Outside construction of the RPC building.

Government inquiries and consultations

04 July 2019


Parliament committees and inquires


Summary / brief update

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

Food labelling: changing food allergen information laws

The consultation looks at updating the food allergen labelling rules for foods which are prepacked for direct sale (PPDS). In particular, which options would work best:

  • option 1: promote best practice (no change in law)
  • option 2: add “ask the staff” stickers to packaging, staff would have to provide information orally and in writing if asked
  • option 3: label food with the name of the food and list allergens
  • option 4: label food with name of food, full ingredients list and with allergens emphasised

The consultation has closed as of 29 March 2019

Department of Health and Social Care

Restricting promotions of food and drink that is high in fat, sugar and salt

This consultation asks what you think about:

  • restricting volume-based price promotions of HFSS food and drink that encourage people to buy more than they need, for example, ‘buy one, get one free’ and free refills of sugary soft drinks
  • restricting the placement of HFSS food and drink at main selling locations in stores, such as checkouts, aisle ends and store entrances

This consultation also seeks your views on:

  • which businesses, products and types of promotions should be included in the restrictions
  • definitions for HFSS products, price promotions and locations in stores
  • how businesses can put this into practice and whether they will face any difficulties

The consultation has closed as of 6 April 2019

HM Revenue & Customs

Amendment to VAT Regulation 38: Statutory Instrument technical consultation

The measure will introduce revised rules on when and how Regulation 38 adjustments should be made.

The change is intended to make clear that such adjustments must be made at the time a change in consideration occurs, and that the customer must benefit from reductions in consideration

The consultation has closed as of 15 April 2019

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

Confidentiality clauses: measures to prevent misuse in situations of workplace harassment or discrimination

Confidentiality clauses, also known as non-disclosure agreements or NDAs, are provisions which seek to prohibit the disclosure of information. They serve a useful and legitimate purpose in the employment context, as part of both employment contracts and settlement agreements. However, a number of cases have come to light where employers have used confidentiality clauses to prevent victims of workplace harassment or discrimination from speaking out.

The purpose of this consultation is:

  • to better understand how confidentiality clauses and the legal framework around them work in practice
  • to assess what changes are required to ensure individuals are appropriately protected from their misuse

The consultation has closed as of 29 April 2019

HM Treasury and Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs


Plastic packaging tax

The consultation outlines the government’s proposal for how the tax will work and contains a number of questions relating to this. For example, which packaging should be in scope of the tax, how to assess recycled content, and which businesses will be liable for the tax. The government is open to views on the best design options.

The consultation has closed as of 12 May 2019

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

Introducing a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for drinks containers (bottles and cans)

We want to know what you think about our proposals to introduce a deposit return scheme (DRS) for drinks containers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This would include drinks containers such as:

  • glass bottles
  • plastic bottles
  • cans

The cost of the deposit would be added to the price of the drinks included in the scheme when they are purchased. This deposit would be redeemed when consumers return their empty drinks containers to a designated return point.

The consultation has closed as of 13 May 2019

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

Packaging waste: changing the UK producer responsibility system for packaging waste

We want to know what you think about our proposals to reform the packaging producer responsibility system. These regulations set waste recycling targets for businesses responsible for producing packaging (like food containers). In particular, we’re seeking views on:

  • changing how costs are managed to be consistent with “polluter pays” principles
  • how we can use incentives to encourage the use of recyclable packaging
  • making recycling labels mandatory on packaging
  • setting new packaging waste recycling targets for 2025 and 2030
  • improving monitoring and enforcement of the regulations

The consultation has closed as of 13 May 2019

Department for Transport

Automated vehicle trialling code of practice: invitation to comment

Seeking views on the 2019 released version of the ‘Code of practice: automated vehicle trialling’.

The consultation has closed as of 17 May 2019

Low Pay Commission

Low Pay Commission consultation 2019

For the NLW, we are seeking evidence in order to advise on the viability of the stated target - 60 per cent of median earnings by 2020. The NLW has been introduced by the Government to raise pay and productivity, and - unlike for the other minimum wage rates - there is some tolerance of job loss. We are particularly interested in:

  • Views on the affordability and effects of an increase to the ‘on target’ rate for April 2020 – currently around £8.67.
  • Evidence of the impact of increases in the NLW since its introduction – including the April 2019 uprating – on workers, employers, the labour market and the economy.
  • Evidence of how employers are seeking to improve productivity.
  • Evidence on how the economic outlook is affected by the process of leaving the European Union.

For the other rates – affecting workers under 25 and apprentices – we are seeking evidence to make recommendations on our traditional basis of ‘helping raise the pay for as many low-paid workers as possible without damaging their employment prospects’.

The consultation has closed as of 7 June 2019

Department of Health and Social Care

Further advertising restrictions for products high in fat, salt and sugar

Our aim is to gather views on how the government can reduce children’s exposure to HFSS advertising, to reduce children’s overconsumption of these products.

We want any future advertising restrictions to be focused on HFSS products that are linked to childhood obesity. We also want to encourage brands to make their products healthier.

The consultation has closed as of 10 June 2019

Home Office

Violence and abuse toward shop staff: call for evidence

We are seeking the views of organisations and individuals who wish to contribute to our understanding of the problem of violence and abuse toward shop staff in England and Wales.

The consultation has closed as of 28 June 2019

Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport

Online Harms White Paper

The White Paper proposes establishing in law a new duty of care towards users, which will be overseen by an independent regulator. Companies will be held to account for tackling a comprehensive set of online harms, ranging from illegal activity and content to behaviours which are harmful but not necessarily illegal.

This consultation aims to gather views on various aspects of the government’s plans for regulation and tackling online harms, including:

  • the online services in scope of the regulatory framework;
  • options for appointing an independent regulatory body to implement, oversee and enforce the new regulatory framework;
  • the enforcement powers of an independent regulatory body;
  • potential redress mechanisms for online users; and
  • measures to ensure regulation is targeted and proportionate for industry.

The consultation has closed as of 1 July 2019

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

Corporate transparency and register reform

The consultation will look at new proposals to enhance the role of Companies House, increase the transparency of UK corporate entities and help combat economic crime. Consideration will be given to reform to the information we require companies to disclose, increasing the checks on this information and measures to improve the exchange of intelligence between Companies House and UK Law Enforcement bodies.

Responses due by 11:45pm on 5 August 2019

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

Smart data: putting consumers in control of their data and enabling innovation

Following a green paper in 2018, the consultation is looking at how to better utilise Smart Data to support better consumer outcomes across consumer markets. This includes:

  • enabling data driven innovation in consumer markets
  • using data and technology to help vulnerable consumers
  • ensuring consumers and their data are protected

Responses due by 12pm on 6 August 2019

HM Revenue & Customs

Draft legislation: Employment Allowance eligibility reforms

The technical consultation seeks views on the draft regulations and related documents that will reform the eligibility rules for the Employment Allowance by targeting it at smaller businesses.

Responses due by 11:45pm on 20 August 2019

Department of Health and Social Care

Adding folic acid to flour

The consultation is seeking businesses' views on our proposal to make it mandatory for flour millers to add folic acid to flour (a process known as ‘fortification’).

Responses due by 11:59pm on 9 September 2019

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

Groceries Code Adjudicator: statutory review, 2016 to 2019

The consultation is seeking views and evidence which will allow the government to assess the performance of the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) against the measures set out in the Groceries Code Adjudicator Act 2013.

Responses due by 11:45pm on 12 September 2019

Home Affairs Committee

Modern slavery inquiry

The Home Affairs Committee has agreed to undertake an inquiry looking at what progress has been made in the three years since the Modern Slavery Act came into force and what more remains to be done.

The inquiry is ongoing

Home Office

Transparency in supply chains

The consultation is gathering views on the proposed changes to the Modern Slavery Act 2015, following the independent review of the Modern Slavery Act.

The UK government has committed to strengthening section 54 (transparency in supply chains requirements) of the

Modern Slavery Act, and is proposing measures intended to:
  • Increase transparency and compliance
  • Improve reporting quality
  • Extend the scope of the legislation.
Responses due by 12:00pm on 17 September 2019

Government Equalities Office

Consultation on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

The consultation aims to gather evidence about whether the current laws on protecting people from sexual harassment in the workplace are effective.

The consultation wants to understand people’s experiences, and focus on the following set of issues:

  • How best to make sure employers take all the steps they can to prevent harassment from happening
  • Strengthening and clarifying the law so it’s clear employers should protect their staff from being harassed by clients, customers, or other people from outside their organisation
  • Whether interns and volunteers are adequately protected by current laws and
  • Whether people should be given longer to take a harassment, discrimination or victimisation claim to an Employment Tribunal
Responses due by 11:59pm on 2 October 2019


Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Good work plan: establishing a new single enforcement body for employment rights

The consultation is seeking views on options for establishing a single enforcement body to improve the enforcement of employment rights for workers and businesses, and whether establishing a new single enforcement body for employment rights could:

  • improve enforcement for vulnerable workers
  • create a level playing field for the majority of businesses who are complying with the law
Responses due by 11:45pm on 6 October 2019


Low Pay Commission

Good Work Plan: one-sided flexibility - addressing unfair flexible working practices

The consultation is seeking views on the proposals made by the Low Pay Commission, to address the issue of ‘one-sided

In particular it is seeking views on:

  • providing a right to reasonable notice of working hours
  • providing workers with compensation for shifts cancelled without reasonable notice
It also seeks views on what guidance government can provide to support employers and encourage best practice to be shared across industries.

Responses due by 11:45pm on 11 October 2019


Work and Pensions Committee

Pension costs and transparency inquiry

The Committee’s recently completed inquiry into Pension freedom and choice examined ways to ensure that people saving for their pensions are equipped to make well-informed choices, and are well served by the pensions marketplace.

The inquiry is ongoing

Environmental Audit Committee

Sustainability of the fashion industry inquiry

Examines carbon, resource use and water footprint of clothing throughout its lifecycle.

The inquiry has been concluded, and the reports and government response have been published

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee

Automation and the Future of Work inquiry

BEIS Committee hold inquiry into automation and the future of work, looking at its likely impact on UK businesses and the potential it has for productivity, growth and reindustrialisation.

The inquiry is ongoing

Science and Technology Committee (Commons)

Commercial and recreational drone use in the UK inquiry

This inquiry will look at the ethical and safety implications of the growing use of civilian drones, of all sizes, across the UK.

The inquiry is ongoing

Public Accounts Committee

Consumer protection inquiry

The Public Accounts Committee will question the Chief Executives of the four main regulators on the work they are doing to protect consumers. They will also investigate how regulators define the overall outcomes they want for consumers, as well as the action they take to assess their own performance.

The inquiry is ongoing

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

Brand Britain: Promoting and Marketing British food and drink inquiry

The inquiry will focus on the current success of the Food is GREAT campaign, how the UK Government is working with industry partners to help build global recognition of UK excellence in food and drink, and identifying and opening new markets to UK products.

The inquiry has been concluded and a report has been published awaiting government response

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee

Corporate governance: delivering on fair pay inquiry

The Committee is conducting a short inquiry into aspects of pay in the private sector.

The Committee will investigate:

  • To examine the compliance by business with reporting requirements on the gender pay gap and to consider what steps they are taking to address the gap;
  • To consider the implementation of the recommendations on executive pay by the previous Committee in its 2017 report on Corporate Governance and recent developments on executive pay;
  • To examine the effectiveness of Remuneration Committees and institutional investors in combatting excessive executive pay

The inquiry is ongoing

Treasury Committee

VAT inquiry

The Treasury Committee will be investigating the following areas:

  • VAT and the tax gap
  • VAT and Brexit
  • VAT and business
  • VAT and good tax policy
The inquiry is ongoing