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Written Statements

Volume 716: debated on Monday 20 June 2022

Written Statements

Monday 20 June 2022

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UK Conformity Assessed Marking Regime: Support for Business

I am pleased to announce that the Government are going further to make it easier and cheaper for businesses to move to the new UKCA product regulation regime.

Our new UKCA regime gives us the chance to take control of the way products are regulated and ensure these rules work to the benefit of business and consumers in Great Britain. The UKCA marking will become mandatory for most goods which previously used the CE and reverse epsilon markings if they are first placed on the market in Great Britain after 31 December 2022.

The Government understand that moving to this new regime has meant changes for businesses. While change is necessary, we want to take a pragmatic approach. We have been consulting with industry to understand their key concerns in the transition to the UKCA marking regime.

The Government want to make it easier for businesses to comply with the changes so we will introduce four measures to further support businesses adopting UKCA. These measures are designed to reduce compliance burdens and prevent costs that could be passed on to consumers. These changes will apply to BEIS sectors requiring the UKCA marking, other Departments will make related announcements on arrangements for their sectors as required in due course. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities is making a UKCA announcement in conjunction with BEIS today, as indicated below.

These measures are as follows:

Government will reduce re-testing costs for UKCA certification, by allowing certificates provided by EU (European Union) conformity assessment bodies (CABs) issued before the end of this year to be used as a basis for UKCA marking certification—including a specific arrangement for construction products, via the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. This will prevent duplication and immediate increased costs for businesses.

Government will make clear there is no need to re-test existing imported stock, as these products will be considered already placed on the Great Britain (GB) market. This will prevent the costly, and unnecessary re-labelling of existing stock for businesses.

Government will make clear that spare parts that repair or replace goods already on the GB market can meet the same requirements as the goods that they repair or replace. This will allow products and goods requiring spare parts to continue to be maintained.

Government will allow the UKCA marking and importer details to be added to products using a sticky label or on an accompanying document until 31 December 2025. This will allow business to adjust their product design to accommodate marking changes at a convenient and cost-effective time.

The Government intend to lay secondary legislation before the end of the calendar year to give effect to the changes for labelling and testing. Our guidance will be updated to reflect our changes to spare parts and existing stock.

These measures are being implemented to address the concerns we have heard through working closely with industry. Officials in the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, in collaboration with other Departments, will continue to engage actively with industry and support their preparations ahead of the full introduction of UKCA rules at the end of 2022.


Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

“Data: a new direction” Consultation: Government Response

On 17 June 2022, we published the Government response to the “Data: A new direction” consultation document, and in the Queen’s Speech on 10 May 2022 it was announced that a data reform Bill will be introduced in the third Session of this Parliament.

Data is the driving force of modern economies and, by removing barriers to responsible data sharing and use, we aim to become the world’s No. 1 data destination: an open, welcoming and secure environment where companies from all over the world can innovate and grow, and where responsible data usage improves people’s lives.

It is because we have left the EU that we have the opportunity to build an independent data protection regime that works in the UK’s interests. We have the regulatory freedom to simplify some of the cumbersome parts of the UK General Data Protection Regulation and reduce the barriers of responsible data use.

The new regime will also maintain the fundamental data protection principles established by the UK GDPR. The Government remain committed to ensuring continued, high data protection standards and public trust in data, both of which will continue to be at the heart of our new regime.

The consultation response sets out how we will create a new, flexible, independent regime under which the value of data can truly be maximised. By clarifying data protection rules regarding research, we can give scientists the confidence to use data responsibly and effectively, meaning greater data-driven innovations.

We will remove some of the most prescriptive but unnecessary rules in UK GDPR, which organisations currently must follow to demonstrate compliance. This will reduce the burdens on businesses by giving them the flexibility to protect personal data in ways that work most effectively for their organisations and their clients. By reducing burdens, we can make businesses more efficient and more productive.

We will also use our repatriated “adequacy” powers from the EU to remove inappropriate barriers to the flow of UK personal data overseas, so that we can support trade and scientific collaboration as well as national security and law enforcement cooperation.

We will also make sure that there is better enforcement of data protection and privacy breaches, and we will take firmer action against nuisance callers and make it easier to stop this predatory behaviour to begin with. We will also make sure that data can be used to empower people and improve their lives.

Our reforms will directly benefit the public—we will make it easier for public bodies to share data, making public healthcare, law enforcement and Government services more effective.

The consultation response also sets out reforms to the Information Commissioner’s Office—we will modernise its governance framework with an independent board and require it to take into account the impact of its activities on areas such as economic growth, innovation and competition. We will also make the ICO more accountable to the public and Parliament by setting out a range of key performance indicators and other reporting requirements.

The consultation response recognises that political parties and elected representatives frequently need to process personal data for the purposes of democratic engagement. We intend to create a clearer legal basis for such processing to occur. The intent is to allow MPs, councillors and political parties to undertake democratic engagement that they have done for decades—such as opinion surveys of local residents or targeted letters to constituents—but where GDPR has added unnecessary complexity and confusion. This builds on measures in the Data Protection Act 2018 which received broad cross-party support at the time.

The UK is firmly committed to maintaining high data protection standards, and we will continue to operate a high-quality regime that promotes growth and innovation and underpins the trustworthy use of data. EU adequacy decisions do not require an “adequate” country to have the same rules, and our view is that reform of UK legislation on personal data will be compatible with maintaining free flow of personal data from Europe.

The reforms we have set out will create a new and independent data protection regime that will confer many benefits on people, businesses and researchers, while maintaining high standards of personal data protection. The Government response to the consultation is available on and I will also place a copy in the Libraries of both Houses.


Health and Social Care

Antimicrobials: Evaluation and Purchase

The ability of bacteria—and other types of pathogen—to develop and propagate resistance to the available therapeutic drugs and medicines, such as antibiotics, used to treat them is a significant and growing threat. Alongside extensive efforts to tackle this threat, as set out in the Government’s five-year National Action Plan, we have sought to reduce the need for antibiotics. This is being achieved through both effective infection prevention and control, and through careful stewardship of the antibiotics that we have at our disposal, by reducing inappropriate prescribing. It is also essential that we incentivise the development—by pharmaceutical companies—of new antimicrobials, which has historically been challenging. To address this challenge, we committed to develop and test a new purchasing model for antimicrobials that de-links payments for antibiotics from the volumes used.

As a result, NHS England and Improvement (NHSEI), the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) launched a joint project in July 2019 to test a “subscription-style” payment for two antibiotics, basing the annual payment on a NICE-led assessment of the value of the medicines, rather than on the volumes of drugs used. On 12 April 2022, NICE published guidance estimating the value of the two antibiotics to the NHS. This guidance informed negotiations between NHSEI and the two companies to agree payment levels in the “subscription-style” contracts.

I would like to inform the House that the contracts between NHSEI and the two pharmaceutical companies have now been signed. Payments to the companies for their antibiotics, Cefiderocol—manufactured by Shionogi —and Ceftazidime with Avibactum—manufactured by Pfizer—will start on 1 July 2022.

This world-leading project represents an important development in our approach to incentivising innovation in antimicrobial drugs and in our efforts to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR). We will continue to build on this work to develop routine arrangements for the evaluation and purchase of new antimicrobials as they are developed. I will be writing to my counterparts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to formally invite them to participate in these next steps, to ensure that the project can be adapted and scaled across the UK.

Maintaining momentum on our international advocacy and action on market incentives is crucial. We hope other countries will offer similar incentives in their own domestic markets, so that collectively we can achieve a meaningful incentive for global investment in antimicrobials. This project is representative of our leading role in this area, aligning with the Government’s vision for a Global Britain.


Women's Health Ambassador

In December 2021 when we published “Our Vision for the Women’s Health Strategy for England”, we announced that we would be appointing a Women’s Health Ambassador.

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Dame Lesley Regan DBE MD DSc FRCOG as the first ever Women’s Health Ambassador for England.

The Ambassador will focus on raising the profile of women’s health, increasing awareness of taboo topics and bringing a range of collaborative voices to implement the Women’s Health Strategy. The Ambassador will develop networks across and outside Government to champion women’s health and break down stigmas which surround particular areas of women’s health, such as the menopause, endometriosis and PCOS, and mental health and wellbeing.

We will also appoint a deputy Women’s Health Ambassador to maximise the positive impacts of the role. The deputy ambassador will work collaboratively with the Women’s Health Ambassador to help increase awareness and build relationships with community groups and women and girls across the country.

Dame Lesley Regan is Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Imperial College’s St Mary’s Hospital Campus, and Honorary Consultant in Gynaecology at the Imperial College NHS Trust. She is also Honorary Secretary of the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) and the Immediate Past President (2016-2019) of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), only the second woman to ever hold this role and the first in 64 years. As President of the RCOG, she oversaw the publication of the ground-breaking Better For Women report, the findings and recommendations of which have informed the development of our Women’s Health Strategy.

When we set about recruiting the Women’s Health Ambassador, we heard from many highly qualified candidates who were interested in the role. I am very grateful for their interest in the role.

Next steps on the Women’s Health Strategy

The Women’s Health Strategy will set out an ambitious and positive new agenda to improve the health and wellbeing of women across England and reduce disparities, focusing both on the priority healthcare issues for women and key thematic priorities across the life course. I look forward to announcing the publication of the new Women’s Health Strategy shortly and to working with the new Women’s Health Ambassador to deliver real change for women in England.



HS2 Phase 2b Western Leg: Crewe to Manchester

As set out in a written ministerial statement to Parliament on 6 June 2022, the Government are today publishing a supplement to the January 2022 update to the High Speed 2 (HS2) Crewe - Manchester Strategic Outline Business Case (SOBC). This supplement to the SOBC sets out the implications of removing the Golborne Link from the High Speed (Crewe - Manchester) Bill scheme.

The January 2022 update to the SOBC set out the importance of the proposed scheme in linking Manchester to the high-speed network, reducing journey times between the UK’s biggest economic regions—the south-east, midlands, and north-west—and generating much needed passenger and network capacity on the West Coast Mainline (WCML), the UK’s busiest mixed rail use corridor. It also outlined the scheme’s central role in rebalancing the UK economy by providing the platform for economic growth and regeneration in Manchester and the North West, and its importance as the strategic enabler for Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) and the wider Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands (IRP).

This scheme also included the Golborne Link, a proposed connection from the HS2 network near Hoo Green to the WCML just south of Wigan, aimed at increasing the number of HS2 services between England and Scotland.

As announced on 6 June 2022, subject to the will of Parliament, the Government no longer intend to seek powers to construct the Golborne Link as part of this Bill. As Sir Peter Hendy’s Union Connectivity Review made clear the Golborne link might not resolve all the rail capacity constraints on the West Coast Mainline between Crewe and Preston. The Government will therefore take time to consider alternatives which deliver similar benefits to Scotland as the Golborne link, so long as these deliver for the taxpayer within the £96 billion envelope allocated for the Integrated Rail Plan, and to understand the deliverability of the alternatives.

HS2 is an essential factor in achieving the transformative impact of the Government’s £96 billion Integrated Rail Plan, connecting our major cities, including connections between the North and Midlands. With other elements of the IRP, it will encourage businesses to invest beyond London while retaining ready access to the capital. It will make it easier for people to find high-wage, high-skilled jobs without having to travel south. This will help drive productivity and growth, benefiting the whole country.

A copy of the supplement to the Strategic Outline Business Case will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses and made publicly accessible online.


Restoring Your Railway Update

Today I am pleased to announce further development funding for nine rail schemes under the restoring your railway fund. This brings communities in Yorkshire, Staffordshire, County Durham and beyond one step closer to being reconnected to the rail network, with the transformational levelling up opportunities for jobs, homes and education that public transport provides.

The restoring your railway fund is making substantial progress to restore previously closed rail lines: the £500 million commitment is supporting the development or delivery of over 45 schemes across England and Wales, and we have already reintroduced services to the Dartmoor line between Okehampton and Exeter.

I am today announcing further funding for schemes that entered restoring your railway as early-stage ideas, which have already been supported through the Fund to develop a Strategic Outline Business Case and will now be progressing further. I am also announcing funding for proposals at more advanced stages.

The nine schemes receiving further funding with the potential to level up and reconnect communities are: the Barrow Hill line between Sheffield and Chesterfield; the Ivanhoe line between Leicester and Burton on Trent; new stations at Meir in Staffordshire, Haxby in Yorkshire, Devizes in Wiltshire and Ferryhill in County Durham; Aldridge station and line upgrade in Walsall; reinstating the Fleetwood line; and the Mid Cornwall Metro scheme for services between Newquay and Falmouth.

More than 50 years since the railways were radically reshaped during the infamous Beeching cuts of the 1960s, when thousands of miles of both track and stations were closed, the restoring your railway Fund is now focused on developing and delivering the benefits of the schemes within its portfolio. If delivered, these lines and stations will make a real contribution to levelling up the country, reinvigorating high streets and breathing new life into previously cut off areas.

Alongside this announcement we are publishing a restoring your railway fund update, which sets out progress on all schemes that have received funding and will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses, as well as being publicly accessible online through the website.


HGV Levy Reform Consultation

My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Baroness Vere of Norbiton) has made the following ministerial statement.

Today the Government are publishing a consultation on reforming the heavy goods vehicle (HGV) levy. The HGV levy has been suspended since 1 August 2020 to support the haulage sector and aid pandemic recovery efforts. Today’s consultation seeks industry views on two ways in which the levy could be reformed when the suspension ends as planned on 31 July 2023.

Firstly, the Government are considering reforming the HGV levy so that it is more reflective of the environmental performance of the vehicle. The levy would be restructured to be based on the weight of the vehicle, as an indicative proxy for carbon dioxide emissions. If this reform were carried out, the majority of UK vehicles will pay less or the same than they did before the previous levy was suspended. The alternative would be to continue with the current structure and rates.

Second, the Government are minded to reform the levy liability for foreign HGVs, such that they pay only when driving on major roads. This is to clarify that the levy design is unambiguously in line with the Government’s international obligations.

The consultation will be published on the Department for Transport website and will run for four weeks.


Work and Pensions

Office for Nuclear Regulation: Corporate Plan 2022-23

My noble Friend The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Baroness Stedman-Scott) has made the following written statement.

Later today I will lay before this House the Office for Nuclear Regulation corporate plan 2022-2023. This document will also be published on the ONR website.

I can confirm, in accordance with schedule 7, section 25(3) of the Energy Act 2013, that there have been no exclusions to the published documents on the grounds of national security.