Baroness Hodgson of Abinger Portrait

Baroness Hodgson of Abinger

Conservative - Life peer

Became Member: 16th September 2013


AI in Weapon Systems Committee
31st Jan 2023 - 23rd Nov 2023
National Security Strategy (Joint Committee)
1st Jul 2019 - 31st Jan 2023
Rural Economy Committee
9th Oct 2018 - 26th Mar 2019
Sexual Violence in Conflict Committee
11th Jun 2015 - 22nd Mar 2016


Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Baroness Hodgson of Abinger has voted in 489 divisions, and 13 times against the majority of their Party.

23 Feb 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Baroness Hodgson of Abinger voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 33 Conservative Aye votes vs 188 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 367 Noes - 214
2 Feb 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Baroness Hodgson of Abinger voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 40 Conservative Aye votes vs 165 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 359 Noes - 188
7 Dec 2020 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Baroness Hodgson of Abinger voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 16 Conservative Aye votes vs 143 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 287 Noes - 161
1 Dec 2020 - Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020 - View Vote Context
Baroness Hodgson of Abinger voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 27 Conservative Aye votes vs 178 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 64 Noes - 246
20 Oct 2020 - Agriculture Bill - View Vote Context
Baroness Hodgson of Abinger voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 4 Conservative Aye votes vs 205 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 282 Noes - 244
22 Sep 2020 - Agriculture Bill - View Vote Context
Baroness Hodgson of Abinger voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 6 Conservative Aye votes vs 185 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 307 Noes - 212
23 Jun 2020 - Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill - View Vote Context
Baroness Hodgson of Abinger voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 7 Conservative Aye votes vs 191 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 155 Noes - 326
10 Jun 2021 - Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development etc.) (England) (Amendment) Order 2021 - View Vote Context
Baroness Hodgson of Abinger voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 1 Conservative Aye votes vs 202 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 260 Noes - 229
14 Dec 2021 - Charities Bill [HL] - View Vote Context
Baroness Hodgson of Abinger voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 3 Conservative Aye votes vs 80 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 18 Noes - 81
16 Mar 2022 - Health and Care Bill - View Vote Context
Baroness Hodgson of Abinger voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 3 Conservative Aye votes vs 102 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 112 Noes - 107
16 Mar 2022 - Health and Care Bill - View Vote Context
Baroness Hodgson of Abinger voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 15 Conservative Aye votes vs 19 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 75 Noes - 35
5 Apr 2022 - Health and Care Bill - View Vote Context
Baroness Hodgson of Abinger voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 6 Conservative Aye votes vs 146 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 187 Noes - 151
5 Apr 2022 - Health and Care Bill - View Vote Context
Baroness Hodgson of Abinger voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 8 Conservative Aye votes vs 132 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 177 Noes - 135
View All Baroness Hodgson of Abinger 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.

Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(13 debate contributions)
Home Office
(12 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Agriculture Act 2020
(4,122 words contributed)
Health and Care Act 2022
(3,145 words contributed)
Domestic Abuse Bill 2019-21
(2,888 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Baroness Hodgson of Abinger's debates

Lords initiatives

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


1 Bill introduced by Baroness Hodgson of Abinger


A Bill to support women in UK sponsored and supported conflict prevention, peace processes, mediation and diplomatic delegations; to ensure systematic gender consideration and responsiveness in UK foreign and defence policy; and for connected purposes.

Lords Completed
Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Wednesday 6th September 2023

Baroness Hodgson of Abinger has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


Latest 50 Written Questions

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
17 Other Department Questions
13th Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government why they will not nominate a candidate to the elections for the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and what assessment they have made of the risk for the United Kingdom's reputation as a champion for women.

Ministers consider a range of factors when deciding whether to nominate a UK candidate for election to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, including the time and resources to mount a campaign, the potential benefits and the impact on other international elections.

This Government is committed to championing the rights of women and girls both domestically and internationally. Our leadership is demonstrated through the progress we have made on tackling violence against women and girls, launching the Women's Health Strategy and our International Women and Girls Strategy, published last year.

29th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government whether they will be sending a youth delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women in March; and if so, how they will be selected.

The UK government does not include youth representatives on the delegation to the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). The Government works closely with civil society representatives before, during and after CSW. We held our pre-CSW consultation event on 25 January which was attended by approximately 40 civil society representatives. The relationship that the Government delegation has with civil society representatives at CSW is often held up as a model of good practice.

29th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government whether they will be sending a civil society representative to the Commission on the Status of Women in March; and if so, how they will be selected.

The UK government does not include civil society representatives on the delegation to the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). The Government works closely with civil society representatives before, during and after CSW. We held our pre-CSW consultation event on 25 January which was attended by approximately 40 civil society representatives. The relationship that the Government delegation has with civil society representatives at CSW is often held up as a model of good practice.

29th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government whether the Minister for Women will be attending the Commission on the Status of Women in March.

The Government delegation attending the Commission on the Status of Women has not yet been decided.

29th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government whether they will be nominating a candidate to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in the forthcoming elections.

The next election for members of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women will take place in June 2024. The Government has not put forward a candidate.

Ministers consider a range of factors when deciding whether to nominate an independent candidate for election to an international body such as the CEDAW Committee, including the time and resources to mount a campaign, the potential benefits and the impact on other international elections.

20th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government when they will submit their report to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women this year.

We will not be submitting a report to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women this year. Since we last went through the reporting cycle there has been a change in process, and we now follow the simplified reporting procedure.

Under the simplified reporting procedure, the Committee sends a list of issues to the state party, to which the state party sends a reply. This reply constitutes the periodic report. This change came into effect after the Committee issued their concluding observations on our eighth periodic report in 2019.

The Committee has not yet indicated when they will send the list of issues.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
20th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government whether civil society and youth representatives were included in the UK delegation at the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) meeting as requested by UN Women; and if so, (1) how they were selected, and (2) how they liaised with and reflected the views of the other UK civil society representatives at CSW.

The UK delegation to the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) was led by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon. Officials from FCDO and the Cabinet Office were also part of the delegation. The UK does not include civil society and youth representatives on the delegation, instead we hold regular briefing sessions with them to keep them updated. The relationship that the Government delegation has with civil society representatives at CSW is often held up as a model of good practice.

Some other visitors to CSW from the UK are allowed to attend and are thus provided with delegate passes for the purpose of access to the UN building. This year this included a number of parliamentarians, a civil society speaker at one of our side events and a UN Women Youth delegate. We do not, though, consider them members of the official HMG delegation.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government whether they will be nominating a candidate to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in the 2024 elections.

The Government recognises the important role played by CEDAW in holding state parties to account in implementing the convention.

As with all UN bodies, the Government considers a range of factors in deciding whether to nominate a UK candidate for election to the Committee and will continue to consider future vacancies as they arise.

The UK continues to ensure that we put women at the heart of our domestic and international policies, as shown on International Women’s Day when the government published the UK’s new international women and girls strategy.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
27th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Baroness Stedman-Scott on 20 June (HL780) and 23 June (HL1082), what were the range of factors taken into account when considering whether to nominate a candidate to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW); and what led to them to their decision not to nominate a candidate this time.

Ministers considered a range of factors when deciding whether to nominate an independent candidate for election to the CEDAW Committee, including the time and resources to mount a campaign, the potential benefits and the impact on other international elections. Following analysis of these factors Ministers decided not to nominate candidate for the 2022 election.

20th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Stedman-Scott on 20 June (HL780), why they have not nominated a candidate for the forthcoming election to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women; and whether they will consider putting forward a candidate for the election in 2024.

The UK strongly supports the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and it is committed to advancing women’s rights. We are committed to the CEDAW process and regularly engage with the UN and the Committee. Ministers consider a range of factors when deciding whether to nominate an independent candidate for election to an international body such as the CEDAW Committee, including the time and resources to mount a campaign, the potential benefits and the impact on other international elections. The Government will decide whether to nominate a candidate for the 2024 election closer to the time, taking these factors into account once again.

8th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will be nominating someone for next year’s elections to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.

The next election for members of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women will take place later this month. The Government has not put forward a candidate. The election after this will be in 2024 and the Government will decide nearer the time whether to nominate a candidate.

7th Jun 2022
To ask the Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body how much money they have spent so far on drawing up plans for the Restoration and Renewal of the Houses of Parliament.

Since the creation of the Sponsor Body in April 2020 to the end of March 2022, the Sponsor Body and Delivery Authority spent an estimated £212 million on the Restoration and Renewal Programme. This includes costs for design work, surveys, preparation of the detailed and costed plan (also known as business case development), programme management, staffing the two organisations, and data and digital services. All of the spend to date has been in accordance with the Restoration and Renewal Programme remit to progress the work required under the Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Act 2019.

A further £87 million of R&R funding for 2022/23 has been agreed by the Commissions of both Houses and the Parliamentary Works Estimates Commission.

10th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park on 8 March (HL13434), how they are selecting women’s civil society organisations to be consulted in relation to COP26; and whether they will publish a list of all those consulted.

We recognise that progress on gender equality can drive progress on climate action and vice versa. This is why the COP26 unit’s dedicated civil society and youth engagement team is working with diverse individuals and groups to amplify the voices of those most impacted by climate change in the run up to COP26, including women and girls. The team welcomes engagement with organisations that have an interest in gender-responsive climate action.

The COP President-Designate has regular engagements with the Friends of COP and Civil Society and Youth Advisory council. When selecting the membership of these groups, inclusivity was at the centre of our approach. We have strived to ensure they have global representation, expertise and influence, as well as gender balance. The membership of both of these groups is publicly available as deposited papers in the UK Parliament's Libraries. The 6 weekly calls the COP26 unit runs with civil society and youth organisations is an open invite to ensure that we are consulting the broadest range of groups in the run-up to COP26, and we encourage, in particular, those from the global south and most marginalised groups to join.

To mark International Women’s Day on 8 March, the COP26 unit profiled the pioneering work of women climate actors from across the world on COP26 social media channels and through a panel event.

The COP President-Designate is committed to meeting with civil society and youth during his international visits and in February, met with inspiring women climate leaders in Nepal. The UK COP26 presidency is aware that we cannot tackle climate change effectively without ensuring inclusion is placed front and centre of our climate action.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to consult women’s civil social groups in connection with COP26; and how they will engage with these groups.

Championing women’s roles as decision-makers, educators and climate leaders is essential if we are to deliver effective, long-term solutions to climate change and ensure that women and girls are empowered as agents of change, including at COP26.

There is a dedicated civil society and youth engagement team in the COP Unit that facilitates engagement with diverse women and gender groups in addition to a team responsible for gender policy that works on implementing the COP25 Gender Action Plan. Officials also lead 6 weekly calls with civil society and youth groups to update on COP Unit priorities and planning. Both have good representation of women’s civil society groups and are a part of the Presidency’s wider approach of ensuring civil society is at the heart of COP26 preparations.

The COP President Designate has also set up the Civil Society and Youth Advisory Council which is meeting monthly in the run up to COP26. The most recent meeting took place on 24 February 2021 where gender and climate change was discussed. Officials also regularly meet with the high level Friends of COP, who advise the UK Presidency on a variety of issues such as gender and inclusion.

1st Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the relationship between the Government Equalities Office and the Equality Hub.

The new Equality Hub, in the Cabinet Office, brings together the Disability Unit, Government Equalities Office, Race Disparity Unit and, from 1 April, the sponsorship of, and secretariat to, the Social Mobility Commission. The Government Equalities Office’s remit related to gender equality, LGBT rights and the overall framework of equality legislation for Great Britain. The Equality Hub reports to Ministers who have other portfolios outside of the Cabinet Office, led by the Minister for Women and Equalities Liz Truss.

The Equality Hub has a key role in driving Government priorities on equality and opportunity. The Hub has a particular focus on improving the quality of evidence and data about disparities and the types of barriers different people face, ensuring that fairness is at the heart of everything we do.

Key to this is looking beyond a focus solely on statutory protected characteristics to ensure we understand how different issues interact, including in socio-economic and geographic inequality. In this way, the Equality Hub is key to driving progress on the Government’s commitment to levelling up opportunity and ensuring fairness for all.

1st Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they are meeting the UK's responsibilities under the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; and how they are ensuring that women can participate in non-governmental and civil society organisations.

The CEDAW Committee published their concluding observations in March 2019, following submission of the UK’s eighth periodic report and examination. We are grateful to the Committee for their consideration. We take our CEDAW responsibilities seriously and will be reporting our progress to the Committee in due course.

Non-governmental and civil society organisations play an important role in the reporting and examination process, and representatives from the Government Equalities Office meet with them regularly.

The Government has invested over £750 million in the charity sector so that they can continue their vital work through the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes £10 million funding for charities providing safe accommodation for victims of domestic abuse and £15 million for 2020/21 from the Tampon Tax Fund.

2nd May 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government to what extent funds from the Conflict, Security and Stability Fund and the Integrated Security Fund are being invested into defence work related to human security.

The Integrated Security Fund (ISF) aims to integrate gender and human security concerns throughout all our programming. This includes cooperation with defence actors and support for women, girls, and other marginalised groups to engage with defence and security providers. The Fund supports activities which can be read about in more detail in the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) Annual Reports, including our contribution to advancing the UK’s commitments to Women, Peace and Security under the UK National Action Plan (NAP).

Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
4th Sep 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many people died of mesothelioma in each of the five years up to December 2022.

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

Please see the letter attached from the National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority.

The Baroness Hodgson of Abinger CBE

House of Lords

London

SW1A 0PW

08 September 2023

Dear Lady Hodgson,

As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am responding to your Parliamentary Question asking how many people died of mesothelioma in each of the five years up to December 2022 (HL9787).

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is responsible for publishing statistics on deaths registered in England and Wales [1]. Information for Scotland [2] and Northern Ireland [3] is available from National Records of Scotland and Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency respectively.

Causes mentioned on the death certificate are converted to International Classification of Diseases 10th edition (ICD-10) codes, with the underlying cause of death defined as the disease or injury that initiated the events that directly lead to the death. The ICD-10 code for mesothelioma is C45, which comes under Chapter 2: Neoplasms [4].

Table 1 provides a breakdown of the number of deaths registered in England and Wales in each year between 2017 and 2022 where the underlying cause of death was mesothelioma. Age-standardised mortality rates have been provided to allow comparisons between populations which may contain different proportions of people of different ages.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sir Ian Diamond

Table 1: Number of deaths and age-standardised mortality rates (ASMRs) due to mesothelioma in England and Wales, registered 2017 to 2022 [5][6][7][8][9]

Year

Number of deaths

ASMRs

2017

2,279

4.2

2018

2,143

3.8

2019

2,174

3.8

2020

2,231

3.9

2021

1,941

3.3

2022

1,926

3.2

Source: Office for National Statistics

[1] https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/

[2] https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/statistics-and-data/statistics/statistics-by-theme/vital-events/deaths

[3] https://www.nisra.gov.uk/statistics/births-deaths-and-marriages/deaths

[4] https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/methodologies/userguidetomortalitystatisticsjuly2017

[5] Figures are for deaths registered, rather than deaths occurring in each period.

[6] Figures include the deaths of usual residents of England and Wales as well as those of nonresidents.

[7] Based on deaths where mesothelioma (ICD-10 code C45) was the underlying cause of death.

[8] Age-standardised mortality rates per 100,000 people, standardised to the 2013 European Standard Population.

[9] Number of deaths and age-standardised mortality rates (ASMRs) due to mesothelioma can be provided at a lower geographic area such as region upon request.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
22nd May 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the elements surrounding ageing that fall outside of the remit of the Department of Health and Social Care; and what steps they are taking, together with other government departments, to co-ordinate the provision of support for the multi-dimensional aspects of ageing.

While the work required to protect our older generation stretches across the whole of Government, individual departments take responsibility for the delivery of relevant policies within their jurisdictions. The Department of Health and Social Care has jurisdiction over policy levers that relate to the physical and mental health of the older generation. The Department of Work and Pensions also has a strong role to play in its allocation of pensions and benefits. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has a taskforce that aims to improve the housing options for older people. Furthermore, the Cabinet Office’s Equality Hub leads on the Equality Act 2010, which provides strong protection from age discrimination in a variety of settings.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
13th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to highlight the importance of ensuring women’s participation in peace negotiations, in particular in Afghanistan, at the G7 summit on 11 to 13 June.

Gender equality is at the heart of our Presidency of the G7 this year, centred around the themes of ending violence against women, women’s economic empowerment, and education for women and girls. To support this the Prime Minister has reconvened the Gender Equality Advisory Council.

The UK has championed women’s meaningful participation in peace processes, including in Afghanistan, South Sudan and Yemen and supported grassroots women building peace and countering violent extremism. The UK remains committed to supporting Afghanistan on its path to a more peaceful and positive future. Only a negotiated and inclusive settlement will safeguard the rights and freedoms that Afghans want and deserve. We will continue to make clear to all sides that any Afghan-led political settlement must preserve progress, including protection for women and minorities.

Lord True
Shadow Leader of the House of Lords
12th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to make a statement at the G7 summit on (1) the safety of women engaged in peace processes, and (2) the provision by G7 countries of funding (a) bodyguards, and (b) other security measures for women involved in global peace processes.

Gender equality is at the heart of our Presidency of the G7 this year, centred around the themes of ending violence against women, women’s economic empowerment, and education for women and girls. To support this the Prime Minister has reconvened the Gender Equality Advisory Council.

The UK has championed women’s meaningful participation in peace processes, including in Afghanistan, South Sudan and Yemen and supported grassroots women building peace and countering violent extremism. The UK remains committed to supporting Afghanistan on its path to a more peaceful and positive future. Only a negotiated and inclusive settlement will safeguard the rights and freedoms that Afghans want and deserve. We will continue to make clear to all sides that any Afghan-led political settlement must preserve progress, including protection for women and minorities.

Lord True
Shadow Leader of the House of Lords
1st Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether UK civil society organisations have put forward a representative for the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Committee.

The Government is engaging regularly with UK civil society and other organisations, including the Women 7, to inform our Presidency policy agenda. We look forward to this dialogue continuing as we prepare for the G7 Leaders’ Summit. Details on the Advisory Council will be set out in due course.

Lord True
Shadow Leader of the House of Lords
1st Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how the UK members of the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Committee will be selected.

The Government is engaging regularly with UK civil society and other organisations, including the Women 7, to inform our Presidency policy agenda. We look forward to this dialogue continuing as we prepare for the G7 Leaders’ Summit. Details on the Advisory Council will be set out in due course.

Lord True
Shadow Leader of the House of Lords
7th May 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they will take to ensure that Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project status is not used by the developers of solar farms as a way of bypassing local planning scrutiny and avoiding accountability to the local community.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) recently consulted on Operational reforms to the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects consenting process. As part of their response DLUHC has introduced secondary legislation and new guidance that provide greater clarity for applicants on whom to consult and when. This came into force on 8 March. These reforms will ensure the system should incentivise early, meaningful engagement between parties as applications for projects are developed.

The established consultation procedures with Interested Parties that are undertaken during the development consent Examination by the Planning Inspectorate, or by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero following receipt of the Examination report will continue to be delivered. On 15 May, my Rt hon Friend the Secretary of State made a Written Ministerial Statement reinforcing the importance of applicants following the expectations on siting solar developments set out in the Renewable Energy National Policy Statement. Applications will not be consented if they have not met the requirements, and that includes community engagement as required by the Planning Act. Planning Inspectorate guidance on the pre-application stage was updated on 30 April this year and can be accessed at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/planning-act-2008-pre-application-stage-for-nationally-significant-infrastructure-projects (also attached).

8th Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they will take to support hospices with energy costs after the Energy Bill Relief Scheme comes to an end in March; and what conversations, if any, they have had with Hospice UK about rising energy costs.

Discussions have taken place with a number of charities and businesses regarding increased energy costs, and the Government is aware of the impact this is having on the hospice sector. The Government will continue to provide support through the recently announced Energy Bill Discount Scheme, which will run from April until March 2024, and continue to provide a discount to eligible non-domestic customers, including the hospice sector.

25th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government why covered arenas in riding schools have been included in the same category as indoor gyms and sports halls when prohibiting their reopening following their closure as part of the restrictions in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government has published guidance on GOV.UK on the phased return of sport and recreation, in line with the latest medical advice. The guidance for the public on outdoor sport and recreation has recently been updated to clarify that equestrian covered arenas can be used, provided social distancing guidelines can be followed. These facilities are not considered ‘indoor’ for the purposes of this guidance as they are large, open and well-ventilated structures. The guidance can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-phased-return-of-sport-and-recreation.

25th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will lift the restrictions in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic on the use of covered arenas in riding schools.

The Government has published guidance on GOV.UK on the phased return of sport and recreation, in line with the latest medical advice. The guidance for the public on outdoor sport and recreation has recently been updated to clarify that equestrian covered arenas can be used, provided social distancing guidelines can be followed. These facilities are not considered ‘indoor’ for the purposes of this guidance as they are large, open and well-ventilated structures. The guidance can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-phased-return-of-sport-and-recreation.

25th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the ongoing restrictions in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic on the use of covered arenas in riding schools; and (2) the risk that riding schools will be at risk of closure if those restrictions remain in place over the summer months.

The Government has published guidance on GOV.UK on the phased return of sport and recreation, in line with the latest medical advice. The guidance for the public on outdoor sport and recreation has recently been updated to clarify that equestrian covered arenas can be used, provided social distancing guidelines can be followed. These facilities are not considered ‘indoor’ for the purposes of this guidance as they are large, open and well-ventilated structures. The guidance can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-phased-return-of-sport-and-recreation.

16th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to reinstate the practical 4-year apprentice scheme for the building industry in light of the reduction in skilled workers in this sector since the UK’s departure from the EU.

This is a matter for the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. I have asked its Chief Executive, Jennifer Coupland, to write to the noble Lady and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

14th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide teaching and mentoring in English language and culture to recently arrived Afghan refugees; and how they plan to deliver this.

We know that language skills are crucial to help people integrate into life in England, as well as to break down barriers to work and career progression. This is why we want to support all new arrivals to England to secure the English language skills they need.

All Afghans being resettled through both the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy and the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme will be granted ‘indefinite leave to remain’ and therefore are eligible from arrival for funding through the Adult Education Budget, including English language courses. They will also receive a package of integration support to help them acclimatise, learn English and find work, which will enable rapid self-sufficiency and social integration. We will be working with the private, voluntary and community sectors to harness a whole of society effort to address this challenge.

17th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether teachers are prioritised to receive a COVID-19 vaccination regardless of age; and if not, what plans they have to prioritise teachers to receive such vaccinations.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the government on which vaccine/s the UK should use and provide advice on who should be offered them. The JCVI advises that the first priorities for the COVID-19 vaccination should be the prevention of mortality and the maintenance of the health and social care systems. As the risk of mortality from COVID-19 increases with age, prioritisation is primarily based on age.

For phase 1, this will capture all those over 50 years of age and all those 16 years of age and over who are clinically extremely vulnerable or have certain underlying health conditions. This captures almost all preventable deaths from COVID-19 and will include thousands of staff in the education, childcare and children’s social care workforce.

The JCVI has been asked by the Department for Health and Social Care to give its advice on the optimal strategy to further reduce mortality, morbidity and hospitalisation from COVID-19 disease for phase 2 of the vaccine rollout. The JCVI have advised that the second phase of vaccine prioritisation should continue to be based on age. They advise that an age-based approach remains the most effective way of reducing death and hospitalisation from COVID-19 and will ensure more people are protected more quickly. The second phase of the vaccine rollout will begin from mid-April and will aim to offer every adult aged 18 and over a first dose of the vaccine by 31 July 2021.

21st Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether special provision is made to help children with special needs of military serving personnel.

All teachers in state-funded schools across England and Ministry of Defence (MoD) schools overseas are teachers of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), with duties to identify and meet these needs as they arise.

The Children’s Education Advisory Service within the MoD provides advice and guidance to Service parents, educational establishments and local authorities on educational issues relating to Service children, including issues relating SEND.

For those Service families living in England, the SEND Code of Practice has a specific section covering ‘Children of Service personnel’ (pages 219-221) that recognises that those SEND children whose parent(s) are Service personnel may face difficulties that are unique to the nature of their serving parent’s employment, namely service induced mobility and deployment. This section reiterates the requirement to have regard to this Code of Practice and to meeting the aspirations of the Armed Forces Covenant, which attempts to eliminate or mitigate some of the potential disadvantages faced by Service families.

UK legislation does not generally apply to Service families living outside the UK. Nevertheless, for those Service families based overseas, the MoD seeks to mirror so far as is reasonably practicable the support that would be normally be available in the UK. The MoD also undertakes a thorough assessment to determine whether families’ support needs can be met in overseas locations before an overseas assignment is agreed.

The MoD employs a team of educational psychologists, and other professionally qualified individuals, to assess need and provide support for children with SEND. MoD schools overseas routinely support children with SEND, in line with the statutory guidance contained in the Department for Education’s 2015 SEND Code of Practice. In overseas locations without MoD schools, assessments are made to ensure that host nation schools are able to provide any required SEND support before an overseas assignment is agreed.

7th May 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of land use and food security, and what steps they are taking to ensure that farmland is reserved for the production of food.

The UK has a high degree of food security, built on supply from diverse sources, strong domestic production as well as imports through stable trade routes. We produce 60% of all the food we need, and 73% of food which we can grow or rear in the UK for all or part of the year. In 2023, 69.7% of the UK’s land was used for agricultural production. The UK Food Security Index, the first edition of which was published at the Farm to Fork Summit earlier this month, includes indicators on self-sufficiency and agricultural land use. The relationship between land use and food security is complex and will be explored in more detail in the UK Food Security Report, which will be published later this year. Our Land Use Framework, due to be published before summer recess, will set out how we can use land more effectively to deliver our environmental targets, net zero and food security objectives.

7th May 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they will take to ensure that prime farmland is not downgraded to allow the construction of solar farms.

The Government has laid a written ministerial statement about our plans for solar power whilst protecting our food security and Best and Most Versatile (BMV) agricultural land (defined as land in grades 1, 2 and 3a of the Agricultural Land Classification). This can be found here.

In particular, it sets out that the Government has heard concerns about the perceived inaccuracy and unfairness of soil surveys undertaken as part of the planning process for solar development. The Government will address this by supporting independent certification by an appropriate certifying body, subject to relevant business case approval, to ensure Agricultural Land Classification Soil Surveys are of a high standard, requiring surveyors to demonstrate meeting an agreed minimum requirement of training/experience.

7th May 2024
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many acres of prime farmland have been used for solar farms, what assessment they have made of impact such practices, and what assessment they have made of the proportion of land used for solar farms in particular areas.

While the Government does not currently publish the figures requested, the WMS laid before parliament on 15 May commits that the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) will expand the Renewable Energy Planning Database to include additional information on the types of agricultural land used by existing projects and those in the planning pipeline. This will enable us to carefully monitor the use of land by renewable projects in all regions of the UK.

6th Dec 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government which body designates areas with Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty status.

Natural England is responsible for the designation of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

6th Dec 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government why the Surrey Hills has lost its Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty status.

Natural England, the responsible body for designating Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) in England, confirms that the Surrey Hills remain an AONB. There are no plans for it to be de-designated and, in fact, Natural England are currently considering potential extensions to the Surrey Hills AONB boundary. As part of a national rebranding of AONBs to ‘National Landscapes’, the Surrey Hills AONB is now referred to as the Surrey Hills National Landscape but, legally, it remains an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

14th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce mandatory labelling for (1) domestic, and (2) imported, meat, indicating (a) the method of production, and (b) when stunning of animals has not occurred prior to slaughter.

In 2021, Defra ran a call for evidence to gather data on the potential impacts of different types of labelling reform for animal welfare, including considerations around imports, production systems and method of slaughter. We received over 1,600 responses and a summary of these responses is available on GOV.UK.

Based on the evidence provided, Defra committed in the Government’s Food Strategy to consult on improving and expanding mandatory animal welfare labelling, covering both domestic and imported products, in 2023.

13th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have to use the next stages of the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway to ensure that the highest standards of animal welfare are applied in all abattoirs.

The Animal Health and Welfare Pathway maps out how farmers and the Government will work together to continually improve the health and welfare of our farmed animals, supported by the best science and evidence. It involves three mutually reinforcing pillars in making this change: financial incentives to help farmers deliver on-farm improvements; stimulating market demand through labelling and mandatory public disclosure to improve the accessibility, availability and affordability of higher welfare products; and, where needed, strengthening regulation to ensure the changes made endure. Following the post-implementation review of our welfare at killing legislation, and as part of our Action Plan for Animal Welfare, we are looking at a wide range of welfare at slaughter improvements that could be made to strengthen the regulatory baseline in slaughterhouses. Welfare at slaughter is a devolved matter, and the Government remains committed to working closely with the devolved administrations on our shared aims for animal welfare.

20th Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government whether the Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing Regulations, including Council Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009 and connected domestic secondary legislation including the Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing (England) Regulations 2015 and its devolved equivalents, constitute EU-derived subordinate legislation in the context of the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill.

Retained Regulation 1099/2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing is retained direct EU legislation. The Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing (England) Regulations 2015 is EU-derived subordinate legislation.

Animal welfare at the time of killing is a devolved matter, and the Department is continuing to engage closely with devolved administrations on the progress of the Bill and the corresponding reviews into Retained EU law.

20th Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that the Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing Regulations, including those that go further than EU requirements covering the protections for reptiles and amphibians, invertebrate animals and poultry, rabbits or hares killed elsewhere than in a slaughterhouse by their owner for the owner’s private domestic consumption, are preserved in the context of the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill.

Defra is committed to maintaining our high standards in areas such as the welfare of animals at the time of killing. The Department is in the process of analysing and assessing its retained EU law stock to determine what should be preserved as part of domestic law, and what should be repealed, or amended. This work will determine how we use the powers in the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill, including in relation to the welfare of animals at the time of killing legislation.

9th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to introduce legislation to prevent the sale in the UK of international holidays which steer tourists towards visiting attractions involving animals that have been treated cruelly.

This Government takes the welfare of all animals seriously and as set out in the Government's Action Plan for Animal Welfare, we are committed to promoting high animal welfare standards both at home and abroad.

Tourists, here, are being offered holiday packages overseas involving unacceptably low-welfare animal activities, attractions, and experiences. Animals that are part of tourist attractions with high levels of human interaction are often subjected to cruel and brutal training practices to ensure their compliance. Reputable and responsible tour operators should not be offering activities that create animal welfare issues. The Association of British Travel Agents has published guidelines and lists activities which have been classified as unacceptable. Holidaymakers should be encouraged to do research and be informed to make the right choices that benefit wildlife.

We support measures which ensure that money from tourists from this country is not channelled towards animal experiences abroad that involve the unacceptable treatment of animals.

9th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to seek to progress legislation to make provision about the welfare of certain kept animals that are in, imported into, or exported from Great Britain, in (1) the current, and (2) the next, parliamentary session.

In May 2021 we published the Action Plan for Animal Welfare, which sets out the Government's ambitious programme of legislative and non-legislative measures to further improve our high standards of animal welfare. As a key part of delivering this plan, we introduced the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill in June 2021. The Bill provides enhanced protections for pet, farmed and kept wild animals in Great Britain.

The Bill completed Commons Committee Stage in November. Since introduction, the Government has added a new pet abduction offence to the bill and extended the primates measure to Wales. We have also consulted on the use of powers in the Bill to tackle puppy smuggling. The Government is committed to this Bill and it will progress in its current form as soon as Parliamentary time allows.

6th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to make illegal the baiting of electric fences with honey and other substances designed to attract wildlife.

In England, wildlife is protected by law through legislation such as the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017.

Section 11 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 prohibits certain methods of killing or taking wild animals. Under subsection 2(c), a person will be guilty of an offence if they set in position any electrical device for killing or stunning, calculated to cause bodily injury to any wild animal included in Schedule 6 of that Act, such as badgers and hedgehogs. It is also an offence under regulation 45 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 to use electrical and electronic devices capable of killing or stunning, for the purpose of capturing or killing a European protected species, or for any of the protected species listed on Schedule 4 of those Regulations.

The Government has no current plans to introduce further legislation to prohibit conduct involving the 'baiting' of electric fences with honey and other substances designed to attract wildlife.

13th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will be extending the time to register historic footpaths and rights of way beyond 1 January 2026 to reflect the interruption in this work due to (1) Brexit, and (2) the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deferring the 2026 cut-off date for registration of historic rights of way is a possibility, which would create more time for the reforms to rights of way legislation to be implemented effectively. However, we must weigh this against the desire for certainty around where rights of way exist, which implementing the cut-off date will bring. Officials will continue to keep this under review in consultation with the Stakeholder Working Group.

12th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they take when they identify that new buildings or developments interrupt historic footpaths, bridlepaths or rights of way; and whether those steps include the creation of diversions to ensure such paths and rights of way are not lost.

Public rights of way are a local issue and this matter is the responsibility of local highway authorities, usually the County Council. It is for the local authority to take the necessary action to resolve conflicts between building and the rights of way network, such as creating orders to extinguish, divert or create a new path.

The Planning Inspectorate (PINS) administers rights of way cases on behalf of Defra, including confirming orders and dealing with cases where the decision has been challenged. If an order is confirmed, then it is for the authority to decide the appropriate action to take regarding any obstruction. PINS does not have the power to make orders itself to overcome planning issues or to direct a local authority to make one.

10th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that there is a connected bridle-ways network for horse riders so that they can avoid roads and the dangers posed by increased traffic.

Public rights of way are a local matter and are handled by individual local highway authorities.

Local authorities are required to keep a Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) to plan improvements to their network, which is usually available on the authority’s website. I would hope local authorities, whenever possible, would look at the needs of all users, including walkers, cyclists and horse-riders. Safety must be a consideration in this process.

Local authorities receive most of their rights of way funding from central Government through the Revenue Support Grant to deliver various duties, including ROWIPs. It is not ring-fenced and we cannot say how much authorities should spend on ROWIPs. It is up to local authorities to manage their own budgets and decide how much they should spend on their different duties, and for local people to hold them to account.