Zarah Sultana Portrait

Zarah Sultana

Labour - Coventry South

First elected: 12th December 2019


Science and Technology Committee
2nd Mar 2020 - 29th Nov 2022
Science, Innovation and Technology Committee
2nd Mar 2020 - 29th Nov 2022
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee
21st Sep 2020 - 22nd Feb 2021
Business and Trade Committee
21st Sep 2020 - 22nd Feb 2021


Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Zarah Sultana has voted in 762 divisions, and 4 times against the majority of their Party.

25 Mar 2021 - Coronavirus - View Vote Context
Zarah Sultana voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 21 Labour No votes vs 176 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 484 Noes - 76
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Zarah Sultana voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 22 Labour No votes vs 124 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 385 Noes - 100
10 Jan 2022 - Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill - View Vote Context
Zarah Sultana voted No - against a party majority - in line with the party majority and against the House
One of 6 Labour No votes vs 148 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 458 Noes - 53
12 Sep 2023 - Dangerous Drugs - View Vote Context
Zarah Sultana voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 3 Labour No votes vs 130 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 404 Noes - 36
View All Zarah Sultana 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
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
(20 debate interactions)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
(18 debate interactions)
Rishi Sunak (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(15 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
HM Treasury
(39 debate contributions)
Home Office
(27 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(26 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Zarah Sultana's debates

Coventry South 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

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

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

Bring in a law which enforces professional football clubs to have at least 51% fan ownership similar to how the Bundesliga operates this rule.

The Government should use the recently established fan led review of football to introduce an Independent Football Regulator in England to put fans back at the heart of our national game. This should happen by December 2021.

I would like the government to review and increase the pay for healthcare workers to recognise the work that they do.

To revoke the Immigration Health Surcharge increases for overseas NHS staff. The latest budget shows an increase of £220 a year for an overseas worker to live and work in the UK, at a time when the NHS, and UK economy, relies heavily on them.

We would like the government to support and regard social care: financially, publicly and systematically on an equal par as NHS. We would like parliament to debate how to support social care during COVID-19 and beyond so that it automatically has the same access to operational and financial support.

Give NHS workers who are EU and other Nationals automatic UK citizenship if they stay and risk their own lives looking after the British people during the COVID crisis.

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 Zarah Sultana

25th March 2024
Zarah Sultana signed this EDM on Monday 22nd April 2024

The Big Plastic Count

Tabled by: Ben Lake (Plaid Cymru - Ceredigion)
That this House congratulates the thousands of schools, households, community groups and businesses that came together to mark the Big Plastic Count between 11 and 17 March; acknowledges that this annual citizen science investigation provides a unique snapshot of the scale of the UK’s plastic crisis; notes that the study …
15 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Apr 2024)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 5
Labour: 4
Plaid Cymru: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Independent: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
22nd April 2024
Zarah Sultana signed this EDM on Monday 22nd April 2024

Civil Service Pay

Tabled by: Chris Stephens (Scottish National Party - Glasgow South West)
That this House notes that civil service pay has been eroded over the past 40 years, which has seen wages fall from above the national average to below average; regrets that, despite this, the Government did not ring-fence funding for a pay rise for civil servants in the recent Budget; …
23 signatures
(Most recent: 23 Apr 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 17
Plaid Cymru: 3
Scottish National Party: 1
Independent: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
View All Zarah Sultana's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Zarah Sultana, 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.


Zarah Sultana has not been granted any Urgent Questions

2 Adjournment Debates led by Zarah Sultana

Thursday 13th February 2020

2 Bills introduced by Zarah Sultana


A Bill to extend eligibility for free school meals to all children in state primary schools; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 15th September 2023

A Bill to make provision for an inquiry into the end use of arms sold to foreign states to determine whether they have been used in violation of international law; to immediately suspend the sale of arms to foreign states where it cannot be demonstrated that arms sold will not be used in violation of international law; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 19th January 2024
(Read Debate)
Next Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 17th May 2024
Order Paper number: 15
(Unlikely to be Debated - would require unanimous consent to progress)

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
4 Other Department Questions
12th May 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if her Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of (a) making non-binary a legally recognised gender identity and (b) including non-binary as an option under the Gender Recognition Panel (GRP)/ Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC).

The Government acknowledges that some citizens identify as non-binary. However, as set out in the response to the Gender Recognition Act consultation, there are no plans to make changes to the 2004 Act.

Following a considerable amount of consultation with the public and representative organisations, the Government decided that the current provisions within the GRA allow for those that wish to legally change their sex to do so. The GRA provides a means for transgender people to change the sex on their birth certificate, but there is currently no provision for those who do not identify solely as male or as female.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps she has taken to incorporate the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women into domestic law.

We are committed to fulfilling our obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); our interim report to the CEDAW Committee is due to be published and available online in the coming weeks. This report will set out the steps taken, in different parts of the UK, to implement four of the recommendations identified in 2019 by the Committee in its concluding observations.

The substantive provisions of CEDAW are already largely reflected in existing domestic legislation, such as the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998. The UK has strong human rights protections within a comprehensive and well-established constitutional and legal system. We have a longstanding tradition of ensuring rights and liberties are protected domestically, and of fulfilling our international human rights obligations.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what plans the Government has to implement the recommendations of the Joint Committee on Human Rights report entitled Black people, racism and human rights, published in November 2020.

The UK has made significant progress over the years in tackling racism. This Government made manifesto commitments to tackle prejudice, racism and discrimination and is committed to making further progress.

The Government has considered the recommendations and conclusions in the Joint Committee on Human Rights report. We have responded to each of these in turn in our response to the Committee’s Eleventh Report of Session 2019–21 published on 11 February 2021.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, whether the Government plans to re-examine the findings of the report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, published March 2021, in response to feedback on that report's conclusions on inequality.

The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities’ report makes an important contribution to both the national conversation about race, and our efforts to level up and unite the whole country.

We are carefully considering the report’s findings and recommendations. We will publish a Government response in due course. This Government remains fully committed to building a fairer UK and taking the action needed to address disparities wherever they exist.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Attorney General, what plans he has in place to ensure that the Treasury Solicitor - Bona Vacantia Division (a) undertakes investigations into the existence of wills for the deceased in an efficient and diligent manner and (b) administers estates in accordance with the law.

The Bona Vacantia Division (BVD) of the Government Legal Department (GLD) deals with the estates of people domiciled in England & Wales who appear to have died without leaving a valid will or relatives entitled to share in their estates in priority to the Crown.

Estates are administered by BVD in compliance with the law and the legal duties which apply to the administrators of estates.

This includes making reasonable enquiries to establish whether the deceased has left a valid will or relatives entitled to share in the estate in priority to the Crown. Such enquiries include publishing details of the estate on BVD’s website and in the national and local press; making enquiries of banks, local solicitors and other parties and potentially conducting a search of the deceased’s property to establish whether they left a will.

16th Feb 2024
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make the cost-of-living payment made to civil servants in the year to 31 March 2023 available to all civil servants (a) employed and (b) who retired in that year.

I refer the Honourable Member for Coventry South to the answer given on 25th October 2023 in response to PQ 203635.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if the Government intends to revisit its plans to lift covid-19 lockdown restrictions on June 21 2021 in light of new covid-19 variants.

As set out by the Prime Minister, the Roadmap out of restrictions in England will be driven by data not dates. As set out in the Roadmap, it takes around four weeks for the data to reflect the impact of easing restrictions from the previous step, and the Government will provide a further week’s notice to the public and businesses ahead of any further changes.

As set out in the Roadmap, step 4 will be no earlier than 21 June. On 14 June, the Government will review the latest data against the four tests set out in the Roadmap. The Government will then set out whether or not it is safe to move England to step 4 on 21 June.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what measures are in place to ensure transparency in the procurement of Government services and contracts.

Central Government buyers must publish all tender documents and contracts with a contract value of over £10,000 on Contracts Finder. Updated guidance on transparency and the publication of tender and contract documents was published in 2017, Procurement Policy Note 02/17: Promoting Greater Transparency.


We are also taking steps to improve the processes already in place by proposing specific measures to strengthen transparency through the commercial lifecycle as set out in our Green Paper.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to proposals under Step 3 in Covid-19: Guidance for wedding and civil partnership receptions and celebrations, whether restaurants will be considered covid-secure indoor venues where up to 30 people may proceed with a wedding reception.

At Step 3, no earlier than 17 May 2021, weddings and civil partnership receptions can proceed with up to 30 people either outdoors (including private gardens) or in any COVID Secure indoor venue that is not required by law to remain closed. At Step 3, indoor hospitality will be allowed to open, meaning that wedding receptions can take place in restaurants as well as a range of other COVID-Secure venues and businesses.

Further details on receptions at this Step will be updated in due course to enable us to take account of developments in the pandemic.

For further information, please refer to the guidance for for wedding and civil partnership receptions and celebrations:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships/covid-19-guidance-for-wedding-and-civil-partnership-receptions-and-celebrations

For further information, please refer to the guidance on reopening businesses and venues, which sets out what businesses/venues open at each step:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reopening-businesses-and-venues-in-england/reopening-businesses-and-venues

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what information the Government holds on the breakdown of costs in the construction of the briefing room in 10 Downing Street.

The Government has established facilities within 9 Downing Street, rather than 10 Downing Street, which are being used for daily broadcasting by a number of news organisations, therefore I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 169917 on 22 March 2021.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
5th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Government plans to review the operation of Queen's consent.

Queen's Consent is a longstanding convention and a requirement of the Parliamentary process. The Government does not plan to review its operation.

17th Dec 2020
What assessment he has made of the potential effect of introducing mandatory voter ID on the Traveller and Roma communities’ ability to vote.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 105426 given on 22 October.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what his policy is on negotiating arrangements to replace the European Health Insurance Card for UK citizens from 1 January 2021.

From 31 December 2020, people protected under the Withdrawal Agreement will continue to be entitled to a UK-issued EHIC. For people not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, the future of reciprocal healthcare arrangements between the UK and EU are subject to negotiations, which are ongoing.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
3rd Sep 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans his Department has to (a) recognise and (b) reward delivery drivers who transported essential items across the UK during the covid-19 lockdown.

Further to the answer given by my Rt Hon Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster during his oral statement on 28 April 2020, the Government will ensure recognition is both timely and appropriate and is reflective of the profound gratitude the nation feels.

15th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Schengen 90/180 rule is subject for negotiation with the EU.

We welcome the EU’s confirmation that it will grant UK nationals visa-free access for short-term visits, subject to reciprocity. This means that, after the end of the transition period, UK business visitors and tourists will not need a visa when travelling to the Schengen area for short stays of up to 90 days in every 180-day period.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the Intelligence and Security Committee will be reappointed; and when that Committee's report on Russia will be published.

I refer the Hon. members to the answer given to PQ 40706 on 4 May 2020.

27th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, with reference to the press release entitled Arms exports to Israel must stop immediately: UN experts, published by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on 23r February 2024, if she will take steps to cease the transfer of (a) weapons and (b) ammunition to Israel that would be used in Gaza.

All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the UK’s Strategic Export Licensing Criteria.

The Export Control Joint Unit will not issue an export licence to any destination where to do so would be inconsistent with the Criteria, including where there is a clear risk that the items might be used to commit or facilitate a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law.

The Government is monitoring the situation in Israel and Gaza very closely and will take any action the Government considers appropriate as the situation develops. All extant licences are kept under careful review and we are able to amend, suspend or revoke licences as circumstances require.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
11th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether she has had recent discussions with the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs on the applicability of Criterion 2(c) of the Strategic Export Licensing Criteria in reference to potential strategic export licenses to Israel.

The Government continues to monitor closely the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Strategic Export Licensing Criteria, which includes Criterion 2(c) - the provision not to grant a licence if it is determined there is a clear risk that the items might be used to commit or facilitate a serious violation of international humanitarian law.

Extant licences are kept under careful review and the Business and Trade Secretary has the power to suspend, revoke or amend extant licences as required.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
10th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, with reference to the oral evidence by the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs to the Foreign Affairs Committee on 9 January 2023, if she will make an assessment of the implications for her policy on arms export licences to Israel of the evidence provided by the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs on whether Israel is complying with international law in its military engagement in Gaza.

The Government continues to monitor closely the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Strategic Export Licensing Criteria, which includes Criterion 2, covering respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in the country of final destination as well as respect by that country for international humanitarian law.

Extant licences are kept under careful review and the Business and Trade Secretary has the power to suspend, revoke or amend extant licences as required.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment he has made of the impact of rising energy costs on Post Offices.

During the Energy Bill Relief Scheme review, the Government assessed a range of qualitative and quantitative evidence from businesses and stakeholders, including Post Offices, on sectors that may be most affected by rising energy prices based on energy and trade intensity.

The outcome of the review informed the criteria of the new Energy Bill Discount Scheme, which will run from April until March 2024, and will continue to provide a discount to eligible non-domestic customers, including Post Offices. The new scheme strikes a balance between supporting businesses and other non-domestic customers over the next 12 months and limiting taxpayer’s exposure to volatile energy markets.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
27th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether the Government plans to take steps to require UK-based energy companies to remedy pollution in other countries as a result of their operations.

The Government supports work to reduce the environmental impact of energy companies. As part of the UK's international support for the clean energy transition, the Government provide technical or regulatory assistance that supports energy or emissions efficiency, health, safety, social and environmental standards.

Where activities take place overseas however, it is for the relevant national authorities to determine what regulation should apply. It would not be appropriate for the UK to place additional and potentially conflicting conditions on such activities.

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 is taking steps to help ensure that bill estimates from energy providers are as accurate as possible.

Under Ofgem’s licence conditions, suppliers are required to take all reasonable steps to reflect accurate meter readings in bills or statements sent to customers.

As the independent regulator, Ofgem is responsible for ensuring licensed energy suppliers are complying with their rules. Details of Ofgem’s ongoing supplier compliance and enforcement activity, including individual decisions, are at this link: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/energy-policy-and-regulation/compliance-and-enforcement/retail-compliance-and-enforcement.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
3rd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will make an assessment with the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the potential impact of pollution produced by Shell in its crude oil production the Niger Delta on that region.

The Government regularly discusses with Shell the importance of action to address the risks of pollution from oil production in the Niger Delta.

More generally we have supported initiatives to reduce the impact of oil and gas production in Nigeria. We have encouraged the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (“HYPREP”) to meet the needs of the communities affected by pollution specifically in Ogoniland. The UK has also supported the gas flare penalty regime in Nigeria and the use of satellites to identify fossil fuel facilities that emit methane at high rates.

The UK Government is supporting Nigeria in meeting its ambitious climate change objectives set by its Nationally Determined Contributions and commitment to net-zero by 2060.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
5th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support pubs and breweries during the cost-of-living crisis; and what steps his Department is taking to provide (a) guidance and (b) support to community groups seeking to have pubs listed as Assets of Community Value.

The Government recognise that hospitality businesses are facing cost of living pressures.

The Energy Bill Relief Scheme ensures that businesses are protected from excessively high energy bills over the winter period. My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer recently announced a range of support measures regarding business rates worth £13.6 billion over the next 5 years.

Councils are responsible for the oversight, administration and publication of their local Assets of Community Value scheme. The Government does not hold a central list of this information and does not require Local Authorities in England to submit updates on the number of Assets of Community Value which they have listed or rejected.

Kevin Hollinrake
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing stronger protection for whistle-blowers, as proposed by Compassion in Care in their campaign for Edna’s Law; and what steps he is taking to support whistle-blowers.

The Government values the important contribution whistleblowers make when they shine a light on wrongdoing. The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 gives legal protection to those who speak up in the public interest.

The Government has made numerous improvements to the whistleblowing framework. This includes extending protections to student nurses and midwives, regularly updating the list of prescribed persons, and introducing a legislative requirement for most prescribed persons to produce an annual report on whistleblowing disclosures they receive.

The Government has committed to review the whistleblowing framework. We are considering the scope and timing of this review.

20th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when the Government will introduce the right to 12 weeks neonatal leave and pay for parents of babies under 28 days who spend more than 7 days in hospital.

The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill, introduced by the Hon. Member for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East as a Private Member's Bill and backed by the Government, will deliver these changes. It is currently progressing through Parliament and has now completed Commons Committee Stage.

20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will introduce additional paid parental leave entitlements equivalent to the time parents have to take off from work as a result of their baby's health complications.

The Government recognises that having a baby with health complications is particularly stressful for parents. This is why we are committed to introducing additional paid parental leave entitlement for neonatal care, to support those new mothers and fathers who need it during some of the most difficult days of their lives.

19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending paid paternity leave to new employees whose period in work is less than 26 weeks.

As set out in our Manifesto, we are committed to making it easier for fathers to take Paternity Leave. In 2019 the Government consulted on high-level options for reforming parental leave and pay, this consultation included Paternity Leave and Pay. We are currently analysing the responses to the consultation and will respond in due course.

18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a dedicated scrapping system for diesel and petrol vehicles ahead of the transition towards zero emission vehicles by 2030.

The Government is investing £2.8 billion to support the transition to zero emission vehicles, including to support the uptake of zero and ultra low emission cars, vans, trucks, motorcycles, taxis and buses, as well funding to support charge point infrastructure at homes, workplaces, on residential streets and across the wider roads network, to make charging as easy as refuelling a petrol or diesel car.

18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of giving workers the right to flexible working from the first day of employment.

The Government’s manifesto included a commitment to encourage flexible working and to consult on whether flexible working can be made the default unless employers have good reasons not to. We will issue this consultation in due course.

18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of reallocating Government subsidies for biomass energy to other renewable energy sources.

The Government follows scientific advice which indicates that sustainable biomass could play a role in decarbonising the energy sector as part of a diverse renewable energy mix and in achieving net zero. Recent reports from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Climate Change Committee (CCC) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) all support this view.

We have no plans to remove support for electricity generation from biomass prior to 2027 for generators that are already supported under the Renewables Obligation (RO) and the Contract for Difference (CfD).

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of biomass energy on (a) CO2 emissions and (b) animal biodiversity.

The Government follows scientific advice which indicates that sustainable biomass could play a role in decarbonising the energy sector as part of a diverse renewable energy mix and in achieving net zero. Recent reports from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Climate Change Committee (CCC) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) all support this view.

The UK only supports biomass which complies with strict sustainability criteria which considers a range of environmental issues including protecting the biodiversity of forests from which the biomass is sourced, irrespective of its location.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he has taken to encourage shared parental leave amongst fathers.

On 17 June 2021, we launched a new online tool which will make it easier for parents to access Shared Parental Leave and Pay and easier for employers to administer the scheme. The launch of the tool was accompanied by targeted communications activity, including social media and an exclusive with one of the national newspapers. We have also run significant communications campaigns in the past, including a £1.5 million campaign in 2018.

The Government is currently evaluating the Shared Parental Leave and Pay scheme to better understand the barriers and enablers to parents taking Shared Parental Leave. This exercise has included commissioning, and interrogating information collected from, large scale, representative, surveys of employers and parents and a qualitative study of parents who have used the scheme. We intend to publish our findings later this year.

17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to (a) modernise medical research and (b) replace animal testing with human-relevant techniques.

As part of a modern research system, we believe that animals should only be used where there is no practical alternative. The use of animals in research is carefully regulated and remains important in ensuring new medicines and treatments are safe.

However, we are actively supporting and funding the development and dissemination of techniques that replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in research (the 3Rs).  This is achieved primarily through funding for the National Centre for the 3Rs which works nationally and internationally to drive the uptake of 3Rs technologies and ensure that advances in the 3Rs are reflected in policy, practice and regulations on animal research.  Since the NC3Rs was launched it has committed £100 million through its research, innovation, and early career awards to provide new 3Rs approaches for scientists in academia and industry to use. This includes almost £27 million in contracts through its CRACK IT Challenges innovation scheme to UK and EU-based institutions, mainly focusing on new approaches for the safety assessment of pharmaceuticals and chemicals that reduce the use of animals.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funds a portfolio of research projects involving humans, human materials, animal models, and non-animal technologies. At this time, no artificial model or simulation can replicate the complexity of disease processes in a living organism and as such, whole organism approaches continue to be important; animal models are used when experimentation in human volunteers is not possible for safety or ethical reasons. However, we do recognise the increasing value of in vitro and in silico models, including organs-on-chips and 3-dimensional mini-brains, which can greatly aid the development of new healthcare innovations and also reduce, refine or replace the use of animals in research.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made representations to Amazon UK on (a) the death of a 21-year-old Amazon driver on 17 February 2021 and (b) the potential merits of reassessing delivery targets for Amazon UK delivery drivers.

I was deeply saddened to hear the tragic news of the death of the Amazon driver, and I send my sincere condolences to their family. South Yorkshire Police are investigating and are appealing to anyone who witnessed the collision to contact them.

Benchmark standards for safe delivery plans and realistic schedules are set out in the joint HSE and Department for Transport guidance (Driving at work: Managing work-related road safety INDG382(rev1) (hse.gov.uk).

15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of reducing the Official Development Assistance budget on (a) current and future research projects funded under ODA programmes and (b) global research partnerships.

The challenging financial situation we face due to the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a temporary reduction in the UK’s aid spending target from 0.7% of GNI to 0.5%. This means making difficult decisions when it comes to prioritising how we spend aid money to deliver the most impactful outcomes.

We are currently working with UKRI, and all our Global Challenges Research Fund and Newton Fund Delivery Partners, to manage the financial year 2021/22 ODA allocations, including determining which projects will be impacted. Our Delivery Partners have communicated with award holders setting out the next stage of the review of ODA funding this year, and to explore options for individual programmes. (Full details have been published on the UKRI website.) Due to the ongoing nature of this process, we cannot share project-level details.

The Government recognises the importance of supporting global research partnerships and supporting the UK research sector. Our commitment to research and innovation has been clearly demonstrated by my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Budget announcement of increasing investment in R&D across government to £14.6bn in 2021/22; and as has been set out in our Integrated Review ambitions, international collaboration is central to a healthy and productive R&D sector.

On 1st April, the Department set out an additional £250m of funding for the R&D sector. As a result, UK scientists will have access to more public funding than ever before. This takes total Government investment in R&D to £14.9 billion in 2021/22 and follows four years of significant growth in R&D funding, including a boost of more than £1.5 billion in 2020/21.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to extend parental bereavement leave to include pregnancy losses before 24 weeks.

We recognise that a miscarriage can be deeply upsetting. We encourage employers to provide appropriate support to women who have suffered a miscarriage and respond sensitively to each individuals specific needs.

The current entitlement to Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay applies to employed parents of children under the age of 18 and those who suffer a stillbirth.

Because the death of a child is particularly tragic, in April 2020, we legislated to give parents who lose a child under the age of 18, including cases where a baby is stillborn after 24 completed weeks of pregnancy, a right to take up to 2 weeks off work in the 56 weeks following the death of their child. The policy is mapped against the clinical definition of a ‘stillbirth’: 24 weeks is a legally and medically important point in a pregnancy as it is the clinical age of viability.

Individuals who do not feel able to return to work following a miscarriage may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay while off work. All employees are also entitled to 5.6 weeks of Annual Leave a year and many employers also offer ‘Compassionate Leave’.

17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing legislation mandating property management companies to carry out improvements on buildings ahead of the proposed upgrade of private rented sector homes to Energy Performance Certificate Band C by 2030.

BEIS consulted on improving the minimum energy efficiency standards for privately rented homes in England and Wales to EPC Band C. Under the Government’s recommended option, landlords would be required to reach EPC Band C for new tenancies from 1 April 2025 and all tenancies by 1 April 2028. Landlords can choose to work with a property management company to meet the regulations where appropriate, although the requirement for compliance rests with the landlord. We are currently analysing consultation responses and will publish a Government Response in due course.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allowing access to specialist shoe shops during the covid-19 lockdown restrictions for people who cannot buy those products online.

The Government has set out its roadmap to cautiously ease lockdown restrictions, including the reopening of non-essential retail no earlier than 12 April, subject to the data.

Under current restrictions all shops in England are permitted to operate click-and-collect services online, by telephone/text or via post.

8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what representations he has made to Boohoo executives on the 12,000 Debenhams jobs currently at risk.

While Government has no role in the strategic direction or management of private retail companies, officials have been in regular contact with the administrators who have been exploring all potential options to protect Debenhams and its employees throughout the administration process.

Our Plan for Jobs includes a series of measures to protect, support and create jobs and we are helping those who have lost jobs in the pandemic back into employment through our JETS (Job Entry Targeted Support) programme. We have also launched our £2bn Kickstart scheme to create opportunities for young people.

We have temporarily increased Universal Credit by £1,000 a year, are doubling the number of work coaches to 27,000 by this year and have launched a Job Finding Support Service which will help those who have recently become unemployed increase their chances of finding employment.

Additionally, the DWP Rapid Response Service has been in ongoing conversations with Debenhams who have been offered support from the Service. The Rapid Response Service offers support including:

  • Helping people write CVs and find jobs.
  • Providing information about benefits.
  • Helping people to find the right training and learn new skills.
  • Helping with costs like travel to work expenses.
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what process was used to select the members of the UK COP26 team; what assessment he has made of the effect of that process on gender balance in that team; and what plans his Department has to review the selection process to ensure better representation of women in future COP teams.

The UK is committed to championing diversity and inclusion throughout our COP26 Presidency and all civil servants in the Cabinet Office COP26 Unit have been appointed in line with Civil Service guidance and rules.

Forty five percent of the Senior Management Team in the COP26 unit are women. My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister recently appointed my Hon. Friend the Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed as the COP26 Adaptation and Resilience Champion.

19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of creating an Address and Collect service at Post Offices to allow those affected by (a) homelessness and (b) domestic violence to access their post safely.

Officials are working with Royal Mail and the Post Office to consider the recommendations from Citizens Advice on an Address and Collect Service and a Poste Restante service for vulnerable groups.

19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the compatibility of the recent loan given to Versarien PLC by Innovate UK with (a) Innovate UK's guidelines (b) the eligibility criteria for businesses to receive funds from Innovate UK and (c) the Government's guidance on Managing public money.

Graphene has the capability to become one of the sectors that will power our economic growth – and Versarien is at a crucial phase in its development as it strives to become one of the UK’s leading players in the production of graphene. Materials such a graphene can also provide a valuable contribution towards the Government’s Net Zero targets and has the potential to contribute significantly to a number of national infrastructure projects. Versarien’s G-SCALE project, which this loan will fund, will allow the firm to carry out later stage R&D to enable it to supply the market with commercial quantities of graphene-enhanced materials.

Similar to many companies, Versarien seeks investment from a number of sources, including private funding. Innovate UK has a good understanding of Versarien’s business and has previously awarded the company several grants to support its development. Innovate’s loan scheme was set up to broaden the range of innovation finance support available to businesses, so they can access funding at all stages of innovation.

In order to be eligible, a business needs to show that it can afford the interest and repayments on the loan and that they cannot obtain finance from other sources such as banks and equity investors for a particular project. It is on this basis the loan was made.

Indeed, this loan was made on Innovate’s usual terms, that is an interest rate of 7.4% per annum with half of the interest deferred until the repayment period commences. Loan repayments will start 45 months after drawdown and be paid over a subsequent period of 36 months.

The loan award was made after Innovate UK’s rigorous process of innovation assessment and credit evaluation – the same level of scrutiny and assessment that accompanies any loan award that Innovate UK makes.

The assessment process for awarding the loan was compatible with the key principles set out in the guidance on Managing Public Money.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will ensure that following his consultation on contracts for difference for low carbon electricity (a) biomass plants are ineligible to compete for those contracts with offshore wind and other renewable technologies and (b) the greenhouse gas threshold and minimum efficiency requirement applied in 2018 will be included in regulations and applied to all future allocation rounds.

The consultation on changes to the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme closed on 29 May 2020 and a Government response will be published in due course.

As part of this consultation, we indicated our intention to remove biomass conversion technologies from the CfD scheme. Sustainable, low carbon bioenergy is helping the UK move to a low-carbon energy mix, increasing our energy security, and keeping costs down for consumers. We have introduced mandatory sustainability criteria for biomass generation for heat and power. This is to ensure biomass continues to support the UK’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions and is sourced sustainably. Generators only receive subsidies for electricity output which complies with our sustainability criteria.

The greenhouse gas (GHG) threshold and minimum efficiency requirements applied in 2018 were incorporated into the CfD Standard Terms and Conditions and so will apply to future allocation rounds.

6th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to commence his policy on enabling onshore wind and solar power projects.

Onshore wind and solar have already been deployed successfully in the UK with appropriate local support, generating enough electricity in 2018 to power over 11 million homes and producing nearly 13% of the UK’s electricity.

Government announced on Monday 2 March that onshore wind and solar projects will be able to bid for contracts in the next Contracts for Difference allocation round planned to open in 2021. We will announce the auction parameters and auction timings in due course.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if her Department will make an assessment of the adequacy of legislation on the use of (a) lip syncing and (b) pre-recordings at performances advertised as being live.

The use of lip syncing and pre-recordings as part of performances advertised as being live is a decision for the artist or performer, and a private contractual matter between them and the event organiser. Event organisers, as with all businesses and traders, must comply with consumer rights legislation.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Oct 2021
BBC
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions she has made with the BBC on the trends in the size and share of its viewership and audiences.

The BBC is editorially and operationally independent of the government, and trends relating to audience and viewership are a matter for the BBC.

The BBC’s Royal Charter requires the BBC to represent, reflect and serve audiences, taking into account the needs of diverse communities of all the UK nations and regions. It is for Ofcom as the BBC’s independent regulator to ensure the BBC complies with its Charter duties.

The BBC includes details on audience trends within their Annual Report and Trust Statement.

The Secretary of State and I have had constructive discussions with the BBC leadership, and have made it clear that the BBC needs to ensure it is more accessible, and representative of the people who pay the licence fee.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Answer of 26 April 2021 to the Question 184471, what (a) policing reforms and (b) press regulations have been enacted following the Leveson Inquiry.

There have been extensive reforms to policing practices as well as significant changes to press self-regulation.

Since Lord Justice Leveson published his report on part 1 of the inquiry in 2012, the Government has considered all eight recommendations and introduced a number of reforms to policing. This includes the publication of the policing Code of Ethics by the College of Policing in 2014; guidance on relationships with the media; guidance on whistle-blowing; new powers for the Independent Office for Police Conduct to investigate without referral from the police and voluntary notification by chief constables of post-service employment for 12 months.

There now exists a strengthened, independent, self-regulatory system for the press. The majority of traditional publishers—including 95% of national newspapers by circulation—are members of IPSO. A number of smaller publishers have joined Impress.

These regulators enforce codes of conduct which provide guidelines on a range of areas, including discrimination, accuracy, privacy, and harassment. If they find that a newspaper has broken the code of conduct, they can order corrections or critical adjudications.

IPSO, unlike its predecessor the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), has the contractual power to legally enforce all the obligations into which the press has entered. This includes determining the wording, where a ruling is placed in a newspaper, in what font size and on what page. As well as dealing with complaints, IPSO can launch a standards investigation in cases where there may have been serious and systemic breaches of the Editors’ Code. IPSO also now has a compulsory low cost arbitration scheme, introduced in August 2018, that all member national newspapers have signed up to. This can be used to make claims for defamation, privacy and harassment, and some data protection breaches.

In 2016 IPSO commissioned its own independent review which found it had made some important achievements in demonstrating it was an independent and effective regulator, and that it was largely compliant with the recommendations of the Leveson Report.