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Written Question
Travel: Quarantine
20 Jul 2021

Questioner: Baroness Bull (CB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 21 May (HL18), whether (1) individuals, or (2) a panel, are responsible for assessing applications for medical exemptions from the COVID-19 hotel quarantine system, including the assessment of any supporting medical evidence; whether those responsible for assessing applications for medical exemptions hold any medical qualifications; and how those responsible for assessing applications are (a) recruited, and (b) remunerated.

Answered by Lord Bethell

To apply for a medical or compassionate exemption, a traveller should contact the Managed Quarantine Service at least 14 days before their travel date, with medical evidence to support their application. Evidence must be supplied from a healthcare professional, applying professional clinical judgement on the basis of past treatment and an assessment of whether it is possible for adequate care to be provided in a managed quarantine facility. This includes considering whether additional medical support could be provided by telephone, or by a family member joining an individual in quarantine. This will need to be assessed against the public health risk of variants of concern and conditions may be placed on any exemption.

Applications are considered by trained Departmental staff, following detailed procedures designed by public health professionals and are supported by medically qualified public health professionals. These individuals are recruited and remunerated according to standard civil service procedures.


Written Question
Travel: Quarantine
20 Jul 2021

Questioner: Baroness Bull (CB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 21 May (HL18), what information, if any, is retained on requests for exemptions to the COVID-19 hotel quarantine system; if information is retained, how many such requests were made on medical grounds; and how many requests were (1) accepted, and (2) rejected.

Answered by Lord Bethell

The Managed Quarantine Service securely retains all the exemption correspondence and associated data within internal Departmental system and fully complies with the relevant provisions of the UK General Data Protection Regulation. Personal data is retained for as long as necessary for the purposes it is needed.

Since February, approximately 60 cases have been granted exemptions from COVID-19 managed quarantine facilities on medical grounds. We do not hold data centrally on the number of unsuccessful exemption requests on medical grounds.


Written Question
Eating Disorders: Research
8 Jul 2021

Questioner: Baroness Bull (CB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the letter from the Minister of State for Patient Safety, Suicide Prevention and Mental Health to Baroness Bull on 18 June, what funding they have allocated to the new eating disorder study jointly led by King’s College London and Beat; and through which funding mechanism any such funding was provided.

Answered by Lord Bethell

The United Kingdom Eating Disorders Genetic Initiative (EDGI) is funded by the National Institute for Health Research’s (NIHR) Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre Maudsley BioResource for Mental Health. The NIHR has invested £6.5 million into their Mental Health Bioresource, BioResource for Translational Research and Biosample theme.


Written Question
Universities: Coronavirus
10 Jun 2021

Questioner: Baroness Bull (CB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the benefits of sustaining PCR testing and sequencing at scale in universities as a means of identifying and understanding new variants; and what plans they have to fund support for such testing and sequencing.

Answered by Lord Bethell

No specific assessment has been made. The regular testing offered at universities is with lateral flow devices (LFDs) rather than polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests. In line with wider national policy, all positive LFD tests are followed by a confirmatory PCR test. The intention is for 100% of viable positive samples from PCR tests to be presented for sequencing to identify and understand new variants. PCR testing and sequencing are provided and funded by NHS Test and Trace.


Written Question
Universities: Coronavirus
25 May 2021

Questioner: Baroness Bull (CB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what funding support they plan to provide to enable universities to continue utilising PCR testing as their campuses reopen.

Answered by Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay

We have worked with higher education providers to offer twice-weekly asymptomatic testing using lateral flow device (LFD) tests to all students residing in their term-time accommodation or accessing university facilities, and to all staff. This is playing an important role in identifying cases of the virus and breaking chains of transmission.

We have supported higher education providers in recovering the costs for the set-up and running of asymptomatic testing sites.

From May, higher education providers can offer their staff and students home test kits which can be collected from a location on campus.

Anyone that tests positive for COVID-19 through an LFD test is offered a confirmatory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test free of charge, and the same applies to students and staff in the higher education sector.


Written Question
Travel: Quarantine
21 May 2021

Questioner: Baroness Bull (CB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) how many applications for medical exemptions from the COVID-19 hotel quarantine system they have received for which supporting medical evidence was provided, and (2) how many of these applications for exemptions supported by medical evidence were (a) approved, and (b) rejected.

Answered by Lord Bethell

The information is not currently held in the format requested.


Written Question
Travel: Quarantine
21 May 2021

Questioner: Baroness Bull (CB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people (1) are currently in the COVID-19 hotel quarantine system, and (2) have been through that system since its introduction.

Answered by Lord Bethell

As of 5 May, 7,647 people were quarantined in a managed quarantine hotel. Since the beginning of the service on 15 February, approximately 35,605 have quarantined in a managed hotel.


Written Question
Levelling Up Fund: Cultural Heritage
30 Mar 2021

Questioner: Baroness Bull (CB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Lord Agnew of Oulton on 12 March (HL Deb, col 1982), what steps they are taking to ensure that cultural institutions are prioritised by local authorities as part of any bids made to the Levelling Up Fund; and what guidance they have provided to assist local authorities with the bidding process.

Answered by Lord Greenhalgh

The first round of the Fund will focus on three themes: smaller transport projects that make a genuine difference to local areas, town centre and high street regeneration, and support for maintaining and expanding the UK’s word-leading portfolio of cultural and heritage assets.

Bidding authorities should consult a range of local stakeholders across the full geography of a place in developing their proposed investments for the Fund. Bids should demonstrate evidence for this overall local engagement as part of their strategic case through stakeholder letters or similar.

Further details on how the Fund will operate were published in the prospectus at Budget – including who can bid, the types of projects eligible for funding, and the criteria for assessing proposals. Further guidance and templates for bid submissions, including package bids, will be provided to local authorities shortly after Budget.


Written Question
Culture Recovery Fund
29 Mar 2021

Questioner: Baroness Bull (CB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether the level of funding (1) creative freelancers, and (2) arts institutions, receive from the Cultural Recovery Fund is sufficient to meet requirements; and what comparative analysis they have made of the efficacy of such funding distributed in (a) England, (b) Northern Ireland, (c) Scotland, and (d) Wales.

Answered by Baroness Barran

As a proportion of the funding is yet to be disbursed we cannot yet comprehensively assess the CRF’s success. However, so far, over £1 billion worth of funding from the Culture Recovery Fund has been allocated, including over £800 million to almost 3800 arts, culture and heritage organisations in England, helping to support at least 75,000 jobs. Freelancers have been supported through the Fund so far and this is on top of support from Arts Council England, who have made over £51 million of awards to individuals through non-CRF funds in this financial year alone.

£400 million was held back from the first round as contingency and now forms the basis of the second round of grant (£300m) and repayable finance (£100m) funding. Applications have been assessed and an announcement will be made in due course.

Additionally, the Chancellor announced in the 2021 Budget an additional £300 million for the Culture Recovery Fund, showing an unprecedented commitment to support the sector during this pandemic. The Culture Recovery Fund as a whole also included £188 million for the devolved administrations via the Barnett formula: Northern Ireland (£33 million), Scotland (£97 million) and Wales (£59 million). We know that Scotland, Wales and NI are also deeply committed to their arts, culture, and heritage sectors and have provided a range of support funding, building on and including the CRF allocation.


Written Question
Performing Arts: Insurance
25 Mar 2021

Questioner: Baroness Bull (CB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Barran on 3 August 2020 (HL7208), what discussions they have had about the creation of a Government-backed reinsurance scheme for live performance following the launch of the Film and TV Production Restart Scheme.

Answered by Baroness Barran

The Government is aware of the concerns which have been raised about the challenge of securing indemnity cover for live events. My officials continue to work closely with the affected sectors to understand all barriers to reopening, including financial support, certainty around the public health situation, and the potential challenges of insurance.

The bar for considering Government intervention is set extremely high, especially in light of the considerable extension to the furlough scheme and local business support as well as the uncertainty when mass gatherings can take place safely.


Written Question
Performing Arts: Coronavirus
25 Mar 2021

Questioner: Baroness Bull (CB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the financial impact on performance venues resulting from reduced capacity audiences when they reopen whilst restrictions to address the COVID-19 pandemic are in place; and what plans they have to introduce proposals (1) to cover the shortfall in ticket sales, and (2) to assist such venues to remain viable.

Answered by Baroness Barran

The Government has been “Here for Culture” throughout the pandemic, and, as we emerge from it, we know that the public will want to be there, too. As our performance venues reopen, we will encourage people to get out there and support them, and we will continue to provide guidance to ensure venues are safe for the public.

DCMS has been working closely with the performing arts sectors to ensure that they are ready for reopening. The government published the roadmap on 22 February, which sets out a step-by-step plan to ease restrictions in England cautiously. The design of the roadmap has been informed by the latest scientific evidence and seeks a balance between our key social and economic priorities, whilst preserving the health and safety of the country. The scientific evidence shows that opening too early or too quickly risks a further lockdown.

Over the spring, the Government will run a scientific Events Research Programme. This will include a series of pilots using enhanced testing approaches and other measures to run events with larger crowd sizes and reduced social distancing to evaluate the scientific outcomes.

Government recognises the significant financial impact of Covid 19 on the performing arts sector and venues. In light of this, the Government is investing an unprecedented £1.57 billion support package for the culture sector, of which over £1 billion has now been allocated, including £800 million to almost 3,800 arts and culture organisations across the country. This includes the many theatres and performing arts venues, which have been supported through this funding. On 4 March, the Chancellor announced £300 million additional funding for the CRF, to continue to support key cultural organisations as audiences begin to return.

The first round of the Culture Recovery Fund supported the sector to survive the immediate impact of the pandemic, whilst the second is supported organisations to transition from the challenging months of lockdowns and social distancing to welcoming audiences and visitors back to the country’s theatres, museums, cinemas, music venues and heritage sites.


Written Question
Self-employment Income Support Scheme: Arts
23 Mar 2021

Questioner: Baroness Bull (CB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Lord Agnew of Oulton on 12 March (HL Deb, col 1980), what assessment they have made of the impact of the eligibility criteria for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme on the creative industries; and what plans they have to introduce targeted support to ineligible freelance workers.

Answered by Lord Agnew of Oulton

The Government recognises that taxpayers have faced immense challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, including in the creative industries.

Freelancers who are ineligible for the SEISS are likely to be those who receive less than half of their income from self-employment. The design of the SEISS, including the eligibility criteria which require that an individual’s trading profits must be at least equal to their non-trading income, means it is targeted at those who are most reliant on their self-employment income.

Freelancers who are ineligible for the SEISS may be eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). The CJRS is available to individuals regardless of their employment contract or employment rights, as long as they meet the relevant eligibility criteria.

The Government recognises the value of the cultural sectors and has announced £300 million in additional funding to build on the existing £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund. To date, the Culture Recovery Fund has allocated more than £800 million of grants and loans to over 3,000 cultural organisations in England. Organisations supported include independent cinemas, theatres, museums, orchestras and music venues.


Written Question
Performing Arts: UK Relations with EU
9 Mar 2021

Questioner: Baroness Bull (CB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the provision for the performing arts in the UK–EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement; and what financial support they intend to provide, if any, to the performing arts sector to make up for added EU touring costs.

Answered by Baroness Barran

This Government recognises the importance of our world leading creative and cultural industries. That is why it provided an unprecedented £1.57bn package of support to help these sectors through the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, over £1 billion has been awarded to almost 3800 organisations, with at least 75,000 jobs saved so far, and many more freelancers also benefiting from new work that can now be created. At Budget 2021, HMT also announced £300m of additional funding for the Culture Recovery Fund which will be made available to support cultural organisations in England as audiences begin to return. This demonstrates our firm commitment to ensuring that UK culture continues to thrive.

We know that while leaving the EU will bring changes and new processes to touring and working in the EU, it will also bring new opportunities. Leaving the EU has always meant that there would be changes to how practitioners operate in the EU.

UK performers and artists are of course still able to tour and perform in the EU, and vice versa. However, we understand the concerns about the new arrangements and we are committed to supporting the sectors as they get to grips with the changes to systems and processes.

We are now working urgently across government and in collaboration with cultural and creative industries, including through a new working group, to help address these issues so that touring in Europe can resume with ease as soon as it is safe to do so.


Written Question
Entertainers: EU Countries
9 Mar 2021

Questioner: Baroness Bull (CB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to negotiate bilateral agreements with all EU member states exempting (1) touring performers, (2) creative teams, and (3) crews, including (a) dancers, (b) choreographers, (c) producers, and (d) technicians, from entry requirements or restrictions on short-term work for 90 days.

Answered by Baroness Barran

This Government recognises the importance of our world leading creative and cultural industries. That is why it provided an unprecedented £1.57bn package of support to help these sectors through the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, over £1 billion has been awarded to almost 3800 organisations, with at least 75,000 jobs saved so far, and many more freelancers also benefiting from new work that can now be created. At Budget 2021, HMT also announced £300m of additional funding for the Culture Recovery Fund which will be made available to support cultural organisations in England as audiences begin to return. This demonstrates our firm commitment to ensuring that UK culture continues to thrive.

We know that while leaving the EU will bring changes and new processes to touring and working in the EU, it will also bring new opportunities. Leaving the EU has always meant that there would be changes to how practitioners operate in the EU.

UK performers and artists are of course still able to tour and perform in the EU, and vice versa. However, we understand the concerns about the new arrangements and we are committed to supporting the sectors as they get to grips with the changes to systems and processes.

We are now working urgently across government and in collaboration with cultural and creative industries, including through a new working group, to help address these issues so that touring in Europe can resume with ease as soon as it is safe to do so.


Written Question
Visas: Migrant Workers
9 Mar 2021

Questioner: Baroness Bull (CB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government why the Permitted Paid Engagement visa route limits a professional's stay in the UK to up to one month; and what plans they have to extend the duration of its validity to 90 days.

Answered by Baroness Williams of Trafford

The Permitted Paid Engagement visitor route allows professionals in several sectors, including the creative sector, to enter the UK for up to one month to undertake permitted paid engagements, where they have been invited by a UK-based organisation and without the need to apply through the sponsored work routes.

Those wishing to undertake longer periods of engagement in the UK may use the T5 Creative concession, which allows non-visa nationals to enter the UK for up to three months without applying for a visa in advance, provided they have a Certificate of Sponsorship. For anyone wishing to remain in the UK for up to 12 months, the full T5 Creative route is also available.

We will continue to keep our policy under close review, including through wide engagement and dialogue with stakeholders from a range of sectors.