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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Q
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Small Business Commissioner
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the light of the commitment set out in the document Small Business Commissioner: Policy for Secondary Legislation, published in February, that the Small Business Commissioner's complaints scheme will formally begin on 1 October, whether small businesses may now submit complaints; and through what process they can do so.
A
Corrected answer by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Corrected on: 13 November 2017
An error has been identified in the written answer given on 19 October 2017.
The correct answer should have been:

On 2 October my Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State announced the appointment of Paul Uppal as the UK’s first Small Business Commissioner (SBC). Mr Uppal and his team will provide general advice and information to small businesses on matters such as resolving payment disputes, including signposting small businesses through the SBC’s website to existing support and dispute resolution services.

The SBC complaints scheme is dependent on secondary legislation, which is currently being considered by Parliament. Small businesses will be able to submit complaints once the service fully launches, including complaints relating to issues from 1 6 April 2017. The office of the SBC will be operational by the end of 2017, subject to the will of Parliament.

A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 19 October 2017

On 2 October my Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State announced the appointment of Paul Uppal as the UK’s first Small Business Commissioner (SBC). Mr Uppal and his team will provide general advice and information to small businesses on matters such as resolving payment disputes, including signposting small businesses through the SBC’s website to existing support and dispute resolution services.

The SBC complaints scheme is dependent on secondary legislation, which is currently being considered by Parliament. Small businesses will be able to submit complaints once the service fully launches, including complaints relating to issues from 1 6 April 2017. The office of the SBC will be operational by the end of 2017, subject to the will of Parliament.

Q
Asked on: 17 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Nuclear Power Stations
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure the maintenance and timely replacement of the nuclear power element of the UK’s electricity production.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 26 October 2017

The Government recognises the important role of nuclear in our energy mix. Last September we signed a deal to build the first new nuclear plant in the UK for over 20 years. Hinkley Point C will provide 3.2 gigawatts low carbon electricity for 60 years, meeting around 7% of the UK’s electricity needs.

Further, on 12 October the Government published its Clean Growth Strategy, which committed continuing to work with nuclear developers on their new build proposals, including on financing plans, as well as investing £460 million in nuclear to support work in areas including future nuclear fuels, new nuclear manufacturing techniques, recycling and reprocessing, and advanced reactor design. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is also working with industry to develop a nuclear Sector Deal as part of the Industrial Strategy, looking at boosting competitiveness and skills across the sector.

Q
Asked by Lord Moynihan
Asked on: 17 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Utilities
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what (1) consumer protections, (2) redress schemes, (3) requirements to provide information and (4) requirements to treat consumers fairly currently exist in UK law in relation to third-party intermediaries which offer water and energy services to consumers, including under the retail exit programme for water companies.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 26 October 2017

In energy the Confidence Code is a Code of Practice to govern independent energy price comparison websites. Ofgem accredits sites to the Code and these must follow key principles in order to operate their service. When customers are presented with options and prices, they have been calculated and are displayed in a fair and unbiased way.

Accredited price comparison websites must operate an effective complaints process. If a customer has a complaint, they should first contact the comparison site to tell them so that they can try to resolve it. If a customer is not satisfied with the outcome, they can then contact Ofgem who will then investigate the issue.

The business retail water market opened in April. Third party intermediaries such as water brokers play an important role in supporting many customers in finding the best deal for their business. The marketing activities of such intermediaries operating in the water market, as with intermediaries generally, are subject to regulation. The Competition and Markets Authority and trading standard authorities have roles in ensuring that customers are not misled when switching to alternative suppliers. The ‘Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008’ apply to marketing activities in the water retail market.

Ofwat acts as the independent economic regulator of the new market. The Retail Exits Regulations required Ofwat to introduce a code to apply to customers who are transferred via an exit setting out the contract terms that will apply. Additionally all retailers must follow Ofwat’s customer protection code of practice that contains key customer protection obligations, including a requirement for retailers to obtain written confirmation from customers who choose to use the services of a third party intermediary.

Q
Asked on: 18 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Electricity: Fees and Charges
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in relation to electricity costs, what they estimate the percentage increase will be for Balancing Services Use of System charges between (1) now and 2020, and (2) now and 2030; and what proportion of these increases will be attributable to efforts to connect renewable energy sources to the national grid.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 26 October 2017

Transmission, distribution and balancing charges are set by network companies in line with the charging methodologies approved by Ofgem, as the independent regulator.

Network companies also produce some future estimates of these charges. These include National Grid’s forecasts of Transmission Network Use of System charges for 2018/19 to 2021/22 (available at: http://www2.nationalgrid.com/UK/Industry-information/System-charges/Electricity-transmission/Approval-conditions/Condition-5/) and Balancing Services Use of System charges to 2018/19 (available at: http://www2.nationalgrid.com/UK/Industry-information/Electricity-transmission-operational-data/Report-explorer/Services-Reports/). These forecasts are not broken down to show renewable energy sources.

Grouped Questions: HL2181 | HL2182
Q
Asked on: 18 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Electricity: Fees and Charges
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in relation to electricity costs, what they estimate the percentage increase will be for Distribution Services Use of System charges between (1) now and 2020, and (2) now and 2030; and what proportion of these increases will be attributable to efforts to connect renewable energy sources to the national grid.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 26 October 2017

Transmission, distribution and balancing charges are set by network companies in line with the charging methodologies approved by Ofgem, as the independent regulator.

Network companies also produce some future estimates of these charges. These include National Grid’s forecasts of Transmission Network Use of System charges for 2018/19 to 2021/22 (available at: http://www2.nationalgrid.com/UK/Industry-information/System-charges/Electricity-transmission/Approval-conditions/Condition-5/) and Balancing Services Use of System charges to 2018/19 (available at: http://www2.nationalgrid.com/UK/Industry-information/Electricity-transmission-operational-data/Report-explorer/Services-Reports/). These forecasts are not broken down to show renewable energy sources.

Grouped Questions: HL2180 | HL2182
Q
Asked on: 18 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Electricity: Fees and Charges
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in relation to electricity costs, what they estimate the percentage increase will be for Transmission Network Use of System charges between (1) now and 2020, and (2) now and 2030; and what proportion of these increases will be attributable to efforts to connect renewable energy sources to the national grid.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 26 October 2017

Transmission, distribution and balancing charges are set by network companies in line with the charging methodologies approved by Ofgem, as the independent regulator.

Network companies also produce some future estimates of these charges. These include National Grid’s forecasts of Transmission Network Use of System charges for 2018/19 to 2021/22 (available at: http://www2.nationalgrid.com/UK/Industry-information/System-charges/Electricity-transmission/Approval-conditions/Condition-5/) and Balancing Services Use of System charges to 2018/19 (available at: http://www2.nationalgrid.com/UK/Industry-information/Electricity-transmission-operational-data/Report-explorer/Services-Reports/). These forecasts are not broken down to show renewable energy sources.

Grouped Questions: HL2180 | HL2181
Asked on: 19 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
EU Emissions Trading Scheme
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of Brexit on the EU Emissions Trading System.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 26 October 2017

The Government is considering carefully the potential impacts of a wide range of EU Exit scenarios relating to the EU ETS, both on the system itself and on UK operators covered by the system. This includes consideration of the risks that a mid-Phase exit of the EU ETS could present for UK operators.

To ensure a smooth transition and avoid a cliff edge on withdrawal, the UK has proposed to the EU an implementation period of about two years where we would continue to have access to each other’s markets on current terms. We are calling for this to be agreed as early as possible to provide clarity.

Grouped Questions: HL2266 | HL2267
Asked on: 19 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
EU Emissions Trading Scheme
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on UK operators covered by the EU Emissions Trading System if the UK were to exit the EU Emissions Trading System before the end of phase 3 of the system in 2020.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 26 October 2017

The Government is considering carefully the potential impacts of a wide range of EU Exit scenarios relating to the EU ETS, both on the system itself and on UK operators covered by the system. This includes consideration of the risks that a mid-Phase exit of the EU ETS could present for UK operators.

To ensure a smooth transition and avoid a cliff edge on withdrawal, the UK has proposed to the EU an implementation period of about two years where we would continue to have access to each other’s markets on current terms. We are calling for this to be agreed as early as possible to provide clarity.

Grouped Questions: HL2265 | HL2267
Asked on: 19 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
EU Emissions Trading Scheme
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to avoid penalties for non-compliance being levied against UK operators in the event that the UK exits the EU Emissions Trading System before the end of phase 3 of the system in 2020.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 26 October 2017

The Government is considering carefully the potential impacts of a wide range of EU Exit scenarios relating to the EU ETS, both on the system itself and on UK operators covered by the system. This includes consideration of the risks that a mid-Phase exit of the EU ETS could present for UK operators.

To ensure a smooth transition and avoid a cliff edge on withdrawal, the UK has proposed to the EU an implementation period of about two years where we would continue to have access to each other’s markets on current terms. We are calling for this to be agreed as early as possible to provide clarity.

Grouped Questions: HL2265 | HL2266
Asked on: 19 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
EU Emissions Trading Scheme
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide UK operators covered by the EU Emissions Trading System with certainty on the future of the UK’s participation in the System, both for the remainder of the current phase and the upcoming phase 4, as well as on domestic carbon pricing and carbon trading policy.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 26 October 2017

As the Clean Growth Strategy sets out, the Government is considering the UK’s future participation in the EU ETS after our exit from the EU, and we remain firmly committed to carbon pricing as an emissions reduction tool whilst ensuring energy and trade intensive businesses are appropriately protected from any detrimental impacts on competitiveness.

Whatever our future relationship with the EU, we will seek to ensure that our future approach is at least as ambitious as the existing scheme and provide a smooth transition for the relevant sectors. The UK’s commitment and leadership role in tackling climate change remains undimmed and working closely with the EU on this global challenge will remain important.

Q
Asked by Lord Laird
Asked on: 19 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) what was the cost of the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme in Great Britain in each of the last four years; (2) what is the budget for the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme subsidy payments for the next six years; (3) why a cap was introduced in 2016; and (4) at what cost level it is pegged.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 26 October 2017

Data on payments from the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) schemes are given in the table below.

Year

Domestic RHI

Non-domestic RHI

Total

13/14

0

£54m

£54m

14/15

£23m

£148m

£171m

15/16

£77m

£296m

£373m

16/17

£92m

£454m

£546m

Based on data to end Aug 2017


In November 2015, the Government confirming a continued budget for the RHI to 2020/21, as set out in the table below. A budget cap allowing the scheme to be closed to new applications was introduced to reinforce existing cost control mechanisms within the RHI, to ensure that scheme expenditure does not exceed the allocated annual budgets.

16/17

17/18

18/19

19/20

20/21

Budget

£640m

£780m

£900m

£1010m

£1150m

Q
Asked on: 19 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Triclocarban and Triclosan
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are taking action to encourage manufacturers of over-the-counter consumer goods such as soaps, toothpastes, and cosmetics to eliminate triclosan and triclocarbon from their products.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 25 October 2017

The use of tricolsan and triclocarbon is restricted by Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 on Cosmetic Products. Manufacturers may only use these preservatives at specified levels and triclosan is only permitted at those levels in a limited range of cosmetic products. Both ingredients have been examined by the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety who considered them to be safe at these restricted levels and usages.

Q
Asked on: 17 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Joint European Torus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have any plans to seek to maintain the activities of, and ensure completion of ongoing experiments at, the Joint European Torus (JET) nuclear fusion facility at Culham in Oxfordshire after the end of the current contract between the European Commission and the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy in 2018.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 24 October 2017

The Government is committed to ensuring that the UK continues to lead the world in fusion research[1]. We have taken action to secure the future of the Joint European Torus (JET) facility by guaranteeing the UK’s share of JET costs until the end of 2020, and are working closely with the UK Atomic Energy Authority to engage positively with EU partners. The relevant Written Ministerial Statement on the JET underwrite can be found here: http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2017-06-27/HCWS13/ .

[1] A 2016 independent review by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) found the UK fusion research programme to be ‘of world-class quality, in facilities, people and impact’.

Written Ministerial Statement (PDF Document, 109.77 KB)
Q
Asked by Lord Birt
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Natural Gas: Storage
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many billions of KWh of natural gas storage the UK possesses; and what comparative estimate they have made of the equivalent figures for (1) Germany, (2) France, and (3) Italy.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 23 October 2017

On the 8th October 2017 (the most recent date for which data is available), there were 21 TWh (21 billion KWh) of natural gas in storage in various facilities across the UK. This is compared to 100 TWh in France, 202 TWh in Germany, and 184 TWh in Italy.

However, a direct comparison between these countries does not reflect the amount of indigenous gas production available to them – when North Sea gas stocks are included in these figures, the UK is broadly in line with the rest of Europe.

Asked on: 12 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Property Searches
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to authorise the HM Land Registries scheme to digitise local land charge data; and when they plan to provide a fixed timeframe for the sign off of the local land charges register project.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 23 October 2017

Work is already underway on the Local Land Charges programme, which will provide a central, digital service for local land charges by consolidating local authority registers into a single register. As with any major project, the government will review and approve the programme at key stages as appropriate.

Q
Asked on: 16 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Bombardier: USA
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many interactions, and with which officials, have they had with the government of the United States regarding the trade dispute brought by Boeing against Bombardier.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 23 October 2017

As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy set out in his statement to Parliament on 10 October 2017, Ministers and senior officials across government have had extensive engagement with the government of the United States regarding this trade dispute. The total of significant interaction amounts to twenty-five calls and meetings. This includes with senior members of the US Administration and Congress.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has discussed the matter a number of times with President Trump, stressing the importance of Bombardier’s operations in Belfast and asking the US Government to do all they can to encourage Boeing to drop its complaint. Cabinet Ministers, including the Business Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Defence Secretary, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Trade Secretary and the Northern Ireland Secretary, have reinforced the UK’s serious concerns with, among others, the US Secretary of Commerce, the US Secretary of State, the US Treasury Secretary, the US Trade Representative and other members of the US Administration, as well as the EU Trade Commissioner.

Q
Asked on: 17 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Nuclear Power
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government which departments will be responsible for the management of any future legislation relating to Euratom and EU Directives on (1) radioactive waste and spent fuel management, (2) protection against ionising radiation, (3) the supervision and control of shipments of radioactive waste and spent fuel, and (4) drinking water.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 23 October 2017

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is the Department responsible for negotiating and reporting on the transposition of legislation relating to Euratom. Arrangements for future co-operation with Euratom are currently under negotiation. The implementation of Euratom Directives on radioactive waste and spent fuel management, protection against ionising radiation and the supervision and control of shipments of radioactive waste and spent fuel is generally the responsibility of BEIS, although some other Government departments and agencies have responsibility for specific areas. The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs generally has responsibility for EU Directives regarding drinking water. Decisions on departmental responsibilities for the management of any future legislation will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Q
Asked on: 17 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Nuclear Power
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to promote integrated working between the agencies responsible for licensing nuclear sites and for safeguarding the public and the environment in the UK following the UK’s withdrawal from Euratom.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 23 October 2017

Robust arrangements are in place to ensure effective joint regulatory working in relation to safe plant operation and in relation to controlling the use of radioactive substances and the safe management and disposal of consequential waste arisings. It is not anticipated that these arrangements will be affected by the UK’s withdrawal from Euratom.

Q
Asked by Lord Mawson
Asked on: 17 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Small Businesses
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government who within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has responsibility for overseeing and monitoring (1) the overall impact of Government legislation, and (2) the burden of regulation, on small and medium-sized enterprises.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 23 October 2017

The Better Regulation Executive within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy works across Whitehall departments and with regulators to deliver the Government’s commitment to regulate more effectively over the course of this Parliament. This includes monitoring and reporting to Parliament on the overall impact of legislation and regulatory burdens on businesses of all sizes.

Q
Asked by Lord Moynihan
Asked on: 17 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Utilities
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to publish a Green Paper during the current Parliament which covers consumer protection in relation to third-party intermediaries which offer water and energy services.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 23 October 2017

The Government will publish a green paper in due course that will closely examine markets which are not working for consumers.

Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Prior of Brampton on 15 February (HL5165), what are the greenhouse gas emissions targets, broken down by local authority; and what assessment they have made of progress against each of those targets over the last seven years.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 20 October 2017

Local Authorities are not mandated to have greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets. However, many cities and places have set their own targets following the Paris Agreement. Over 30 places are members of international agreements such as the Covenant of Mayors and, within the UK, over 70 places have now signed up to UK100 with a political commitment to use 100% clean energy by 2050.

The Government has recently announced support for every Local Enterprise Partnership to develop their own energy strategy and we are developing plans to support local places to build the capacity to deliver more local low carbon projects across England over the next two years.

Q
Asked by Lord Truscott
Asked on: 12 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Foreign Investment in UK: National Security
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what checks are in place to monitor the safeguarding of UK national security each time a foreign firm invests in the UK.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 20 October 2017

Under the Enterprise Act 2002, the Government has powers to intervene in mergers on the grounds of national security. The Act sets out the processes which are followed in such cases.

More generally, the Government considers carefully any national security issues raised by foreign investments on a case by case basis.

The Government published a Green Paper, ‘National Security and Infrastructure Investment Review’, on Tuesday 17 October setting out its review of current powers and how these might be amended in the short, and long, term to ensure national security is protected. The Government welcomes respondents’ views on its proposals and options for reform.

The Green Paper is available on Gov.uk and in the Libraries of the House.

Q
Asked by Lord Truscott
Asked on: 12 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Foreign Investment in UK: National Security
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have any plans to introduce a dedicated body with responsibility for scrutinising those foreign investments which may impact on national security.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 20 October 2017

The Government published a Green Paper, ‘National Security and Infrastructure Investment Review’, on Tuesday 17 October setting out its review of current powers and how these might be amended in the short, and long, term to ensure national security is protected. The Government welcomes respondents’ views on its proposals and options for reform.

The Green Paper is available on Gov.uk and in the Libraries of the House.

Q
Asked by Lord Myners
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Financial Reporting Council
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they propose to review the effectiveness of the Financial Reporting Council and its independence from the accounting industry.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 19 October 2017

As part of its green paper consultation on Corporate Governance Reform, the Government invited suggestions on how the UK’s corporate governance framework could be strengthened and on strengthening the Financial Reporting Council’s (FRC) ability to monitor and enforce corporate governance reporting. The Government response to the consultation published on 29 August this year summarised the consultation responses and set out its conclusions and proposals which include giving further consideration to whether the FRC has the appropriate powers, resources and status to operate effectively. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is working closely with the FRC on these issues. The FRC is required to report formally to the Secretary of State each year and these annual reports are laid before Parliament for review by both Houses.

Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Hurricanes and Tornadoes
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of recent statements made by the World Meteorological Organization regarding long-term trends in relation to the frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 19 October 2017

The Government has not conducted a specific scientific assessment of the statements by the World Meteorological Organization regarding the devastating effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma on low-lying Caribbean islands and the USA, and possible links between these storms and human-made climate change.

The mechanics of tropical cyclones and how they interact with our changing climate is extremely complex. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, there is a greater than 50% chance that human-induced warming over the next century will lead to an increase in the frequency of intense tropical cyclones in some areas and there is strong evidence that increasing sea temperatures increase the intensity of tropical storms when they develop. Heavier rainfall is also expected as global temperatures rise because a warmer atmosphere holds more moisture. Additionally, rising sea levels increase the risk of coastal flooding as hurricanes make landfall.

Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Research: Finance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the light of concerns expressed by the UK scientific community regarding future participation in EU funded research projects, what funds will be made available to UK research teams following Brexit.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 19 October 2017

This Government wants the UK to be the go-to place for researchers, innovators and investors across the world. This is why we are increasing research and development investment by £4.7 billion over the period 2017-18 to 2020-21, an increase of around 20% to total government R&D spending, more than any increase in any parliament since 1979.

We would welcome an agreement to continue to collaborate with our European partners on major science, research, and technology initiatives. On 6 September we published a future partnership paper on collaboration on science and innovation. As part of our ambition for a new deep and special partnership with the EU, recognising our shared interest in maintaining and strengthening research collaboration, the UK will seek an agreement that promotes science and innovation across Europe now and in the future.

While we remain a member of the EU, UK businesses and universities should continue to bid for competitive EU funds, and we will work with the Commission to ensure payment when funds are awarded. The Government will underwrite the payment of such awards, even when specific projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU. This includes awards that are bid for before exit that are successful after exit.

Q
Asked by Lord Patten
Asked on: 12 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Shares
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of public company share buybacks on the economy.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 19 October 2017

In its response of 29th August to the Corporate Governance Reform green paper consultation, the Government stated that it will take forward its manifesto commitment to commission an examination of the use of share buy-backs by public companies. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will shortly be commissioning research to underpin this work. The research will consider the impact of share buy-backs both on executive remuneration outcomes and on investment by public companies.

Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Zero Hours Contracts
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the social and economic consequences of restricting zero-hours contracts to students and pensioners.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 18 October 2017

I refer the noble Lord to the answer I gave to question UIN HL893 that states that the government has not made an estimate of the social and economic consequences of restricting zero hours contracts to students and pensioners.

The government has not assessed the social and economic consequences of restricting zero hours contracts to students and pensioners. The Matthew Taylor review found that zero hours contracts have a part to play in a modern, flexible labour market and benefit those who cannot or do not want to work in a regular contract.

However, this government shares the concerns regarding flexible work arrangements. That is why in October 2016 my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister asked Matthew Taylor to carry out an independent review to consider employment practices and whether they need to change to keep pace with modern business models. We are now considering the report and will respond in full later in the year.

Q
Asked by Lord Empey
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Bombardier: Northern Ireland
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what financial support they provided to Bombardier Aircraft Division for the "C" Series aircraft; what was the amount of that support; and when that support was forthcoming, and under what terms.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 17 October 2017

The UK Government's Repayable Launch Investment of £113.37 million to support Bombardier Aerospace (Shorts) in the design and development of the C Series aircraft wings was notified to the European Commission on 19 December 2008; and was approved on 18 June 2009.


Terms of the repayable launch investment are commercially sensitive.

Grouped Questions: HL1717
Q
Asked by Lord Empey
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Bombardier: Northern Ireland
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether monies provided by them to Bombardier Aircraft Division for the "C" Series aircraft were examined for compliance with EU state aid rules; and, if so, with what result.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 17 October 2017

The UK Government's Repayable Launch Investment of £113.37 million to support Bombardier Aerospace (Shorts) in the design and development of the C Series aircraft wings was notified to the European Commission on 19 December 2008; and was approved on 18 June 2009.


Terms of the repayable launch investment are commercially sensitive.

Grouped Questions: HL1716
Asked on: 09 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Food
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the total amount of food waste generated by BEIS offices for each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 17 October 2017

The total amount of food waste generated by BEIS offices for each of the last five years is shown in the attached table. Entries shaded in grey are estimates.

BEIS food waste statistics (Word Document, 16.03 KB)
Q
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Pregnancy: Discrimination
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what if any proposals they have to provide new and expectant mothers with further protections from redundancy; and whether they have any plans to address the use of confidentiality agreements in out of court settlements which prevent women from speaking publicly about their treatment.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 17 October 2017

The Government’s response to Women and Equalities Select Committee Inquiry into pregnancy and maternity discrimination earlier this year said that we “will consider further and bring forward proposals to ensure that the protections in place for those who are pregnant or returning from maternity leave are sufficient”. We are reviewing whether we need stronger protection against redundancy for pregnant women and women returning from maternity leave and will consult on options in due course.

The Government has no plans to address the use of confidentiality agreements. Employees and employers need the freedom to reach a mutually acceptable negotiated settlement, so the Government does not want to impose further constraints on the provisions of settlement agreements.

Q
Asked on: 10 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Business: Billing
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Prior of Brampton on 29 June (HL53), stating that the Payment Practices Reporting online service will be available for users to begin reporting their payment practices from October, whether that online service has yet been launched and advertised; and out of the estimated 15,200 businesses in scope to comply with the payment practices and performance reporting requirements, how many have so far been issued an invitation to use the service.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 17 October 2017

The Payment Practices Reporting online service has been launched on the GOV.UK website, and is now available to all businesses in scope of the requirements without the need for an invitation. The Department is now working to raise awareness of the existence of the service, including by contacting business representative bodies. Before the service was launched, 350 invitations were issued. The Department does not hold information on how many of these invitations were issued to businesses in scope of the requirement.

Q
Asked by Lord Beecham
Asked on: 02 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Rented Housing: Energy
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the number of rented properties which they anticipate will benefit from the requirement for landlords to upgrade properties rated in energy bands F and G to at least band E; and what is their estimate of the number of such properties which will be exempted from the requirement on the grounds that the work would be at net cost to the landlord.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 16 October 2017

Under the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property)(England and Wales) Regulations 2015, all landlords of domestic and non-domestic privately rented property in England and Wales will need to ensure that, from 1 April 2018, their properties reach at least an energy performance rating of E before granting a tenancy to new or existing tenants, unless a prescribed exemption applies.

Based on the most recent English Housing Survey data, BEIS has estimated that, as of 2017, there were approximately 278,000 domestic, and around 200,000 non-domestic privately rented properties in England and Wales with an energy performance rating below E. We have made no formal estimate of the number of landlords in the domestic sector who may seek an exemption from these requirements on grounds of cost.

Government announced recently in the Clean Growth Strategy that it will consult shortly on steps to make the domestic energy efficiency regulations more effective. We will also look at a longer term trajectory to improve the energy performance standards of privately rented homes, with the aim of upgrading as many private rented homes as possible to Energy Performance Certificate Band C by 2030 where practical, cost effective and affordable.

Q
Asked by Lord Rooker
Asked on: 11 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Congenital Abnormalities: Research
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what Government-sponsored research is currently under way in respect of neural tube defect births.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 23 October 2017

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), through its Clinical Research Network, is supporting two studies relating to neural tube defects:

  1. Database Development for Newborn Screening Disorders

A study to develop a genotype-phenotype correlative database for six Newborn Screening Disorders by performing Next Generation DNA Sequencing on a small panel of genes and collecting medical record information from screen positive and clinically affected patients.

  1. Prevention of Neural Tube Defects by Inositol (PONTI)

The study is intended to address the question of whether combined treatment folic acid and inositol is more effective at preventing neural tube defects than folic acid alone.

Research relating to neural tube defect births is also be supported through the Research Councils. Examples of current and recent projects supported by the Medical Research Council (MRC) include:

  • Understanding the role of the Glycine Cleavage System in Neural Tube Defects

This project studies a group of proteins involved in folate handling and looks at their possible involvement in neural tube defects.

  • Investigating the effect of folic acid on the neural tube defect methylome

In many cases, neural tube defects (NTDs) are preventable by the mother taking periconceptional supplements of folic acid. This study is designed to generate a better understanding of the processes of normal and abnormal neural tube development and how folic acid interacts with this.

As Government funders of health research, neither the NIHR nor the MRC allocate funding for specific disease areas. The level of research spend in a particular area, such as neural tube defects, is driven by factors including scientific potential and the number and scale of successful funding applications. MRC welcomes high quality applications in any disease area.

Q
Asked by Lord Hain
Asked on: 13 September 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Shops: Closures
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many bookshops have closed in the UK since 2010.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 04 October 2017

In 2016, there were 2,005 retail units specialised in selling books in the UK, compared to 2,055 in 2010 (ONS business counts).

Q
Asked on: 12 September 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Electric Vehicles
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to improve the capacity of the electricity grid to cope with additional demand resulting from increased numbers of electric cars and buses.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 26 September 2017

The Government has set out its ambition for almost all cars and vans to be zero emissions by 2050, and that sales of new conventional cars and vans will end by 2040. By setting these long-term goals, the Government can ensure that there is plenty of time to ready the grid for the mass transition towards cleaner, more efficient vehicles.

We have regular discussions with all the key parties in the electricity systems – including energy suppliers, network operators and National Grid – to ensure that all parties are prepared for electric vehicle take up. The capacity market is our principal tool for ensuring we have sufficient capacity to meet demand. National Grid use the latest trends in supply and demand (including from electric vehicles) when advising on the volume of capacity to secure through these auctions.

Distribution Network Operators forecast the likely uptake of plug-in electric vehicles, in discussion with Government, in order to shape their investment plans. Government is also taking powers as part of the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill to require all new chargepoints sold or installed in the UK to be smart enabled. Smart charging can help reduce the impact of electric vehicles on the electricity network by ensuring that they can flex to the grid’s need, avoiding existing peaks in demand.

Q
Asked on: 11 September 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Lighting
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government who made the decision to replace the lightbulb classification system from watts to lumens; and whether they intend to review that classification system once the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 20 September 2017

No decision has been made to replace lightbulb classification from watts to lumens. The “luminous efficacy” of lightbulbs has for many years internationally been measured in lumens (measure of brightness) per watt (measure of power). This is the ratio of light out /energy in. There are currently information requirements placed on suppliers of lightbulbs that require the packaging to display the equivalent Watts of the lumen rating. However, as the demand for LEDs increases in the UK, lumens per watt is becoming a more appropriate measure of a lamp’s effectiveness in converting electricity to light.

Q
Asked on: 12 September 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Small Businesses: Government Assistance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the monetary benefit to individual small and medium-sized enterprises from support provided under the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 20 September 2017

At around 5.5m, small and medium-sized businesses comprise 99.9% of UK businesses. The Government recognises the importance of small and medium-sized businesses and the valuable contribution that they make to our economy.

To avoid overburdening businesses the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 has, amongst other things, reduced regulatory burdens, improved payment practices across the public sector and improved access to finance.

In many instances it would be difficult to quantify the monetary benefit directly attributable to the support provided under the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015, rather than by other business activities.

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 energy production from the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station that consumers or the National Grid will buy in 2030, even if that energy is not needed due to the growth of renewable energy and home energy storage; and, if so, what that level is.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 20 September 2017

The Government has not contractually agreed a minimum level of energy production from the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. The Contract for Difference (CfD), agreed on October 2016, is an agreement to pay the generator the difference between the wholesale market price and a “strike price” for every megawatt hour of electricity they generate. It is the generator’s responsibility to sell their power in the wholesale market.

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.

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