Bob Seely Portrait

Bob Seely

Conservative - Isle of Wight

First elected: 8th June 2017


Committees on Arms Export Controls (formerly Quadripartite Committee)
3rd Jul 2018 - 6th Nov 2019
Foreign Affairs Committee
20th Feb 2018 - 6th Nov 2019
Committees on Arms Export Controls
3rd Jul 2018 - 6th Nov 2019


Select Committee Meeting
Thursday 29th February 2024
11:45
Department Event
Tuesday 12th March 2024
11:30
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
12 Mar 2024, 11:30 a.m.
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Tuesday 30th April 2024
11:30
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
30 Apr 2024, 11:30 a.m.
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development (including Topical Questions)
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View calendar
Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Scheduled Event
Friday 14th June 2024
09:30
Private Members' Bills - Main Chamber
14 Jun 2024, 9:30 a.m.
Titles Deprivation Act 1917 Amendment Bill: Second Reading
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Division Votes
Tuesday 6th February 2024
Ministerial Severance: Reform
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 273 Conservative No votes vs 0 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 192 Noes - 275
Speeches
Monday 19th February 2024
Death of Alexei Navalny
I just want to reinforce the point about Vladimir Kara-Murza. He is a British citizen, and he is now the …
Written Answers
Tuesday 20th February 2024
Plastics: Pollution
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to tackle pre-production …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Monday 11th December 2023
Titles Deprivation Act 1917 Amendment Bill 2023-24
A Bill to amend the Titles Deprivation Act 1917 to deprive in certain circumstances Princes of their British Dignities and …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 30th October 2023
1. Employment and earnings
11 January 2024, received £1,800 from Associated Newspapers Ltd, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT, for three newspaper …
EDM signed
Monday 12th December 2022
Special Tribunal on Russian Aggression in Ukraine
That this house seeks justice and accountability for atrocities committed by Russian troops during their invasion of Ukraine, as well …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 1st March 2022
Marine Protected Areas (Bottom Trawling) Bill 2021-22
A Bill to regulate and limit the practice of bottom trawling in marine protected areas, and for connected purposes.

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Bob Seely has voted in 790 divisions, and 9 times against the majority of their Party.

22 Mar 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Bob Seely voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 29 Conservative Aye votes vs 318 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 300 Noes - 318
22 Mar 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Bob Seely voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 26 Conservative No votes vs 318 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 319 Noes - 297
9 Feb 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Bob Seely voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 13 Conservative No votes vs 341 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 351 Noes - 276
9 Feb 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Bob Seely voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 31 Conservative No votes vs 318 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 318 Noes - 303
19 Jan 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Bob Seely voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 11 Conservative No votes vs 344 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 353 Noes - 277
19 Jan 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Bob Seely voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 34 Conservative No votes vs 319 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 319 Noes - 308
13 Oct 2020 - Public Health: Coronavirus Regulations - View Vote Context
Bob Seely voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 42 Conservative No votes vs 298 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 299 Noes - 82
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Bob Seely voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 97 Conservative No votes vs 224 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 369 Noes - 126
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Bob Seely voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 60 Conservative No votes vs 258 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 385 Noes - 100
View All Bob Seely 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
James Cleverly (Conservative)
Home Secretary
(16 debate interactions)
David Davis (Conservative)
(16 debate interactions)
Dominic Raab (Conservative)
(16 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(58 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(56 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Bob Seely's debates

Isle of Wight 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).

Petitions with highest Isle of Wight signature proportion
Petitions with most Isle of Wight signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

The HMRC mileage rate for reimbursing the use of private cars (e.g. for employees but also volunteers) has been fixed at 45p/mile (up to 10,000 miles) since 2011. The lack of any increase since then is a serious disincentive to volunteer drivers particularly as fuel has gone up again recently.

The UK Government plans to introduce “Magnitsky law”, a law which targets people who commit gross human rights violations. Through this law or alternative means, this petition urges the UK Government to impose sanctions on China for their human rights violations on the Uyghur people.


Latest EDMs signed by Bob Seely

9th December 2022
Bob Seely signed this EDM as a sponsor on Monday 12th December 2022

Special Tribunal on Russian Aggression in Ukraine

Tabled by: Stewart Malcolm McDonald (Scottish National Party - Glasgow South)
That this house seeks justice and accountability for atrocities committed by Russian troops during their invasion of Ukraine, as well as for the crime of the war itself; recognises that the decision by the Russian Federation to launch attacks on Ukraine poses a grave challenge to the post-1945 international order; …
41 signatures
(Most recent: 17 Apr 2023)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 19
Labour: 7
Liberal Democrat: 6
Conservative: 4
Plaid Cymru: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 2
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
View All Bob Seely's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Bob Seely, 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.


Bob Seely has not been granted any Urgent Questions

3 Adjournment Debates led by Bob Seely

Thursday 23rd November 2023
Monday 12th December 2022
Monday 13th July 2020

2 Bills introduced by Bob Seely


A Bill to amend the Titles Deprivation Act 1917 to deprive in certain circumstances Princes of their British Dignities and Titles.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Monday 11th December 2023
Next Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 14th June 2024
Order Paper number: 1
(Certain to be Debated)

A Bill to make provision about defamation; to make provision about costs awarded in civil cases; to make provision about the application of the rights to privacy and to freedom of expression in civil cases on matters of public interest; to make provision about the regulation of lawyers acting in civil cases; to make provision about data protection; to make provision for the regulation of private investigators; to make provision for the purpose of reducing the use of lawsuits for strategic purposes; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Tuesday 24th January 2023
(Read Debate)

110 Written Questions in the current parliament

(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
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of the performance of the Crown Prosecution Service (a) on the Isle of Wight and (b) in the South East.

Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) published a report on CPS South East on 12 October 2021. The report found that the Area made strong charging decisions, and handled disclosure issues and victim and witness issues well. In addition, the report found that the quality of the Area’s RASSO casework was particularly good. HMCPSI will conduct a follow-up inspection of CPS South East next year to assess whether improvements have been made.

HMCPSI are currently conducting an inspection of CPS Wessex, which includes the Isle of Wight, and will publish the report on the Area later this year. Recent CPS performance data shows that the Area’s magistrates’ court conviction rate and domestic abuse conviction rate are both above the national average.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
6th Feb 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans his Department has to increase the Government’s strategic resilience in relation to matters of national importance.

With the increasing volatility and interconnectedness of risks, strong national resilience is more important than ever. The UK Government’s Resilience Framework, published in December 2022, sets out a strategic approach to strengthening the systems and capabilities that underpin our collective resilience to all risks.

Work is already underway across Government to deliver on the principles and approach in the Framework and to act on lessons from recent crises. We have already refreshed the National Security Risk Assessment and will be updating the public National Risk Register later in the year. The Prime Minister has approved a new sub-committee of the National Security Council dedicated to resilience, led by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. We have also strengthened Cabinet Office crisis and resilience structures. The new Resilience Directorate leads on longer-term resilience planning, alongside the COBR Unit which leads on national crisis response and contingency planning.

18th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, for what reason (a) weddings and (b) weddings with the minimum number of five people are not being allowed to be conducted during the current stage of the easing of the covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

The Government understands the huge significance of weddings. We recognise that because weddings have not been able to take place in recent months this has caused difficulty and distress for many people. As set out in the Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy, published in May, the Government has been examining how to enable people to gather in slightly larger groups better to facilitate small weddings. We have worked closely with faith leaders and local government on how best to achieve this. The Prime Minister announced on 23 June that wedding and civil partnership ceremonies will be able to take place in England from 4 July. People should avoid having a large ceremony, and should invite no more than thirty family and friends. Venues should ensure they are COVID-19 secure.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
3rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will make an assessment of the impact of the British energy security strategy, published on 7 April 2022, on the offshore wind industry on the Isle of Wight.

As set out in the British Energy Security Strategy, the UK has an ambition to deploy up to 50GW of offshore wind by 2030, and the Government estimates that around 90,000 direct and indirect jobs could be supported by the offshore wind sector by 2030.

These jobs offer opportunities throughout the UK, including to the Isle of Wight, where Vestas Wind Systems A/S is already a key employer.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
6th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment his Department has made with Cabinet colleagues of the effectiveness of Government incentives for companies to invest in Offshore wind innovation.

The Government is supporting research and development in offshore wind technology via the Net Zero Innovation Programme (NZIP), which will provide £60 million of funding for technologies including floating offshore wind and radar mitigation. Each of these programmes includes an element of matched funding from the private sector. The effectiveness of these programmes will be considered as part of the wider benefits evaluation work of the NZIP.

The Government also awarded £3.12 million to the innovative ERM-Dolphin project in 2020, which will develop a floating wind farm to produce green hydrogen at scale with a target capacity of 4GW by 2032.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has plans to support the expansion of the offshore wind industry to the south-east coast.

The Government set out in the British Energy Security Strategy its ambition to deliver up to 50GW of offshore wind by 2030. The South-East stands to benefit from the growth of this sector with, for example, RWE developing the 1.2GW Rampion 2 project off the Sussex coast.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his Department's definition of a SME is; whether micro-businesses, defined as a business that contracts ten or fewer employees, are included in his Department’s SME programmes; and whether those programmes are adjusted to meet micro-businesses specific requirements.

There is no single formal definition of an SME used by the UK government in designing government schemes. Schemes have different eligibility criteria depending on their aims. All businesses, including micro-businesses can apply to government schemes if they believe they meet the eligibility criteria.

The Government provides a range of support that all businesses, including micro businesses can access. These include information on starting up and running a business on GOV.UK, one to one advice via our free Business Support Helpline and through 38 Growth Hubs across England, government backed Start-Up Loans, and businesses with 5 or more employees can access our Help to Grow schemes.

26th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to help increase the survival rate of micro-businesses in rural and isolated communities.

The Government is providing a range of support to help small and medium-sized businesses across the UK with rising costs, including those in rural communities. The Government has cut fuel duty for 12 months, raised the Employment Allowance to £5,000, and is zero-rating VAT on energy-saving materials. This builds on existing support, including business rates relief worth £7 billion over five years.

Additionally, Help to Grow programmes will enable eligible SMEs to mitigate the effects of rising costs by providing financial discounts on approved digital technologies up to a value of £5000 and improving SME leadership and management skills though subsidised courses.

17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of price variations in the cost of units of gas and electricity between low use and high use periods; and what assessment his Department has made of the effect of that matter on average domestic fuel bills.

The setting of tariff rates, including the price variation between peak and off-peak periods for time-of-use tariffs such as Economy 7 is a commercial matter for individual supply companies. Electricity-only households who are on their supplier’s default or standard variable tariffs are protected by the energy price cap. The price cap methodology used by Ofgem enables a separate rate to be set for households who heat their homes using electric storage heaters. These households will also receive £200 discount on their electricity bill this autumn, as part of the Government’s package of support worth £9.1 billion to help domestic energy customers with the cost of rising energy bills.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support businesses that are owed significant rent arrears as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government will introduce legislation to support the orderly resolution of rental payments accrued by commercial tenants affected by the pandemic. The legislation will ringfence rent debt accrued during the pandemic by businesses affected by enforced closures. The legislation will also set out a process of binding arbitration to be undertaken between landlords and tenants. This is to be used as a last resort after bilateral negotiations have been undertaken and only where landlords and tenants cannot otherwise come to a resolution.

24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has made for the transition away from table service in wet-led pubs as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

On 22nd February, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister published the Government’s ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’. The roadmap is a step-by-step plan to ease restrictions in England.

With regard to the reopening of the hospitality sector, Step 2 will take place no earlier than 12 April, when hospitality venues will be able to open for outdoor service, with no requirement for a substantial meal to be served alongside alcoholic drinks, and no curfew. The requirement to order, eat and drink while seated (‘table service’) will remain.

20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will meet the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight and representatives of Solent LEP to discuss the future of MHI Vestas' site on the Isle of Wight.

I should be very happy to meet with the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight and representatives of Solent LEP, by teleconference, to discuss the future of the MHI Vestas’ site. My office will be in touch to arrange a suitable date.

5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to further support the tourism industry (a) on the Isle of Wight and (b) in other coastal communities.

As set out in the government’s Tourism Recovery Plan, we are committed to supporting the tourism industry’s return to pre-pandemic levels across England including the Isle of Wight and other coastal communities.

So far, the government has provided over £35 billion in support to the tourism, leisure and hospitality sectors over the course of the pandemic in the form of grants, loans and tax breaks.

The latest budget announcement also included a new temporary business rates relief for over 90% of eligible retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England which will cut at least 50% off their business rates bills during the 2022-23 period which is worth almost £1.7 billion.

On 21 December 2021, HMT announced additional support for businesses who have been impacted by the Omicron variant across the UK, including one-off grants of up to £6,000 for hospitality and leisure premises, plus more than £100 million discretionary funding will be made available for local authorities to support other businesses.

VisitBritain (VB) promotes Isle of Wight and other coastal destinations on their websites, social media and through PR activity to ensure that when international travel resumes, visitors are inspired and informed on visiting our coastal towns and cities.

Coastal destinations were also supported via the Discover England Fund as part of the England’s Coast project. This was up to 2021 however VisitBritain continues to support their initiatives, through marketing, PR and business support.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what support her Department can provide to incentivise major London-based arts institutes to undertake outreach to (a) the Isle of Wight, (b) coastal and (c) rural communities.

The Government is committed to promoting the arts and culture outside of London, and invests in culture across the country through Arts Council England.

Arts Council England’s ambition to ensure the arts are accessible to all is articulated in its ‘Let’s Create’ Strategy 2020-2030, which can be found on its website. The Arts Council encourages London-based organisations to have national reach and impact. It facilitates relationships across the country where there are synergies and/or particular opportunities, and supports organisations from major cities, including London, to share their work in rural areas. In addition, the Arts Council has identified the Isle of Wight as a priority area for increased engagement and investment.

A number of London-based National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) work in the Isle of Wight as well as rural and coastal areas. One example includes The Reading Agency, which produces programmes delivered by libraries across the country.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the findings of the report entitled, Defending Our Data: Huawei, 5G and the Five Eyes published by the Henry Jackson Society in May 2019.

In reaching the final decision on high risk vendors, the Government took into consideration the full range of threats and risks informed by the technical and security expertise of the UK’s intelligence community, led by the National Cyber Security Centre, together with all relevant information, both public and classified, including that from international partners.

7th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the oral contribution of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, Official Report, 2 May 2019, column 364, what recent assessment he has made whether Huawei is a private company.

The government’s decision to categorise Huawei as a high risk vendor takes into consideration the potential links between Chinese companies and the Chinese State. And the limits we have imposed on the presence of all High Risk Vendors constitute some of the toughest security measures in the telecoms sector in the world.

We have unique insight through the Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC), which was established in 2010. As a result of our work, we know more about Huawei, and the risks it poses, than any other country in the world. Huawei’s operations in the UK are subject to the strongest oversight possible. The company’s presence in the UK has been subject to detailed, formal oversight through the HCSEC, and the HCSEC Oversight Board which has reported annually since 2014.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what criteria the Government is using to define the safety critical infrastructure that will be excluded from high risk telecommunications vendors.

As set out in the oral statement of 28 January by the Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, a high risk vendor is a vendor that poses greater security and resilience risks to UK telecoms. That statement also provided details of the non-exhaustive set of objective factors that were taken account of to assess a vendor as high risk. This set of factors has been further elaborated on in the National Cyber Security Centre’s advice on the use of equipment from high risk vendors in UK telecoms networks that was also published on 28 January and can be found on their website.

The NCSC also published a summary of the security analysis for the UK telecoms sector that informed the conclusions of the Government’s Telecoms Supply Chain Review. The summary notes that sensitive networks either route or have access to sensitive information, and include those directly relating to the operation of government or any safety-related systems and in wider critical national infrastructure. The summary of NCSC’s analysis can be found at: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/report/summary-of-ncsc-security-analysis-for-the-uk-telecoms-sector.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the oral statement of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, of 28 January 2020, Official Report, column 709, on UK Telecommunications, what his Department's definition is of a high-risk vendor.

As set out in the oral statement of 28 January by the Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, a high risk vendor is a vendor that poses greater security and resilience risks to UK telecoms. That statement also provided details of the non-exhaustive set of objective factors that were taken account of to assess a vendor as high risk. This set of factors has been further elaborated on in the National Cyber Security Centre’s advice on the use of equipment from high risk vendors in UK telecoms networks that was also published on 28 January and can be found on their website.

The NCSC also published a summary of the security analysis for the UK telecoms sector that informed the conclusions of the Government’s Telecoms Supply Chain Review. The summary notes that sensitive networks either route or have access to sensitive information, and include those directly relating to the operation of government or any safety-related systems and in wider critical national infrastructure. The summary of NCSC’s analysis can be found at: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/report/summary-of-ncsc-security-analysis-for-the-uk-telecoms-sector.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Foreign Secretary's oral statement to the House of 27 January 2020 on Huawei, Official Report, coulum 533, for what reason the Government decided to give different permissions to high risk vendors for critical and non-critical cyber infrastructure.

The Government has complete confidence in the independent technical assessment of the UK’s security experts. The security analysis conducted by the National Cyber Security Centre underpinned the final conclusions of the Government’s Telecoms Supply Chain Review.

NCSC published a summary of its security analysis which informed the conclusions of the Review. This analysis includes a summary of NCSC’s assessment of the distinction between the ‘core’ and ‘edge’ of the network under section 8.3.1. The analysis states that:

“In 5G networks, core functions can be relocated nearer the ‘edge’ of the network. This has been described as blurring the line between core and edge. This is technically inaccurate as the ‘core’ is defined by a set of functions, standardised within [5], rather than a location. Consequently, the distinction between the two remains clear, as does the advice above. Our advice remains that HRVs are excluded from performing core functions, and this applies whether these functions are deployed centrally or towards the ‘edge’. Our understanding is that this clarification is unlikely to be consequential in the UK, as we are informed that core functions may run near the edge, but not actually on edge access equipment (such as base stations).”

The summary of NCSC’s security analysis can be found at: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/report/summary-of-ncsc-security-analysis-for-the-uk-telecoms-sector.

In reaching the final decision on high risk vendors, the UK Government took into consideration the full range of risks, including in relation to malicious code or programming errors.

Huawei’s presence in the UK has been subject to detailed, formal oversight through the Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC), and we remain confident in these arrangements. However the Government recognises that HCSEC alone cannot mitigate all the risks, and that is why the final conclusions of the Telecoms Supply Chain Review - as announced on 28 January - set out the additional controls that should be applied to high risk vendors.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of the report by the Henry Jackson Society, entitled Defending our Data: Huawei, 5G and the Five Eyes, published on 16 May 2019.

The Telecoms Supply Chain Review included an international workstream to take account of the range of international positions so that they could be factored into UK decision-making.

In reaching the final decision on high risk vendors, the Government took into consideration the full range of threats and risks informed by the technical and security expertise of the UK’s intelligence community, led by the National Cyber Security Centre, together with all relevant information, both public and classified, including that from partners.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what representations the Government has received from the (a) French Government, (b) Australian Government, (c) US Administration and (d) Czech Government on the safety of Huawei systems.

The Telecoms Supply Chain Review included an international workstream to take account of the range of international positions so that they could be factored into UK decision-making.

In reaching the final decision on high risk vendors, the Government took into consideration the full range of threats and risks informed by the technical and security expertise of the UK’s intelligence community, led by the National Cyber Security Centre, together with all relevant information, both public and classified, including that from partners.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, for what reasons the Government's assessment of the safety of Huawei systems is different to the assessments of those systems made by the (a) French Government, (b) Australian Government, (c) US Administration and (d) Czech Government.

The Telecoms Supply Chain Review included an international workstream to take account of the range of international positions so that they could be factored into UK decision-making.

In reaching the final decision on high risk vendors, the Government took into consideration the full range of threats and risks informed by the technical and security expertise of the UK’s intelligence community, led by the National Cyber Security Centre, together with all relevant information, both public and classified, including that from partners.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the model provided by the UK Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre on mitigating the risks to UK national security of Huawei's involvement in the UK's critical networks.

The Government has complete confidence in the independent technical assessment of the UK’s security experts. The security analysis conducted by the National Cyber Security Centre underpinned the final conclusions of the Government’s Telecoms Supply Chain Review.

NCSC published a summary of its security analysis which informed the conclusions of the Review. This analysis includes a summary of NCSC’s assessment of the distinction between the ‘core’ and ‘edge’ of the network under section 8.3.1. The analysis states that:

“In 5G networks, core functions can be relocated nearer the ‘edge’ of the network. This has been described as blurring the line between core and edge. This is technically inaccurate as the ‘core’ is defined by a set of functions, standardised within [5], rather than a location. Consequently, the distinction between the two remains clear, as does the advice above. Our advice remains that HRVs are excluded from performing core functions, and this applies whether these functions are deployed centrally or towards the ‘edge’. Our understanding is that this clarification is unlikely to be consequential in the UK, as we are informed that core functions may run near the edge, but not actually on edge access equipment (such as base stations).”

The summary of NCSC’s security analysis can be found at: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/report/summary-of-ncsc-security-analysis-for-the-uk-telecoms-sector.

In reaching the final decision on high risk vendors, the UK Government took into consideration the full range of risks, including in relation to malicious code or programming errors.

Huawei’s presence in the UK has been subject to detailed, formal oversight through the Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC), and we remain confident in these arrangements. However the Government recognises that HCSEC alone cannot mitigate all the risks, and that is why the final conclusions of the Telecoms Supply Chain Review - as announced on 28 January - set out the additional controls that should be applied to high risk vendors.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the comments by former Chief of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove in respect of the Government's UK Telecommunications strategy.

The Telecoms Supply Chain Review included an international workstream to take account of the range of international positions so that they could be factored into UK decision-making.

In reaching the final decision on high risk vendors, the Government took into consideration the full range of threats and risks informed by the technical and security expertise of the UK’s intelligence community, led by the National Cyber Security Centre, together with all relevant information, both public and classified, including that from partners.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the UK Cyber experts' review of security risks in respect of the Government's proposed 5G solution.

The Government has complete confidence in the independent technical assessment of the UK’s security experts. The security analysis conducted by the National Cyber Security Centre underpinned the final conclusions of the Government’s Telecoms Supply Chain Review.

NCSC published a summary of its security analysis which informed the conclusions of the Review. This analysis includes a summary of NCSC’s assessment of the distinction between the ‘core’ and ‘edge’ of the network under section 8.3.1. The analysis states that:

“In 5G networks, core functions can be relocated nearer the ‘edge’ of the network. This has been described as blurring the line between core and edge. This is technically inaccurate as the ‘core’ is defined by a set of functions, standardised within [5], rather than a location. Consequently, the distinction between the two remains clear, as does the advice above. Our advice remains that HRVs are excluded from performing core functions, and this applies whether these functions are deployed centrally or towards the ‘edge’. Our understanding is that this clarification is unlikely to be consequential in the UK, as we are informed that core functions may run near the edge, but not actually on edge access equipment (such as base stations).”

The summary of NCSC’s security analysis can be found at: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/report/summary-of-ncsc-security-analysis-for-the-uk-telecoms-sector.

In reaching the final decision on high risk vendors, the UK Government took into consideration the full range of risks, including in relation to malicious code or programming errors.

Huawei’s presence in the UK has been subject to detailed, formal oversight through the Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC), and we remain confident in these arrangements. However the Government recognises that HCSEC alone cannot mitigate all the risks, and that is why the final conclusions of the Telecoms Supply Chain Review - as announced on 28 January - set out the additional controls that should be applied to high risk vendors.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of whether Huawei has the ability to remove malicious code introduced by third-parties.

The Government has complete confidence in the independent technical assessment of the UK’s security experts. The security analysis conducted by the National Cyber Security Centre underpinned the final conclusions of the Government’s Telecoms Supply Chain Review.

NCSC published a summary of its security analysis which informed the conclusions of the Review. This analysis includes a summary of NCSC’s assessment of the distinction between the ‘core’ and ‘edge’ of the network under section 8.3.1. The analysis states that:

“In 5G networks, core functions can be relocated nearer the ‘edge’ of the network. This has been described as blurring the line between core and edge. This is technically inaccurate as the ‘core’ is defined by a set of functions, standardised within [5], rather than a location. Consequently, the distinction between the two remains clear, as does the advice above. Our advice remains that HRVs are excluded from performing core functions, and this applies whether these functions are deployed centrally or towards the ‘edge’. Our understanding is that this clarification is unlikely to be consequential in the UK, as we are informed that core functions may run near the edge, but not actually on edge access equipment (such as base stations).”

The summary of NCSC’s security analysis can be found at: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/report/summary-of-ncsc-security-analysis-for-the-uk-telecoms-sector.

In reaching the final decision on high risk vendors, the UK Government took into consideration the full range of risks, including in relation to malicious code or programming errors.

Huawei’s presence in the UK has been subject to detailed, formal oversight through the Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC), and we remain confident in these arrangements. However the Government recognises that HCSEC alone cannot mitigate all the risks, and that is why the final conclusions of the Telecoms Supply Chain Review - as announced on 28 January - set out the additional controls that should be applied to high risk vendors.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the durability of the distinction between core and periphery in the 5G network in respect of the Government's decision to limit Huawei's involvement to core aspects of that network.

The Government has complete confidence in the independent technical assessment of the UK’s security experts. The security analysis conducted by the National Cyber Security Centre underpinned the final conclusions of the Government’s Telecoms Supply Chain Review.

NCSC published a summary of its security analysis which informed the conclusions of the Review. This analysis includes a summary of NCSC’s assessment of the distinction between the ‘core’ and ‘edge’ of the network under section 8.3.1. The analysis states that:

“In 5G networks, core functions can be relocated nearer the ‘edge’ of the network. This has been described as blurring the line between core and edge. This is technically inaccurate as the ‘core’ is defined by a set of functions, standardised within [5], rather than a location. Consequently, the distinction between the two remains clear, as does the advice above. Our advice remains that HRVs are excluded from performing core functions, and this applies whether these functions are deployed centrally or towards the ‘edge’. Our understanding is that this clarification is unlikely to be consequential in the UK, as we are informed that core functions may run near the edge, but not actually on edge access equipment (such as base stations).”

The summary of NCSC’s security analysis can be found at: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/report/summary-of-ncsc-security-analysis-for-the-uk-telecoms-sector.

In reaching the final decision on high risk vendors, the UK Government took into consideration the full range of risks, including in relation to malicious code or programming errors.

Huawei’s presence in the UK has been subject to detailed, formal oversight through the Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC), and we remain confident in these arrangements. However the Government recognises that HCSEC alone cannot mitigate all the risks, and that is why the final conclusions of the Telecoms Supply Chain Review - as announced on 28 January - set out the additional controls that should be applied to high risk vendors.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the human rights implications of the decision to use of Huawei systems in the UK's 5G network.

The UK has been vocal in drawing attention to the systematic human rights violations against Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in China. Ministers and senior officials regularly raise our concerns both directly with the Chinese and multilaterally. On 29 October, at the UN Third Committee, the UK read out a joint statement, on behalf of 22 other countries, drawing attention to the human rights violations in Xinjiang and calling on China to uphold its obligations to respect human rights. The UK also co-hosted an event on Xinjiang during the UN General Assembly in September.

The Government has also set out its expectations of businesses in the UK National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights and continues to encourage all British businesses to undertake appropriate levels of due diligence before deciding to do business or invest in foreign companies. The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights advises UK companies to respect human rights wherever they operate including adopting appropriate due diligence policies to identify, prevent and mitigate human rights risks, and commit to monitoring and evaluating implementation

3rd Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of increasing funding to help support the recruitment and retention of staff in further education colleges.

The department is making significant investments to support the recruitment and retention of high-quality teachers. The Spending Review 2021 made an extra £1.6 billion available for 16-19 education in the 2024/25 financial year, compared with 2021/22. We are investing £125 million of available funds in the 2023/24 financial year for 16-19 education to increase the national funding rate by 2.2% from £4,542 to £4,642, and boost specific programme cost weightings by 10%, to support the additional costs of recruiting and retaining teachers in construction, manufacturing, engineering, and digital subject areas.

The department is supporting teacher recruitment in the sector through a national campaign to encourage industry professionals to become further education (FE) teachers. We have supported the creation of new, high-quality routes into FE teaching, including a revised Level 5 Learning and Skills Teacher apprenticeship for those planning to work in the FE sector. We are providing bursaries worth up to £29,000 each, tax free, to support FE teacher training in priority subject areas for the 2023/24 academic year.

Our Taking Teaching Further (TTF) programme has supported around 1,000 people to retrain as FE teachers since it launched in 2018. In addition, the department is piloting a new £6,000 financial incentive for TTF recruits teaching in some of the most hard-to-fill subject areas, including digital, construction and the built environment, engineering and manufacturing, and maths.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
15th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate she has made of the number of children who were registered at schools in England before the covid-19 outbreak and who, having deregistered during that outbreak, are now once more entered on school rolls.

The information is not readily available and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

15th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate she has made of the number of children who were registered at schools in England prior to the covid-19 outbreak and who are no longer registered for reasons other than having passed statutory school age.

The information is not readily available and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

15th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate she has made of the number of children living in the Isle of Wight who were registered at a school prior to the covid-19 outbreak and who are no longer registered for reasons other than having exceeded statutory school age.

The information is not readily available and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

27th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if her Department will provide schools on the Isle of Wight with funding for systematic synthetic phonics programmes.

In 2018, the Department launched the £26.3 million English Hubs Programme, which is dedicated to improving the teaching of reading, with a focus on supporting children making the slowest progress in reading, many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The 34 English Hubs in the programme are primary schools which are outstanding at teaching early reading. A further £17 million has been allocated for this school to school improvement programme, which focusses on systematic synthetic phonics, early language, and reading for pleasure.

Schools on the Isle of Wight may contact their nearest English Hub, Springhill Catholic Primary, if they wish to receive funding support for phonics. The hub has, so far, recruited one partner school on the Isle of Wight and is actively reaching out to other eligible schools, including planning an Isle of Wight specific engagement event in the coming term.

24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will introduce skilled, sustainable and vocationally appropriate courses to replace the low-quality courses he plans to remove.

The department is revitalising the technical education system by introducing T Levels that are backed and designed by employers to get people into skilled work and further training. T Levels are at the centre of our long-term reforms to technical education, building on the recommendations in the Sainsbury Report, published in 2016. Alongside the introduction of T Levels, the department is reviewing post-16 qualifications at level 3 and below. We have withdrawn funding approval for more than 5,000 qualifications that had no or low enrolments. The next phase of our reforms is to remove qualifications that overlap with T Levels for 16 to 19 year olds, which will reduce complexity for young people and employers.

The department is also reviewing the qualifications that sit alongside A levels and T Levels at level 3 and below. Our reforms will ensure that all students have confidence that every qualification is a high-quality option, and that it supports their progression to employment or further study, including higher education.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much education specific funding, in addition to the national average of school spending per pupil, the Isle of Wight has received since June 2017.

Funding for schools in the Isle of Wight, through the dedicated schools grant (DSG) and the indicative figures for the schools’ supplementary grant for mainstream schools combined, is forecast to rise by £4 million in the 2022-23 financial year, an increase of 6.0% per pupil. This per pupil funding increase excludes ‘growth’ funding, which is additional funding, provided for schools seeing significant increases in pupil numbers. This takes total funding for the 2022-23 financial year in the Isle of Wight to over £83.2 million.

On top of this funding, over £100 million of funding will be made available to support Education Investment Areas, including the Isle of Wight.

The table below shows the funding per pupil in the Isle of Wight, compared to the national average:

Year

Funding per pupil in the Isle of Wight

National average funding per pupil

2017-18

£4,526

£4,619

2018-19

£4,542

£4,630

2019-20

£4,561

£4,650

2020-21

£4,740

£4,845

2021-22

£5,097

£5,228

2022-23

£5,401

£5,531

The funding per pupil from the financial years 2017-18 to 2022-23 is through the DSG (actual funding received) but from the 2019-20 financial year onwards, excludes growth funding. To note, in the 2021-22 financial year, the funding per pupil includes the teachers’ pay and pensions grant that was rolled into the national funding formula (NFF) and for the 2022-23 financial year, additional funding from the supplementary grant is included into the funding per pupil figure.

Funding per pupil for the Isle of Wight has been lower than the national average because the NFF directs resources to schools with more pupils with additional needs, such as those indicated by measures of deprivation, low prior attainment, or English as an additional language, to help them meet the needs of all their pupils. In addition, schools in more expensive areas, like London, attract higher funding per pupil than other parts of the country to reflect the higher costs they face. This also affects the national average funding per pupil figures in the table above.

1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the average spend per pupil in schools on the Isle of Wight; how that average spending compares to the national average school spend per pupil; and what assessment his Department has made of the impact of designating the Isle of Wight an education investment area will have on school spend per pupil.

Funding for schools in the Isle of Wight, through the dedicated schools grant (DSG) and the indicative figures for the schools’ supplementary grant for mainstream schools combined, is forecast to rise by £4 million in the 2022-23 financial year, an increase of 6.0% per pupil. This per pupil funding increase excludes ‘growth’ funding, which is additional funding, provided for schools seeing significant increases in pupil numbers. This takes total funding for the 2022-23 financial year in the Isle of Wight to over £83.2 million.

On top of this funding, over £100 million of funding will be made available to support Education Investment Areas, including the Isle of Wight.

The table below shows the funding per pupil in the Isle of Wight, compared to the national average:

Year

Funding per pupil in the Isle of Wight

National average funding per pupil

2017-18

£4,526

£4,619

2018-19

£4,542

£4,630

2019-20

£4,561

£4,650

2020-21

£4,740

£4,845

2021-22

£5,097

£5,228

2022-23

£5,401

£5,531

The funding per pupil from the financial years 2017-18 to 2022-23 is through the DSG (actual funding received) but from the 2019-20 financial year onwards, excludes growth funding. To note, in the 2021-22 financial year, the funding per pupil includes the teachers’ pay and pensions grant that was rolled into the national funding formula (NFF) and for the 2022-23 financial year, additional funding from the supplementary grant is included into the funding per pupil figure.

Funding per pupil for the Isle of Wight has been lower than the national average because the NFF directs resources to schools with more pupils with additional needs, such as those indicated by measures of deprivation, low prior attainment, or English as an additional language, to help them meet the needs of all their pupils. In addition, schools in more expensive areas, like London, attract higher funding per pupil than other parts of the country to reflect the higher costs they face. This also affects the national average funding per pupil figures in the table above.

31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Centre for Social Justice’s report entitled Lost but not forgotten: the reality of severe absence in schools post-lockdown published in January 2022, what estimate he has made of the number of children who are absent from schools (a) by education authority and (b) who are eligible for schooling on the Isle of Wight as of 31 January 2022.

Overall absence data is collected in the termly school census collection and figures for January 2022 are not yet available at this time. Full year figures for the 2020/21 academic year will be available from 24 March 2022, including by amount of absence.

The department currently publishes on-site attendance and COVID-19-related absence data at a national level on a fortnightly basis and at a local authority level on a half-termly basis. Data covering 31 January 2022 will be published routinely, on this basis.

The latest published local authority level data ends in Week 50 2021. During the 2021 autumn term, at a national level, on average 89.8% of pupils were in attendance on-site and 2.3% were absent for COVID-19-related reasons. Over the same period, on the Isle of Wight, 88.5% of pupils were in attendance on-site and 2.9% were absent for COVID-19-related reasons.

The full most recent national, regional and local authority data can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

National level pupil data can be found in Table 1B of the underlying data files, whilst local authority data can be found in Table 1C.

26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of recent trends in pupil absences at schools in England.

The daily education settings survey asks schools and colleges to report data such as on-site attendance and COVID-19 absence.

The most recent published data at national level is 20 January 2022 and can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to expand the provision of higher education in (a) the Isle of Wight and (b) other isolated areas and island communities.

It is more crucial than ever before that we tap into the brilliant talent that our country has to offer, and make sure that university places are available to all who are qualified by ability and attainment to pursue them, and who wish to do so.

It was announced in December 2021 that a proposal led by Solent University, in collaboration with the Isle of Wight College amongst others, has been successful in the government’s £120 million competition to establish the next wave of innovative new Institutes of Technology across the country, offering higher technical STEM education and training mainly at levels 4 and 5.

Although there are no immediate plans to expand the provision of higher education to other isolated areas and island communities, this government is committed to a sustainable funding model that supports high-quality provision, which meets the skills needs of the country and maintains the world-class reputation of UK higher education.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to tackle pre-production plastic pellet, nurdle, pollution in the marine environment.

Tackling marine plastic pollution in all its forms is a priority for the UK Government, and we’re taking action domestically, regionally and internationally to address this issue.

Our statutory UK Marine Strategy sets out a vision for UK waters to achieve clean, safe, healthy biologically diverse and productive seas, which are used sustainably. The UK Marine Strategy Part One set out our aim for the amount of litter on coastlines and in the marine environment to be declining over time and for levels to not pose a significant risk to the coastal and marine environment.

In 2019, the British Irish Council Ministers recognised the need to address the loss of plastic pellets and supported the development of a Publicly Available Specification developed by the British Standards Institution. This Specification sets out requirements for the handling and management of plastic pellets, flakes and powders throughout the supply chain to prevent spills, leaks and loss to the environment, and was the first of its kind when published in July 2021. Details can be found on the BSI website: PAS 510:2021 | 31 Jul 2021 | BSI Knowledge (bsigroup.com).

As a Contracting Party to the OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic, the UK develops and implements actions under the OSPAR Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter and has led an action on preventing plastic pellet loss in the supply chain. The action has resulted in the adoption of a Recommendation on minimum requirements for pellet loss certification schemes, to promote coherence in national approaches and drive improved standards throughout the supply chain.

The UK is a leading voice in the negotiation of a new international treaty on plastic pollution and has called for binding provisions to reduce and prevent microplastic pollution from all sources. In particular, the UK has called for specific provisions to prevent and eliminate emissions and releases of plastic pellets, flakes and powders across the whole supply chain.

Additionally, the UK is contributing to discussions at the International Maritime Organisation regarding requirements for the shipping of plastic pellets. Recommendations on the carriage of plastic pellets by sea in freight containers are under development and are expected to be approved this year. The UK is pushing for action to be taken as soon as possible to reduce the incidence of plastic pellet spills at sea.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of the wild release of beavers on (a) local economies and (b) the environment.

Any application for a licence to release beaver would need to make an assessment of the potential impact on the environment and local economic interests as part of the application process and in accordance with the Code for Reintroductions. Natural England undertook an assessment, published in 2021, of the findings from the River Otter trial in Devon, which is the only licenced wild release of beavers in England.

We are continuing to undertake further work with Natural England to develop our approach to the reintroduction of beaver in England.

6th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to help (a) protect and (b) expand England's protected landscapes.

We have recently set out in our Environmental Improvement Plan that we will protect our protected landscapes by investing in a new National Landscapes Partnership, developing a Protected Landscapes outcomes framework, providing guidance to strengthen Protected Landscapes’ management plans and issuing guidance on the strengthened biodiversity duty. We will extend our protected landscapes by continuing assessments to designate two new AONBs and two AONB extensions and using the All-England mapping tool to identify landscapes to improve nature and access.

1st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department plans to take steps to (a) ensure dangerous dogs are safe for other dogs to be around and (b) control breeding practices to prevent the breeding of dogs of a dangerous and aggressive temperament.

Under section 3 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, it is an offence to allow any dog to be dangerously out of control.

In December 2021, Defra published research in collaboration with Middlesex University investigating measures to reduce dog attacks and promote responsible dog ownership across all breeds of dog. In response to this research, we have established a Responsible Dog Ownership working group involving police, local authorities and animal welfare organisations. Conclusions and policy reform recommendations are expected later this year.

Under the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018, licensed dog breeders must take all reasonable steps to check that the dogs used for breeding have a good temperament, and must implement and be able to demonstrate the use of a socialisation and habituation programme for the puppies.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of animal welfare protections for serval cats.

When kept privately as pets, pure servals require a licence under Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976. While the focus of the 1976 Act is public safety, licensing conditions also provide for animal welfare protections, such as the provision of accommodation that is a suitable size, temperature and cleanliness, as well as providing adequate and suitable food, drink and bedding material. Whether a serval hybrid would require a licence under the 1976 Act would depend on the generation of the cat. When the list of species which require a licence under the 1976 Act was last amended in 2007 it sought to clarify the position for domestic cat x wild cat hybrids generally. The immediate offspring of a pure serval and a domestic cat would require a licence, but subsequent hybrids from this source would not.

Where a serval was kept and exhibited to the public for seven days or more a year (otherwise than in a circus or pet shop), rather than a licence under the 1976 Act, they would need to be licensed and inspected under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981. Under the 1981 Act, zoos are required to meet strict obligations in relation to animal welfare, conservation, and education. The animal welfare requirements are set in the Secretary of State's Standards of Modern Zoo Practice. The standards are currently under review following a 16 week consultation that ended on Tuesday 21 st June.

The commercial sale of cats, including servals, as pets is regulated under the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018. The 2018 Regulations set out clear requirements for those who sell cats commercially. Licencees must meet strict statutory minimum welfare standards which are enforced by local authorities who have powers to issue, refuse or revoke licences.

Further to these specific protections, these animals are also protected under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The 2006 Act requires those in charge of animals to protect them from harm and to ensure their key welfare needs are provided for. Those in charge of animals who fail to protect them from harm, or fail to provide for their welfare needs may be prosecuted and face penalties including a custodial sentence or an unlimited fine, or both.

Scott Mann
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Agriculture Bill, what assessment he has made of the importance of small, mobile abattoirs to rural or isolated communities.

The Government supports a competitive agri-food supply chain that provides opportunities for all businesses, including farmers, processors and abattoirs. We are working across government, with industry and stakeholders to ensure that the UK maintains its high-quality slaughtering facilities within a robust and competitive market providing options for farmers particularly in rural and isolated communities and reducing animal welfare impacts.

The Food Standards Agency is working closely with a business in England who are looking to introduce a mobile slaughter unit which will service local suppliers and support the rural economy. If this model can meet regulatory requirements and is deemed viable it could be replicated in other parts of the country where facilities for slaughter are in decline.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
31st Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of Solent Freeport conversion into an Investment Area on international trade opportunities in the region, including for the Isle of Wight.

The Government is committed to levelling up areas across the country. UK Freeports, like Solent, are fantastic places for businesses to grow, innovate and collaborate. They are capitalising on Freeport tax, customs, and planning benefits, and the region’s clean energy and maritime opportunities, to develop as national hubs for trade and global investment. These benefits remain unchanged by Investment Zones.

While the Government is still considering our approach to Investment Zones, we are grateful for the Expressions of Interest submitted, which officials are assessing. The Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities will confirm next steps in due course.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps the Trade Remedies Authority is taking to prevent the dumping of high-tech 5G network products and services.

There are no existing trade remedies measures or ongoing investigations into the dumping of high-tech 5G network products. Trade remedies only apply to goods and not services. We have set up the UK’s trade remedies system, built on international best practice, to provide real and robust protections to UK industries which are suffering injury caused by unfair trading practices or by unforeseen surges of imports. Industry will be able to apply for an investigation, following the end of the Transition Period, and the Trade Remedies Authority will initiate an investigation provided there is sufficient evidence.

6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Government has made representations to the International Maritime Organisation on the potential merits of classifying pre-production plastic pellets, nurdles, as a hazardous shipment.

Yes, the Government has made representations to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on the classification of plastic pellets as harmful substances.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), which provides the UK’s representation to the IMO, has been actively involved in the discussions about, and development of, both voluntary and mandatory measures for the transport by sea of plastic pellets. The UK, in conjunction with a number of other IMO member states, has submitted a proposal to the IMO to amend the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) in order to identify plastic pellets as a harmful substance and to establish mandatory requirements for their transport by sea.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the possibility of using funding under UK SHORE to support the electrification of cross-Solent ferries.

The UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UK SHORE) has been allocated £206m research and development funding to address the technological barriers to domestic maritime decarbonisation. As such, DfT has not made a specific assessment of using funding from UK SHORE to support the electrification of cross-Solent ferries. However, UK SHORE interventions will have a direct reduction of emissions impact on our domestic ferries and lifeline services.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to improve cycling infrastructure (a) on the Isle of Wight and (b) in other isolated and island communities.

The Department will continue to make active travel funding available to local transport authorities, including those with isolated and island communities, as part of its unprecedented £2 billion of investment in cycling and walking over the rest of this Parliament. In 2018, the Department provided technical support to the Isle of Wight Council to plan cycling and walking networks on the island, enabling it to adopt its first Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan covering Newport and Ryde in April 2020. In 2020, £297,600 of Active Travel funding was allocated to the Isle of Wight in two tranches. An announcement on allocations for the latest round of active travel capital funding will be made shortly.

7th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the average (a) amount and (b) proportion of the original cost estimate of overspend on major infrastructure projects.

The Department does not calculate the information requested.

Information about the Department’s projects is published annually in the Department’s Annual Report, available here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/824019/2018-2019-dft-annual-report-web.pdf.

Information can also be found in the Annual Report and Accounts of individual delivery bodies.

In addition to the Department’s own processes, financial and other relevant information about the performance of our largest projects, is published annually by the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA). The latest (2019) Annual Report can be found here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/817654/IPA_AR_MajorProjects2018-19_web.pdf

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
30th Jan 2020
What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on the adequacy of planning requirements for new housing developments in relation to (a) motorists, (b) cyclists and (c) pedestrians.

The Department works closely with MHCLG on planning policy related to transport for new housing, but we need to go further to ensure better integration at all scales.

The National Planning Policy Framework ensures sustainable transport issues are included at the beginning of housing planning and decision making and a projected £2.4bn will be invested over this parliament to support local authorities to develop ambitious Local Cycling and Walking Plans.

3rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate he has made of the number of people who will receive the second cost of living payment on the Isle of Wight.

The estimated number of benefit units eligible for the means-tested benefit cost of living payment in the Isle of Wight Westminster parliamentary constituency is 17,900.

There are an estimated 18,500 individuals who are eligible for the disability cost of living payment in the Isle of Wight constituency.

The Department for Work and Pensions has published an Impact Assessment on the Cost of Living Payments. Further information can be found here: SocSec(AdditionalPayments)IA.pdf (parliament.uk)

The pensioner cost of living payment will be delivered through the Winter Fuel Payment. The number of Winter Fuel Payments awarded in the Isle of Wight constituency in winter 2021 to 2022 was 37,903. Statistics for the Winter of 2022 to 2023 will be published in September 2023. A full breakdown of Winter Fuel statistics can be found here: Winter Fuel Payment statistics for winter 2020 to 2021 and winter 2021 to 2022 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the time taken to (a) conduct health assessments and (b) implement the results in the Employment and Support Allowance scheme.

The Shaping Future Support: The Health and Disability Green Paper explored how the benefits system can better meet the needs of claimants now and in the future by improving claimant experience of our services, enabling independent living and improving employment outcomes.

We recognise that improvements could be made to the assessment process and we plan to publish a Health and Disability White Paper later this year.

20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of universal credit claimants were categorised as self-employed in the latest period for which that data is available.

In August 2020, the number of self-employed people claiming Universal Credit and required to report self-employed income, stood at 746,000.

This represented 13.4% of all people claiming Universal Credit.

Notes:

Volumes are rounded to the nearest thousand

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate her Department has made of the number of universal credit claimants who will be subject to the minimum income floor when the relaxation ends on that threshold on 13 November 2020.

The Information requested on the minimum income floor is not available.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if her Department will publish the projected spend in NHS England's dentistry budget for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

The information requested on projected spend in NHS England’s dentistry budget for Hampshire and Isle of Wight has not yet been validated.

Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason NHS dentists are required to have an extra year of training compared to private dentists.

To practice in the National Health Service, dental graduates must complete a further one year of training on a Dental Foundation Training scheme. This helps ensure that dentists have the necessary competences and meet the necessary standards to practice in the NHS

18th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make a statement on dentistry.

In July 2022 the Department announced a package of improvements to the National Health Service dental system, detailed in ‘Our plan for patients’, many of which came into effect before the end of 2022. We know that we must go further, which is why we are again working with the sector and NHS England to consider further changes to improve the system. We will announce these changes shortly.

6th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has on prioritisation of (a) heart disease and (b) diabetes in this Parliament.

The Government announced on 24 January that it will publish a Major Conditions Strategy.

The Strategy will focus on conditions that contribute most to morbidity and mortality across the population in England: cancers; cardiovascular disease, including stroke and diabetes; chronic respiratory diseases; dementia; mental ill health; and musculoskeletal conditions.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many Covid-19 vaccinations in total have been delivered in community pharmacies in England up to 20 December 2022.

As of 20 December 2022, approximately 33 million COVID-19 vaccinations have been delivered by community pharmacies in England.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
14th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans her Department has to expand the range of services available from pharmacies on the Isle of Wight; and what assessment she has made of the potential effect of her proposals for the range of services provided by pharmacies on public healthcare provision on the Isle of Wight.

The Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework 2019-2024 sets out how community pharmacy will be integrated into the National Health Service, deliver more clinical services and provide treatment and advice for minor illnesses. Since 2019, services such as minor illness referrals from NHS 111 and general practitioners and blood pressure checks have been introduced.

In September, the Government announced the agreement with the sector for the remainder of the five-year deal including a one-off investment of £100 million. Under the agreement, we will further expand the range of clinical services offered in community pharmacy. Community pharmacists will manage and initiate contraception and provide additional support to patients newly prescribed antidepressants. Urgent emergency care settings will be able to refer patients to a community pharmacist for a minor illness consultation or an urgent medicine supply. In addition, integrated care boards or NHS England’s regional teams can commission pharmaceutical services and local authorities can commission community pharmacies to provide public health services.

14th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of her Plan for Patients on access to ambulances on the Isle of Wight.

No specific assessment has been made. However, ‘Our plan for patients’ and the National Health Service plan for winter resilience set out plans to increase capacity for winter 2022/23, including in the Isle of Wight. NHS bed capacity will be increased by the equivalent of at least 7,000 general and acute beds to reduce waiting times for admission from accident and emergency and ambulance handover delays and improve ambulance response times. This is in addition to £150 million allocated to address ambulance service pressures in 2022/23 and a £20 million investment to upgrade the ambulance fleet. ‘Our plan for patients’ also announced a £500 million Adult Social Care Discharge Fund, to safely discharge people who are ready to leave hospital and increase bed capacity.

14th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of her Plan for Patients on hospital bed capacity on the Isle of Wight.

No specific assessment has been made. However, ‘Our plan for patients’ and the National Health Service plan for winter resilience set out plans to increase capacity for winter 2022/23, including in the Isle of Wight. NHS bed capacity will be increased by the equivalent of at least 7,000 general and acute beds to reduce waiting times for admission from accident and emergency and ambulance handover delays and improve ambulance response times. This is in addition to £150 million allocated to address ambulance service pressures in 2022/23 and a £20 million investment to upgrade the ambulance fleet. ‘Our plan for patients’ also announced a £500 million Adult Social Care Discharge Fund, to safely discharge people who are ready to leave hospital and increase bed capacity.

18th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve access to NHS dental treatment in rural and isolated communities.

The Department and NHS England have recently announced improvements to the National Health Service dental system to increase access, target patients with higher oral health needs and make NHS dentistry a more attractive place to work for dentists and their teams.

This will assist regional commissioners to address the needs of NHS dental patients in rural and isolated communities through focused commissioning. It also aims to support practices to utilise members of the dental team to deliver care, particularly where there may be challenges in recruiting and retaining NHS dentists. Since July 2022, NHS England has asked practices to deliver 100% of contracted units of dental activity to safely improve access for patients, including in rural and isolated areas.

24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding for St Mary’s on the Isle of Wight and other Unavoidably Small Hospitals; and what steps he plans to take to establish a long-term strategy to adjust funding levels relative to that assessment.

NHS England is responsible for funding allocations to clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). This process is independent of the Government and the underlying allocation formula is informed by an estimation of the relative health needs of local areas, based on factors statistically associated with higher or lower need per head for NHS services. Further cost adjustments are also applied to estimate the unavoidable cost differences between health care providers, based on location. The Isle of Wight has been supported by increased CCG allocations as per these adjustments to reflect its small size and the associated unavoidable costs.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department will take to increase the supply of NHS dental places and appointments in (a) the Isle of Wight and (b) other rural and isolated communities.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are developing proposals for dental system reform, with the Department and key stakeholders. This aims to improve patient access and oral health, offer value for money for the National Health Service and be designed with the profession. Any reforms will seek to improve provision in such areas by making the NHS dental offer more attractive for dentists.

Health Education England’s Advancing Dental Care Education and Training Review programme is addressing oral health needs through changes to the workforce. This includes opportunities for flexible core and specialty training pathways to improve career progression and retention, including in rural and isolated communities. The programme will also look at the placement of postgraduate dental training places into areas of greatest need, such as rural communities. NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group and the local authority to consider how to improve dentistry provision in the Isle of Wight.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to increase support for the provision of independent pharmacies and dentists on the Isle of Wight.

The need for pharmaceutical services is assessed on a three-yearly basis by local authority Health and Wellbeing Boards. The current assessment for the Isle of Wight concluded that the number and distribution of services is adequate to provide pharmaceutical services to the population. NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group and the local authority to consider how the provision of dentistry in the Isle of Wight can be supported.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
13th Jul 2021
What steps his Department is taking to help improve​ the service provided by GP practices on the Isle of Wight.

NHS Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group is responsible for commissioning healthcare services from general practitioners and other providers and supporting them to continually improve services.

To support local commissioners to provide high quality primary care services, we committed a record level of additional investment in primary and community care of an extra £4.5 billion per year by 2023/24.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the finding by Ernst and Young in its September 2020 report, Impacts of current funding, policy and economic environment on independent pharmacy in England, that three-quarters of independent pharmacies are at risk of closure by 2024.

The data referenced in the Ernst and Young report is not publicly available and we are unable to verify its forecast. On 31 March 2020, latest published data available from the NHS Business Services Authority, there were 11,421 community pharmacies in England. This is 280 fewer pharmacies than on 31 March 2016 but 470 more than on 31 March 2011. Maintaining access to pharmaceutical services is a key priority for the Government and the Department continues to closely monitor the market.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people on the Isle of Wight are in each of the top four priority groups for covid-19 vaccination.

NHS England does not hold the information in the format requested.

21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department (a) is taking and (b) plans to take to provide greater access to NHS dental care on the Isle of Wight.

Dental practices were required to close for face to face care on 26 March 2020 due to COVID-19. Urgent care continued to be provided by practices, restricted to remote triage, advice, analgesia and antibiotics where appropriate. In April, urgent dental care (UDC) hubs were established in Cowes for patients who were at greater risk or shielding as well as Ryde for all other patients. In July a further UDC hub was established in Bembridge.

Since 8 June, practices have been able to see patients for face-to-face care. The pace of restoration of dental services is limited by public health measures on social distancing and the infection prevention control guidance. All National Health Service dental practices on the Isle of Wight are open and seeing patients who require urgent dental care which cannot be controlled by pain relief or assisted by antibiotics, those who were in a course of treatment that was not completed prior to the lockdown, and those who may be at greater risk of oral disease. Dental clinicians should identify and recall patients according to their clinical and professional judgement.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure people do not need to cross the Solent in order to access covid-19 testing.

For residents of the Isle of Wight we have established a regional testing site at Newclose Cricket Ground. The average distance travelled for tests across the country is 5.2miles and for the week 8 October to 14 October the median distance has decreased to 2.9 miles.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has had discussions with his Russian counterparts on allowing the Red Cross and UN to have access to flooded areas in the Kherson region.

The destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam has had major humanitarian consequences for Ukrainian citizens living in the vicinity and beyond. The UK's humanitarian commitment to Ukraine and the region stands at £347 million, including £16 million pledged on 10 June to help aid partners such as the Ukraine Red Cross evacuate civilians affected by the flooding. Our aid partners stand ready to respond on the left bank in Russian-held territory, but Russia has not facilitated access or provided security guarantees. Without these, they cannot safely operate. We call all parties to respect International Humanitarian Law; giving aid workers rapid, unimpeded access and allowing vulnerable communities access to vital humanitarian assistance.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential implications for his Department's policies on the charging of Jimmy Lai under the National Security Law in Hong Kong of the potential visit in April 2023 of Christopher Hui, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Hong Kong Government.

We have been clear that the deliberate targeting of journalists and businessmen such as Mr Lai under the National Security Law (NSL) is unacceptable. The Minister for the Indo-Pacific met with Mr Lai's international Legal team on 10 January and diplomats at the Consulate-General in Hong Kong will continue to attend Mr Lai's court proceedings. We have taken a number of measures in response to the situation in Hong Kong, including the bespoke immigration route for BN(O)s, the suspension of the UK-Hong Kong extradition treaty and the extension of the arms embargo applied to China to Hong Kong. We will continue to use our channels with the Hong Kong and Chinese Governments to raise our strong objection to the NSL and the erosion of rights and freedoms in Hong Kong.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary for State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of (a) seizing Russian Central Bank reserves and (b) repurposing those reserves as aid for Ukraine.

The Government is actively considering all possible options for seizing Russian linked assets in the UK that could be used to pay for reconstruction in Ukraine. While the UK is pursuing this at pace, ensuring any policy implemented is safe, robust, and compliant with the rule of law is of paramount importance.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what the Government's policy is on individuals subject to sanctions pursuing legal action in the UK courts.

The Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 (SAMLA) provides sanctioned individuals with a right to review of their designation, and designated persons are able to challenge that decision in UK courts.

5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made for the implications of her policies of the essay by President of Russia Vladimir Putin entitled On the historical unity of Russians and Ukrainians published on 12 July 2021.

The UK Government has noted and carefully considered Russia's statements on this issue, including President Putin's 2021 article. The Foreign Secretary's statement to the House of Commons on 6 January set out clearly the Government's position, our concerns about Russia's intentions and aggressive rhetoric, and our support for Ukrainian sovereignty.

We have made clear to Russia that any military incursion into Ukraine would be a strategic mistake and would have severe cost in response. Russia's military build-up on the borders of Ukraine is unprovoked and unjustified. Russia should take concrete steps to reduce tensions. Russia needs to step back, abide by its international commitments, report troop movements and return to diplomacy for serious talks. The UK will continue to respond to Russia's actions with our allies and partners.

The UK and our allies are unwavering in our support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. We are committed to ensuring the people of Ukraine are able to define their own future.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
23rd Mar 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of business rates and VAT for (a) micro businesses and (b) SMEs.

On business rates, the Government has announced a package of support worth £13.6 billion for businesses over the next five years. Together with the revaluation, this package ensures bills will more accurately reflect current market values whilst protecting businesses from large bill increases.

The Government's generous Small Business Rate Relief scheme sees over a third of properties (720,000) pay no business rates at all, with an additional 76,000 in the taper seeing their bills reduced. Combined with an updated Retail, Hospitality & Leisure (RHL) relief, 80% of RHL properties will see bills fall or stay the same at the 2023 Revaluation, protecting the UK's high street businesses.

The Government is also providing over £500 million of support over the next three years with a new Supporting Small Business scheme. This will cap bill increases to £50 per month (£600 per year) for businesses losing some or all of their Small Business or Rural Rate Relief due to the revaluation.

The Government recognises that accounting for VAT can be a burden on businesses. This is why, at £85,000, the UK has a higher VAT registration threshold than any EU Member State and the second highest in the OECD. This keeps the majority of UK businesses out of VAT altogether.

Although the Government keeps all taxes under review, there are no current plans to change the levels of VAT.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
7th Feb 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what information his Department holds on the level of Russian Central Bank reserves held in the UK; and in what form those reserves are held.

In conjunction with our partners, we have blocked access to £275 billion of the Russian Central Bank’s foreign currency reserves globally. Under the Russia sanctions regime, the Russian Central Bank’s assets have been immobilised in the UK as a result of a prohibition on the provision of financial services in respect of these assets. We continue to work with relevant stakeholders on the implementation of this sanction.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
8th Nov 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department is taking steps to ensure that funding provided by the UK Infrastructure Bank is targeted to small and medium-sized enterprises in (a) rural, (b) isolated and (c) deprived communities.

The UK Infrastructure Bank (UKIB) was launched in June 2021 and is a government-owned lending institution headquartered in Leeds.

UKIB has a mandate to tackle climate change and support regional and local economic growth across the UK by investing in economic infrastructure including clean energy, transport, digital, water and waste. As of 10th November, the UKIB has announced 10 deals worth over £1 billion covering all areas of the UK.

Within its remit, UKIB is able to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) indirectly through its financing of infrastructure projects.

Over the past two years, the Government has taken unprecedented action to protect millions of SMEs, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Government-guaranteed loans. This year we are extending the Recovery Loan Scheme until June 2024.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to help tackle inflating overhead costs for small and medium businesses in rural and isolated communities.

As the global economy recovers, many economies are experiencing high inflation, in part due to pressures from rising energy prices and disruptions to global supply chains. These global pressures are the main driver of higher inflation in the UK. We understand the pressure that higher costs place on businesses up and down the UK, and the Government’s commitment to price stability remains absolute.

We recognise the impact rising energy prices will have on businesses of all sizes. Ofgem and Government are in regular contact with business groups and suppliers to understand the challenges they face.

The government has also already provided substantial support to small and medium sized businesses through the pandemic such as business rates relief and the Recovery Loan Scheme for SMEs. Over the past two years we have taken unprecedented action to protect millions of businesses. There are over 400,000 more people on payrolls, investment is rising, and monthly business insolvencies have only recently returned to normal after sitting 25% below pre-pandemic levels since April 2020.

We are also supporting SMEs to improve their growth and productivity through our innovative Help to Grow programme. Help to Grow will support over 100k SMEs to access subsidised leadership and management training and productivity-enhancing software.

We will continue to monitor the wider situation very closely and there is extensive engagement across government on the matter.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans her Department has to designate the Wagner Group as a terrorist organisation.

Whilst the Government keeps the list of proscribed organisations under review, we do not routinely comment on whether an organisation is or is not under consideration for proscription.

The Government remains concerned about Russia's use of private military companies such as the Wagner Group. We take the provision of mercenaries and other military support to parties in conflicts such as Libya, Syria, Ukraine and elsewhere very seriously. We continue to work closely with our international partners to counter Russian malign activity and respond to actions that undermine the rules based international system.

Our package of sanctions in support of Ukraine targets those aiding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This includes the Wagner Group and on 24 March 2022 the UK designated Wagner Group under our autonomous sanctions regime.

Tom Tugendhat
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
11th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she is taking steps to classify the Wagner group as a proscribed terrorist organisation.

Whilst the Government keeps the list of proscribed organisations under review, we do not routinely comment on whether an organisation is or is not under consideration for proscription.

The Government remains concerned about Russia's use of private military companies such as the Wagner Group. We take the provision of mercenaries and other military support to parties in conflicts such as Libya, Syria, Ukraine and elsewhere very seriously. We continue to work closely with our international partners to counter Russian malign activity and respond to actions that undermine the rules based international system.

Our package of sanctions in support of Ukraine targets those aiding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This includes the Wagner Group and on 24 March 2022 the UK designated Wagner Group under our autonomous sanctions regime.

Tom Tugendhat
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
6th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to help prevent (a) petty crimes and (b) anti-social behaviour in (i) rural and (ii) isolated communities.

The Beating Crime Plan published on 27 July 2021 laid out the Government’s commitment to drive down levels of crime and anti-social behaviour.

We are giving the police the resources they need by recruiting an additional 20,000 officers by March 2023. The deployment of all officers remains an operational decision for Chief Constables.

The Government is committed to tackling all forms of anti-social behaviour (ASB) wherever it may be taking place. We provided the police, local authorities, and other local agencies with a range of tools and powers that they can flexibly use to respond quickly and effectively to ASB through the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the Home Office has domestic procurement targets for Border Patrol vessels.

The procurement for the new fleet of Border Force vessels has yet to be launched and as such decisions on issues such as that raised have yet to be made.

We can confirm however that the procurement will, consistent with the National Shipbuilding Strategy currently being refreshed, provide opportunities for UK suppliers to bid for contracts and ensure that best value for money is obtained.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
7th Jun 2021
What steps she is taking with Cabinet colleagues to ensure that British shipyards can compete in procurement processes for UK Border Force vessels.

Earlier this year, the Secretary of State for Defence announced a refresh of the National Shipbuilding Strategy. This will outline the Government’s plans for shipbuilding programmes and how it intends to set the conditions for a globally successful, innovative and sustainable national shipbuilding enterprise.

Naturally, the Home Office and specifically Border Force is fully engaged with the strategy refresh as part of its programme to renew our maritime capabilities.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
20th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps the Navy is taking to work with Joint Expeditionary Force partners and NATO to protect critical underwater cables and pipelines.

The Royal Navy routinely coordinate operations with Joint Expeditionary Force and NATO partners, recognising our shared interests in critical infrastructure and its protection.

The Government regards subsea cables and pipelines as critical to our national and international infrastructure and therefore monitors a variety of risks they face. Moreover, subsea internet cables are specifically considered within the UK's National Risk Assessment. Detailing security arrangements made to protect such cables and pipelines from sabotage would be likely to prejudice the purpose of safeguarding their security, and with it, national security.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of the refreshed National Shipbuilding Strategy on Isle of Wight-based shipbuilders.

The National Shipbuilding Strategy Refresh includes a package of measures to encourage UK exports, commercialise green technology, and improve skills shortages. It also includes support to increase UK shipyards productivity and competitiveness. The National Shipbuilding Office, which is closely engaged with the shipbuilding enterprise on the Isle of Wight, has a clear focus on supporting UK shipyards and related businesses.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the effect on the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing relationship of the risks associated with Huawei in the Government's proposed 5G solution.

I refer the hon. Member to the Written Ministerial Statement about the Government's proposed 5G solution, and the risks associated with high risk vendors, which was laid before the House of Lords by my noble. Friend Baroness Morgan of Cotes (Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) on 28 January 2020 (HLWS66). This stated that "Nothing in the Review's conclusions affects this country's ability to share highly sensitive intelligence data over highly secure networks, both within the U.K. and with our partners, including the Five Eyes"

Huawei will be excluded from those parts of the 5G and full fibre networks that are critical to national security. Even then the market share will be capped at 35 per cent.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what progress he has made on establishing an Islands Forum; when that forum will become the responsibility of specific Ministers; which Ministers will be responsible for that forum; and when he expects that forum will start playing a role in levelling up UK islands.

The Secretary of State for the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities is responsible for the Islands Forum. Since the Forum was announced in the Levelling Up White Paper, UK Government officials have been working with local councils to identify the appropriate leaders from island communities to be involved in the Forum. The Secretary of State will be setting out further details about the Forum soon.

22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, which Minister in his Department will be responsible for the Islands Forum scheme.

The Secretary of State for the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities will be responsible for the Islands Forum. The Forum will provide a regular means of engagement with island communities across the UK and provide the UK Government with the opportunity to better understand the unique challenges faced, as well as create space to discuss potential resolutions and shared opportunities.

5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that brownfield development is prioritised ahead of greenfield developments.

This Government strongly encourages the re-use of suitable brownfield land – especially for development to meet housing need and regenerate our high streets and town centres. We have introduced a number of planning reforms to support our brownfield approach including uplifting local housing need by 35% in the top 20 most populated cities and urban centres, successfully requiring every local authority to publish a register of local brownfield land suitable for housing in their area, introducing “Permission in Principle” to speed housing-led development on land included in brownfield registers and revising Permitted Development and Use Class rules so yet more homes can be created. Brownfield sites vary greatly, and we recognise that local authorities are best placed to assess the suitability of each for redevelopment.

We are also providing significant financial support for the take-up and completion of brownfield redevelopment. This includes through the £4.3 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund; the £4.95 billion Home Building Fund; the £400 million Brownfield Housing Fund and the £75 million Brownfield Land Release Fund. The Chancellor announced at the Autumn Budget and Spending Review a further £300 million of locally-led grant funding that will be distributed to Mayoral Combined Authorities and local authorities to unlock smaller brownfield sites for housing and improve communities in line with their priorities.

5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what progress he has made on delivering levelling up outcomes in (a) the Isle of Wight and (b) other isolated communities.

The UK Government is committed to levelling up areas across the UK to ensure that no community, however isolated, is left behind.

I am delighted that the Isle of Wight Council has recently been awarded £5.8 million from the Levelling Up Fund in round one for East Cowes Marine Hub. Details of other successful bids can be found at www.gov.uk/government/publications/levelling-up-fund-first-round-successful-bidders.

This is not the only way we will level up. The forthcoming Levelling Up White Paper will contain further detail on our policies, including driving further devolution through County Deals, future rounds of the Levelling Up Fund, and The UK Shared Prosperity Fund. That fund, worth over £2.6 billion, is one of the government's flagship programmes for delivering on Levelling Up objectives and will help people access opportunity in places in need, such as ex-industrial areas, deprived towns and rural and coastal communities, and people in disadvantaged groups across the UK.

25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to close loopholes in legislation that allow developers to destroy areas classed as Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

The National Planning Policy Framework is clear that development on land within or outside a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and which is likely to have an adverse effect on it should not normally be permitted. The only exception is where the benefits of the development in the location proposed clearly outweigh both its likely impact on the features of the site that make it of special scientific interest, and any broader impacts on the national network of Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

18th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals to implement reforms on the planning system outlined in the Planning for the Future consultation, updated on 6 August 2020.

The proposals are out for consultation until 29 October 2020. Following consideration of the consultation responses received, the Government will publish a response in due course. The response will set out any decisions and any associated proposed implementation.

18th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will ensure that potential implementation of proposal 4 of the consultation Planning for the Future, updated on 6 August 2020, on a standard method of establishing housing requirement, will be subject to approval by the House.

The proposals are out for consultation until 29 October 2020. Following consideration of the consultation responses received, the Government will publish a response in due course. The response will set out any decisions and any associated proposed implementation.

18th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will ensure that temporary changes to the standard method for assessing local housing need proposed in the consultation Planning for the Future, updated on 6 August 2020, will be subject to approval by the House.

The proposals are out for consultation until 29 October 2020. Following consideration of the consultation responses received, the Government will publish a response in due course. The response will set out any decisions and any associated proposed implementation.

6th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what his timetable is for introducing legislative proposals on Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.

I refer to my answer to the Hon. Member for Croydon North on 7 September, the Government is currently considering options in relation to SLAPPs.

6th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what advice his Department provides to journalists subject to Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.

The Government is currently developing reforms regarding the challenges which Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) present to journalists and others involved in freedom of expression relating to the public interest. Our recent Call for Evidence on SLAPPs consulted media professionals and journalists, inviting their views and experiences to inform our legislative reforms.

20th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what progress he has made on decisions on the future of the Camp Hill prison site.

There are no plans to reopen the Camp Hill prison site.

The prison estate is kept under careful review to ensure there is sufficient capacity. Decisions on the future size of the prison estate will reflect the current and projected prison population, including an assessment of the necessary margin to manage population fluctuations.

We are investing £3.8bn to deliver 20,000 additional, modern prison places, including up to 2,000 temporary prison places across England and Wales by the mid-2020s.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what his policy is on international libel litigation in the UK courts; and what steps he is taking to help ensure freedom of speech in the justice system.

The Government believes that the right to speak freely and debate issues without fear of censure is a vital part of a democratic society, and that libel proceedings should not be used to impede and frustrate that debate.

The reforms we introduced in the Defamation Act 2013 have helped to rebalance the law to offer more effective protection for freedom of speech. In particular, by tightening the test to be applied by the courts in relation to libel actions brought against people who are not domiciled in the UK.

James Cartlidge
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)