Baroness Goudie Portrait

Baroness Goudie

Labour - Life peer

Procedure and Privileges Committee
4th Feb 2021 - 29th Apr 2021
Finance Committee (Lords)
1st Sep 2016 - 28th Jan 2021
EU Justice Sub-Committee
2nd Jul 2019 - 23rd Apr 2020
Licensing Act 2003 Committee
25th May 2016 - 4th Apr 2017
Sexual Violence in Conflict Committee
11th Jun 2015 - 22nd Mar 2016
Insurance Bill [HL] Special Public Bill Committee
19th Nov 2014 - 24th Dec 2014
Soft Power Committee
16th May 2013 - 11th Mar 2014
Committee of Selection (Lords)
4th Dec 2008 - 25th Apr 2013
Tax Law Rewrite Bills (Joint Committee)
15th Dec 2008 - 6th May 2010
Statutory Instruments (Joint Committee)
15th Jun 2005 - 15th Feb 2006
Information Committee (Lords)
25th Nov 2002 - 7th May 2005
Procedure and Privileges Committee
26th Jun 2001 - 18th Nov 2004


Department Event
Monday 5th September 2022
Northern Ireland Office
Orders and regulations - Grand Committee
Draft The Health and Social Care Act (Northern Ireland) 2022 (Consequential Amendments) Order 2022
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Monday 5th September 2022
15:45
Northern Ireland Office
Orders and regulations - Grand Committee
5 Sep 2022, 3:45 p.m.
Draft Flags (Northern Ireland) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2022
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 7th September 2022
15:00
Department Event
Tuesday 13th September 2022
Northern Ireland Office
Legislation - Main Chamber
Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill – second reading
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
None available
Speeches
Thursday 14th July 2022
Women and Girls: Economic Well-being, Welfare, Safety and Opportunities
My Lords, I thank my great friend and colleague, the noble Baroness, Lady Gale, for initiating this debate. She has …
Written Answers
Tuesday 21st June 2022
Pakistan: Arms Trade
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Minister of State for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Lord Ahmad of …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
None available

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Baroness Goudie has voted in 148 divisions, and 2 times against the majority of their Party.

15 Jun 2020 - Abortion (Northern Ireland) (No. 2) Regulations 2020 - View Vote Context
Baroness Goudie voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 9 Labour No votes vs 105 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 355 Noes - 77
5 Jul 2022 - Sitting Times - View Vote Context
Baroness Goudie voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 22 Labour Aye votes vs 44 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 158 Noes - 124
View All Baroness Goudie 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.

Sparring Partners
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Conservative)
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
(24 debate interactions)
Baroness Sugg (Conservative)
(17 debate interactions)
Baroness Williams of Trafford (Conservative)
Minister of State (Home Office)
(12 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Home Office
(13 debate contributions)
Northern Ireland Office
(10 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(9 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Baroness Goudie's debates

Commons initiatives

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

MPs who are act as Ministers or Shadow Ministers are generally restricted from performing Commons initiatives other than Urgent Questions.


Baroness Goudie has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Baroness Goudie has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Baroness Goudie has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

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


147 Written Questions in the current parliament

(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
2 Other Department Questions
8th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they have provided to businesses to facilitate an improved gender balance in the workplace since February.

In recognition of the unprecedented uncertainty and pressure facing employers due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and to ease the burdens on business, the Government and the Equality and Human Rights Commission suspended enforcement of the gender pay gap reporting deadlines for 2019/20. However, employers can still choose to report their data and we have carried on providing support to those who need it. Over 5,500 employers have reported to date and more continue to do so.

8th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what actions they have taken to reduce the gender pay gap since February.

In recognition of the unprecedented uncertainty and pressure facing employers due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and to ease the burdens on business, the Government and the Equality and Human Rights Commission suspended enforcement of the gender pay gap reporting deadlines for 2019/20. However, employers can still choose to report their data and we have carried on providing support to those who need it. Over 5,500 employers have reported to date and more continue to do so.

16th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord True on 13 November (HL9533), whether (1) the Public Sector Procurement Guidelines, or (2) their Management Consultancy Framework, contain a requirement for contracts not to be awarded to management consultancy firms which regularly advise the fossil fuel industry.

There is no such requirement.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
26th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to stop working with (1) Boston Consulting Group, and (2) other management consultancy firms which regularly advise the fossil fuel industry.

Any organisations working with the UK Government are contracted in line with Public Sector Procurement Guidelines. Further details of the Government’s Management Consultancy Framework are available on gov.uk.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
4th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much of the funding allocated to local authorities under the Additional Restrictions Grant Scheme had been spent by 31 July.

All data on Government allocations and Local Authority payments of the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) is available at GOV.UK. As at the last date of publishing, 29 August 2021, Local Authorities had received £2,023,461,804 in ARG funding, and overall had reported to us as having spent £1,710,673,774.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to reallocate unspent money from the Additional Restrictions Grant Scheme to support travel agents, tour operators and other travel businesses.

The Government has introduced an unprecedented package of support for businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, including grants, business interruption loans and the Coronavirus Job Support Scheme.

Allocation of Additional Restrictions Grant funds is solely within the remit of Local Authorities, as they are best placed to provide support that suits the needs of their local area. We continue to work closely with Local Authorities, encouraging them to distribute funding to those businesses most impacted by the restrictions. Reconciliation of the scheme will be undertaken after the closure of the fund on 31 March 2022.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they have worked with businesses to increase female representation in senior leadership positions, including executive roles on boards, since February.

We are working with businesses and business representative bodies to achieve diverse boardrooms and senior leadership teams for FTSE 350 companies by supporting the independent, business-led diversity reviews that have set targets for these companies: the Hampton-Alexander Review on FTSE Women Leaders and the Parker Review on ethnic diversity in business leadership.

Women hold a higher percentage of senior leadership positions in FTSE 350 companies than ever before. The FTSE100 as a whole has met the Hampton-Alexander Review 33% target for female representation on boards well ahead of the end of the Review period – end of 2020, and the FTSE 250 is currently also on course to reach the target by the end of the year.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of any disproportionate adverse effect on women in the labour market resulting from COVID-19.

Government is actively monitoring the impact of Covid-19 on the labour market, including the impact on women and on other groups.

However, it is too early to draw any firm conclusions. The next ONS labour market statistics will be released on 19th May, covering the 3 month period up to the end of March. Analysis of this and other data will provide an indication of early impacts of covid-19 on the labour market.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
5th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they will ensure that, irrespective of the outcome of the consultation on the future of Channel 4, the broadcaster will be able to continue to support growth and jobs outside of London.

Channel 4 makes an important economic and social contribution across the whole of the UK through its investment in regional production, its national HQ in Leeds, and its creative hubs in Glasgow and Bristol.

Any options we decide to pursue following the public consultation would need to consider how to ensure Channel 4 continues its role in supporting levelling up across the UK.

The Government is seeking views from a broad range of stakeholders to inform our policy making. That is why we published a public consultation on 6 July 2021, which will run for 10 weeks, closing on 14 September 2021.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what evidence they have commissioned to inform their consultation on the future of Channel 4.

On 6 July, the Government launched its public consultation on the future of Channel 4, including what ownership model and remit will best support the broadcaster to thrive for decades to come.

Views and evidence gathered from a broad range of stakeholders in response to the consultation will inform our policy making and final decision.

Details about the Government’s assessment of the challenges facing Channel 4 are provided in its recent publication, “Consultation on a potential change in ownership of Channel 4 Television Corporation”, copies of which have been placed in the House of Commons Library, and are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-a-change-of-ownership-of-channel-4-television-corporation.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
4th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many Afghan children are currently in school in the UK; and how many are waiting for a place in education.

All school aged children who arrived as part of the Operation Pitting airlift from Afghanistan are now in school. Those children who have arrived since then are either in school, or being placed in schools, as quickly as possible. We continue to monitor the position in local authorities with bridging hotels. All are continuing with the process of placing children in schools and none have reported problems with doing so. However, they are at different stages in the process depending on the date of new arrivals.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
4th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how may students from universities in Afghanistan have been offered places to study within the UK.

The department does not hold information on the number of students from overseas coming to study in the UK. However, data from the 2020/21 academic year shows that the number of Afghan domiciled students studying at a UK higher education (HE) provider was 215.

As part of Operation Warm Welcome, it was announced on 1 September 2021 that funding for a single cohort of students for entry into the next academic year (2022/23) will be provided for up to 300 undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships for Afghan students at UK universities. Further details will be launched shortly.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
4th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to support educational travel businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government has worked at pace to provide an unprecedented and comprehensive package of support to help as many individuals and businesses as possible during this challenging period.

The measures introduced include the small business grants, the coronavirus loan guarantee schemes, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), the deferral of VAT and income tax payments. These measures have been designed to be accessible to businesses in most sectors and across the UK.

Further measures have been announced by my Right Hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that build on the significant support already available as well as set out how current support will evolve and adapt. This includes the extension of the CJRS until the end of September 2021, extending and amending the coronavirus loan guarantee schemes to allow businesses more time and greater flexibility to repay their loans, and the extension of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grant.

The ‘Pay as you Grow’ measures will give UK businesses that borrowed under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme the option to repay their loan over a period of up to ten years, and benefit from repayment holidays where required.

The Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS), which launched on 6 April 2021, will ensure UK businesses of any size can continue to access loans and other kinds of finance up to £10 million per business as they grow and recover from the disruption of the COVID-19 outbreak. For RLS, the government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender to ensure they continue to have the confidence to lend to businesses. The scheme is open until 31 December 2021, subject to review.

In line with the autumn and winter plan the Government continues to keep arrangements for international travel and the relaxation of travel restrictions under review.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to make children and their rights a priority of the UK’s recovery plan from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Every child and young person in the country has experienced unprecedented disruption to their education as a result of COVID-19, and those from the most vulnerable and disadvantaged backgrounds will be amongst those hardest hit.

Education recovery lies at the heart of our national mission. This is why the government has announced a package of support worth £1 billion to ensure that schools have the support they need to help all pupils make up for lost teaching time, with extra support in the form of a tutoring programme for those who need it most.

We have also supported charities that provide vital services that are helping vulnerable children and young people, including:

  • £1.6 million for the NSPCC to expand its helpline so that adults can report their concerns about any child’s wellbeing;
  • More than £7 million to Barnardo’s for the See, Hear, Respond service that offers targeted help to vulnerable children, young people and their families affected by COVID-19;
  • £7.6 million for the Vulnerable Children National Charities Strategic Relief Fund, which opened in June and is for national children’s charities that offer services to safeguard vulnerable children that have financially suffered due to the impact of COVID-19; and
  • More than £12 million for 14 innovation projects in social services, each taking a holistic, family-based approach to addressing the increased risk some children and young people are facing.

As we continue on the road to recovery, returning to normal educational routines as quickly as possible will be critical for our children’s and young people’s education and for their wellbeing. That is why the government has announced its plans for schools, colleges, specialist settings and local authority adult education services to fully reopen to all children, young people, apprentices and adult learners from the beginning of the autumn term for full time education.

24th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to their announcement that they have identified a £2.9 billion package of reductions in their planned Official Development Assistance spend, what plans they have to publish a breakdown of those reductions, including (1) underspends, (2) activity delays, and (3) spending cancellations.

Revised ODA allocations for 2020/21 will be published by HM Treasury at Autumn Budget, and the Statistics for International Development published in 2021 will provide a full breakdown of the UK’s ODA spend for 2020. Currently we are discussing specific savings with suppliers and partners and we will publish the revised ODA allocations in due course after this process has been completed.

24th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to their announcement that they have identified a £2.9 billion package of reductions in their planned Official Development Assistance (ODA) spend, what plans they have to publish the arrangements in place to reduce ODA spending in 2020.

Revised ODA allocations for 2020/21 will be published by HM Treasury at Autumn Budget, and the Statistics for International Development published in 2021 will provide a full breakdown of the UK’s ODA spend for 2020. Currently we are discussing specific savings with suppliers and partners and we will publish the revised ODA allocations in due course after this process has been completed.

24th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to their announcement that they have identified a £2.9 billion package of reductions in their planned Official Development Assistance (ODA) spend, by what process they came to their decision to reduce their planned ODA spend.

The First Secretary of State, supported by the International Development Secretary and ministers from ODA spending departments, led a cross government review to identify reductions in this year’s ODA budget needed to meet the 0.7% commitment. The careful review process looked at every strand of the ODA budget and assess the impacts of spend. Several review sessions were held in which Ministers prioritised programmes based on strategic objectives such as poverty reduction for the ‘bottom billion’, tackling climate change and reversing biodiversity loss, championing girls’ education, and the global response to Covid-19.

24th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to their announcement that they have identified a £2.9 billion package of reductions in their planned Official Development Assistance spend, what steps they are taking to ensure that reductions in such spend are made to programmes that have been found to be less effective at poverty alleviation.

The First Secretary led a careful review process to look at every strand of the ODA budget and assess the impacts of spend. ODA spend for 2020 was prioritised to focus on key strategic objectives including poverty reduction for the ‘bottom billion’, tackling climate change and reversing biodiversity loss, championing girls’ education, UK leadership in the global response to Covid-19, and protecting the UK’s science base. These priorities will help the government to deliver our manifesto commitments and ensure that the UK is a global force for good.

The work of UK Aid to reduce poverty will remain central to the new department’s mission and we will continue to be guided by our responsibilities under the International Development Act.

21st Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they plan to take (1) to maintain standards of independent scrutiny of the UK aid budget, and (2) to ensure accountability for that expenditure.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office will be accountable to parliament for how it spends UK aid. We remain committed to full transparency in our aid spending and there will continue to be parliamentary and independent scrutiny of the aid budget – the form this takes following the merger will be set out in due course.

21st Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they plan to take to ensure that (1) development and humanitarian concerns are heard at the highest levels of the Government, and (2) there is policy coherence in those areas across Departments.

From the 1st September, the Foreign Secretary will lead the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. His seat at Cabinet will ensure that development and humanitarian concerns are at the heart of Cabinet decision-making. The Integrated Review will refresh systems to ensure policy coherence across HMG.

21st Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the merger of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development on the world's poorest people.

Spending 0.7 per cent of our national income on aid is enshrined in law and we will continue to be guided by our responsibilities under the International Development Act, including a commitment to poverty reduction.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consultation, if any, took place with humanitarian and development experts before the decision was made to merge the Department for International Development with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

On 16 June the Prime Minister announced that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development will merge to form a new international department – the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. The Government will continue to engage closely with interested stakeholders, including UK and international NGOs, in the weeks and months to come as we work to create the new department, which will unite our development expertise and first class diplomatic service to make the UK a force for good in the world.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the decision to merge the Department for International Development with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office was taken before the conclusion of the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy.

The Prime Minister is determined that the Integrated Review later this year will set an ambitious vision for the future of the UK as an active, internationalist, problem-solving and burden-sharing nation. The new Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office will be central to the delivery of that vision, so it needs to prepare now to be ready by the Autumn.

This reform will create a department that for the first time for many years has the combination of size, reach and expertise to project us effectively internationally and make sure that we spend our development money in the best possible way.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the case for merging the Department for International Development into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The Government remains fully focused on stopping the spread of COVID-19 and saving lives. We are using UK aid to its full effect to counter the health, humanitarian, and economic risks and impact of this pandemic in the developing world. Through aligning our efforts, we will maximise our influence and expertise and ensure we are in the best position to continue to drive the international response to the pandemic – funding the development of a vaccine and supporting the global recovery.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Department for International Development's (1) effectiveness, and (2) transparency, in spending overseas development aid.

1) DFID is responsible for three quarters of Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) expenditure and has strong systems in place to ensure effective spend. DFID has invested significantly in ensuring that programmes are scrutinised for value for money and effective delivery. The department has a track record of spending and monitoring ODA well, including through ICAI.

(2) DFID is committed to transparency and continues to be a global leader, remaining in the ‘very good’ category of the 2020 Aid Transparency Index which assesses the performance of the world’s major aid donors. DFID is in 9th place overall out of 47 international donors, and the 2nd most transparent bilateral donor globally.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the public health implications of merging the Department for International Development with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office during the COVID-19 pandemic (1) globally and (2) for the UK.

The current pandemic makes ever clearer the need for international collaboration on health and the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) will continue to work with DHSC to support the public health needs of the UK where this requires international activity, for example facilitating learning from other countries and work on health issues in multilateral forums.

The UK is the second largest Government donor on global health. This Government is committed to SDG3, ensuring healthy lives and promoting health and wellbeing for all at all ages, and supporting countries to achieve Universal Health Coverage. The pandemic is showing us the vital importance of strong and resilient health systems, with effective public health functions for both preventing and protecting people from health threats and ensuring continued access to quality essential health services, respecting rights and leaving no one behind.

The Government remains fully focused on stopping the spread of COVID-19, mitigating both the direct and indirect impacts, and saving lives. We are using UK aid to its full effect to counter the health, humanitarian, and economic risks and impact of this pandemic in the developing world. By creating the new FCDO the Government is aligning our development and diplomatic efforts to maximise our influence and expertise and ensure we are in the best position to continue to drive the international response to the pandemic – funding the development of a vaccine and supporting the global recovery.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps the Department for International Development is taking to mitigate (1) any secondary impact of COVID-19, and (2) any related restrictions put in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic, in any fragile or conflict-affected states; and what proportion of Overseas Development Assistance the Department has committed to such states.

The UK is pursuing a strong and co-ordinated global response to COVID-19, particularly for the most vulnerable countries. We recognise the risk that responses to the pandemic in some contexts may include politicisation, exploitation and securitisation, which may risk fuelling grievances, triggering violent instability, dividing societies and emboldening conflict actors.

Our approach to promoting stability in fragile and conflict-affected states is underpinned by the DFID Building Stability Framework, which recognises that conflict and fragility do not have single causes and constitute a complex system, and that helping fragile countries become more stable is a long-term endeavour.

DFID is taking steps to ensure that both our immediate responses to COVID-19 and long-term recovery efforts do not exacerbate conflict and instead help to build peace and improve governance. We monitor how the pandemic and responses to it, including any necessary restrictions, interact with conflict and governance on an ongoing basis in fragile states. We are encouraging our implementing partners to demonstrate accountability, strengthen local owner- and leadership and adopt inclusive, conflict sensitive approaches. We are also working with International Financial Institutions and the UN to ensure their humanitarian, development and peace efforts are galvanised into an effective and coordinated response.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Department for International Development is providing support to (1) local markets, (2) small and medium-sized enterprises, and (3) the informal economy, in fragile and conflict-affected states during the COVID-19 pandemic; and what steps UK Aid is taking to protect livelihoods in such states.

We are assessing secondary impacts on local agriculture and food markets in fragile and conflict affected states, and helping to mitigate these through multilateral initiatives such as the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP).

As a shareholder and leading donor to the Multilateral Development Banks, we have been working with them to ensure that they are rapidly providing much-needed working capital to SMEs and supply chains that workers and farmers in developing countries depend on. This includes $8 billion of fast-tracked support from the International Finance Cooperation.

We are also exploring how DFID’s private sector development finance programmes can respond and complement this support. For example, CDC is supporting its existing portfolio of investee companies, and their workforces, to weather the crisis, and is looking to make new investments that provide systemic liquidity to companies, including SMEs.

DFID currently supports social protection and/or humanitarian cash transfer programmes in 35 countries, including Fragile and Conflict Affected States, which support people who are vulnerable to the economic impact of COVID-19.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they are supporting responses to the COVID-19 pandemic which seek to address (1) the immediate, and (2) the underlying, causes of conflict and violence; and what steps they are taking to make sure Official Development Assistance supports communities to manage any increase in social tensions as a result of the pandemic.

The UK is pursuing a strong and co-ordinated global response to COVID-19, particularly for the most vulnerable countries. We recognise the risk that responses to the pandemic in some contexts may include politicisation, exploitation and securitisation, which may risk fuelling grievances, triggering violent instability, dividing societies and emboldening conflict actors.

The UK is taking steps to ensure that both our immediate responses to COVID-19 and long-term recovery efforts do not exacerbate conflict and instead help to build peace, improve governance and strengthen social cohesion. We are encouraging our implementing partners to demonstrate accountability, strengthen local owner- and leadership and adopt inclusive, conflict sensitive approaches. We are also working with partners, governments, media providers, civil society and local leaders to counter misinformation. DFID and the FCO are working together to encourage state and security responses that are transparent, proportionate, fair and promote human rights as a core part of the UK response.

We particularly recognise the importance of working with local women’s rights and women-led organisations to deliver more effective and safer responses. We also believe that greater engagement of local partners ensures continuity and builds resilience and social cohesion as efforts shift to the medium and longer term recovery.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Department for International Development's Building Stability Framework is being used to inform the international response to the COVID-19 pandemic; and what actions they will take (1) to monitor, and (2) to address, any inequitable measures in response to the pandemic taken by (a) national governments, and (b) security services.

The UK is pursuing a strong and co-ordinated global response to COVID-19, particularly for the most vulnerable countries. We recognise the risk that responses to the pandemic in some contexts may include politicisation, exploitation and securitisation, which may risk fuelling grievances, triggering violent instability, dividing societies and emboldening conflict actors.

DFID’s 2016 Building Stability Framework continues to underpin our approach to promoting stability in fragile and conflict-affected states. The Framework recognises that conflict and fragility do not have single causes and constitute a complex system, and that helping fragile countries become more stable is a long-term endeavour.

DFID is taking steps to ensure that both our immediate responses to COVID-19 and long-term recovery efforts do not exacerbate conflict and instead help to build peace and improve governance. We monitor how the pandemic and responses to it interact with conflict and governance on an ongoing basis in fragile states. We are encouraging our implementing partners to demonstrate accountability, strengthen local owner and leadership and adopt inclusive, conflict sensitive approaches. We are also working with International Financial Institutions and the UN to ensure their humanitarian, development and peace efforts are galvanised into an effective and coordinated response.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to address (1) the medium-term, and (2) the longer-term, threats to food security and hunger from (a) COVID-19, (b) locusts, and (c) climate change, in fragile and conflict affected places; and, in particular, what steps they are taking to address the locust outbreak in East Africa.

The UK is one of the biggest humanitarian donors globally and, through our programmes, are working with partners such as the World Food Programme, UNICEF and OCHA to provide food to millions of people. As well as emergency assistance, we are working to tackle longer-term food insecurity and malnutrition.

The COVID-19 pandemic is negatively impacting food security, particularly in countries with high hunger figures, climate vulnerability and fragility or conflict. The UK is working with international partners to better track, monitor and respond to the impact of COVID-19 on food security. We have adapted our social protection, agriculture and food security programmes in highly climate-vulnerable and fragile countries to respond to COVID-19-related challenges. Responses will strengthen resilience of food and agriculture systems in the current crisis but also against longer-term climate shocks and stresses. UK support includes provision of expert advice to governments and partners.

The UK is a key contributor to the UN Global Humanitarian Response Plan, which is supporting the most vulnerable, including refugees, displaced people, and migrants during this pandemic. Through this support, UK partners, such as the World Food Programme, continue to ensure essential commodities and services, and pre-position food supplies for those most in need.

We are deeply concerned about the locust outbreak in Africa and South Asia. We are supporting the UN Food and Agriculture Office on locust control as well as providing livelihoods support to those already impacted by the outbreak.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps the Department for International Development is taking to ensure that women and women's organisations are (1) included, and (2) supported, to participate at all levels in the (a) design, (b) implementation, and (c) evaluation, of responses to COVID-19 and its secondary impacts.

The significant gender impacts of COVID-19 are deeply concerning. DFID has been regularly consulting various women’s funds and women’s rights organisations (WROs), to understand first-hand what’s happening and to inform our response. Over the last month, DFID has hosted numerous roundtables where WROs took part.

DFID’s decision to pledge £10 million to the United Nations Population Fund and £20 million to UNICEF was informed by the conclusions of a rapid assessment of 122 WROs, which the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence undertook. DFID also launched a call for proposals under our Rapid Response Facility requiring all projects to mainstream gender, protection and safeguarding.

Through engagement with the UN, the World Bank and G7, DFID has promoted the importance of recognising women as frontline actors and leaders, and placing WROs front and centre in the international response.

DFID is being more flexible in its funding to support WROs. Amplify Change, a multi-donor fund is supporting local organisations for improved sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) adapt to address immediate and heightened SRHR risks.

This month DFID hosts its first Gender Equality Challenge Board. Experts, including women’s funds, will be invited to hold us to account on our plans for economic response and recovery.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what engagement they have had with the UN and other international actors to ensure that tackling gender-based violence is recognised as a specific objective in the COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan.

The UK is deeply concerned about the surge in gender-based violence (GBV) during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have consistently encouraged the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to prioritise GBV within the Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP) through bilateral channels and joint advocacy with other donors. We believe revising the GHRP to explicitly include a specific objective on GBV will prove lifesaving for women and girls.

Whilst we are pleased to see improvements in how GBV is being addressed overall in the GHRP, the UK is still championing a specific objective on GBV in future versions. All UN agencies and international actors must demonstrate that the shadow pandemic of GBV is taken seriously in the global response to COVID-19 and be held accountable for addressing GBV.

5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to increase coordination between humanitarian aid and development and peace building programmes.

DFID is promoting collaboration between humanitarian, development, conflict and diplomatic teams through shared Country Development Diagnostics and joint country planning. DFID also promotes greater collaboration to link up humanitarian cash transfer initiatives with social protection systems. DFID is investing in financing instruments that can be accessed before or at the outset of a shock to reduce its impact. In 2017 the UK established the Centre for Disaster Protection, which offers impartial advice to help countries understand and manage risks such as droughts or hurricanes.

Internationally, the UK doubled last years contribution to the Peacebuilding Fund from £8 million to £16 million per year. The Fund brings together humanitarian, development and peacebuilding actors to take forward vital conflict prevention efforts and build the capacity of UN country teams to address conflict drivers. Since 2018, 30% of UK core funding to UN agencies is performance based, dependent on the collective delivery of key reforms agreed at the World Humanitarian Summit. Targets include measures to improve collaboration, notably through joint and impartial needs assessments, scale up and coordinated cash transfers and enhanced engagement between humanitarian and development actors.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to address food insecurity around the world exacerbated by COVID-19.

The UK is repurposing programmes in agriculture, social protection and humanitarian assistance to tackle the factors driving COVID-19 induced food insecurity in developing countries. We are a major funder of existing multilateral programmes in these areas, including the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program. We have committed £15m to the World Food Programme’s recent urgent appeals. The recent £7.5m contribution to the Food and Agriculture Organisation will help fight the locust plague in East Africa. We are assessing potential trends in the COVID-19 exacerbated impacts on agriculture and food security, for example, through our bilateral Commercial Agriculture for Smallholders and Agribusiness programme. We are learning the lessons from previous crises and are sharing the evidence for improved action. In all of this, we continue to put the poorest and most marginalised at the heart of our programmes to address the underlying causes of chronic hunger.

5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to provide support to help address losses of livelihood in Africa and the Middle East caused by COVID-19.

The UK is working in Africa and the Middle East to minimise the immediate risk to life from COVID-19, whilst protecting recent development gains.

We are directly supporting the most vulnerable, including women and girls, through adapting our existing programmes to address the primary impacts of COVID-19 (health and humanitarian programmes) and the secondary impacts (social protection, economic support and livelihoods). Our support is helping to keep goods and supply chains flowing to help minimise negative long-term economic impacts. As a last resort, and where necessary, we are also providing support to our own supply partners to ensure we maintain critical programmes delivering for vulnerable people.

We have so far pledged up to £744 million of UK aid in the COVID-19 response, including up to £150 million to the International Monetary Fund to support vulnerable economies. The UK is leading the way in responding to the economic impact of coronavirus by mitigating loss of livelihoods, higher prices and wider social impacts, and helping to build resilience.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable populations around the world, including (1) women, (2) refugees and, (3) migrants.

To date, the UK has committed £744 million in the international fight against COVID-19. We are a key contributor to the UN’s Global Humanitarian Response Plan, which is supporting the most vulnerable, including women and girls, refugees and migrants.

New UK funding to the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) and other partners will help install hand-washing stations and isolation and treatment centres in refugee camps, provide protection and education services for forcibly displaced children, and increase access to clean water for displaced people living in areas of armed conflict.

The UK is also providing significant support to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to help make sure life-saving family planning, HIV drugs and equipment needed to care for the survivors of sexual assault can get to the most vulnerable in developing countries. Further support to UNICEF and the Education Cannot Wait initiative will ensure disadvantaged children do not get left behind and deliver protection services for children and women affected by violence.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what increases they intend to make in funding to support international development responses to the potential secondary impacts of COVID-19.

We are taking decisive and co-ordinated action based on the science and evidence, mitigating COVID-19’s primary and secondary impacts, in support of the poorest and most vulnerable.

We are using UK aid and British expertise to provide leadership internationally. DFID has pledged up to £744 million of UK aid to support the global effort to combat COVID-19. This includes providing up to £150 million to the International Monetary Fund’s Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust to support vulnerable economies. In addition, DFID is also adapting its programmes across its country network. This will support both the immediate response including secondary impacts, and in due course the longer-term recovery. The UK has also pledged £1.65 billion to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to stop the spread of deadly infectious diseases by vaccinating up to 75 million children and strengthening health systems to help them deal with the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases.

We are also working closely with other international partners to support a holistic response. For example, the Secretary of State has been speaking regularly to other Development Ministers including those from G7 countries, the Nordics, Netherlands and Australia. She has established a series of ongoing informal meetings with them, jointly chaired with Canada, to work together on the challenges of COVID-19 to international development.

9th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to tackle COVID-19 globally.

The UK has announced up to £241 million of aid funding to support the global efforts to combat the outbreak of COVID-19.

This includes £150 million to the International Monetary Fund to help developing countries focus their available resources to tackle the virus and a £65 million investment into COVID-19 research, which includes eight vaccine candidates and rapid diagnostics tests.

The £150 million to the International Monetary Fund’s Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust is to help developing countries deal with the short-term economic difficulties caused by coronavirus, allowing them to focus their spending on tackling the outbreak. This funding will help lessen the disease’s future global economic impact and thereby help safeguard the UK economy. A team of infectious disease experts will also travel to developing countries to support global efforts to prevent further spread.

UK aid has a longstanding record of supporting countries across the globe to prepare for large disease outbreaks. We are closely working with our partners, including the World Health Organization, to support vulnerable countries ensuring they are prepared and have adequate supplies and health systems can cope.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to give high priority to closing the gender pay gap during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We recognise that employers are facing unprecedented uncertainty and pressure due to the Coronavirus pandemic. A number of employers contacted the Government, prior to the announcement on non-enforcement, to highlight their concerns about being unable to meet the gender pay gap reporting deadlines this year.

Due to the COVID 19 outbreak, the Government and the Equality and Human Rights Commission suspended enforcement of the gender pay gap reporting deadlines for the 2019/20 reporting year.

Around 5,500 employers have reported their gender pay gap data to date for the 2019-20 reporting year, which includes more than 2,000 employers who published their data since the suspension of enforcement on 24 March. More employers may choose to report in the coming months and we will continue to provide support to those employers that wish to do so.

The gender pay gap is caused by a range of factors. In order to tackle it, we must ensure that everybody has equal access to opportunities. We will continue to encourage employers to take action to provide equal opportunities for men and women in the workplace.

We are currently considering the impact of the pandemic on the gender pay gap data for the current reporting year. If there are any changes to reporting in future, we will proactively communicate these to all employers.

24th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure social distancing occurs at airports in England.

The Government has provided clear instructions to the public and to businesses on the steps they need to take to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including new guidance on social distancing. Most importantly, we are reiterating that it is paramount for all transport sector employers and staff to follow Public Health England’s advice on health and safety in the workplace in light of COVID-19.

Airports are following PHE advice, as well as their existing internal protocols on preventing the spread of infectious diseases. Additionally, PHE has provided specific guidance to flight crews on the measures they need to take to keep themselves and the public safe, including advice on social distancing and the safe use of personal protective equipment.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the governments of countries with airports from which planes are flying to the UK about encouraging social distancing at such airports.

The UK is a world leader in preparing for and managing disease outbreaks, and we have a world-renowned team of clinicians, public health experts and scientists working round the clock to keep this country safe. We are working closely with the World Health Organisation, other G7 countries and the wider international community to ensure that we are ready for all eventualities. Additionally, FCO teams are working around the clock to gather and provide on the ground intelligence to understand current the situation in each individual country.

The UK Government has issued clear instructions on what to do to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Extensive guidance is being provided to individuals entering the UK from countries where there are cases of COVID-19 being reported, including instructions regarding self-isolation as the primary means to contain the spread of the disease. UK Airports are following Public Health England advice, as well as their existing internal protocols on preventing the spread of infectious diseases, and PHE has provided specific guidance to flight crew on social distancing and the safe use of personal protective equipment.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to close airports during the COVID-19 pandemic; and if so, when.

Airports are continuing to provide essential connectivity to get Britons home, deliver vital freight, and connect regions. The Government recognises this important contribution and is considering how best to support airports in continuing to provide this service.

A decision to temporarily close London City Airport from 25 March has been taken by the airport as part of the COVID-19 response and we are grateful for their offer to support emergency flights as we seek to tackle COVID-19.

We are working with the industry to ensure that UK nationals overseas are able to return home and freight continues to flow in and out of the country.

Most importantly, we are reiterating that it is paramount for all transport sector employers to follow Public Health England’s advice on health and safety in the workplace in light of COVID-19.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
5th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many refugees from Afghanistan have been registered with the NHS; and how many have been provided with access to (1) a GP, and (2) maternal, (3) dental, and (4) mental health, services, within the past year.

We do not hold the data in the format requested. Clinical systems do not record whether individuals have been resettled through an Afghan resettlement scheme.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to establish regional telephone hotlines for the public to use to ask questions related to COVID-19 vaccines.

There are no plans to establish regional telephone hotlines.

27th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support studies which (1) include non-hospitalised individuals, and (2) are of sufficient scale to be valid, to determine the ages at which critical health changes in response to COVID-19 occur.

The Department, through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and UK Research and Innovation, have launched a £20 million joint research call to fund ambitious and comprehensive research to understand and address the longer term physical and mental health effects of COVID-19 in non-hospitalised individuals. The aim is to support two or three large consortia and a number of extensions to existing studies. These studies will be robust and of sufficient scale to include analysis of age and other factors.

27th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support studies (1) in a community setting, and (2) that extend into the convalescent period, to establish factors that affect the duration of effective immunity to COVID-19.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) are jointly funding the United Kingdom Coronavirus Immunology Consortium with £6.5 million, which will address key research themes on immunity to COVID-19 including cross reactivity with seasonal coronaviruses.

Other relevant NIHR-UKRI funded studies include the STORY study to understand the severity of COVID-19 disease in children and evaluate antibody responses; Virus Watch looking at household transmission; and the INSTINCT study investigating the epidemiology and immunology of COVID-19 infection in households.

The NIHR’s Health Protection Research Unit in Respiratory Infections is also looking at the size and longevity of the immune response.

27th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support studies investigating the effect of (1) co-infection, and (2) vaccination against other pathogens, on COVID-19 immunity.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) are jointly funding the United Kingdom Coronavirus Immunology Consortium with £6.5 million, which will address key research themes on immunity to COVID-19 including cross reactivity with seasonal coronaviruses.

Other relevant NIHR-UKRI funded studies include the STORY study to understand the severity of COVID-19 disease in children and evaluate antibody responses; Virus Watch looking at household transmission; and the INSTINCT study investigating the epidemiology and immunology of COVID-19 infection in households.

The NIHR’s Health Protection Research Unit in Respiratory Infections is also looking at the size and longevity of the immune response.

15th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the level of demand for flu jabs, and (2) reports that pharmacies and GPs have not had sufficient stock to meet demand; and what steps they are taking to ensure that pharmacies and GPs are supplied with enough vaccines to meet community need.

Overall, there are sufficient vaccine for up to 30 million people to be vaccinated in England this winter. We have seen huge early demand for vaccinations and latest figures show that uptake is higher for all cohorts compared to last year.

General practitioners, community pharmacies, and trusts are directly responsible for ordering flu vaccine from suppliers which are used to deliver the national flu programme to adults, with deliveries phased through the season.

29th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to their announcement on 24 July that the “most comprehensive flu programme in UK history will be rolled out this winter”, what steps they took to ensure that a supply of flu vaccines would be available; and what assessment they have made of the reported shortage of such vaccines for autumn 2020.

There is no national shortage of the flu vaccine. We have sufficient vaccine for up to 30 million people to be vaccinated in England this winter.

General practitioners and pharmacists are directly responsible for ordering flu vaccine from suppliers which are used to deliver the national flu programme to adults, with deliveries phased through the season.

In addition, the Department has procured additional doses of seasonal flu vaccine to ensure more flu vaccines are available from November.

24th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to conduct universal testing for COVID-19 at airports in England.

On 12 March 2020 the Prime Minister announced that the COVID-19 response was moving from the contain to delay phase. This phase has been initiated as there is now community transmission of the virus in the United Kingdom, i.e. transmission not directly related to travel; this has made interventions in ports of less relative importance. With the shift to the delay phase and commensurate policy changes, the Public Health England approach is that testing capacity should not be focused on airports.

8th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Minister of State for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, discussed the issue of Pakistan selling arms to the Myanmar military during his phone call with Pakistan's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hina Rabbani Khar, on 1 June.

The UK is a longstanding supporter of an arms embargo on Myanmar. We are clear that countries should not sell arms to the Myanmar military. On 27 March, the UK coordinated a joint statement with 48 signatories that committed us to working to prevent the flow of arms and equipment to the Myanmar military. We have also worked with partners to secure strong language on stopping the flow of arms at the G7, UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council. Earlier this year, British High Commission Islamabad officials raised Pakistan's sale of arms to the Myanmar military with the Pakistani authorities.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will campaign for the adoption of a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council’s 50th session that (1) extends the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, (2) describes and condemns human rights violations in Eritrea, and (3) sets benchmarks for improvement.

Eritrea remains a Human Rights Priority Country for the UK. As in previous years, we will work with likeminded partners - particularly the EU as penholders of the resolution - to ensure the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea is extended at the upcoming 50th session of the Human Rights Council via a robust and credible resolution. We fully support the work of the Special Rapporteur and welcome both his report and his establishment of a set of human rights benchmarks for Eritrea to meet in order to show improvement.

At the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur the UK urged Eritrea to prioritise National Service reform; release all those in arbitrary detention; guarantee freedom of religion or belief for all faiths; and protect freedom of expression. We also continue to call on the Government of Eritrea to 1) allow the Special Rapporteur to visit Eritrea and cooperate fully with his mandate, 2) engage and cooperate fully with the mandate of the International Commission of Human Rights Experts in Ethiopia, established by the Human Rights Council at the 33rd Special Session on 17 December 2021 to investigate human rights violations and abuses committed by all parties to the conflict in Ethiopia, and 3) engage constructively with the recommendations of the 3 November 2021 UN-Ethiopian Human Rights Commission joint investigation report.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, in advance of the conference on the Horn of Africa drought on 26 April, to commit new funding to mitigate the effects of that drought.

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. Ministers will correspond directly with the Member.
Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure (1) girls' education in Afghanistan, and (2) the human rights of women in that country.

The Government has made clear its condemnation of the Taliban's 23 March decision not to re-open girls secondary schools, including through statements from the G7+, female foreign ministers and the UN Security Council. We continue to monitor the Taliban's actions and to raise the rights of women and girls in our political engagement with the Taliban, including pressing them to ensure full and equal access to education for all. Ministers and officials regularly meet Afghan women; on 24 March I [Lord Ahmad] met a diverse group of Afghan women leaders.

On 31 March the UK co-hosted a humanitarian pledging conference with the UN, Qatar and Germany which raised over $2.4 billion for the UN's humanitarian appeal. The Foreign Secretary announced £286 million of aid for Afghanistan for this financial year. We are committed that at least 50% of those we reach with our aid should be women and girls. Our humanitarian programmes will provide assistance to the most vulnerable. We are funding child protection support and supporting access to gender-based violence services.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to help pursue a ceasefire in Tigray to support the delivery of humanitarian aid; what assessment they have made of the withdrawal of Eritrean troops from Ethiopia; and how the withdrawal is being monitored.

On 24 March the Government of Ethiopia announced a humanitarian truce and committed to facilitating overland access to Tigray. This was followed by a similar commitment by the Tigray authorities. On the 1 April a UN humanitarian convoy comprising twenty trucks and one fuel tanker reached Mekelle from Afar region - the first overland delivery of aid to Tigray since mid-December 2021. As the Minister for Africa set out in her statement of 31 March, the UK welcomes this development and the UK acknowledges the important role the Afar authorities have played, alongside the Government of Ethiopia and the authorities in Tigray, in facilitating the convoy and prioritising the welfare of civilians.

The UK is committed to working with the Government of Ethiopia and authorities in Afar and Tigray to expand aid deliveries to areas affected by the conflict and to promote long-term peace and security.

Troops from Eritrea have caused significant suffering in Tigray and they have committed abuses which may constitute war crimes. Eritrean troops should withdraw fully from Ethiopia, to help bring about an end to the conflict.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
31st Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that (1) funding, and (2) support, for Ukraine reaches its intended recipients, including (a) local, and (b) women-led, organisations.

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) launched its Ukraine Appeal on 2 March which has now reached over £200 million, with the government matching £25 million of the public's donations. This is our largest ever aid-match contribution, which is helping DEC charities provide food, water, shelter and healthcare to refugees and displaced families.

We are working to ensure aid agencies are able to respond to the deteriorating humanitarian situation. The UK has deployed a field team of humanitarian experts to Poland to provide logistics advice and analyse the evolving refugee situation ensuring support provided to refugees, including women and girls, is tailored to the local context, including the threats they face. Our humanitarian support will be implemented by trusted humanitarian partners with expertise in protection and safeguarding.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
31st Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that (1) funding, and (2) diplomatic support, in respect of the war in Ukraine does not distract from efforts to help vulnerable people affected by crises in the rest of the world.

The UK is one of the leading humanitarian donors to Ukraine, pledging £394 million in Aid, including £220 million of humanitarian assistance. These funds will be used to save lives, protect vulnerable people inside the country and in the wider region. In addition to funding, the UK has deployed field teams of humanitarian experts to Poland, Moldova and Romania to provide logistics advice and analyse the evolving refugee situation.

The UK remains committed to the pledges it has made in response to other humanitarian crises, including Yemen and Afghanistan. In Yemen, the total amount of UK funding since the conflict began is approximately £970 million. In Afghanistan, the UK will have disbursed approximately £286 million in aid, in the last financial year.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
31st Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the UK aid budget will return 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income; and whether they consider the funding for Ukraine (1) to be part of the temporary 0.5 per cent target, or (2) to be additional expenditure.

The Government is committed to returning to spending 0.7% of GNI on official development assistance (ODA) when the fiscal situation allows.

The response to Ukraine is a priority for the FCDO and the international community. The UK has committed £394 million in aid to the current crisis in Ukraine the breakdown of which is in the Foreign Secretary's letter to the IDC [https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/9404/documents/161135/default]. This will come from the Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget. The Department is currently finalising allocations based on the Spending Review outcome and these will be published in due course.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce sanctions on Burmese companies involved in the supply of aviation fuel to the military in Myanmar.

The UK has been at the forefront of the international sanctions response. Since 1 February 2021, the UK has worked quickly, in coordination with partners, to impose targeted sanctions on the junta. We have sanctioned the junta's ruling body and its military leadership, as well as key revenue streams for the military, including three State Owned Enterprises, a high profile business associate, the two largest military business conglomerates and defence entities which arm and equip the military.

We cannot speculate on future designations but we are looking at a range of further targets and measures. The UK is committed to targeted sanctions which directly impact the military without harming the wider population.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with representatives of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) about the case for not inviting Myanmar to participate to meetings of ASEAN and other such fora to avoid recognising or legitimising the military regime in that country.

The UK supports ASEAN's efforts to find a resolution to the crisis in Myanmar. We discussed the deteriorating situation with ASEAN partners at the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers' Meeting from 10-12 December. We reiterated our support for the ASEAN Five Point Consensus and raised the need to de-escalate conflict, tackle the flow of arms and ensure humanitarian access.

We acknowledge their landmark decision not to invite the Commander-in-Chief to their Leaders' Summit in October 2021, due to a lack of progress on the Five Point Consensus. We will continue to engage with ASEAN and the Special Envoy to express our concerns about the current crisis, and work together to push for a peaceful resolution.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what cross-border aid they are providing to vulnerable populations in Myanmar.

Meeting humanitarian needs and supporting the resilience of the most vulnerable remains our priority. Since the coup the FCDO has provided £49.4 million in aid to Myanmar. We continue to provide humanitarian assistance through International NGOs, the UN, Red Cross and civil society organisations to those affected by conflict and natural disasters including with food, water, hygiene and sanitation services, shelter, medical equipment, and protection for the most vulnerable especially in displacement camps.

We are closely monitoring the outbreaks of fighting, including on supply routes in border regions, to ensure support reaches those in most need. At present, the UK is funding partners providing assistance on the borders with Thailand and India. As the situation unfolds, we will continue to consider all options to ensure that humanitarian aid can be delivered to those that need it.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of reductions to mine clearance funding.

Since 2018, under the second iteration of the Global Mine Action Programme (GMAP2), the UK has been one of the most generous countries in the world in funding demining. By the end of financial year 2020/21, GMAP2 had invested £124 million in mine action activities, with at least £17 million more to be spent in this financial year. Under GMAP2 the UK has cleared and confirmed safe 435.2 million square metres of land, the equivalent of over 60,952 football pitches, and has delivered risk education messages to over 3.7 million people in communities affected by mines.


The FCDO remains committed to continuing its support to mine action across the globe. The Global Mine Action Programme 3 (GMAP3) is due to begin in financial year 2022/23. We are working towards finalising funding and country allocations and will share plans as soon as this work is complete.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much the UK will spend on mine clearance in Angola this year.

Our Global Mine Action Programme (GMAP2) is forecasting spend of almost £1 million in Angola during this financial year (21/22) on mine clearance and other mine action activities such as risk education to help keep affected communities safe. This is additional to the £9.3 million we have already spent on mine action in Angola under GMAP2 since 2018.

As of September 2021, GMAP2 funded activity had cleared and confirmed safe over 27 million square metres of land in Angola (the equivalent of 3,784 football pitches) and provided 95,004 people with risk education. We are in the process of finalizing individual country allocations for the next financial year (22/23) under the next iteration of our global mine action programme (GMAP3).

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to increase assistance for women and girls in Afghanistan.

We continue to raise rights of women and girls in our political engagement with the Taliban, including pressing them to ensure full and equal access to education for all. The Government has doubled our aid to £286 million FY 2021/22. We have now disbursed over £145 million which will support over 3.4 million people in Afghanistan and the region, providing emergency food, health, shelter, water and protection. Our humanitarian programmes will provide assistance to the most vulnerable, including women and girls. We are also funding child protection support and supporting access to gender-based violence services. In addition, we are meeting directly with Afghan women to inform our policies and programmes.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to strengthen UK legislation on supply chain impacts on human rights, given their commitment to implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

The Government is clear that it expects all UK businesses to respect human rights throughout their operations, in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In response to the Guidelines, the UK was the first State to produce a National Action Plan https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/522805/Good_Business_Implementing_the_UN_Guiding_Principles_on_Business_and_Human_Rights_updated_May_2016.pdf.

We have enhanced supply chain transparency through the Companies Act (2013, 2016) and continue to strengthen the Modern Slavery Act 2015, including through the on-going review of the Modern Slavery Strategy which is due to be published in Spring 2022. Section 54 of the Act, places a requirement on businesses with a turnover of £36 million or more to publish an annual modern slavery statement stating the steps they have taken to prevent modern slavery in their operations and supply chains.

Following a public consultation in 2019 the Government committed to; extending reporting requirements to public bodies with a budget of £36 million or more; requiring organisations to submit reports by an annual deadline; and requiring organisations to publish their statement on the Government modern slavery statement registry. In January 2021, the Government announced that financial penalties will be introduced for organisations who fail to meet their statutory obligations to publish annual modern slavery statements.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government which (1) political parties, and (2) civil society members, will be included in the renewed UK–Sudan Strategic dialogue; and whether 50 per cent of those participants will be women.

The Minister for Africa visited Sudan on 19/20 October for the launch of the refreshed UK-Sudan Strategic Dialogue as an opportunity to deepen our bilateral relationship and support for Sudan's democratic transition. This was co-hosted with Foreign Minister, Mariam al-Sadiq al-Mahdi and discussions included the vital role of women and girls to Sudan's democratic future and the importance of inclusion. We will now reconsider the future of engagement such as the Strategic Dialogue in light of the actions of the Sudanese military on 25 October.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports of violent abuse of political opponents and activists in Evin prison in Iran.

The FCDO is shocked and appalled at the conditions that appeared in the leaked footage of Evin prison. We have repeatedly urged Iran to allow health professionals in, to assess the situation of British nationals there. We regularly raise human rights with the Iranians at all levels and take action with the international community to press Iran to improve its poor record. At the Human Rights Council session in March 2021, we strongly supported the renewal of the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran and made clear to Iran that their repeated violations of human rights are unacceptable. On 8 July 2021, the UK published its Annual Human Rights and Democracy Report, which included our bleak assessment of Iran's human rights record and our efforts to push for improvements. We will look to use all opportunities during the upcoming United Nations General Assembly session as well, and call on President Raisi to set Iran on a different course by committing to improving human rights and to release British nationals arbitrarily detained there.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support Tunisia to help ensure it remains a democracy.

The Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, James Cleverly MP, was in Tunisia 7-9 June to co-chair the inaugural UK-Tunisia Association Council. Bolstering trade, furthering good governance, and supporting Tunisia to develop its economy are all key aspects of our engagement that will enhance Tunisia's resilience and stability. UK programmes have supported political and economic reform, strengthening Tunisia's democratic transition. These have included £385,000 to support implementation of public sector economic reform, and £3million through the British Council to support English language and core skills in schools to address youth unemployment.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports of journalists and bloggers being (1) assaulted, (2) detained, and (3) tried in military courts, in Tunisia.

We are concerned by reports of journalists and bloggers being detained. We regularly raise our concerns about human rights with the Tunisian authorities, and will continue to do so.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support parliamentary democracy in Tunisia.

The Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, James Cleverly MP, was in Tunisia 7-9 June to co-chair the inaugural UK-Tunisia Association Council with the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Mohamed Ali Nafti. Bolstering trade, furthering good governance, and supporting Tunisia to develop its economy are all key aspects of our engagement that will enhance Tunisia's resilience and stability.

The UK is also working with the World Bank to support macro-economic reforms and will continue to work with Tunisia and our partners to support sustainable growth and prosperity.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support (1) democracy, (2) the economy, and (3) measures to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, in Tunisia.

The Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, James Cleverly MP, was in Tunisia 7-9 June to co-chair the inaugural UK-Tunisia Association Council with the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Mohamed Ali Nafti. Bolstering trade, furthering good governance, and supporting Tunisia to develop its economy are all key aspects of our engagement that will enhance Tunisia's resilience and stability.

The UK is also working with the World Bank to support macro-economic reforms and will continue to work with Tunisia and our partners to support sustainable growth and prosperity.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to discuss initiatives to support parliamentary democracy in Tunisia at the G7 Summit in June.

The Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, James Cleverly MP, was in Tunisia 7-9 June to co-chair the inaugural UK-Tunisia Association Council with the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Mohamed Ali Nafti. Bolstering trade, furthering good governance, and supporting Tunisia to develop its economy are all key aspects of our engagement that will enhance Tunisia's resilience and stability.

The UK is also working with the World Bank to support macro-economic reforms and will continue to work with Tunisia and our partners to support sustainable growth and prosperity.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with Tunisian representatives regarding further initiatives to support and ingrain parliamentary democracy in Tunisia.

The Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, James Cleverly MP, was in Tunisia 7-9 June to co-chair the inaugural UK-Tunisia Association Council with the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Mohamed Ali Nafti. Bolstering trade, furthering good governance, and supporting Tunisia to develop its economy are all key aspects of our engagement that will enhance Tunisia's resilience and stability.

The UK is also working with the World Bank to support macro-economic reforms and will continue to work with Tunisia and our partners to support sustainable growth and prosperity.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 29 April (HL15288), what assessment they have made of the risks faced by journalists reporting on human rights violations in China.

Freedom of expression and of the media is severely curtailed in China. We continue to urge the Chinese authorities to allow journalists to practice their profession without fear or arrest, harassment or reprisal, and to end extensive censorship and control over the media and wider freedom of expression.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 29 April (HL15288), what assessment they have made of the possibility of moving the 2022 Winter Olympic Games from China to another host nation with a better human rights record; and what representations have they made to governments of other nations on moving the 2022 Winter Olympics to another nation.

This is a matter for the International Olympic Committee, which operates independently of governments, and enshrines this political freedom in their rules and regulations.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 29 April (HL15291), what are their priorities for discussion at the G7 summit regarding human rights; and what plans they have to raise the human rights situation of Uighur Muslims in China at that summit.

We will use our Presidency of the G7 to work with counterparts drawing on our strengths and values as democratic, open economies and societies across a range of international priorities, including our approach to China. We recognise the need to cooperate with China on key global issues, and also expect China to abide by its international commitments.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 29 April (HL15289), what assessment they have made of the risks faced by British (1) journalists, and (2) athletes, attending the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing; and what plans they have to mitigate any such risks.

HMG's concerns about the ongoing deterioration in China's media environment for both foreign and domestic journalists are well-documented. The UK has made public statements and proactively raised these concerns with the Chinese government, and will continue to do so. The UK will always defend media freedom and the right of journalists to do their jobs. We also expect China to respect and uphold fundamental rights and freedoms as guaranteed under international law and China's own constitution, including for all athletes and spectators participating in the Winter Olympics.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 29 April (HL15287), what assessment they have made of reports of mosques being destroyed in Xinjiang province; and what representations have they made to the government of China on the destruction of mosques.

We are concerned by credible reports that mosques and other religious sites have been demolished in Xinjiang, evidence of which British diplomats have seen first-hand. The UK is committed to taking robust action to hold China to account for its human rights violations. On 22 March, the Foreign Secretary announced that the UK has imposed, under the UK's Global Human Rights sanctions regime, asset freezes and travel bans against four Chinese government officials, as well the Public Security Bureau of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, the organisation responsible for enforcing the repressive security policies across many areas of Xinjiang. The Government has repeatedly called on China to respect the freedom of religion and belief in line with its Constitution and its international obligations. Internationally, we led the first joint statements on this issue at the UN Human Rights Council in June 2020 and the UN Third Committee in October 2019. On 6 October 2020, alongside Germany, we brought together a total of 39 countries to express grave concern at the situation in Xinjiang at the UN Third Committee. This growing caucus of international concern reflects UK diplomatic leadership, including the personal involvement of the Foreign Secretary.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the right to freedom of religion or belief in China, in particular the freedom of Uighurs Muslims.

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. The Minister will write directly to the Member with a response shortly.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the risks faced by journalists reporting on human rights violations in China.

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. The Minister will write directly to the Member with a response shortly.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the possibilty of moving the 2022 Winter Olympic Games to another host nation with a better human rights record; and what representations have they made to governments of other nations on moving the 2022 Winter Olympics to another nation.

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. The Minister will write directly to the Member with a response shortly.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are their priorities for discussion at the G7 summit regarding human rights; and what plans they have to raise the human rights situation of Uighur Muslims in China at that summit.

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. The Minister will write directly to the Member with a response shortly.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the risks faced by British (1) journalists, and (2) athletes, attending the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing; and what plans they have to mitigate any such risks.

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. The Minister will write directly to the Member with a response shortly.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports of mosques being destroyed in Xinjiang province; and what representations have they made to the government of China on the destruction of mosques.

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. The Minister will write directly to the Member with a response shortly.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy will (1) take account of, and (2) address the links between social norms, gender discrimination and broader drivers of violence.

The Integrated Review was published on 16 March and can be found on gov.uk. The review is the most comprehensive articulation of a defence, development, foreign and national security approach published by a British Government in decades.

The UK is a world leader on advancing gender equality and women's rights. The Integrated Review reaffirms the Government's commitment to promote gender equality, working with women's rights organisations to tackle the discrimination, violence and inequality that hold women back. We will continue to be a progressive force for good, working across government, amplifying our development, diplomatic, defence and trade approaches to deliver for women and girls. We will work with partners, including women's rights organisations to build more open, inclusive and resilient societies, championing and supporting women's participation and empowerment.

We will continue to champion gender equality in international fora, including through our Presidency of the G7, and our co-hosting of the Global Partnership for Education replenishment and of COP26, and we will challenge attempts to roll back rights globally. In our role as co-leader of the Global Action Coalition on Gender-Based Violence, we will use UK-funded evidence to drive coordinated, scaled-up global action and investment across the international system to prevent GBV and support survivors.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure the inclusion of neighbouring countries to Iran in any future dialogue with the government of Iran on its nuclear programme.

Iran's continued systematic non-compliance with its nuclear commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) is jeopardising our efforts to preserve the JCPoA and risks compromising the important opportunity for a return to diplomacy with the new US Administration. We continue to engage closely with the US, JCPoA participants and the region on this, and have made our position clear, including in recent E3 statements, that Iran must halt this activity, and return to compliance with its JCPoA commitments without delay.

We have always been clear that any sustainable solution will need to address a range of issues, in particular Iran's nuclear programme but also regional security concerns, including Iran's ballistic missile programme and destabilising activity. We are committed to engaging regional partners in any future negotiations on regional security.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the recent call by the President of France for any future dialogue with the government of Iran on its nuclear programme to include Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region.

Iran's continued systematic non-compliance with its nuclear commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) is jeopardising our efforts to preserve the JCPoA and risks compromising the important opportunity for a return to diplomacy with the new US Administration. We continue to engage closely with the US, JCPoA participants and the region on this, and have made our position clear, including in recent E3 statements, that Iran must halt this activity, and return to compliance with its JCPoA commitments without delay.

We have always been clear that any sustainable solution will need to address a range of issues, in particular Iran's nuclear programme but also regional security concerns, including Iran's ballistic missile programme and destabilising activity. We are committed to engaging regional partners in any future negotiations on regional security.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that UK businesses can trade with Yemen following the government of the United States' designation of the Houthi movement as a foreign terrorist organisation.

We share the concerns raised by the UN and NGOs about the impact of designation on what is already the world's worst humanitarian crisis. We are analysing the US humanitarian and commercial exemptions and are concerned that they are insufficient to avoid a serious deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Yemen.

We are engaging with the US to ensure that the vital humanitarian response, including food supplies, is not disrupted. Ministers and officials will also continue to engage closely with the UN and other donors including the US, to ensure life-saving humanitarian aid reaches the millions of Yemenis in need. Our priority is to support the UN's peace process and ensure life-saving humanitarian aid can reach the millions of Yemenis in need.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that UK non-governmental organisations can continue to operate in Yemen following the government of the United States' designation of the Houthi movement as a foreign terrorist organisation.

We share the concerns raised by the UN and NGOs about the impact of designation on what is already the world's worst humanitarian crisis. We are analysing the US humanitarian and commercial exemptions and are concerned that they are insufficient to avoid a serious deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Yemen.

We are engaging with the US to ensure that the vital humanitarian response, including food supplies, is not disrupted. Ministers and officials will also continue to engage closely with the UN and other donors including the US, to ensure life-saving humanitarian aid reaches the millions of Yemenis in need. Our priority is to support the UN's peace process and ensure life-saving humanitarian aid can reach the millions of Yemenis in need.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that (1) food, and (2) medical, importers can continue to bring supplies into Yemen following the government of the United States' designation of the Houthi movement as a foreign terrorist organisation.

We share the concerns raised by the UN and NGOs about the impact of designation on what is already the world's worst humanitarian crisis. We are analysing the US humanitarian and commercial exemptions and are concerned that they are insufficient to avoid a serious deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Yemen.

We are engaging with the US to ensure that the vital humanitarian response, including food supplies, is not disrupted. Ministers and officials will also continue to engage closely with the UN and other donors including the US, to ensure life-saving humanitarian aid reaches the millions of Yemenis in need. Our priority is to support the UN's peace process and ensure life-saving humanitarian aid can reach the millions of Yemenis in need.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publicly condemn the killing of the two women Afghan Supreme Court judges in Kabul.

The Government made strong public condemnations of the killings of the two female Afghan judges, Qadria Yasini and Zakia Herawi, in Kabul. On 17 January, the day of the killings, the Foreign Secretary, our Ambassador in Kabul and I released statements on social media condemning the attack and pressed for an urgent, transparent investigation. I spoke to Afghanistan's Foreign Minister Hanif Atmar the following day, during which I expressed my condolences to the people of Afghanistan and reiterated the UK's support for peace. The Government is extremely concerned about the increase in violence and targeted attacks in Afghanistan, particularly against human rights defenders. Joint statements were also released from European Human Rights Ambassadors on 21 January and from our Embassy in Kabul with other international partners' missions on 31 January calling for justice and the immediate end of these attacks.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to ensure that those responsible for attacks on Oxfam infrastructure in Yemen are held to account; and what plans they have to publish any information they have gathered about such attacks.

The UK is acutely aware of the risks of delivering lifesaving assistance in the midst of Yemen's conflict. We closely monitor incidents of attacks on humanitarian operations, and we urge all parties to take steps to ensure humanitarian aid and those delivering it are protected.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the US Secretary of State's description on 19 January of the government of China's treatment of Uighurs as a genocide.

We will work closely with the incoming US administration to tackle the gross human rights violations taking place in Xinjiang, and continue to lead international condemnation of these violations. On 12 January, the Foreign Secretary announced a robust package of measures to ensure that British organisations, whether public or private sector, are not complicit in, nor profiting from, the human rights violations in Xinjiang. However, it is the long-standing policy of the British Government that any judgment as to whether genocide has occurred is a matter for a competent court.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the government of the United States’ decision to designate the Houthi movement as a foreign terrorist organisation on humanitarian (1) operations, and (2) access, in Yemen.

We are deeply concerned by assessments from the UN and NGOs that the US Administration's decision to designate the Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation is likely to disrupt the humanitarian response and stop vital food supplies getting in to Yemen. We have already engaged with the US to urge them to ensure that the vital humanitarian response, including food supplies and commercial imports, is not disrupted. Ministers and officials will continue to engage closely with the UN and other donors, including the new US administration, to ensure life-saving humanitarian aid reaches the millions of Yemenis in need.

We are calling on all parties in Yemen to facilitate the movement of humanitarian supplies and experts into and across the country to ensure an effective COVID-19 response. We are clear that agreeing a peace settlement will give Yemen the best chance of managing COVID-19.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of (1) the government of the United States’ decision to designate the Houthi movement as a foreign terrorist organisation, and (2) the COVID-19 pandemic, on (a) hunger, and (b) poverty, in Yemen.

We are deeply concerned by assessments from the UN and NGOs that the US Administration's decision to designate the Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation is likely to disrupt the humanitarian response and stop vital food supplies getting in to Yemen. We have already engaged with the US to urge them to ensure that the vital humanitarian response, including food supplies and commercial imports, is not disrupted. Ministers and officials will continue to engage closely with the UN and other donors, including the new US administration, to ensure life-saving humanitarian aid reaches the millions of Yemenis in need.

We are calling on all parties in Yemen to facilitate the movement of humanitarian supplies and experts into and across the country to ensure an effective COVID-19 response. We are clear that agreeing a peace settlement will give Yemen the best chance of managing COVID-19.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the government of the United States’ decision to designate the Houthi movement as a foreign terrorist organisation on Yemen’s (1) economy, and (2) food imports.

We are deeply concerned by assessments from the UN and NGOs that the US Administration's decision to designate the Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation is likely to disrupt the humanitarian response and stop vital food supplies getting in to Yemen. We have already engaged with the US to urge them to ensure that the vital humanitarian response, including food supplies and commercial imports, is not disrupted. Ministers and officials will continue to engage closely with the UN and other donors, including the new US administration, to ensure life-saving humanitarian aid reaches the millions of Yemenis in need.

We are calling on all parties in Yemen to facilitate the movement of humanitarian supplies and experts into and across the country to ensure an effective COVID-19 response. We are clear that agreeing a peace settlement will give Yemen the best chance of managing COVID-19.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any UK-funded development projects in Eritrea have been (1) cancelled, or (2) had their funding reduced, following the announcement of the cut to the UK aid budget.

Budget allocations are made for financial years and allocations for 2021/22. These have not yet been made and will be decided through a rigorous business planning and budget allocation process in early 2021.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to exclude roadbuilding from future UK-funded development projects in Eritrea.

Budget allocations are made for financial years and allocations for 2021/22 have not yet been made. These will be decided through a rigorous business planning and budget allocation process in early 2021. There are currently no plans to use UK bilateral aid to support roadbuilding projects in Eritrea.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the total amount allocated for UK-funded development projects in Eritrea in the 2020/21 financial year; and what spending is planned for such projects in 2021/22.

The UK has allocated £2 million to support UNICEF in Eritrea in 2020/21. This funding is channelled through our Nutrition, Health and Sanitation Support programme, Africa Humanitarian Response Fund, and UNICEF's Accelerating Sanitation and Water for All programme. Our support will provide assistance to over 450,000 pregnant women and children in response to humanitarian needs exacerbated by COVID-19 in Eritrea.

Budget allocations are made for financial years and allocations for 2021/22 have not yet been made. These will be decided through a rigorous business planning and budget allocation process in early 2021

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the government of Poland's compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights in relation to its position on the termination of pregnancies; and what representations they have made to the government of Poland on this matter.

The UK is a leading voice on gender issues, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, in multilateral fora such as the Council of Europe and the United Nations. There are three outstanding cases in the Council of Europe concerning abortion in Poland; the European Court of Human Rights has judged Poland incompliant with numerous articles of the European Convention on Human Rights: P. and S. v. Poland (2012), R.R v Poland (2011) and Tysiac v Poland (2007). These cases relate to difficulties in accessing an entitlement to lawful abortion in Poland in accordance with the European Convention of Human Rights. Whilst we have not raised these specific cases directly with the Polish government, we continue, within the Council of Europe, to urge the Polish authorities to comply with the Convention, in line with the judgments handed down by the Court, for example by guaranteeing clear and effective procedures to provide women seeking lawful abortion with adequate information on the steps they need to take to obtain it. The three cases will be reviewed again in the Council of Europe in March 2021.

We are closely monitoring developments following a ruling on 22 October by the Polish Constitutional Tribunal that laws permitting abortion in certain cases are unconstitutional, and the large-scale protests across Poland that this has prompted. It is for each country to establish its own laws on abortion. However, the UK firmly believes that supporting the comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls, through evidence-based public health interventions, saves lives. Evidence shows that restricting access to safe abortion does not make abortions less common: it only makes them less safe. The British Embassy in Warsaw is also active on the gender equality agenda and in September ran a workshop for British and Polish NGOs active on women's rights.

21st Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what aid they provided to (1) the government of Eritrea indirectly through multilateral organisations, and (2) for use in Eritrea through multilateral organisations, in (a) 2019, and (b) 2020; and what aid they plan to provide in 2020/21.

UK Aid provided £3.24 million to UNICEF in 2018/19 and £4.00 million in 2019/20 to treat malnutrition in under-fives and provide access to safe hygiene and sanitation services in Eritrea. The majority of these funds are for the procurement of nutrition supplies and vaccines, with none of the funding allocated to the Government of Eritrea. UNICEF works with the Eritrean Ministry of Health and at all levels of the local community to build the capacity of the health service in Eritrea and encourage a long-term, sustainable response to undernutrition.

We continue to support UNICEF Eritrea in 2020/21. We are deeply concerned about the worsening humanitarian situation in Eritrea and will continue to monitor needs.

21st Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what development assistance they provided to Eritrea in (1) 2019, and (2) 2020; and what development assistance they plan to provide to that country in future.

UK Aid provided £3.24 million to UNICEF in 2018/19 and £4.00 million in 2019/20 to treat malnutrition in under-fives and provide access to safe hygiene and sanitation services in Eritrea. We will continue to support UNICEF Eritrea in 2020/21. We are deeply concerned about the worsening humanitarian situation in Eritrea and will continue to monitor needs.

21st Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to enforce UN Security Council Resolution 2023, adopted on 5 December 2011; and when that Resolution was last discussed at the UN Security Council.

UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2023, adopted by the Security Council on 5 December 2011, for Eritrea undermining regional security in the Horn of Africa, extended sanctions against Eritrea originally imposed by UNSCR 1907 (2009). UNSCR 2444 of 14 November 2018 lifted these sanctions from Eritrea, but retained language on issues relating to relations between Eritrea and Djibouti. These issues were last discussed during negotiations on UNSCR 2498 on 15 November 2019, including the requirement for the UN Secretary General to report to the Security Council once a year.

15th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Iran about the unlawful detention, torture and execution of prisoners, including Navid Afkari.

Iran's human rights record is of serious and longstanding concern to the UK. The execution of Navik Afkari by the Iranian authorities was deplorable and the UK Government made clear its public condemnation of the action on 12 September. The UK Government is firmly opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances and in every country, as a matter of principle, and we unreservedly support the right to peaceful protest. We also consistently and unreservedly condemn torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and it is a priority for us to challenge it wherever and whenever it occurs. We call on Iran to uphold its commitments under international law to protect freedom of assembly and speech, and treat all detainees in line with international standards. We regularly raise human rights with the Iranians at all levels and we continue to take action with the international community to press Iran to improve its poor record on all human rights issues.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the accounts of the wrongful arrest and torture of demonstrators and activists in Amnesty International's report Iran: Trampling Humanity - Mass arrests, disappearances and torture since Iran's 2019 November protests, published on 2 September.

The findings in Amnesty International's report about the November 2019 protests are deeply worrying. Iran's human rights record continues to be of serious concern to the UK. As we said at the time, we unreservedly support the right to peaceful protest, and call on Iran to uphold its commitments under international law to protect freedom of assembly and speech. The UK is committed to holding Iran to account on a wide range of human rights issues, through contact with the Iranian Government and internationally through the UN and our likeminded partners. We regularly raise human rights with the Iranians at all levels and we continue to take action with the international community to press Iran to improve its poor record on all human rights issues.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the proposed £2.9 billion reduction in the official development assistance budget.

All steps possible were taken to minimise the impact of the reduction in development assistance, including where appropriate and practical, delaying payments to future years.

The careful review process made sure there is continued support for five ODA priorities; bottom billion poverty reduction, climate change, girls' education, Covid-19 and Britain as a force for good.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support refugees in response to the health and humanitarian situation resulting from COVID-19 in refugee camps.

Refugees and other forcibly displaced people are amongst the most vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many live in close quarters without access to proper healthcare or shelter, and often in crowded camps where social distancing and regular handwashing are particularly challenging.

To date, the UK has committed £774 million in the international fight against COVID-19 and we are using our aid budget and British expertise to slow its spread in the most vulnerable countries. This includes significant support to the UN's refugee agency, UNHCR, and to other partners to address the needs and vulnerabilities of displaced populations. UK aid is supporting our partners to install hand-washing stations and isolation and treatment centres in refugee camps, and helping to provide protection and education services for forcibly displaced children. We are also increasing access to clean water for displaced people living in areas of armed conflict.

In addition, we are matching, pound for pound, the first £10 million of public donations to the DEC Coronavirus Appeal, which is providing lifesaving aid to refugees and other displaced people and helping to stop the spread of COVID-19 in camps.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to extend the list of those who have been designated for Magnitsky-style sanctions to include any senior Chinese Communist Party officials who have orchestrated human rights violations against the Uyghur people in Xinjiang.

On 6 July, the UK Government established the Global Human Rights ('Magnitsky') sanctions regime by laying regulations in Parliament. It is not appropriate to speculate who may be designated under the sanctions regime in the future, as to do so could reduce the impact of the designations. We will keep all evidence and potential listings under close review.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to send ministerial level representation to the EU–UN Brussels Conference on 30 June; and, if not, what steps they plan to take (1) to reach a political solution to the situation in Syria, and (2) to support the people living there.

The Government does intend to attend the Brussels IV Conference on Syria at ministerial level. The Government will express the UK's continued support for UN Special Envoy Pedersen's efforts to reach a political settlement, and set out our plans for future humanitarian support for the Syrian people. In our biggest ever humanitarian response to an individual crisis, the UK has to date committed £3.1 billion to Syria and the region since 2012.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure meaningful women's participation in forthcoming political negotiations on Syria; and what steps they will take include a commitment to women's participation in (1) their verbal intervention in, and (2) the official outcome documents of, the EU–UN Brussels Conference.

In line with the 'Shared Approach to Gender in Syria' that the Government published in 2018, we are supporting Syrian civil society actors to ensure the inclusion of women's voices in the conference discussions. The UK continues to support programming to empower Syrian women and girls socially, politically and economically, and we strongly advocate for the meaningful participation of Syrian women in politics, including the UN-led political process.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to build consensus among United Nations Security Council members on renewing UNSC Resolution 2504 on Syria; and whether they are ensuring that this is guiding any decision-making about the development of the resolution.

The UK is working to build consensus around the vital renewal of UN Security Council Resolution 2504 on Syria through regular multilateral discussions in New York and bilateral engagement by Ministers and senior officials with other permanent and non-permanent members of the Security Council. The UN Secretary General has set out the need for cross border aid access into north-west and north-east Syria. We are therefore pressing for the UN Security Council to mandate this on humanitarian grounds, raising this most recently on 16 June.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the number of employers which can provide the gender pay gap data for the 2019–20 reporting year now.

We recognise that employers are facing unprecedented uncertainty and pressure due to the Coronavirus pandemic. A number of employers contacted the Government, prior to the announcement on non-enforcement, to highlight their concerns about being unable to meet the gender pay gap reporting deadlines this year.

Due to the COVID 19 outbreak, the Government and the Equality and Human Rights Commission suspended enforcement of the gender pay gap reporting deadlines for the 2019/20 reporting year.

Around 5,500 employers have reported their gender pay gap data to date for the 2019-20 reporting year, which includes more than 2,000 employers who published their data since the suspension of enforcement on 24 March. More employers may choose to report in the coming months and we will continue to provide support to those employers that wish to do so.

The gender pay gap is caused by a range of factors. In order to tackle it, we must ensure that everybody has equal access to opportunities. We will continue to encourage employers to take action to provide equal opportunities for men and women in the workplace.

We are currently considering the impact of the pandemic on the gender pay gap data for the current reporting year. If there are any changes to reporting in future, we will proactively communicate these to all employers.

2nd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps are being taken to combat the reported increase in serious robberies against individuals in the Turks and Caicos Islands referred to in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s travel advice for that territory.

Crime rates in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) are monitored closely by the Royal TCI Police Force. In the last 5 years the overall crime rates have fallen but challenges remain in tackling serious crime including homicides and serious robberies across TCI. Most crime tends to be opportunistic burglary and theft, although an increase in more serious robberies against individuals has been reported, alongside an increase in homicide rates. We advise all travellers to consult with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice on TCI, and to make their own decisions on whether to travel. Travel advice is kept under constant review to ensure it reflects our assessment of the risk to British nationals. Our travel advice for TCI was last updated on 12 March and can be found on GOV.UK. Details on how the FCO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice can also be found on GOV.UK

2nd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the crime detection rate in the Turks and Caicos Islands; and on what basis the Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice for the Turks and Caicos Islands states that levels of crime in that territory are relatively low.

Crime rates in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) are monitored closely by the Royal TCI Police Force. In the last 5 years the overall crime rates have fallen but challenges remain in tackling serious crime including homicides and serious robberies across TCI. Most crime tends to be opportunistic burglary and theft, although an increase in more serious robberies against individuals has been reported, alongside an increase in homicide rates. We advise all travellers to consult with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice on TCI, and to make their own decisions on whether to travel. Travel advice is kept under constant review to ensure it reflects our assessment of the risk to British nationals. Our travel advice for TCI was last updated on 12 March and can be found on GOV.UK. Details on how the FCO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice can also be found on GOV.UK

2nd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the homicide rate, and (2) the sanction detection rate for homicide cases, in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) are committed to tackling crime across its islands, with UK Government support. In response to recent increases in violent crime, overall policing numbers are set to increase by 20 per cent by March 2021, alongside a US$2 million increase to TCI's Policing staffing budget in the next financial year. It is important that any approach addresses the specific challenges that TCI is facing. As part of this approach, the UK Government is working with the Government of TCI to increase their capability to improve sanction detection rates, including for homicides, for example by funding specialist support to the Royal TCI Police Force for specific investigations. Discussions with the Government of TCI on what further support the UK might provide to help the Royal TCI Police Force are ongoing and a range of options are being considered. TCI faces a unique set of challenges and the UK played an instrumental role in supporting development of a new National Security Strategy in TCI to ensure a holistic approach to tackling them.

2nd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the sanction detection rate for homicide cases in the Turks and Caicos Islands compared to countries with similar homicide rates.

The Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) are committed to tackling crime across its islands, with UK Government support. In response to recent increases in violent crime, overall policing numbers are set to increase by 20 per cent by March 2021, alongside a US$2 million increase to TCI's Policing staffing budget in the next financial year. It is important that any approach addresses the specific challenges that TCI is facing. As part of this approach, the UK Government is working with the Government of TCI to increase their capability to improve sanction detection rates, including for homicides, for example by funding specialist support to the Royal TCI Police Force for specific investigations. Discussions with the Government of TCI on what further support the UK might provide to help the Royal TCI Police Force are ongoing and a range of options are being considered. TCI faces a unique set of challenges and the UK played an instrumental role in supporting development of a new National Security Strategy in TCI to ensure a holistic approach to tackling them.

2nd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of crime rates in the Turks and Caicos Islands, and in particular on Providenciales.

Crime rates in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) are monitored closely by the Royal TCI Police Force. In the last five years, the overall crime rates have fallen, however challenges remain in tackling serious crime including homicides and serious robberies across TCI. The level of crime on Providenciales is higher than on the other islands where incidences of serious crime are less frequent. Most crime tends to be opportunistic burglary and theft, although an increase in more serious robberies against individuals has been reported, alongside an increase in homicide rates.

2nd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the adequacy of the resources tackling crime in the Turks and Caicos Islands; and of the case for specialist UK police officers to be deployed to help the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force.

The Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) are committed to tackling crime across its islands, with UK Government support. In response to recent increases in violent crime, overall policing numbers are set to increase by 20 per cent by March 2021, alongside a US$2 million increase to TCI's Policing staffing budget in the next financial year. It is important that any approach addresses the specific challenges that TCI is facing. As part of this approach, the UK Government is working with the Government of TCI to increase their capability to improve sanction detection rates, including for homicides, for example by funding specialist support to the Royal TCI Police Force for specific investigations. Discussions with the Government of TCI on what further support the UK might provide to help the Royal TCI Police Force are ongoing and a range of options are being considered. TCI faces a unique set of challenges and the UK played an instrumental role in supporting development of a new National Security Strategy in TCI to ensure a holistic approach to tackling them.

3rd Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the findings of the UN Human Rights Council's Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea's second report, published on 8 June 2016, that conscripts in Eritrea are at risk of sexual and gender-based violence.

We are aware of claims by women who have left Eritrea that they were sexually abused at the National Service Military Training Centre in Sawa, and these concerns were raised during the Universal Periodic Review of Eritrea in January 2019. The UK is committed to tackling the scourge of sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment and continues to call for reform of Eritrea's use of a system of universal and compulsory national service.

The Government of Eritrea has justified this service on grounds of the security threat posed by Ethiopia. Following the July 2018 peace agreement with Ethiopia we have yet to see any concrete proposals for reform. In July 2019, the Eritrean Government said that it would undertake a review of national service, but they gave no deadline for the review's completion.

At the 41st session of the Human Rights Council in July 2019, the UK renewed calls for Eritrea to reform the national service system, recognising that sustainable reform of national service needs to happen in tandem with an improved economic situation and job creation. We also raise human rights in Eritrea, both directly with the Government, as the former Minister for Africa did with the Eritrean President's senior adviser when she saw him in July 2019, and when the Head of East Africa Department, with our Ambassador in Asmara, saw the same advisor in November 2019.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the use of national conscripts, reported to be at risk of sexual and gender-based violence, in the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa's programme 'Reconnecting Eritrea and Ethiopia through rehabilitation of the main arterial roads in Eritrea'.

UK support for the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa project, to reconnect Eritrea and Ethiopia through the rehabilitation of the main roads, is conditional on the EU working with the UN to monitor the treatment of national service workers implementing the project. The project, run by the Eritrean state-owned company Segen Engineering, will employ approximately 300 civilian National Service workers who will receive technical and health and safety training.

We are not aware of any reports of sexual or gender-based violence connected with this project or within the construction industry as a whole. DFID works closely with the European Union on our joint agenda to safeguard against sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment. We will continue to review these specific concerns relating to Eritrean national service, and work with the EU to put further measures in place where we judge these are required.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 22 January (HL306), whether they have asked Portia Management Services to end its business relationship with the Myanmar military.

?Military and military linked companies are entrenched in the Myanmar economy. Relationships are often opaque and it can be extremely difficult to clearly identify ownership. Nevertheless we continue to urge individual companies to ensure that they are not dealing directly with military owned companies. Our Embassy has written to all British companies, including Portia Management Services, to stress the importance of undertaking robust due diligence. We will continue to offer advice and support to British businesses on responsible investment in Myanmar.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had, if any, with Portia Management Services about its management of TMT Port in Yangon, which is owned by the Burmese military controlled Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd.

As the recent UN Fact Finding Mission report sets out, the Myanmar Military and companies linked to it are entrenched across the economy. Some of the relationships are opaque, and being clear about the precise details of ownership of a company or infrastructure is sometimes very difficult.

Following the publication of the UN Fact Finding Mission report, the British Embassy has met regularly with British companies, including Portia Management Services, and stressed the importance of undertaking robust due diligence.

We offer advice and support on working with responsible local partners and encourage all British companies to undertake their own due diligence on any investment projects.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking, if any, to ensure travel agents, tour operators and other travel businesses are prioritised for support from the Business Rates relief fund announced on 25 March.

Funding for businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic that have not otherwise been eligible for existing reliefs will be available once the legislation relating to material change in circumstance provisions, the Rating (Coronavirus) and Directors Disqualification (Dissolved Companies) Bill, has passed and Local Authorities (LAs) have established their own local relief schemes. The Government will support LAs to do this as quickly as possible, including through new burdens funding.

Formal guidance will follow in due course, setting out the specific considerations that LAs should have regard for when providing relief. Relief will be for LAs to award on a discretionary basis.

24th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to their announcement that they have identified a £2.9 billion package of reductions in their planned Official Development Assistance spend, whether the budgets of other Government departments will be affected by those reductions; if so, which; and in each case, what will be the value of such reductions.

Official Development Assistance (ODA) spending departments have identified changes to their budget to make sure we meet, but do not exceed the 0.7% commitment. This package includes underspends, delaying activity and stopping some activity to maintain our flexibility in managing our ODA spending against an uncertain 0.7% position.

As normal, there will continue to be adjustments in-year to individual departmental ODA spend to meet the 0.7% commitment. Revised ODA allocations for 2020/21 will be published by HM Treasury at Autumn Budget and the Statistics for International Development to be published in 2021 will provide a full breakdown of the UK’s ODA spend for 2020.

5th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government why Ukrainian refugees are able to have their visa biometrics taken upon entry to the UK but Afghan refugees are not; and what steps they are taking to relax this rule for refugees from Afghanistan.

Biometrics, in the form of a facial image and fingerprints, underpin the UK’s immigration system to support identity assurance and suitability checks on foreign nationals who are subject to immigration control. They enable us to conduct comprehensive checks to prevent leave being granted to those who pose a threat to national security or are likely to breach our laws. Our approach in terms of both Afghanistan and Ukraine is based on advice relating to national security we have received.

Eligible Ukrainians with valid international Ukrainian passports who apply to the Ukraine Family Scheme, or the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, do not currently need to go to a Visa Application Centre (VAC) to give their biometrics before they come to the UK.

Vital security checks will continue on all cases. This decision was made exceptionally as a temporary arrangement to ensure VACs across Europe could focus their efforts on helping Ukrainians without valid passports. It will be kept under review if the security situation changes and it becomes necessary to make further changes to protect the people of the UK.

We remain committed to supporting Afghan nationals through the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy scheme and the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme to come to the UK, as set out in the Afghanistan resettlement and immigration policy statement published on 13 September 2021. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/afghanistan-resettlement-and-immigration-policy-statement

Lord Harrington of Watford
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
4th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what (1) notice, and (2) information, is being given to Afghan refugees and their relatives when a family is moved to another address.

The UK Government undertook the biggest and fastest emergency evacuation in recent history, helping over 15,000 people to safety from Afghanistan. Due to the scale and pace of the evacuation we have had to use hotels as a temporary measure.

We do not want to keep people in temporary accommodation for any longer than is absolutely necessary. We have moved – or are in the process of moving - over 6,000 people into homes since June 2021. There is a huge effort underway to support the families into permanent homes as soon as we can so they can settle and rebuild their lives, and to ensure those still temporarily accommodated in hotels are given the best start to their life in the UK.

The length of time that a family will remain in bridging hotels is dependent on a number of factors including the availability of appropriate housing. We are working at pace across government and with over three hundred Local Authority partners to allocate the right families into the right accommodation to ensure that their integration into their new communities in the UK is as smooth as possible.

Families are given seven days’ notice of their move to settled accommodation. During this time, they can prepare for their move and discuss any concerns with their Home Office Liaison Officer. They are provided with the contact details of their new local authority, so that they can talk to the people who will be supporting them with their move and providing them with long term assistance with integration.

Lord Harrington of Watford
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
4th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government when Afghan refugees who have been placed in unsuitable accommodation in hotels will be rehoused and properly settled in the UK.

The UK Government undertook the biggest and fastest emergency evacuation in recent history, helping over 15,000 people to safety from Afghanistan. Due to the scale and pace of the evacuation we have had to use hotels as a temporary measure.

We do not want to keep people in temporary accommodation for any longer than is absolutely necessary. We have moved – or are in the process of moving - over 6,000 people into homes since June 2021. There is a huge effort underway to support the families into permanent homes as soon as we can so they can settle and rebuild their lives, and to ensure those still temporarily accommodated in hotels are given the best start to their life in the UK.

The length of time that a family will remain in bridging hotels is dependent on a number of factors including the availability of appropriate housing. We are working at pace across government and with over three hundred Local Authority partners to allocate the right families into the right accommodation to ensure that their integration into their new communities in the UK is as smooth as possible.

Families are given seven days’ notice of their move to settled accommodation. During this time, they can prepare for their move and discuss any concerns with their Home Office Liaison Officer. They are provided with the contact details of their new local authority, so that they can talk to the people who will be supporting them with their move and providing them with long term assistance with integration.

Lord Harrington of Watford
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
11th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will grant refugee status to Afghans who have fled the Taliban and are seeking refuge in the UK.

All asylum and human rights claims are carefully considered on their individual facts and merits in accordance with our international obligations under the Refugee Convention and European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Those who need protection are normally granted five years’ limited leave, have full access to the labour market and mainstream benefits, and can apply for settlement after five years.

Our country policy and information notes contain an assessment of risk and makes it clear that each case will be considered on its own merits and that no one who is at real risk of persecution or serious harm in Afghanistan will be expected to return there. The country policy guidance for Afghanistan is available on gov.uk.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
5th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they are providing to Afghans to ensure their safety in light of the narrowing of the Afghans Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP) scheme; and why that scheme has been restricted at a time when the lives of Afghans are at risk.

The Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP) is one of the most generous relocation programmes in the world. It is not time-limited and will endure, facilitating the relocation of eligible Afghans and their families. Updates to the ARAP scheme guidance provide much needed clarity on who is eligible for relocation under the scheme. It remains the Government's intention to assist as many eligible Afghans as possible.

In addition, the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme, operated by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, is now open and has committed to take around 5,000 refugees in the first year and 20,000 over the coming years.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
4th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to process the applications of Afghan refugees currently located in third countries; and what is their timetable for (1) completing the processing of their applications, and (2) bringing successful applicants to the UK.

The Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP) scheme is not time limited, and we are working at pace to consider each application on a case-by-case basis. Timelines for processing applications vary from case to case, due to the complexity and personal circumstances of each applicant.

Efforts to support all eligible Afghans and to help them to come to the UK remain a Government priority. We have received more than 114,000 applications since the scheme opened and to date, we have relocated over 8,800 ARAP principals and their dependants to the UK.

We continue to work alongside international partners to relocate eligible Afghans from and through third countries.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
6th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to reconsider their decision, announced on 24 March, to suspend gender pay gap reporting for the 2019–2020 reporting year until 2021.

We recognise that employers are facing unprecedented uncertainty and pressure due to the Coronavirus pandemic. A number of employers contacted the Government, prior to the announcement on non-enforcement, to highlight their concerns about being unable to meet the gender pay gap reporting deadlines this year.

Due to the COVID 19 outbreak, the Government and the Equality and Human Rights Commission suspended enforcement of the gender pay gap reporting deadlines for the 2019/20 reporting year.

Around 5,500 employers have reported their gender pay gap data to date for the 2019-20 reporting year, which includes more than 2,000 employers who published their data since the suspension of enforcement on 24 March. More employers may choose to report in the coming months and we will continue to provide support to those employers that wish to do so.

The gender pay gap is caused by a range of factors. In order to tackle it, we must ensure that everybody has equal access to opportunities. We will continue to encourage employers to take action to provide equal opportunities for men and women in the workplace.

We are currently considering the impact of the pandemic on the gender pay gap data for the current reporting year. If there are any changes to reporting in future, we will proactively communicate these to all employers.

12th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to prevent landlords and vetting agents from discriminating against, and refusing to accept, tenants who are in receipt of benefit payments.

The Government wants everyone to have access to secure and safe housing. Blanket bans against tenants in receipt of benefits have no place in a fair and modern housing market. The Government has worked with the lettings industry to agree an approach to end this practice. Major lettings portals Zoopla and Rightmove agreed last year to stop the use of 'No DSS' adverts on their websites, and several major lenders agreed to remove restrictions on mortgages which prevented landlords from letting to tenants on benefits.

The Government will continue to strongly encourage landlords to look at all potential and existing tenants on an individual basis. Legislation exists to prohibit acts of discrimination against individuals in terms of race, age, disability, gender, religion and sexual orientation amongst others. Where a prospective tenant believes that they have been discriminated against, they should seek independent legal advice or contact Citizens’ Advice for free, impartial advice.

The Government has made a significant investment in the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) of nearly £1 billion, lifting rates to the 30th percentile from April this year. The increase in LHA will help alleviate affordability challenges facing benefit claimants in the private rented sector by reducing shortfalls, benefiting over 1 million households who will see an average increase of £600 a year.

6th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the pressures facing employers in regard to reporting gender pay gap data for the 2019–20 reporting year.

We recognise that employers are facing unprecedented uncertainty and pressure due to the Coronavirus pandemic. A number of employers contacted the Government, prior to the announcement on non-enforcement, to highlight their concerns about being unable to meet the gender pay gap reporting deadlines this year.

Due to the COVID 19 outbreak, the Government and the Equality and Human Rights Commission suspended enforcement of the gender pay gap reporting deadlines for the 2019/20 reporting year.

Around 5,500 employers have reported their gender pay gap data to date for the 2019-20 reporting year, which includes more than 2,000 employers who published their data since the suspension of enforcement on 24 March. More employers may choose to report in the coming months and we will continue to provide support to those employers that wish to do so.

The gender pay gap is caused by a range of factors. In order to tackle it, we must ensure that everybody has equal access to opportunities. We will continue to encourage employers to take action to provide equal opportunities for men and women in the workplace.

We are currently considering the impact of the pandemic on the gender pay gap data for the current reporting year. If there are any changes to reporting in future, we will proactively communicate these to all employers.

29th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to engage with EU countries, particularly Denmark, to seek a (1) speedy, and (2) satisfactory, resolution regarding membership to the Lugano Convention.

The Government continues to engage with EU member states, including Denmark, about the UK’s application to join the Lugano Convention when opportunities arise. We maintain that the UK meets the criteria for accession both because Lugano is open to countries outside the EU and all non-EU members have already supported the UK's membership. However, the Government understands that the EU is unlikely to return to considering our application for some months. The UK remains a leader in Private International Law. We are committed to ensuring cross-border legal disputes can be resolved smoothly, in the interests of families, consumers and businesses in the UK, across Europe and beyond.

29th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government why they have delayed seeking membership to join the Lugano Convention.

The UK applied to join the Lugano Convention in April 2020. This provided ample time for the contracting parties to consider the application so that it could have been brought into force by the end of the Transition Period. Switzerland, Norway and Iceland gave their consent within that timescale. However, the European Union declined to begin to consider the UK’s application until after the end of the Transition Period and has to date not provided a definitive response to our application. The Government maintains that the UK meets the criteria for accession.

9th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they will ensure women prison leavers supported by the Ministry of Justice’s temporary accommodation service are supported into permanent accommodation.

We are investing more than £20m in supporting prison leavers at risk of homelessness into temporary accommodation. Individuals released from prison will be provided up to 12 weeks of temporary accommodation and will be supported into long-term settled accommodation before the end of that 12-week period. Initially launching in five national probation regions, the service will support around 3,000 offenders in its first year and will be commencing this Summer. It will be in operation during the next financial year 2021-22, with a view to scaling up and rolling out nationally.

The service will take account of the needs of women, including those with complex needs and accommodation provision will be dedicated to single gender usage as required. Community Probation Practitioners, working together with local partners, will be responsible for ensuring that vulnerable female prison leavers receive appropriate support and are provided with housing beyond the 12 weeks emergency accommodation.

HMPPS will work in conjunction with MHCLG’s announced funding to support both male and female prison leavers at risk of homelessness into private rental tenancies. Funded schemes to support women will be developed to recognise their specific needs and will be part of plans to secure settled accommodation by the end of the 12 weeks temporary accommodation provided by HMPPS.

In 2020, Hestia Battersea was changed from a male to female Approved Premises to give better geographic spread of AP provision for women, becoming the first AP for women in London since 2008.

In addition, Eden House, the first new AP in over thirty years, will open in this month supporting female offenders.

30th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to amend the Lord Chancellor’s guidance on civil legal aid (1) to recognise the importance of challenging discrimination, (2) to advise that a discrimination claim that seeks other remedies in addition to damages should not be assumed to be primarily a claim for damages, (3) to amend the rules on the application of the cost-benefit test to reflect the non-financial value of discrimination claims, and (4) to provide that cost-benefit assessments should start from the assumption that discrimination claims are not primarily claims for damages and are likely to be in the wider public interest.

The government recognises the importance of challenging discrimination and have taken steps to enhance the ability to do this. On 21 April 2020, we laid a Statutory Instrument to fulfil our commitment to remove the mandatory element of the CLA Gateway for those seeking legal aid in discrimination, debt and special educational needs matters, reinstating immediate access to face-to-face advice in these cases. This came into force on 15 May 2020.

Publicly funded advice and assistance continues to be available for Employment Tribunal discrimination claims and legally aided representation may be available under the Exceptional Case Funding scheme if there is a breach, or risk of a breach, of the applicant’s ECHR rights or enforceable EU rights if legal aid is not provided. The MoJ is currently reviewing the ECF application process, together with other aspects of the ECF guidance and forms as part of considering whether the application process can be improved and will give further consideration to the operation of the cost benefit test.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
11th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that legal aid is made available in cases where discrimination is alleged on the grounds of a landlord or letting agency not accepting a tenant on housing or other benefit; and what mechanisms are available to be used by those who have experienced such discrimination to protect their rights.

The scope of legal aid is set out under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. In discrimination cases, legal aid is in scope where there is a breach of the Equality Act 2010, subject to means and merits tests. Legal aid is also available for individuals at risk of homelessness.

For matters which do not qualify for legal aid, there are a range of options available to support individuals through the legal process.

The Government recognises the key role that charities in the advice sector play to help people with their legal problems and that is why we have recently delivered additional investment of over £5m for not for profit organisations who provide specialist legal advice, such as Law Centres, and a number of other charities. In addition, in partnership with the Access to Justice Foundation, we have launched our £3.1m grant to fund services to help litigants in person dealing with a civil or family law matter. The new grant is designed to fund services provided at local, regional and national levels with the aim of understanding more about how those services can combine to help people. This new grant is in addition to the more than £9m that the MoJ has invested in support for litigants in person, since 2015, through our Litigants in Person Support Strategy.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have any plans to amend the Human Rights Act 1998; and if so, how.

As set out in the Government’s manifesto, we need to look at the broader aspects of our constitution including the balance between the rights of individuals and effective government, this includes updating the Human Rights Act. Further details will be announced in due course. This does not change the fact that the UK is committed to human rights, and will continue to champion human rights at home and abroad.

12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will review the QC appointments competition to assess whether from 2021 it should no longer be externalised.

The Government has no current plans to review the QC appointments competition and make this a Government function. The fees for both QC applications and QC appointments are set by Queens’ Counsel Appointments Ltd, and are therefore a matter for QCA.

12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will review whether fees should be paid for QC applications; and if so, how much they should be.

The Government has no current plans to review the QC appointments competition and make this a Government function. The fees for both QC applications and QC appointments are set by Queens’ Counsel Appointments Ltd, and are therefore a matter for QCA.

12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will review whether fees should be paid for QC appointments; and if so, how much they should be.

The Government has no current plans to review the QC appointments competition and make this a Government function. The fees for both QC applications and QC appointments are set by Queens’ Counsel Appointments Ltd, and are therefore a matter for QCA.