Richard Thomson Portrait

Richard Thomson

Scottish National Party - Gordon

First elected: 12th December 2019

Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Northern Ireland)

(since February 2021)

Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Wales)

(since February 2021)

Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Trade)

(since December 2022)

Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Business)

(since March 2023)

3 APPG memberships (as of 8 Apr 2024)
Czechia, Folk Arts, Hydrogen
7 Former APPG memberships
Business Travel, Cleaning and Hygiene, Estonia, Management, Norway, Pensions, State Pension Inequality for Women
Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill
7th Jun 2023 - 11th Jul 2023
Committee of Selection
25th May 2021 - 16th Jan 2023
European Statutory Instruments Committee
25th May 2021 - 16th Jan 2023
Statutory Instruments (Joint Committee)
25th May 2021 - 16th Jan 2023
Statutory Instruments (Select Committee)
25th May 2021 - 16th Jan 2023
Shadow SNP Deputy Spokesperson (Treasury - Financial Secretary)
1st Feb 2021 - 12th Dec 2022
Finance (No.2) Bill
8th Dec 2021 - 11th Jan 2022
National Insurance Contributions Bill
16th Jun 2021 - 22nd Jun 2021
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Business and Industry)
7th Jan 2020 - 1st Feb 2021


Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Richard Thomson has voted in 671 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Richard Thomson Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Lindsay Hoyle (Speaker)
(40 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
(25 debate interactions)
Brandon Lewis (Conservative)
(24 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
HM Treasury
(117 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(76 debate contributions)
Department for Business and Trade
(53 debate contributions)
Northern Ireland Office
(48 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Finance Act 2022
(5,820 words contributed)
Northern Ireland Protocol Bill 2022-23
(4,611 words contributed)
Pension Schemes Act 2021
(4,393 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Richard Thomson's debates

Gordon Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

Petition Debates Contributed

After owning nurseries for 29 years I have never experienced such damaging times for the sector with rising costs not being met by the funding rates available. Business Rates are a large drain on the sector and can mean the difference between nurseries being able to stay open and having to close.

For the UK government to provide economic assistance to businesses and staff employed in the events industry, who are suffering unforeseen financial challenges that could have a profound effect on hundreds of thousands of people employed in the sector.

If nurseries are shut down in view of Covid-19, the Government should set up an emergency fund to ensure their survival and ensure that parents are not charged the full fee by the nurseries to keep children's places.

The prospect of widespread cancellations of concerts, theatre productions and exhibitions due to COVID-19 threatens to cause huge financial hardship for Britain's creative community. We ask Parliament to provide a package of emergency financial and practical support during this unpredictable time.

As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak there are travel bans imposed by many countries, there is a disastrous potential impact on our Aviation Industry. Without the Government’s help there could be an unprecedented crisis, with thousands of jobs under threat.

The cash grants proposed by Government are only for businesses in receipt of the Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Relief, or for particular sectors. Many small businesses fall outside these reliefs desperately need cash grants and support now.

To extend the business rate relief to all dental practices and medical and aesthetics clinics and any small business that’s in healthcare

Zoos, aquariums, and similar organisations across the country carry out all sorts of conservation work, animal rescue, and public education. At the start of the season most rely on visitors (who now won't come) to cover annual costs, yet those costs do not stop while they are closed. They need help.

As we pass the COVID-19 Peak, the Government should: State where the Theatres and Arts fit in the Coronavrius recovery Roadmap, Create a tailor made financial support mechanism for the Arts sector & Clarify how Social Distancing will affect arts spaces like Theatres and Concert Venues.


Latest EDMs signed by Richard Thomson

18th April 2024
Richard Thomson signed this EDM as a sponsor on Friday 19th April 2024

New Practice turns five years old

Tabled by: Alison Thewliss (Scottish National Party - Glasgow Central)
That this House recognises the fifth anniversary of New Practice, an award-winning women and LGBTQ+-led architectural practice based between Glasgow and London, on 9 May 2024; notes that in these five years, New Practice has played a vital role in improving the lived environment of both cities and many places …
5 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Apr 2024)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 5
18th April 2024
Richard Thomson signed this EDM on Friday 19th April 2024

RBS branch closures

Tabled by: Deidre Brock (Scottish National Party - Edinburgh North and Leith)
That this House recognises the importance of maintaining bank branch services; regrets the latest closures announced by the Natwest banking group, which operates Royal Bank of Scotland, and the decision to close 18 of its 86 RBS branches across Scotland, with three branches in Edinburgh set to close including Leith, …
16 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Apr 2024)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 15
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
View All Richard Thomson's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Richard Thomson, 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.


Richard Thomson has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Richard Thomson has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Richard Thomson


A Bill to apply electrical safety regulations to goods advertised for sale on online marketplaces; to require online marketplaces to remove electrical products from their websites within 24 hours of them being reported as unsafe; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Wednesday 10th March 2021

Latest 50 Written Questions

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
2 Other Department Questions
25th May 2023
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will make an assessment of the implications for her policies of trends in poverty levels for women under 25.

This government believes work is the best way to help people, including young women, to improve their financial circumstances.

With over a million vacancies across the United Kingdom, our focus is firmly on supporting people to move into and to progress in work.

Specialist employment support for young people under 25 is available through our national network of JCPs.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Apr 2023
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what plans she has to ban sexual orientation and gender identity conversion practices.

Whilst some forms of conversion practice already constitute a criminal offence, the Government will publish a draft Bill setting out our approach to banning those conversion practices which are still legal. This will include those acts targeted on the basis of being transgender. This will go for pre-legislative scrutiny by a joint committee. It is the Government's intention to complete pre-legislative scrutiny in the current parliamentary session.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to his oral contribution of 27 February 2020, Official Report, column 467, what (a) vetting and (b) authorisation is required for people employed on a contractor basis as a special adviser.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given to PQs 18593, 18594, 18595, 18596, 18597 on 2 March 2020.

21st Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether she has made a recent assessment of the potential impact of the investor-state dispute settlement within CPTPP on the water utilities sector.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership investment chapter includes investment protections that are backed by a modern and transparent investor-state dispute settlement mechanism. These provisions play an important role in protecting UK investors abroad and levelling the playing field. The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership also protects states’ right to regulate proportionately, fairly and in the public interest, including in relation to the UK’s water industry.

The UK already has investment agreements containing investment protections and Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions with over 90 trading partners and there has never been a successful Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions claim brought against the UK.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
21st Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what recent assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the letter from civil society organisations to the Prime Minister entitled, excluding investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) as a condition of UK accession to the CPTPP, published 23 October 2023; and if she will take steps to negotiate a side-letter with the CPTPP that removes access to ISDS provisions for UK investors.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership is a comprehensive agreement that provides investors with investor protection provisions that seek to guarantee the treatment they can expect to receive when accessing and operating in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership markets.

The agreement contains a modern, transparent investor-state dispute settlement mechanism for investors to seek independent legal redress should they not receive this treatment.

These provisions play an important role in protecting UK investors abroad and levelling the playing field. At the same time, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership protects states’ right to regulate proportionately, fairly and in the public interest.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
21st Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 7 November 2023 to Question 218 on Audit: Reform, what estimate she has made of the potential cost to the public purse of her Department's work on legislative proposals on reform of audit and corporate governance since the publication of the Restoring trust in audit and corporate governance white paper, CP382.

The Department does not have an estimate of the cost of the Department’s work on reform of audit and corporate governance. Information on internal costs is not broken down in this way.

Kevin Hollinrake
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
21st Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what is her Department's planned timescale on introducing the draft Audit Reform Bill.

The Government has not set out a timescale for introducing legislation relating to audit reform. The Government is committed to legislating when Parliamentary time allows.

Kevin Hollinrake
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
19th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether her Department has held discussions with the devolved Administrations on trade negotiations with the US; and whether she plans to include the devolved Administrations in future negotiations.

As set out in my letter to Devolved Administrations on 15 June, the UK and U.S. are expanding the work we do together across the full spectrum of our economic, technological, commercial and trade relations through the Atlantic Declaration. Discussions with the U.S. on next steps under this first-of-its-kind agreement are ongoing.

The UK Government and the Devolved Administrations have recently adopted a wider and deeper approach to close collaboration on trade policy. As part of this, the Department for Business and Trade continues to engage regularly with the Devolved Administrations on the Atlantic Declaration and wider U.S. trade policy.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what proportion of officials in her Department who are graded as senior civil servant two (SCS2) and on full-time equivalent contracts are women.

Of the Department for Business and Trade staff who are graded as Senior Civil Servant 2, 31% are women on full time contracts.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of having flat-rate customs charges on each item arriving from the EU on SMEs.

The Department for Business and Trade, along with Cabinet Office, HMT and HMRC, continue to keep UK customs trends regarding SMEs importing from the EU under review. For example, as outlined in the Border Target Operating Model, published August 2023, HM Government is engaged in public consultation on its proposed methodology and rates regarding charging levels and continues to work closely with the Devolved Governments on charging policy.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, with reference to the oral answer given by the Minister of State for Business and Trade of Tuesday 18 July 2023, Official Report, column 779, what the evidential basis is for the estimate that that in the long run at least £2 billion a year will be added to the economy as a result of membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The analysis brings together robust evidence from across Government using a range of data and analytical tools including data on historic sectoral trading patterns, future trends from the Global Trade Outlook and factors in economy wide impacts to estimate the potential impacts.

The methodology underlying our analysis is also published in full. This impact assessment has been independently scrutinised by the Regulatory Policy Committee, an independent body.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether she plans to hold discussions with her European Union counterparts on cooperation between the EU and the UK for critical raw mineral supply chains under the European Critical Raw Materials Act.

The EU’s Critical Raw Materials Act is seeking to increase the diversity, resilience and sustainability of critical minerals supply chains, in line with the aims of the UK’s own Critical Minerals Strategy published last year. We are assessing the implications of the Critical Raw Materials Act to ensure UK businesses are not disadvantaged. The UK has strong industrial capabilities and deep expertise in critical minerals and mining, and is a global centre of mining finance. We are working with the EU and likeminded partners on our common goals, for example through the Minerals Security Partnership, International Energy Agency and G7.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
11th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether her Department uses automated decision making.

The Department uses a range of tools to aid decision making to generate insight from large and complex data. All decisions are made by officials and Ministers.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, if she will make an assessment of the potential contribution of a think small first policy to achieving the target of exporting over a trillion pounds of goods and services annually by 2030.

As set out in the Export Strategy the Department for Business and Trade (DBT) is working in partnership with UK exporters to reach a trillion pounds of UK exports annually by 2030, with UK exports reaching £843bn in March this year. As part of this, DBT utilises company-level data to segment and tailor its support based on where a business is at on their export journey. This includes our self-serve digital offer and the Export Academy, which provides training and guidance to ensure businesses across the UK, especially SMEs, have the capability and knowledge to prosper in international markets.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what recent discussions she has had with the Federation of Small Business about the role of small firms in increasing exports.

Small and medium sized business are the backbone of our economy and central to achieving our ambition to reach £1 trillion in exports annually by 2030, which is why they are the focus of the Department for Business and Trade and UK government support. The Federation of Small Business is an important champion of small businesses and the Secretary of State values DBT’s regular engagement with this key stakeholder at ministerial and official level. The Secretary of State met the FSB along with other leading business representative organisations on 13 March with another meeting planned for April.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps she is taking to ensure that her Department's export support team has the resources it requires to assist small businesses.

As set out in the Export Strategy, the Export Support Service (ESS) is integral to how we support Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). Ensuring that it is adequately funded and resourced is our priority. The Department for Business and Trade is planning to spend over £200 million, over the Spending Review period, to support SMEs.

The ESS provides a range of support and guidance to help SMEs with on-the-ground experts across the globe and, together with our innovative Export Academy, we are ensuring businesses have the knowledge to thrive in international markets.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether she plans to appoint a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exports.

Lord Offord of Garvel was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department of Business and Trade on 24 April 2023.

Ministerial responsibilities can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-business-and-trade.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether she has had discussions with (a) colleagues in the Department for Work and Pensions and (b) negotiators on the UK-Canada Free Trade Deal on any clauses that would end the freeze on State Pension payments to UK pensioners residing in Canada.

The Department for Business and Trade and Department for Work and Pensions agree that social security arrangements are not a trade issue. Therefore, the UK will not be seeking any clauses to end the freeze on State Pension payments to UK pensioners residing in Canada in the UK-Canada Free Trade Agreement.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given to him by the Minister for Pensions on 10 February 2023, UIN:141589 about HMG’s social security relationship with Canada.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, if she will make an assessment of the potential impact of the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill on provisions in the UK–Japan free trade agreement on the obligations arising from International Labour Organisation membership.

The UK signed the UK–Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) on 23 October 2020. The Government is committed to upholding labour commitments in the CEPA.

We are committed to enhancing labour standards globally, for example by leading the way in negotiating the ILO Violence and Harassment Convention. We were the third country in Europe to ratify the convention in March 2022.

We are confident that the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill is compatible with our international obligations. Many member states of the ILO have minimum service levels covering a range of key services.

Kevin Hollinrake
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
19th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what proportion of gas used in the UK is domestically produced; if he will provide a breakdown of non-domestically produced gas used in the UK; and what steps she is taking to help reduce reliance on imported gas products.

Indigenous production of gas has been equivalent to around half of UK demand for over a decade (DUKES Chapter 4). Gas imports by origin are published in Energy Trends table 4.4.

The UK has a secure and diverse energy system and does not rely on any one source of supply. The Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill is designed to give industry certainty as to the future of licensing rounds, which will enhance the UK’s energy security and reduce its reliance on imported gas.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
19th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps she is taking to encourage (a) investment in and (b) development of the connection between onshore oil and gas and carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) technologies.

The skills and investment of the oil and gas sector will drive our energy transition.

A government-funded report looking at the CCUS supply chain found that oil and gas supply chain companies are in prime position to win work in carbon capture and storage.

Government is also making it easier for workers to move between different energy sectors, ensuring that their skills can be tapped into to support the transition.

The Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill introduced last year will support ongoing investment, protect the 200,000 jobs supported by oil and gas, and support the wider energy transition including CCUS development.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
19th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps she is taking to encourage (a) investment in and (b) development of the connection between offshore oil and gas and carbon capture, usage and storage technologies.

The skills and investment of the oil and gas sector will drive our energy transition.

A government-funded report looking at the CCUS supply chain found that oil and gas supply chain companies are in prime position to win work in carbon capture and storage.

Government is also making it easier for workers to move between different energy sectors, ensuring that their skills can be tapped into to support the transition.

The Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill introduced last year will support ongoing investment, protect the 200,000 jobs supported by oil and gas, and support the wider energy transition including CCUS development.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
19th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the time taken by the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning to deliver permits for energy production projects.

The UK has a comprehensive legal framework for development proposals for offshore oil and gas fields under existing licences. All activities that may impact the environment are subject to rigorous assessment as part of the environmental application process.

Regulatory decisions by the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning are made within the timeline set out in the relevant regulations. For new developments, the time taken to reach a decision depends on the complexity and nature of the project. The time taken to reach those decisions are regularly monitored and reviewed as necessary.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment his Department has made of the benefits of support for green hydrogen production.

Low carbon hydrogen will be a source of clean energy which the Government can produce domestically using British skills, experience and natural resources. The British Energy Security Strategy sets out the Government's ambition for 10GW of hydrogen by 2030, of which at least half will be electrolytic, and to have up to 1GW of electrolytic hydrogen in construction or operation by 2025.

Government analysis suggests that by 2030 the hydrogen sector could support over 12,000 jobs, unlocking over £11 billion in private investment.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps he is taking to support the application of green hydrogen in Scotland.

The British Energy Security Strategy set out the Government's ambition to support up to 1GW of electrolytic hydrogen to be in construction or operational by 2025 across the UK. The first hydrogen allocation round is underway and the Government announced a shortlist of 20 electrolytic hydrogen projects in March 2023, including five projects based in Scotland, to enter the next phase of due diligence and negotiations. A second hydrogen allocation round is due to be launched before the end of 2023. In addition, four Scottish projects were also awarded funding through Strands 1 & 2 of the Net Zero Hydrogen Fund.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
6th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, when he plans to publish the Track-2 timeline for the Carbon Capture Usage and Storage sequencing programme.

The Government has been developing the process for Track 2 and will set out details in the spring.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
6th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of the time taken to implement the Track-2 process of carbon capture, utilisation and storage on carbon dioxide capture targets.

The Government has been developing the process for Track 2 ensuring experience and knowledge gained from Track 1 is embedded.

Track 2 will ensure that the UK deploys four clusters by 2030 at the latest in order to meet the ambition to capture and store this 20-30Mtpa.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
9th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether his Department plans to commence a withdrawal from the Energy Charter Treaty in the event that the modernisation package negotiated in 2022 is not approved; and if he will make a statement.

The UK has been a strong advocate for ECT modernisation. At the Energy Charter Conference on 22 November, the decision to adopt the modernised Treaty was postponed. The UK has been closely monitoring the situation surrounding the Energy Charter Treaty’s modernisation process, including the positions taken by other Contracting Parties.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
9th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, when he plans to announce the outcome of the Hydrogen Business Model and Net Zero Hydrogen Fund: Electrolytic Allocation Round 2022.

The first electrolytic hydrogen allocation round will offer support from the Net Zero Hydrogen Fund (capital funding) and the Hydrogen Production Business Model (revenue support). Applications closed in October 2022 and the Government hopes to announce a project shortlist in Q1 this year. Following due diligence and negotiations, the Government will award contracts to successful projects later this year.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
13th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to respond to the e-mails from the hon. Member for Gordon of 13 September, 14 October and 2 December 2022 on potentially vulnerable customers and energy contracts.

My Hon. Friend, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Enterprise, Markets and Small Business, wrote to the Hon. Member on 13 January 2023 about vulnerable customers and energy contracts.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps with Ofgem to introduce an obligation on energy suppliers to disclose to customers prominently in communications on (a) the sale of new tariffs and (b) other issues whether their credit balances are (a) ringfenced and protected or (b) being used as working capital.

Ofgem licence conditions require energy suppliers to provide information, services or tools to enable customers to compare their tariffs easily.

Domestic customers’ credit balances are protected in all instances. Customers can claim unused credit at any time and their energy supplier must refund them promptly unless they have reasonable grounds not to. Ofgem has also been taking steps to ensure that customer credit balances are kept at an appropriate level. Further, Ofgem is currently considering proposals which would allow them to direct suppliers in financial difficulties to ringfence domestic customer credit balances, reducing costs which are mutualised were a supplier to fail.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his policy is on the use of energy customer credit balances as working capital by energy suppliers.

On 25 November 2022, Ofgem set out a package of reforms to bolster consumer protection and ensure energy suppliers are more resilient to market shocks. Ringfencing customer credit balances would require suppliers to raise significant additional capital, increasing costs for consumers. However, Ofgem will be setting a monitoring threshold to avoid suppliers overly relying on customer credit balances.

The proposals also include the introduction of capital adequacy requirements for suppliers and require that suppliers ringfence Renewable Obligation receipts, to prevent these costs being socialised across the consumer base in cases of supplier failure.

Further details are available at: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications/ofgem-launches-new-proposals-strengthen-energy-market-and-protect-consumers.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps with Ofgem to introduce minimum capital requirements on energy suppliers before 2025.

This is a matter for Ofgem, which is currently consulting on proposals for setting a minimum capital requirement for all domestic suppliers.

The consultation can be found at: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications/statutory-consultation-strengthening-financial-resilience.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to extend the Market Stabilisation Charge beyond March 2024.

This is a matter for Ofgem.

Ofgem published a statutory consultation on 25 November on the market stabilisation charge, which closed on the 23 December. Ofgem will publish their decision in early February 2023.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many energy suppliers have been investigated by Ofgem under its financial responsibility principle to protect customers against mutualisation of costs in the event of failure.

Individual investigations are a matter for Ofgem, the independent regulator, and that information is not shared with BEIS. On the mutualisation of costs specifically, Ofgem’s recent proposals target surplus balances to reduce the amount at risk of mutualisation. Their proposals also allow suppliers to continue to collect credit balances where these are required to help smooth customer payments evenly throughout the year.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps (a) his Department and (b) Ofgem have taken to mitigate the future risk of mutualisation of the cost of customer credit balances in the event of supplier failure.

On 15 December 2021, Ofgem announced an Action Plan to develop a package of measures to boost financial resilience in the energy retail market. Since then, they have taken several immediate actions to improve financial resilience.

On mutualisation of the cost of customer credit balances specifically, Ofgem’s proposals target surplus balances, reducing the amount at risk of mutualisation, while allowing suppliers to continue to collect credit balances where these are required to help even out customer payments throughout the year.

More detail on steps being taken is available in their 14 April 2022 Open Letter to domestic energy suppliers which can be found here: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications/open-letter-domestic-energy-suppliers-financial-resilience.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of the cost to the public purse of covering credit balances as a result of supplier failures over the last twelve months for which figures are available.

Ofgem determines the costs that a receiving supplier can recover, including the cost of honouring credit balances that customers had with the insolvent supplier. The costs are paid via a levy on all suppliers, which they will reflect in their pricing and which Ofgem will take account of it in calculating the price cap. The cost is not met from exchequer funds.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether any of the energy suppliers who exited the market over the last twelve months had protected customer credit balances.

Ofgem’s powers provide a safety net when suppliers fail, ensuring customers are seamlessly transferred to a new energy supplier.

Any customers going through Supplier of Last Resort process will not go off supply and in every case will have their credit balances protected.

Suppliers are not currently required by Ofgem to ring-fence customer credit balances, but Ofgem has consulted on implementing a ring-fencing obligation.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what analysis (a) his Department and (b) Ofgem have made of the extent to which energy suppliers who exited the market over the last twelve months were using customer credit balances to support unsustainable tariffs.

On 14 April Ofgem published an open letter outlining proposals to further tighten protections against the financial instability of suppliers, including preventing the use of customer credit balances as working capital. Ofgem plans to conduct a statutory consultation on ringfencing customer credit balances later in the spring of this year. They also plan a consultation on policy options related to capital adequacy.

In the event of a supplier insolvency, customers are transferred to another supplier appointed by Ofgem and domestic customers have their credit balances protected.  Customers can ask their supplier to refund a credit balance at any time. Suppliers must do so promptly unless they have reasonable grounds not to.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, on what date Ofgem first consulted on protecting credit balances as part of its supplier licencing review; and what estimate he has made of the value of credit balances subsequently mutualised as a result of supplier failures since that date.

Ofgem first consulted on protecting customer credit balances in October 2019 (https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications/supplier-licensing-review-ongoing-requirements-and-exit-arrangements).

The Department has not estimated the value of customer credit balances that have been mutualised. Ofgem approves claims for the recovery of the costs under the Supplier of Last Resort levy.

On 14 April 2022 Ofgem published an open letter outlining proposals to further tighten protections against the financial instability of suppliers, including preventing the use of customer credit balances as working capital.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to require energy suppliers to protect customer credit balances.

On 14th April, Ofgem published an open letter outlining proposals to further tighten protections from any financial instability of suppliers, including preventing the use of customer credit balances as working capital. Ofgem plans to conduct a statutory consultation on ringfencing customer credit balances later in the spring of this year. They also plan a consultation on policy options related to capital adequacy.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of extending (a) support the Acorn Project in northeast Scotland and (b) other carbon capture usage and storage projects.

The Acorn Project is the reserve cluster in Track-1 of the Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage Cluster Sequencing process. The Government has continued to engage with the cluster to help it continue its development and planning, and has allocated the project more than £40m in development funding in recent years.

The Government intends to bring forward a process to facilitate the deployment of additional ‘Track-2’ clusters.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to publish the Buildings and Heat Strategy.

The Heat and Buildings Strategy was published on 19th October.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has held with the Scottish Government on developing export opportunities from the deployment of carbon capture, utilisation and storage in the UK.

Ministers and officials from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy hold regular meetings with counterparts in the devolved administrations to discuss energy and decarbonisation policy, including the significant opportunities presented by the deployment of carbon capture, utilisation and storage across the UK.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what training or other support his Department is making available to workers in the oil and gas sector to assist them to transition to roles in the hydrogen sector.

The North Sea Transition Deal recognises that the upstream oil and gas workforce has the transferrable skills needed to support the energy transition, including the development of a hydrogen economy. The Deal supports the work of the Energy Skills Alliance, which aims to prepare the energy industry to meet the future demand for skills in new technologies. The Deal also contains a commitment for OPITO, the sector skills body, to develop an integrated people and skills plan with measurable objectives, by March 2022, to support the sector’s diversification. The Government Net Zero Strategy, recently published, further commits to reform the skills system, so that training providers, employers and learners are incentivised and equipped to help deliver our net zero aims.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has held with the Scottish Government on the delivery of the target of 50 per cent local UK content in the North Sea Transition Deal published by his Department in March 2021.

Through the landmark North Sea Transition Deal, the sector committed to voluntary, industry-led UK content targets for related new energy projects and decommissioning as well as for locally provided technology. The sector is considering how it will meet these targets and this month has appointed an Industry Supply Chain Champion, Sian Lloyd-Rees, to raise the profile of the UK’s energy supply chain capability. BEIS regularly engages with the Scottish Government alongside industry and regulators through the Deal Delivery Group and North Sea Transition Forum to discuss all aspects of the delivery of the Deal. The Oil and Gas Authority, as the independent regulator, will monitor the voluntary supply chain targets utilising existing tools such as their Supply Chain Action Plans.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of jobs that will be (a) created and (b) supported in (i) Scotland and (ii) the UK as a result of the development of blue hydrogen.

As set out in the UK Hydrogen Strategy, published in August 2021, current evidence suggests the UK hydrogen economy could support over 9,000 jobs by 2030 – and up to 100,000 jobs by 2050. Estimates, including those related to specific locations and production types, will improve over time as the project pipeline for both CCUS-enabled and electrolytic hydrogen develops. The UK wide Hydrogen Strategy is clear that the Government expect, to see support economic benefits across the Union and the industrial heartlands.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)