Written questions and answers

Written questions allow Members of Parliament to ask government ministers for information on the work, policy and activities of government departments.

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

Find the latest written questions and answers for the 2017-19 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

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Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Asked on: 14 September 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Hinkley Point C Power Station
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have contractually guaranteed a minimum level of subsidy to Hinkley Point C nuclear power station for providing back-up energy capacity; and, if so, (1) what that level is, and (2) whether this will be funded by taxes or by users through their energy bills.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 20 September 2017

The Government has not contractually agreed a minimum level of subsidy to Hinkley Point C nuclear power station for providing back up energy capacity. System balancing decisions are for the system operator, who may choose to contract with HPC in the 2020s as with any other system user, but no such contracts are currently in place.

Asked on: 14 September 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Hinkley Point C Power Station
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether consumers and households who do not use grid electricity will have to pay for any of the electricity produced by Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 20 September 2017

No, consumers and households who do not use grid electricity will not pay for any of the electricity produced by Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.

Q
Asked by Lord Naseby
Asked on: 12 September 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Hurricanes and Tornadoes: Caribbean
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether use was made of the UK's remote sensing and satellite technology to predict the impact of the storm system of Hurricane Irma; and if so, by whom.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 19 September 2017

The Met Office is the UK National Met Service and monitors weather around the world, including hurricanes in the Caribbean such as Irma. For this purpose the Met Office uses a wide range of observations, including satellite and remote sensing technologies which form a crucial input to its weather modeling capability. Model predictions on the track of hurricanes together with information on their intensity and structure are used by the Met Office in its briefings to Her Majesty’s Government but also shared with the American National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Hurricane Centre.

Asked on: 05 September 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Electricity: Storage
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to develop a strategy to ensure future continuity on network charging in relation to electricity storage; and if so, how.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 18 September 2017

The charging regime is the responsibility of Ofgem as the independent regulator. In the joint BEIS/Ofgem Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan released on 24 July 2017 it was recognised that at present network charges can put storage at a relative disadvantage to other network users, preventing a level playing field.

The Government is keen to see fair changes to the charging regime that create a level playing field for storage. Ofgem indicated that changes to storage charging would be best and most rapidly brought forward by industry, and two modifications have now been raised to address this issue. Ofgem also expects industry to provide guidance on the treatment of storage as intermittent or non-intermittent in the distribution charging methodologies by the end of 2017.

Asked on: 07 September 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Cost of Energy Independent Review
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the specific financial interests which are referred to in the declaration of interest by Professor Dieter Helm published on 6 August in relation to the cost of energy review.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 18 September 2017

The review is being conducted in accordance with well-established principles for transparency and accountability, typical of this kind of independent review. As the declaration of interests makes clear, Professor Helm will not change any financial interest he might have in companies that are active in the UK energy sector during the course of the review.

Q
Asked on: 12 September 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Tidal Power: Swansea Bay
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their timescale for making a decision on plans for a Swansea tidal lagoon, following publication of the Hendry Review in January.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 18 September 2017

The Government is considering the findings of the independent Hendry Review before deciding, in light of the relevant factors, its position on the proposed Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project.

Asked on: 05 September 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Groceries Code Adjudicator
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they plan to report on the outcome of the call for evidence into whether there should be an extension of the remit of the Groceries Code Adjudicator.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 14 September 2017

We are planning to report the outcome of the Call for Evidence on extending the Groceries Code Adjudicator’s remit in the autumn.

Asked on: 05 September 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Electricity: Storage
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what definition of electricity storage they intend to use in the provision of storage licences.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 13 September 2017

The Government and Ofgem’s Smart Systems and Flexibility plan, published in July, announced that Ofgem will shortly consult on a modified generation license for electricity storage facilities. This document set out that the Government and Ofgem will use the definition of storage provided by the Electricity Storage Network, which received broad support from industry, as the basis for defining storage in regulations including licences.

The Electricity Storage Network’s definition is:

• “Electricity Storage” in the electricity system is the conversion of electrical energy into a form of energy which can be stored, the storing of that energy, and the subsequent reconversion of that energy back into electrical energy.

• “Electricity Storage Facility” in the electricity system means a facility where Electricity Storage occurs.

Asked on: 05 September 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Electricity: Storage
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to remove the double charging of consumption levies in relation to storage facilities.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 13 September 2017

The Government and Ofgem’s Smart Systems and Flexibility plan, published in July, addressed the issue of storage operators paying levies intended for final consumers, on the electricity they procure from energy suppliers. Electricity supplied to generation licence holders is excluded from the supply volumes used to calculate the costs of the Renewables Obligation, Contracts for Difference and Feed in Tariffs schemes, and Capacity Market auctions. Ofgem will shortly consult on a new modified generation licence for storage facilities, which would mean that holders of this licence would not pay towards such levies.

The Government has also clarified that the electricity received and stored by electricity storage facilities may be supplied to them free from the Climate Change Levy where relevant conditions are met, as set out in HM Revenue and Custom’s Excise Notice CCL1/3 – Reliefs and special treatments for taxable commodities.

Q
Asked on: 05 September 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Small Businesses: Loans
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the finding contained in the Bank of England's Money and Credit June 2017 Statistical Release that there was a £0.2 billion fall in investment in non-financial small and medium sized enterprises in the year to June; and what plans they have to increase investment in such enterprises.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 13 September 2017

The statistical release identifies that in July 2017 new loans were made of £5.2bn compared with repayment of existing debts of £5.4bn. However in the previous month there had been a £0.4bn increase in overall lending.

These movements are best understood as part of the broader context which shows that since summer 2016, loans to non-financial small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have consistently been higher than the previous 12 months and this remains the case in the latest data. In the 12 months ending July 2017, net bank lending to SMEs actually rose by £1.2bn.

We are working hard to give UK SMEs the support they need to start and grow. Growth Hubs provide information and guidance across the country and British Business Bank programmes are supporting £3.4 billion of finance to more than 59,000 smaller businesses.

Q
Asked on: 06 September 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Diesel Vehicles: Exhaust Emissions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the investigation by the German anti-trust authorities into German car manufacturers that are alleged to have operated a cartel and colluded to misrepresent diesel emissions; whether they intend to report those companies to the National Crime Agency to investigate whether any UK directors and managers were involved; and if not, why not.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 13 September 2017

Investigations into alleged anti-competitive practices are a matter for the independent competition authorities – the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority and, where relevant, the European Commission.

Q
Asked on: 07 September 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Electric Vehicles: Batteries
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Faraday Challenge will promote research and development of new technologies to support the sustainable disposal or recycling of used electric vehicle batteries.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 13 September 2017

£246m of funding from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund has been committed to the ‘Faraday Challenge’ to develop world leading batteries, designed and manufactured in the UK, to fully exploit the industrial opportunity of vehicle electrification. The scope of research is expected to focus on themes including safety, cost reduction, performance and recyclability.

Asked on: 05 September 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Energy: Cost Effectiveness
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they intend to ensure that energy service providers provide value for money for the consumer.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 12 September 2017

Energy service providers could play an important role in delivering valuable services to consumers including, but not limited to, energy management, energy efficiency improvements and demand side response. The Government will continue to consider the role of energy service providers as the market for services they offer develops.

Q
Asked by Lord Stunell
Asked on: 05 September 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Construction: Billing
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the report they commissioned from Pye Tait Consulting on cash retentions in the construction industry has been submitted by that firm; and if so, when they intend to publish that report, and what action they plan to take in the light of its recommendations.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 12 September 2017

The Department will be publishing the Pye Tait report, alongside a consultation document on the practice of cash retentions under construction contracts shortly.

The Government will not pre-empt the outcome of the consultation, but will consider the responses to the forthcoming consultation carefully before making decisions about further action in this area.

Q
Asked by Lord Jones
Asked on: 20 July 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Manufacturing Industries: Staff
Lords
Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the number of workers employed in the UK in (1) the aerospace industry, and (2) the motor industry.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 03 August 2017

Based on data from the Office for National Statistics in 2016, the Aerospace industry, covering the manufacture, maintenance and repair of aircraft, directly accounted for 120,000 jobs. Automotive Manufacturing accounted for 159,000 jobs and separately recorded, the Wholesale, Retail and Repair of Motor Vehicles accounted for 634,000 jobs.

These figures cover direct employment only excluding indirect jobs that these industries may support in other sectors of the economy, through their supply chains.

Q
Asked by Lord Moynihan
Asked on: 20 July 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Tickets: Sales
Lords
Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to protect consumers from abuse of the secondary ticket market; and whether they intend to introduce a regulatory regime for that market, including the establishment of an appropriate regulatory authority.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 02 August 2017

The Government appointed Professor Waterson in 2015 to review consumer protections in the secondary ticketing market. He produced his report last year and in March 2017 the Government responded accepting his report in full and included amendments to the Digital Economy Act designed to enhance protections further.

The Government has no plans at this time to introduce additional legislation.

Q
Asked by Lord Moynihan
Asked on: 20 July 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Tickets: Sales
Lords
Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the adequacy of resources (a) made available to, and (b) spent by, trading standards services since 2012, to ensure the compliance of the secondary ticket market with relevant legislation, and (2) the impact on those resources of their response to the Waterson review, published on 13 March.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 02 August 2017

As part of the Government’s response to the Waterson review, National Trading Standards have been tasked with investigating potential enforcement cases against sellers and secondary ticketing websites that do not comply with legislation from within their current and forthcoming annual budgets.

The National Trading Standards Board have allocated £300,000 towards investigation work on ticketing for this current financial year.

Local Authority Trading Standards also play an important role in tackling consumer detriment. Spending or resourcing decisions are for individual Local Authorities to make. We do not hold the requested data centrally.

Q
Asked by Lord Bird
Asked on: 20 July 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Business
Lords
Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to encourage, promote and support businesses, including social enterprises, to increase their trade with other businesses at a local level.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 01 August 2017

Businesses and social enterprises are vital to our economy and it is important we create the best possible environment to enable firms, both large and small, to identify and exploit opportunities to trade locally, nationally and in overseas markets. As part of our Industrial Strategy, we will make the most of the diverse strengths of all of Britain’s cities and regions to attract more investment and therefore create more opportunities for companies to trade with each other. For example the decision by BMW to build the all-electric Mini at its plant in Oxford will boost commercial opportunities for existing and new companies in the local region.

Industrial Strategy will also help us identify opportunities to help all businesses create jobs and wealth across the economy. The Government has invested £44m in the creation of a network of 38 Growth Hubs via Local Enterprise Partnerships, to provide access to impartial and coordinated business support to all registered businesses in England.

Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 17 July 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Lords
Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the social and economic consequences of restricting zero-hours contracts to students and pensioners.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 31 July 2017

Government has not made an estimate of the social and economic consequences of restricting zero hour contracts to students and pensioners.

Further to my oral statement in the House on 11 July regarding the publication of the independent Review of Modern Working Practices by Matthew Taylor, the Review concluded that the UK has employment levels and rates that are at historic highs. It also concluded that the UK is widely recognised as having one of the most flexible labour markets in the world and many people working on atypical contracts value the flexibility that they bring and choose to work this way.

Asked on: 17 July 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Lords
Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the benefits and costs to the UK of membership of the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 31 July 2017

Within the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators budget it is not possible to identify the membership costs for any individual member state. Details of their costs and the work they do are set out in their Programming Document[1] for 2017-2019.

In common with other EU agencies, as part of exit negotiations the government will discuss with the EU any potential future relationship with the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators.

[1] http://www.acer.europa.eu/en/The_agency/Mission_and_Objectives/Documents/ACER%20Programming%20Document%202017-September%202016.pdf

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