

Employers have legal obligations to provide minimum levels of pension provision for certain groups of employees. As long as they comply with those obligations it is up to the individual employer to decide on the nature of the scheme and the exact benefits which are provided.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
19th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what comparative assessment his Department has made of the merits of pension regulatory regimes of EU member states.

We continually engage and learn from international work, including on the latest developments and findings on the pension regimes in EU member states. This routinely informs policy development in the UK.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 7 July 2021 to Question 25157, for what reason a change in earnings for a period of two months is deemed a permanent change and a change in contact arrangements for 14 months is deemed a temporary change by the Child Maintenance Service; and what her Department’s policy is on the length of time that constitutes a (a) temporary and (b) permanent change for the purposes of the Child Maintenance Service.

There are multiple factors considered when taking into account a Paying Parent’s income for a Child Maintenance assessment. The scheme is designed so that liabilities remain consistent over the year, with limited changes to the assessment allowing both parents to budget. Time frames will vary depending on what is being assessed and legislation requires that factors which affect income should be expected to last for the “foreseeable future”.

The Child Maintenance Service follows guidance on when changes should be considered temporary or permanent. These decisions are discretionary and considered on a case by case basis. If a customer is unhappy with the outcome of the decision, they may appeal through a mandatory reconsideration.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)