Written question – Trade [19/06/2018]

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether the Government plans to remove tariffs on solar technology components. (152803)

Tabled on: 12 June 2018

Answer: Greg Hands:

Work is ongoing to develop the UK’s future independent tariff policy via the Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill, as we leave the EU. No decision has yet been taken on what the future UK applied tariff rates will be post-EU Exit, and this department is continuing to look at all options.

Furthermore, the UK continues to support efforts at the WTO to reach agreement on the Environmental Goods Agreement which would promote the trade in green products, including that of solar panels and their associated technology.

The Department for International Trade published a call for evidence on the 28 November 2017 with the aim of identifying which UK businesses produce goods currently subject to anti-dumping, or anti-subsidy measures, or to on-going investigations related to these.

It asks those businesses to state whether they support, are neutral to, or oppose the maintaining of those measures, when the UK begins to operate its independent trade remedy framework. It asks for data about those businesses’ production and sales, and total UK production and sales.

We invite other interested parties to provide relevant information for measures of interest to them. This will enable us to make an accurate assessment of applications to maintain measures.

The answer was submitted on 19 Jun 2018 at 17:58.

FOBT Losses

The amount of money lost on FOBTs since 2016 is staggering and further highlights why the maximum unit stake on these machines must be lowered to £2 as soon as possible.

The intervention of HM Treasury in delaying the stake reduction is deeply disappointing and frustrating.  It’s time they ditched their blocking tactics and allow the policy decision to be implemented.  

I was delighted to be re-elected as vice-chair of the All-party parliamentary group (APPG) and I will continue to campaign for further action to address gambling related harm.  I hope to secure a debate on the subject in the near future.


Written question – Business [19/06/2018]

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what financial support the Government is providing to small and medium-sized businesses in the renewables sector. (152224)

Tabled on: 11 June 2018

Claire Perry:

The UK is a world leader in clean growth and much of the UK’s renewable electricity sector is comprised of small and medium sized businesses. Small and medium-sized businesses in the renewables sector benefit from a range of support delivered as a result of Government policies, for example through the contracts for difference, the feed in tariff and the renewable heat incentive policies. In addition, the Government is investing £2.5 billion to support low carbon innovation in the UK between 2015 and 2021 and are making clean growth a priority of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

The answer was submitted on 19 Jun 2018 at 14:17.


Written Question – Home Office [18/06/2018]

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether he is taking steps to expand the scope of the refugee family reunion rules. (153364)

Tabled on: 13 June 2018

Caroline Nokes:

The Government’s approach to refugee family reunion has provided a safe and legal route for more than 25,000 partners and children of those granted protection here in the last five years. Our family reunion policy allows immediate pre-flight family members of those granted protection here to reunite with them. The Immigration Rules also provide for relatives with protection in the UK to sponsor children in serious and compelling circumstances and there is provision in the policy to grant visas outside the Rules in exceptional circumstances, which caters for family members who otherwise do not qualify under the Rules.

We are listening carefully to calls to expand the scope of the refugee family reunion rules and are reviewing our approach as part of the Government’s wider asylum and resettlement strategy. We continue to follow the passage of two Private Members’ Bills on refugee family reunion closely and will continue our productive discussions with non-governmental organisations in this area.

However, expanding the policy without careful thought could risk more people being put in harms’ way. We also remain committed to focussing our support, and local authority resources, on the most vulnerable refugees. It is important that we think carefully before expanding the scope of family reunion to those who may not need protection.

The answer was submitted on 18 Jun 2018 at 18:05.


Westminster diary w/b 11th June


My flight was delayed after I got to the airport so I utilised the time to catch up on the pile of reading that never seems to get any smaller. Despite the delay I was on time for the transport select committee where we took evidence around Mobility as a Service (Mass). As a concept it works and has many benefits. Lessons can be learned from Helsinki but the cooperation between private business and state owned organisations will be crucial as will the cooperation between the countries and regions of the U.K. The rest of the day was spent preparing for the EU (withdrawal) Bill which will be debated over the next two days.


The day started with the Select Committee for public administration and the constitution. We were giving due consideration of our next report on civil Service responsiveness. The first decision was to change the terrible name of the report! It examines the working relationship between Whitehall civil servants and government departmental ministers. I attended a Westminster Hall debate on the elimination of hepatitis C. I was glad to hear that needle exchanges and drug consumption rooms were considered. The spread of Hep C is greatly reduced within the drug injecting community when these facilities exist. I attended a briefing on the war on drugs from an ex special operations member from the USA. It was a scary call to come down hard with the full force of the armed law enforcement officers. He clearly had a personal vendetta and I managed to disagree with practically all his conclusions. Then we had the farcical European Union withdrawal bill debate. When the bill was first in the commons we were consistently told that there would be plenty of time to debate it once it came back from the Lords. The Lords laid down 196 amendments. The entire bill was allocated six hours today and six tomorrow. Devolution was restricted to 15 minutes and when it came down to it the minister talked it out. This was a flagrant disregard for the devolved powers and an abuse of the Parliamentary process. We raised a series of points of orders to gain clarification.


I started off at the Transport select committee where we once again appraised the UK Government response to our report on the airport National Policy Statement (NPS). For those that follow the Heathrow expansion debate, it isn’t finished yet. Then onto PMQs which turned into an event to remember. Despite following parliamentary procedure to the letter, the SNP group leader was sent from the house and barred from returning for the rest of the day. I along with all my SNP MPs present walked out of PMQs in solidarity. We did not walk out on parliament. We continue to fulfil all our roles as MPs. Our protest is against the UK Government and how Westminster has legislated on devolved Brexit matters, without meaningful debate and despite the Legislative Consent Motion (LCM) from the Scottish Parliament being withheld. In the evening we returned to take part in the archaic voting process that Westminster loves so much.


I attended questions to the Brexit Secretary followed by business questions. The Secretary of State for Scotland then came to the House to make a statement about the EU (Withdrawal) Bill and devolved powers. It was extremely insipid and didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know. As a result the SNP requested an emergency debate on the Sewell convention under statutory instrument 24. That debate was granted and will take place next Monday. I caught the 18:15 flight home.


I attended and spoke at a carer’s event as part of Carers Week. The theme this year is supporting carers to be healthy and connected. In the afternoon I had meetings at River Clyde Homes and Police Scotland. In the evening I went to the Notre Dame High School musical.

Plans to Delay Cut to FOBTs

The Treasury intend to stall the implementation of the £2 maximum unit stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) until April 2020. That is a full year longer than expected. The outcome of which will be that gambling related harm will continue to being inflicted on those the UK Government has previously stated they aim to help.

The Treasury’s argument is that they need to make up the shortfall in the revenue they stand to lose. I don’t think it’s beyond the combined financial wisdom of the entire Treasury to solve that conundrum before next November and include it in this year’s Finance Bill. They just need to find the will and take the required necessary actions to reduce gambling related harm.