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Sarah in Parliament

SARAH IN PARLIAMENT

Below is a full list of my speeches and questions in Parliament.

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20 June 2024

The National Infrastructure Commission said that the Government have reversed some progress on net zero. The right hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May) said that the Government’s roll-back on net zero has put off investors. A member of the Climate Change Committee has said that we are “not ready at all” for the impact of extreme weather on our national security. Mad, bad and dangerous. Will the Secretary of State finally back Great British Energy and the national wealth fund instead of lurching from crisis to crisis, not having a plan and selling out Britain?

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20 June 2024

I rise to present a petition on behalf of my constituents in Croydon Central and of all those affected by the contaminated blood scandal, and on the same topic as those presented by my hon. Friends the Members for Newport East (Jessica Morden) and for Cardiff West (Kevin Brennan). I add my thanks to my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull North (Dame Diana Johnson) for her tireless work in pursuing justice.

I am presenting this petition with one constituent in mind who has suffered for many years with undiagnosed hepatitis C as a result of having a transfusion of infected blood. She came to see me recently to help me understand the scale of the scandal and its human impact. Her stories and those of many more have been bypassed and overlooked for far too long. The petitioners

“request that the House of Commons urges the Government to implement the recommendations in the Second Interim Report of the Infected Blood Inquiry without delay.

Following is the full text of the petition:

[The petition of residents of the constituency of Croydon Central,

Declares that people who received infected blood and who have suffered as a consequence have, along with their families, waited for too long for redress.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to implement the recommendations in the Second Interim Report of the Infected Blood Inquiry without delay.

And the petitioners remain, etc].

[P002981]

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20 June 2024

No commitment to virgin steel from the Minister, then—what a shame. I welcome him to his place, and note that he visited Port Talbot steelworks last week, but he failed to meet any actual steelworkers of course. Instead of avoiding discussing the Government’s plans for £500 million of taxpayers’ money for the loss of nearly 3,000 jobs, will he please commit to meeting some Port Talbot steelworkers, and will he publish his economic assessment of the impact of the UK losing its capacity to make virgin steel—or is his actual plan to just keep his head down until the Prime Minister finally has the guts to call a general election and leave all these problems piling up for somebody else?

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20 June 2024

May I take this opportunity to pay tribute to the reservists based in Croydon, who, among many roles, have been in Estonia helping to keep us all safe? Labour wants to reach 2.5%, but my right hon. Friend the shadow Defence Secretary has asked why there is no budget line or fully funded plans for the announcement. This appears to be a bit of a pattern across Government. Only yesterday, I learned that a £1 billion announcement made about carbon capture and storage several years ago still appears nowhere on a Treasury budget line. If the Government play so fast and loose with our public funding, how on earth will the Secretary of State deliver the economic stability on which our defence spending relies?

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20 June 2024

The Conservative candidate for London Mayor has promoted Islamophobic tropes online, endorsed the beliefs of Enoch Powell and claimed that the black community has a problem with crime. In the week when we marked the 31st anniversary of the murder of Stephen Lawrence, does the Deputy Prime Minister really endorse those views?

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20 June 2024

I travelled with colleagues to Northern Ireland two weeks ago, and we visited Forge Integrated Primary School and met lots of very fine children. In 2015, £150 million of Fresh Start funding was earmarked for integrated education in Northern Ireland. What does the Minister say to those schools that were expecting this funding but have found that it is no longer guaranteed?

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20 June 2024

What recent discussions he has had with the Northern Ireland Executive on the expansion of integrated education in Northern Ireland.

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20 June 2024

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir Gary, and a pleasure to follow all the contributors to what has been a thoughtful debate. I am grateful to the hon. Member for St Austell and Newquay (Steve Double) for securing the debate. I completely understand why he wanted to do so, and think I agree with everything he said in his speech. Although we have made some small progress, I agree that there is a silo mentality and it is disappointing that the Government are not as joined up as they should be on these issues. I also agree with the hon. Gentleman’s points about the need for more focus on the midstream. I have heard that several times from people I have engaged with while I have been in this role.

The hon. Member for Strangford (Jim Shannon) highlighted the potential role, as we learned, of Northern Ireland. When I was in Northern Ireland a couple of weeks ago, I met representatives of the chamber of commerce and visited businesses including Harland & Wolff, and their ambitions were very high. It was reassuring and encouraging to hear that everybody is pushing forward now that the Assembly is back up and running; it feels as though real progress is being made.

I listened with interest to the hon. Member for Truro and Falmouth (Cherilyn Mackrory) about her role on the all-party parliamentary group for critical minerals. I have met the Critical Minerals Association and others and I understand what she is saying. I agree that mining is not always the dirty industry that it once was, but in some places, it is. Our role is to try to make sure that it is not a dirty industry and that, where we do it and where we supply and rely on others, it is being done properly. I agree that the Government need to be more agile in responding to some of the challenges that we face. The role of the extractive industries and how that works is an important part of the debate, as the hon. Member for Gordon (Richard Thomson) said.

I will add to some of the key arguments that have been made. If people are not familiar with the term “critical minerals”, it has an air of mystery about it, but there is nothing clandestine about the importance of critical minerals and how key they are to our modern society. I welcome the Minister to his new role. If he has not already read “Material World” by Ed Conway, I encourage him to do so, because it brings to life how important critical minerals are for us all.

The first thing that many of us do when we wake up in the morning is check our phone, which is powered by a lithium battery. We might spend the day working on a laptop; its chip is laced with tin. In the coming years, we will get more and more of our electricity from turbines that are powered as much by metals like cobalt as by the wind that turns their blades. If the Minister has not already been to the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, I encourage him to go, so he can see how important critical minerals are in the production of batteries, which will be important for electric vehicle manufacturing in this country.

As has been said, the move to net zero is key. The International Energy Agency has predicted that demand for critical minerals could more than double by 2030. There are different figures—the hon. Member for Truro and Falmouth said that it would quadruple—but we know that the need for critical minerals will increase significantly. It is therefore vital that we secure the supply of lithium and other critical minerals to this country.

Labour is clear that the green transition is our biggest economic opportunity. It is our chance to bring economic growth back to this country—the driving mission of a future Labour Government—along with hundreds of thousands of jobs everywhere, from Cornwall to Carlisle. As the shadow Chancellor has set out, we are living in an age of insecurity. The vulnerabilities exposed by the pandemic, by rising geopolitical tensions, which have been mentioned, and by the changing climate have made it clear that a joined-up approach to the economy is vital for our nation’s security.

Many of the 18 minerals that the UK defines as “critical” are concentrated in specific geographic areas, the majority of which, as has been said, are not dependable allies of the UK. China is the biggest producer of 12 of the 18 minerals. That makes it clear that strategic, co-ordinated and effective steps to secure our supply of those minerals are vital. Critical action is needed, on which we believe that the Government have critically underdelivered.

Other countries are racing ahead, but the Conservatives still refuse on ideological grounds to have an industrial strategy, which leaves our approach to critical minerals disjointed and scattergun. Instead of showing decisive leadership, we risk seeing the UK sidelined in the global race for the industries of the future. The EU Critical Raw Materials Act has introduced benchmarks for domestic capabilities along critical mineral supply chains. The US Inflation Reduction Act, which has accelerated the race for critical mineral production there, is a powerful intervention that the Chancellor dismissed as a “distortive …subsidy race”.

We welcomed the Government’s critical minerals strategy when it was finally published, but some parts of their approach were frankly baffling. For example, why did they choose not to assess the vulnerabilities of the UK’s industrial supply chains while drawing it up? Why did the strategy contain no specific targets for priority sectors? Why was there no plan to expand midstream capacity for processing and refining in the UK, including in the critical minerals refresh published last year? As the Critical Minerals Association said, without developing the UK midstream, there is a risk that the UK Government will not be recognised as integral to global critical mineral supply chains.

The strategy should have been a vital document, but as others have mentioned, the Foreign Affairs Committee concluded in a report that it is simply too broad to have real impact. That failure is deeply concerning, and it means that crucial investors in the critical minerals supply chain will look elsewhere. They will look to Europe, to countries such as Germany who are expected to have the largest battery manufacturing capacity on the continent by 2030. In comparison, the UK still has just one gigafactory that is actually operational.

The Government’s ad hoc approach has failed; the Conservatives have left Britain vulnerable, and Labour will take a new approach. Where this Government have proved themselves ideologically allergic to joined-up thinking, Labour knows that a real industrial strategy is the only adequate response to our age of insecurity. Building a resilient economy will be a core principle of our approach, which is why our industrial strategy provides for a new supply chains taskforce to analyse the potential supply chain needs across critical sectors, to review the vulnerability of critical supply chains to extreme risks and to assess the potential requirements of responding to those shocks.

That industrial strategy will work hand in glove with Labour’s green prosperity plan, built on the principle of using catalytic public investment to secure investment from the private sector—a principle that the hon. Member for St Austell and Newquay may be able to attest to the power of. Labour will make strategic public investments to develop and support critical supply chains here in Britain. Our national wealth fund will invest £1.5 billion in new gigafactories and aim to draw in three times as much from the private sector. Boosting Britain’s automotive industry at the one end and the critical minerals supply chain at the other, the new gigafactories will help to put Britain back on a competitive international footing and to secure Britain’s place in the international supply of those key materials.

When it comes to critical minerals, it is vital to look way beyond our borders, which is why a Labour Government would ensure that our trade policy works in step with our domestic plans. That is why we need to work with our friends and allies on secure and resilient supply chains, aligning capacities in key sectors with our wider security relationships. I was at a roundtable recently with the Critical Minerals Association and many others, including representatives from Australia and Canada, and we were talking about how the Foreign Office works in terms of its relationships and priorities. It is clear that the need for critical minerals needs to be stamped on what is done by the Foreign Office, as well as by other Departments. We need to make sure that we are building relationships with our allies from whom we will need to source materials in the future. We should also use our international position to boost standards, which, when it comes to critical minerals, have too often been sorely lacking.

Securing the supply of new critical minerals is crucial, but it is also vital to consider how we make the most of the materials that already surround us. I did not know that there is an estimated average of 20 unused electronic items in every household across the UK. We have to not make a mockery of recycling, as our Prime Minister has, but see it in its rightful place in helping to secure the circular economy, with buy-in from devolved Administrations across the UK. That is a real priority in moving towards a sustainable future.

Getting this right is vital, so I hope that the Minister can answer a few questions before the end of the debate. What is the Government’s plan to support the development of midstream critical mineral capacity in the UK? How do the Government plan to support the move to a circular economy to reduce our demand for new minerals? How is his Department working with the Foreign Office to engage with our allies so that we can secure our critical mineral supply and boost international standards? In the Government’s response to the task and finish group, they said that they would consider new supportive proposals. Have the Government done that yet? Securing our supply of lithium and other critical minerals needs leadership—leadership that the Government have so far failed to deliver. We risk letting the UK fall behind in securing our supply of critical minerals. Labour will put the UK back in the race.

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20 June 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 30 January 2024 to Question 10758 on Armed Forces, if he will name the regiments in the (a) Army and (b) Royal Marines which have been (i) disbanded and (ii) merged since 2010.

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20 June 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answers of 24 January 2024 to Questions 10872 and 10873 on Ranger Regiment, the Answers of 24 January 2024 to Questions 10657 and 10658 on Armed Forces: Recruitment, the Answer of 24 January 2024 to Question 10656 on Armed Forces: Discharges, the Answer of 24 January 2024 to Question 10655 on Armed Forces and the Answer of 30 January 2024 to Question 10874 on Defence Equipment: Theft, when he plans to write to the hon. Member for Croydon Central with the information requested.

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20 June 2024

I thank my hon. Friend for that excellent intervention. “Coronation Street”, like all the soaps, does quite a good job in helping to educate us about some of these issues.

I had to look online for information to ensure I was making the right choices. We ended up finding somebody who had brought a rescue dog over from Ukraine and had realised that the dog was pregnant, which they had not known at the time. The dog gave birth to only one puppy, which is quite rare and often means that the dog has had some maltreatment. We adopted that puppy, who was born in this country, with the mother having been brought over from Ukraine.

Lots of constituents have been in touch about this issue and lots of Members have given statistics showing why it is important that we take action. We are talking about a multimillion-pound industry across countries, with UK sales of up to 2 million puppies annually and a value of anything up to £2 billion. Some 50% of the industry is illegal or unlicensed. As the illegal trade has changed, so have its production systems. We were given many helpful briefings, from many organisations, for this debate. One from Battersea tells us that

“farms breeding puppies on an industrial scale are just as likely to be found in urban tower blocks, or warehouses in Eastern Europe, as they are in ramshackle, shiveringly cold, and filthy cages in sheds and shacks on repurposed smallholdings.”

A Four Paws report on the illegal puppy trade in the UK found that more than 30% of imported puppies were from Romania alone. According to respondents to Cats Protection’s “Cats and Their Stats” 2023 survey, 3% of the cats that were obtained in the 12 months preceding the survey were from abroad, which equates to 50,000 cats—there was no clarity as to the conditions.

As has been said, puppies and kittens that are imported too young face a much higher risk of developing illnesses or suffering an early death. I should have congratulated the hon. Member for Penrith and The Border (Dr Hudson), who made an excellent speech and knows much more about this and the impact that these things can have on our animals. I listened with great interest and learnt a lot during his speech. Raising the age minimum in this regard will allow animals to grow older and it will protect them a bit more from travelling long and stressful journeys. It would be welcome and would stop a lot of the sales of those very young pets; we do see that online and it is easy to find, with multiple adverts where young puppies or kittens are being advertised as four, five or six weeks old and ready for homing.

As I have said, puppy smuggling is an unchecked criminal activity, which causes suffering to animals and heartache and financial cost to their owners. It helps fund wider organised crime and presents an evidenced disease transmission threat. My constituents are very pleased with the hon. Member for North Devon for introducing this legislation. We have talked a lot about enforcement and the concerns that a piece of legislation is only as good as the enforcement that goes with it. The enforcement of existing laws and regulations is not adequate, so I have significant questions about enforcement. However, the Bill is a step on the journey in the right direction, and, on behalf of the dog, cat and ferret lovers in Croydon, I welcome it.

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20 June 2024

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right. If someone is caught smuggling drugs or people, they face years in prison. From the information I have looked at, if the police do a sting—they do so sometimes, although not often, because they do not have the resources —and manage to catch someone who has been smuggling pets into the country illegally, that person will be looking at a couple of months’ imprisonment as a maximum, and probably not even that. For a criminal gang managing the risks, it is a worthwhile crime to introduce the puppies into this country, particularly given that their cost can run into several thousand pounds each. We need to do more to get rid of and stamp down on this practice. I welcome the Bill’s provisions, but, as other Members have said, I think we need to go further on enforcement and other measures.

I want to briefly touch on my journey trying to buy and getting a pet. During the covid pandemic, my children were pushing me to get a dog, while my husband was very against it, which I think is not uncommon in families. My children finally won the argument, and we decided to get a dog. I had not bought an animal before and I realised that the whole situation was a bit of a minefield. The first thing I did was to go online, where there are hundreds of websites selling pets, and I had no idea where they had come from or what their quality of life had been so far, nor whether they had been brought into this country legally or not. Pets4Homes is a big site; and Gumtree sells thousands of pets, as do puppies.co.uk and foreverpuppy.co.uk.

I looked on many different sites and did not know what I was looking for, nor how to avoid doing something I should not. I looked at some charities, which provide really useful information on what to do and what not to do; Dogs Trust has particularly good information about what to avoid. I found out that I needed to see good pictures of the animal with its mother, and to ring up the person who was selling it and have a conversation with them. I then needed to go and see the animal, make sure its mother and father were there, and look at the surroundings. On several occasions, that meant I was able to pick up on something slightly dodgy. I reported several cases because I could not see the animal’s mother or its background, and the owner was not asking me anything about my background; it did not feel right. I also reported a seller when I went to visit some puppies in a flat, because the flat was immaculate and there was no evidence that anyone was living there—there was just a crate of puppies and a man. I was just not comfortable that the situation was what it should have been, so I reported the situation.

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20 June 2024

I thank the hon. Member for North Devon (Selaine Saxby) for introducing the Bill. I join everyone else who has spoken in support of it.

People in Croydon love their pets. We are lucky enough to be one of the greenest London boroughs with beautiful parks, as people will know. We have thousands of animal lovers and pets in our borough. As has already been mentioned, during the covid pandemic, there was a big increase in the number of people deciding that they wanted a cat or a dog. Croydon has seen a large increase in the same way. We need to ensure that, when people get a cat or a dog—or, indeed, a ferret, about which we learned much from my hon. Friend the Member for City of Chester (Samantha Dixon)—things are done in the right way, and they are not buying an animal that has been illegally smuggled into the country.

Other Labour Members have pointed to the Labour Government’s record on animal welfare. My right hon. Friend the Member for Garston and Halewood (Maria Eagle) herself introduced legislation. In 1997, I was working for a Labour MP, and we were introducing the banning of foxhunting. I remember that we received literally hundreds of handwritten letters—we did not really use email back then—from people who were desperate to see an end to foxhunting, cosmetic testing and all the other things for which legislation was introduced under the last Labour Government.

I join colleagues in their disappointment that the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill was not passed. We are grateful to the hon. Member for North Devon for bringing in some measures that we can all support. Like other Members, many of my constituents have written, asking me to support the Bill. Jan, a big supporter of Cats Protection who writes to me often, says that according to the Cats Protection stats of 2023, 50,000 cats were obtained from an overseas source in the 12 months preceding its survey. Of course, it is unclear what condition those cats or kittens were subjected to during their travel.

When I was shadow Policing Minister, I would talk to senior police officers up and down the country about crime in their areas, and I heard increasingly about the smuggling of pets. I remember talking to a senior police officer in the north-east who said that they were dealing with very serious and large criminal gangs, with a presence across multiple countries, who would smuggle people, drugs, vapes and pets—it was big business. Of course, there was not much enforcement to stop that practice from happening.

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20 June 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what the decision-making process is for the potential release of land by the Nuclear Development Authority for nuclear development sites at Moorside.

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20 June 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what recent assessment her Department has made of the viability of Moorside as a nuclear development site; and whether her Department has had recent discussions with Sellafield Ltd on the land requirements for developing that site.

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20 June 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment her Department made of the adequacy of proposals from Solway Community Power Company for the development of small modular reactors at Moorside; how much land is required for that proposed development; and how many meetings have taken place between the Department and that company.

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20 June 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether her Department has had recent discussions with (a) Sellafield Ltd and (b) the Nuclear Development Authority on its plans for nuclear power developments at Moorside.

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20 June 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, how many developers have expressed an interest in the development of new nuclear power at Moorside since its selection as a site for new nuclear power generation in 2009.

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20 June 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment her Department has made of the extent of regulatory support for potential nuclear power developments at Moorside.

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20 June 2024

This Government are locked in a doom loop of inertia, and everyone is talking about it. Just this week, the National Infrastructure Commission said that the Government are taking too long, need to move faster, and that greater urgency is required. The CBI report that the Secretary of State mentioned says that

“strong future growth from green businesses is being put at risk”.

Labour’s national wealth fund will crowd in private investment and create thousands of good jobs for plumbers, engineers, electricians and welders. Is blowing our advantage and losing the race for the industries of the future part of the Government’s plan, or do they just not have one?

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24 May 2024

May I take this opportunity to pay tribute to the reservists based in Croydon, who, among many roles, have been in Estonia helping to keep us all safe? Labour wants to reach 2.5%, but my right hon. Friend the shadow Defence Secretary has asked why there is no budget line or fully funded plans for the announcement. This appears to be a bit of a pattern across Government. Only yesterday, I learned that a £1 billion announcement made about carbon capture and storage several years ago still appears nowhere on a Treasury budget line. If the Government play so fast and loose with our public funding, how on earth will the Secretary of State deliver the economic stability on which our defence spending relies?

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23 May 2024

The Conservative candidate for London Mayor has promoted Islamophobic tropes online, endorsed the beliefs of Enoch Powell and claimed that the black community has a problem with crime. In the week when we marked the 31st anniversary of the murder of Stephen Lawrence, does the Deputy Prime Minister really endorse those views?

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23 May 2024

I travelled with colleagues to Northern Ireland two weeks ago, and we visited Forge Integrated Primary School and met lots of very fine children. In 2015, £150 million of Fresh Start funding was earmarked for integrated education in Northern Ireland. What does the Minister say to those schools that were expecting this funding but have found that it is no longer guaranteed?

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22 May 2024

The National Infrastructure Commission said that the Government have reversed some progress on net zero. The right hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May) said that the Government’s roll-back on net zero has put off investors. A member of the Climate Change Committee has said that we are “not ready at all” for the impact of extreme weather on our national security. Mad, bad and dangerous. Will the Secretary of State finally back Great British Energy and the national wealth fund instead of lurching from crisis to crisis, not having a plan and selling out Britain?

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22 May 2024

What recent discussions he has had with the Northern Ireland Executive on the expansion of integrated education in Northern Ireland.

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22 May 2024

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir Gary, and a pleasure to follow all the contributors to what has been a thoughtful debate. I am grateful to the hon. Member for St Austell and Newquay (Steve Double) for securing the debate. I completely understand why he wanted to do so, and think I agree with everything he said in his speech. Although we have made some small progress, I agree that there is a silo mentality and it is disappointing that the Government are not as joined up as they should be on these issues. I also agree with the hon. Gentleman’s points about the need for more focus on the midstream. I have heard that several times from people I have engaged with while I have been in this role.

The hon. Member for Strangford (Jim Shannon) highlighted the potential role, as we learned, of Northern Ireland. When I was in Northern Ireland a couple of weeks ago, I met representatives of the chamber of commerce and visited businesses including Harland & Wolff, and their ambitions were very high. It was reassuring and encouraging to hear that everybody is pushing forward now that the Assembly is back up and running; it feels as though real progress is being made.

I listened with interest to the hon. Member for Truro and Falmouth (Cherilyn Mackrory) about her role on the all-party parliamentary group for critical minerals. I have met the Critical Minerals Association and others and I understand what she is saying. I agree that mining is not always the dirty industry that it once was, but in some places, it is. Our role is to try to make sure that it is not a dirty industry and that, where we do it and where we supply and rely on others, it is being done properly. I agree that the Government need to be more agile in responding to some of the challenges that we face. The role of the extractive industries and how that works is an important part of the debate, as the hon. Member for Gordon (Richard Thomson) said.

I will add to some of the key arguments that have been made. If people are not familiar with the term “critical minerals”, it has an air of mystery about it, but there is nothing clandestine about the importance of critical minerals and how key they are to our modern society. I welcome the Minister to his new role. If he has not already read “Material World” by Ed Conway, I encourage him to do so, because it brings to life how important critical minerals are for us all.

The first thing that many of us do when we wake up in the morning is check our phone, which is powered by a lithium battery. We might spend the day working on a laptop; its chip is laced with tin. In the coming years, we will get more and more of our electricity from turbines that are powered as much by metals like cobalt as by the wind that turns their blades. If the Minister has not already been to the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, I encourage him to go, so he can see how important critical minerals are in the production of batteries, which will be important for electric vehicle manufacturing in this country.

As has been said, the move to net zero is key. The International Energy Agency has predicted that demand for critical minerals could more than double by 2030. There are different figures—the hon. Member for Truro and Falmouth said that it would quadruple—but we know that the need for critical minerals will increase significantly. It is therefore vital that we secure the supply of lithium and other critical minerals to this country.

Labour is clear that the green transition is our biggest economic opportunity. It is our chance to bring economic growth back to this country—the driving mission of a future Labour Government—along with hundreds of thousands of jobs everywhere, from Cornwall to Carlisle. As the shadow Chancellor has set out, we are living in an age of insecurity. The vulnerabilities exposed by the pandemic, by rising geopolitical tensions, which have been mentioned, and by the changing climate have made it clear that a joined-up approach to the economy is vital for our nation’s security.

Many of the 18 minerals that the UK defines as “critical” are concentrated in specific geographic areas, the majority of which, as has been said, are not dependable allies of the UK. China is the biggest producer of 12 of the 18 minerals. That makes it clear that strategic, co-ordinated and effective steps to secure our supply of those minerals are vital. Critical action is needed, on which we believe that the Government have critically underdelivered.

Other countries are racing ahead, but the Conservatives still refuse on ideological grounds to have an industrial strategy, which leaves our approach to critical minerals disjointed and scattergun. Instead of showing decisive leadership, we risk seeing the UK sidelined in the global race for the industries of the future. The EU Critical Raw Materials Act has introduced benchmarks for domestic capabilities along critical mineral supply chains. The US Inflation Reduction Act, which has accelerated the race for critical mineral production there, is a powerful intervention that the Chancellor dismissed as a “distortive …subsidy race”.

We welcomed the Government’s critical minerals strategy when it was finally published, but some parts of their approach were frankly baffling. For example, why did they choose not to assess the vulnerabilities of the UK’s industrial supply chains while drawing it up? Why did the strategy contain no specific targets for priority sectors? Why was there no plan to expand midstream capacity for processing and refining in the UK, including in the critical minerals refresh published last year? As the Critical Minerals Association said, without developing the UK midstream, there is a risk that the UK Government will not be recognised as integral to global critical mineral supply chains.

The strategy should have been a vital document, but as others have mentioned, the Foreign Affairs Committee concluded in a report that it is simply too broad to have real impact. That failure is deeply concerning, and it means that crucial investors in the critical minerals supply chain will look elsewhere. They will look to Europe, to countries such as Germany who are expected to have the largest battery manufacturing capacity on the continent by 2030. In comparison, the UK still has just one gigafactory that is actually operational.

The Government’s ad hoc approach has failed; the Conservatives have left Britain vulnerable, and Labour will take a new approach. Where this Government have proved themselves ideologically allergic to joined-up thinking, Labour knows that a real industrial strategy is the only adequate response to our age of insecurity. Building a resilient economy will be a core principle of our approach, which is why our industrial strategy provides for a new supply chains taskforce to analyse the potential supply chain needs across critical sectors, to review the vulnerability of critical supply chains to extreme risks and to assess the potential requirements of responding to those shocks.

That industrial strategy will work hand in glove with Labour’s green prosperity plan, built on the principle of using catalytic public investment to secure investment from the private sector—a principle that the hon. Member for St Austell and Newquay may be able to attest to the power of. Labour will make strategic public investments to develop and support critical supply chains here in Britain. Our national wealth fund will invest £1.5 billion in new gigafactories and aim to draw in three times as much from the private sector. Boosting Britain’s automotive industry at the one end and the critical minerals supply chain at the other, the new gigafactories will help to put Britain back on a competitive international footing and to secure Britain’s place in the international supply of those key materials.

When it comes to critical minerals, it is vital to look way beyond our borders, which is why a Labour Government would ensure that our trade policy works in step with our domestic plans. That is why we need to work with our friends and allies on secure and resilient supply chains, aligning capacities in key sectors with our wider security relationships. I was at a roundtable recently with the Critical Minerals Association and many others, including representatives from Australia and Canada, and we were talking about how the Foreign Office works in terms of its relationships and priorities. It is clear that the need for critical minerals needs to be stamped on what is done by the Foreign Office, as well as by other Departments. We need to make sure that we are building relationships with our allies from whom we will need to source materials in the future. We should also use our international position to boost standards, which, when it comes to critical minerals, have too often been sorely lacking.

Securing the supply of new critical minerals is crucial, but it is also vital to consider how we make the most of the materials that already surround us. I did not know that there is an estimated average of 20 unused electronic items in every household across the UK. We have to not make a mockery of recycling, as our Prime Minister has, but see it in its rightful place in helping to secure the circular economy, with buy-in from devolved Administrations across the UK. That is a real priority in moving towards a sustainable future.

Getting this right is vital, so I hope that the Minister can answer a few questions before the end of the debate. What is the Government’s plan to support the development of midstream critical mineral capacity in the UK? How do the Government plan to support the move to a circular economy to reduce our demand for new minerals? How is his Department working with the Foreign Office to engage with our allies so that we can secure our critical mineral supply and boost international standards? In the Government’s response to the task and finish group, they said that they would consider new supportive proposals. Have the Government done that yet? Securing our supply of lithium and other critical minerals needs leadership—leadership that the Government have so far failed to deliver. We risk letting the UK fall behind in securing our supply of critical minerals. Labour will put the UK back in the race.

Photo of Sarah Jones
21 May 2024

I rise to present a petition on behalf of my constituents in Croydon Central and of all those affected by the contaminated blood scandal, and on the same topic as those presented by my hon. Friends the Members for Newport East (Jessica Morden) and for Cardiff West (Kevin Brennan). I add my thanks to my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull North (Dame Diana Johnson) for her tireless work in pursuing justice.

I am presenting this petition with one constituent in mind who has suffered for many years with undiagnosed hepatitis C as a result of having a transfusion of infected blood. She came to see me recently to help me understand the scale of the scandal and its human impact. Her stories and those of many more have been bypassed and overlooked for far too long. The petitioners

“request that the House of Commons urges the Government to implement the recommendations in the Second Interim Report of the Infected Blood Inquiry without delay.

Following is the full text of the petition:

[The petition of residents of the constituency of Croydon Central,

Declares that people who received infected blood and who have suffered as a consequence have, along with their families, waited for too long for redress.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to implement the recommendations in the Second Interim Report of the Infected Blood Inquiry without delay.

And the petitioners remain, etc].

[P002981]

Photo of Sarah Jones
20 May 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 30 January 2024 to Question 10758 on Armed Forces, if he will name the regiments in the (a) Army and (b) Royal Marines which have been (i) disbanded and (ii) merged since 2010.

Photo of Sarah Jones
20 May 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answers of 24 January 2024 to Questions 10872 and 10873 on Ranger Regiment, the Answers of 24 January 2024 to Questions 10657 and 10658 on Armed Forces: Recruitment, the Answer of 24 January 2024 to Question 10656 on Armed Forces: Discharges, the Answer of 24 January 2024 to Question 10655 on Armed Forces and the Answer of 30 January 2024 to Question 10874 on Defence Equipment: Theft, when he plans to write to the hon. Member for Croydon Central with the information requested.

Photo of Sarah Jones
20 May 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what the decision-making process is for the potential release of land by the Nuclear Development Authority for nuclear development sites at Moorside.

Photo of Sarah Jones
20 May 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what recent assessment her Department has made of the viability of Moorside as a nuclear development site; and whether her Department has had recent discussions with Sellafield Ltd on the land requirements for developing that site.

Photo of Sarah Jones
19 May 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment her Department made of the adequacy of proposals from Solway Community Power Company for the development of small modular reactors at Moorside; how much land is required for that proposed development; and how many meetings have taken place between the Department and that company.

Photo of Sarah Jones
19 May 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether her Department has had recent discussions with (a) Sellafield Ltd and (b) the Nuclear Development Authority on its plans for nuclear power developments at Moorside.

Photo of Sarah Jones
19 May 2024

I thank my hon. Friend for that excellent intervention. “Coronation Street”, like all the soaps, does quite a good job in helping to educate us about some of these issues.

I had to look online for information to ensure I was making the right choices. We ended up finding somebody who had brought a rescue dog over from Ukraine and had realised that the dog was pregnant, which they had not known at the time. The dog gave birth to only one puppy, which is quite rare and often means that the dog has had some maltreatment. We adopted that puppy, who was born in this country, with the mother having been brought over from Ukraine.

Lots of constituents have been in touch about this issue and lots of Members have given statistics showing why it is important that we take action. We are talking about a multimillion-pound industry across countries, with UK sales of up to 2 million puppies annually and a value of anything up to £2 billion. Some 50% of the industry is illegal or unlicensed. As the illegal trade has changed, so have its production systems. We were given many helpful briefings, from many organisations, for this debate. One from Battersea tells us that

“farms breeding puppies on an industrial scale are just as likely to be found in urban tower blocks, or warehouses in Eastern Europe, as they are in ramshackle, shiveringly cold, and filthy cages in sheds and shacks on repurposed smallholdings.”

A Four Paws report on the illegal puppy trade in the UK found that more than 30% of imported puppies were from Romania alone. According to respondents to Cats Protection’s “Cats and Their Stats” 2023 survey, 3% of the cats that were obtained in the 12 months preceding the survey were from abroad, which equates to 50,000 cats—there was no clarity as to the conditions.

As has been said, puppies and kittens that are imported too young face a much higher risk of developing illnesses or suffering an early death. I should have congratulated the hon. Member for Penrith and The Border (Dr Hudson), who made an excellent speech and knows much more about this and the impact that these things can have on our animals. I listened with great interest and learnt a lot during his speech. Raising the age minimum in this regard will allow animals to grow older and it will protect them a bit more from travelling long and stressful journeys. It would be welcome and would stop a lot of the sales of those very young pets; we do see that online and it is easy to find, with multiple adverts where young puppies or kittens are being advertised as four, five or six weeks old and ready for homing.

As I have said, puppy smuggling is an unchecked criminal activity, which causes suffering to animals and heartache and financial cost to their owners. It helps fund wider organised crime and presents an evidenced disease transmission threat. My constituents are very pleased with the hon. Member for North Devon for introducing this legislation. We have talked a lot about enforcement and the concerns that a piece of legislation is only as good as the enforcement that goes with it. The enforcement of existing laws and regulations is not adequate, so I have significant questions about enforcement. However, the Bill is a step on the journey in the right direction, and, on behalf of the dog, cat and ferret lovers in Croydon, I welcome it.

Photo of Sarah Jones
19 May 2024

This Government are locked in a doom loop of inertia, and everyone is talking about it. Just this week, the National Infrastructure Commission said that the Government are taking too long, need to move faster, and that greater urgency is required. The CBI report that the Secretary of State mentioned says that

“strong future growth from green businesses is being put at risk”.

Labour’s national wealth fund will crowd in private investment and create thousands of good jobs for plumbers, engineers, electricians and welders. Is blowing our advantage and losing the race for the industries of the future part of the Government’s plan, or do they just not have one?

Photo of Sarah Jones
18 May 2024

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right. If someone is caught smuggling drugs or people, they face years in prison. From the information I have looked at, if the police do a sting—they do so sometimes, although not often, because they do not have the resources —and manage to catch someone who has been smuggling pets into the country illegally, that person will be looking at a couple of months’ imprisonment as a maximum, and probably not even that. For a criminal gang managing the risks, it is a worthwhile crime to introduce the puppies into this country, particularly given that their cost can run into several thousand pounds each. We need to do more to get rid of and stamp down on this practice. I welcome the Bill’s provisions, but, as other Members have said, I think we need to go further on enforcement and other measures.

I want to briefly touch on my journey trying to buy and getting a pet. During the covid pandemic, my children were pushing me to get a dog, while my husband was very against it, which I think is not uncommon in families. My children finally won the argument, and we decided to get a dog. I had not bought an animal before and I realised that the whole situation was a bit of a minefield. The first thing I did was to go online, where there are hundreds of websites selling pets, and I had no idea where they had come from or what their quality of life had been so far, nor whether they had been brought into this country legally or not. Pets4Homes is a big site; and Gumtree sells thousands of pets, as do puppies.co.uk and foreverpuppy.co.uk.

I looked on many different sites and did not know what I was looking for, nor how to avoid doing something I should not. I looked at some charities, which provide really useful information on what to do and what not to do; Dogs Trust has particularly good information about what to avoid. I found out that I needed to see good pictures of the animal with its mother, and to ring up the person who was selling it and have a conversation with them. I then needed to go and see the animal, make sure its mother and father were there, and look at the surroundings. On several occasions, that meant I was able to pick up on something slightly dodgy. I reported several cases because I could not see the animal’s mother or its background, and the owner was not asking me anything about my background; it did not feel right. I also reported a seller when I went to visit some puppies in a flat, because the flat was immaculate and there was no evidence that anyone was living there—there was just a crate of puppies and a man. I was just not comfortable that the situation was what it should have been, so I reported the situation.

Photo of Sarah Jones
18 May 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, how many developers have expressed an interest in the development of new nuclear power at Moorside since its selection as a site for new nuclear power generation in 2009.

Photo of Sarah Jones
18 May 2024

I thank the hon. Member for North Devon (Selaine Saxby) for introducing the Bill. I join everyone else who has spoken in support of it.

People in Croydon love their pets. We are lucky enough to be one of the greenest London boroughs with beautiful parks, as people will know. We have thousands of animal lovers and pets in our borough. As has already been mentioned, during the covid pandemic, there was a big increase in the number of people deciding that they wanted a cat or a dog. Croydon has seen a large increase in the same way. We need to ensure that, when people get a cat or a dog—or, indeed, a ferret, about which we learned much from my hon. Friend the Member for City of Chester (Samantha Dixon)—things are done in the right way, and they are not buying an animal that has been illegally smuggled into the country.

Other Labour Members have pointed to the Labour Government’s record on animal welfare. My right hon. Friend the Member for Garston and Halewood (Maria Eagle) herself introduced legislation. In 1997, I was working for a Labour MP, and we were introducing the banning of foxhunting. I remember that we received literally hundreds of handwritten letters—we did not really use email back then—from people who were desperate to see an end to foxhunting, cosmetic testing and all the other things for which legislation was introduced under the last Labour Government.

I join colleagues in their disappointment that the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill was not passed. We are grateful to the hon. Member for North Devon for bringing in some measures that we can all support. Like other Members, many of my constituents have written, asking me to support the Bill. Jan, a big supporter of Cats Protection who writes to me often, says that according to the Cats Protection stats of 2023, 50,000 cats were obtained from an overseas source in the 12 months preceding its survey. Of course, it is unclear what condition those cats or kittens were subjected to during their travel.

When I was shadow Policing Minister, I would talk to senior police officers up and down the country about crime in their areas, and I heard increasingly about the smuggling of pets. I remember talking to a senior police officer in the north-east who said that they were dealing with very serious and large criminal gangs, with a presence across multiple countries, who would smuggle people, drugs, vapes and pets—it was big business. Of course, there was not much enforcement to stop that practice from happening.

Photo of Sarah Jones
18 May 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment her Department has made of the extent of regulatory support for potential nuclear power developments at Moorside.

Photo of Sarah Jones
17 May 2024

No commitment to virgin steel from the Minister, then—what a shame. I welcome him to his place, and note that he visited Port Talbot steelworks last week, but he failed to meet any actual steelworkers of course. Instead of avoiding discussing the Government’s plans for £500 million of taxpayers’ money for the loss of nearly 3,000 jobs, will he please commit to meeting some Port Talbot steelworkers, and will he publish his economic assessment of the impact of the UK losing its capacity to make virgin steel—or is his actual plan to just keep his head down until the Prime Minister finally has the guts to call a general election and leave all these problems piling up for somebody else?

Photo of Sarah Jones
17 May 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of the (a) total investment, (b) number of directly-created jobs and (c) number of supply-chain jobs forecast for the Sizewell C development on (i) Suffolk and (ii) the UK.

Photo of Sarah Jones
17 May 2024

May I take this opportunity to pay tribute to the reservists based in Croydon, who, among many roles, have been in Estonia helping to keep us all safe? Labour wants to reach 2.5%, but my right hon. Friend the shadow Defence Secretary has asked why there is no budget line or fully funded plans for the announcement. This appears to be a bit of a pattern across Government. Only yesterday, I learned that a £1 billion announcement made about carbon capture and storage several years ago still appears nowhere on a Treasury budget line. If the Government play so fast and loose with our public funding, how on earth will the Secretary of State deliver the economic stability on which our defence spending relies?

Photo of Sarah Jones
17 May 2024

The Conservative candidate for London Mayor has promoted Islamophobic tropes online, endorsed the beliefs of Enoch Powell and claimed that the black community has a problem with crime. In the week when we marked the 31st anniversary of the murder of Stephen Lawrence, does the Deputy Prime Minister really endorse those views?

Photo of Sarah Jones
17 May 2024

I travelled with colleagues to Northern Ireland two weeks ago, and we visited Forge Integrated Primary School and met lots of very fine children. In 2015, £150 million of Fresh Start funding was earmarked for integrated education in Northern Ireland. What does the Minister say to those schools that were expecting this funding but have found that it is no longer guaranteed?

Photo of Sarah Jones
16 May 2024

I rise to present a petition on behalf of my constituents in Croydon Central and of all those affected by the contaminated blood scandal, and on the same topic as those presented by my hon. Friends the Members for Newport East (Jessica Morden) and for Cardiff West (Kevin Brennan). I add my thanks to my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull North (Dame Diana Johnson) for her tireless work in pursuing justice.

I am presenting this petition with one constituent in mind who has suffered for many years with undiagnosed hepatitis C as a result of having a transfusion of infected blood. She came to see me recently to help me understand the scale of the scandal and its human impact. Her stories and those of many more have been bypassed and overlooked for far too long. The petitioners

“request that the House of Commons urges the Government to implement the recommendations in the Second Interim Report of the Infected Blood Inquiry without delay.

Following is the full text of the petition:

[The petition of residents of the constituency of Croydon Central,

Declares that people who received infected blood and who have suffered as a consequence have, along with their families, waited for too long for redress.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to implement the recommendations in the Second Interim Report of the Infected Blood Inquiry without delay.

And the petitioners remain, etc].

[P002981]

Photo of Sarah Jones
16 May 2024

What recent discussions he has had with the Northern Ireland Executive on the expansion of integrated education in Northern Ireland.

Photo of Sarah Jones
16 May 2024

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir Gary, and a pleasure to follow all the contributors to what has been a thoughtful debate. I am grateful to the hon. Member for St Austell and Newquay (Steve Double) for securing the debate. I completely understand why he wanted to do so, and think I agree with everything he said in his speech. Although we have made some small progress, I agree that there is a silo mentality and it is disappointing that the Government are not as joined up as they should be on these issues. I also agree with the hon. Gentleman’s points about the need for more focus on the midstream. I have heard that several times from people I have engaged with while I have been in this role.

The hon. Member for Strangford (Jim Shannon) highlighted the potential role, as we learned, of Northern Ireland. When I was in Northern Ireland a couple of weeks ago, I met representatives of the chamber of commerce and visited businesses including Harland & Wolff, and their ambitions were very high. It was reassuring and encouraging to hear that everybody is pushing forward now that the Assembly is back up and running; it feels as though real progress is being made.

I listened with interest to the hon. Member for Truro and Falmouth (Cherilyn Mackrory) about her role on the all-party parliamentary group for critical minerals. I have met the Critical Minerals Association and others and I understand what she is saying. I agree that mining is not always the dirty industry that it once was, but in some places, it is. Our role is to try to make sure that it is not a dirty industry and that, where we do it and where we supply and rely on others, it is being done properly. I agree that the Government need to be more agile in responding to some of the challenges that we face. The role of the extractive industries and how that works is an important part of the debate, as the hon. Member for Gordon (Richard Thomson) said.

I will add to some of the key arguments that have been made. If people are not familiar with the term “critical minerals”, it has an air of mystery about it, but there is nothing clandestine about the importance of critical minerals and how key they are to our modern society. I welcome the Minister to his new role. If he has not already read “Material World” by Ed Conway, I encourage him to do so, because it brings to life how important critical minerals are for us all.

The first thing that many of us do when we wake up in the morning is check our phone, which is powered by a lithium battery. We might spend the day working on a laptop; its chip is laced with tin. In the coming years, we will get more and more of our electricity from turbines that are powered as much by metals like cobalt as by the wind that turns their blades. If the Minister has not already been to the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, I encourage him to go, so he can see how important critical minerals are in the production of batteries, which will be important for electric vehicle manufacturing in this country.

As has been said, the move to net zero is key. The International Energy Agency has predicted that demand for critical minerals could more than double by 2030. There are different figures—the hon. Member for Truro and Falmouth said that it would quadruple—but we know that the need for critical minerals will increase significantly. It is therefore vital that we secure the supply of lithium and other critical minerals to this country.

Labour is clear that the green transition is our biggest economic opportunity. It is our chance to bring economic growth back to this country—the driving mission of a future Labour Government—along with hundreds of thousands of jobs everywhere, from Cornwall to Carlisle. As the shadow Chancellor has set out, we are living in an age of insecurity. The vulnerabilities exposed by the pandemic, by rising geopolitical tensions, which have been mentioned, and by the changing climate have made it clear that a joined-up approach to the economy is vital for our nation’s security.

Many of the 18 minerals that the UK defines as “critical” are concentrated in specific geographic areas, the majority of which, as has been said, are not dependable allies of the UK. China is the biggest producer of 12 of the 18 minerals. That makes it clear that strategic, co-ordinated and effective steps to secure our supply of those minerals are vital. Critical action is needed, on which we believe that the Government have critically underdelivered.

Other countries are racing ahead, but the Conservatives still refuse on ideological grounds to have an industrial strategy, which leaves our approach to critical minerals disjointed and scattergun. Instead of showing decisive leadership, we risk seeing the UK sidelined in the global race for the industries of the future. The EU Critical Raw Materials Act has introduced benchmarks for domestic capabilities along critical mineral supply chains. The US Inflation Reduction Act, which has accelerated the race for critical mineral production there, is a powerful intervention that the Chancellor dismissed as a “distortive …subsidy race”.

We welcomed the Government’s critical minerals strategy when it was finally published, but some parts of their approach were frankly baffling. For example, why did they choose not to assess the vulnerabilities of the UK’s industrial supply chains while drawing it up? Why did the strategy contain no specific targets for priority sectors? Why was there no plan to expand midstream capacity for processing and refining in the UK, including in the critical minerals refresh published last year? As the Critical Minerals Association said, without developing the UK midstream, there is a risk that the UK Government will not be recognised as integral to global critical mineral supply chains.

The strategy should have been a vital document, but as others have mentioned, the Foreign Affairs Committee concluded in a report that it is simply too broad to have real impact. That failure is deeply concerning, and it means that crucial investors in the critical minerals supply chain will look elsewhere. They will look to Europe, to countries such as Germany who are expected to have the largest battery manufacturing capacity on the continent by 2030. In comparison, the UK still has just one gigafactory that is actually operational.

The Government’s ad hoc approach has failed; the Conservatives have left Britain vulnerable, and Labour will take a new approach. Where this Government have proved themselves ideologically allergic to joined-up thinking, Labour knows that a real industrial strategy is the only adequate response to our age of insecurity. Building a resilient economy will be a core principle of our approach, which is why our industrial strategy provides for a new supply chains taskforce to analyse the potential supply chain needs across critical sectors, to review the vulnerability of critical supply chains to extreme risks and to assess the potential requirements of responding to those shocks.

That industrial strategy will work hand in glove with Labour’s green prosperity plan, built on the principle of using catalytic public investment to secure investment from the private sector—a principle that the hon. Member for St Austell and Newquay may be able to attest to the power of. Labour will make strategic public investments to develop and support critical supply chains here in Britain. Our national wealth fund will invest £1.5 billion in new gigafactories and aim to draw in three times as much from the private sector. Boosting Britain’s automotive industry at the one end and the critical minerals supply chain at the other, the new gigafactories will help to put Britain back on a competitive international footing and to secure Britain’s place in the international supply of those key materials.

When it comes to critical minerals, it is vital to look way beyond our borders, which is why a Labour Government would ensure that our trade policy works in step with our domestic plans. That is why we need to work with our friends and allies on secure and resilient supply chains, aligning capacities in key sectors with our wider security relationships. I was at a roundtable recently with the Critical Minerals Association and many others, including representatives from Australia and Canada, and we were talking about how the Foreign Office works in terms of its relationships and priorities. It is clear that the need for critical minerals needs to be stamped on what is done by the Foreign Office, as well as by other Departments. We need to make sure that we are building relationships with our allies from whom we will need to source materials in the future. We should also use our international position to boost standards, which, when it comes to critical minerals, have too often been sorely lacking.

Securing the supply of new critical minerals is crucial, but it is also vital to consider how we make the most of the materials that already surround us. I did not know that there is an estimated average of 20 unused electronic items in every household across the UK. We have to not make a mockery of recycling, as our Prime Minister has, but see it in its rightful place in helping to secure the circular economy, with buy-in from devolved Administrations across the UK. That is a real priority in moving towards a sustainable future.

Getting this right is vital, so I hope that the Minister can answer a few questions before the end of the debate. What is the Government’s plan to support the development of midstream critical mineral capacity in the UK? How do the Government plan to support the move to a circular economy to reduce our demand for new minerals? How is his Department working with the Foreign Office to engage with our allies so that we can secure our critical mineral supply and boost international standards? In the Government’s response to the task and finish group, they said that they would consider new supportive proposals. Have the Government done that yet? Securing our supply of lithium and other critical minerals needs leadership—leadership that the Government have so far failed to deliver. We risk letting the UK fall behind in securing our supply of critical minerals. Labour will put the UK back in the race.

Photo of Sarah Jones
16 May 2024

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir Gary, and a pleasure to follow all the contributors to what has been a thoughtful debate. I am grateful to the hon. Member for St Austell and Newquay (Steve Double) for securing the debate. I completely understand why he wanted to do so, and think I agree with everything he said in his speech. Although we have made some small progress, I agree that there is a silo mentality and it is disappointing that the Government are not as joined up as they should be on these issues. I also agree with the hon. Gentleman’s points about the need for more focus on the midstream. I have heard that several times from people I have engaged with while I have been in this role.

The hon. Member for Strangford (Jim Shannon) highlighted the potential role, as we learned, of Northern Ireland. When I was in Northern Ireland a couple of weeks ago, I met representatives of the chamber of commerce and visited businesses including Harland & Wolff, and their ambitions were very high. It was reassuring and encouraging to hear that everybody is pushing forward now that the Assembly is back up and running; it feels as though real progress is being made.

I listened with interest to the hon. Member for Truro and Falmouth (Cherilyn Mackrory) about her role on the all-party parliamentary group for critical minerals. I have met the Critical Minerals Association and others and I understand what she is saying. I agree that mining is not always the dirty industry that it once was, but in some places, it is. Our role is to try to make sure that it is not a dirty industry and that, where we do it and where we supply and rely on others, it is being done properly. I agree that the Government need to be more agile in responding to some of the challenges that we face. The role of the extractive industries and how that works is an important part of the debate, as the hon. Member for Gordon (Richard Thomson) said.

I will add to some of the key arguments that have been made. If people are not familiar with the term “critical minerals”, it has an air of mystery about it, but there is nothing clandestine about the importance of critical minerals and how key they are to our modern society. I welcome the Minister to his new role. If he has not already read “Material World” by Ed Conway, I encourage him to do so, because it brings to life how important critical minerals are for us all.

The first thing that many of us do when we wake up in the morning is check our phone, which is powered by a lithium battery. We might spend the day working on a laptop; its chip is laced with tin. In the coming years, we will get more and more of our electricity from turbines that are powered as much by metals like cobalt as by the wind that turns their blades. If the Minister has not already been to the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, I encourage him to go, so he can see how important critical minerals are in the production of batteries, which will be important for electric vehicle manufacturing in this country.

As has been said, the move to net zero is key. The International Energy Agency has predicted that demand for critical minerals could more than double by 2030. There are different figures—the hon. Member for Truro and Falmouth said that it would quadruple—but we know that the need for critical minerals will increase significantly. It is therefore vital that we secure the supply of lithium and other critical minerals to this country.

Labour is clear that the green transition is our biggest economic opportunity. It is our chance to bring economic growth back to this country—the driving mission of a future Labour Government—along with hundreds of thousands of jobs everywhere, from Cornwall to Carlisle. As the shadow Chancellor has set out, we are living in an age of insecurity. The vulnerabilities exposed by the pandemic, by rising geopolitical tensions, which have been mentioned, and by the changing climate have made it clear that a joined-up approach to the economy is vital for our nation’s security.

Many of the 18 minerals that the UK defines as “critical” are concentrated in specific geographic areas, the majority of which, as has been said, are not dependable allies of the UK. China is the biggest producer of 12 of the 18 minerals. That makes it clear that strategic, co-ordinated and effective steps to secure our supply of those minerals are vital. Critical action is needed, on which we believe that the Government have critically underdelivered.

Other countries are racing ahead, but the Conservatives still refuse on ideological grounds to have an industrial strategy, which leaves our approach to critical minerals disjointed and scattergun. Instead of showing decisive leadership, we risk seeing the UK sidelined in the global race for the industries of the future. The EU Critical Raw Materials Act has introduced benchmarks for domestic capabilities along critical mineral supply chains. The US Inflation Reduction Act, which has accelerated the race for critical mineral production there, is a powerful intervention that the Chancellor dismissed as a “distortive …subsidy race”.

We welcomed the Government’s critical minerals strategy when it was finally published, but some parts of their approach were frankly baffling. For example, why did they choose not to assess the vulnerabilities of the UK’s industrial supply chains while drawing it up? Why did the strategy contain no specific targets for priority sectors? Why was there no plan to expand midstream capacity for processing and refining in the UK, including in the critical minerals refresh published last year? As the Critical Minerals Association said, without developing the UK midstream, there is a risk that the UK Government will not be recognised as integral to global critical mineral supply chains.

The strategy should have been a vital document, but as others have mentioned, the Foreign Affairs Committee concluded in a report that it is simply too broad to have real impact. That failure is deeply concerning, and it means that crucial investors in the critical minerals supply chain will look elsewhere. They will look to Europe, to countries such as Germany who are expected to have the largest battery manufacturing capacity on the continent by 2030. In comparison, the UK still has just one gigafactory that is actually operational.

The Government’s ad hoc approach has failed; the Conservatives have left Britain vulnerable, and Labour will take a new approach. Where this Government have proved themselves ideologically allergic to joined-up thinking, Labour knows that a real industrial strategy is the only adequate response to our age of insecurity. Building a resilient economy will be a core principle of our approach, which is why our industrial strategy provides for a new supply chains taskforce to analyse the potential supply chain needs across critical sectors, to review the vulnerability of critical supply chains to extreme risks and to assess the potential requirements of responding to those shocks.

That industrial strategy will work hand in glove with Labour’s green prosperity plan, built on the principle of using catalytic public investment to secure investment from the private sector—a principle that the hon. Member for St Austell and Newquay may be able to attest to the power of. Labour will make strategic public investments to develop and support critical supply chains here in Britain. Our national wealth fund will invest £1.5 billion in new gigafactories and aim to draw in three times as much from the private sector. Boosting Britain’s automotive industry at the one end and the critical minerals supply chain at the other, the new gigafactories will help to put Britain back on a competitive international footing and to secure Britain’s place in the international supply of those key materials.

When it comes to critical minerals, it is vital to look way beyond our borders, which is why a Labour Government would ensure that our trade policy works in step with our domestic plans. That is why we need to work with our friends and allies on secure and resilient supply chains, aligning capacities in key sectors with our wider security relationships. I was at a roundtable recently with the Critical Minerals Association and many others, including representatives from Australia and Canada, and we were talking about how the Foreign Office works in terms of its relationships and priorities. It is clear that the need for critical minerals needs to be stamped on what is done by the Foreign Office, as well as by other Departments. We need to make sure that we are building relationships with our allies from whom we will need to source materials in the future. We should also use our international position to boost standards, which, when it comes to critical minerals, have too often been sorely lacking.

Securing the supply of new critical minerals is crucial, but it is also vital to consider how we make the most of the materials that already surround us. I did not know that there is an estimated average of 20 unused electronic items in every household across the UK. We have to not make a mockery of recycling, as our Prime Minister has, but see it in its rightful place in helping to secure the circular economy, with buy-in from devolved Administrations across the UK. That is a real priority in moving towards a sustainable future.

Getting this right is vital, so I hope that the Minister can answer a few questions before the end of the debate. What is the Government’s plan to support the development of midstream critical mineral capacity in the UK? How do the Government plan to support the move to a circular economy to reduce our demand for new minerals? How is his Department working with the Foreign Office to engage with our allies so that we can secure our critical mineral supply and boost international standards? In the Government’s response to the task and finish group, they said that they would consider new supportive proposals. Have the Government done that yet? Securing our supply of lithium and other critical minerals needs leadership—leadership that the Government have so far failed to deliver. We risk letting the UK fall behind in securing our supply of critical minerals. Labour will put the UK back in the race.

Photo of Sarah Jones
15 May 2024

I rise to present a petition on behalf of my constituents in Croydon Central and of all those affected by the contaminated blood scandal, and on the same topic as those presented by my hon. Friends the Members for Newport East (Jessica Morden) and for Cardiff West (Kevin Brennan). I add my thanks to my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull North (Dame Diana Johnson) for her tireless work in pursuing justice.

I am presenting this petition with one constituent in mind who has suffered for many years with undiagnosed hepatitis C as a result of having a transfusion of infected blood. She came to see me recently to help me understand the scale of the scandal and its human impact. Her stories and those of many more have been bypassed and overlooked for far too long. The petitioners

“request that the House of Commons urges the Government to implement the recommendations in the Second Interim Report of the Infected Blood Inquiry without delay.

Following is the full text of the petition:

[The petition of residents of the constituency of Croydon Central,

Declares that people who received infected blood and who have suffered as a consequence have, along with their families, waited for too long for redress.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to implement the recommendations in the Second Interim Report of the Infected Blood Inquiry without delay.

And the petitioners remain, etc].

[P002981]

Photo of Sarah Jones
15 May 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 30 January 2024 to Question 10758 on Armed Forces, if he will name the regiments in the (a) Army and (b) Royal Marines which have been (i) disbanded and (ii) merged since 2010.

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15 May 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answers of 24 January 2024 to Questions 10872 and 10873 on Ranger Regiment, the Answers of 24 January 2024 to Questions 10657 and 10658 on Armed Forces: Recruitment, the Answer of 24 January 2024 to Question 10656 on Armed Forces: Discharges, the Answer of 24 January 2024 to Question 10655 on Armed Forces and the Answer of 30 January 2024 to Question 10874 on Defence Equipment: Theft, when he plans to write to the hon. Member for Croydon Central with the information requested.

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14 May 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what the decision-making process is for the potential release of land by the Nuclear Development Authority for nuclear development sites at Moorside.

Photo of Sarah Jones
14 May 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what recent assessment her Department has made of the viability of Moorside as a nuclear development site; and whether her Department has had recent discussions with Sellafield Ltd on the land requirements for developing that site.

Photo of Sarah Jones
13 May 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment her Department made of the adequacy of proposals from Solway Community Power Company for the development of small modular reactors at Moorside; how much land is required for that proposed development; and how many meetings have taken place between the Department and that company.

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13 May 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether her Department has had recent discussions with (a) Sellafield Ltd and (b) the Nuclear Development Authority on its plans for nuclear power developments at Moorside.

Photo of Sarah Jones
12 May 2024

This Government are locked in a doom loop of inertia, and everyone is talking about it. Just this week, the National Infrastructure Commission said that the Government are taking too long, need to move faster, and that greater urgency is required. The CBI report that the Secretary of State mentioned says that

“strong future growth from green businesses is being put at risk”.

Labour’s national wealth fund will crowd in private investment and create thousands of good jobs for plumbers, engineers, electricians and welders. Is blowing our advantage and losing the race for the industries of the future part of the Government’s plan, or do they just not have one?

Photo of Sarah Jones
12 May 2024

I thank my hon. Friend for that excellent intervention. “Coronation Street”, like all the soaps, does quite a good job in helping to educate us about some of these issues.

I had to look online for information to ensure I was making the right choices. We ended up finding somebody who had brought a rescue dog over from Ukraine and had realised that the dog was pregnant, which they had not known at the time. The dog gave birth to only one puppy, which is quite rare and often means that the dog has had some maltreatment. We adopted that puppy, who was born in this country, with the mother having been brought over from Ukraine.

Lots of constituents have been in touch about this issue and lots of Members have given statistics showing why it is important that we take action. We are talking about a multimillion-pound industry across countries, with UK sales of up to 2 million puppies annually and a value of anything up to £2 billion. Some 50% of the industry is illegal or unlicensed. As the illegal trade has changed, so have its production systems. We were given many helpful briefings, from many organisations, for this debate. One from Battersea tells us that

“farms breeding puppies on an industrial scale are just as likely to be found in urban tower blocks, or warehouses in Eastern Europe, as they are in ramshackle, shiveringly cold, and filthy cages in sheds and shacks on repurposed smallholdings.”

A Four Paws report on the illegal puppy trade in the UK found that more than 30% of imported puppies were from Romania alone. According to respondents to Cats Protection’s “Cats and Their Stats” 2023 survey, 3% of the cats that were obtained in the 12 months preceding the survey were from abroad, which equates to 50,000 cats—there was no clarity as to the conditions.

As has been said, puppies and kittens that are imported too young face a much higher risk of developing illnesses or suffering an early death. I should have congratulated the hon. Member for Penrith and The Border (Dr Hudson), who made an excellent speech and knows much more about this and the impact that these things can have on our animals. I listened with great interest and learnt a lot during his speech. Raising the age minimum in this regard will allow animals to grow older and it will protect them a bit more from travelling long and stressful journeys. It would be welcome and would stop a lot of the sales of those very young pets; we do see that online and it is easy to find, with multiple adverts where young puppies or kittens are being advertised as four, five or six weeks old and ready for homing.

As I have said, puppy smuggling is an unchecked criminal activity, which causes suffering to animals and heartache and financial cost to their owners. It helps fund wider organised crime and presents an evidenced disease transmission threat. My constituents are very pleased with the hon. Member for North Devon for introducing this legislation. We have talked a lot about enforcement and the concerns that a piece of legislation is only as good as the enforcement that goes with it. The enforcement of existing laws and regulations is not adequate, so I have significant questions about enforcement. However, the Bill is a step on the journey in the right direction, and, on behalf of the dog, cat and ferret lovers in Croydon, I welcome it.

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11 May 2024

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right. If someone is caught smuggling drugs or people, they face years in prison. From the information I have looked at, if the police do a sting—they do so sometimes, although not often, because they do not have the resources —and manage to catch someone who has been smuggling pets into the country illegally, that person will be looking at a couple of months’ imprisonment as a maximum, and probably not even that. For a criminal gang managing the risks, it is a worthwhile crime to introduce the puppies into this country, particularly given that their cost can run into several thousand pounds each. We need to do more to get rid of and stamp down on this practice. I welcome the Bill’s provisions, but, as other Members have said, I think we need to go further on enforcement and other measures.

I want to briefly touch on my journey trying to buy and getting a pet. During the covid pandemic, my children were pushing me to get a dog, while my husband was very against it, which I think is not uncommon in families. My children finally won the argument, and we decided to get a dog. I had not bought an animal before and I realised that the whole situation was a bit of a minefield. The first thing I did was to go online, where there are hundreds of websites selling pets, and I had no idea where they had come from or what their quality of life had been so far, nor whether they had been brought into this country legally or not. Pets4Homes is a big site; and Gumtree sells thousands of pets, as do puppies.co.uk and foreverpuppy.co.uk.

I looked on many different sites and did not know what I was looking for, nor how to avoid doing something I should not. I looked at some charities, which provide really useful information on what to do and what not to do; Dogs Trust has particularly good information about what to avoid. I found out that I needed to see good pictures of the animal with its mother, and to ring up the person who was selling it and have a conversation with them. I then needed to go and see the animal, make sure its mother and father were there, and look at the surroundings. On several occasions, that meant I was able to pick up on something slightly dodgy. I reported several cases because I could not see the animal’s mother or its background, and the owner was not asking me anything about my background; it did not feel right. I also reported a seller when I went to visit some puppies in a flat, because the flat was immaculate and there was no evidence that anyone was living there—there was just a crate of puppies and a man. I was just not comfortable that the situation was what it should have been, so I reported the situation.

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11 May 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, how many developers have expressed an interest in the development of new nuclear power at Moorside since its selection as a site for new nuclear power generation in 2009.

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10 May 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment her Department has made of the extent of regulatory support for potential nuclear power developments at Moorside.

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10 May 2024

I thank the hon. Member for North Devon (Selaine Saxby) for introducing the Bill. I join everyone else who has spoken in support of it.

People in Croydon love their pets. We are lucky enough to be one of the greenest London boroughs with beautiful parks, as people will know. We have thousands of animal lovers and pets in our borough. As has already been mentioned, during the covid pandemic, there was a big increase in the number of people deciding that they wanted a cat or a dog. Croydon has seen a large increase in the same way. We need to ensure that, when people get a cat or a dog—or, indeed, a ferret, about which we learned much from my hon. Friend the Member for City of Chester (Samantha Dixon)—things are done in the right way, and they are not buying an animal that has been illegally smuggled into the country.

Other Labour Members have pointed to the Labour Government’s record on animal welfare. My right hon. Friend the Member for Garston and Halewood (Maria Eagle) herself introduced legislation. In 1997, I was working for a Labour MP, and we were introducing the banning of foxhunting. I remember that we received literally hundreds of handwritten letters—we did not really use email back then—from people who were desperate to see an end to foxhunting, cosmetic testing and all the other things for which legislation was introduced under the last Labour Government.

I join colleagues in their disappointment that the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill was not passed. We are grateful to the hon. Member for North Devon for bringing in some measures that we can all support. Like other Members, many of my constituents have written, asking me to support the Bill. Jan, a big supporter of Cats Protection who writes to me often, says that according to the Cats Protection stats of 2023, 50,000 cats were obtained from an overseas source in the 12 months preceding its survey. Of course, it is unclear what condition those cats or kittens were subjected to during their travel.

When I was shadow Policing Minister, I would talk to senior police officers up and down the country about crime in their areas, and I heard increasingly about the smuggling of pets. I remember talking to a senior police officer in the north-east who said that they were dealing with very serious and large criminal gangs, with a presence across multiple countries, who would smuggle people, drugs, vapes and pets—it was big business. Of course, there was not much enforcement to stop that practice from happening.

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9 May 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of the (a) total investment, (b) number of directly-created jobs and (c) number of supply-chain jobs forecast for the Sizewell C development on (i) Suffolk and (ii) the UK.

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9 May 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of the total (a) investment, (b) number of directly-created jobs and (c) number of supply-chain jobs at Hinkley C on the economy in (i) Somerset and (ii) the UK.

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8 May 2024

No commitment to virgin steel from the Minister, then—what a shame. I welcome him to his place, and note that he visited Port Talbot steelworks last week, but he failed to meet any actual steelworkers of course. Instead of avoiding discussing the Government’s plans for £500 million of taxpayers’ money for the loss of nearly 3,000 jobs, will he please commit to meeting some Port Talbot steelworkers, and will he publish his economic assessment of the impact of the UK losing its capacity to make virgin steel—or is his actual plan to just keep his head down until the Prime Minister finally has the guts to call a general election and leave all these problems piling up for somebody else?

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5 May 2024

May I take this opportunity to pay tribute to the reservists based in Croydon, who, among many roles, have been in Estonia helping to keep us all safe? Labour wants to reach 2.5%, but my right hon. Friend the shadow Defence Secretary has asked why there is no budget line or fully funded plans for the announcement. This appears to be a bit of a pattern across Government. Only yesterday, I learned that a £1 billion announcement made about carbon capture and storage several years ago still appears nowhere on a Treasury budget line. If the Government play so fast and loose with our public funding, how on earth will the Secretary of State deliver the economic stability on which our defence spending relies?

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5 May 2024

The Conservative candidate for London Mayor has promoted Islamophobic tropes online, endorsed the beliefs of Enoch Powell and claimed that the black community has a problem with crime. In the week when we marked the 31st anniversary of the murder of Stephen Lawrence, does the Deputy Prime Minister really endorse those views?

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4 May 2024

I travelled with colleagues to Northern Ireland two weeks ago, and we visited Forge Integrated Primary School and met lots of very fine children. In 2015, £150 million of Fresh Start funding was earmarked for integrated education in Northern Ireland. What does the Minister say to those schools that were expecting this funding but have found that it is no longer guaranteed?

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4 May 2024

What recent discussions he has had with the Northern Ireland Executive on the expansion of integrated education in Northern Ireland.

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3 May 2024

No commitment to virgin steel from the Minister, then—what a shame. I welcome him to his place, and note that he visited Port Talbot steelworks last week, but he failed to meet any actual steelworkers of course. Instead of avoiding discussing the Government’s plans for £500 million of taxpayers’ money for the loss of nearly 3,000 jobs, will he please commit to meeting some Port Talbot steelworkers, and will he publish his economic assessment of the impact of the UK losing its capacity to make virgin steel—or is his actual plan to just keep his head down until the Prime Minister finally has the guts to call a general election and leave all these problems piling up for somebody else?

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28 April 2024

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir Gary, and a pleasure to follow all the contributors to what has been a thoughtful debate. I am grateful to the hon. Member for St Austell and Newquay (Steve Double) for securing the debate. I completely understand why he wanted to do so, and think I agree with everything he said in his speech. Although we have made some small progress, I agree that there is a silo mentality and it is disappointing that the Government are not as joined up as they should be on these issues. I also agree with the hon. Gentleman’s points about the need for more focus on the midstream. I have heard that several times from people I have engaged with while I have been in this role.

The hon. Member for Strangford (Jim Shannon) highlighted the potential role, as we learned, of Northern Ireland. When I was in Northern Ireland a couple of weeks ago, I met representatives of the chamber of commerce and visited businesses including Harland & Wolff, and their ambitions were very high. It was reassuring and encouraging to hear that everybody is pushing forward now that the Assembly is back up and running; it feels as though real progress is being made.

I listened with interest to the hon. Member for Truro and Falmouth (Cherilyn Mackrory) about her role on the all-party parliamentary group for critical minerals. I have met the Critical Minerals Association and others and I understand what she is saying. I agree that mining is not always the dirty industry that it once was, but in some places, it is. Our role is to try to make sure that it is not a dirty industry and that, where we do it and where we supply and rely on others, it is being done properly. I agree that the Government need to be more agile in responding to some of the challenges that we face. The role of the extractive industries and how that works is an important part of the debate, as the hon. Member for Gordon (Richard Thomson) said.

I will add to some of the key arguments that have been made. If people are not familiar with the term “critical minerals”, it has an air of mystery about it, but there is nothing clandestine about the importance of critical minerals and how key they are to our modern society. I welcome the Minister to his new role. If he has not already read “Material World” by Ed Conway, I encourage him to do so, because it brings to life how important critical minerals are for us all.

The first thing that many of us do when we wake up in the morning is check our phone, which is powered by a lithium battery. We might spend the day working on a laptop; its chip is laced with tin. In the coming years, we will get more and more of our electricity from turbines that are powered as much by metals like cobalt as by the wind that turns their blades. If the Minister has not already been to the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, I encourage him to go, so he can see how important critical minerals are in the production of batteries, which will be important for electric vehicle manufacturing in this country.

As has been said, the move to net zero is key. The International Energy Agency has predicted that demand for critical minerals could more than double by 2030. There are different figures—the hon. Member for Truro and Falmouth said that it would quadruple—but we know that the need for critical minerals will increase significantly. It is therefore vital that we secure the supply of lithium and other critical minerals to this country.

Labour is clear that the green transition is our biggest economic opportunity. It is our chance to bring economic growth back to this country—the driving mission of a future Labour Government—along with hundreds of thousands of jobs everywhere, from Cornwall to Carlisle. As the shadow Chancellor has set out, we are living in an age of insecurity. The vulnerabilities exposed by the pandemic, by rising geopolitical tensions, which have been mentioned, and by the changing climate have made it clear that a joined-up approach to the economy is vital for our nation’s security.

Many of the 18 minerals that the UK defines as “critical” are concentrated in specific geographic areas, the majority of which, as has been said, are not dependable allies of the UK. China is the biggest producer of 12 of the 18 minerals. That makes it clear that strategic, co-ordinated and effective steps to secure our supply of those minerals are vital. Critical action is needed, on which we believe that the Government have critically underdelivered.

Other countries are racing ahead, but the Conservatives still refuse on ideological grounds to have an industrial strategy, which leaves our approach to critical minerals disjointed and scattergun. Instead of showing decisive leadership, we risk seeing the UK sidelined in the global race for the industries of the future. The EU Critical Raw Materials Act has introduced benchmarks for domestic capabilities along critical mineral supply chains. The US Inflation Reduction Act, which has accelerated the race for critical mineral production there, is a powerful intervention that the Chancellor dismissed as a “distortive …subsidy race”.

We welcomed the Government’s critical minerals strategy when it was finally published, but some parts of their approach were frankly baffling. For example, why did they choose not to assess the vulnerabilities of the UK’s industrial supply chains while drawing it up? Why did the strategy contain no specific targets for priority sectors? Why was there no plan to expand midstream capacity for processing and refining in the UK, including in the critical minerals refresh published last year? As the Critical Minerals Association said, without developing the UK midstream, there is a risk that the UK Government will not be recognised as integral to global critical mineral supply chains.

The strategy should have been a vital document, but as others have mentioned, the Foreign Affairs Committee concluded in a report that it is simply too broad to have real impact. That failure is deeply concerning, and it means that crucial investors in the critical minerals supply chain will look elsewhere. They will look to Europe, to countries such as Germany who are expected to have the largest battery manufacturing capacity on the continent by 2030. In comparison, the UK still has just one gigafactory that is actually operational.

The Government’s ad hoc approach has failed; the Conservatives have left Britain vulnerable, and Labour will take a new approach. Where this Government have proved themselves ideologically allergic to joined-up thinking, Labour knows that a real industrial strategy is the only adequate response to our age of insecurity. Building a resilient economy will be a core principle of our approach, which is why our industrial strategy provides for a new supply chains taskforce to analyse the potential supply chain needs across critical sectors, to review the vulnerability of critical supply chains to extreme risks and to assess the potential requirements of responding to those shocks.

That industrial strategy will work hand in glove with Labour’s green prosperity plan, built on the principle of using catalytic public investment to secure investment from the private sector—a principle that the hon. Member for St Austell and Newquay may be able to attest to the power of. Labour will make strategic public investments to develop and support critical supply chains here in Britain. Our national wealth fund will invest £1.5 billion in new gigafactories and aim to draw in three times as much from the private sector. Boosting Britain’s automotive industry at the one end and the critical minerals supply chain at the other, the new gigafactories will help to put Britain back on a competitive international footing and to secure Britain’s place in the international supply of those key materials.

When it comes to critical minerals, it is vital to look way beyond our borders, which is why a Labour Government would ensure that our trade policy works in step with our domestic plans. That is why we need to work with our friends and allies on secure and resilient supply chains, aligning capacities in key sectors with our wider security relationships. I was at a roundtable recently with the Critical Minerals Association and many others, including representatives from Australia and Canada, and we were talking about how the Foreign Office works in terms of its relationships and priorities. It is clear that the need for critical minerals needs to be stamped on what is done by the Foreign Office, as well as by other Departments. We need to make sure that we are building relationships with our allies from whom we will need to source materials in the future. We should also use our international position to boost standards, which, when it comes to critical minerals, have too often been sorely lacking.

Securing the supply of new critical minerals is crucial, but it is also vital to consider how we make the most of the materials that already surround us. I did not know that there is an estimated average of 20 unused electronic items in every household across the UK. We have to not make a mockery of recycling, as our Prime Minister has, but see it in its rightful place in helping to secure the circular economy, with buy-in from devolved Administrations across the UK. That is a real priority in moving towards a sustainable future.

Getting this right is vital, so I hope that the Minister can answer a few questions before the end of the debate. What is the Government’s plan to support the development of midstream critical mineral capacity in the UK? How do the Government plan to support the move to a circular economy to reduce our demand for new minerals? How is his Department working with the Foreign Office to engage with our allies so that we can secure our critical mineral supply and boost international standards? In the Government’s response to the task and finish group, they said that they would consider new supportive proposals. Have the Government done that yet? Securing our supply of lithium and other critical minerals needs leadership—leadership that the Government have so far failed to deliver. We risk letting the UK fall behind in securing our supply of critical minerals. Labour will put the UK back in the race.

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28 April 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 30 January 2024 to Question 10758 on Armed Forces, if he will name the regiments in the (a) Army and (b) Royal Marines which have been (i) disbanded and (ii) merged since 2010.

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28 April 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answers of 24 January 2024 to Questions 10872 and 10873 on Ranger Regiment, the Answers of 24 January 2024 to Questions 10657 and 10658 on Armed Forces: Recruitment, the Answer of 24 January 2024 to Question 10656 on Armed Forces: Discharges, the Answer of 24 January 2024 to Question 10655 on Armed Forces and the Answer of 30 January 2024 to Question 10874 on Defence Equipment: Theft, when he plans to write to the hon. Member for Croydon Central with the information requested.

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28 April 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what the decision-making process is for the potential release of land by the Nuclear Development Authority for nuclear development sites at Moorside.

Photo of Sarah Jones
28 April 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what recent assessment her Department has made of the viability of Moorside as a nuclear development site; and whether her Department has had recent discussions with Sellafield Ltd on the land requirements for developing that site.

Photo of Sarah Jones
28 April 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment her Department made of the adequacy of proposals from Solway Community Power Company for the development of small modular reactors at Moorside; how much land is required for that proposed development; and how many meetings have taken place between the Department and that company.

Photo of Sarah Jones
28 April 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether her Department has had recent discussions with (a) Sellafield Ltd and (b) the Nuclear Development Authority on its plans for nuclear power developments at Moorside.

Photo of Sarah Jones
28 April 2024

This Government are locked in a doom loop of inertia, and everyone is talking about it. Just this week, the National Infrastructure Commission said that the Government are taking too long, need to move faster, and that greater urgency is required. The CBI report that the Secretary of State mentioned says that

“strong future growth from green businesses is being put at risk”.

Labour’s national wealth fund will crowd in private investment and create thousands of good jobs for plumbers, engineers, electricians and welders. Is blowing our advantage and losing the race for the industries of the future part of the Government’s plan, or do they just not have one?

Photo of Sarah Jones
27 April 2024

I thank my hon. Friend for that excellent intervention. “Coronation Street”, like all the soaps, does quite a good job in helping to educate us about some of these issues.

I had to look online for information to ensure I was making the right choices. We ended up finding somebody who had brought a rescue dog over from Ukraine and had realised that the dog was pregnant, which they had not known at the time. The dog gave birth to only one puppy, which is quite rare and often means that the dog has had some maltreatment. We adopted that puppy, who was born in this country, with the mother having been brought over from Ukraine.

Lots of constituents have been in touch about this issue and lots of Members have given statistics showing why it is important that we take action. We are talking about a multimillion-pound industry across countries, with UK sales of up to 2 million puppies annually and a value of anything up to £2 billion. Some 50% of the industry is illegal or unlicensed. As the illegal trade has changed, so have its production systems. We were given many helpful briefings, from many organisations, for this debate. One from Battersea tells us that

“farms breeding puppies on an industrial scale are just as likely to be found in urban tower blocks, or warehouses in Eastern Europe, as they are in ramshackle, shiveringly cold, and filthy cages in sheds and shacks on repurposed smallholdings.”

A Four Paws report on the illegal puppy trade in the UK found that more than 30% of imported puppies were from Romania alone. According to respondents to Cats Protection’s “Cats and Their Stats” 2023 survey, 3% of the cats that were obtained in the 12 months preceding the survey were from abroad, which equates to 50,000 cats—there was no clarity as to the conditions.

As has been said, puppies and kittens that are imported too young face a much higher risk of developing illnesses or suffering an early death. I should have congratulated the hon. Member for Penrith and The Border (Dr Hudson), who made an excellent speech and knows much more about this and the impact that these things can have on our animals. I listened with great interest and learnt a lot during his speech. Raising the age minimum in this regard will allow animals to grow older and it will protect them a bit more from travelling long and stressful journeys. It would be welcome and would stop a lot of the sales of those very young pets; we do see that online and it is easy to find, with multiple adverts where young puppies or kittens are being advertised as four, five or six weeks old and ready for homing.

As I have said, puppy smuggling is an unchecked criminal activity, which causes suffering to animals and heartache and financial cost to their owners. It helps fund wider organised crime and presents an evidenced disease transmission threat. My constituents are very pleased with the hon. Member for North Devon for introducing this legislation. We have talked a lot about enforcement and the concerns that a piece of legislation is only as good as the enforcement that goes with it. The enforcement of existing laws and regulations is not adequate, so I have significant questions about enforcement. However, the Bill is a step on the journey in the right direction, and, on behalf of the dog, cat and ferret lovers in Croydon, I welcome it.

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27 April 2024

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right. If someone is caught smuggling drugs or people, they face years in prison. From the information I have looked at, if the police do a sting—they do so sometimes, although not often, because they do not have the resources —and manage to catch someone who has been smuggling pets into the country illegally, that person will be looking at a couple of months’ imprisonment as a maximum, and probably not even that. For a criminal gang managing the risks, it is a worthwhile crime to introduce the puppies into this country, particularly given that their cost can run into several thousand pounds each. We need to do more to get rid of and stamp down on this practice. I welcome the Bill’s provisions, but, as other Members have said, I think we need to go further on enforcement and other measures.

I want to briefly touch on my journey trying to buy and getting a pet. During the covid pandemic, my children were pushing me to get a dog, while my husband was very against it, which I think is not uncommon in families. My children finally won the argument, and we decided to get a dog. I had not bought an animal before and I realised that the whole situation was a bit of a minefield. The first thing I did was to go online, where there are hundreds of websites selling pets, and I had no idea where they had come from or what their quality of life had been so far, nor whether they had been brought into this country legally or not. Pets4Homes is a big site; and Gumtree sells thousands of pets, as do puppies.co.uk and foreverpuppy.co.uk.

I looked on many different sites and did not know what I was looking for, nor how to avoid doing something I should not. I looked at some charities, which provide really useful information on what to do and what not to do; Dogs Trust has particularly good information about what to avoid. I found out that I needed to see good pictures of the animal with its mother, and to ring up the person who was selling it and have a conversation with them. I then needed to go and see the animal, make sure its mother and father were there, and look at the surroundings. On several occasions, that meant I was able to pick up on something slightly dodgy. I reported several cases because I could not see the animal’s mother or its background, and the owner was not asking me anything about my background; it did not feel right. I also reported a seller when I went to visit some puppies in a flat, because the flat was immaculate and there was no evidence that anyone was living there—there was just a crate of puppies and a man. I was just not comfortable that the situation was what it should have been, so I reported the situation.

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27 April 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, how many developers have expressed an interest in the development of new nuclear power at Moorside since its selection as a site for new nuclear power generation in 2009.

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27 April 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment her Department has made of the extent of regulatory support for potential nuclear power developments at Moorside.

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27 April 2024

I thank the hon. Member for North Devon (Selaine Saxby) for introducing the Bill. I join everyone else who has spoken in support of it.

People in Croydon love their pets. We are lucky enough to be one of the greenest London boroughs with beautiful parks, as people will know. We have thousands of animal lovers and pets in our borough. As has already been mentioned, during the covid pandemic, there was a big increase in the number of people deciding that they wanted a cat or a dog. Croydon has seen a large increase in the same way. We need to ensure that, when people get a cat or a dog—or, indeed, a ferret, about which we learned much from my hon. Friend the Member for City of Chester (Samantha Dixon)—things are done in the right way, and they are not buying an animal that has been illegally smuggled into the country.

Other Labour Members have pointed to the Labour Government’s record on animal welfare. My right hon. Friend the Member for Garston and Halewood (Maria Eagle) herself introduced legislation. In 1997, I was working for a Labour MP, and we were introducing the banning of foxhunting. I remember that we received literally hundreds of handwritten letters—we did not really use email back then—from people who were desperate to see an end to foxhunting, cosmetic testing and all the other things for which legislation was introduced under the last Labour Government.

I join colleagues in their disappointment that the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill was not passed. We are grateful to the hon. Member for North Devon for bringing in some measures that we can all support. Like other Members, many of my constituents have written, asking me to support the Bill. Jan, a big supporter of Cats Protection who writes to me often, says that according to the Cats Protection stats of 2023, 50,000 cats were obtained from an overseas source in the 12 months preceding its survey. Of course, it is unclear what condition those cats or kittens were subjected to during their travel.

When I was shadow Policing Minister, I would talk to senior police officers up and down the country about crime in their areas, and I heard increasingly about the smuggling of pets. I remember talking to a senior police officer in the north-east who said that they were dealing with very serious and large criminal gangs, with a presence across multiple countries, who would smuggle people, drugs, vapes and pets—it was big business. Of course, there was not much enforcement to stop that practice from happening.

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27 April 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of the (a) total investment, (b) number of directly-created jobs and (c) number of supply-chain jobs forecast for the Sizewell C development on (i) Suffolk and (ii) the UK.

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27 April 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of the total (a) investment, (b) number of directly-created jobs and (c) number of supply-chain jobs at Hinkley C on the economy in (i) Somerset and (ii) the UK.

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27 April 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, how much financial support the Government (a) agreed to give to support the NuGen project in Moorside over the course of its proposed development and (b) gave to the project before it was cancelled.

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26 April 2024

May I take this opportunity to pay tribute to the reservists based in Croydon, who, among many roles, have been in Estonia helping to keep us all safe? Labour wants to reach 2.5%, but my right hon. Friend the shadow Defence Secretary has asked why there is no budget line or fully funded plans for the announcement. This appears to be a bit of a pattern across Government. Only yesterday, I learned that a £1 billion announcement made about carbon capture and storage several years ago still appears nowhere on a Treasury budget line. If the Government play so fast and loose with our public funding, how on earth will the Secretary of State deliver the economic stability on which our defence spending relies?

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26 April 2024

The Conservative candidate for London Mayor has promoted Islamophobic tropes online, endorsed the beliefs of Enoch Powell and claimed that the black community has a problem with crime. In the week when we marked the 31st anniversary of the murder of Stephen Lawrence, does the Deputy Prime Minister really endorse those views?

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26 April 2024

I travelled with colleagues to Northern Ireland two weeks ago, and we visited Forge Integrated Primary School and met lots of very fine children. In 2015, £150 million of Fresh Start funding was earmarked for integrated education in Northern Ireland. What does the Minister say to those schools that were expecting this funding but have found that it is no longer guaranteed?

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26 April 2024

What recent discussions he has had with the Northern Ireland Executive on the expansion of integrated education in Northern Ireland.

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25 April 2024

May I take this opportunity to pay tribute to the reservists based in Croydon, who, among many roles, have been in Estonia helping to keep us all safe? Labour wants to reach 2.5%, but my right hon. Friend the shadow Defence Secretary has asked why there is no budget line or fully funded plans for the announcement. This appears to be a bit of a pattern across Government. Only yesterday, I learned that a £1 billion announcement made about carbon capture and storage several years ago still appears nowhere on a Treasury budget line. If the Government play so fast and loose with our public funding, how on earth will the Secretary of State deliver the economic stability on which our defence spending relies?

Photo of Sarah Jones
25 April 2024

The Conservative candidate for London Mayor has promoted Islamophobic tropes online, endorsed the beliefs of Enoch Powell and claimed that the black community has a problem with crime. In the week when we marked the 31st anniversary of the murder of Stephen Lawrence, does the Deputy Prime Minister really endorse those views?

Photo of Sarah Jones
25 April 2024

I travelled with colleagues to Northern Ireland two weeks ago, and we visited Forge Integrated Primary School and met lots of very fine children. In 2015, £150 million of Fresh Start funding was earmarked for integrated education in Northern Ireland. What does the Minister say to those schools that were expecting this funding but have found that it is no longer guaranteed?

Photo of Sarah Jones
25 April 2024

What recent discussions he has had with the Northern Ireland Executive on the expansion of integrated education in Northern Ireland.

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24 April 2024

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir Gary, and a pleasure to follow all the contributors to what has been a thoughtful debate. I am grateful to the hon. Member for St Austell and Newquay (Steve Double) for securing the debate. I completely understand why he wanted to do so, and think I agree with everything he said in his speech. Although we have made some small progress, I agree that there is a silo mentality and it is disappointing that the Government are not as joined up as they should be on these issues. I also agree with the hon. Gentleman’s points about the need for more focus on the midstream. I have heard that several times from people I have engaged with while I have been in this role.

The hon. Member for Strangford (Jim Shannon) highlighted the potential role, as we learned, of Northern Ireland. When I was in Northern Ireland a couple of weeks ago, I met representatives of the chamber of commerce and visited businesses including Harland & Wolff, and their ambitions were very high. It was reassuring and encouraging to hear that everybody is pushing forward now that the Assembly is back up and running; it feels as though real progress is being made.

I listened with interest to the hon. Member for Truro and Falmouth (Cherilyn Mackrory) about her role on the all-party parliamentary group for critical minerals. I have met the Critical Minerals Association and others and I understand what she is saying. I agree that mining is not always the dirty industry that it once was, but in some places, it is. Our role is to try to make sure that it is not a dirty industry and that, where we do it and where we supply and rely on others, it is being done properly. I agree that the Government need to be more agile in responding to some of the challenges that we face. The role of the extractive industries and how that works is an important part of the debate, as the hon. Member for Gordon (Richard Thomson) said.

I will add to some of the key arguments that have been made. If people are not familiar with the term “critical minerals”, it has an air of mystery about it, but there is nothing clandestine about the importance of critical minerals and how key they are to our modern society. I welcome the Minister to his new role. If he has not already read “Material World” by Ed Conway, I encourage him to do so, because it brings to life how important critical minerals are for us all.

The first thing that many of us do when we wake up in the morning is check our phone, which is powered by a lithium battery. We might spend the day working on a laptop; its chip is laced with tin. In the coming years, we will get more and more of our electricity from turbines that are powered as much by metals like cobalt as by the wind that turns their blades. If the Minister has not already been to the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, I encourage him to go, so he can see how important critical minerals are in the production of batteries, which will be important for electric vehicle manufacturing in this country.

As has been said, the move to net zero is key. The International Energy Agency has predicted that demand for critical minerals could more than double by 2030. There are different figures—the hon. Member for Truro and Falmouth said that it would quadruple—but we know that the need for critical minerals will increase significantly. It is therefore vital that we secure the supply of lithium and other critical minerals to this country.

Labour is clear that the green transition is our biggest economic opportunity. It is our chance to bring economic growth back to this country—the driving mission of a future Labour Government—along with hundreds of thousands of jobs everywhere, from Cornwall to Carlisle. As the shadow Chancellor has set out, we are living in an age of insecurity. The vulnerabilities exposed by the pandemic, by rising geopolitical tensions, which have been mentioned, and by the changing climate have made it clear that a joined-up approach to the economy is vital for our nation’s security.

Many of the 18 minerals that the UK defines as “critical” are concentrated in specific geographic areas, the majority of which, as has been said, are not dependable allies of the UK. China is the biggest producer of 12 of the 18 minerals. That makes it clear that strategic, co-ordinated and effective steps to secure our supply of those minerals are vital. Critical action is needed, on which we believe that the Government have critically underdelivered.

Other countries are racing ahead, but the Conservatives still refuse on ideological grounds to have an industrial strategy, which leaves our approach to critical minerals disjointed and scattergun. Instead of showing decisive leadership, we risk seeing the UK sidelined in the global race for the industries of the future. The EU Critical Raw Materials Act has introduced benchmarks for domestic capabilities along critical mineral supply chains. The US Inflation Reduction Act, which has accelerated the race for critical mineral production there, is a powerful intervention that the Chancellor dismissed as a “distortive …subsidy race”.

We welcomed the Government’s critical minerals strategy when it was finally published, but some parts of their approach were frankly baffling. For example, why did they choose not to assess the vulnerabilities of the UK’s industrial supply chains while drawing it up? Why did the strategy contain no specific targets for priority sectors? Why was there no plan to expand midstream capacity for processing and refining in the UK, including in the critical minerals refresh published last year? As the Critical Minerals Association said, without developing the UK midstream, there is a risk that the UK Government will not be recognised as integral to global critical mineral supply chains.

The strategy should have been a vital document, but as others have mentioned, the Foreign Affairs Committee concluded in a report that it is simply too broad to have real impact. That failure is deeply concerning, and it means that crucial investors in the critical minerals supply chain will look elsewhere. They will look to Europe, to countries such as Germany who are expected to have the largest battery manufacturing capacity on the continent by 2030. In comparison, the UK still has just one gigafactory that is actually operational.

The Government’s ad hoc approach has failed; the Conservatives have left Britain vulnerable, and Labour will take a new approach. Where this Government have proved themselves ideologically allergic to joined-up thinking, Labour knows that a real industrial strategy is the only adequate response to our age of insecurity. Building a resilient economy will be a core principle of our approach, which is why our industrial strategy provides for a new supply chains taskforce to analyse the potential supply chain needs across critical sectors, to review the vulnerability of critical supply chains to extreme risks and to assess the potential requirements of responding to those shocks.

That industrial strategy will work hand in glove with Labour’s green prosperity plan, built on the principle of using catalytic public investment to secure investment from the private sector—a principle that the hon. Member for St Austell and Newquay may be able to attest to the power of. Labour will make strategic public investments to develop and support critical supply chains here in Britain. Our national wealth fund will invest £1.5 billion in new gigafactories and aim to draw in three times as much from the private sector. Boosting Britain’s automotive industry at the one end and the critical minerals supply chain at the other, the new gigafactories will help to put Britain back on a competitive international footing and to secure Britain’s place in the international supply of those key materials.

When it comes to critical minerals, it is vital to look way beyond our borders, which is why a Labour Government would ensure that our trade policy works in step with our domestic plans. That is why we need to work with our friends and allies on secure and resilient supply chains, aligning capacities in key sectors with our wider security relationships. I was at a roundtable recently with the Critical Minerals Association and many others, including representatives from Australia and Canada, and we were talking about how the Foreign Office works in terms of its relationships and priorities. It is clear that the need for critical minerals needs to be stamped on what is done by the Foreign Office, as well as by other Departments. We need to make sure that we are building relationships with our allies from whom we will need to source materials in the future. We should also use our international position to boost standards, which, when it comes to critical minerals, have too often been sorely lacking.

Securing the supply of new critical minerals is crucial, but it is also vital to consider how we make the most of the materials that already surround us. I did not know that there is an estimated average of 20 unused electronic items in every household across the UK. We have to not make a mockery of recycling, as our Prime Minister has, but see it in its rightful place in helping to secure the circular economy, with buy-in from devolved Administrations across the UK. That is a real priority in moving towards a sustainable future.

Getting this right is vital, so I hope that the Minister can answer a few questions before the end of the debate. What is the Government’s plan to support the development of midstream critical mineral capacity in the UK? How do the Government plan to support the move to a circular economy to reduce our demand for new minerals? How is his Department working with the Foreign Office to engage with our allies so that we can secure our critical mineral supply and boost international standards? In the Government’s response to the task and finish group, they said that they would consider new supportive proposals. Have the Government done that yet? Securing our supply of lithium and other critical minerals needs leadership—leadership that the Government have so far failed to deliver. We risk letting the UK fall behind in securing our supply of critical minerals. Labour will put the UK back in the race.

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26 March 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 30 January 2024 to Question 10758 on Armed Forces, if he will name the regiments in the (a) Army and (b) Royal Marines which have been (i) disbanded and (ii) merged since 2010.

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19 March 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answers of 24 January 2024 to Questions 10872 and 10873 on Ranger Regiment, the Answers of 24 January 2024 to Questions 10657 and 10658 on Armed Forces: Recruitment, the Answer of 24 January 2024 to Question 10656 on Armed Forces: Discharges, the Answer of 24 January 2024 to Question 10655 on Armed Forces and the Answer of 30 January 2024 to Question 10874 on Defence Equipment: Theft, when he plans to write to the hon. Member for Croydon Central with the information requested.

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18 March 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what the decision-making process is for the potential release of land by the Nuclear Development Authority for nuclear development sites at Moorside.

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18 March 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what recent assessment her Department has made of the viability of Moorside as a nuclear development site; and whether her Department has had recent discussions with Sellafield Ltd on the land requirements for developing that site.

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17 March 2024

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment her Department made of the adequacy of proposals from Solway Community Power Company for the development of small modular reactors at Moorside; how much land is required for that proposed development; and how many meetings have taken place between the Department and that company.

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17 March 2024

This Government are locked in a doom loop of inertia, and everyone is talking about it. Just this week, the National Infrastructure Commission said that the Government are taking too long, need to move faster, and that greater urgency is required. The CBI report that the Secretary of State mentioned says that

“strong future growth from green businesses is being put at risk”.

Labour’s national wealth fund will crowd in private investment and create thousands of good jobs for plumbers, engineers, electricians and welders. Is blowing our advantage and losing the race for the industries of the future part of the Government’s plan, or do they just not have one?

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