Skip to main content


Volume 715: debated on Thursday 26 May 2022

My Department is playing an active role in delivering the national cyber strategy 2022, backed by £2.6 billion of public money. That includes a focus on enhancing the nation’s cyber-skills. The UK Cyber Security Council was launched by the Department last year and received its royal charter in early 2022. It will play a key role in building world-leading skills architecture for the cyber profession. We are also ensuring that tech is designed in a secure way, and our new Telecommunications (Security) Act 2021 is helping to protect the most vulnerable parts of UK networks and services.

Given that fraud is one of the main purposes of cyber-attack, will the Government take the advice of the Royal United Services Institute to make cyber-security and tackling fraud a national security priority, so that the full apparatus of our security establishment can be brought to bear against overseas fraudsters?

My hon. Friend raises an important issue. Tackling fraud needs a co-ordinated response from Government, so although policy on fraud is led by the Home Office, I assure him that the Government as a whole are taking significant action. I mentioned our national cyber strategy. We have also secured funding so that the UK intelligence community can set up a dedicated anti-fraud mission, and later this year we will publish a new strategy to address the threat. The Department recently introduced the Online Safety Bill, which will tackle some forms of online fraud and fraudulent advertising, and that will be built on by a wider online advertising programme.

Cyber-threats come in lots of guises, ranging from spreading misinformation to undermining democracy, stealing data and intelligence, and fraud, as we have just heard from the hon. Member for Wycombe (Mr Baker). Perhaps the most serious threat is the downing of critical infrastructure. What assessment has the Minister made of both the threats on downing critical infrastructure in the UK and how we overcome and challenge the people who seek to do it?

I thank the hon. Gentleman for taking this issue so seriously. We, as a House, need to give great consideration to it. We have a number of new powers in place, including the National Security and Investment Act 2021, which gives us greater powers to look into some of the investments being made in this area. On critical national infrastructure, he will understand that I cannot go into great detail, but I simply wish to assure him that I spend a great deal of time on that issue. The more that consumers and businesses depend on our critical national infrastructure, the greater attention the House needs to pay to it, and I assure him that I am doing a lot of working in that space.