Baroness Fookes Portrait

Baroness Fookes

Conservative - Life peer

Became Member: 30th September 1997


1 APPG membership (as of 30 May 2024)
Gardening and Horticulture
1 Former APPG membership
Arts and Heritage
Horticultural Sector Committee
31st Jan 2023 - 26th Oct 2023
Constitution Committee
1st Jul 2019 - 31st Jan 2023
Bribery Act 2010 Committee
17th May 2018 - 4th Mar 2019
Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee
16th May 2013 - 7th Sep 2017
Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee
8th Jun 2015 - 7th Sep 2017
Communications and Digital Committee
22nd Jun 2010 - 30th Mar 2015
Consolidation, &c., Bills (Joint Committee)
27th May 1999 - 8th Apr 2010
Hybrid Instruments Committee (Lords)
2nd Jul 2001 - 8th Apr 2010
Crossrail Bill
17th Jan 2008 - 26th Nov 2008
Refreshment Committee (Lords)
4th Dec 2003 - 30th Oct 2007
Draft Mental Health Bill (Joint Committee)
22nd Jul 2004 - 15th Sep 2004
Draft Mental Incapacity Bill (Joint Committee)
11th Jul 2003 - 17th Nov 2003
Deputy Speaker (Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)
6th May 1992 - 1st May 1997
Home Affairs Committee
9th Jun 1983 - 16th Mar 1992
Panel of Chairs
1st Nov 1978 - 9th Jun 1983


Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Baroness Fookes has voted in 521 divisions, and 6 times against the majority of their Party.

9 Nov 2020 - United Kingdom Internal Market Bill - View Vote Context
Baroness Fookes voted No - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 44 Conservative No votes vs 147 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 165 Noes - 433
9 Nov 2020 - United Kingdom Internal Market Bill - View Vote Context
Baroness Fookes voted No - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 38 Conservative No votes vs 134 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 148 Noes - 407
20 Oct 2020 - United Kingdom Internal Market Bill - View Vote Context
Baroness Fookes voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 39 Conservative Aye votes vs 158 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 395 Noes - 169
15 Jun 2020 - Abortion (Northern Ireland) (No. 2) Regulations 2020 - View Vote Context
Baroness Fookes voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 43 Conservative Aye votes vs 125 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 112 Noes - 388
12 Sep 2023 - Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill - View Vote Context
Baroness Fookes voted No - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 11 Conservative No votes vs 22 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 25 Noes - 32
12 Sep 2023 - Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill - View Vote Context
Baroness Fookes voted No - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 13 Conservative No votes vs 23 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 30 Noes - 39
View All Baroness Fookes Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

View all Baroness Fookes's debates

Lords initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Baroness Fookes, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.


Baroness Fookes has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Baroness Fookes has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


Latest 25 Written Questions

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
21st Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the number of unfilled vacancies for horticultural jobs at the latest date for which figures are available.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority.


A response to the noble Baroness’ Parliamentary Question of 21 June is below and attached.

Letter from the National Statistician

Professor Sir Ian Diamond | National Statistician

27 June 2022

Dear Lady Fookes,

As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am responding to your Parliamentary Question asking what estimate has been made of the number of unfilled vacancies for horticultural jobs at the latest date for which figures are available (HL1150).

The Office for National Statistics produces statistics on vacancies as part of the Vacancies and Jobs statistical publication [1]. Within this publication, vacancy estimates are produced by industry [2], according to the Standard Industrial Classification 2007. Horticultural business are not specifically identified in one area of the classification, but are spread across multiple areas.

Unfortunately, with the data available it is not possible to provide estimates of the number of vacancies held by horticultural businesses.

There are broadly two reasons for this. Firstly, the vacancy survey excludes businesses within the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing industry where some horticultural businesses are likely to be classified. This industry is excluded due to the disproportionate costs involved as it mainly consists of very small businesses with few vacancies.

Secondly, other horticultural businesses could only be identified at highly detailed levels of the classification, levels at which the survey cannot produce reliable estimates given its overall sample size.

However, we are currently exploring the use of online job advert data to provide better insights into labour demand by occupation, and we are hoping to publish these insights later this year.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sir Ian Diamond

1 https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/bulletins/jobsandvacanciesintheuk/latest

2 https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peoplenotinwork/unemployment/datasets/vacanciesbyindustryvacs02

Lord True
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
21st Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the main routes through which horticultural qualifications may be obtained.

Qualifications in horticulture can be obtained through apprenticeships, vocational and technical qualifications, and through higher education (HE), including at degree level. T Levels in Agriculture, Land Management and Production, designed by relevant employers, will be available from September 2023. New higher technical qualifications in horticulture are also expected to be available from September 2025.

Employers in the horticultural sector have developed high-quality apprenticeship standards ranging from level 2 Horticulture or Landscape Operative, level 4 Arboriculturist, up to level 6 Professional Arboriculturist.

The government’s free courses for jobs offer at level 3 includes several qualifications in horticulture.

As autonomous institutions, HE providers are free to decide which courses they provide, depending on a number of factors including student demand.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd May 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government when they expect to publish the horticulture strategy for England as set out in the Government Food Strategy, published on 13 June 2022.

The domestic horticulture sector is crucial to the resilience of our food system as well as an important part of our wider economy and we are committed to supporting it. We are delivering for the sector, investing more than £168 million to drive innovation and support food production, and have passed the new Genetic Technology Act to reduce the regulatory burden and unlock the potential of new technologies. Defra regularly engages with the horticulture industry to understand what support they need to continue to produce great British food.

I discussed this and other issues at the Farm to Fork Summit in No.10. We will build on this and set out an action plan for the horticulture sector in the Autumn, when we will also respond to the Labour Review.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government whether there are health checks in place for plants from outside the UK available for purchase on outlets such as eBay; and if not, what plans they have to avoid the spread of dangerous pests and diseases as a result of such purchases.

All regulated plants entering Great Britain must meet our risk based import requirements. This includes being accompanied by a Phytosanitary Certificate and being subject to risk based physical inspections. These requirements apply to goods purchased through online sites.

The plant health inspectorate has an Internet Trading Unit which conducts regular checks on this pathway. Online trading will continue to feature as a significant means of selling plants and we are working with relevant organisations to raise awareness with sellers and customers of the legal requirements and the need for increased biosecurity.

Since Brexit we have identified consignments arriving from the EU that don’t comply with our biosecurity requirements – the number of interceptions is steadily rising – ballpark figures are around the 1000 mark for interceptions, this figure is expected to continue to rise as our intelligence and data gathering becomes increasingly extensive and sophisticated, e.g., by employing web-scraping tools.

In the new Plant Biosecurity Strategy for Great Britain, we have announced plans to enhance APHA’s Internet Trading Unit to increase monitoring of internet trading and social media sites and raise awareness of biosecurity requirements on these platforms. This will continue to focus on commodities which are prohibited entry into the UK, and consignments that are considered of particular high risk.

Additionally, the unit has a programme of engagement with other government agencies and the public, in order to inform people of UK biosecurity requirements and handle queries relating to online and distance sales from businesses and the public.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the reported problems faced by British horticultural firms unable to complete export orders to the EU involving the use of topiary created from Ligustrum delavayanum.

The UK has not been listed for export of all of the genera of plants/trees covered by the EU High Risk Plants legislation (Regulation 2018/2019). This has meant that since 1January 2021 these genera, which include Ligustrum, are subject to prohibitions pending individual risk assessments conducted by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

The UK made a case in February 2020 that a number of otherwise prohibited items, including the tree and shrub species regarded as High Risk Plants, should be recognized and exempt from such a prohibition through EU legislation, so as to allow imports to continue. This case was rejected by the Commission in late 2020.

The rejection of this request means that we are required to use the same process for seeking listing which is followed by all non-EU countries. The listing process involves submitting technical dossiers to EFSA for individual species within each of the prohibited genera. Defra has been working closely with trade associations and individual businesses on priorities for such dossiers, including certain Ligustrum species.

Once a dossier has been accepted by EFSA and their review commences, based on experience to date, it is likely to take in excess of 18 months for the EU commission to introduce new import conditions in legislation. There is no guarantee that the outcome of a review will be that trade can commence and only a small number of submissions made by third countries have resulted in new import conditions since the initiation of this process in 2019.

In June 2021, in an attempt to speed up the listing process, we sought agreement from the EU Commission for a more streamlined approach be applied to the assessment of dossiers submitted by the UK to EFSA. This request was rejected and EFSA confirmed that requests from the UK will need to follow the same process which applies to other non-EU countries.

Defra and Fera Science Ltd. have worked with the trade to develop a dossier for Ligustrum delavayanum and this was submitted to EFSA on 03/12/21. EFSA acknowledged receipt of the dossier in April 2022 but requested further information be provided. We believe the request for additional information goes beyond EFSA’s own guidelines and their approach to applications from other countries and we are challenging their request on the basis of fairness and proportionality.

Unfortunately, now that the dossier is with EFSA we have no control over how long it will take them to consider it and we are therefore unable to give an indication of when the EU commission will make a final decision on this application. However, we will continue to press them and to seek regular updates on progress.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to speed up the consideration by the European Commission of a dossier which has been prepared by the Animal and Plant Health Agency on the safety of Ligustrum delavayanum.

The UK has not been listed for export of all of the genera of plants/trees covered by the EU High Risk Plants legislation (Regulation 2018/2019). This has meant that since 1January 2021 these genera, which include Ligustrum, are subject to prohibitions pending individual risk assessments conducted by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

The UK made a case in February 2020 that a number of otherwise prohibited items, including the tree and shrub species regarded as High Risk Plants, should be recognized and exempt from such a prohibition through EU legislation, so as to allow imports to continue. This case was rejected by the Commission in late 2020.

The rejection of this request means that we are required to use the same process for seeking listing which is followed by all non-EU countries. The listing process involves submitting technical dossiers to EFSA for individual species within each of the prohibited genera. Defra has been working closely with trade associations and individual businesses on priorities for such dossiers, including certain Ligustrum species.

Once a dossier has been accepted by EFSA and their review commences, based on experience to date, it is likely to take in excess of 18 months for the EU commission to introduce new import conditions in legislation. There is no guarantee that the outcome of a review will be that trade can commence and only a small number of submissions made by third countries have resulted in new import conditions since the initiation of this process in 2019.

In June 2021, in an attempt to speed up the listing process, we sought agreement from the EU Commission for a more streamlined approach be applied to the assessment of dossiers submitted by the UK to EFSA. This request was rejected and EFSA confirmed that requests from the UK will need to follow the same process which applies to other non-EU countries.

Defra and Fera Science Ltd. have worked with the trade to develop a dossier for Ligustrum delavayanum and this was submitted to EFSA on 03/12/21. EFSA acknowledged receipt of the dossier in April 2022 but requested further information be provided. We believe the request for additional information goes beyond EFSA’s own guidelines and their approach to applications from other countries and we are challenging their request on the basis of fairness and proportionality.

Unfortunately, now that the dossier is with EFSA we have no control over how long it will take them to consider it and we are therefore unable to give an indication of when the EU commission will make a final decision on this application. However, we will continue to press them and to seek regular updates on progress.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the total acreage of peatland in England; and how many acres are used for the production of peat for horticultural purposes.

Peat is extracted in England for, primarily, horticultural purposes. Commercial extraction in England is licensed on approximately 664 hectares of peatland, across 29 sites. Whilst this represents less than 1% of England’s peatlands, extraction is a major source of carbon emissions, causes biodiversity loss and destroys habitats.

Industry data tells us that in 2020 alone, 2.2 million cubic metres of peat were sold in the UK, 70% of which was imported.

Recent years have seen the development of a number of high-quality peat-free alternatives that are as effective as current peat-based options, many of which are much less damaging to the environment than using peat.

We are therefore continuing to focus on reducing demand for peat in horticulture in England, to protect peatlands at home and abroad. We have published a full consultation on ending the use of peat, with our preferred option being to ban the sale of peat and peat containing products in the amateur sector by the end of this Parliament. We are also turbo-charging current levels of peatland restoration through the Nature for Climate Fund, which will aim to provide funding for the restoration of approximately 35,000ha of peatland by 2025. This represents a tripling of historical average annual restoration levels.

More information about our actions to protect and restore our vulnerable peatlands is available at these links to the consultation (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/ending-the-retail-sale-of-peat-in-horticulture-in-england-and-wales) and the England Peat Action Plan (England Peat Action Plan - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). Relevant documents are also attached to this answer.

2nd Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of delays to the introduction of the Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed system (IPAFFS) for plant import pre-notification on the horticultural sector.

The IT systems used to facilitate the prenotification of imports of plants and plant products will be changing, moving from the current PEACH system to a new Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed system (IPAFFS). We are managing the impact on trade by phasing in the introduction of the new IT system in stages. From 1 January 2022, traders who are prenotifying plants and plant products for the first time will be required to do so on the new IPAFFS service. Importers who are using and registered for PEACH should continue to use that system until instructed to move over to IPAFFS.

All existing and new IT services have undergone intense scrutiny and stress testing to ensure they can cope with the increased volumes of plant imports and exports transactions since the end of the transition period. Businesses trading in ‘high-priority’ plants (those regulated since 1 January 2021) from the EU have joined thousands of other businesses who have successfully used PEACH and eDomero for nearly two decades to trade with non-EU countries.

The Early Adopter phase of the plant health IT service (IPAFFS) started in August 2021. Nominated traders were invited as some of our initial users in this first phase. The wider transition of trade will continue during the rest of 2021. PEACH will continue to be accessible and live throughout this period of transition, as previously agreed with traders.

Officials held a number of IPAFFS briefings and walkthrough sessions throughout May and June 2021 which received positive and valuable feedback. The purpose of these sessions has been to introduce the IPAFFS service to trade who may not have had the benefit of seeing it in advance. Further training sessions are planned and will be communicated with trade. Business readiness teams have developed guidance materials and videos to support trade with their transition to the new service, as well as working with the Animal and Plant Health Agency to answer all of the questions and queries trade have raised about the service.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the horticulture sector to ensure that the delayed introduction of the Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS) for plant import pre-notification is suitable for the industry’s requirements.

We have regular engagement with key stakeholders and membership groups representing the horticulture sector to understand and manage implications of the introduction of the new Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS) service. Officials have held a number of IPAFFS briefings and walkthrough sessions during May and June 2021 which received positive and valuable feedback.

The purpose of these sessions has been to introduce the IPAFFS service to trade who may not have had the benefit of seeing it in advance. Further training sessions are planned and will be communicated with trade. Business readiness teams have developed guidance materials and videos to support trade with their transition to the new service, as well as working with the Animal and Plant Health Agency to answer all of the questions and queries trade have raised about the service.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have (1) to ban the import of animals killed by trophy hunters, and (2) to introduce related penalties for offenders.

The Government takes the conservation of endangered species very seriously, which is why we are banning the import of hunting trophies from endangered species, as set out in the Government’s manifesto.

Our approach will be comprehensive, robust and effective and will deliver the change we promised to help protect thousands of species worldwide. We will be setting out our plans soon.

2nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ban the import of dogs with cropped ears.

The end of the transition period has opened up new opportunities for managing our own pet travel and commercial importation rules. We are actively listening to the concerns of stakeholders and the Government is considering options regarding the importation and commercial movements of dogs with cropped ears into Great Britain in line with World Trade Organization rules.

Importers of animals must adhere to welfare standards as set out in Council Regulation (EC) 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport and in domestic legislation, The Welfare of Animals (Transport) (England) Order 2006 (WATEO). This legislation aims to protect the health and welfare of animals during transportation and applies to dogs that are suffering injury as a result of non-exempted mutilations including cropped ears.

24th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to provide written guidance (1) to informal organisations, and (2) to individuals, about the suitability of trees for planting according to (a) habitat, (b)(i) carbon, and (ii) pollution, control, and (c) the encouragement of (i) insects, and (ii) other forms of animal life.

The United Kingdom Forestry Standard (UKFS) is publicly available and is relevant to all those with an interest in UK forests and woodlands. It outlines the context for forestry and sets out the approach of the UK governments to multi-purpose sustainable forest management, which includes defining standards and requirements. Tree planting could be for amenity and recreation, to help in the fight against climate change, improve habitat including soil and water, help biodiversity, manage and enhance historic environment, or for timber production. A series of Practice Guides support the Standard and new guides on riparian woodland management and climate change adaptation are forthcoming.

Those interested in planting trees for carbon sequestration and to help battle climate change can access guidance on the need to incorporate the effects of climate change into woodland design and management. Forest Research also provide the ecological site classification which helps inform appropriate tree species choices by site.

The Forestry Commission continues to refine and improve the environmental protection measures and processes for woodland creation by assisting the planning and planting of woodlands in lower risk areas of England. Last year the Forestry Commission updated the Low Risk Map for woodland creation to better represent the distribution of best and most versatile agricultural land and introduce a buffer for all Sites of Special Scientific Interest. This map will continue to be reviewed and updated as further information becomes available.

The Forestry Commission also published priority habitat guidance. This provides an overview of priority habitats, their definitions, and includes characteristic plants and their associated national vegetation communities.

The Forestry Commission will also be publishing guidance on Woodland Creation Design and Natural Colonisation.

17th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to ban the consumption of meat derived from (1) a cat, or (2) a dog, in the UK.

The Government shares the public's high regard for animal welfare, including the welfare of dogs and cats, and we are committed to making the UK a world leader in the protection of animals now we have left the EU.

The Government is appalled by the prospect of dogs and cats being consumed. However, it is already illegal to sell dog and cat meat for human consumption and the Government has seen no evidence that dog and cat meat is being sold or consumed in this country.

We are confident that our current position sends a clear message that the slaughter and consumption of dogs and cats will never be acceptable. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office raises concerns about the welfare of animals with other governments at every suitable opportunity, and we are pleased to hear that authorities in China are proposing to ban the consumption of dog and cat meat.

2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many infringement notices in relation to breaches of animal welfare regulations were issued by the Animal and Plant Health Agency between 1 January 2019 and the latest date for which figures are available.

Six Statutory Notices were served relating to breaches of animal welfare regulations. All of the notices related to consignments of sheep exported for slaughter or fattening for the period 1 January 2019 and 30 July 2020.

We have a manifesto commitment to end excessively long journeys for live animals going for slaughter and fattening, which is an opportunity we have gained through leaving the EU. We intend to issue a consultation on how we deliver on that commitment in due course.

2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many truckloads of (1) sheep, and (2) calves, were exported for slaughter or fattening from the port of Ramsgate between 1 January 2019 and the latest date for which figures are available; and how many were subject to supervised loading by the Animal and Plant Health Agency.

83 consignments of sheep but no consignments of calves were exported for slaughter or fattening from the port of Ramsgate between 1 January 2019 and 30 July 2020. Of these, 76 consignments were subject to supervised loading at the premises of origin by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

One consignment that was not subject to supervised loading at the premises of origin was supervised when loading additional animals prior to arrival at Ramsgate. The remainder of consignments that were not subject to supervised loading at the premises of origin were subject to additional checks by APHA staff at the port of exit.

The above figures are based on journey logs issued rather than the number of truckloads; occasionally one vehicle may have more than one journey log for each trip.

We have a manifesto commitment to end excessively long journeys for live animals going for slaughter and fattening, which is an opportunity we have gained through leaving the EU. We intend to issue a consultation on how we deliver on that commitment in due course.

4th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what urgent steps they intend to take explicitly to ban the slaughter of dogs for human consumption in the UK.

I can assure you that the Government shares the public’s high regard for animal welfare, including the welfare of dogs, and we are committed to making the UK a world leader in protection of animals as we leave the EU. The Government has made wide ranging commitments on animal welfare.

The Government is appalled by the prospect of dogs being consumed. However, it is already illegal to sell dog meat for human consumption and the Government has seen no evidence that dog meat is being sold or consumed in this country. We are confident that the current position in this country sends a clear message that the slaughter and consumption of dogs will never be acceptable.

22nd Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of China regarding their treatment of the followers of Falun Gong.

We remain deeply concerned about the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and others on the grounds of their religion or belief in China. The freedom to practice, change or share ones faith or belief without discrimination or violent opposition is a human right that all people should enjoy. We regularly raise our concerns about the human rights situation with the Chinese authorities, and will continue to do so.

21st Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the International Finance Corporation about the impact on (1) deforestation, (2) biodiversity, (3) water, and (4) soils, of producing feed for animals farmed in the projects which they fund.

The UK Government monitors the International Finance Corporation (IFC)'s application of the Social and Environmental Performance Standards which apply to all IFC projects. Performance Standard 6 covers Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Management of Living Natural Resources. For each proposed project, IFC publicly discloses summary project information, environmental and social implications, and expected development impact. Where projects present particular environmental and social risks, IFC sets out a time-limited Action Plan that the project must deliver. The UK Government uses its seat on the IFC Board to ensure that these procedures are followed.

5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they make of the number of UK nationals in South Africa awaiting repatriation; and what travel arrangements they have in hand to enable those nationals to return; and on what dates any flights for such purposes are due to occur.

We are working closely with the Government of South Africa and airlines to ensure British nationals can return home from South Africa. To date, 2058 British travellers have returned home on ten special charter flights organised by the UK government. South African airspace is currently closed to commercial airlines as part of efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19. It is not yet clear when commercial flights will be permitted to operate again. The FCO does not have a central registration system for flights and British nationals will only be asked to register for flights with Corporate Travel Management (CTM) when charters have been announced for a country. We are looking at all options to help those stranded and the British High Commission is working hard to ensure that British nationals who remain in South Africa are safe and getting the support they need.

5th Sep 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will provide additional financial assistance to the charity Hourglass to ensure it can continue to support older victims of domestic abuse and neglect.

We know that domestic abuse affects a wide and disparate group and that a “one size fits all” approach is not appropriate to support all victims. Whilst anyone can suffer from domestic abuse, for older victims, abuse may be more hidden and disguised, or compounded by other age-related factors such as ill health.

Specialist and ‘by and for’ services (specialist services that are designed and delivered by and for the users and communities they aim to serve) are vital in providing the tailored support that victims and survivors of domestic abuse need. We work closely with and fund organisations providing this support, including Hourglass. In 2021/22, the Home Office provided Hourglass funding to support their work in enhancing their helpline, providing casework support, and training specialist Independent Domestic Violence Advisers. This financial year we have continued to provide Hourglass with funding to continue their activity supporting older victims of domestic abuse. In 2021/22 Hourglass supported over 3,000 cases.

Our Tackling VAWG Strategy commits £1.5 million to increase provision for ‘by and for’ services and to increase funding for specialist services. Alongside this, our Domestic Abuse Plan commits to, where possible, offering multi-year awards to funding to organisations supporting victims and survivors of domestic abuse. This means that smaller organisations, including ‘by and for’ services, can offer a stable service to victims and survivors.

To deliver against these strategic commitments, later this year, we plan to run an open commercial competition for ‘by and for’ and specialist VAWG services, including those providing domestic abuse services for older victims.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Oct 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking, if any, to replace the bearskin caps worn by the King's Guards with faux bearskins.

There have been four synthetic furs tested by accredited testing houses since 2015. The artificial fur tested in 2018 failed in all five of the Ministry of Defence's (MOD) basic requirements necessary in order to be considered further as a viable alternative for ceremonial caps areas.

Tests conducted in 2019 and 2020 on another two samples showed that, while the water penetration was reduced, it still did not meet the necessary standard. It also performed poorly in the remaining basic requirements areas. The most recent test results, provided by PETA from an accredited testing house, have also been analysed by the MOD. The analysis concluded that the fabric only met one of the five basic requirements.

This means that, to date, there is no faux fur alternative that meets the required standard for the King's Guards ceremonial caps.

20th Oct 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government whether they have tested the faux bearskins produced by the firm Ecopel; and if so, with what result.

There have been four synthetic furs tested by accredited testing houses since 2015. The artificial fur tested in 2018 failed in all five of the Ministry of Defence's (MOD) basic requirements necessary in order to be considered further as a viable alternative for ceremonial caps areas.

Tests conducted in 2019 and 2020 on another two samples showed that, while the water penetration was reduced, it still did not meet the necessary standard. It also performed poorly in the remaining basic requirements areas. The most recent test results, provided by PETA from an accredited testing house, have also been analysed by the MOD. The analysis concluded that the fabric only met one of the five basic requirements.

This means that, to date, there is no faux fur alternative that meets the required standard for the King's Guards ceremonial caps.

6th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to set a date to reinstate the pensions of war widows that were withdrawn on remarriage or cohabitation before April 2015.

Officials have now developed a number of options to be considered. The full financial and legal implications of these options are being explored so that the Defence Secretary can decide how to proceed. Work on this is continuing at pace both in the Ministry of Defence and across Government.

21st Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many acres of land are occupied by (1) private gardens, and (2) public parks and gardens, in England.

633,400 hectares (1,565,100 acres) of land in England is classified as private residential gardens: this equates to approximately 5 per cent of England's total land area

Source: Live Table P400b, Land Use in England 2018 statistics attached (DLUHC): https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-land-use

The Ordnance Survey’s OS Open Greenspace spatial data product provides information on the number of hectares of land occupied by open greenspace, including public parks and gardens, within Great Britain (attached): https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/business-government/products/open-map-greenspace