Monday 14 June 2021
The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review
At Spring Statement 2019, the Government commissioned an independent, global review on the economics of biodiversity. “The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review” was published on 2 February [HCWS752].
Having examined its findings, I have today laid before Parliament the Government response to the Dasgupta review (CP 466).
In response to the review, the Government commits to: delivering a “nature positive” future, in which we leave the environment in a better state than we found it, and reverse biodiversity loss globally by 2030; and ensuring that economic and financial decision making, and the systems and institutions that underpin it, supports the delivery of a nature positive future.
The response sets out the ways in which the Government are already making significant progress towards delivering that future, for example, in England, re-orienting agricultural support to improve the environment, animal health and welfare, and reduce carbon emissions. The Government have also committed to spend at least £3 billion of the UK’s international climate finance on nature and biodiversity over five years, and have set out a 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution which will mobilise £12 billion of Government investment to create and support up to 250,000 highly skilled green jobs across the UK.
Building on our nature agenda, the response also sets out the ways in which the Government will go further in light of many of the review’s conclusions, including by:
legislating in England for a binding target for species abundance to be achieved by 2030, aiming to halt the decline of nature;
legislating in England for “biodiversity net gain” for nationally significant infrastructure projects through a new amendment to the Environment Bill which will be tabled shortly;
ensuring all new UK bilateral aid spending does no harm to nature;
committing up to £3 million additional support to the development of the taskforce on nature-related financial disclosures framework, which will support financial institutions and companies to report and act on nature-related risks.
working with the Office for National Statistics to improve the way nature is incorporated into our national accounts and maximise their use in policy-making; and
incorporating biodiversity into the UK Government green financing framework, which will determine which projects are eligible for financing under the UK Government’s green gilt programme.
The Government’s response to the review is published at:
Copies of the paper are available in the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office.
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Tourism Recovery Plan
The Government have published a tourism recovery plan which sets out a framework for the tourism sector’s recovery from covid-19. This is a cross-Government plan which recognises that tourism supports, or is supported by, the work of nearly every Government Department. This plan brings together recent, existing and planned support for the sector by the UK Government into one framework.
In November 2020, as part of the first global travel taskforce report, the UK Government made a commitment to bring forward a tourism recovery plan in 2021 which was reiterated in the Prime Minister’s spring reopening road map published in February. The commitment to produce a recovery plan arose from the simple fact that tourism has been one of the hardest hit sectors of the UK economy by covid-19.
The UK Government want to see a growing, dynamic, sustainable and world-leading tourism sector reaching its full potential and driving growth across all parts of the UK. Specifically, we are aiming to:
Recover domestic overnight trip volume and spend to 2019 levels by the end of 2022, as well as inbound visitor numbers and spend by the end of 2023: both targets are a year faster than independent forecasts predict;
Ensure that the tourism sector’s recovery benefits every nation and region in the UK, with growing accommodation occupancy rates in the off-season, visitors staying longer and world-class levels of investment in tourism products and transport;
Build back better with a more innovative and resilient tourism industry, maximising the potential for technology and data to enhance the visitor experience and employ more UK nationals in year-round quality jobs;
Ensure the tourism sector contributes to the enhancement and conservation of our cultural, natural and historic heritage, minimises damage to the environment and is inclusive and accessible to all; and
Return the UK swiftly to its pre-pandemic position as a leading European destination nation for hosting business events such as trade fairs, conferences and exhibitions.
A short term focus of the plan is to provide businesses with the support they need to return back to profit. For example, over £25 billion has already been provided to the tourism, leisure and hospitality sectors in the form of grants, loans and tax breaks, and tourism has been one of the most reliant economic sectors on measures such as the furlough scheme. The Government have allocated at least £19 million to domestic and international marketing activity to help with the recovery, with a £5.5 million domestic campaign led by VisitEngland already under way. Measures such as the VAT cut for tourism and hospitality, and a continuation of business rates relief for eligible properties will continue supporting businesses, and new proposals such as the introduction of a domestic tourism rail product and the National Lottery days out scheme will help stimulate demand. There is a particular focus in the plan on maximising the set piece events scheduled for 2022: Her Majesty’s platinum jubilee, the Festival UK* 2022 and the Commonwealth Games, which will all act as major domestic and international tourist draws.
Once restrictions are lifted, the Government will focus on building back better. For example, the plan lays out significant levels of UK-wide investment already under way in tourism product and infrastructure, as well as new support due to come in over subsequent years, such as the £4.8 billion levelling-up fund. We will also bring forward a consultation on the introduction of a tourism accommodation registration scheme in England.
A root and branch independent review of destination management organisations (DMOs) in England, led by Nick de Bois, is already under way. This review was launched in March 2021 and is assessing how best to structure and support tourism at a regional level. Other measures, such as an expanded ministerial advocacy and industry ambassadorial programme for business events, will help cement the UK’s position as a leading European destination nation for hosting business events.
To ensure the success of the plan, a new quarterly inter-ministerial group for tourism, chaired by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, will be set up to deliver and update this plan as necessary. The tourism recovery plan will be revisited at regular intervals to ensure the right policy interventions are in place. The Government will work collaboratively with the Tourism Industry Council and other key stakeholders from across the tourism sector in order to get it done.
A copy of this document will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
Teacher Training Application System
The teacher recruitment and retention strategy, published in January 2019, committed to helping people become teachers by introducing a new streamlined application system for postgraduate initial teacher training. This application system, known as the Apply for Teacher Training service (Apply), is easy to use and designed to better meet the needs of potential trainees. The new service also ensures teacher training providers can make accurate decisions on whether their applicants are right for the courses they are offering.
During the October 2019 admissions cycle, this digital service was piloted by a number of school-centred initial teacher training providers and schools across England. In October 2020, the pilot was extended to 11 universities offering initial teacher training courses. The service has been designed and developed based on ongoing feedback from candidates, universities, and schools to ensure it is as efficient and easy to use as possible.
The new Apply service will fully replace the existing UCAS teacher training service from the October 2021 admissions cycle. I have instructed UCAS to decommission its teacher training service and all applications to postgraduate initial teacher training courses in England will be processed through the Department’s new Apply service from October.