Lord Alton of Liverpool Portrait

Lord Alton of Liverpool

Crossbench - Life peer


Department Event
Tuesday 5th July 2022
Ministry of Defence
Orders and regulations - Main Chamber
Draft Armed Forces Act (Continuation) 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.
Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 6th July 2022
10:30
International Relations and Defence Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Defence concepts and capabilities: from aspiration to reality
6 Jul 2022, 10:30 a.m.
At 10.30am: Oral evidence
Professor Jamie Shea - Professor at The University of Exeter
Professor Mark Webber - Professor at The University of Birmingham
At 11.30am: Oral evidence
Georgina Wright - Senior Fellow and Director, Europe Program at Institut Montaigne
Professor Christoph Meyer - Professor of European & International Politics at King's College London
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Scheduled Event
Thursday 21st July 2022
Debate - Main Chamber
Impact of the Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports on food insecurity in developing countries, and its contribution to the danger of famine in the Horn of Africa and East Africa
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Division Votes
Tuesday 21st June 2022
Abortion (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2022
voted Aye
One of 6 Crossbench Aye votes vs 21 Crossbench No votes
Tally: Ayes - 28 Noes - 181
Speeches
Thursday 23rd June 2022
Disabled Children: Support Services
The Minister will be aware that in April the Down Syndrome Bill, promoted in another place by the right honourable …
Written Answers
Tuesday 28th June 2022
Nigeria: Death and Missing Persons
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to discuss with the government of Nigeria the deaths …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Wednesday 8th June 2022
Genocide Determination Bill [HL] 2022-23
A Bill to provide for the High Court in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and the Court of Session in …
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
None available

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Lord Alton of Liverpool has voted in 282 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
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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)
(106 debate interactions)
Baroness Williams of Trafford (Conservative)
Minister of State (Home Office)
(23 debate interactions)
Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Conservative)
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
(20 debate interactions)
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Department Debates
Home Office
(60 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(31 debate contributions)
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View all Lord Alton of Liverpool's debates

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Lord Alton of Liverpool, 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.


Lord Alton of Liverpool has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Lord Alton of Liverpool has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

8 Bills introduced by Lord Alton of Liverpool


The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to make provision for the regulation of the re-export of military equipment and goods further to their original exportation from the United Kingdom.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Thursday 27th January 2011

A Bill to amend the Mesothelioma Act 2014.


Last Event - 2nd Reading : House Of Lords
Friday 20th November 2015

A Bill to provide for the High Court in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and the Court of Session in Scotland to make preliminary determinations concerning the undertakings made by the United Kingdom as a Contracting Party to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (“Genocide Convention”) under international law; for the referral of such determinations to relevant international courts or organisations; for response to reports on genocide; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Lords)
Wednesday 8th June 2022
(Read Debate)

A Bill to prohibit the falsification of slavery and human trafficking statements; to establish minimum standards of transparency in supply chains in relation to modern slavery and human trafficking; to prohibit companies using supply chains which fail to demonstrate minimum standards of transparency; and for connected purposes


Last Event - 1st Reading (Lords)
Tuesday 15th June 2021
(Read Debate)

A bill to provide for the High Court of England and Wales to make a preliminary finding on cases of alleged genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes; and for the subsequent referral of such findings to the International Criminal Court or a special tribunal


Last Event - 1st Reading (Lords)
Wednesday 5th February 2020
(Read Debate)

A Bill to provide for the High Court of England and Wales to make a preliminary finding on cases of alleged genocide; and for the subsequent referral of such findings to the International Criminal Court or a special tribunal.


Last Event - 1st Reading : House Of Lords
Monday 13th June 2016

A bill to amend the Mesothelioma Act 2014.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Lords
Thursday 17th July 2014

First reading took place on 21 January. This stage is a formality that signals the start of the Bill's journey through the Lords.Second reading - the general debate on all aspects of the Bill - is yet to be scheduled.The 2013-14 session of parliament has prorogued and this Bill will make no further progress. A bill to amend the Mesothelioma Act 2014


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Lords
Tuesday 21st January 2014

Lord Alton of Liverpool has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


1003 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
4 Other Department Questions
16th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the risk that people smugglers and traffickers will take advantage of the Homes for Ukraine scheme; and what plans they have to introduce measures to deter such activity.

The Homes for Ukraine scheme has been designed with a clear safeguarding policy. The Home Office will conduct standard security checks on sponsors as well as on all adults aged 18 and over who will be living in the same household as the guests. This includes checks against government records and those of other third parties such as the Police National Computer, or its equivalent in Northern Ireland. Councils will be required to undertake appropriate Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks for all adults in the sponsor household. I refer the noble Lord to the guidance for local authorities available online at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-guidance-for-councils

Lord Harrington of Watford
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to make it a criminal offence for foreign governments to channel funds in excess of a limit of £5,000 into the (1) personal, or (2) business, accounts of individual parliamentarians.

There are rules in place to ensure that only those with a legitimate interest can make political donations. All MPs and members of political parties are regulated donees and can only accept donations of more than £500 made to them in connection with their political activities if it is from a permissible donor. Donations from individuals not on the UK electoral register, such as foreign donors, are not allowed.

In addition, Members of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords must provide information on any financial or non-financial benefit which might reasonably be thought by others to influence their actions or words as Members of Parliament.

However, we know that in very rare instances, malign actors disguise their links to foreign Governments. It is, and always will be, an absolute priority to protect the UK against foreign interference. The Government has structures in place to identify foreign interference or any potential threats to democracy and, where necessary, take proportionate action to mitigate them.

As set out in the Queen’s Speech, the Government is bringing forward new Counter State Threats legislation to give the intelligence agencies and law enforcement the tools they need to tackle the diversifying and evolving threats we face.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Senior Deputy Speaker whether witnesses to House of Lords select committee inquiries will be required to declare whether (1) they, or (2) institutions and companies in which they are involved, receive (a) remuneration, (b) endowments, or (c) financial support, from counties identified in the Integrated Review as representing a threat to UK interests.

Witnesses to House of Lords Select Committee inquiries are not required to make declarations of this kind and there are no plans to introduce such a requirement. The large majority of witnesses are unlikely to have any such involvement and Committee members are best placed to understand which witnesses might represent such a threat and to raise queries about those witnesses both before a committee session and, if necessary, during it.

9th Sep 2021
To ask the Senior Deputy Speaker whether House of Lords authorities were consulted ahead of the visit of the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the parliamentary estate.

No such visit had been planned for the House of Lords part of the parliamentary estate. Neither House routinely consults with the other regarding bookings taken for use of their facilities.

18th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the UK's use of universal jurisdiction to prosecute the crimes of (1) genocide, (2) crimes against humanity, and (3) war crimes.

The Counter Terrorism Division within the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is responsible for prosecuting core international crimes (genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes) and applies the principle of universal jurisdiction when necessary.

Universal jurisdiction helps to ensure that the UK does not provide a safe haven for war criminals or those who commit other serious violations of international law, and the CPS will continue to bring individuals to justice wherever possible. Any decision to prosecute offences of universal jurisdiction in England and Wales is governed by the same principles that apply to any other prosecution and must be in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
16th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Wolfson of Tredegar on 14 June concerning recent acquittals in the case of perverting the Court of Justice in relation to the Hillsborough disaster (HL Deb, cols 1668–71), what discussions they have had with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) as to why the decision of the Court was not appealed; whether the DPP gave advice on the decision not to appeal; and whether the DPP intends to publish the advice not to appeal.

The decision not to pursue an appeal in these cases was made by the CPS team managing the original prosecution after seeking advice from senior counsel. Prosecution decisions are made independently from Government. The Director of Public Prosecutions did not provide advice on these cases.

To bring an appeal, the prosecution would have to be able to show that the Judge’s decision was wrong in law, that he had made an error about the facts or that his decision was otherwise unreasonable. After careful consideration, especially for the families involved, the CPS concluded that it could not meet this test.

On 26 May 2021, the CPS issued a public statement on this ruling and has confirmed publicly that the decision not to appeal was based on the conclusion that the legal test was not met.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
16th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Wolfson of Tredegar on 14 June concerning recent acquittals in the case of perverting the Court of Justice in relation to the Hillsborough disaster (HL Deb, cols 1668–71), whether they have discussed with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) the reasons for not bringing charges in relation to misconduct in public office; and whether they have asked the DPP to publish those reasons.

The CPS carefully considered the available evidence against a wide range of suspects but the Code for Crown Prosecutors only permits the CPS to commence a prosecution where there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and where it is in the public interests to do so. The CPS brought prosecutions where the Code Test was met. The CPS makes prosecution decisions independently from Government.

In June 2017, the CPS published a public statement following the decision to charge the three individuals with perverting the course of justice alongside other suspects referred for a charging decision at the same time.

On 15 June, the DPP appeared before the Justice Select Committee and outlined the reasons why the CPS did not pursue misconduct in public office charges. Charges of misconduct in public office would only have been available against two of the three defendants and, the CPS assessed that perverting the course of justice was the correct charge against all three. The conduct alleged would have been identical whatever the charge selected. The DPP’s evidence is publicly available on the Justice Select Committee website.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
15th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Wolfson of Tredegar on 14 June concerning recent acquittals in the case of perverting the Court of Justice in relation to the Hillsborough disaster (HL Deb, cols 1668–71), what plans they have to ask the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to revert to the practice of earlier DPPs of publishing their advice on their website.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) did not advise on these cases and there is no DPP advice to publish. Whenever appropriate the CPS will look to provide more detailed explanations about its decision making on its website.

Throughout criminal proceedings relating to the Hillsborough disaster, the CPS has issued regular press statements, and published reasons for its decision making. In particular, in June 2017, the CPS published a public statement following the decision to charge the three individuals with perverting the course of justice alongside other suspects referred for a charging decision at the same time.

On 26 May 2021 the CPS issued a public statement on this ruling and has confirmed publicly that the decision not to appeal was based on the conclusion that the legal test to do so was not met.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
12th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Cabinet Office will offer written guidance on the use of Chinese-made cameras in government departments; and whether they intend to include provisions in the Procurement Bill to prevent the purchase of (1) equipment, or (2) commodities, linked to states accused of (a) genocide, or (b) slave labour.

As has been the case under successive administrations, it is not government policy to comment on the security arrangements of government buildings. Specific details regarding the make and model of security systems are withheld on national security grounds

The Procurement Bill will strengthen the approach to excluding suppliers from bidding for public contracts where there is clear evidence of their involvement in forced labour or other Modern Slavery practices. We are also taking action in the Bill to clarify that any serious breach of ethical standards applicable to a supplier can be considered to be professional misconduct, which may lead to exclusion.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
12th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the decision by the Department of Health and Social Care to remove (1) Hikvision, and (2) Dahua, technology cameras from their premises, what plans other government departments have, if any, to also remove those cameras from their premises.

As has been the case under successive administrations, it is not government policy to comment on the security arrangements of government buildings. Specific details regarding the make and model of security systems are withheld on national security grounds.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
28th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 22 February (HL6066), when the draft Public Procurement Bill will be published; and when they expect it to be introduced in the House of Lords.

The Government will bring forward legislation to reform public procurement when parliamentary time allows. Further details of what will be included in the proposed bill can be found in our Green Paper Consultation Response, 'Transforming Public Procurement: Government response to consultation', published in December 2021.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
24th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many surveillance technology cameras in government departments have facial recognition software; and whether they have made any assessment of the cost of removing Hikivision and other Chinese-made surveillance technology cameras from government buildings.

As has been the case under successive administrations, it is not government policy to comment on the security arrangements of government buildings. Specific details regarding the capability and use of security systems by government departments are withheld on national security grounds.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
9th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the national security implications of government departments using Chinese-made surveillance cameras and technology; and what assessment they have made of the use of such cameras by (1) local councils, (2) schools, and (3) NHS trusts.

As has been the case under successive administrations, it is not government policy to comment on the security arrangements of government buildings. Specific details regarding the use of security systems by public bodies are withheld on national security grounds.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
12th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to respond to the letter relating to skeleton bills and skeleton provision sent to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office and the Leader of the House of Commons by the Chairs of the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee, the Constitution Committee and the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee on 25 September.

I can confirm to the noble Lord that a response to this letter was sent from the Leader of the House of Commons on 20 October 2020.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
14th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by Adelina Comas-Herrera and Jose-Luis Fernandez at the London School of Economics England: Estimates of mortality of care home residents linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, published on 12 May, which found that “data on deaths in care homes directly attributed to COVID- 19 underestimate the impact of the pandemic on care home residents” and that such data accounted for “an estimate 41.6 per cent of all excess deaths in care homes”; what assessment they have made of the accuracy of the data provided by the Office for National Statistics that 8,314 people had died from COVID-19 in care homes from 13 March to 8 May; what were the causes of the additional 10,000 recorded deaths in care homes during that period between 13 March and 1 May as set out in the report; and whether the total number of deaths over that period represents 18,000 more than the average estimate in previous years.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

Dear Lord Alton,

As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am responding to your Parliamentary Question asking what assessment has been made of the report by Adelina Comas-Herrera and Jose-Luis Fernandez at the London School of Economics England: Estimates of mortality of care home residents linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, published on 12 May, which found that data on deaths in care homes directly attributed to COVID-19 underestimate the impact of the pandemic on care home residents, and that such data accounted for an estimated 41.6 per cent of all excess deaths in care homes; what assessment they have made of the accuracy of the data provided by the Office for National Statistics that 8,314 people had died from COVID-19 in care homes from 13 March to 8 May; what were the causes of the additional 10,000 recorded deaths in care homes during that period between 13 March and 1 May as set out in the report; and whether the total number of deaths over that period represents 18,000 more than the average estimate in previous years (HL4465).

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is responsible for publishing mortality statistics for deaths registered in England and Wales. The most recent year for which mortality statistics are available is 2018[1]. However, we do publish provisional statistics for weekly deaths registrations, which are currently published for deaths registered up to 8 May 2020[2]. National Records Scotland (NRS) and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) are responsible for publishing the number of deaths registered in Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively.

Cause of death is defined using the International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th edition (ICD-10). Deaths involving COVID-19 are identified by the ICD-10 codes U07.1 and U07.2.

We are working with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Public Health England (PHE) to better understand deaths that are occurring in care homes. From 28 April 2020, we have published counts of deaths reported by care home operators to the CQC involving COVID-19, in our provisional statistics for weekly death registrations release. We have also provided information about the different data sources in our comparison article[3] that was last updated on 19 May 2020.

The weekly mortality statistics published for England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are all designated as National Statistics, meaning they meet the Code of Practice for official statistics requirements of trust, quality and value. The most up-to-date figures for the number of registered deaths in care homes in England and Wales involving COVID-19 are contained in the ONS weekly deaths bulletin[4] and accompanying dataset[5] published on 19 May 2020. The year-to-date analysis in this report showed there were 9,980 deaths involving COVID-19 in care homes up to the week ending 8 May 2020 (these figures represent provisional numbers for deaths where COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19 was mentioned anywhere on the death certificate). The analysis also showed there were 21,753 excess deaths that occurred in care homes up to the week ending 8 May 2020 as compared to the previous five-year average over the same period.

On 15 May 2020, we published further analysis of deaths involving COVID-19 in the care sector in England and Wales[6]. This report provides breakdowns of deaths involving COVID-19 in the care sector, by: characteristics of the deceased; place of death; geographical location; leading cause of death; and, pre-existing conditions. Included are figures on the number of deaths of recipients of domiciliary care, derived from data provided by the Care Quality Commission.

The analysis in this report found that since the beginning of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (between the period 2 March and 1 May 2020, registered up to the 9 May 2020):

  • there were 45,899 deaths of care home residents (wherever the death occurred); of these 12,526 involved COVID-19, which is 27.3% of all deaths of care home residents.
  • COVID-19 was the leading cause of death in male care home residents, accounting for 30.3% deaths, and the second leading cause of death in female care home residents, after Dementia and Alzheimer disease, accounting for 23.5% of deaths.
  • Dementia and Alzheimer disease was the most common main pre-existing condition found among deaths involving COVID-19 and was involved in 42.5% of all deaths of care home residents involving COVID-19.

No specific assessment has yet been made of the estimates presented in the preprint article by Adelina Comas-Herrera and Jose-Luis Fernandez released on 12 May 2020. The ONS is publishing a report on the increase in non-COVID-19 deaths observed in weekly deaths statistics, with a provisional publication date of 29 May. This is mentioned in the ONS’s statement of upcoming analysis on deaths and coronavirus (COVID-19)[7]. The report will analyse how the number of non-COVID-19 deaths occurring in different places of death (including care homes), for different age groups and for different causes of death differ from previous years’ data and will suggest how these findings correspond with possible reasons for the increase.

Yours sincerely

Professor Sir Ian Diamond

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

[2]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsregisteredweeklyinenglandandwalesprovisional/weekending8may2020

[3]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/causesofdeath/articles/comparisonofweeklydeathoccurrencesinenglandandwales/latest

[4]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsregisteredweeklyinenglandandwalesprovisional/weekending8may2020

[5]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/datasets/weeklyprovisionalfiguresondeathsregisteredinenglandandwales

[6]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/articles/deathsinvolvingcovid19inthecaresectorenglandandwales/deathsoccurringupto1may2020andregisteredupto9may2020provisional

[7]https://www.ons.gov.uk/news/statementsandletters/statementofupcominganalysisondeathsandcoronaviruscovid19

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
12th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the current status of the bid by a Chinese owned company to purchase Newport Wafer Fab; how many UK businesses in the semi-conductor supply chain are owned by companies based outside the UK; and what assessment they have made of (1) the value of Newport Wafer Fab’s intellectual property, and (2) the sensitivity of any defence contracts it holds.

On 5 July 2021, Nexperia announced on its website that it had completed a transaction to acquire 100% of Newport Wafer Fab.

The Government recognises the importance of semiconductor technology to key UK industries, and the wider digital ecosystem. Supply chains for semiconductors are extremely complex, spanning a large number of countries.

The Government is not able to comment on a company’s commercially sensitive information, nor can the Government comment on the detail businesses’ commercial transactions or on national security assessments.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much oil and gas was imported from Cameroon to the UK in (1) 2020, and (2) 2021.

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. I will correspond directly with the noble Lord.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of national security interests in permitting the sale of Newport Wafer Fab to Nexperia, a Chinese-owned company.

The Government is considering the case and no decisions have been made. The Government is unable to comment on the details of businesses’ commercial transactions or on national security assessments.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the remarks of the former head of the National Cyber Security Centre Ciaran Martin that (1) there were "very real concerns" about the buyout of Newport Wafer Fab by Nexperia, a Chinese-owned company, and (2) that it posed a greater threat than allowing Huawei to build the UK's 5G network.

The Government does not comment on the detail of national security assessments.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the UK's Five Eyes allies about strategic and security matters prompted by the sale of Newport Wafer Fab to Nexperia, a Chinese-owned company; and if they have had no such discussions, why not.

The Government is unable to comment on the detail of national security assessments or on strategic or security conversations with allies.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the takeover of Newport Wafer Fab by Nexperia, a Chinese owned company, whether the semiconductor plant is the largest in the UK; and what assessment they have made of the supply need for semiconductors in the UK.

Newport Wafer Fab is one of the largest semiconductor plants in the UK. The Government is aware of the vital role of the semiconductor sector in the global economy and remains committed to ensuring the UK sector continues to play an important role in an international ecosystem.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government why they have not used their powers under under the National Security and Investment Act 2021 to review the takeover of Newport Wafer Fab by Nexperia, a Chinese-owned company.

The Government is considering the case. The UK Government has powers to intervene where there is a risk to national security under the National Security and Investment Act 2021, which commenced on 4 January 2022.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
31st Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, as part of their strategy for the diversification of energy supply, they will re-examine proposals for the construction of a Mersey barrage to generate tidal power.

The Government remains open to well-developed proposals for harnessing tidal range energy, provided that such proposals can demonstrate energy system benefits, plausible environmental impact mitigation strategies, and value for money.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
31st Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Callanan on 30 March (HL7007), whether they will bring forward proposals to require the specification of the country of origin or manufacture of all goods sold to consumers online.

As noted in my previous reply, the Government have no plans to introduce such a requirement on behalf of consumers.

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) apply across all business sectors. They prohibit all traders from engaging in unfair commercial practices in connection with the promotion, sale and supply of products to consumers.

Under the CPRs, traders are required to provide consumers with the information they need to make informed purchasing decisions. The regulations prohibit commercial practices which omit or hide material information which the average consumer needs, according to the context, to make an informed choice, where such an omission causes or is likely to cause them to make a different choice (e.g. purchase goods or a service that would not otherwise have been purchased).

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by Global Witness in its article TotalEnergies ships Russian crude on Russian tanker, despite chief exec promise, published on 23 March, that TotalEnergies has continued to transport oil from Russia to the UK and Europe, despite its CEO’s commitment not to take oil from Russia; and what, if any, steps they intend to take as a result.

My Rt hon Friend the Prime Minister announced the Oil Taskforce on the 8th of March 2022. This is a joint government and industry group which will facilitate engagement and cooperation during the transition away from Russian oil and oil-related products by the end of 2022.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by Global Witness in its article European and US energy companies are responsible for nearly USD 100 billion to Putin’s war chest since Crimea invasion, published on 25 March, that energy companies including BP, Shell and Exxon have paid an estimated $100 billion to Russia since the 2014 Crimea invasion.

The Government does not seek to assess the commercial activities of companies carried out within the terms of the law.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to require internet retailers to declare countries of origin of items to purchasers in advance of their sale.

Aside from certain specified products such as food there is no requirement for goods to be labelled with their country of origin.

Under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs), traders are banned from using misleading statements about the geographical or commercial origin of products including in response to requests for information by consumers.

As with other elements of goods, the Government encourages consumers who are interested in a particular property of goods, including their origin, to ask the seller. If they are not happy with the reply, then they can shop elsewhere. If they suspect that the reply is not truthful, then they can take the matter up with their local authority Trading Standards Officers who enforce the CPRs.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Callanan on 15 March (HL6519), why no minute was kept of the meeting between a Minister and the China General Nuclear Power Group.

The meeting was declared as per standard government processes and was attended by officials alongside the Minister. Relevant officials were also made aware of developments following the meeting.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was discussed at the meeting on 20 July 2021 between the China General Nuclear Power Group and the then Minister of State (Minister for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change) at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The Government can confirm that a meeting between China General Nuclear (CGN) and the then Minister of State took place on 20 July 2021. The Department does not hold minutes for this meeting as set out in your request.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the reply by Lord Callanan on 6 December (HL Deb, cols 1634–35), whether the purchase of Newport Wafer Fab will be considered under the terms of the National Security and Investment Act 2021 when it comes into force on 1 January 2022.

The Government is still considering the case. The Government will continue to monitor the situation closely and will not hesitate to take further action if needed.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce kite marking to products, indicating their origins, when (1) manufactured by slave labour in Xinjiang, or (2) believed to have been produced as part of a supply chain originating in Xinjiang, and exported to the UK.

Since leaving the EU, we have introduced the new UKCA marking to indicate that products comply with UK product regulations and are fit to be placed on the market in Great Britain. It is mandatory for most products currently covered by the ‘CE marking’ from 1 January 2023. The kitemarking is different to this and is owned and operated by the British Standards Institution.

On 12 January 2021, the UK Government announced a series of robust measures in respect of UK supply chains to help ensure that no British organisations – government or private sector, deliberately or inadvertently – are profiting from or contributing to human rights violations against the Uyghurs or other minorities in Xinjiang. The measures announced include a review of export controls as they apply to Xinjiang, the introduction of financial penalties for organisations that fail to comply with their obligations under the Modern Slavery Act, increasing support for UK government bodies to exclude suppliers complicit in violations, and new, robust guidance to UK businesses on the specific risks faced by companies with links to the region. We will keep our policy response under close review.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the reply of Lord Callanan on 6 December (HL Deb, col 1635), whether the purchase of Newport Wafer Fab has been referred to the Competition and Merger Authority; and if so, what was the outcome.

My Rt. Hon Friend the Secretary of State has powers under the Enterprise Act 2002 to intervene in mergers and takeovers on specified public interest grounds, including national security. Such an intervention would involve an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the partnership between the University of Liverpool's Department of Computer Science and the Chinese company NeuSoft; and whether any research projects involving NeuSoft have received funding from UK Research and Innovation in the last five years.

The Government supports decisions on international research collaborations through the Trusted Research campaign. Additionally, BEIS is establishing a Research Collaboration Advice Team which will work directly with institutions to help embed best practice.

Research partnerships must remain within the limits of the law and the government reserves the right to intervene where they are not in the national interest or breach domestic or international law.

UKRI has not directly funded any research projects involving Neusoft in the past 5 years.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of findings of research connections between Chinese organisations responsible for committing genocide against the Uyghur people and UK universities; and what steps they are taking to address such findings.

The UK’s research sector is independent, and free to make decisions on research collaborations within the limits of the law. Her Majesty’s Government supports the sector to make informed decisions on international research collaboration through published advice and is currently recruiting a team of field advisors to work directly with institutions.

We continue to work closely with the sector to provide advice, promote best practice, and to respond to specific inquiries. While we encourage international collaboration, we do not support research work that enables abuses of human rights.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the granting of UK Research and Innovation money to an academic at the University of Birmingham researching the impact of UK parliamentarians' remarks on international relations with China.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funds research across a range of social disciplines including the economic, political and social sciences.

The Government is bound by the Haldane principle in the 2017 Higher Education and Research Act which says that: “decisions on individual research proposals are best taken following an evaluation of the quality and likely impact of the proposals (such as a peer review process).” The Government stands by the Haldane Principle and recognises that decisions about individual projects are best left to experts in the field. As such, Government does not have a role in deciding the awarding of grants to specific research activities.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Callanan on 2 November (HL3659), whether they can provide a breakdown of the 60 titles within Greater London where the registered owner is the People's Republic of China; and if so, in which London borough each is located.

HM Land Registry is unable to provide this information.

Further details about the information that HM Land Registry holds, what is publicly available, and how it can be obtained, is set out online via the GOV.UK website.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many enterprises owned by the government of China (1) have contracts with Her Majesty's Government, and (2) are in receipt of UK research grants.

The Government does not make research grant awards to enterprises owned by foreign governments. UKRI takes independent decisions on the distribution of research grants between eligible UK higher education institutions and research establishments, which may themselves collaborate with international partners.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the acquisition of semiconductor manufacturer Newport Wafer Fab (NWF), by a Chinese company, in particular in the light of (1) the previous funding of the company by Her Majesty’s Government to undertake defence research, and (2) the efforts by the government of the United States of America to limit the role of Chinese companies in national technological infrastructure.

As my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister said at the Liaison Committee on 7 July 2021, the National Security Adviser is reviewing the case. It would be inappropriate to comment until the review has concluded.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Callanan on 2 November (HL3262), what details they can provide regarding the 60 titles within the Greater London boundary where the registered owner is the People's Republic of China.

HM Land Registry holds information on registered titles in England and Wales. The type of information available includes the title register which records who owns the property or land and any rights of way, the title number which is the unique number given to a property or piece of land, and the title plan which shows the property or land’s location and boundaries.

Further details about the information that HM Land Registry holds, and how publicly available information can be obtained is set out online via the GOV.UK website.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the amount of property owned in London by (1) the government of China, and (2) officials in the government of Hong Kong.

HM Land Registry registers legal ownership, interests, mortgages and other secured loans against land and property in England and Wales.

The Register of Title does not record the nationality or employment status of individual title owners of land or property.

The Register of Title records information where a non-UK Government is the registered owner, and the People’s Republic of China is the registered owner of 60 titles in the Greater London boundary.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the takeover of Newport Wafer Fab by Nexperia; and whether they used the powers granted by the National Security and Investment Act 2021 in relation to this takeover.

The Government has considered this transaction thoroughly. We do not comment on the detail of commercial transactions or of national security assessments. The Government will continue to monitor the situation closely and will not hesitate to take action if needed.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the conclusion in the report by King's College London and the Harvard Kennedy School The China question: managing risks and maximising benefits from partnership in higher education and research, published on 9 March, that "the UK’s dependence on a neototalitarian technology power for the financial health and research output of its universities is now regarded as a particular point of vulnerability".

Universities are well aware of the possible risks associated with dependence on a single source of funding, whether that is from a single organisation or from a single nation. A diverse recruitment base is key to avoiding this. The Government’s International Education Strategy and recent update make clear that the internationalisation of our higher education sector cannot come at any cost – universities must ensure they have appropriate processes in place to manage risk. Government has recently issued guidance to the Office for Students, requesting they monitor the financial sustainability of institutions and continue to support the sector to recruit sustainably.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the conclusions in the report by King's College London and the Harvard Kennedy School The China question: managing risks and maximising benefits from partnership in higher education and research, published on 9 March, that (1) China is projected to become the UK's most significant research partner, and (2) collaborations with China account for more than 20 per cent of the UK’s high-impact research in 20 subject areas.

Her Majesty’s Government recognises the enormous benefits from collaborating on scientific research with China. We cannot address global challenges, such as climate change, without their support and engagement. We will continue to support research collaboration with China where it is clearly in the national interest to do so.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the conclusion in the report by King's College London and the Harvard Kennedy School The China question: managing risks and maximising benefits from partnership in higher education and research, published on 9 March, that an increase in funding from China and collaboration with Chinese researchers over the last two decades risks the autonomy of UK universities.

Her Majesty’s Government carefully considers advice and analysis from a range of sources, including universities and think tanks, and is grateful for the scholarship which my Noble Friend the Rt. Hon. the Lord Johnson of Marylebone has provided in this report. We will continue to support the sector to make informed decisions when engaging in international research and other collaboration.

Universities are well-aware of the possible risks associated with dependence on a single source of funding, whether that is from a single organisation or from a single nation. A diverse recruitment base is key to avoiding this. The Government’s International Education Strategy and recent update make clear that the internationalisation of our higher education sector cannot come at any cost – universities must ensure they have appropriate processes in place to manage risk.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the conclusion in the report by King's College London and the Harvard Kennedy School The China question: managing risks and maximising benefits from partnership in higher education and research, published on 9 March, that the UK has “poorly understood” risks of increasing collaboration between UK universities and China.

International collaborations are central to our position as a science superpower and create wealth and jobs within the UK. We cooperate closely with universities, funding bodies and industry in protecting our higher education and research sector from interference. This includes publishing “Trusted Research” and commissioning Universities UK to release comprehensive guidelines to encourage secure partnerships and promote our values. We are pleased to see the university sector addressing these challenges and we will continue to work with the sector on implementing the guidelines, promoting best practice, and responding to specific enquiries. We also share experience and best practice with our friends and allies overseas.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what risk assessment they have conducted of students from China undertaking research in universities which are carrying out research connected with (1) critical infrastructure, and (2) national security, particularly in relation to (a) cyber technology, (b) artificial intelligence, (c) nuclear capability, (d) automation, (e) telecommunications and material sciences, and (f) weapons development; and what conclusions they have drawn.

Her Majesty’s Government welcomes all international students to UK universities, including those from China. We have taken robust measures to ensure that the university sector is protected from miss-appropriation of research relating to the areas listed. Measures include the Academic Technology Approval Scheme, which vets postgraduate students seeking to study proliferation sensitive courses, and outreach activity through the “Trusted Research” campaign. We continuously review measures that protect national security to ensure they remain effective.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the conclusion in the report by King's College London and the Harvard Kennedy School The China question: managing risks and maximising benefits from partnership in higher education and research, published on 9 March, that the UK "urgently needs to put in place a robust framework for engaging China in research and higher education".

Her Majesty’s Government supports the sector to make informed decisions on international research collaboration and cooperates closely with universities, funding bodies and industry in protecting our higher education and research sector from interference. This is backed by a robust legal and regulatory framework including on exports, intellectual property and academic freedom and freedom of speech. We have strengthened protective measures and keep them under review. Trusted Research and the security guidelines commissioned by the Government and released by Universities UK are an important step to encourage secure partnerships and promote our values. We are pleased to see the university sector addressing these challenges and we will continue to work with the sector on implementing guidelines recommendations.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what impact the proposed takeover of Newport Wafer Fab will have on the UK's ambition in the Global Britain in a Competitive Age integrated review, published March 2021, for the UK to be a "digital and data hub" and transition to a "zero-carbon economy"; whether this will require the UK's semi-conductor supply chain to be secured; and what is the basis for their belief that the government of China has stated its aim to buy the UK's (1) semi-conductor capabilities, and (2) the associated intellectual property.

Her Majesty’s Government recognises the importance of semiconductor technology to key UK industries, our ambitions in the Integrated Review, and the wider digital ecosystem. The Government is reviewing its approach to the UK’s global semiconductor sector, working with industry experts, international partners, and representative bodies.

Her Majesty’s Government will not accept investments which compromise our national security, and all investment must meet stringent legal and regulatory requirements to protect the UK’s national interest. As an open economy, however, we welcome foreign trade and investment where it supports UK growth and jobs.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
8th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the China State Council's A Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan, published on 20 July 2017, in permitting the export of Artificial Intelligence driven devices to the UK.

HM Government has a comprehensive set of artificial intelligence policies, including our recent National AI Strategy. This strategy will ensure that the UK’s AI ecosystem continues to flourish, so that the UK has the continued domestic capability to be a world leader in AI across all sectors.

In the development of our own approach to sectors and technologies, we keep abreast of other international plans and strategies for artificial intelligence, and their implications for the UK. We are committed to getting the national and international governance of AI technologies right in order to encourage innovation and investment, and to protect the public and our fundamental values. Given the UK’s strength in AI research, innovation, and governance, we are in a position to make a unique and important contribution to the development of global standards for AI, and to lead thinking in this arena.

We are familiar with China’s Artificial Intelligence Development Plan, issued in 2017, but recognise that it does not in isolation represent the entirety of China’s AI strategy. We note that China last year imposed its own export restrictions on its domestically generated AI technology. On 8 December 2021 the Secretary of State for International Trade informed Parliament in a written statement about a package of measures to update the export control regime. The recent review concluded that there were anomalies and inconsistencies within the UK's export control regime, and, as a result, China has been added to the list of those destinations subject to military end-use controls. The updated licensing criteria for strategic export controls apply to all goods, software, and technology which are subject to control for strategic reasons.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
8th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the risk of authoritarian regimes using Artificial Intelligence driven smart toys to collect children's data.

The Government monitors the scale and nature of data security risks, and will continue to do so. The Government takes its responsibility seriously to ensure that data and their supporting infrastructure are secure and resilient in the face of established, new, and emerging risks, including where artificial intelligence plays a role in data collection.

The Government has supported the building of strong safeguards and enforcement regimes to ensure that personal data are collected and handled responsibly and securely.

Organisations which process the personal data of individuals in the UK must comply with the UK General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018. Organisations which fail to comply may be investigated by the Information Commissioner’s Office and, where appropriate, subject to enforcement action including fines.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
7th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the dependence of UK manufacturers on China for imports of (1) semiconductors, and (2) semiconductor devices; and what assessment they have made of links between Chinese-owned technology firms operating in the UK and China’s Military-Civil Fusion Strategy.

HMG recognises the importance of semiconductor technology to key UK industries, and the wider digital ecosystem. Supply chains for semiconductors are incredibly complex, spanning a large number of countries. China has a limited share of the global semiconductor export market, and is the world’s largest importer of semiconductors.

The UK Government has outlined its concerns that advanced dual-use technology and knowledge may be diverted to assist Chinese military programmes. As an open economy, we welcome foreign trade and investment, including from China, where it supports UK growth and jobs.

HMG will not accept investments which compromise our national security, and all investment must meet stringent legal and regulatory requirements to protect the UK’s national interest. The National Security and Investment Act 2021, due to come into force later this year, will modernise and strengthen our national security investment screening powers.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the government of China’s plans to become a world leader in future technologies on the resilience of the UK's supply chains.

The Integrated Review reflects that we need to adapt to a more competitive world. We are implementing a robust framework for our relationship with China which allows us to manage disagreements, defend our values while preserving space to tackle transnational challenges such as climate change. Our approach will remain consistent even if difficulties emerge."

The Integrated Review articulates the UK’s goal to extend the impact and influence of the UK’s ‘Science and Technology Power’ by 2030, and the need to secure and develop critical and emerging technologies where there is a realistic prospect of delivering strategic advantage. A new ‘own-collaborate-access’ framework, will guide our approach:

  • Own: where the UK plays a leading and owning role, end-to-end from discovery to commercialisation. This will always involve elements of collaboration and access.

  • Collaborate: where the UK is not able to establish a dominant position, but can provide unique contributions that allow us to collaborate with others to achieve our goals.

  • Access: where the UK will seek to acquire critical science and technology from others, through options, deals and relationships.

To this end the Prime Minister has recently announced he will chair a new National Science and Technology Council, and the creation of a National Technology Advisor role, initially held by Sir Patrick Vallance to support the new committee and provide leadership.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the involvement in the UK economy of firms complicit in the surveillance and monitoring of Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

The UK is committed to promoting the ethical development and deployment of technology in the UK and overseas. We are aware of a number of Chinese technology companies linked to violations taking place in Xinjiang, including use of high-tech “predictive policing” algorithms, DNA and voice sampling, and extensive use of surveillance cameras, and are monitoring the situation closely.

Where China is not meeting its obligations under international law and falls below the standards required and expected of responsible governments and nation states, this government has and will continue to speak out publicly.

The Government is committed to supporting UK businesses and academia to engage with China in a way that reflects the UK’s values and takes account of national security concerns. Last year we published guidance to help cutting-edge UK firms negotiate the ethical, legal and commercial questions they may encounter in China or when working with Chinese businesses, supporting safe and appropriate UK-China collaboration in digital and tech. The guidance provides firms with clear, up-to-date information and specialist support which reflect the UK’s values and take account of national security concerns.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions, if any, they have had with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation about Liverpool’s World Heritage Status; and what responses they received during any such discussions.

My Department has had regular discussions with UNESCO since Liverpool was placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2012, and we will continue to do so. The views expressed by officials in UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre are consistent with those set out in the Decisions of the World Heritage Committee on the measures it expects to be taken if Liverpool’s world heritage status is to be protected.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the rate of closure of churches in recent years; what assessment has been made of the ability of worshipping communities to fund ongoing repairs to church buildings; and what plans they have to provide support to worshipping communities to help maintain church buildings.

Historic England works closely with faith communities on the management of historic places of worship.

When a place of worship is no longer required for regular worship it can still make a valuable contribution to the wider community; Historic England works with faith communities to develop a sustainable future when they are not used actively for worship, retaining as much of their special historical and architectural significance as possible. Only in a small minority of cases do places of worship have to close. Historic England also offers bespoke advice to those who manage places of worship on how to address repairs.

In 2016, the Taylor Review: Sustainability of English Churches and Cathedrals was commissioned to examine the funding and sustainability of listed Church of England churches. The Review considered that a more strategic approach was needed to ensure than the previous large investments of public money were protected by timely maintenance and repair of these buildings. Consequently, the DCMS-funded Taylor Review Pilot was commissioned to test some recommendations made in the Review, pairing advice and support from building conservation and community development experts with targeted grant funding for maintenance and minor repairs. The evaluation, which was published in October 2020, demonstrated the impact of this project on historic places of worship in the pilot areas, with just over £1m of grant funding for repairs allocated almost equally between both areas to 136 applicants.

The Government has set out its vision and strategy to protect the historic environment, including England’s places of worship, in the 2017 Heritage Statement. Any further financial support is subject to the Spending Review, which is due to conclude later this month.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much public funding has been allocated for UK participation in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing; whether, in the light of reports of serious human rights violations against Uighurs and others, they have made representations to the International Olympic Committee about reconsidering the suitability of Beijing as a host city; and what plans they have to reconsider UK participation if any such violations continue and the host city remains unchanged.

The Government, through UK Sport, is investing £?20m into Winter ?Olympic sports during the current ?Beijing 20?22? funding c?ycle. UK Sport’s current funding figures for Summer and Winter Olympic Paralympic sports can be found here: https://www.uksport.gov.uk/our-work/investing-in-sport/current-funding-figures

Decisions on which cities should host Summer and Winter Olympic Games are matters for the International Olympic Committee.

The British Olympic Association (BOA), a privately funded organisation independent of Government, is responsible for Team GB’s participation at Summer and Winter Olympic Games. As the National Olympic Committee (NOC) for Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the BOA may cooperate with governments, but rule 27.6 of the Olympic Charter states "The NOCs must preserve their autonomy and resist all pressures of any kind, including but not limited to political, legal, religious or economic pressures which may prevent them from complying with the Olympic Charter."

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with media regulators, including Ofcom and IPSO, on the reporting of suicide; what assessment they have made of the impact of reporting relating to assisted suicide; and what plans they have to review their guidance to ensure that public broadcasters include details of the Samaritans or other support services when reporting on suicide and assisted suicide stories.

Every suicide is a tragedy which has a devastating and enduring impact on families and communities. The Government is taking action in this area, including launching the first Cross-Government Suicide Prevention Strategy, which sets out an ambitious programme across national and local government and the NHS.

The Government does not review editorial content, as broadcast regulation is a matter for Ofcom. Ofcom has the power to set rules in its Broadcasting Code for broadcasters to meet in order to ensure UK audiences are adequately protected from harmful content. Ofcom’s Guidelines, which advise broadcasters on meeting the rules, includes advice on providing specific helplines where a programme has dealt with a particularly sensitive issue.

The government is committed to a free and independent press, and does not, therefore, seek to intervene in the decisions or activities of newspapers or regulators, including IPSO. IPSO’s Editors’ Code of Practice sets out the rules that newspapers and magazines regulated by IPSO have agreed to follow, including on reporting suicide.

In response to COVID-19, the Government announced £9.2 million of additional funding to support mental health charities, including Samaritans and CALM. Samaritans published updated media guidelines resources at the beginning of August and created a new online hub of resources, covering additional topics to help journalists and programme makers further understand the issues surrounding suicidal behaviour and offering practical tips on covering these topics.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to mandate the inclusion of details of mental health charities, NHS support and groups such as the Samaritans to be published whenever newspapers or broadcasters report (1) on suicide, (2) on assisted suicide, and (3) on palliative care.

Every suicide is a tragedy which has a devastating and enduring impact on families and communities. The Government is taking action in this area, including launching the first Cross-Government Suicide Prevention Strategy, which sets out an ambitious programme across national and local government and the NHS. In response to COVID-19, the Government announced £9.2million of additional funding to support mental health charities, including Samaritans and CALM

The editorial and operational decisions of broadcasters are independent from the Government. Ofcom, the UK’s independent broadcast regulator, sets rules in its Broadcasting Code for licensed broadcasters to meet to ensure UK audiences are adequately protected from harmful content. Ofcom advises in its Guidelines that where a programme has dealt with a particularly sensitive issue, broadcasters may wish to provide a helpline specific to that issue.

The Cross-Government Suicide Prevention Strategy sets out the importance of responsible media reporting of suicide. The Government is committed to a free and independent press, and does not, therefore, seek to intervene in the decisions or activities of newspapers or regulators. Newspapers either self-regulate or are regulated by independent regulators; which include IPSO and IMPRESS. These regulators issue codes of conduct which set out the rules that newspapers and magazines have agreed to follow, including on reporting suicide.

IPSO has also produced guidance for journalists on reporting suicide, including signposting to sources of support by providing the contact details for The Samaritans, PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide, or other relevant organisations, in any articles reporting on a suicide.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made in establishing how BT verify Huawei’s denials of (1) the use of slave labour, and (2) the use of Huawei technology in oppressing Uighur people.

Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 made the UK the first country to require large businesses to report annually on steps taken to prevent modern slavery, including forced labour, in their operations and supply chains. BT are subject to, and comply with, those requirements.

The Act does not require organisations to certify that their supply chains are slavery free but asks businesses to be transparent about their assessment of modern slavery risks and measures taken to mitigate these. To improve reporting quality, we are developing a government-run registry of modern slavery statements to make it easier for consumers, investors and civil society to hold businesses to account. We have also consulted on proposals to strengthen the Modern Slavery Act and increase transparency and improve compliance.

We have been clear that China’s approach in Xinjiang is wrong and must stop. We regularly raise our concerns directly with our Chinese counterparts and are playing a leading role to increase international attention to the situation, including leading a Joint Statement at the UN Human Rights Council in June supported by 27 other countries, highlighting arbitrary detention, widespread surveillance and restrictions, particularly those targeting Uyghurs and other minorities, and urged China to allow the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights meaningful access to the region.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when Huawei was first given access to the UK’s telecommunications infrastructure; what assessment was made of any security, defence and human rights implications of that decision at that time; whether Parliament was consulted; and which Ministers had to approve that access.

The details of Huawei’s entry into the UK market and associated decision making were subject of an inquiry by the Intelligence and Security Committee into ‘Foreign involvement in the Critical National Infrastructure - The implications for national security’. The findings of which were published in June 2013 followed by the government response in July 2013.


The government response accepted the Committee’s conclusion that the processes of considering national security issues at the time in 2003-06 were insufficiently robust and that Ministers should have been informed.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 30 June (HL3582), whether they will now answer the question put, namely, who gave the advice on behalf of Public Health England about permitting the football match between Liverpool and Atlético Madrid on 11 March; and which Ministers were involved in assessing that advice.

The decisions regarding mass events and wider measures were taken in line with public health guidance at COBR. DCMS Ministers discussed mass events with the Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Chief Medical Officer in advance of these meetings.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made in relation to their decision to award contracts to Huawei and other companies of the implications of the government of China's National Intelligence Law requiring Chinese organisations and citizens to support, assist and cooperate with the state intelligence work.

Last year, the Government carried out a comprehensive, evidence-based, review of the telecoms supply chain, supported by security analysis from our world-leading cybersecurity experts. This led to our decision, announced on 28 January, that high risk vendors should be excluded from those parts of the 5G and full fibre networks that are critical to security (“the core”), and their presence in the rest of the UK’s networks should be limited to 35 per cent, with further restrictions in sensitive geographic locations.

In making this decision, the Government took into account the full range of issues and risks. This included consideration of the fact that Huawei is a Chinese company that is subject to China’s national intelligence law. The controls we have set out on high risk vendors constitute some of the toughest security measures in the telecoms sector in the world.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to adopt the Council of Europe's recommendation to "include the history of Roma and Travellers in school curricula and teaching materials", published in their list of recommendations on 1 July 2020; and what plans they have to make the teaching mandatory and educate those unaware of the genocide of the Roma population in the Holocaust.

The history curriculum gives teachers and schools the freedom to use specific examples from history to teach pupils about the history of Britain and the wider world.

Gypsy, Roma and Travellers’ history can already be taught as part of schools offering a broad and balanced curriculum. Resources are available from experts in the communities themselves and bodies such as the Historical Association.

As part of Holocaust education, which is the only compulsory topic in the history curriculum at key stage 3, a wide array of resources are available to help teachers explain the persecution by the Nazis of different groups of people. The Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz programme and the knowledge and training provided by University College London’s Centre for Holocaust Education include information and resources to support an understanding of the Holocaust and the Nazis’ persecution of other non-Jewish groups, including the genocide of the Roma.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the use in schools, colleges and universities of Chinese-made surveillance cameras made by companies which are currently subject to US sanctions and investment bans.

Educational settings including schools, colleges and universities have delegated budget responsibility and can procure surveillance, security and CCTV systems autonomously.

For the procurement, sourcing and installation of surveillance, security and CCTV systems, the Department for Education will recommend and default to specification that includes as a minimum High Definition 1080P systems, compliant to BS EN 50132-7:2012 or BS EN 62676-4:2015.

The Department for Education does not mandate (or exclude) a country of origin for products and have made no assessments on the use of any specific products or vendors. Any decision regarding specific exclusion would be made at a broader cross-government level, with the Department for Education following that advice and communicating to schools via standard guidance and regular communications. In January, the government announced the provision of new guidance and support for UK public sector bodies, which will include schools, to exclude suppliers where there is sufficient evidence of human rights violations in any of their supply chains.

The Department for Education utilises existing guidance provided via the National Cyber Security Centre and will reiterate this to the Education sector via our scheduled communications to ensure schools remain aware and vigilant. More information can be found here: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/news/consumers-urged-secure-internet-connected-cameras and here: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/collection/connected-places-security-principles/about-the-principles.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, if any, of the partnership between the University of the West of England Bristol and the Chinese company NeuSoft, given the latter’s work on a facial recognition surveillance system.

As autonomous bodies, decisions regarding partnerships lie with individual higher education providers. We encourage the sector to collaborate with international partners and universities must be security minded in their approach in order to safeguard our core values. University due diligence processes should consider reputational, ethical and security risks.

At the request of my right hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Higher and Further Education, Universities UK, on behalf of the sector and with government support, published guidelines in October 2020 to help universities tackle security risks related to international collaboration.

We continuously strengthen protective measures and expect universities to do the same.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) what assessment they have made of the cost for universities to charter flights to ensure that students from China are able to return for in-person studies in the UK, and (2) what details it holds on the universities which have chartered these flights.

The government has provided no financial support to higher education providers for the purpose of chartering flights for international higher education students from China to travel to the UK, for the academic year 2021/22.

The government has received applications from Queen’s University Belfast, as well as three consortia of higher education providers seeking approvals for charter flights for Chinese students while scheduled direct flights remain suspended between the UK and mainland China. The three consortia comprise 16, 24, and 55 named higher education providers respectively. The airlines involved have chartered the planes to travel companies, which sell tickets to the students. The airlines and travel agencies take the financial risk.

The government is proud that so many international students choose to study here and is looking forward to safely welcoming them in the new academic year. We have worked closely with the sector to ensure that international students will be appropriately supported and welcomed, including with quarantine requirements. Universities UK International has published bespoke self-isolation guidance for higher education providers to help them prepare for the arrival of students.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
7th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have provided any financial support to universities which have chartered flights to the UK to ensure that students from China are able to return for in-person studies in the UK.

The government has provided no financial support to higher education providers for the purpose of chartering flights for international higher education students from China to travel to the UK, for the academic year 2021/22.

The government has received applications from Queen’s University Belfast, as well as three consortia of higher education providers seeking approvals for charter flights for Chinese students while scheduled direct flights remain suspended between the UK and mainland China. The three consortia comprise 16, 24, and 55 named higher education providers respectively. The airlines involved have chartered the planes to travel companies, which sell tickets to the students. The airlines and travel agencies take the financial risk.

The government is proud that so many international students choose to study here and is looking forward to safely welcoming them in the new academic year. We have worked closely with the sector to ensure that international students will be appropriately supported and welcomed, including with quarantine requirements. Universities UK International has published bespoke self-isolation guidance for higher education providers to help them prepare for the arrival of students.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many students from African countries are enrolled to study in UK universities.

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) collects and publishes data on students enrolled in higher education. Latest statistics refer to the academic year 2019/20.

Counts of student enrolments at UK Higher Education Providers (HEPs) are available by level of study and region of domicile for the academic years 2014/15 to 2019/20 in Table 28 of HESA’s Higher Education Student Data pages: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/students/table-28.

In the academic year 2019/20, there were 33,290 undergraduate and postgraduate students enrolled at UK HEPs who were domiciled in Africa prior to study.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
15th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government which higher education institutions have sought to amend their Royal Charters in each of the past three years; which changes were proposed in each case; and why those institutions made any such proposals.

Requests by chartered higher education providers for amendments to their governance arrangements are received and co-ordinated by the Privy Council Office.

The Privy Council Office consults the advisers to the Privy Council, including the Department for Education, in reviewing these requests, in order to gain the necessary advice to inform the Privy Council’s recommendation to Her Majesty on whether Her approval may be given to the chartered bodies’ proposals.

The Privy Council Office records requests it has received, but does not separately identify the changes proposed and the reasons for the request. Each case is treated on its own merits and case papers filed on a unique basis. The Privy Council Office and the department have carried out a preliminary co-ordinated scoping of both of their records, and this has revealed about 40 instances where a case was opened for a chartered body seeking to amend its governance arrangements during the period 2018-20.

To answer the questions raised more fully would take very considerable time and resource to achieve, as the needed information is not readily available and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

However, all higher education provider chartered body amendments which have been approved by Her Majesty in Council can be found at: https://privycouncil.independent.gov.uk/orders/.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
8th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to facilitate access to education for the children of people entering the UK under the Hong Kong British National (Overseas) visa scheme; what assessment they have made of (1) the scale of demand for school places for these children, and (2) where such demand will arise; and what discussions they have had with (a) Local Education Authorities, and (b) Regional Schools Commissioners, about ensuring that plans are in place to meet this demand.

The government’s estimate of the number of British National (Overseas) citizens that may migrate to the UK was set out in an Impact Assessment published on 22 October, available here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1147/impacts/2020/70. The dependants of British National (Overseas) citizens from Hong Kong choosing to settle in the UK have a right to attend school in the UK. Local authorities hold the statutory duty to provide sufficient school places.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government have written to all local authorities in England to update them on the new immigration route for BN(O) citizens and will be communicating further with those areas which may see higher numbers arriving to support their planning.

The department is fully involved in planning and communications with local authorities, including Regional Schools Commissioners. We are using data from the 2020 Spring School Census and the 2011 National Census to inform planning and are working with Home Office to monitor BN(O) and BN(O) dependant arrivals.

7th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many branches of the Confucius Institute are active in universities in England; and what plans they have to determine how many universities in England give financial support to branches of the Confucius Institute.

A number of UK higher education providers host Confucius Institutes. As autonomous, independent organisations, they bear the responsibility of ensuring that their partnerships are managed appropriately, with the right due diligence. The Department for Education does not collate information on the funding arrangements for Confucius Institutes, but continues to support the higher education sector to promote mutually beneficial international partnerships and UK values. We encourage providers to contact the department if they have any concerns regarding their international collaborations.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
16th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Resolution Foundation Class of 2020: Education leavers in the current crisis, published in May, in particular its (1) finding that youth unemployment in Britain could reach one million over the coming year, and (2) recommendation that policies should be pursued to assist young people to continue to study, including the provision of maintenance support.

We welcome the focus that the Resolution Foundation report draws to the challenge of supporting young people to progress into work and training.

The Government is actively considering ways to help young people continue to develop the skills they will need for the future.?We want to give young people the best chance to succeed, despite these challenging and unsettling times.

As part of raising the participation age legislation Local Authorities have duties to track all academic age 16 and 17 year olds, identify those not in education, employment or training (NEET) or at risk of becoming so and supporting them to re-engage in education or training. This includes a September guarantee where Local Authorities need to ensure that all year 11 students and year 12 students on a one year course have a suitable offer of education or training for the following September.

The department provides a range of financial support for students aged 16 to19, to enable them to participate and stay in further education, including free meals, bursaries to help with the cost of travel, books, equipment, IT and connectivity, plus support for childcare and residential costs. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/16-to-19-education-financial-support-for-students

For those learners aged 19 and over, the DfE supports a broad spectrum of learning provision from non-formal, unaccredited learning which helps to engage disadvantaged learners through to Apprenticeships and Traineeships where learners can gain the skills and qualifications needed to get into work.

Learners aged 19 or over who are studying on a further education course and facing financial hardship may be eligible for Learner Support to pay for things like: accommodation and travel, course materials and equipment and childcare. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/learner-support

On apprenticeships, we are continuing to support employers and training providers in dealing with, and responding to, the impacts of COVID-19. While we do not yet know the full impact of COVID-19, our priority is ensuring that apprentices and employers can continue to access high quality training, both now and in the future. We continue to support traineeships and have introduced flexibilities to enable providers to continue to deliver them where possible, given that traineeships will play an important part in supporting young people back into learning and work.

In early June this year, we launched a £7 million Alternative Provision Transition Fund to enable Alternative Provision schools to support all their Year 11 pupils to transition successfully into post-16 settings this summer, and avoid becoming NEET.

9th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to (1) maintain the total prohibition on the use of asbestos, and (2) rule out any instance of permitting products containing up to one per cent of asbestos as per regulations in the United States, after December 2020.

At the end of the transition period, the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (as amended by the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020) will convert the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation & restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation into domestic law. All existing EU REACH restrictions will be carried over to UK REACH at that point, including those relating to asbestos.

The Government has no plans to revise these restrictions or alter the way asbestos is regulated in the UK.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Sugg on 10 June (HL6272) and following the UK Deputy Ambassador to Eritrea’s statement on 22 June that health and safety conditions on roadbuilding projects in that country would deteriorate if the UK and EU withdraws support, what assessment they have made of the working conditions of those projects; and what steps they are taking ensure that health and safety standards are maintained.

The UK’s support for the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa projects in Eritrea on the main arterial roads was conditional on the EU working with the UN to monitor the treatment of workers implementing the project. We pressed the EU to ensure enhanced safeguards were in place and they have confirmed that the project implementer (UNOPS) will monitor whether workers are receiving an appropriate salary, and that basic health and safety standards are applied. This is alongside our continuing efforts to encourage reform of the Eritrean national service system.

30th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the health and safety standards on roadbuilding projects funded by the EU Trust Fund for Africa.

The UK exercises oversight of UK funding directed through the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa through the Fund’s governance mechanisms. Individual projects such as roadbuilding are assessed for project and contextual risks and in relation to essential standards, including those for health and safety.

30th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government which UK Government funded projects in Sudan, if any, have been cancelled as a result of prioritising COVID-19 related programmes.

The UK has not cancelled any programmes in Sudan as a result of COVID-19. We are committed to supporting the Sudanese response to the COVID-19 pandemic and delivering vital humanitarian assistance to those most in need. The UK is committed to supporting Sudan’s transition to a stable, prosperous democracy.

9th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the humanitarian situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea following reports by the United Nations of food shortages and malnutrition; what steps they are taking to provide humanitarian assistance which reaches those in urgent need; and what discussions they have had with the government of that country to urge it to use its resources to prioritise the feeding of its people.

We assess that North Korea’s humanitarian need is likely increasing as a result of the country’s border lockdown in response to COVID-19. The lockdown has prevented most aid shipments from entering the country since January and restrictions on internal movement, including for UN agencies and NGOs, has severely impacted the distribution of aid and support. The UN estimates that 10.1 million people suffer from food insecurity and are in urgent need of food assistance.

DFID is providing multilateral funds to the UN and other international organisations providing humanitarian assistance in North Korea, including the Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP) in response to COVID-19. As a country of concern in the GHRP, North Korea is receiving funds from this global appeal. We continue to make clear to the North Korean government that international support is available, and urge them to restore international access and monitoring for humanitarian assistance. The UK has also repeatedly called on North Korea to prioritise the well-being of its people over the development of illegal weapons programmes, through our bilateral relationship and in multilateral fora.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the killing of Uwavera Omozuwa, in a church in Benin City, Nigeria; and how UK Aid to Nigeria is used to combat gender-based violence in that country.

The High Commission in Abuja is tracking closely developments around the deplorable killing of Uwavera Omozuwa last month in a church in Benin City. The High Commissioner has spoken out against her killing and all gender-based violence (GBV), calling for those responsible to face justice.

GBV is an endemic issue in Nigeria and poses ongoing challenges to changing behaviour and ensuring equality and equity for women, girls, men, and boys. DFID Nigeria is committed to empowering women and protecting the most vulnerable. We directly support systems and interventions to mitigate and respond to GBV in the conflict-affected North East through provision of emergency medical care and in the case-management, legal counselling and psycho-social support for survivors of GBV through our humanitarian programme.

Across DFID Nigeria, we pursue DFID’s Strategic Vision for Women and Girls. We promote women’s rights and gender equality through multiple sectors: increasing women’s economic empowerment through dedicated livelihoods programmes; ensuring gender sensitivity of government social protection programmes; supporting women’s participation and representation in politics and civil society through governance programmes; and keeping girls safe in schools through our education programmes.

2nd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by The World Bank Group Capture of Foreign Aid: Evidence from Offshore Bank Accounts, published in February, in particular its finding that disbursements of aid to 22 of the most aid-dependent countries coincided with significant increases in the value of bank deposits in tax havens.

We do not tolerate any misuse of UK aid and have robust systems in place to protect our investments. The Government welcomes research in international development, which can help to inform this. The World Bank is a key partner to the Government in international efforts to tackle corruption and has been assessed by the Government and other parties as having robust procedures to combat fraud and corruption in the use of its funds.

25th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Sugg on 18 February (HL1300), which consultancies were used to help deliver the UK–Africa Investment Summit 2020; and how much those consultancies were paid.

The government contracted a range of companies to provide services including production, and the design and running of pre-events, to support the delivery of the UK-Africa Investment Summit. These contracts are ongoing, and it is the government’s intention to provide further details in due course.

11th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees that (1) fighting in Sudan’s West Darfur State has displaced an estimated 46,000 people inside that country and caused more than 14,000 to flee into Chad since December, (2) the majority of those displaced are women and young children, (3) villages and homes have been burnt, and (4) a further 30,000 are estimated to be displaced in the coming weeks; and what action they are taking to bring to justice those who are responsible.

We are deeply concerned by the recent violence in West Darfur, and subsequent dispersal of a large number of people to nearby el Geneina town and Eastern Chad. Many of those displaced are believed to be women and children. Recent violence has left substantial damage, including the large scale burning of houses. The situation is now calm but remains fragile.

In response international organisations have channelled funds to support those displaced, including from the Sudan Humanitarian Fund (to which the UK is the largest bilateral donor). The UK welcomes the establishment of a committee for reconciliation and to investigate those responsible for this violence. The UK is strongly committed to respect for human rights and accountability, and continues to encourage all parties to progress the peace talks.

5th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much UK aid has been provided to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in each of the past 10 years; how many Department for International Development employees work exclusively on the Democratic Republic of the Congo; what that aid has been used for; and what assessment they have made of the effect such aid has had on preventing corruption and building a rules-based society.

The UK is a longstanding development partner of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Over the last 10 years (2009-2018) the DRC has received approximately £1.65 billion in UK bilateral Overseas Development Assistance. 56 people are currently employed by the Department for International Development to work exclusively on the DRC. UK Aid supports millions of Congolese in need through improved access to clean water, health care and education- providing lifesaving humanitarian assistance, by tackling outbreaks and global health emergencies such as Ebola, Measles and Cholera. We also contribute to creating peace and stability by tackling the underlying drivers of conflict, creating access to sustainable jobs and improved incomes. UK Aid is tackling corruption, strengthening accountability and contributing to rules-based society, including through both our public financial management and elections programme. The effectiveness of DFID programmes is measured against expected results, and the value for money provided. Individual programme performance is assessed annually and can be viewed on DFID’s development tracker.

4th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) attacks on Christian Rohingya refugee families by other refugees in Bangladesh, in particular reports of such attacks in the Kutupalong Refugee Camp on 27 January; and (2) what steps they are taking to ensure the safety of refugees around the world who are from religious minority groups.

We are aware of reports of attacks on Christian Rohingya refugee families in Kutupalong, Bangladesh, and are monitoring the situation closely. The UK government, working through the main agencies responsible for protection and safety, is committed to improving the safety of all the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. DFID is a major supporter of the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR). UNHCR works to provide international protection and humanitarian assistance; and to seek permanent solutions for all refugees, returnees, stateless people and, in some instances, internally displaced people. This includes refugees from religious minority groups. UNHCR plays a critical role in ensuring that those persecuted because of their religion have protection in the country they have fled to. DFID works with UNHCR and all its humanitarian partners, including faith-based humanitarian organisations to ensure aid is given to those most vulnerable and most in need of assistance, in line with the humanitarian principles. This includes members of religious minority groups, who are often among those most in need of protection and assistance when assessed by our humanitarian partners.

4th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any consultancies were used to help deliver the UK–Africa Investment Summit 2020; and if so, why.

The production aspects of the UK-Africa Investment Summit were contracted out to specialist event companies, as is normal government practice. We also used contractors to design and run the series of pre-events, to undertake analysis of trade and investment trends, and to assess the Summit's impact. These organisations complemented the large cross-government team of policy officials who delivered the Summit.

4th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much UK aid has been spent via the European Development Fund (EDF) in Africa in each of the past ten years; how much will be spent via the EDF in the next financial year; whether the spending priorities for the EDF will be reassessed; who will determine any such future priorities; and on what basis.

The European Development Fund’s (EDF) bilateral country allocations to Sub-Saharan Africa have varied over time, but historically have been at least 80% per year, with additional EDF funding to Africa going through regional components, trust funds and multilateral partners. There are no plans to reassess the EDF spending for 2020 as the instrument comes to an end in December 2020. Further information on the EDF and allocations of funding can be found at: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/EPRS/EPRS-IDA-542140-European-Development-Fund-FINAL.pdf

Between the financial years 2009/10 and 2019/20 the UK contributed £4.1bn to the EDF. We estimate that at least £3.3bn has been used for allocations to Sub-Saharan Africa at country and regional levels. Full details of our annual contributions to the EDF can be found at: https://devtracker.dfid.gov.uk/projects/GB-1-200236

The Withdrawal Agreement sets out that the UK will honour commitments made to the EU budget during the period of our membership up to December 2020. The UK will fund all programmes approved during the current EU Multiannual Financial Framework (2014-2020), which includes obligations to the current, and previous, European Development Funds. For financial year 2020/21, we estimate that at least £516m of DFID’s EDF payments will be spent in Sub-Saharan Africa, though fluctuations may result from the rate of EDF programme delivery and exchange rate fluctuations over the coming year.

28th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much development aid has been given to Nigeria in each of the last ten years.

The total UK bilateral Official Development Assistance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria for each of the previous ten years is detailed below:

Year

£ thousands

2009

121,277

2010

171,335

2011

186,428

2012

197,313

2013

248,734

2014

236,639

2015

262,685

2016

319,583

2017

327,199

2018

296,819

Source: Statistics on International Development 2018. Additional Table 4A. Published 19 September 2019. https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/statistics-on-international-development-final-uk-aid-spend-2018

28th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much of the UK's development aid to Nigeria is used to (1) promote community cohesion, (2) protect those at risk of attack by jihadists, and (3) bring to justice those responsible for any atrocities and crimes against humanity.

The UK’s development assistance to Nigeria seeks to address some of the root causes of conflict throughout the country (and particularly in the North East) and help build stability in the longer term. In particular, the UK is promoting community cohesion in North East Nigeria through a range of interventions from £3m in 2019/20 to improve relationships between communities and security forces to both build trust and ensure the protection of civilians in target communities in Borno State, North East Nigeria; £900,000 to build the resilience of women and children survivors of violent extremism and reintegrate them into communities; and £2 million of support for Nigeria’s Defections, Disengagement, Demobilisation, De-radicalisation and Reintegration programme that is managed by the International Organisation for Migration from December 2019 to March 2021.

To protect those at risk of attack as a result of the insecurity, DFID has a £16m two-year programme dedicated to providing support to those affected by the conflict in North East Nigeria, particularly victims of sexual and gender-based violence. DFID works with partners, the UN and NGOs to save lives, strengthen resilience, and protect civilians from attacks and violations of international law. To improve the effectiveness of security responses and the protection of civilians in Borno state, the UK is providing up to £800,000 from October 2019 to March 2021.

We are careful to ensure that our ongoing work in a complex environment to bring potential perpetrators to justice is compliant with International Human Rights Law.

25th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made in implementing Project DEFEND; and how has it contributed to (1) national resilience, and (2) a reduction in supply chain dependency on the People's Republic of China.

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. Ministers will correspond directly with the Member.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports by the BBC on 18 November that conflict in Ethiopia has (1) reduced Djiboutian trade by 80 per cent, (2) cost Djibouti $1.7 billion, and (3) affected supply chains and trade across the region.

Trade, and the overall prosperity of a nation, suffers when there is conflict such as in Ethiopia. HM Government is encouraging all parties in Ethiopia to come to a quick and peaceful resolution to provide stability there and in the immediate region.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
9th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many meetings they have had with the government of China since 12 January at which representatives of the Department for International Trade were present; and what was discussed at each of those meetings.

Neither Ministerial colleagues nor officials in London have met with the Chinese administration during this time.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
20th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the (1) Chinese companies which have been banned from operating in the United States but have not been banned in the UK, and (2) reasons why those companies have been banned in the United States.

HM Government has repeatedly condemned the violation of rights and responsibilities in Xinjiang. On 22nd June, a British diplomatic effort helped deliver the support of over 40 countries for a statement on the treatment of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang at the UN Human Rights Council, calling on China to grant unfettered access to the region for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The US is a close partner, but we are an independent nation, with our own decision-making on what constitutes a security threat. The United Kingdom has no equivalent of the US Entity List.

As the passage of the National Security and Investment Act shows, we are strengthening our domestic toolbox in certain sectors. This Act will mandate notification of certain types of transaction to provide a proportionate defence against hostile actors targeting certain sectors. No single country or company is designated as ‘high risk’; transactions are dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

In addition, large businesses operating in the United Kingdom are required to report on how they are tackling forced labour in their operations and supply chains under the Modern Slavery Act.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
19th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the reasons for the US Commerce Department’s decision to add BGI Group to an economic blacklist of Chinese companies implicated in human rights violations regarding China’s treatment of Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region.

HM Government has repeatedly condemned the violation of rights and responsibilities in Xinjiang. On 22nd June, a British diplomatic effort helped deliver the support of over 40 countries for a statement on the treatment of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang at the UN Human Rights Council, calling on China to grant unfettered access to the region for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The US is a close partner, but we are an independent nation, with our own decision-making on what constitutes a security threat. The United Kingdom has no equivalent of the US Entity List.

As the passage of the National Security and Investment Act shows, we are strengthening our domestic toolbox in certain sectors. This Act will mandate notification of certain types of transaction to provide a proportionate defence against hostile actors targeting certain sectors. No single country or company is designated as ‘high risk’; transactions are dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

In addition, large businesses operating in the United Kingdom are required to report on how they are tackling forced labour in their operations and supply chains under the Modern Slavery Act.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
25th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the estimate by US Customs and Border Protection that 85 per cent of China’s manufactured cotton comes from the Xinjiang region; and what plans they have to introduce restrictions on imports of cotton to prevent the import of goods sent from Uighur internment camps in the Xinjiang region.

HM Government has serious concerns about the situation in Xinjiang, with reports of the use of forced labour. It has always been the case that where we have concerns, we raise them – as we did on this issue at the UN Human Rights Council, most recently in February.

We advise businesses with supply chain links in Xinjiang to conduct appropriate due diligence to satisfy themselves that their activities do not support, and are not seen to support, any violations or abuses of rights and responsibilities.

My Rt Hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary announced a review of export controls on 12th January, but import controls were not included at this time.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
14th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks made by Viscount Younger of Leckie on 7 December 2020 (HL Deb, col 1085), what plans they have to enter free trade negotiations with the government of China in the future; and what human rights due diligence they will employ during any such negotiations to ensure that the UK does not support the exploitation of Uighur Muslims in China.

HM Government has no plans at present to negotiate a free trade agreement with China.

The United Kingdom has long supported the promotion of our values globally and has consistently voiced concern at the situation in Xinjiang. On 12th January, the Foreign Secretary announced a series of measures to help ensure that no British businesses will profit from or contribute to violations against the Uyghurs or other minorities. These measures send a clear message to China that there are economic and reputation costs for what it is doing in Xinjiang.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
5th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce export licensing controls for equipment used for the removal, freezing, or transportation, of organs to countries where there have been credible reports of forced organ harvesting.

My Rt Hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary’s statement of 12 January 2021 on the situation in Xinjiang committed HM Government to a review of export controls as they apply specifically geographically to the situation in Xinjiang, to make sure that we are doing everything that we can to prevent the export of any goods that could directly or indirectly contribute to human rights violations in that region.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
17th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to undertake trade with a state if a court has predetermined that a genocide is underway; and what assessment they have made of the impact on the UK’s ability to undertake international trade of amendments to the Trade Bill relating to trade agreements with states accused of committing genocide.

The United Kingdom have long promoted our values globally. We are clear that more trade does not have to come at the expense of our values.

Our experience is that political freedom and the rule of law are vital underpinnings for both prosperity and stability and that, by having strong economic relationships with partners, we are able to have open discussions on a range of issues. Despite our varying approach to agreements with partners, we will always have open discussions on a range of issues, including rights and responsibilities.

Clause 2 of the Trade Bill allows HM Government to implement those trade agreements the EU including the United Kingdom had with third countries, prior to the United Kingdom leaving the EU. The list of countries in scope can be found at: gov.uk/guidance/uk-trade-agreements-with-non-eu-countries

The Trade Bill has no provisions to implement a free trade agreement with those countries, such as China, who did not have a free trade agreement with the EU prior to 31st January 2020.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
17th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the government of the United States’ decision to introduce restrictions on (1) Changji Esquel Textile Co. Ltd, (2) Hefei Bitland Information Technology Co. Ltd, (3) Hefei Meiling Co. Ltd, (4) Hetian Haolin Hair Accessories Co. Ltd, (5) Hetian Taida Apparel Co. Ltd, (6) KTK Group, Nanjing Synergy Textiles Co. Ltd, and (7) Nanchang O-Film Tech, Tanyuan Technology Co. Ltd; whether they have imposed similar restrictions; and if not, why not.

HM Government has repeatedly condemned the egregious violations being perpetrated against Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang. Most recently, on 6th October, we issued a joint statement with 38 other countries at the UN General Assembly Third Committee.

The United States’ Export Administration Regulations contain a list of foreign entities, including businesses, that are subject to specific license requirements (the ‘Entity List’). A license must be obtained before exporting, re-exporting or transferring (in-country) an item to a listed entity. The United Kingdom has no equivalent of the US Entity List.

However, large businesses operating in the United Kingdom are required, under the Modern Slavery Act 2015, to report on how they are tackling forced labour in their operations and supply chains.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
29th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to consult the Joint Committee on Human Rights when assessing prospective trade deals.

We have provided extensive information to Parliament on our negotiations, including publishing our objectives and economic scoping assessments prior to negotiations beginning. We continue to engage closely with the relevant scrutiny committees, namely the International Trade Committee in the House of Commons and the International Agreements Sub-Committee in the House of Lords.

We have a strong history of safeguarding rights and promoting our values. While our approach to agreements will vary between partners, it will always allow HM Government to have open discussions on these issues.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
7th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made in developing a cross-departmental human rights threshold for inclusion in any (1) current and forthcoming trade and telecommunications agreements, and (2) other legislation.

HM Government has a strong history of promoting our values globally. While our approach to agreements will vary between partners, our strong economic relationships allow us to have open discussions on a range of difficult issues, including rights and responsibilities.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
1st Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they intend to take through the implementation of Project Defend to reduce the UK’s reliance on imports from authoritarian states and to increase national resilience.

Project DEFEND is working to help Britain become more resilient and ensure that more diverse supply chains are put in place to allow the continued flow of essential items and avoid shortages in future.

We are analysing critical supply chains and identifying countries with a high level of supply chain influence, in order that we can help strengthen Britain’s supply chain resilience. Our approach continues to underline our international leadership in promoting free trade, and our belief in the benefits that free trade brings.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
19th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Henry Jackson Society?Breaking the China Supply Chain: How the ‘Five Eyes’ Can Decouple From Strategic Dependency, published on 14 May, which states that the UK is strategically dependent on China for 229 categories of goods, 57 of which are used in critical national infrastructure

HM Government is protecting our national security while ensuring the United Kingdom remains a global champion of free trade and an attractive destination for international investment.

My Department is working with other departments and our counterparts overseas to ensure the continued flow of critical equipment and supplies through this pandemic, as well as supporting trading businesses as the economy recovers. This includes diversifying the import and export markets for British businesses, which will allow them to build resilience into their supply chains.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
16th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that (1) Hikvision, and (2) Dahua, cameras and technology are not used in the procurement supply chain for the HS2 railway line.

It is not government policy to comment on security arrangements.

HS2 Ltd's procurement process is undertaken in line with the Utilities Contract Regulations (2016 as amended). HS2’s contracts specify a level of capability which suppliers of products must be able to meet.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 10 March (HL6409), how many Chinese technology cameras made by (1) Hikvision, and (2) Dahua Technology, are currently in use in (a) train stations, (b) airports, and (c) bus stations, in the UK.

As has been the case under successive administrations, it is not Government policy to comment on security arrangements at UK transport sites.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans are in place to implement the International Maritime Organisation’s Recommended framework of protocols for ensuring safe ship crew changes and travel during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, issued on 6 May, to ensure the continued free movement of seafarers; and what steps they are taking to ensure the swift return to the UK of UK seafarers whose contracts of employment have expired and are now stranded on ships around the world.

The Government welcomes the framework that was developed by the International Chamber of Shipping and other organisations, which has been supported and circulated by the International Maritime Organisation. The Department wrote to the International Maritime Organisation, the International Labour Organisation and the World Health Organisation on 23 March 2020, confirming that the UK will continue to meet its international obligations related to the transit and transfer of seafarers and highlighted that the UK is fully committed to the welfare of all seafarers regardless of their nationality.

The Government is currently considering the framework in more detail to see what more can be done to further facilitate crew changes in UK and we will do this work as quickly as we can, as we are very keen to see a resolution, and support the sector.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking in response to the UK Chamber of Shipping’s request that they sign up to a global initiative to repatriate seafarers stranded across the world.

The Government understands the concerns that have been raised by the UK Chamber of Shipping in relation to crew changes and ensuring that seafarers who have completed their contracts can return home. We acknowledge their request for the UK to sign up to the initiative developed by the International Chamber of Shipping and other organisations, which has been supported and circulated by the International Maritime Organisation.The Government is currently considering the framework in more detail to see what more can be done to further facilitate crew changes in UK and we will do this work as quickly as we can, as we are very keen to see a resolution, and support the sector.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that up to 2,000 UK seafarers have been stranded on ships.  [T]

The Government reaffirmed its commitment to welfare for all seafarers to the ILO and IMO at the start of this crisis, which we will continue to uphold.

According to DfT data, the number of British crew members currently working on cruise vessels around the globe is closer to 1,400 rather than 2,000.

We recognise this is a worrying time for British crew on board cruise ships around the world. It is primarily the responsibility of their employers – the cruise ship operators – to ensure the welfare and safety of their staff. However, the Government continues to monitor the welfare of all UK seafarers and is working to support employers in their repatriation efforts for all non-essential staff.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that Transpennine Express have cancelled up to 40 per cent of trains on some routes; what are the reasons for those reported cancellations; how long they estimate any cancellations to last; what discussions they have had with Transpennine Express about the cancellations; and what was the outcome of any such discussions.

The December timetable was designed to be transformative for customers travelling on its three new fleets of trains. The full December timetable included a new direct route from Liverpool to Glasgow, the extension of the service from Newcastle to Edinburgh and a new service from Middlesbrough to Redcar.

Due to the late delivery and technical issues with its new trains which impacted on driver training and availability of crews, customers of TransPennine Express (TPE) experienced an unacceptable increase in disruption. To provide a more stable service, TPE has introduced temporary timetable changes between Liverpool Lime Street and Edinburgh until the end of January to allow it to recover. The Rail North Partnership representing the DfT and Transport for the North continues to challenge TPE robustly and hold the operator to account on its contractual obligations. Only last week, my Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Transport called in executives from TPE and other industry bodies to reinforce this point. If appropriate, we will take action under the terms set out in the Franchise Agreement.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they respond to the assessment of Lord Berkeley, former deputy chairman of the Oakervee Review into HS2, that (1) Parliament has been misled about the cost of HS2, (2) it could cost more than £100 billion, and (3) the costs are “out of control”.

Lord Berkeley’s report represents his personal views. The Secretary of State commissioned the Oakervee Review to provide advice on how and whether to proceed with HS2, including examining the project’s costs and benefits. Douglas Oakervee’s report will inform our assessment of the estimated cost, if the Government decides to proceed. We will of course give appropriate consideration to Lord Berkeley’s personal views.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking, if any, to persuade Cape Industries Ltd to contribute to the funding of research on asbestos-related diseases.

No steps have been taken: whether to contribute to the funding of research on asbestos-related diseases would be a matter for Cape Industries Ltd.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they take to ensure that the investment strategies of pension funds and other institutional investors take into account (1) crimes against humanity, and (2) genocide, as social risk factors.

The Government has taken action to ensure that environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors are taken into account by institutional investors.

2018 changes to the Occupational Pension Schemes (Investment) Regulations require occupational pension schemes to have policies on financially material ESG factors and on stewardship of their investments. Trustees are also required to report annually on how these policies have been implemented. These policies may include considerations such as those set out in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and in relation to issues such as crimes against humanity and genocide.

There are also similar expectations on providers of contract-based pensions in respect of their pension investments. The Independent Governance Committees (IGCs) of these firms are expected to consider and report on their firm’s policies on ESG issues and stewardship for the products that the IGCs oversee.

The importance and growth of investing in line with ESG considerations is a focus area of the Asset Management Taskforce – a regular forum chaired by the Economic Secretary to the Treasury bringing together Government, industry, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and other stakeholders. On 24 November 2020, the Asset Management Taskforce published “Investing With Purpose: placing stewardship at the heart of sustainable growth”. This report’s clear recommendations, which apply across the investment chain, will further enhance the UK’s stewardship regime aim to ensure that asset managers are focused on delivering long-term, sustainable benefits for investors, the economy, the environment and society.

The UK Stewardship Code, which was strengthened in 2020, also sets out at Principle 7 the expectation that its investor signatories systematically integrate material social issues into stewardship and investment. Stewardship by asset owners and asset managers involves making informed decisions about where to invest, and proactive oversight of assets once invested. The FCA’s disclosure of commitment rule to the Stewardship Code, as well as rules promoting disclosure of asset managers’ engagement and investment strategies under Revised Shareholder Rights Directive (SRD II), holds asset managers accountable and promotes the importance of stewardship. Consistent with the FCA’s objective to make relevant markets function well, stewardship activities improve market quality and integrity, and help create sustainable, long-term value for clients and beneficiaries, while having wider economic, environmental and societal benefits.

The Government would also expect institutional investors to be monitoring risks to their investments posed by breaches of international human rights law.

We recognise that some investors have not focused on social factors as much as environmental factors such as climate change. The Department for Work and Pensions has therefore written to 40 large schemes to understand their current practices. It also intends to seek views on whether occupational pension schemes’ policies and practices on social risk factors are sufficiently robust and what the Government could do to ensure that trustees are able to meet their legal obligations in this respect.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they take to ensure that pension funds and other institutional investors comply with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

The Government has taken action to ensure that environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors are taken into account by institutional investors.

2018 changes to the Occupational Pension Schemes (Investment) Regulations require occupational pension schemes to have policies on financially material ESG factors and on stewardship of their investments. Trustees are also required to report annually on how these policies have been implemented. These policies may include considerations such as those set out in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and in relation to issues such as crimes against humanity and genocide.

There are also similar expectations on providers of contract-based pensions in respect of their pension investments. The Independent Governance Committees (IGCs) of these firms are expected to consider and report on their firm’s policies on ESG issues and stewardship for the products that the IGCs oversee.

The importance and growth of investing in line with ESG considerations is a focus area of the Asset Management Taskforce – a regular forum chaired by the Economic Secretary to the Treasury bringing together Government, industry, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and other stakeholders. On 24 November 2020, the Asset Management Taskforce published “Investing With Purpose: placing stewardship at the heart of sustainable growth”. This report’s clear recommendations, which apply across the investment chain, will further enhance the UK’s stewardship regime aim to ensure that asset managers are focused on delivering long-term, sustainable benefits for investors, the economy, the environment and society.

The UK Stewardship Code, which was strengthened in 2020, also sets out at Principle 7 the expectation that its investor signatories systematically integrate material social issues into stewardship and investment. Stewardship by asset owners and asset managers involves making informed decisions about where to invest, and proactive oversight of assets once invested. The FCA’s disclosure of commitment rule to the Stewardship Code, as well as rules promoting disclosure of asset managers’ engagement and investment strategies under Revised Shareholder Rights Directive (SRD II), holds asset managers accountable and promotes the importance of stewardship. Consistent with the FCA’s objective to make relevant markets function well, stewardship activities improve market quality and integrity, and help create sustainable, long-term value for clients and beneficiaries, while having wider economic, environmental and societal benefits.

The Government would also expect institutional investors to be monitoring risks to their investments posed by breaches of international human rights law.

We recognise that some investors have not focused on social factors as much as environmental factors such as climate change. The Department for Work and Pensions has therefore written to 40 large schemes to understand their current practices. It also intends to seek views on whether occupational pension schemes’ policies and practices on social risk factors are sufficiently robust and what the Government could do to ensure that trustees are able to meet their legal obligations in this respect.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Oxford University Disability Law and Policy Project and the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights An Affront to Dignity, Inclusion and Equality, published on 2 July, in particular its recommendations (1) that all legislation passed during the COVID-19 pandemic should be reviewed to ensure that the duties under the Equality Act 2010 and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities are met, and (2) that a COVID-19 disability inclusive response and recovery group should be established to ensure that disabled people are central in the decision making relating to economic and social recovery following the pandemic.

The Government notes the recommendations in the report by Oxford University on “An Affront to Dignity, Inclusion and Equality”.

The Cabinet Office Disability Unit continues to work with disability stakeholders and across Government Departments to ensure that the needs of disabled people are considered in the UK Government’s response to COVID-19.

We are clear that consideration of equality impacts must be integral in all key policy decisions. All equality and discrimination laws and obligations continue to apply during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government remains committed to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and to the progressive realisation of the rights for disabled people that it sets out.

The National Strategy for Disabled People is a key manifesto commitment for this Government and its delivery remains important for ministers, including No. 10. Its significance is even greater, as we re-build the UK’s economy and society following the COVID-19 pandemic. We are now focusing on meaningful engagement with stakeholders, strengthening our evidence base and keeping momentum to deliver the high ambition strategy that the Prime Minister has called for.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Lord Kamall on 26 January (HL5352), 10 February (HL5960), and 23 March (HL6213), whether they have notified the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency regarding the concerns around Inivos sterile surgical gowns.

The Department has notified the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency regarding the Inivos surgical gowns.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Kamall on 10 February (HL5960), what criteria they use to assess whether information is commercially sensitive; and what was the outcome of the technical review of Inivos gowns.

The contract is considered commercially sensitive as disclosure would be likely to prejudice a company’s commercial interests and inhibit its ability to do business in the future.

Therefore, we are unable to disclose the outcome of the technical regulatory assurance process.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the use by NHS Trusts of Chinese-made surveillance cameras made by companies currently subject to US sanctions and investment bans.

This information is not collected by the Department therefore no such assessment has been made.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they plan to publish a modern slavery statement covering their procurement of personal protective equipment since January 2020.

A statement on modern slavery in the procurement of personal protective equipment is expected to be published by NHS Supply Chain in autumn 2022.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the NHS has different standards for surgical gown sterility to those used by the World Health Organisation; and to provide details of any contracts for surgical gowns that did not meet NHS standards since March 2020.

The National Health Service standards for sterile gowns are the same as the World Health Organization standards.

The Department’s technical assurance unit is currently undertaking a formal sterility testing programme for China-manufactured sterile surgical gowns under the direction of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

We are unable to provide the information requested on individual contracts as it is commercially sensitive.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Kamall of 26 January (HL5352), what is the outcome of the technical review of Inivos gowns, which are currently under investigation through the technical regulatory assurance process.

We are unable to provide the information requested as it is commercially sensitive.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Department of Health and Social Care’s anti-fraud unit investigating personal protective equipment contracts (1) has passed, or (2) intends to pass, dossiers of evidence for criminal prosecutions to the Serious Fraud Squad.

Due to the emergency nature of the personal protective equipment (PPE) procurement, the Department’s Anti-Fraud Unit received referrals from varying sources on 37 contracts. In many instances, these reflected the exceptional circumstances surrounding PPE procurement and contract award. The Department acted to identify potential for fraud in PPE contracts with high-risk indicators. This prevented or terminated 11 contracts, which avoided a potential fraud loss of £157 million.

The Department takes allegations of fraud seriously and explores every available option, including working with law enforcement partners, where appropriate, to bring those who commit fraud to account. However, we are unable to provide details of ongoing counter fraud actions as to do so could prejudice the outcomes.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in the event that any suppliers of faulty PPE are required to return public funds to the Department of Health and Social Care, they will publish what monies have been returned; by whom; how much has been recouped; and whether any evidence of criminality has been exposed and being prosecuted.

The Department is committed to transparency and a total of funds recovered may be published in future. However, settlements arising from the supply of faulty personal protective equipment are commercially sensitive. Therefore we will be unable to provide details of individual settlements. Where losses are incurred, these will be recorded in the Department’s Financial Losses Register and all such sums will be included in the Annual Report and Accounts. If evidence of criminal activity is suspected, the Department will support relevant agencies in such investigations.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many personal protective equipment contracts have been referred to their Anti-fraud Unit since April 2020.

Due to the emergency nature of the personal protective equipment (PPE) procurement, the Department’s Anti-Fraud Unit received referrals from varying sources on 37 contracts. In many instances, these reflected the exceptional circumstances surrounding PPE procurement and contract award. The Department acted to identify potential for fraud in PPE contracts with high-risk indicators. This prevented or terminated 11 contracts, which avoided a potential fraud loss of £157 million.

The Department takes allegations of fraud seriously and explores every available option, including working with law enforcement partners, where appropriate, to bring those who commit fraud to account. However, we are unable to provide details of ongoing counter fraud actions as to do so could prejudice the outcomes.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how the incidence of serious incidents disclosed to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, including where samples are mixed up or patient records are read incorrectly, compares to the frequency of serious incidents in other areas of medicine for which comparable records are available.

Due to the way in which data is collected on incidents by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) and the National Reporting and Learning Systems (NRLS), it is not possible to make a direct comparison as both sets of data are recorded by separate bodies and the incidents are not recorded in the same way.

The HFEA monitors all reported incidents in order to ensure that clinics learn from them and prevent re-occurrence. Overall, the number of incidents has remained at 0.6% per treatment cycle for the last few years. There are about 80,000 treatment cycles per year and there have been five grade A incidents, the most serious, since 2016.

NHS England and NHS Improvement operate the NRLS, which collects reports of patient safety incidents from across the National Health Service. Patient safety incidents can be reported through a variety of routes by individual NHS staff, including through local trust risk management systems and web-based e-forms, including an open access e-form. Incidents are reported voluntarily.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Kamall on 19 January (HL4883), why they are unable to identify losses on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

The Department is seeking to recover monies paid to PPE Medpro in relation to a contract for the provision of gowns. Currently the parties are engaged in mediation and exploring whether it is possible to resolve the matter without formal legal action. The Department has not yet suffered a loss but may do so if it is unable to recover monies from PPE Medpro, either by agreement arising from mediation or pursuant to formal legal action.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, with regard to the provision of FFP3 masks to GPs, whether they also provided fit-testing of such masks; whether fit-testing is required before the use of FFP3 masks by GPs; what guidance they have provided to GPs concerning arranging a fit-test; and what assessment they have made of the impact on the resources and capacity of hospitals to carry out fit-tests for GPs.

There are sufficient stocks of FFP3 masks which are available to general practitioners (GPs) via the ordering portal, with limits set by size of practice. In general practice, type IIR or surgical face masks are usually worn for patient contact. Infection prevention and control measures allow for local risk assessments to determine that FFP3 masks should be worn in circumstances, such as undertaking aerosol generating procedures or if deemed necessary by the local risk assessment and if fit-testing has been carried out.

From 17 January 2022, practices requiring FFP3 masks where fit-testing has been organised, will be able to order these masks through the portal. It is a legal requirement for employers to ensure that staff are fit-tested before FFP3 face masks can be worn. Clinical commissioning groups and integrated care systems are being asked to identify regional or local fit testing capacity through Departmental networks to meet local demand.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they are addressing any (1) unavailability, and (2) rationing, of FFP3 masks used by GPs required for treating COVID patients in the community via home antiviral therapy.

There are sufficient stocks of FFP3 masks which are available to general practitioners (GPs) via the ordering portal, with limits set by size of practice. In general practice, type IIR or surgical face masks are usually worn for patient contact. Infection prevention and control measures allow for local risk assessments to determine that FFP3 masks should be worn in circumstances, such as undertaking aerosol generating procedures or if deemed necessary by the local risk assessment and if fit-testing has been carried out.

From 17 January 2022, practices requiring FFP3 masks where fit-testing has been organised, will be able to order these masks through the portal. It is a legal requirement for employers to ensure that staff are fit-tested before FFP3 face masks can be worn. Clinical commissioning groups and integrated care systems are being asked to identify regional or local fit testing capacity through Departmental networks to meet local demand.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the total public expenditure on faulty PPE products made by Zhende and Inivos which cannot be used by the NHS; and what steps they are taking to recoup this expenditure.

Inivos supplied gowns with a contract value of £117,360,000, which are currently under investigation through the technical regulatory assurance process. Since the Department does not have a contract directly with Zhende, the information requested is not held centrally.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have any plans to (1) repeal section 32 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 relating to procurement of medical supplies during emergencies such as pandemics, and (2) amend the Health and Care Bill to make provision for new public procurement policies during times of emergency or pandemics based on transparency, accountability and value for public money.

The Government is transforming the regulatory framework for public procurement following the publication of a Green Paper last year. This work is being led by the Cabinet Office. Following a consultation exercise and as set out in the Government response to the consultation exercise published in December 2021, the Government proposes to retain provision allowing limited tendering in situations of extreme urgency brought about by unforeseeable events (Regulation 32(2)(c) in the Public Contracts Regulations). However, the COVID-19 pandemic exposed some uncertainty in applying Regulation 32 where the situation is prolonged or evolving and new measures will set out clear arrangements for how procurement should be conducted, including in situations where extreme urgency is a factor.

The Health and Care Bill does not include provisions for new public procurement policies during times of emergency or pandemics as this is a matter for the Cabinet Office’s regulatory framework for public procurement.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of the report concerning 47 PPE contracts awarded through a fast-track process; (2) whether this report has been seen by the Health and Safety Executive; (3) if not, why not; and (4) what steps they are taking to prevent contracts being awarded through such a process again.

No such report has been produced.

The Government is transforming public procurement following the publication of a Green paper last year. New measures will set out clear arrangements for how procurement should be conducted, including in situations where extreme urgency is a factor.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any (1) person, or (2) organisation, will be censured for defaults involving the 47 VIP public contracts for facemasks and surgical gowns; and what steps they have taken in connection with defaults associated with their contract with PPE MedPro.

We have no plans to censure a single individual or organisation. The contract with PPE Medpro is considered commercially sensitive as the Department is currently engaged in a mediation process concerning their products, which involves confidentiality undertakings.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether face masks produced for the NHS by (1) PestFix, and (2) Ayanda Capital, are compliant with Health and Safety Executive safety standards; whether surgical gowns manufactured by (a) PestFix, and (b) PPEMedpro, meet the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority standards; how much these products cost; what procedures were used for their purchase; and what happened to these products after delivery.

Pestfix, Ayanda Capital and PPEMedpro are suppliers and not producers or manufacturers.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency assessed the Type IIR masks supplied by Pestfix and Ayanda and approved the products for release. So far, around 43 million of these masks have been distributed.

Pestfix and Ayanda supplied FFP2 masks with ear loops. This was compliant with the regulatory standard and specifications at the time of contract. It was subsequently determined that ear loops, as opposed to head loops, were not acceptable for use in the National Health Service (NHS). As a result, when the Health and Safety Executive assessed the FFP2 masks supplied by Pestfix and Ayanda, they failed for use in the NHS because they have ear loops rather than head loops. We are looking at making these masks available for overseas markets.

Pestfix and PPEMedpro provided surgical gowns. In both cases these were not approved and no stock was distributed. Whilst the supplies come from different manufacturers all items are “single wrapped sterile surgical gowns”, which cannot be used within the United Kingdom operating theatres, due to sterility concerns around the single wrap. These products could potentially be made available for sale to overseas markets.

Any decisions on individual contracts are regarded as commercially sensitive information, therefore the department is unable to release information in relation to costs and procedures.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of the 47 VIP public contracts involving facemasks and surgical gowns have led to defaults that are now in dispute; what estimate they have made of the percentage of public contracts that involve defaults; and what is the total cost to public funds of public contacts that involve defaults.

The information is not held in the format requested.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Lord Kamall on 2 November (HL3362) and 16 November (HL3662), why “information on the number of embryos produced, transferred, and confirmed pregnancies cannot be disclosed” for reasons of patient confidentiality, when the Written Answer from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department of Health and Social Care on 15 April 2019 (241389) provided figures on the number of applications made, and approved, for mitochondrial donation techniques and the number of embryos discarded; whether there has been a change of policy regarding information about outcomes of pronuclear transfer or spindle-chromosomal complex transfer since 15 April 2019; and if so, (1) when that policy change was made, and (2) what were the reasons for that change.

In our Written Answer of 2 November 2021 to HL3362, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that the information provided was incorrect. We have corrected the record through Written Ministerial Statement HLWS503 on 5 January 2022.

The HFEA advise that there has been no change of policy regarding information about outcomes of pronuclear transfer or spindle-chromosomal complex transfer. The HFEA publishes information which does not compromise patient confidentiality. All counts of less than five are not released as there is a significant possibility that when combined with other information which may be reasonably accessed, it could lead to the identification of a person to whom the HFEA owes a duty of confidentiality.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Kamall on 16 November (HL3662), how performance of pronuclear transfer in mice might remain a reliable predictor of its efficacy in humans; and to what extent the physiopathological or genetic variation between human patients is greater than the physiological or genetic differences between humans and mice.

The Department and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority do not hold recent information on whether pronuclear transfer in mice remains a reliable predictor of its efficacy in humans nor on the extent that physiopathological or genetic variation between human patients is greater than the physiological or genetic differences between humans and mice.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Lord Kamall on 2 November (HL3362) and 1 December (HL4059), what steps the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority have taken in response to the publication by Newcastle University Press Office on 15 December 2016 of the names and picture of a couple considering using the mitochondrial donation technique.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) did not take any steps in response to the publication by Newcastle University Press Office on the 15 December 2016. Patients are entitled to release their own medical and identifying information to the media if they wish to do so. The HFEA would not prevent individuals from discussing their own medical conditions or treatments.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps the (1) Chief Medical, (2) Chief Dental, and (3) Chief Nursing, Officers are taking to identify barriers to employment by the NHS in England of health care professionals arriving from Hong Kong under the British National (Overseas) visa scheme.

The Department is working across the health and care system and other Government departments to understand the needs of British Nationals Overseas visa holders with health and care experience and share best practice on providing supported routes to employment.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to remove any barriers to employment by the NHS of health care professionals arriving from Hong Kong under the British National (Overseas) visa scheme.

The Department is working across the health and care system and other Government departments to understand the needs of British Nationals Overseas visa holders with health and care experience and share best practice on providing supported routes to employment.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Nov 2021
IVF
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Kamall on 2 November (HL3362), what were the affected genes in the mitochondrial genome and the associated mutations in each of the 24 patients licensed as eligible for mitochondrial replacement treatment; and on what dates each corresponding application was approved by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.

The following table shows the gene affected and the mutation in the 26 patients licensed as eligible for mitochondrial donation treatment, the date each application was made and then approved by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) Statutory Approvals Committee.

HFEA Application reference Gene affected by mutation Mutation Date received Date approved by the HFEA Statutory Approvals Committee

M0001 MT-TK Details omitted to protect patient identity 28 June 2017 31 August 2017

M0002 MT-TK Details omitted to protect patient identity 4 September 2017 26 October 2017

M0007 MT-ND1 m.3460 G>A 13 March 2018 24 May 2018

M0003 MT-TL1 Details omitted to protect patient identity 25 September 2017 26 July 2018

M0005 MT-TL1 m.3243 A>G 5 December 2017 26 July 2018

M0008 MT-TL1 m.3243 A>G 15 March 2018 26 July 2018

M0004 MT-TK Details omitted to protect patient identity 4 December 2017 30 August 2018

M0006 MT-TS1 Details omitted to protect patient identity 9 January 2018 30 August 2018

M0009 MT-TI m.4300 A>G 28 June 2018 27 September 2018

M0010 MT-TI m.4300 A>G 11 July 2018 27 September 2018

M0013 MT-ND4 m.11778 G>A 14 July 2018 25 October 2018

M0012 MT-ND1 m.3460 G>A 13 July 2018 25 October 2018

M0014 MT-ND4 m.11778 G>A 23 November 2018 31 January 2019

M0015 MT-ND4 m.11778 G>A 23 November 2018 31 January 2019

M0011 MT-ND4 m.11778 G>A 12 July 2018 29 August 2019

M0016 MT-TK m.8344 A>G 5 July 2019 26 September 2019

M0017 MT-ND4 m.11778 G>A 22 August 2019 31 October 2019

M0018 MT-TL1 Details omitted to protect patient identity 10 December 2019 26 March 2020

M0019 MT-TL1 Details omitted to protect patient identity 10 December 2019 26 March 2020

M0020 MT-TL1 Details omitted to protect patient identity 30 March 2020 25 June 2020

M0021 MT-ND1 Details omitted to protect patient identity 30 March 2020 25 June 2020

M0022 MT-ND1 Details omitted to protect patient identity 26 June 2020 24 September 2020

M0024 MT-ND4 Details omitted to protect patient identity 9 December 2020 29 July 2021

M0025 MT-ND4 Details omitted to protect patient identity 9 December 2020 29 July 2021

M0026 MT-ND4 Details omitted to protect patient identity 7 June 2021 4 October 2021

M0027 MT-ND1 Details omitted to protect patient identity 7 June 2021 4 October 2021

Source: HFEA

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer from Lord Kamall on 2 November 2021 (HL3362), how prospective patients are best enabled to give informed consent if the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority needs to suppress the release of pertinent data on safety and efficacy of methods to avoid mitochondrial disease through assisted conception; how they consider patient confidentiality may be compromised by the release of anonymised numerical data; and which other approved medical treatments or areas of biomedical research, if any, require similar secrecy regarding safety and efficacy data.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 (as amended) and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority’s Code of Practice requires centres licensed to offer mitochondrial donation treatment to provide prospective patients with appropriate information about the treatment, including access to genetic consultation and counselling and obtain the written informed consent of patients before treatment can proceed.

The symptoms of mitochondrial disease are often unique to the individual affected, which taken together with the small number of patients approved to date and the need to ensure individuals are not identified, means that it is not yet possible to assess data on safety and efficacy of these methods beyond the number of approvals and details of mitochondrial DNA mutations for each approval. All healthcare professionals must not release data which may make patients and their health conditions identifiable.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer from Lord Kamall on 2 November 2021 (HL3362), what assessment they have made of the fact that only 24 patients have been licensed as eligible for mitochondrial donation treatment in the UK.

The Department has not made any assessments of the fact that only 24 patients have been licensed as eligible for mitochondrial donation treatment in the United Kingdom.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Mitochondrial Donation) Regulations 2015 requires the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to approve applications for mitochondrial donation treatment on a case-by-case basis, with reference to the statutory tests and the particular circumstances of the patient.

All applications considered by the HFEA’s Statutory Approvals Committee for mitochondrial donation treatment to 31 October 2021 have been approved.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford on 11 February 2020 (HL1173), how many human embryos were (1) deliberately destroyed, and (2) transferred to uteri to establish pregnancies, in each of the last 12 months for which figures are available; and how many human embryos have been (a) deliberately destroyed, and (b) transferred to uteri since such procedures were made legal.

The following table shows the number of embryos discarded and transferred to uteri to establish pregnancies from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2019. The data is the latest information available and as shown on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority’s (HFEA) register database on 27 August 2021.

Month

Embryos discarded

Embryos transferred

January 2019

12,004

5,109

February 2019

15,731

7,074

March 2019

16,740

7,324

April 2019

15,137

6,503

May 2019

14,581

6,456

June 2019

13,326

6,119

July 2019

14,893

6,496

August 2019

14,938

6,739

September 2019

13,895

6,149

October 2019

15,225

6,889

November 2019

16,765

7,434

December 2019

9,680

4,135

Total 2019

172,915

76,427

Source: HFEA

The following table shows the cumulative figures for how many human embryos have been discarded and transferred to uteri from 1 August 1991 to 31 December 2019. The figures include additional validated data from previous years.

Total number of embryos discarded

3,106,319

Total number of embryos transferred

2,056,449

Source: HFEA

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the statement on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority website about the “limited evidence on risks and success rates” for mitochondrial replacement techniques; how many embryos have been generated to date using each particular technique; how many such embryos have been transferred to patients; how many confirmed pregnancies have resulted since then; and how such outcomes remain consistent with expectations from the scientific review by the HFEA in 2016 about the safety and efficacy of methods to avoid mitochondrial disease through assisted conception.

The Department has not made an assessment. The statement aims to provide basic information to potential patients and the reference to limited evidence on risks and success rates reflects that this treatment has only been available in the United Kingdom for the last few years.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has advised that to date it has licensed 24 patients as eligible for mitochondrial donation treatment in the UK. To protect patient confidentiality, information on the number of embryos produced, transferred, and confirmed pregnancies cannot be disclosed. No assessment of the safety and efficacy of mitochondrial donation treatment has been made to date as the number of treatments in the UK is low.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of alleged labour abuses by the Malaysian glove maker Supermax; how many products from that company they have purchased; and what was the cost of those purchases.

We will be investigating the claims made against Supermax. We have made strong commitments to eradicate modern slavery from all contracts in the Government’s supply chain. A due diligence process is carried out for all Government contracts and our suppliers are required to follow the highest legal and ethical standards. If they fail to do so, we will remove them from current and future procurements.

In July 2021, we placed an order with Supermax for 135 million gloves at a cost of £7.9 million. Our purchase process includes safeguards to both strengthen due diligence and to terminate a contract should there be substantiated allegations against a provider.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Disabled Children’s Partnership The Gap Widens, published on 14 October, which found that the funding gap in disabled children’s health and social care had increased to £2.1 billion.

Although no specific assessments have been made, we are working with the Department for Education and NHS England and NHS Improvement to improve the provision of health and care services for disabled children.

On 6 September, we announced an additional £5.4 billion for the National Health Service over the next six months, bringing the total Government support for health services in response to COVID-19 to over £34 billion in 2021/22. This includes £2 billion to reduce waiting times for patients, including disabled children. Councils have access to £51.3 billion to deliver core services, including a £1.7 billion grant for social care. To support local areas, we have provided over £6 billion in un-ringfenced funding directly to councils for the immediate and longer-term impacts of COVID-19 spending pressures, including for children’s social care.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the economic benefits of increasing the funding given to disabled children’s health and social care services, and (2) the level of unmet need for disabled children’s health and social care services.

Although no specific assessments have been made, we are working with the Department for Education and NHS England and NHS Improvement to improve the provision of health and care services for disabled children.

On 6 September, we announced an additional £5.4 billion for the National Health Service over the next six months, bringing the total Government support for health services in response to COVID-19 to over £34 billion in 2021/22. This includes £2 billion to reduce waiting times for patients, including disabled children. Councils have access to £51.3 billion to deliver core services, including a £1.7 billion grant for social care. To support local areas, we have provided over £6 billion in un-ringfenced funding directly to councils for the immediate and longer-term impacts of COVID-19 spending pressures, including for children’s social care.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the letter dated 16 July from 46 charities concerned about the incidence of suicides among young asylum seekers, (1) what assessment they have made of such suicides, and (2) what steps they will take to address their underlying causes.

Each and every suicide is a tragedy, with a devastating impact on families and communities. The Department for Health and Social Care, the Home Office, the Department for Education and Office for Health Improvement and Disparities are working with the Da’Aro Youth Project to better understand and address the concerns raised in the letter dated 16 July.

The National Suicide Prevention Strategy Preventing suicide in England: A cross-government outcomes strategy to save lives, highlights groups which require tailored approaches to address their mental health needs, including asylum seekers. Every local authority has a multi-agency suicide prevention plan in place, tailored to the needs of local communities and work with local partners to implement these plans based on the National Strategy and local data. A copy of the Strategy is attached.

The Government will also continue to use our safeguarding networks to identify the most vulnerable users of the asylum system and engage with the appropriate statutory agencies to provide the support they need.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to reports in The Diplomat on 14 September, what assessment they have made of the alleged use of forced labour in Malaysian disposable glove factories; and what due diligence they carried out in relation to the use of forced labour before purchasing disposable gloves from Malaysian companies earlier this year.

To date, there have been no substantiated allegations of modern slavery in relation to a Departmental supplier. All the suppliers on our current gloves framework are registered and have been asked to complete a Modern Slavery Assessment and a Labour Standards Assessment.

Due diligence is carried out for all Government contracts and we expect all National Health Service suppliers to follow the highest legal and ethical standards. Public sector contracting authorities are advised on how to assess suppliers to mitigate the risk of modern slavery. Contracts are placed in line with Departmental terms and conditions which include clauses requiring Good Industry Practice to ensure that there is no slavery or human trafficking in supply chains. Suppliers appointed to NHS Supply Chain frameworks must comply with the Labour Standards Assurance System or they can be removed from consideration for future opportunities.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Aug 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 2 August (HL128), whether they will now collect information centrally about the personal protective equipment (PPE) procured centrally;  and what is their estimate of (1) the “disproportionate cost” of collecting information about the companies involved in the supply chain, and (2) the total combined cost to public funds of PPE and lateral flow devices.

While information on personal protective equipment (PPE) is published on the Government’s Contracts Finder service, there are currently no plans to collect or publish data on sub-contractors and intermediaries.

Collating the information requested would involve detailed analysis of 339 individual contracts and detailed re-validation of purchase order and invoice data. This would exceed the disproportionate cost of £850.

The total spend for PPE during the financial year 2020/21 was £14.7 billion, which included the costs of freight, logistics and warehousing. The total cost of lateral flow devices is not held in the format requested.

18th Aug 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the investigation by BBC News, published on 28 July, which found that one million masks manufactured in China and supplied to the NHS as high grade did not meet the correct level of protection, (2) how fake personal protective equipment (PPE) entered the UK supply chain, (3) the number of (a) staff, and (b) patients, that were given faulty PPE, (4) the risk of exposure to COVID-19 as a result of using such faulty PPE, (5) the amount of money that government departments have spent on faulty PPE, and (6) the options for seeking restitution and compensation from the suppliers of faulty PPE.

For all personal protective equipment (PPE), certification is checked through a technical assurance process before the products are released for distribution. Following information received from the National Health Service in February, we quarantined and recalled the affected products and reviewed the technical certification.

As part of our investigation, we commissioned the British Standards Institution to test the masks. While the findings stated the affected masks failed to meet to FFP3 requirements, they passed all the testing requirements for an FFP2 respirator. The World Health Organization recommends the use of N95 or FFP2 respirators for health workers performing aerosol-generating procedures, wearers should have been afforded protection. These masks are not recommended to be worn by patients. We have commissioned an independent root cause analysis investigation and we await the outcome.

As of 10 June, 1.9 billion items of stock were in the ‘do not supply’ category. This is equivalent to 6.2% of purchased volume with an estimated value of £2.8 billion. We are considering options to repurpose and recycle items in this category which ensures safety and value for money. Discussions with suppliers are ongoing.

20th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what due diligence they undertook to ensure that (1) lateral flow tests, and (2) personal protective equipment, imported from China were not made with the use of slave labour.

A dedicated team within the Department’s Test and Trace programme has been responsible for overseeing a rigorous inspection and auditing process for all Lateral Flow Device (LFD) suppliers outside of the United Kingdom, which includes a Business Social Compliance Initiative Human Rights audit.

All three of these suppliers manufacture the devices in China and have been assessed as Acceptable (C) overall, with further improvement needed with regards to social management systems and working hours. No evidence of child labour, forced labour or unethical business behaviour were identified over the course of these audits, which are valid for 12 months from the date of issue at which point a further audit will take place.

The Department was aware that the direct, urgent sourcing and purchasing of Personal Protective Equipment in 2020 involved high-risk areas in terms of ethical and business practices and had a number of mitigations in place. To combat Modern Slavery concerns, the Department engaged widely with NHS Supply Chain, the Home Office (HO) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office regarding Modern Slavery issues in awarding contracts. Additional training and guidance was rapidly created and distributed to strengthen buying professionals knowledge of modern slavery risks specific to the pandemic. Working with HO colleagues, the Department participated in a cross-government project to increase the modern slavery awareness of procurement professionals which included supplier training and workshops.

19th Jul 2021
BGI
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports (1) that UK clinics are selling BGI Group’s tests for genetic conditions such as Down’s syndrome, and (2) that BGI Group is (a) using these tests to harvest the genetic data of millions of women and their unborn children, and (b) storing this data on a gene database funded by the government of China; and what plans they have to ban BGI Group in the UK.

There has been no specific assessment of BGI Group’s tests. Public Health England and NHS England have confirmed they do not use BGI technology in their genomic screening services.

On the information provided, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) would anticipate that this type of device would be classified as a List B In-Vitro Diagnostic, which requires the oversight of a conformity assessment body before being placed on the United Kingdom market. The device must comply with the Medical Devices Regulations 2002 No.618. The MHRA understand BGI genetic screening tests are currently available for sale in the UK. These devices do not appear to have been registered with the MHRA at this time, however, due to their risk classification, registration will be required from 1 September 2021 in order to continue placing the products on the market.

Access to health data is controlled by the Data Protection Act 2018 (which incorporates GDPR in UK domestic law) and the common law duty of confidentiality and we have no plans to change these. The Government is clear that health and care data should only ever be used and/or shared where used lawfully, treated with respect, held securely and where the right safeguards are in place. The UK’s high standards of data protection will be maintained and enforced.

As outlined in the Genome UK strategy, all our genomic data systems will continue to apply consistent high standards around data security and our intention is that the UK model will be recognised as being the gold standard for how to apply strong and consistent ethical and regulatory standards that support rapid healthcare innovation, adhere to legal frameworks, and maintain public and professional trust.

There are no grounds to prevent BGI Groups operating in the UK provided they comply with UK legislation and regulatory requirements.

12th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much money they have paid in the last two years to companies based in China manufacturing masks and other personal protective equipment; which such companies they have paid; whether there are any complexities in the supply chain which prevent such information from being provided; and if so, what those complexities are.

The information on the amount paid to Chinese companies and the specific companies involved is not held in the format requested and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. Personal protective equipment (PPE) has been procured from a number of different sources internationally which prevents the Department from identifying Chinese companies as all companies can sub-contract a Chinese company. While the Department records contracts made directly with companies based in China, we do not hold a central record of any sub-contracting. PPE was also procured through intermediaries and this information is not collected centrally.

12th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many COVID-19 test kits manufactured in China have been purchased for use in the UK; what those kits have cost; and what capacity there is in the UK for the production of such kits.

As of 14 May 2021, more than 1 billion self-test and assisted lateral flow devices (LFDs) manufactured in China have been purchased for use in the United Kingdom. We are unable to provide the cost of these kits as this information is commercially sensitive. A gradual increase in the proportion of UK-produced self-test LFDs is anticipated by the summer.

19th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much public money has been paid in the last two years to companies based in China manufacturing face masks and other personal protective equipment; and to provide a list of those companies.

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before prorogation. Ministers will correspond directly with the Member.

19th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much public money has been spent over the past two years on the purchase of (1) face masks, and (2) other personal protective equipment, manufactured in China.

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before prorogation. Ministers will correspond directly with the Member.

9th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many anti-depressants have been dispensed by the NHS in each of the past ten years; and what was the total cost to the NHS.

The annual number of anti-depressants that have been prescribed and dispensed in England in the community between 2011-November 2020, the latest data available, is provided in the following table. Information is not held for items dispensed in secondary care. The total cost of prescription items between this period was £2,543,305,593.92

Calendar year

Number of prescription items

2011

46,677,813

2012

50,167,201

2013

53,326,550

2014

57,149,109

2015

61,021,662

2016

64,703,639

2017

67,530,457

2018

70,873,979

2019

74,814,619

January - November 2020

71,801,824

Note:

The data provided for the years 2011-2013 was supplied from NHS Digital whilst the data provided for the years 2014-2020 was supplied from the NHS Business Services Authority. Any data prior to 2014 may classify many products in different ways due to a significant reclassification of products.

9th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many anti-depressants have been dispensed to (1) people under 18 years old, and (2) primary school children in each of the past ten years; and what was the total cost to the NHS.

Information prior to 2015 is not held. The following tables show the number of antidepressant products that were prescribed to under 18 year olds and the subsequent subset of those aged 5 to 11 years old in England on a National Health Service prescription, dispensed in the community in England between April 2015, the earliest age-based data held, and November 2020, the latest data available. Information relating to items dispensed in secondary care is not collected centrally.

Number of antidepressant items prescribed and dispensed in the community in England to patients aged under 18 years old.

Calendar year

Number of prescription items

2015 (Nine months from April)

233,094

2016

329,954

2017

342,997

2018

361,436

2019

379,134

2020 (11 months up to November)

358,835

Number of antidepressant items prescribed and dispensed in the community in England to patients aged 5 to 11 years old.

Calendar year

Number of prescription items

2015 (Nine months from April)

9,336

2016

12,988

2017

13,647

2018

14,274

2019

14,529

2020 (11 months up to November)

14,187

The total cost of prescription items prescribed and dispensed in the community in England to patients aged under 18 years old, including patients in the 5 to 11 years old age group between April 2015 and November 2020 was £9,110,589.79.

9th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the side effects of anti-depressants; for how long on average anti-depressants are taken by patients; how many anti-depressants have been dispensed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic; and at what cost.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency continuously monitors the safety of all medicines on the market in the United Kingdom. Information about possible side-effects associated with treatment is provided in the product information which is available to all prescribers and patients. This is based on a thorough assessment of the available information and is updated regularly as new information emerges.

Information on the average length of time antidepressants have been taken by patients is not held centrally. Between March 2020 and November 2020, the latest data available, the number of items of antidepressant products that were dispensed in the community in England was 59,000,280 and the total cost in this period was £286,838,390.64. Information on the number of products dispensed in secondary care is not held.

14th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Lord Bethell on 6 January (HL10942 and HL10943), whether those purchases had a combined value of half a billion pounds; and why “Details of such decisions on individual contracts is regarded as commercially sensitive information” remain secret once the purchases have been made; whether they will place in the public domain details of (1) how, (2) why, and (3) by whom, these companies were selected; and if not, why not.

Two contracts have been awarded to PPE Medpro by the Department with a total value of £202 million and seven contracts have been awarded to Purple Surgical by the Department with a total value of £226 million. Information concerning whether any of the personal protective equipment (PPE) has not met the required quality standards or a particular specification, whose fault that is and what should be done about it are regarded as commercially confidential information as this process involves negotiations with the supplier where we may seek a refund or other redress as per the contract terms in these contracts.

In terms of how these suppliers were selected, the Government issued a public call to action to support the increased requirements of PPE. The aim was to reach suppliers who had experience of supplying PPE and also those who had no prior experience but who had access to sources of PPE through their business contacts. This resulted in over 15,000 suppliers offering their help and support, including PPE Medpro and Purple Surgical.

All suppliers were evaluated by Departmental officials on their financial standing, compliance with minimum product specifications and ability to perform the contract. All contracts were awarded by the appropriate accounting officer in line with Departmental policy and procedures.

1st Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government which contracts they awarded to Ayanda Capital for the provision of personal protection equipment; what was the total value of such contracts; and what value of equipment supplied under such contracts were designated as (1) unfit for use in the NHS, (2) fit for clinical use only, (3) suitable for supply or sale to departments other than the Department of Health and Social Care, (4) suitable for sale or supply to third countries, and (5) required to be destroyed.

One contract has been awarded to Ayanda Capital by the Department with a value of £252 million. The Contract Award Notice and the contract has been published online at the Government’s Contracts Finder service which contains details of the value of each contract and the types of personal protective equipment (PPE) which have been ordered against each contract.

Delivery is progressing for all the PPE items. All items of PPE undergo a rigorous technical assurance process before they can be released for use at which point decisions will be made about which healthcare setting they are suitable for or whether alternative settings need to be considered. Details of such decisions on individual contracts is regarded as commercially sensitive information as the Department may have to negotiate contract variations, which could include a refund or other form or redress against the supplier.

1st Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government which contracts they awarded to Purple Surgical for the provision of personal protection equipment; what was the total value of such contracts; and what value of equipment supplied under such contracts were designated as (1) unfit for use in the NHS, (2) fit for clinical use only, (3) suitable for supply or sale to departments other than the Department of Health and Social Care, (4) suitable for sale or supply to third countries, and (5) required to be destroyed.

Seven contracts have been awarded to Purple Surgical by the Department with a value of £226 million. Contract Award Notices and the contracts themselves have been published online at the Government’s Contracts Finder service which contain details of the value of each contract and the types of personal protective equipment (PPE) which have been ordered against each contract.

Delivery is progressing for all these PPE items. All items of PPE undergo a rigorous technical assurance process before they can be released for use at which point decisions will be made about which healthcare setting they are suitable for or whether alternative settings need to be considered. Details of such decisions on individual contracts is regarded as commercially sensitive information as the Department may have to negotiate contract variations, which could include a refund or other form or redress against the supplier.

1st Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government which contracts they awarded to PPE Medpro for the provision of personal protection equipment; what was the total value of such contracts; and what value of equipment supplied under such contracts were designated as (1) unfit for use in the NHS, (2) fit for clinical use only, (3) suitable for supply or sale to departments other than the Department of Health and Social Care, (4) suitable for sale or supply to third countries, and (5) required to be destroyed.

Two contracts have been awarded to PPE Medpro by the Department with a total value of £202 million. Contract Award Notices and the contracts themselves have been published online at the Government’s Contracts Finder service which contain details of the value of each contract and the types of personal protective equipment (PPE) which have been ordered against each contract.

Delivery is progressing for all these PPE items. All items of PPE undergo a rigorous technical assurance process before they can be released for use at which point decisions will be made about which healthcare setting they are suitable for or whether alternative settings need to be considered. Details of such decisions on individual contracts is regarded as commercially sensitive information as the Department may have to negotiate contract variations, which could include a refund or other form or redress against the supplier.

1st Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government which contracts they awarded to PestFix for the provision of personal protection equipment; what was the total value of such contracts; and what value of equipment supplied under such contracts was designated as (1) unfit for use in the NHS, (2) fit for clinical use only, (3) suitable for supply or sale to departments other than the Department of Health and Social Care, (4) suitable for sale or supply to third countries, and (5) required to be destroyed.

Seven contracts have been awarded to Pestfix by the Department with a total value of £348 million. Contract Award Notices and the contracts themselves have been published online at the Government’s Contracts Finder service which contain details of the value of each contract and the types of personal protective equipment (PPE) which have been ordered against each contract.

Delivery is progressing for all these PPE items. All items of PPE undergo a rigorous technical assurance process before they can be released for use at which point decisions will be made about which healthcare setting they are suitable for or whether alternative settings need to be considered. Details of such decisions on individual contracts is regarded as commercially sensitive information as the Department may have to negotiate contract variations, which could include a refund or other form or redress against the supplier.

16th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 2 November (HL9267), which supplier contracted by the Department of Health and Social Care supplied the central distribution warehouse for personal protective equipment (PPE) in Daventry with PPE masks produced by Medwell Medical Products.

Investigation of stocks of personal protective equipment (PPE) received from suppliers at the central distribution warehouse in Daventry show a record of receiving PPE masks produced by Medwell Medical Products.

The masks produced by Medwell Medical Products are marked as part of a donation from ‘Mail Force Charity’, a charity supported by the Daily Mail newspaper to solicit donations from the public to be used to purchase PPE from a variety of sources. These masks were procured through an intermediary who Mail Force had no direct dealings with. Of the 22 million masks supplied by the Mail Force Charity, only a small fraction of these were associated with Medwell.

16th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 2 November (HL9267), how many personal protective equipment (PPE) masks held at the central distribution warehouse for PPE in Daventry were produced by Medwell Medical Products.

Investigation of stocks of personal protective equipment (PPE) received from suppliers at the central distribution warehouse in Daventry show a record of receiving PPE masks produced by Medwell Medical Products.

The masks produced by Medwell Medical Products are marked as part of a donation from ‘Mail Force Charity’, a charity supported by the Daily Mail newspaper to solicit donations from the public to be used to purchase PPE from a variety of sources. These masks were procured through an intermediary who Mail Force had no direct dealings with. Of the 22 million masks supplied by the Mail Force Charity, only a small fraction of these were associated with Medwell.

16th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 2 November (HL9267), how much they paid the supplier of the personal protective equipment (PPE) masks produced by Medwell Medical Products which were held at the central distribution warehouse for PPE in Daventry.

Investigation of stocks of personal protective equipment (PPE) received from suppliers at the central distribution warehouse in Daventry show a record of receiving PPE masks produced by Medwell Medical Products.

The masks produced by Medwell Medical Products are marked as part of a donation from ‘Mail Force Charity’, a charity supported by the Daily Mail newspaper to solicit donations from the public to be used to purchase PPE from a variety of sources. These masks were procured through an intermediary who Mail Force had no direct dealings with. Of the 22 million masks supplied by the Mail Force Charity, only a small fraction of these were associated with Medwell.

16th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to address the sale of fake COVID-19 vaccines; and what assessment they have made of the remarks by the director general of the National Crime Agency’s National Economic Crime Centre suggesting that vaccine fraud is an "emerging threat" for the UK.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the United Kingdom’s regulator charged with the regulation of medicines for human use, which includes vaccines and medical devices.

The MHRA’s first priority is the protection of public health and any medicinal product or vaccine offered for sale which does not hold the appropriate authorisation will be investigated as a potential breach of the Human Medicines Regulations and a clear threat to health and safety of UK citizens.

Officials at the MHRA are actively assessing the nature and extent of such a threat and are working with partners in UK and elsewhere across the globe to provide an appropriate and effective response.

16th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the statement by the Royal College of Psychologists about the number of people experiencing severe mental illness during the COVID-19 pandemic and the funding of mental health services.

We have brought forward our Wellbeing and Mental Health Support Plan for COVID-19, backed by £50 million, to set out the support available for people in the context of a second wave and the winter months. This plan sets out the steps we have taken to strengthen the support available for people who are struggling, including for people with severe mental illness.

This includes the announcement that the National Health Service will receive approximately an additional £500 million next year, to address waiting times for mental health services, give more people the mental health support they need, and invest in the NHS workforce.

16th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of recent remarks by Professor Dame Sally Davies about (1) the correlation between obesity and the UK’s COVID-19 mortality rate, and (2) the ‘structural environment’ contributing to obesity in the UK.

There is consistent evidence that people who are overweight or living with obesity who contract COVID-19 are more likely to be admitted to hospital, admitted to an intensive care unit and to die from COVID-19 compared to those of a healthy body weight status.

We published Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives in July. Our strategy is designed to reshape the food environment by providing people with a healthier choice and encouraging them to take it. A copy is attached.

9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 5 November (HL9501), what assessment they have made of The Sunday Times insight investigation, published on 25 October, that alleged that elderly people were denied treatment to stop the NHS being overrun.

Claims that frail and elderly patients were denied care are categorically untrue.

Over two thirds of inpatients were aged over 65 years old. The National Health Service repeatedly instructed staff that no patient who could benefit from treatment should be denied it and even at the height of the pandemic there was no shortage of ventilators and intensive care.

Thanks to the hard work of NHS staff and care workers and the response of the public to public health measures we have protected our most vulnerable patients throughout the pandemic. For example, from the start of the pandemic we have done everything we can to ensure care home residents and staff are protected, including testing all residents and staff, ring-fencing £1.1 billion for infection control and making a further £4.6 billion available to councils to address pressures caused by the pandemic, including in adult social care.

2nd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they hold details of organ transplant patients who travelled to China for their transplant since 2015.

The National Transplant Registry captures annual follow-up on all patients who receive a transplant in the United Kingdom, together with a minimal dataset on those who are transplanted outside the UK and return for follow-up care. Such transplant recipients may, or may not, become apparent to the National Health Service, depending on whether they sought follow-up NHS treatment.

Data from NHS Blood and Transplant shows that 48 solid organ transplants have been performed overseas in UK residents from 2015 to 2019. Of the 48 transplants, two were reported to have been in China, one in 2015 and one in 2017. No data is recorded for patients going overseas for a transplant and not subsequently returning or for patients returning to the UK with no need for clinical follow-up and or treatment.

2nd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish (1) the number, and (2) the transplant details, of organ transplant patients who travelled to China for their transplant since 2015.

The National Transplant Registry captures annual follow-up on all patients who receive a transplant in the United Kingdom, together with a minimal dataset on those who are transplanted outside the UK and return for follow-up care. Such transplant recipients may, or may not, become apparent to the National Health Service, depending on whether they sought follow-up NHS treatment.

Data from NHS Blood and Transplant shows that 48 solid organ transplants have been performed overseas in UK residents from 2015 to 2019. Of the 48 transplants, two were reported to have been in China, one in 2015 and one in 2017. No data is recorded for patients going overseas for a transplant and not subsequently returning or for patients returning to the UK with no need for clinical follow-up and or treatment.

2nd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish the number of organ transplant patients who received their transplant overseas since 2015.

The National Transplant Registry captures annual follow-up on all patients who receive a transplant in the United Kingdom, together with a minimal dataset on those who are transplanted outside the UK and return for follow-up care. Such transplant recipients may, or may not, become apparent to the National Health Service, depending on whether they sought follow-up NHS treatment.

Data from NHS Blood and Transplant shows that 48 solid organ transplants have been performed overseas in UK residents from 2015 to 2019. Of the 48 transplants, two were reported to have been in China, one in 2015 and one in 2017. No data is recorded for patients going overseas for a transplant and not subsequently returning or for patients returning to the UK with no need for clinical follow-up and or treatment.

2nd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many COVID-19 patients have been admitted to hospitals in Liverpool in the last two weeks for which figures are available; whether such admissions have increased or plateaued; and how many patients due to receive treatment in these hospitals for other conditions have now had this treatment cancelled.

Data is not available in the format requested.

26th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether hospitals in England used the triage tool to assess whether to admit elderly patients to intensive care between March and August; if so, whether age was the only criteria used to make such assessments; what assessment they have made of the impact of that system on the provision of care to all those that needed it; and who (1) devised, and (2) authorised, that tool.

Claims that frail and elderly patients were denied care in wave one of the coronavirus pandemic, in part because of a triage tool which was developed for use if the National Health Service was overwhelmed, are categorically untrue. Guidance to help clinicians make rational, evidence-based decisions in the event of intensive care units being overwhelmed was commissioned by the NHS England National Medical Director and the four United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers but work was halted when it became clear the NHS would not be overwhelmed.

22nd Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they used the services of ADM Group to procure personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic; if so, (1) what equipment they purchased, and (2) how much that equipment cost; and whether any such equipment was procured by that company from Hubei Haixin Protective Products Group Co., Ltd.

The Department holds no contract with ADM Group for the supply of personal protective equipment.

19th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government which contracts they awarded to Medwell Medical Products for the provision of personal protection equipment; what was the value of each such contract; and what was supplied.

The Department does not hold a direct contract with Medwell Medical Products for the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). Investigation of stocks of PPE received from suppliers at the central distribution warehouse for PPE in Daventry show a record of receiving PPE masks produced by Medwell Medical Products.

19th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government which companies that have been awarded contracts to supply personal protective equipment to the NHS have sourced stock from Medwell Medical Products.

The Department does not hold a direct contract with Medwell Medical Products for the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). Investigation of stocks of PPE received from suppliers at the central distribution warehouse for PPE in Daventry show a record of receiving PPE masks produced by Medwell Medical Products.

19th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they awarded any contracts for the provision of personal protective equipment to Hubei Haixin Protective Products Group Co., Ltd; if so, what plans they have to publish the details of those contracts; what was each contract's value; and what was supplied.

The Department has no contract with Hubei Haixin Protective Products Group Co. Investigation of stocks of personal protective equipment (PPE) received from suppliers at the central distribution warehouse for PPE in Daventry show no record of items referring to this name.

NHS Supply Chain, which has its own framework contracts for the supply of PPE into the National Health Service, reports that it holds no contracts with Hubei Haixin Protective Products Group Co Ltd and that its records show that this company is not used by its existing suppliers.

19th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government which companies that have been awarded contracts to supply personal protective equipment to the NHS have sourced stock from Hubei Haixin Protective Products Co., Ltd.

The Department has no contract with Hubei Haixin Protective Products Group Co. Investigation of stocks of personal protective equipment (PPE) received from suppliers at the central distribution warehouse for PPE in Daventry show no record of items referring to this name.

NHS Supply Chain, which has its own framework contracts for the supply of PPE into the National Health Service, reports that it holds no contracts with Hubei Haixin Protective Products Group Co Ltd and that its records show that this company is not used by its existing suppliers.

19th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any personal protective equipment that was manufactured by Hubei Haixin Protective Products Group Co., Ltd has been bought by the NHS; and if so, how much (1) that equipment has cost in total, and (2) they have bought, to date.

The Department has no contract with Hubei Haixin Protective Products Group Co. Investigation of stocks of personal protective equipment (PPE) received from suppliers at the central distribution warehouse for PPE in Daventry show no record of items referring to this name.

NHS Supply Chain, which has its own framework contracts for the supply of PPE into the National Health Service, reports that it holds no contracts with Hubei Haixin Protective Products Group Co Ltd and that its records show that this company is not used by its existing suppliers.

15th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what the process is for determining a change in the local COVID-19 alert level; and why the Liverpool City Region is subject to a higher alert level than other cities facing similar levels of cases.

In reviewing alert levels, the Government takes into consideration all the available data for the local situation, including incidence, test positivity and growth rate amongst other factors, to reduce the spread of the virus and bring ‘R’ back below 1.

Decisions on the response to suppress the virus in places at local COVID alert level very high, including Liverpool, were made in consultation with local authorities and directors of public health to ensure that the measures are relevant to that area’s economic, social and public health situation.

8th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the letter sent by the Leader of Newcastle City Council, the Leader of Leeds City Council, the Leader of Manchester City Council and the Mayor of Liverpool to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on 6 October; and in particular, the concerns expressed about the (1) efficacy, and (2) clarity, of restrictions introduced to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department responded to the letter on 23 November 2020.

As the pandemic has progressed, we have gained a better understanding of the virus and how it spreads. When reviewing the efficacy of restrictions, the Government assess a range of indicators which currently includes:

- Case detection rates in all age groups;

- Case detection rates in the over 60 year olds;

- The rate at which cases are rising or falling;

- Positivity rate or the number of positive cases detected as a percentage of tests taken in the general population; and

- Pressure on the National Health Service, including current and projected occupancy, admissions, staff absences.

These indicators are under constant review, regardless of the level of restrictions. Since March 2020, the Government has put in place national restrictions which have led to reduced case rates and hospital admissions.

The Government endeavours to communicate changes to restrictions clearly through the media. Additionally, the Contain framework sets out how national and local partners work with the public at a local level to prevent, contain and manage outbreaks, including through communication. Contain facilitates engagement with local authorities through regional partnership teams, including the Department, Joint Biosecurity Centre and Public Health England, ensuring local stakeholder views are part of the decision-making process.

6th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the decision for inspectors from the Care Quality Commission to be permitted to visit care homes without having undergone a COVID-19 test; and what evidence they have that this does not pose a risk to the residents of those homes.

Our first priority continues to be to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in care homes and prevent future outbreaks, and to ensure the health and safety of both care workers and residents. To help reduce the risk of transmission, we have provided the Care Quality Commission (CQC) with test kits so CQC inspectors can undertake weekly polymerase chain reaction asymptomatic testing.

Regular testing will help identify positive cases in the CQC’s inspectors without symptoms and enable action to be taken to limit the spread of the virus, supporting the CQC to continue their vital work in ensuring services meet fundamental standards of quality and safety. As with all testing policies, this remains under review.

5th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the findings of Amnesty International's report As if expendable: the UK Government's failure to protect older people in care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, published on 4 October.

Since the start of this pandemic we have been working closely with the sector and public health experts to put in place guidance and support for adult social care. We have taken steps to ensure residents and staff are protected, including testing all residents and staff, providing 208 million items of personal protective equipment, ring-fencing £1.1 billion to prevent infections in care homes and making a further £3.7 billion available to councils to address pressures caused by the pandemic – including in adult social care.

Residents’ individual circumstances must be considered in any decisions, ensuring that their human rights, personal choices, safety and dignity are upheld. Early in the pandemic, we outlined the importance of this through the Adult Social Care Ethical Framework.

We keep our policies under continuous review based on the emerging international and domestic evidence and will consider Amnesty’s report as part of this. On 18 September, we published our Adult Social Care Winter Plan which included several additional measures to support care homes during the pandemic.

29th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to respond to the open letter from the leaders and chief executives of Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds city councils to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care which raised concerns that local restrictions put in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic pose a "huge, disproportionate” economic impact; and if so, when they intend to respond.

Evidence indicated that reduced operating hours allowed businesses to trade for the majority of the evening while also controlling transmission rates. This aimed to minimise damage to the economy and society, jobs and livelihoods and safeguard education in schools, colleges and universities.

COVID‑19 support is available to employers and the self-employed, including sole traders and limited company directors and includes loans, tax relief and cash grants, whether a business is open or closed.

29th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 28 September (HL8106), how they will ensure that people will "limit social contact as much as possible” given that rules permit drinking in public houses with different groups of up to five others at different times.

From Monday 28 September, we increased the number of COVID-19 secure guidelines that have been placed into law and expanded the range of settings in which these laws will apply. The new ‘rule of six’ simplifies and strengthens the rules on social gatherings, making them easier to understand and easier for the police to enforce. Businesses will be legally obliged to prevent people mixing in groups larger than six, take appropriate measures to prevent mingling and to comply with the COVID-19 secure guidance already in place. Therefore, if venues are not COVID-19 secure then they could be liable for fines or closures.

15th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the reasons why (1) the Scottish Government, and (2) the Welsh Government, have excluded children under the age of twelve from the rules which prevent groups of more than six gathering socially during the COVID-19 test; and what plans they have, if any, to exclude such children in England from those rules for (1) family visits,and (2) support from grandparents.

Health is a devolved matter and each administration has the discretion and flexibility to find the right balance between managing risks and relaxing measures.

The Government is keeping its social distancing measures under continual review. The Government will only make changes when we are confident, we can do so safely. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care keeps the restrictions and requirements under constant consideration, to ensure the measures continue to be both proportionate and necessary

The new limit from 14 September does not prevent anyone from seeing their grandparents, but those who live in larger households will need to think carefully about how to organise their social interactions to remain within the law. We know this is difficult, but we know people will understand the need to take those steps which are necessary to keep their loved ones safe. These rules have been simplified and strengthened so they are easier to understand, and so the police can identify and disperse illegal gatherings. We are also acting now to get the virus under control and, if we achieve that, we may be able to make changes and potentially lift the restrictions.

15th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what scientific advice was used to inform the rules which prevent groups of more than six people gathering socially; and what if anything that advice said about the risk of grandparents meeting with families consisting of six people or more.

As the Prime Minister set out, if we are to beat the virus then everyone, at all times, needs to limit social contact as much as possible. We are seeing daily case numbers rise rapidly and across the country, which is why the Government, the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Adviser jointly agreed the changes we announced.

The rules have been simplified and strengthened so they are easier to understand, and so the police can identify and disperse illegal gatherings. We are also acting now to get the virus under control and, if we achieve that, we may be able to make changes and potentially lift the restrictions.

The new limit from 14 September does not prevent anyone from seeing their grandparents, but those who live in larger households will need to think carefully about how to organise their social interactions to remain within the law. We know this is difficult, but we know people will understand the need to take those steps which are necessary to keep their loved ones safe.

14th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon on 4 February 2008 (HL Deb, col 904), what conclusions were reached by the review of practices in informing donor-conceived children of the fact of their donor conception; what changes in the law were consequently made to ensure that donor-conceived children are informed of their donor conception; and how has this been further implemented by subsequent administrations.

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics undertook a comprehensive review of donor conception. Donor conception: ethical aspects of information sharing was published on 17 April 2013 and a copy is attached.

One of the report’s key recommendations was that “The state does not, and should not, have a role in informing donor-conceived people of the circumstances of their conception, for example through entries on birth certificates.”

In the light of this review and the report’s clear recommendation, the Government took the view that no further legislative action was appropriate in this area. The Government encourages the parents of donor conceived children to be open with them about their genetic heritage. This has remained Government policy through successive administrations.

10th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the study Does Euthanasia Have a Dampening Effect on Suicide Rates? Recent Experiences from the Netherlands, published in the Journal of Ethics in Mental Health on 28 December 2017, (2) the study How does legalization of physician-assisted suicide affect rates of suicide?, published in the Southern Medical Journal in October 2015, and (3) the relationship between the legalisation of assisted suicide and the rate of suicide in the general population; and what plans they have to reflect the outcome of any such assessments in the suicide prevention strategy for England.

The Government has made no formal assessment of these studies and the Department has not made an assessment of the relationship between the legalisation of assisted suicide and the rate of suicide in the general population.

27th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 22 July (HL6754), whether any agencies or other departments, including, but not limited to, the Armed Forces and security services, have undertaken any assessment of the recent statements made by Dr Li-Meng Yan about (1) the origins of COVID-19, and (2) the response of the World Health Organisation; if not, why not; and whether they intend to call for an independent inquiry to be conducted into the conduct of the World Health Organisation on this issue.

The United Kingdom believes that the World Health Organization (WHO) has an important role to play in leading the health response to COVID-19 and in longer-term leadership in global health including preparedness. We also want to see the WHO continue to learn lessons on how to improve its response to global health emergencies and as such would expect a full review of all elements of their response once they are out of response mode, as has occurred after previous Public Health Emergencies of International Concern. The WHO has confirmed a review will take place and we will continue to work closely with them and other international partners to ensure this is wide-ranging and robust.

27th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the reply by Lord Bethell on 24 July (HL Deb, cols 2475–98), whether they will now answer the question put by Lord Alton of Liverpool about the pausing of lockdown easements in Blackburn; what assessment they have made of the number of COVID-19 infections there; what progress they have made in containing the increase in such cases; and what criteria will be used to resume the easement of lockdown. [T]

Effective local management of outbreaks is the first line of protection against a second wave that might overwhelm the National Health Service.

In this case, Blackburn suffered the highest incidence rates of all districts in Lancashire for three consecutive weeks between 13 July and 2 August. Incidents rates per 100,000 population rose from 83.25 and peaked at 91.98 before falling to 74.53 by 2 August once local resources were augmented with national support.

When considering whether an area can come out of a localised lockdown, there will need to be a reduction in cases consistent with the surrounding areas and a significantly diminished risk of further growth. We are keeping these restrictions under review and they will be removed when they are no longer proportionate or necessary. These decisions are made on a case-by-case basis with involvement of the scientific community and local leaders.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have received (1) from the Association for Children Damaged by Hormone Pregnancy Tests on behalf of families affected by Primados, and (2) following the report of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review First do no harm, published on 8 July; and when they intend to respond to any such representations.

On behalf of affected families, the Chair of the Association for Children Damaged by Hormone Pregnancy Tests (HPTs) attended every meeting of the Commission on Human Medicines’ Expert Working Group on HPTs and was invited to discuss their draft recommendations and give a statement to the Commission on the draft report of the Group. In addition, 13 affected families gave their personal experiences with Primodos to the Expert Working Group. Since publication of the report of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, we have received a letter from the Chair of the Association for Children Damaged by Hormone Pregnancy Tests and will be responding shortly.

The Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review published its report on 8 July and all of its recommendations will be considered carefully. The Government will provide an update in due course.

21st Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the statement by Lord Bethell on 15 July (HL Deb, col 1738) that “the Primodos case is subject to legal dispute, so I cannot comment on it from the Dispatch Box”, which aspects of that legal dispute prevent an independent re-examination of the contested conclusions of the report by the Expert Working Group of the UK’s Commission on Human Medicines Report of the Commission on Human Medicines’ Expert Working Group on Hormone Pregnancy Tests, published on 15 November 2017.

The Commission on Human Medicines Expert Working Group on Hormone Pregnancy Tests was an independent group convened to conduct a scientific review of the evidence for an association between the use of hormone pregnancy tests and adverse outcomes of pregnancy.

The report and all the evidence that was reviewed by the Group has been publicly available since November 2017. We cannot discuss specific issues regarding the litigation, but this does not prevent any re-examination of the report or evidence. Any relevant new evidence would be reviewed as it becomes available.

We are carefully considering the recommendations of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review and will respond in due course.

20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic more than 4,000 people were discharged from hospital into care homes without being tested for the virus.

Throughout our COVID-19 response we have worked with the care sector and public health experts to put in place measures to reduce transmission and save lives. It has been our priority to ensure that everyone is discharged safely from hospital and to the most appropriate available place. Wherever possible, people who are clinically ready should be supported to return to their place of residence, where assessment of longer-term needs will take place. This approach follows the ‘Discharge to Assess’ model, to support timely and appropriate discharge from hospital.

The Hospital Discharge Service and staff should clarify with care homes the COVID-19 status of an individual and any COVID-19 symptoms, during the process of transfer from a hospital to the care home. As testing capacity was being built priority for testing was given to the most clinically vulnerable patients:

- all patients in critical care for pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) or flu like illness;

- all other patients requiring admission to hospital for pneumonia, ARDS or flu like illness; and

- where an outbreak has occurred in a residential or care setting, for example long-term care facility or prisons.

As set out in the Adult Social Care Action Plan on 15 April, all patients are now required to be tested prior to discharge to a care home.

13th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the statements made by Dr. Li-Meng Yan about (1) the origins of COVID-19, and (2) the response of the World Health Organisation. [T]

Public Health England has not made an assessment of the statements made by Dr Li-Meng Yan.

8th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports (1) that care home managers have not followed COVID-19 safety procedures, (2) that care home staff and residents had concerns about exposure to COVID-19 which warranted investigation by the Care Quality Commission, and (3) that care home providers may be subject to compensation claims for alleged negligence of resident and staff safety.

Many care homes have been doing an excellent job of keeping people safe.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) reduced the number of physical inspections it conducted during the crisis in order to limit the number of people going in and out of care homes. It did continue to inspect a small number of settings where serious concerns have been identified. Some of these were linked directly to concerns raised with the CQC from staff and members of the public.

Furthermore, during this crisis, Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors have contacted more than 80% of all providers – over 20,000 care providers – to offer support, advice and guidance, including help accessing personal protective equipment and advice on infection control.

8th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans are in place (1) to acquire, (2) to stock, and (3) to distribute, gowns, masks, eye protection, gloves and other personal protective equipment, which is sufficiently adequate to protect clinical and care workers in the NHS and care sector in preparation for a potential second wave of COVID-19; and where any such plans are published.

We are working to expand the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) from overseas and improve domestic manufacturing capability. We are expanding and improving the logistics network for delivering to the front line.

Since 25 February we have delivered over 2.2 billion items of PPE across the health and social care system within England, plus tens of millions more will have been distributed by the devolved administrations. Almost 28 billion items of PPE have been ordered from United Kingdom-based manufacturers and international partners to provide a continuous supply in the coming months.

1st Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many batches of surgical face masks delivered to care homes and GPs during the COVID-19 pandemic were recalled because they were faulty; what assessment they have made of reports that some of those masks were out of date by seven years but were still used; where any such masks were sourced; and at what cost.

Two important customer alerts were issued on 22 May and 26 June regarding a product fault with Type IIR facemasks, sourced from Cardinal Health. The Cardinal Health Type IIR facemasks were subject to a formal shelf life extension process that enabled their shelf life to be extended and so were not out of date. The cost of these masks cannot be released due to commercial sensitivity.

1st Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of analysis by the Office for National Statistics which, after comparing death certificates from 2 March to 15 May with data from the 2011 census, found that of all COVID-19 related deaths (1) 30.3 per cent were among people who said their daily activities were “limited a lot” because of a health problem or disability, and (2) 28.9 per cent were among those whose activities were “limited a little”; and what assessment they have made of the implications of those statistics on the future conduct of public policy.

We know that many people with long standing, limiting illnesses or health conditions are at higher risk of poorer outcomes from COVID-19.

The Office for National Statistics has undertaken provisional analysis of data comparing the risk of death involving COVID-19 according to a person’s disability status, as recorded in the 2011 Census for the period 2 March to 15 May 2020. This data suggests that, after adjusting for region, population density, socio-demographic and household characteristics, the relative difference in mortality rates between those ‘limited a lot’ by a health condition and those not disabled was 2.4 times higher for females and 1.9 times higher for males.

We continue to review all available evidence regarding the impact of COVID-19 for disabled people and we are commissioning new research to better understand the specific impact. This evidence will inform policy development going forwards.

29th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to modify the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards in order for relatives of residents in care homes to be able to move to their family homes residents of such homes who are currently not allowed to legally leave care homes.[T]

Emergency guidance issued at the beginning of the pandemic and the Codes of Practice for the Mental Capacity Act and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards offer guidance to individuals trying to determine and make decisions in the best interests of a person who lacks capacity to make a particular decision, including on where to live.

Those making best interests decisions should seek consent on all aspects of care and treatment to which the person can consent. They should consider the person’s wishes and feelings, as well as their beliefs and values that would be likely to influence their decision. They should also consider the views of the person’s family members and those interested in the person’s welfare. This approach applies to decisions about residence too.

16th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the remarks made by the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP on 12 June that “whilst the impact of such discharges meant the NHS was never short of beds or ventilators, it seems extraordinary that no one appeared to consider the clinical risk to care homes despite widespread knowledge that the virus could be carried asymptomatically.”

Throughout our coronavirus response we have kept our policies under continuous review based on the emerging international and domestic evidence and have worked tirelessly with the care sector and public health experts to reduce transmission and save lives.

On 15 April, we published COVID-19: Our Action Plan for Adult Social Care. This set out that all patients are required to be tested prior to discharge to a care home. A copy is attached.

Patients are discharged when it is clinically safe and they no longer need acute care. Wherever possible, people who are clinically ready should be supported to return to their place of residence, where assessment of longer-term needs will take place. This approach follows the ‘discharge to assess’ model, to support timely and appropriate discharge from hospital.

As our understanding of the virus has changes throughout the course of the pandemic, we have continued to develop our policy. Our current policy is that due to evidence of asymptomatic spread, during periods of sustained transmission we recommend that all residents being discharged from hospital or interim care facilities to the care home and new residents admitted from the community should be isolated for 14 days within their own room. For care home residents, around 70% of people living in care homes for the over 65s have dementia. It is important they return to their familiar environments when they are clinically ready, with the personalised support and daily activities in place that help them to live well with dementia. This can be better achieved in their care home, rather than the hospital.

We have made £1.3 billion funding available via the National Health Service to help patients who no longer need urgent treatment to get home from hospital safely and quickly. We have also made £3.2 billion available to local authorities so they can address pressures on local services caused by the pandemic, including in adult social care. On 13 May we announced an additional £600 million to support care home providers through a new Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund.

9th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the antihelmintic drug, Niclosamide, as a potential treatment for mild to moderate cases of COVID-19; and what assessment they have made of trials undertaken in South Korea on the use of Niclosamide to treat COVID-19.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has not received any applications for the use of niclosamide as a treatment for COVID-19 and has not undertaken any assessment of the trials in South Korea.

Currently, there are no ongoing clinical trials in the United Kingdom involving niclosamide for the treatment of COVID-19. However, there are three worldwide trials regarding this treatment listed on the United States National Library of Medicine, in the United States, France and Egypt, though none of these are recruiting currently.

The MHRA is working closely with the Department and the office of the Chief Medical Officer to prioritise potential treatments for COVID-19. The MHRA will consider any application made by a sponsor or potential marketing authorisation holder to run a clinical trial.

9th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to answer the Topical Question for Written Answer tabled on 28 April (HL 3582), namely, what scientific advice was sought from Public Health England before the football match between Liverpool and Atlético Madrid on 11 March was permitted to take place; what assessment was made of permitting people to come together for a public event during a period in which Spain had placed its population in partial lockdown; who gave the advice on behalf of Public Health England; and which Ministers were involved in assessing that advice.

I replied to the noble Lord’s question of 28 April on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on 30 June. I understand that they are responding directly on the points the noble Lord raised.

8th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the analysis published by the Local Government Association on 4 June that adult social care providers may face £6.6 billion in extra costs by the end of September as a result of COVID-19; and how they expect those costs to be met.

We recognise that COVID-19 is imposing significant pressures on the social care sector. We have now made £3.2 billion available to local authorities so they can address pressures on local services caused by the pandemic, including in adult social care.

On 15 May we published details of an additional £600 million Infection Control Fund for Adult Social Care. This funding is to support adult social care providers in England reduce the rate of transmission in and between care homes and to support workforce resilience.

This funding is part of the Government’s commitment to ensure the health and social care system have all the resources they need during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Government will continue to monitor pressures in the National Health Service and local government and will keep future funding under review.

8th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the statement by Age UK that (1) some residents of care homes are being asked to pay more than £100 a week in extra fees to cover the costs of COVID-19, and (2) the inability of residents to meet these costs could precipitate closures of care homes leaving residents homeless.

When choosing to charge, a local authority must not charge more than the cost that it incurs in meeting the assessed needs of the person. A local authority must also regularly reassess a person’s ability to meet the cost of any charges to take account of any changes to their resources.

We know the social care sector is under pressure due to growing demand from both older people and those of working age. We are providing councils with a £1 billion grant for adults and children’s social care on top of maintaining £2.5 billion of existing social care grants for 2020/21. We have provided £3.2 billion to local authorities to help with COVID-19 pressures, and a £600 million Infection Control Fund for care homes, 75% of which must be distributed on a 'per bed' basis, including to social care providers with whom the local authority does not have existing contracts.

8th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they took in response to the information published by Public Health England in February advising that (1) people should not be discharged from hospitals into care homes if there was risk of COVID-19 transmission, (2) it was not safe to discharge untested individuals to care homes from hospitals where there was between five and 25 cases, and (3) there should be no discharges to care or residential homes.

The scenario set out in Public Health England’s (PHE) National Infection Service document, issued on 24 February, related to hospital-acquired COVID-19 outbreaks during the containment phase of COVID-19, prior to 12 March, when there was no sustained community transmission in the United Kingdom. There was no evidence of recorded cases of hospital-acquired COVID-19 outbreaks during the COVID-19 containment phase and before 19 March when the COVID-19 hospital discharge service requirements were published.

On 12 March the Government announced that we were moving our COVID-19 response from the ‘contain’ to ‘delay’ phase. On 13 March PHE published new guidance to care homes. We subsequently published the COVID-19 hospital discharge service requirements on 19 March.

Since the start of the outbreak we have been working closely with the sector and public health experts to ensure we have the right guidance and support in place for care homes.

8th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the letter sent to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care by Cathy Gardner questioning the legality of discharging patients with COVID-19 into care homes, including the one in which her father died on 3 April, and calling for a retraction of the statement that a “protective ring had been thrown around care homes”; when they intend to respond; and what advice they have (1) sought, and (2) been given, by Government law officers in response to that correspondence.

The Government does not comment on litigation matters.

Every death from this virus is a tragedy. It is our priority to ensure that everyone is discharged safely from hospital and to the most appropriate available place. Patients are discharged when it is clinically safe and they no longer need acute care.

We have provided extensive support and guidance to care homes throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We have also provided local authorities with £3.2 billion to help them deal with the impacts of COVID-19, as well as £1.3 billion via the National Health Service to enhance the NHS discharge process. On 13 May, we announced an additional new £600 million Infection Control Fund for care homes to tackle the spread of COVID-19.

8th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that people with COVID-19 have died alone and been left for up to two weeks before being discovered; and what steps they are taking to ensure that isolated people without family or other support systems can be better (1) safeguarded, and (2) supported, during the COVID-19 pandemic. [T]

We recognise how difficult the past months have been for people who are socially isolated and any death is a tragedy.

Local safeguarding partnerships have been ensuring that people with care and support needs are being safeguarded throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, including working with the shielding population to ensure they are well-supported. We are also aware of good practice through community-led social work and support networks which have ensured people stay connected and any concerns or support needs are identified more quickly.

8th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish their response to the letters sent by the National Care Forum on (1) 26 March, and (2) 10 April which (a) stated that care homes were “being pressured into taking hospital discharge patients who had not been tested for the virus, even though they were exhibiting symptoms”, and (b) called for discharged patients to be tested or risk litigation over the “avoidable deaths” of residents who subsequently became infected.

The Department does not have record of the correspondence from the National Care Forum.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the remarks of the President of the Association of Directors of Social Services, that the recently published minutes of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies appear "to reinforce the impression that social care has been an afterthought – a secondary consideration after the NHS" and that "this cannot continue".

Throughout this pandemic, we have been determined to give both the National Health Service and social care everything they need to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In February 2020, the first guidance for the social care sector was published. In March, we announced £1.6 billion funding for local government and £1.3 billion to go to the NHS and social care for discharge support. In April, we announced a further £1.6 billion for local government and our COVID-19: Our Action Plan for Adult Social Care. A copy of the Action Plan is attached.

On 15 May, the Government published the Care Home Support package and an additional £600 million Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund. This represents the next phase of our response for care homes.

We continue to work tirelessly with the care sector and public health experts to explore all measures possible to reduce transmission and save lives.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether patients were discharged to care homes by NHS hospitals in the 30 days before ministers introduced routine COVID-19 testing; if so, why; and what assessment was made of the preparedness of the social care sector for the arrival of such patients.

It has always been our priority to ensure that everyone is discharged safely from hospital and to the most appropriate available place. On 19 March we published the COVID-19 Hospital Discharge Service Requirements to support the safe and rapid discharge of patients who no longer need acute care. This specified that, wherever possible, people who are clinically ready should be supported to return to their place of residence (this could be a care home), where assessment of longer-term needs will take place. This follows the ‘Discharge to Assess’ model. Where a patient had been tested for COVID-19, we specified that results – whether negative or positive – should be included in a patient’s discharge documents.

To support the sector, this guidance also sets out the steps that care providers should be taking, and we provided £1.3 billion to support the process. We have provided advice to care homes throughout the pandemic in response to the latest conditions and emerging evidence and data.

On 2 April we published our Admission and Care of Residents during COVID-19 Incident in a Care Home guidance. This set out further advice on infection control procedures for care homes e.g. limiting visits to essential visits only unless exceptional circumstances and providing advice on isolation, decontamination, cleaning and protective measures for staff. We recommended that all symptomatic residents in care homes should be immediately isolated for 14 days from the onset of symptoms, including patients discharged from hospital.

On 15 April we published our Adult Social Care Plan which included a commitment to all patients being tested prior to discharge to a care home. A copy of COVID-19: Our Action Plan for Adult Social Care is attached.

Copies of the COVID-19 Hospital Discharge Service Requirements and Admission and Care of Residents during COVID-19 Incident in a Care Home are attached.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the remarks by Professor Neil Ferguson, Imperial College, London, that (1) he was “shocked about how badly European – or countries around the world – have protected care home populations” from COVID-19, (2) “infections in care homes and hospitals spill back into the community”, and (3) “the level of transmission and number of cases will remain relatively flat between now and September, short of very big policy changes or behaviour changes in the community”.

Our number one priority for adult social care is for everyone who relies on care to get the care they need throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The steps we have taken have been designed with care users in mind, to ensure that individuals are treated with dignity and respect and that their particular needs are addressed.

Since the start of this pandemic we have been working closely with the sector and public health experts to put in place guidance and support for adult social care to respond to the pandemic. This includes updated guidance for care homes published on 19 June. This guidance provides advice to care homes on infection control procedures to limit the spread of the virus in care homes, protective measures for staff and minimising workforce transmission. A copy of Admission and Care of Residents in a Care Home during COVID-19 is attached.

Our help to care homes, which includes financial support, infection control training and supplies of personal protective equipment, has meant that nearly 60% of England’s care homes have had no outbreak at all.

As the Chief Medical Office has made clear, the rate of transmission and the number of cases of COVID-19 that we will see in the coming weeks and months will depend of how well we all follow social distancing guidance. The work of NHS Test and Trace and public health teams across the country will allow us to keep on top of any local outbreaks and keep the number of cases of COVID-19 low.

We are continuing to seek further evidence as domestic and international experience accrues and is published, and we are working tirelessly with the care sector and public health experts to explore all measures possible to reduce transmission and save lives.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports by the Care Quality Commission that there were 386 deaths linked to learning disabilities and autism between 10 April and 15 May, representing a 134 per cent rise compared with the same period in 2019.

We have commissioned Public Health England to undertake a detailed analysis of the numbers of deaths of people with a learning disability. This will draw on data published by NHS England and by the Care Quality Commission to assess the impact of COVID-19 on this group of people.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they took in response to the advice from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies following its meeting on 10 March to ensure that “special policy consideration be given to care homes and various types of retirement communities” and that a specific action plan for social care was in place by mid-April.; to what timescale they implemented their response; and what assessment they have made of the length of time taken to respond to that recommendation.

Since the start of this outbreak we have been working closely with the sector and public health experts to put in place guidance and support for adult social care based on the latest domestic and international evidence, including that brought together by Public Health England and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, and drawing on the insights of care providers

In February, the first guidance for the sector was published. In March we announced £1.6 billion funding for local government and £1.3 billion to go to the National Health Service and social care for discharge support. In April we announced a further £1.6 billion for local government and published our detailed Adult Social Care Action Plan on 15 April. In May we announced an additional £600 million to support care home providers through a new Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund and our care home support package,

Alongside the care home support package, we have also published detailed guidance for home care providers to support them to deliver care safely and effectively during the pandemic. This will be relevant to retirement community settings where care is provided.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much in total of the Infection Control Fund has been used by care homes to provide personal protective equipment for staff; what steps have been taken to ensure expeditious testing for care home staff and residents before 6 June; how many such staff and residents are yet to be tested; and why.

We have now made £3.2 billion available to local authorities so they can address pressures on local services caused by the pandemic, including in adult social care.

On 15 May we published details of an additional £600 million Infection Control Fund for Adult Social Care. This funding is to support adult social care providers in England reduce the rate of transmission in and between care homes and to support workforce resilience. As part of the grant conditions, local authorities have been asked to report later this month on the measures taken, such as steps taken to isolate residents within care homes and support staff who are self-isolating.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) what assessment they have made of the number of COVID-19 related deaths in care homes in England and Wales between 10 April and 29 May as documented by the Office of National Statistics; (2) what assessment they have made of the statistics published by the Data Analysis Bureau and Person Centred Software that, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, 15 per cent of care home staff have been tested and 62 per cent of care homes have not had any staff receive tests; and (3) what plans they have to review their statement on 15 May that they would ensure the testing of residents and employees at all care homes in England by the beginning of June.

To provide a more comprehensive response to a number of outstanding Written Questions, this has been answered by an information factsheet Testing – note for House of Lords which is attached, due to the size of the data. A copy has also been placed in the Library

2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the statistics published by the Data Analysis Bureau that 15 per cent of 12,407 care home workers from 650 care homes across England, Wales and Scotland have been tested for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, and that 6 per cent of those tested were tested between 20 and 27 May.

Test kits have been offered to every care home for over-65s or those with dementia in England, reaching the testing target for 6 June. All remaining adult care homes are eligible to access testing through the whole care home portal. We have the capacity to send out over 50,000 test kits a day.

20th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the deaths of 20 residents at the Paisley Care Home in Liverpool from suspected COVID-19; and what measures are in place (1) to prevent the spread of that virus, and (2) to ensure the safety of residents and staff, in care homes.

The safety of residents and staff is a priority. It is the responsibility of the local authority, supported by Public Health England and NHS England to manage outbreaks in the first instance. Every death from this virus is a tragedy and we are working around the clock to give the social care sector the equipment and support they need to tackle this outbreak.

We have published a range of guidance for care homes on how to continue giving care during the COVID-19 outbreak.

This includes the Admission and Care of Residents during COVID-19 Incident in a Care Home guidance. This guidance sets out infection control and cohorting advice to care homes, which providers should follow to ensure that they have the confidence to receive and support residents. A copy of the guidance is attached.

On 15 May 2020 we published a care home support package which outlines?the next phase of our response for care homes, including measures on infection prevention control, comprehensive testing and clinical support.

19th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for reform of the World Health Organisation; and what steps they intend to take to ensure the organisation commissions an independent inquiry into the genesis of COVID-19.

We believe the World Health Organization has an important role to play in leading the global health response. The United Kingdom has long been an advocate of reform in the WHO to ensure it is flexible and responsive, and we will continue to be so. We also want to see the WHO continue to learn lessons on how to improve its response to global health emergencies and as such would expect a full review of all elements of their response once they are out of response mode, as has occurred after previous Public Health Emergencies of International Concern. The Secretary of State raised this point in the United Kingdom national address for the World Health Assembly on 18 May 2020 and we were pleased to co-sponsor the COVID-19 resolution, which was an important step forward on the review as well as other areas of collaboration. The UK intends to engage constructively with a future review, including working with other Governments.

18th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the comments by the National Care Association that care homes have felt “completely abandoned” during the COVID-19 pandemic and that prioritising the NHS without adequately protecting elderly people in care may have been “wrong”.

The safety of residents and staff is always a priority. We have provided extensive support and guidance to care homes throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are working closely with local authorities, the care sector and NHS England to ensure everyone has access to the right care, in the most appropriate setting for their needs.

We are determined to give both the care sector and the National Health Service everything they need to respond to this pandemic. On 15?May 2020 we published a care home support package which outlines?the next phase of our response for care homes,?using the latest scientific evidence and drawing on the insights of care providers. To support this, on 13 May we announced an additional £600 million to support care home providers through a new Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund.

This is an unprecedented global pandemic and we will continue to review our guidance and national support in line with the latest scientific advice and engage with stakeholders to ensure we address the majority of their concerns.

18th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the laboratories involved in the development of COVID-19 vaccines are evaluating the (1) use, and (2) potential effects, of those vaccines in trials with (a) older people, and (b) people with disabilities.

Vaccine development involves evaluating the quality, safety and efficacy in a series of carefully planned clinical trials. The Government is backing two promising United Kingdom COVID-19 vaccine candidates at the University of Oxford and Imperial College London. Vaccine development is in the early stages but progressing rapidly. During clinical trials, both Oxford and Imperial plan to evaluate the safety and efficacy of their vaccines in older people. While there are no plans to specifically recruit those with disabilities, in both cases those with disabilities are eligible and welcome to take part in clinical trials subject to specific exclusion criteria which apply to all volunteers to ensure the safety of participants.

18th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they made of the report by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services Ensuring DASS and their partner decision makers have the critical and most up to date information and data on needs and capacity to plan for and make timely and rational decisions about the reprioritisation of services in response to a future flu pandemic and Identifying People who are Vulnerable in a Flu Pandemic Crisis, published in March 2018, which stated that (1) demand for personal protection equipment “could rapidly outstrip supply”, (2) advice on controlling cross infection will be required, and (3) they should “provide support with systems to collate data on suitable volunteers…as this was an area of weakness identified”, in the event of a pandemic; and what steps they took in response to that report.

The Government has made no specific assessment of the report by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Service’s (ADASS) report of 2018, but the Department engages and considers views of ADASS as a key partner organisation. Since the start of the pandemic we have worked closely with the adult social care sector and public health experts to provide guidance and support, including on controlling infection.

On 2 April we published Admission and Care of Residents in a Care Home during COVID-19, which was updated on 19 June. We set out our plans to support the care sector in using and accessing personal protective equipment (PPE) in Covid-19: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Plan on 10 April. On 15 April we published our COVID-19: Our Action Plan for Adult Social Care which included strengthened advice around isolation and introduced testing for all patients prior to discharge from hospital to a care home. Copies are attached. On 15 May, the Government announced a support package for care homes backed by a £600 million Infection Control Fund for care homes to tackle the spread of COVID-19.

To support the health and social care sectors to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have launched the National Health Service Volunteer Responders programme, developed by NHS England in partnership with the Royal Voluntary Service. It is up to individual social care providers to decide whether to use volunteers. We do not collect data nationally on how many volunteers are operating in the social care sector.

18th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Equality and Human Rights Commission about whether human rights laws have been breached by hospitals that discharged older patients that were potentially infected with COVID-19 into care homes.

The Department has not had discussions with the Equality and Human Rights Commission on discharge policy. Providers of care homes in England are required to register with the Care Quality Commission and adhere to the ‘fundamental standards’, such as the duty to provide care in a safe way and treat residents with dignity and respect, as set out in the Health and Social Care Act 2008.

Health and care settings must always seek to fully protect the rights of their residents. The safety of residents and staff is always a priority and patients should not be discharged from hospital unless it is clinically safe to do so. On 15 April, in our Adult Social Care Action Plan, we introduced a policy of testing all residents prior to discharge to a care home.

14th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the comments by the UN Human Rights Commissioner about the operation of care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic; what assessment they have made of reports of care home staff (1) abandoning care homes, (2) leaving residents to die alone, (3) failing to make adequate preparations, and (4) failing to provide guidance and personal protection equipment; what assessment they have made, in assessing such reports, of the human rights of patients and staff in care homes; and what plans they have to support the call for a UN convention on the rights of the elderly.

The Government is aware of comments on care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic made by the UN Special Rapporteurs and the UN Independent Expert.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is not aware of any specific reports of care home staff abandoning care homes or specific cases where residents have been left to die alone. The CQC (Registration) Regulations 2009 set out requirements for incidents and events that must be reported to the CQC, which covers deaths and serious injuries, abuse, incidents reported to the police and events that prevent a service from being carried on safely and in a way that meets legal requirements.

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, each care provider was responsible for sourcing their own personal protective equipment (PPE) from wholesalers and distribution centres. While this was effective and appropriate before the outbreak, it became clear that this fragmented system would be slow to get PPE where it needed to be. To address this, the United Kingdom Government stepped in to support the supply and distribution of PPE to the care sector. We have focused on ensuring that there is an emergency supply in place, while building a longer-term solution for distribution to the sector.

We are supportive, in principle, of a multilateral instrument dedicated to the rights of older persons and welcome the work of the UN Open Ended Working Group on Ageing and its focus on substance to help deepen our understanding of the important issues, before we consider what might be the most appropriate solutions.

13th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that care home operators have complained that COVID-19 testing in care homes has been a “complete system failure”; what steps they are taking in response to such reports; what assessment they have made of reports that Public Health England, the Care Quality Commission and the Department of Health and Social Care have stated that each are not responsible for the testing programme and referred care home operators to another of those organisations; and what plans they have to clarify (1) the operation of, and (2) who has responsibility for, the testing programme.

If a care home suspects a resident has symptoms, the care home manager should contact their local Public Health England Health Protection Team (HPT). The HPT will arrange for testing of all symptomatic residents and provide tailored infection control advice.

For subsequent testing, including ‘whole home testing’, the Department is responsible and testing kits will be delivered directly to care homes by courier or via a mobile testing unit. Kits are requested by care home managers or Local Directors of Public Health via the new online portal. They will provide testing for all residents and asymptomatic staff.

13th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (1) residents, and (2) workers, in care homes have been offered COVID-19 tests; how many have been carried out; and what estimate they have made of the time it will take for all residents and employees in care homes to be offered tests.

Since the start of the pandemic, nearly 125,000 workers in care settings and over 118,000 care home residents have been tested through Departmental and Public Health England testing routes. On Monday 11 May we launched the ‘whole home’ testing portal. As of 19 May, around 170,000 tests have been delivered to 1,243 care homes using the whole care home portal as part of this programme. We will make testing available for every resident and member of staff in care homes for older people in England between now and early June.

13th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the reported complaint made by the chairman of the trustees of the Fairfield Residential Home in Oxford, that COVID-19 testing swabs were not delivered and that symptomatic carers who are self-isolating have to make an 120 mile journey in order to be tested.

The Department recognises that this occurred due to an error which has since been rectified. All failed deliveries were replaced and we now have more than 500 test sites around the United Kingdom with the median distance people travel to sites at just 3.3 miles.

The adult social care sector has been, and continues to be, one of our highest priorities for the rollout of testing, and care homes have been one of the first groups to be given access to repeat asymptomatic testing.

Asymptomatic testing in care homes testing has not stopped, while any care home resident or member of staff with symptoms will continue to be able to immediately access a free test.

We are issuing more than 120,000 tests a day to care homes across the country prioritising high priority outbreak areas.

13th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether (1) Public Health England, (2) the Care Quality Commission, or (3) the Department of Health and Social Care, has had responsibility for carrying out COVID-19 tests in care homes; who is currently responsible for such testing; and what steps they are taking to ensure clarity about such testing for care home operators.

To provide a more comprehensive response to a number of outstanding Written Questions, this has been answered by an information factsheet Testing – note for House of Lords which is attached, due to the size of the data. A copy has also been placed in the Library.

12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that hospitals discharged patients with COVID-19 to care homes without alerting those care homes to such patient’s suspected or confirmed diagnosis; whether they expect the Care Quality Commission to publish a report on any such instances; if so, (1) when they estimate that report will be published, and (2) whether the findings will be presented to Parliament; and what assessment they have made of the risk of legal proceedings being brought against any hospital found to have acted in such a way.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is aware of a small number of cases where care homes have told them that a patient’s positive COVID-19 status was known to the hospital but not disclosed at the point of discharge. The CQC is currently assessing whether there have been any breaches of regulation on the part of the hospital. Once all the relevant information has been reviewed, the CQC will assess what action might be appropriate, if any. Any enforcement action taken by the CQC would be made public. Due to the very small number of cases the CQC has been made aware of and is reviewing, it would be unlikely that this information would form the basis of a standalone report. If the CQC receives further information on this issue, it may seek to publish a report in the future.

12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the remarks by the National Statistician that the R rate of COVID-19 infections “is driven by the epidemic in care homes; and (2) reports by Care England that the levels of COVID-19 infections among hospital and care home staff may be five times higher than those in the wider population; and what steps they are taking in response.

Individual modelling groups use a range of data to estimate R including epidemiological data such as hospital admissions, intensive care unit admissions and deaths. R is an average value that can vary in different parts of the country, communities, and subsections of the population. It cannot be measured directly so there is always some uncertainty around its exact value.

We know that care providers across the country have been doing their utmost to keep those they look after safe and well in the most challenging circumstances. On 13 May we announced an additional £600 million to support providers through a new Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund.

The Government has also made £3.2 billion available to help local authorities deal with the immediate impacts of COVID-19, and £1.3 billion of additional funding to enhance the National Health Service discharge process, getting patients who no longer need urgent treatment home from hospitals safely and quickly.

12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of COVID-19 outbreaks in care homes on the level of COVID-19 cases in the wider community; what plans they have to prevent carers from visiting multiple care facilities; and what steps they are taking to ensure the adequate care of care home residents while ensuring that infected staff are properly isolated.

There is little evidence to suggest a substantial transmission of infection from care homes into the wider community, but our work to reduce transmission within care homes will reduce any risk further. On 13 May we announced an additional £600 million to support providers through a new Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund. The Fund sets out the measures providers can take to support the workforce to minimise the spread of infection, including ensuring staff can self-isolate, reduce their hours, or reduce the number of establishments they work at, without experiencing any loss of income. Expanding and retaining the social care workforce is also key to enabling care providers to continue to provide care and support to their residents, and we have launched a national recruitment campaign for England to support this.

6th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Reuters Special Report In shielding its hospitals from COVID-19, Britain left many of the weakest exposed, published on 5 May. [T]

Social care has been at the frontline of our response to COVID-19, with social care providers looking after many of the most vulnerable in society. The Government’s number one priority for adult social care is to ensure that everyone who relies on care gets the care and support they need throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

On 13 May we announced an additional £600 million for an Infection Control Fund for Adult Social Care. This funding is to support adult social care providers in England reduce the rate of transmission in and between care homes and to support workforce resilience. Furthermore, on 15 May, the Government published a Care Home Support Plan in an online only format on GOV.UK. This is the next phase of our response for care homes, using the latest domestic and international evidence brought together by Public Health England, and drawing on the insights of care providers.

5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what policy objectives they intend to set for their participation in the 73rd Session of the World Health Organisation’s World Health Assembly due to be held from 17 to 21 May; what plans they have to raise the case for a formal international investigation of the government of China’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan at that Assembly; and what discussions they intend to have with other governments, in advance of the Assembly, about conducting such an investigation.

The United Kingdom participated fully in the 73rd World Health Assembly which we saw as an important opportunity to further international collaboration on COVID-19. We believe the World Health Organization (WHO) has an important role to play in leading the global health response. We want to see the WHO continue to learn lessons on how to improve its response to global health emergencies and as such would expect a full review of all elements of their response once they are out of response mode, as has occurred after previous Public Health Emergencies of International Concern. The Secretary of State raised this point in the United Kingdom national address and we were pleased to co-sponsor the COVID-19 resolution, which was an important step forward on the review as well as other areas of collaboration. The UK intends to engage constructively with a future review, including working with other Governments.

5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that people with irregular migration status in the UK are informed about (1) free access to NHS treatment for COVID-19, (2) treatment for COVID-19, and (3) treatment for underlying medical conditions if hospitalised from COVID-19 related complications.

Regulations came into force on 29 January 2020 to add Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) (now known as COVID-19) to Schedule 1 of the National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 2015. This means there can be no charge made to an overseas visitor for the diagnosis, or, if positive, treatment, of COVID-19. The exemption from charge does not extend to any pre-existing conditions, unless separately exempt under the Regulations.

This message has been disseminated to National Health Service staff, the public and organisations representing vulnerable migrant groups. It has also been published in 40 languages on Public Health England’s Migrant Health Guide.

5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to protect public health in Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government takes the welfare of all citizens seriously and we are working hard to ensure people get the support they need to look after themselves and their families during the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes enabling all communities to take the necessary measures to reduce the spread of the virus.

The Minister of State for Home Affairs and Housing, Communities and Local Government (Lord Greenhalgh) wrote to councils outlining their responsibility to support all communities, including Gypsy and Traveller communities, and to ensure they have access to water, sanitation and waste collections.

COVID-19 health guidance for members of Gypsy, Traveller and Boater communities is currently in development for dissemination in a range of formats.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have written to general practice reminding them of the importance of continuing to deliver appropriate care to their local population and the requirements on registration of patients, including those with no fixed address.

29th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken in response to the concerns raised by the UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons on 27 March about the protection of older people who are at the highest risk of COVID-19; and what consideration they have given to her recommendation to develop triage protocols to “ensure that decisions on whether to allocate medical resource are made on the basis of medical needs, the best scientific evidence available and not on non-medical criteria such as age or disability”, and to “ensure that essential support services at home in the communities can continue without putting older persons and their care providers at risk”.

On 7 April 2020, NHS England published a letter outlining the importance of maintaining standards and quality of care in pressurised circumstances. This letter emphasised the NHS Constitution which is based on the principle of equity of access for those who could benefit from treatment escalation.

The evidence is clear that people who are over the age of 70 are at increased clinical risk of having severe cases of COVID-19. The Government recognises that social distancing and self-isolation are likely to increase the risk of loneliness and mental health issues for everyone, but particularly for vulnerable groups including those with pre-existing conditions and those shielding. The Government has provided guidance to support people both medically and socially, who on the basis of their condition and not their age, are extremely vulnerable to COVID-19. This is available in an online only format on GOV.UK. Furthermore, on 22 April the Government launched a new major plan to tackle loneliness which include a £5 million boost for national loneliness organisations.

It is important that people continue to receive support services in the community. The Government has made £3.2 billion available to help local authorities deal with the immediate impacts of COVID-19, and £1.3 billion of additional funding to enhance the National Health Service discharge process, getting patients who no longer need urgent treatment home from hospitals safely and quickly.

28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government why their guidance Admission and Care of Residents during COVID-19 Incident in a Care Home, published on 2 April, and the supplementary guidance, published on 17 April, differs from World Health Organisation guidance for-long term care facilities; and what assessment they have made of the compatibility of that guidance with their obligations under the 2009 UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Department, NHS England, Public Health England (PHE) and the Care Quality Commission co-published Admission and Care of Residents during COVID-19 Incident in a Care Home guidance on 2 April 2020, followed by the publication of PHE guidance How to work safely in care homes on 17 April 2020.

Residential care settings must always seek to fully protect the rights of disabled people now and throughout the course of this global pandemic. No changes have been made to the human rights protections in the Mental Health Act 1983 or as a result of the Care Act 2014 easements. The Adult Social Care Action Plan, published on 15 April 2020, includes information on supporting people to maintain their independence and responding to individual needs.

This is an unprecedented global pandemic. We are constantly reviewing our guidance in line with policy changes based at all times on the best scientific advice.

28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government why their Admission and Care of Residents during COVID-19 Incident in a Care Home guidance, published on 2 April, does not include guidance for care homes on (1) the provision of infection prevention and control (IPC) focal points to lead and coordinate IPC activities, (2) the provision of clear information to residents in an understandable format and language, (3) the steps staff should take in relation to physical distancing, and (4) what staff should require of residents.

Since the guidance published on 2 April we have set out a comprehensive action plan, last updated on 16 April, to support the adult social care sector in England throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Our plan sets out the actions the Government is taking to help minimise the spread of infection within all care settings. Local health protection teams have been working hard to support care homes in outbreak management providing help with testing and isolation, and infection control advice. We will continue to work closely with key stakeholders and keep our policies under review as the pandemic goes on.

We will continue to update our guidance based on stakeholder feedback, including changes to text to make content easier to read. The Accessible Information Standard is a requirement for organisations that provide National Health Service care or publicly-funded adult social care. It ensures that people with a disability, impairment or sensory loss are provided with information they can easily read or understand, with support, so they can communicate effectively with services.

We recognise the importance of care home staff, and the vital role they have to play in the United Kingdom’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. On 17 April Public Health England published guidance COVID19: How to Work Safely in Care Homes. This includes advice on what measures to take in relation to physical distancing in various scenarios. A copy of this guidance is attached.

28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government why their Admission and Care of Residents during COVID-19 Incident in a Care Home guidance, published on 2 April, does not recommend that a resident should be isolated until they have had two negative laboratory tests for COVID-19 taken at least 24 hours apart after the resident’s symptoms have resolved; why that guidance does not require the use of eye protection when staff are working within two 2 metres of a resident; and why that guidance does not specify what personal protection equipment should be worn by cleaners in care homes.

The Admission and Care of Residents during COVID-19 Incident in a Care Home guidance advised a 14-day isolation period over testing, based on the evidence available at the time of publication. The duration was chosen as a pre-cautionary measure and was informed by the recommendation of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group and multiple Government advisory groups.

Care home staff are advised to wear eye protection if a two-metre distance cannot be maintained and there is needed for certain tasks where there is risk of droplets or secretions from the resident’s mouth, nose, lungs or from body fluids reaching the eyes, for example prolonged tasks near residents who are repeatedly coughing or who may be vomiting.

Eye protection is not required when care home workers are not within two metres of someone with a cough. This advice applies to all care home staff, including cleaners.

Care home staff working in communal areas with residents but with no direct contact with residents although potentially within two metres of residents, do not need to wear eye protection.

28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the evidence base behind the suggestion, set out in their Admission and Care of Residents during COVID-19 Incident in a Care Home guidance, published on 2 April, to use disinfectant of 1000ppm chlorine when cleaning car homes; what assessment they have made of whether such disinfectant is sufficient to kill COVID-19 on surfaces; and why that guidance does not include specific guidelines to ensure that laundry is washed in a washing machine with water at 60-90°C with laundry detergent, in accordance with the World Health Organisation guidelines.

The Department, NHS England, Public Health England (PHE) and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) co-published Admission and Care of Residents during COVID-19 Incident in a Care Home guidance on 2 April 2020, followed by the publication of PHE guidance COVID 19: How to work safely in care homes on 17 April 2020. A copy of PHE’s guidance is attached.

The guidance on disinfection in Admission and Care of Residents during COVID-19 Incident in a Care Home of 2 April 2020 is consistent with the World Health Organization’s advice on disinfection.

The use of 0.1% sodium hypochlorite, which is the same as 1,000 parts per million chlorine, has been deduced from studies conducted on SARS-CoV and other coronaviruses, including the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s Interim guidance for environmental cleaning in nonhealthcare facilities exposed to SARS-CoV-2.

With reference to washing of laundry, the Admission and Care of Residents during COVID-19 Incident in a Care Home guidance states that care homes are expected to follow the advice in Health Technical Memorandum 01-04: Decontamination of linen for health and social care (2016). The Memorandum states that enhanced processing should be used when there is the possibility of infectious linen or clothing being generated. The enhanced process should be performed in a machine as for the standard process but using a cycle with a minimum temperature of 60ºC, or the highest temperature suitable for heat-sensitive items.

This is an unprecedented global pandemic and we have taken the right steps at the right time to combat it, guided at all times by the best scientific advice. We are constantly reviewing our guidance in line with policy changes based at all times on the best scientific advice.

28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government why their Admission and Care of Residents during COVID-19 Incident in a Care Home guidance, published on 2 April, does not (1) acknowledge the risk of anxiety, anger and stress on residents, (2) place a duty on care homes to provide practical and emotional support and to work with residents’ families and health care providers, and (3) consider any spiritual or pastoral support residents may request.

The Department, NHS England, Public Health England and the Care Quality Commission co-published Admission and Care of Residents during COVID-19 Incident in a Care Home guidance on 2 April 2020. A copy of the guidance is attached.

The guidance sets out infection control and cohorting advice to care homes, which providers should follow to ensure that they have the confidence to receive and support residents. With the needs of residents in mind, it asks care homes to facilitate remote visiting from family, friends and others, via phone, video, and using plastic or glass barriers.

All our guidance is designed with care users in mind, to ensure that individuals are treated with dignity and respect and that their particular needs are addressed. The Adult Social Care Action Plan published on 15 April includes information on supporting people to maintain their independence and responding to individual needs.

Together with the Chief Social Worker, the Department has developed an ethical framework to provide support to ongoing response planning and decision-making to ensure that thorough consideration is given to a core set of ethical values and principles when organising and delivering social care for adults. The framework emphasises that equal concern and respect should be given to all individuals, their families and carers, and communities, as well as the professionals and volunteers that we will be relying on to ensure the delivery of our services and ambitions.

We have not changed relevant duties for regulated providers (including care homes), contained in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014, including the fundamental standards which include provisions about person-centred care (regulation 9) and dignity and respect (regulation 10).

We know that care home residents, particularly those with cognitive and intellectual impairments such as dementia or a learning disability and autistic people, are likely to experience particular difficulties during the pandemic. This could include difficulty understanding and following advice on social distancing, and increased anxiety. Our social care workforce, including new recruits, will need to be trained to respond to these conditions appropriately. We will support providers to embed this in their training in relation to their role, whether they require basic awareness training or more specialist knowledge and skills.

Officials and Ministers are speaking to users of adult social care, and groups that represent them, frequently, to ensure that the Government’s adult social care COVID-19 response reflects their needs. The Government has produced a number of pieces of guidance to support people during the COVID-19 pandemic, including people with dementia and their carers. We are constantly reviewing our guidance in line with the views of users and policy changes, based at all times on the best scientific advice.

28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what scientific advice was sought from Public Health England before the football match between Liverpool and Atlético Madrid on 11 March was permitted to take place; what assessment was made of permitting people to come together for a public event during a period in which Spain had placed its population in partial lockdown; who gave the advice on behalf of Public Health England; and which Ministers were involved in assessing that advice. [T]

I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has advised that a number of sports and other events took place in the period before the Prime Minister announced the lockdown on 23 March. It was absolutely appropriate for them to do so as it was in line with the public health guidance at the time, and indeed, in line with wider activity in the economy and society more generally. It was also in line with the Government’s border and travel policy.

It is the Government’s absolute priority to protect people's health and our advice to the public is based on direct, continuous consultation with scientific and medical experts. There are many factors that could influence the number of cases in a particular area, including population density, age, general health, and the position of an area on the pandemic curve.

22nd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the application developed by Doctors Association UK about problems with personal protection equipment (PPE); and (2) reports that PPE is being shipped from the UK to Germany, Spain, and Italy, because UK companies claim that offers of help have not been pursued.

We are working around the clock to give the social care sector and wider National Health Service the equipment and support they need to tackle this outbreak.

Sourcing sufficient supplies of personal protective equipment is a challenge that many countries are facing. We are working to expand supply from overseas, improve domestic manufacturing capability and expand and improve the logistics network for delivering to the front line.

The full weight of the Government is behind this effort and we are working closely with industry, social care providers, the NHS, and the army to ensure the right equipment continues to be delivered.

22nd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 21 April (HL2602), why they have not been in contact with the National Cancer Institute Pascale Foundation or the Colli Hospital in Italy to assess the potential outcomes of the use of Tocilizumab to treat patients with COVID-19 related pneumonia; how they are monitoring “the results of trials of experimental therapies for COVID-19 from around the world”; what discussions they plan to have with the National Cancer Institute Pascale Foundation, and the Colli Hospital in Italy as part of that monitoring; whether the United Kingdom Therapeutics Task Force will report on its findings of its assessment of tocilizumab; and if so, when.

Tocilizumab has begun evaluation in the United Kingdom as part of the RECOVERY and REMAP-CAP studies. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is in regular contact with sponsors and trial investigators to review clinical trials, offer scientific and regulatory advice on clinical trials and encourage early submission of emerging data though facilitated licensing routes. Emerging results from global trials will be taken into consideration by the MHRA during authorisation of UK clinical trials and to inform any amendments needed to ongoing trials.

The Government recognises the importance of collaborating effectively to combat COVID-19, and the UK is meeting regularly with other countries both bilaterally and multilaterally to share information on a variety of subjects including clinical trials. Working with partners across the health and care system, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is supporting the identification, prioritisation and delivery of high quality COVID-19 research, a key element of the Government’s overall response. As part of this work, the NIHR Innovation Observatory is monitoring the progress of trials taking place across the world.

The Therapeutics Taskforce has not been in direct contact with the National Cancer Institute Pascale Foundation or the Colli Hospital in Italy.

22nd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what the term “let it run hot” means in relation to COVID-19; and what plans they have to publish the evidence base for behind the use of that phrase.

We are not aware of the use of the term 'let it run hot' being used in relation to COVID-19 by the Department.

22nd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many COVID-19 tests are currently taking place each day; what estimate they have made of the number of daily tests that would need to occur before an end to lockdown may be safely considered; and what measures they are putting in place to increase capacity and training of those capable of undertaking and evaluating the tests.

The Government is rapidly scaling up the national effort to boost testing capacity for COVID-19 to protect the vulnerable, support the National Health Service, and ultimately save lives. Further details of this work can be found in the Government’s Testing Strategy titled Coronavirus (COVID-19): scaling up our testing programmes, published on 4 April, which is attached.

There are a number of factors to consider in relation to easing of the present restrictions, with testing being just one. Consequently, the Department has not set a threshold on the number of tests necessary to end the current restrictions. The Government will continue to review advice on how testing, along with other efforts, can inform future measures to tackle the virus and how we can ease restrictions whilst keeping people safer.

21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that letters have been circulated by GP surgeries to residents in care homes in the East of England stating that residents are “unlikely to benefit from mechanical ventilation” and will not be offered the treatment in hospital if admitted with COVID-19; whether any such letters have been circulated elsewhere; and on what authority and basis such guidance was issued. [T]

We are aware of reports of people in care homes being told by general practitioner (GP) surgeries that they are unlikely to be prioritised for mechanical ventilation if they contract COVID-19, because they could be too ‘frail’. This stemmed from recent National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance on prioritising critical care. NICE was forced to revise the guidance, which included use of the clinical frailty scale (CFS), following allegations it discriminated against people with learning and other disabilities. The guidance was revised on 25 March 2020 and now states: “The Clinical Frailty Score should not be used in younger people, people with stable long-term disabilities (for example, cerebral palsy), learning disability or autism. An individualised assessment is recommended in all cases where the CFS is not appropriate.”

A letter was sent on 3 April 2020 to primary care, acute trusts and community trusts from the National Director of Mental Health, National Clinical Director (for Learning Disability and Autism) and the Medical Director for Primary Care to the NHS on the appropriate use of Do not Resuscitate forms and clinical frailty assessments (which can be used to assess whether critical care is appropriate for a patient) following recent reports on inappropriate use. A copy of the letter is attached.

Furthermore, a letter to the system from Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer, and Steve Powis, National Medical Director at NHS England and NHS Improvement was sent out on 7 April 2020, addressing concerns recently raised regarding the use of DNR forms and supporting best practice in the application of advance care plans. A copy of the letter is attached.

Finally, NHS England and NHS Improvement have produced a GP Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for managing COVID-19 in general practice, published on 6 April. This includes a COVID-19 advance care plan template, guidance notes for completing an advance care plan and states that “Advance care plans should be made on an individual basis. It is not acceptable for advance care plans, with or without Do Not Attempt Resuscitation forms, to be applied to groups of patients”. A copy of the SOP is attached.

25th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether those who were detained under section 3 of the Mental Health Act 1983 but have since been released will continue to be legally entitled to the provision of after-care by social services under section 117 of that Act, following the enactment of the Coronavirus Act 2020.

The Coronavirus Act 2020 does not provide for any changes to legal entitlements for aftercare services under section 117 of the Mental Health Act 1983.

24th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish guidance for local authorities on (1) treatment, (2) care, and (3) funding for people with dementia, during the COVID-19 pandemic; when any such guidance will be published; and what assessment they have made of the number of patients with dementia in care homes without staff who have had dementia training.

The Government has announced £1.6 billion of additional funding to support local authorities to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic across all service areas.

The Department of Health and Social Care is working closely with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, local authorities and providers to make sure the adult social care sector is ready. New adult social care guidance is available online and covers provision of residential care, supported living and home care.

Guidance for other sectors is being produced and updated regularly and the Government is also finalising COVID-19 related guidance for care homes including those housing individuals with dementia, which will be published shortly.

23rd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford on 20 January (HL277) and Lord Bethell on 5 March (HL1701) and 18 March (HL2406), what outcomes the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority consider to be adverse following mitochondrial donation treatment; whether such outcomes include (1) implantation failure, (2) spontaneous miscarriage, and (3) the termination of a pregnancy following the detection of unanticipated abnormalities; and what assessment they have made of the reason for the lack of live births pursuant to the application of such treatments.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) have advised that this information is set out in its Code of Practice at section 33.35, which states:

“If a centre becomes aware that a child born following mitochondrial donation has been born with a mitochondrial disease, birth defect, or genetic abnormality, or if there has been some other adverse outcome (including but not limited to failed or no embryo development, miscarriage or premature birth) following treatment involving mitochondrial donation, the centre must regard this as an adverse incident and report this to the HFEA in line with the requirements on adverse incidents set out in guidance note 27. This is to capture information about any abnormalities that may occur as a result of carrying out the MST (maternal spindle transfer) or PNT (pro-nuclear transfer) treatment, to inform any regulatory or licensing action that the HFEA may wish to take and to inform the scientific sector.”

The HFEA has made no assessment of the efficacy of mitochondrial treatment to date as the number of treatments is so low, at this stage.

23rd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports about the success of using hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19, following a study carried out by Professor Raoult, director of the Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire de Marseille.

The Department is considering carefully all available evidence around the potential of different medicines for use in treating COVID-19. Clinical trials are ongoing and being developed to assess the benefits of a number of different medicines in treating COVID-19.

Hydroxychloroquine is not currently licensed to treat COVID-19 related symptoms or prevent infection. Clinical trials are being established to test hydroxychloroquine as an agent in the treatment of COVID-19. These clinical trials are still not completed, so no conclusions have yet been reached on the safety and effectiveness of this medicine to treat or prevent COVID-19.

23rd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following their decision to ban the parallel export of drugs used to treat malaria and HIV, whether UK stocks of such medicines are being trialled for use on patients with COVID-19; and if so, what (1) clinical evidence has been gathered, and (2) conclusions have been reached, about the efficacy of such treatment.

United Kingdom stocks of medicines to treat malaria and HIV are being trialled for use on patients with COVID-19.

There are suggestions in the Chinese and French literature that both lopinavir/ritonavir and chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine may be beneficial. However, these data are not conclusive, because the studies done are too small, thus the findings, whilst promising, may ultimately be wrong.

The UK will evaluate both these treatments in two large randomised trials, one of which is already underway and the other of which is expected to begin recruitment next week.

17th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 16 March (HL2026), whether they will now answer the question put, namely, whether the current provision of specialised ventilation care will be capable of meeting the needs of those affected by an epidemic.

We have significantly increased our ventilator capacity. To date, there are more than 8,000 ventilators in hospitals across the United Kingdom, with thousands more expected to come into use in the coming weeks and months and, of course, we will continue to order more. This is alongside work being done on the Prime Minister’s ventilator challenge.

Ventilators are being procured from existing worldwide stocks. Ventilators will be delivered to National Health Service trusts as soon as stock has arrived in the UK. In addition, ventilators will be available in the private hospitals that we have just contracted as additional capacity.

It is not yet clear precisely how quickly the number of cases requiring ventilation will increase, hence the efforts to increase capacity rapidly. Ventilator demand modelling continues to evolve and at present sufficient capacity exists. The supply and demand of ventilators is under constant review.

17th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what response there has been to the Prime Minister's request for manufacturers to develop ventilators for the NHS; and how many they expect to be produced.

Work preparing the National Health Service has been ongoing and we have already nearly doubled ventilator capacity. New and existing suppliers are being asked to build as many as they can. The Prime Minister has issued a call to United Kingdom industry to produce additional ventilators and the Department asked appropriate potential manufacturers on 13 March to come forward with proposals for new ventilation machines. Around a dozen potential prototypes have now been presented to the Department which we are currently pursuing.

17th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how confident they are that those who have recovered from COVID-19 do not continue to be carriers of the virus; and whether swab tests will be repeated for recovered patients to ensure that such tests remain negative.

COVID-19 is not known to cause latent infections (becoming dormant in the body after infection and reactivate later on) or to cause persistent infection (continuous infection).

Public Health England is in the process of producing guidance for the conditions of discharge of infected patients from hospitals.

17th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that one of the people in the Lombardy cluster may have become infected with COVID-19 after contact with a person who tested negative for COVID-19.

Assessment of the clinical and epidemiological characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 cases suggests that, similar to SARS-CoV, patients will not be infectious until the onset of symptoms. In most cases, individuals are usually considered infectious while they have symptoms. How infectious individuals are depends on the severity of their symptoms and stage of their illness. Further study is required to determine the actual occurrence and impact of asymptomatic transmission.

16th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to review internal advice on personal protective equipment given to NHS doctors; and what steps they are taking to ensure that medical staff swabbing patients for COVID-19 have filtering facepiece 3 respirators.

To provide a more comprehensive response to a number of outstanding Written Questions, this has been answered by an information factsheet PPE - note for House of Lords which is attached, due to the size of the data. A copy has also been placed in the Library.

16th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the (1) current availability of ventilators in NHS intensive care units, and (2) production capacity, to supply further ventilators in line with the planned increase in their use.

The National Health Service has world-renowned critical care facilities which includes access to around 5,000 adult and 900 paediatric critical care ventilators, with further ventilators available outside of critical care facilities.

Work preparing the NHS has been ongoing and we have already nearly doubled ventilator capacity. New and existing suppliers are being asked to build as many as they can. The Prime Minister has issued a call to United Kingdom industry to produce additional ventilators and the Department asked appropriate potential manufacturers on 13 March to come forward with proposals for new ventilation machines. Around a dozen potential prototypes have now been presented to the Department which we are currently pursuing.

16th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the benefits of the use of Tocilizumab in the treatment of severe cases of interstitial pneumonia linked to COVID-19 in China and Italy; and what plans they have to make that drug available on the NHS.

The Department is considering carefully all available evidence around the potential of different medicines for use in treating COVID-19. Clinical trials are being developed to assess the benefits of a number of different medicines in treating COVID-19. Further medicines may be trialled should evidence indicate to the Department that this would be an appropriate course of action. The Department, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, Public Health England and the National Health Service are working together to ensure that trials can begin as soon as possible. The first trial in the United Kingdom for hospitalised patients should begin later this week.

16th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with (1) the National Cancer Institute Pascale Foundation, and (2) the Colli Hospital, in Italy about the results those institutions saw from using Tocilizumab to treat patients with severe pneumonia linked to COVID-19.

The Department has not been in direct contact with the National Cancer Institute Pascale Foundation or the Colli Hospital in Italy regarding the experimental use of tocilizumab. However, the United Kingdom Therapeutics Task Force has independently assessed tocilizumab as having potential, and it is expected to begin evaluation in the UK imminently as part of the RECOVERY and REMAP-CAP studies. UK patients will be able to access tocilizumab as part of this trial. The Department will continue to monitor the results of trials of experimental therapies for COVID-19 from around the world.

16th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 10 March (HL1839), what assessment they have made of the report by the Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies China and Viruses: The Case of Dr. Xiangguo Qiu, published on 29 January.

The Government is aware of this report by the Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies.

Research into COVID-19’s origins is ongoing, and the United Kingdom is working with the international scientific community to determine the source of the outbreak.

12th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the average number of embryos used to save a life using mitochondrial replacement techniques; and how many such embryos they estimate are subsequently transferred to a woman.

The purpose of mitochondrial donation treatment is to prevent the transfer of serious mitochondrial disease passing from mother to child. The treatment is used to ensure that the embryos created do not carry mitochondrial mutations that would otherwise result in serious genetic diseases.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has to date licensed 17 patients as eligible for mitochondrial donation treatment in the United Kingdom. To protect patient confidentiality, information on the number of patients that have begun treatment cannot be disclosed. It is therefore not possible to provide the information requested.

10th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 5 March (HL1700), what were the mitochondrial DNA mutations in each of the 17 applications considered by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority that have now been approved; and on what dates each application was (1) made, and (2) approved.

The following table shows the gene affected and the mutation in each application, the dates each application was made and approved by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) Statutory Approvals Committee.

HFEA Application reference

Gene affected by mutation

Mutation

Date received

Date approved by the HFEA Statutory Approvals Committee

M0001

MT-TK

Details omitted to protect patient identity

28 June 2017

31 August 2017

M0002

MT-TK

Details omitted to protect patient identity

4 September 2017

26 October 2017

M0007

MT-ND1

m.3460 G>A

13 March 2018

24 May 2018

M0003

MT-TL1

Details omitted to protect patient identity

25 September 2017

26 July 2018

M0005

MT-TL1

m.3243 A>G

5 December 2017

26 July 2018

M0008

MT-TL1

m.3243 A>G

15 March 2018

26 July 2018

M0004

MT-TK

Details omitted to protect patient identity

4 December 2017

30 August 2018

M0006

MT-TS1

Details omitted to protect patient identity

9 January 2018

30 August 2018

M0009

MT-TI

m.4300 A>G

28 June 2018

27 September 2018

M0010

MT-TI

m.4300 A>G

11 July 2018

27 September 2018

M0013

MT-ND4

m.11778 G>A

14 July 2018

25 October 2018

M0012

MT-ND1

m.3460 G>A

13 July 2018

25 October 2018

M0014

MT-ND4

m.11778 G>A

23 November 2018

31 January 2019

M0015

MT-ND4

m.11778 G>A

23 November 2018

31 January 2019

M0011

MT-ND4

m.11778 G>A

12 July 2018

29 August 2019

M0016

MT-TK

m.8344 A>G

5 July 2019

26 September 2019

M0017

MT-ND4

m.11778 G>A

22 August 2019

31 October 2019

Source:

HFEA

10th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 5 March (HL1701), why they stated that the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has no role in the follow-up of patients pursuant to mitochondrial donation treatment if it provides contact details on its website for further discussion of this; what recommendations the Scientific review of the safety and efficacy of methods to avoid mitochondrial disease through assisted conception: 2016 update, published in November 2016, made in regard to rigorous long-term follow-up of children born as a result of such techniques; and what assessment they have made of the statement on the HFEA website that those engaging in follow-up to such treatment will be “helping many people affected by mitochondrial disease, now and in the future”.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has no statutory role in following up the clinical outcomes of patients born after mitochondrial donation treatment. However, the HFEA Code of Practice requires any clinic licensed to offer such treatment to have a documented process to enable follow-up, where patients have consented to this. Clinics are also required to report any adverse outcomes following mitochondrial donation treatment to the HFEA.

The statement on the HFEA website is addressed to potential patients and explains that follow-up is useful, as doctors want to understand as much as possible about how mitochondrial donation affects children and future generations. This will ensure that children born following mitochondrial donation get the best possible care in the future, as well as contributing to continued understanding of mitochondrial disease. The Government has not made a specific assessment of this statement.

The 2016 update recommended follow-up of children born as a result of mitochondrial donation in order to gather information about safety and efficacy.

10th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Lord O'Shaughnessy on 24 October 2017 (HL1882) and by Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford on both 9 January 2020 (HL275) and 11 February 2020 (HL1237), why the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) does not hold information on which methods of freezing are used; from which data the HFEA came to the conclusion that there has been no effective difference between vitrification and slow freezing methods over the last five years; and what assessment they have made of the importance of any (1) clinical, and (2) other, follow up for informing prospective patients.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) is required under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 to keep a register recording identifiable information on patients, the treatments they undergo and their outcomes. This information does not include the method used to freeze sperm, eggs or embryos.

The HFEA has not said that there has been no effective difference between methods of freezing over the last five years. The HFEA’s published information on annual fertility trends shows an increase in success rates using frozen embryos and frozen eggs over time.

The HFEA does not carry out follow up work with patients. Under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, applications can be made to use HFEA data for research studies.

3rd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking (1) to purchase or manufacture, and (2) to distribute sufficient, (a) clinical respiratory face masks, (b) goggles, and (c) protective clothing for health workers dealing with a potential COVID-19 epidemic in the UK; and what training NHS and emergency service workers will receive in using such equipment.

The Chancellor has set out a £12 billion package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, individuals and businesses through the economic disruption caused by COVID-19.

General practitioner surgeries and the National Health Service should continue to use their current procedures for ordering, supplying and procuring personal protective equipment and use their usual contracted routes should any escalation be needed.

We practise and prepare our response to disease outbreaks and follow tried and tested procedures, following the highest safety standards possible for the protection of NHS staff, patients and the public. Specific guidance on handling people with COVID-19 has been shared with NHS staff. Public Health England has also published online guidance for first responders and others who may have close contact with people with potential COVID-19.

3rd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they expect 20 per cent of those infected with COVID-19 in the UK to require hospital treatment, as was the case in Wuhan.

The United Kingdom Government and devolved administrations, including the health and social care system, have planned extensively over the years for an event like this. The UK is therefore well prepared to respond in a way that offers substantial protection to the public. The Government’s action plan Coronavirus: action plan A guide to what you can expect across the UK sets out what we are planning to do next, depending upon the course the current coronavirus outbreak takes. A copy of the action plan is attached.

Among those who become infected, some will exhibit no symptoms. Early data suggest that of those who develop an illness, the great majority will have a mild-to-moderate, but self-limiting illness – similar to seasonal flu. It is, however, also clear that a minority of people who get COVID-19 will develop complications severe enough to require hospital care, most often pneumonia, in some instances leading to death.

2nd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to establish centres for specialised ventilation care for people in stage 3 of COVID-19; and what assessment they have made of whether current provision would be capable of meeting the needs of those affected by an epidemic.

Highly specialised beds will only be needed by a minority of affected patients. As the Chief Medical Officer has said, we are working through our clear action plan to make sure we can flex services to respond to extra demand. NHS England and NHS Improvement are working closely with providers across the country to support this.

2nd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the (1) report by the World Health Organization Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report, published on 1 March, in particular the mortality rate from COVID-19 in Hubei province, and (2) the remarks by Brendan Wren, Professor of Vaccinology at the London School of Tropical Medicine that the difference in the mortality rate in Hubei province compared to other areas is a due to a higher viral load, or because the original source of COVID-19 in Wuhan may still be actively transmitting.

The Government is being advised by the Scientific Advisory Group For Emergencies, known as SAGE. SAGE and its sub groups have, and will continue to, monitor all relevant epidemiological literature, including the World Health Organization’s Situation Reports. Estimates of mortality rates in different regions vary, so it is right that we are considering this information in the round.

25th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the (1) number, and (2) location, of microbiology laboratories in China that handle advanced viruses such as the Wuhan coronavirus; and what assessment they have made of the role any such laboratories may have had in the initial spread of the Wuhan coronavirus.

We do not hold this information.

24th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department of Health and Social Care on 15 April 2019 (241389), what explanation the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority provided for why no more than five patients at risk of producing a child with mitochondrial pathologies had undergone treatment by 20 January 2020, given 14 applications had been approved; and for the application that was not approved (1) what were the reasons for that refusal, and (2) what was the subsequent fate of that application.

It is the responsibility of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to decide on individual applications for mitochondrial donation that meet the statutory test laid out in the relevant regulations. Decisions on when to begin treatment are a clinical decision and not a matter for the HFEA.

As of 25 February 2020, there have been 17 applications considered by the HFEA all of which have now been approved.

24th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford on 20 January (HL277), how many spontaneous miscarriages have been recorded pursuant to clinical application in the UK of (1) pronuclear transfer, and (2) spindle-chromosomal complex transfer; and what role the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has played in (a) the follow-up of patients, and (b) the review of such licensed activity.

There have been no miscarriages recorded pursuant to clinical application in the United Kingdom of pronuclear transfer and spindle-chromosomal complex transfer.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has no role in the follow-up of patients. The HFEA inspects clinics periodically and reviews licensed activity in accordance with the relevant legislation and its Code of Practice.

24th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report to the United Nations Human Rights Council by the special rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, published on 17 December 2019; and what steps they intend to take in response to that report.

We are aware of the report and note the recommendations.

3rd Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord O'Shaughnessy on 24 October 2017 (HL1882), whether the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority now holds information on methods of freezing; if not, why not; and if so, how many human embryos were (1) transferred to uteri to establish pregnancies, (2) destroyed, and (3) allocated for destruction but have not yet been destroyed, following (a) vitrification, and (b) slow freezing methods, in each of the last five years for which figures are available.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that it does not hold information on which methods of freezing are used.

The HFEA is required under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 to keep a register recording identifiable information on patients, the treatments they undergo and their outcomes. This information does not include the method used to freeze sperm, eggs or embryos.

3rd Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people who have flown to the UK from Wuhan, China, since the outbreak of the coronavirus was announced have been contacted; how many of those have been tested for coronavirus; what steps they are taking to (1) identify, and (2) locate, those yet to be tested; and what assessment they have made of the statement by the Chief Medical Officer for England on 24 January that there is a “fair chance” that the UK will see cases of that virus.

On direct flights from Wuhan into the United Kingdom, 1,466 passengers and 95 staff arrived between 10 and 24 January. Of these, 162 of the passengers have already left the UK, 53 of the crew have already left the UK and all of the remaining passengers (1,304) are now outside of the incubation period.

As of 5 February, a total of 468 UK tests have concluded, of which 466 were confirmed negative and two positive. Information is published daily online on the Coronavirus: latest information and advice page on the Government website.

Posters and leaflets with health advice has been made available in all UK international airports, Eurostar terminals and Dover. As of 5 February, the two patients who tested positive are receiving specialist National Health Service care and we are using tried and tested infection control procedures to prevent further spread of the virus.

The NHS is extremely well-prepared and used to managing infections and we are already working rapidly to identify any contacts the patients had, to prevent further spread. We are continuing to work closely with the World Health Organization and the international community as the outbreak in China develops to ensure we are ready for all eventualities.

3rd Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of Imperial College London's estimate that 3,301 passengers have left Wuhan airport every day going to 20 international destinations over the last two months.

On direct flights from Wuhan into the United Kingdom, 1,466 passengers and 95 staff arrived between 10 and 24 January. Of these, 162 of the passengers have already left the UK, 53 of the crew have already left the UK and all of the remaining passengers (1,304) are now outside of the incubation period.

As of 5 February, a total of 468 UK tests have concluded, of which 466 were confirmed negative and two positive. Information is published daily online on the Coronavirus: latest information and advice page on the Government website.

Posters and leaflets with health advice has been made available in all UK international airports, Eurostar terminals and Dover. As of 5 February, the two patients who tested positive are receiving specialist National Health Service care and we are using tried and tested infection control procedures to prevent further spread of the virus.

The NHS is extremely well-prepared and used to managing infections and we are already working rapidly to identify any contacts the patients had, to prevent further spread. We are continuing to work closely with the World Health Organization and the international community as the outbreak in China develops to ensure we are ready for all eventualities.

30th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Prior of Brampton on 22 November 2016 (HL3075), how many human embryos were deliberately destroyed in each of the last 12 months for which figures are available; how many human embryos were transferred to uteri in order to establish pregnancies; and what are the cumulative figures for both circumstances since such procedures were made legal.

The information requested is shown in the following tables. The following table provides the figures for each of the last 12 months, 1 January 2018 – 31 December 2018. The data is as shown on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority’s (HFEA) register database on 5 February 2020. This is a live database so these figures reflect the data on this day.

Year

Month

Total destroyed /discarded

Total embryos transferred

2018

January

13,283

5,398

February

15,193

7,352

March

16,257

7,360

April

15,150

6,728

May

15,300

6,735

June

15,520

6,263

July

15,236

6,598

August

15,057

6,779

September

13,485

6,187

October

16,087

7,002

November

16,029

7,637

December

10,597

4,734

Total

177,194

78,773

Source:

Source: HFEA

The following table provides the cumulative figures for both circumstances since 1 August 1991.

1 August 1991 – 31 December 2018

Total number of embryos discarded/destroyed

2,931,824

Total number of embryos transferred

1,979,831

Source: HFEA

29th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people have entered the UK from Wuhan during the last month; how those people are being tracked; how universities have been involved in assisting students returning from affected areas; whether British citizens now being quarantined on return from affected areas are being treated differently to those who had returned to the UK during the preceding month; and whether they have asked the World Health Organisation to declare the spread of the coronavirus as a global health emergency.

1,466 passengers and 95 staff arrived into the United Kingdom on direct flights from Wuhan between 10 January and 24 January when direct flights ceased.

British citizens repatriated from Wuhan have been put into supported isolation for any medical needs that they may have and to protect the public.

Asymptomatic passengers have been transferred to a National Health Service accommodation facility to spend at least 14 days in supported isolation. If any passengers develop symptoms, they will be assessed and transferred to appropriate NHS care facilities nearby.

The World Health Organization has declared a Public Health Emergency of International Conern in response to the novel coronavirus as the outbreak continues to spread outside China.

13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much the NHS has paid out, in total, for clinical negligence claims in each of the last ten years for which figures are available; what were the five main reasons for such claims; and what strategy the NHS has for reducing the number of such claims.

NHS Resolution handles clinical negligence claims on behalf of National Health Service organisations and independent sector providers of NHS care in England.

The amount the NHS has paid out, in total, for clinical negligence claims in each of the last 10 financial years for which figures are available is shown in the following table.

Financial Year

Total Paid £’000

2009/10

786,991

2010/11

863,398

2011/12

1,277,372

2012/13

1,258,881

2013/14

1,192,540

2014/15

1,169,587

2015/16

1,488,455

2016/17

1,707,167

2017/18

2,227,542

2018/19

2,359,866

The five main reasons for the above claims by frequency are:

- Failed / Delay to Treatment;

- Failed / Delay to Diagnosis;

- Intra-Operative Problems;

- Inappropriate Treatment; and

- Inadequate Nursing Care.

Our ambition is for the NHS to be the safest healthcare system in the world. We have thoroughly overhauled the infrastructure underpinning healthcare quality and safety in the last decade to minimise harm. The NHS Patient Safety Strategy: Safer culture, safer systems, safer patients, published in July 2019, and Safer Maternity Care: The NHS Maternity Safety Strategy – Progress and Next Steps, published in November 2017, set out the comprehensive approach to continuously improve safety. Copies of the strategies are attached.

The NHS Resolution five-year strategy Delivering fair resolution and learning from harm, published in 2017, describes how the organisation is contributing to improved safety and tackling clinical negligence costs. NHS Resolution is committed to learning from claims and is working directly with trusts to share learning and best practice across the NHS to drive safety improvement. This will help to minimise the potential of clinical errors that could lead to harm and possible future claims. A copy of the strategy is attached.

The Department is also working intensively with the Ministry of Justice, other Government Departments and NHS Resolution to tackle the continued year-on-year-rises in clinical negligence costs which are eating progressively into resources available for front-line care. While there are no simple solutions and the work is still ongoing, good progress has been made in developing our understanding of all the drivers of cost and exploring ways forward.

9th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will respond to the freedom of information request, made by Marie Lyon, Chair of the Association for Children Damaged by Hormone Pregnancy Tests on 13 November 2019, seeking access to data held by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency before 27 February 2020; and if not, why not.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency aims to reply to all freedom of information requests within the 20 working-day statutory deadline set out in the Freedom of Information Act 2000. In circumstances where we need to consider whether the public interest in releasing the information is outweighed by the public interest in not giving the information (the ‘public interest test’) the Act allows us to extend the deadline for reply beyond the usual 20 working days. This was applied to Mrs Lyon’s request and we responded by the revised deadline of 13 January.

14th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to discuss with the government of Nigeria the deaths and disappearances which followed an attack on four villages in the Kaduna state of Nigeria on 5 June.

We are aware of the attacks in Kaduna state on 5 June. Increasing insecurity across Nigeria is having a devastating impact on affected communities. The UK Government condemns kidnappings across Nigeria, and calls for the release of those still held captive. We are in regular contact with the Kaduna State Government on instances of conflict and insecurity in the State, and continue to support dialogue and mediation activities in Kaduna, in partnership with the State Government. We also continue to urge and support the Nigerian Government to take action to implement long-term solutions that address the root causes of violence, and we committed to work together to respond to rising insecurity in Nigeria at our Security and Defence Dialogue in February.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to discuss with the government of Nigeria the increased targeting of clergy and church workers following a series of abductions in June.

Rising insecurity in Nigeria, including reports that clergy and church workers have been abducted, is concerning. The UK Government is working with Nigeria to respond. At the first dialogue of our Security and Defence partnership in February, we agreed to work together to respond to security challenges including kidnaps. We are providing mentoring and capacity-building support to Nigerian Police Force units to improve their anti-kidnap capacity, to help reduce harm to victims, and to hold those responsible to account, in support of our shared objective of reducing kidnaps. The Minister for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and our High Commissioner in Abuja, regularly raise insecurity in Nigeria in their meetings with the Nigerian authorities, and will continue to do so in future discussions.

Clergy and church workers deserve to work in safety, and all religious communities should be able to practice their faith without fear. The UK Government will continue to encourage the Nigerian Government to take urgent action to implement long-term solutions that address the root causes of violence, whilst also ensuring Freedom of Religion or Belief for all.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the International Criminal Court (ICC) regarding alleged recent atrocities committed in Nigeria by jihadist groups and organisations targeting minorities; and what assistance they are providing to the ICC in proceeding with any formal investigations.

Support for international criminal justice and accountability is a fundamental element of our foreign policy. The UK has always been, and remains, a strong supporter of the mission of the International Criminal Court (ICC), in line with its founding Statute. It is important for the stabilisation of North East Nigeria that victims and the families of those affected by the conflict see that justice has been done.

On 11 December 2020 the Prosecutor announced that she had concluded her preliminary examination stating there was a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed in Nigeria. The Prosecutor is now seeking judicial authorisation to open an ICC investigation. The UK has not been asked by the ICC to provide assistance.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Nigeria following the immolation of Ahmad Usman in Abuja on 5 June and Deborah Emmanuel in Sokoto state on 12 May.

The recent murders of Ahmad Usman in Abuja and of Deborah Samuel in Sokoto State were barbaric and heinous acts. The UK Government condemns their killings and will continue to urge the relevant authorities to ensure the perpetrators face justice in line with the law. The Minister for Africa expressed her profound sadness at their tragic deaths in the House on 6 June and our Deputy High Commissioner in Abuja raised Deborah's murder in a meeting with the Nigerian Government last month.

The UK Government engages regularly with members of the Nigerian Government on insecurity in Nigeria, and the need to protect and promote human rights for all, including the right to Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB). The Minister for Africa raised FoRB in a call with the Nigerian Foreign Minister in May and, during her visit to Nigeria in February, she discussed, among other issues, the deteriorating security situation with the Vice President and Foreign Minister.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, whether they have shared any evidence of atrocities in Nigeria with the International Criminal Court; what assessment they have made of whether religious discrimination is the cause of attacks on Nigerian churches and communities; and whether they have shared any evidence of religious discrimination in any evidence submitted to the International Criminal Court.

We have not shared any evidence of atrocities or of religious discrimination in Nigeria with the International Criminal Court.

We are aware that places of worship have been targeted in incidents of intercommunal violence in Nigeria, and condemn all such attacks; the motives behind these attacks vary, and are not always clear. In a country with a highly religious population, we recognise that religious identity can be a factor in incidents of violence, but the root causes are often complex and frequently relate to over resources, historical grievances, and criminality. The UK will continue to play a constructive role in calming these tensions and supporting solutions which meet the needs of all affected communities.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the abduction of the Prelate of the Methodist Church Nigeria.

We are aware of the abduction of the Prelate of the Methodist Church Nigeria alongside other clerics. They have now been released. The UK Government condemns kidnappings across Nigeria, and calls for the release of those still held captive.

Through our Security and Defence Partnership with Nigeria, we are working together to help build capacity to respond to kidnaps. We are providing mentoring and capacity-building support to Nigerian Police Force units to improve their anti-kidnap capacity, to help reduce harm to victims, and to hold those responsible to account.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of Amnesty International's report Bullets rained from the sky, published on 31 May, about war crimes and displacement in eastern Myanmar.

The UK Government is deeply concerned by Amnesty International's latest report which highlights widespread atrocities against communities in Kayin and Kayah States, including indiscriminate attacks against civilians. We have been clear in our condemnation of the military coup in Myanmar. We are committed to ending the culture of impunity and continue to push for de-escalation of violence to create space for a political resolution. We are also fully committed to responding to urgent humanitarian needs, particularly for the most vulnerable communities, as well as supporting and sustaining the pro-democracy movement.

We are using sanctions to target the military's access to equipment which allows them to continue their campaign of violence. We have provided £500,000 to the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar which collects and preserves evidence of human rights violations for future prosecution. We also established the Myanmar Witness programme which gathers and reports on open-source information on serious human rights violations and abuses, including those against the Rohingya.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what humanitarian assistance they are providing in Myanmar; and what plans they have to increase aid to provide emergency assistance (1) to the internally displaced, and (2) refugees on adjoining borders.

Meeting humanitarian needs remains a key priority for the UK. We continue to provide humanitarian assistance through international Non-Governmental Organisations, UN agencies and the Red Cross, including food, water, hygiene and sanitation services, shelter and medical equipment, to the most vulnerable in Myanmar, especially those in displacement camps.

Since the coup the UK has provided £49.4 million in aid to Myanmar, the majority for humanitarian and healthcare assistance. £24 million of this has been spent on emergency assistance to over 600,000 internally displaced people and refugees on the borders with Thailand, Bangladesh, India and China. The UK continues to provide humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya in Bangladesh, and to the Rohingya and other vulnerable groups who remain in Myanmar's Rakhine State. The UK has been a leading donor to the Rohingya response in Bangladesh, providing over £330 million since 2017.

The UK will remain a leading donor to the humanitarian response in Myanmar.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Myanmar Humanitarian Update published by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on 31 May, which finds that more than one million people have been displaced in Myanmar.

The UK is deeply concerned by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)'s latest report and agrees with the assessment of the scale of the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar. The UK is prioritising meeting the humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable communities across Myanmar. Since the coup the UK has provided £24 million in humanitarian assistance in the border regions. Humanitarian access is, however, extremely challenging which has left many hundreds of thousands unassisted in hard to reach and remote areas.

The UK works closely with OCHA and have provided £4.6 million since the coup to the OCHA-managed Myanmar Humanitarian Fund to address displacement across the country. The UK continues to call for the military to end the violence and ensure full and unhindered access to those in need.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to cut the flow of (1) funds, and (2) arms, to the government of Myanmar.

Since the coup, we have worked quickly with partners to impose targeted sanctions against those who fund and arm the military, including military-linked businesses and procurement bodies in the Ministry of Defence. Most recently, on 16 June 2022, we announced our eleventh round of designations, targeting Russian and Myanmar arms dealers. We have also suspended trade promotion, strengthened advice to businesses and undertaken a rigorous review of our aid programme to ensure that no funds go to the military regime. We continue to encourage other countries to take similar measures.

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.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to urge the government of Myanmar to reverse the death sentences for Phyo Zeya Thaw and Ko Jimmy.

The UK is deeply concerned by reports that the military regime has sentenced pro-democracy activists, including Phyo Zeya Thaw and Ko Jimmy, to death. Both Minister Milling, and the British Embassy in Yangon, have made it clear that the UK opposes the death penalty in all circumstances. We once again call on the military regime to respect human rights and the rule of law. We continue to use all available fora, including the UN Security Council (UNSC), to raise these concerns. On 8 December 2021, the UK secured a UNSC Press Statement condemning the sentencing of prisoners and calling for the release of all those in arbitrary detention.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what engagement they have had with the exiled National Unity Government of Myanmar; and what plans they have to recognise it as the legitimate representative of the people of Myanmar.

We have strong links with the National Unity Government (NUG). Minister Milling met with Dr Zaw Wai Soe, the NUG's Minister for Health and Education on 24th May. Dr Zaw Wai Soe also met with other Ministers, Parliamentarians and Officials during his trip to the UK. During the meeting, Minister Milling emphasised the UK's condemnation of the coup and highlighted our ongoing efforts to respond to the crisis. Minister Milling also spoke to Daw Zin Mar Aung, the NUG's Foreign Minister on 7 March. The NUG is an important voice for many people in Myanmar and we strongly support all those calling for a return to democracy.

The UK has a longstanding policy and practice, held by successive British Governments, of according recognition to States not Governments.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 26 May (HL Deb col 1011) regarding evacuation from Afghanistan, how many evacuations and resettlements from Afghanistan to the UK have occurred; how many people are awaiting resettlement in camps in Pakistan and Iran; how many of these people are from at-risk minority groups; and what permanent resettlement assistance is being provided by other countries, including those in the Gulf and Central Asia.

During and since the evacuation from Afghanistan in August last year, around 20,000 people have been brought to safety, including British Nationals and their families, Afghans who loyally served the UK and others identified as particularly at risk. According to UNHCR there are currently just over 2 million registered refugees from Afghanistan in Pakistan and Iran. Very few of these refugees are eligible to come to the UK. Under the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme, UNHCR can refer some Afghan refugees to the UK for resettlement. There are currently over 800 Afghan citizens assessed as provisionally eligible to come to the UK who the Government is supporting in third countries while they await clearance to come to the UK. We do not collect comprehensive data on the minority status of eligible individuals. The Government is grateful to countries providing shelter for refugees and assisting the UK in helping eligible Afghans come to the UK.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Pakistan about the report Unequal Citizens - Ending Systematic Discrimination Against Minorities, published by the National Commission on Human Rights in May 2022; and what steps they are taking to prevent the practices analysed in the publication.

The National Commission on Human Rights' report highlights the challenges faced by Pakistani minorities in accessing government roles and the poor conditions they often face as low-paid sanitation workers. The UK regularly raises concerns regarding the protection of minorities at a senior level with the Government of Pakistan. Our programme funding seeks to reinforce these messages and to address the underlying causes. The Coalition for Religious Equality and Inclusive Development (CREID), a UK Government-funded multi-country programme, has implemented a project in Pakistan to protect minorities who work as sewage and sanitation workers. We will continue to urge the Government of Pakistan to guarantee the rights of all people, particularly the most vulnerable.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of Sudan about its decision not to renew a visa for Dame Rosalind Marsden, a former British Ambassador and EU Representative to Sudan.

As publicly stated by our Ambassador in Khartoum on 23 May, we are disappointed that the Sudanese authorities have chosen not to renew the visa for Dame Rosalind Marsden. The decision is unfortunate especially given the request of the Sudanese authorities for the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), and its partners to devote more attention to support for peacebuilding. In her capacity as a senior consultant to the UN in Sudan since July 2021, Dame Marsden has been supporting a series of integrated peacebuilding assessments, intended to help UN Agencies and partners design and prioritise needs for support at the state level and Juba Peace Agreement implementation and monitoring.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support the passage of ships from non-NATO countries into the Port of Odessa to enable the shipment of grain to countries facing food shortages.

We continue to work with international partners to resume the export of grain and other important food exports like sunflower oil from Ukraine to the countries that desperately need them. We support the US Call to Action and the German Presidency-led G7 Global Alliance as ways to achieve this. We are urgently working with Ukraine, the UN, the G7 and the international community to restart Ukraine's food exports to global markets via the international commercial shipping industry.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps, if any, they are taking to support the government of Ukraine to replace railway track with an UIC 1.435mm gauge track to the Polish border, to enable trains to travel to and from Poland and other EU member states without having to replace bogies.

We are urgently working with the UN, the G7 and the international community to explore the best solutions to extract the 25 million tons of grain currently stuck in Ukraine. We continue to work with the Ukrainians and other international partners to find ways to resume the export of grain from Ukraine and to the countries that desperately need it. Network Rail has recently assisted the Ukrainian rail authorities with a gift of surplus road vehicles and rail engineering tools, which can be used to repair damaged rail infrastructure.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment, if any, they have made of the findings of Professor Obiora Ike, Executive Director of Globethics.net, that over 30,000 Nigerians from Christian backgrounds have been killed over the last decade, and others kidnapped, brutalised or driven from their homes.

We are aware of the report in question and a number of other recent reports concerning the drivers of violence in Nigeria. The UK Government continues to follow increasing insecurity across Nigeria with concern, which has a devastating impact on affected communities, including both Christian and Muslim communities. The principal causes of violence across Nigeria are complex, and include criminality and competition over resources. We continue to urge and support the Nigerian Government to take action to implement long-term solutions that address the root causes of violence and ensure the right to Freedom of Religion or Belief for all.

The Minister for Africa visited Nigeria in February 2022 and raised rising insecurity and its impact on the Nigerian people in meetings with the Vice President, Foreign Minister and several State Governors. The Minister was pleased to be able to meet with a range of interlocutors, including faith and NGO leaders, and held detailed discussions about the causes of violence. At the first dialogue of our Security and Defence Partnership in February, the UK and Nigerian Governments committed to work together to respond to rising insecurity and promote human rights. We continue to encourage the Nigerian Government to take urgent action to implement long-term solutions that address the root causes of violence.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to discuss the lynching of Deborah Yakubu with the government of Nigeria; and what steps they will take to promote the protection of Nigerians against religious persecution.

The murder of Deborah Samuel in Sokoto State, Nigeria, on 13 May was a barbaric and heinous act. In response, the Minister for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean expressed her public condemnation, and urged the relevant authorities to ensure the perpetrators face justice in line with the law.

Defending freedom of religion or belief for all, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities, is a longstanding human rights priority for the UK Government. The UK Government regularly discusses human rights in Nigeria with the Nigerian authorities, stressing the importance of protecting and promoting human rights for all. During her visit to Nigeria in February, the Minister for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean met with community and religious leaders, with whom she discussed, among other things, the impact of the deteriorating security situation in Nigeria on local people, and their rights. She also discussed growing insecurity and violence with Nigeria's Vice President and Foreign Minister.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to utilising frozen Russian assets; and whether they could be repurposed (1) to provide victims with reparations, or (2) to help to rebuild Ukraine.

When a person or organisation is subject to an asset freeze, any funds or economic resources belonging to them will be frozen immediately by the person in possession or control of them. An asset freeze does not lead to a change of ownership, and the release of frozen assets may only be accomplished legally with a licence from the Treasury's Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation. The UK along with our allies will continue to put more pressure on Putin's regime until he withdraws his troops and ends this unjust war. Nothing and no one is off the table.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the effectiveness of international sanctions against Russia, and (2) any potential gaps in those sanctions.

With our allies we have introduced the most significant economic sanctions that Russia has ever faced and they are having an impact. Since the invasion, the UK has sanctioned over 1,000 individuals and 100 entities, including hitting Putin's inner circle, oligarchs with a net global worth of over £117 billion under the Russia sanctions regime. Sanctions imposed by the UK and its international partners are having deep and damaging consequences for Putin's ability to wage war, with 60% (£275 billion) of Russian foreign currency reserves currently frozen. Analysis shows Russia is heading for the deepest recession since the collapse of the Soviet Union. We will continue to put more pressure on Putin's regime, including through further sanctions.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, if any, of the value of the economic support provided to Russia by Chinese state-owned enterprises.

The world is watching what China chooses to say and do in response to Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine. We have been clear that if China wants to be seen as a responsible global actor, it should take concrete steps to show that it does not support Russia's actions. We continue to engage at all levels to urge China to use its relationship with Russia to contribute to peace and stability, and not to fuel aggression.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they monitor the economic support that Russia receives from other countries as part of assessing the effectiveness of sanctions; and if not, what plans they have to implement such a mechanism.

UK sanctions have been coordinated with international allies to impose severe cost on Putin and his regime. We are acting together, as our collective impact is greater than the sum of its parts. Russia seeks to have economic, diplomatic and industrial relations with a very wide range of countries. We assess that these will be severely impacted by Russia's aggressive and unlawful actions against Ukraine.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to enact secondary sanctions against (1) Chinese state-owned companies, (2) Chinese entities, and (3) individuals, proven to establish commercial, economic or financial arrangements which would alleviate or circumvent international sanctions and export controls imposed on Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

In lockstep with our allies, we are introducing the largest and most severe economic sanctions that Russia has ever faced, to help cripple Putin's war machine. We have now sanctioned over 1000 individuals and over 100 entities since Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

The world is watching what China chooses to say and do in response to Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine. We continue to engage at all levels to urge China to use its relationship with Russia to contribute to peace and stability, and not to fuel aggression. We do not speculate on future designations under the sanctions regime.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the current state of the truce between armed groups within Tigray and the governments of Eritrea and Ethiopia; and what steps they plan to take, if any, to increase pressure on the government of Eritrea to withdraw its forces from Ethiopia.

We welcome the truce between the Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), and their commitment to scale-up the delivery of life-saving aid to Tigray. It is imperative that access is facilitated without delay. 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. We encourage the TPLF to engage constructively with the Government of Ethiopia for the good of civilians across the region. A return to conflict would have devastating impacts.

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. The UK's Ambassador in Asmara has underlined this point to the Government of Eritrea.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the arrest by Hong Kong’s national security police of Margaret Ng and Cardinal Joseph Zen, along with three other trustees of the Hong Kong Humanitarian Relief Fund.

The Hong Kong authorities' decision to target leading pro-democracy figures including Cardinal Zen, Margaret Ng, Hui-Po-Keung and Denise Ho under the National Security Law is unacceptable.

The Sino-British Joint Declaration is a legally binding treaty between the UK and China, and under this China committed to uphold Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and protect the rights and freedoms of its people. This explicitly includes freedom of expression, which is fundamental to Hong Kong's way of life.

We continue to make clear to mainland Chinese and Hong Kong authorities our strong opposition to the National Security Law, which is being used to curtail freedoms, punish dissent and shrink the space for opposition, free press and civil society.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the drought in the East and Horn of Africa; and what steps they are taking to increase humanitarian assistance for the region.

East Africa is experiencing one of its most severe droughts in history with more than 15 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, according to the UN, assessed to be acutely food insecure. Needs are particularly grave in Somalia where an estimated 81,000 people are now experiencing catastrophic famine-like conditions. A fourth consecutive - and unprecedented - season of failed rains is pushing millions of people to the brink and is contributing to growing water scarcity, alarming rates of malnutrition and huge numbers of livestock deaths.

The UK is a major humanitarian donor to the East Africa region. In 2022 to support communities affected by drought plus flooding and conflict the UK has provided £72.25 million to Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan. Across the region UK funded humanitarian activities are making a difference and saving lives. For example, in Kenya to respond to the ongoing drought, 26,000 children will receive life-saving food assistance thanks to the UK's support. In Ethiopia a further 200,000 children and pregnant and lactating women in southern and eastern regions will receive similar urgent aid.

The UK also played a critical role in convening the recent 'UN Horn of Africa Drought Roundtable' which took place in late April in Geneva. This included working with states in the region and the UN to ensure appropriate levels of participation.It helped to bring much needed focus to the drought and importantly it mobilised roughly US$400 million in new funding.

Our response to the drought builds on long-established resilience building programmes in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. In Kenya this includes support to the Hunger Safety Programme, which has provided 600,000 people in drought prone areas with regular financial assistance. In Ethiopia, the UK funded Productive Safety Net Programme has benefitted some 8 million people via financial welfare provision and community public works projects. In Somalia the UK has been supporting over 220 rural communities in three large urban cities with durable solutions initiatives for internally displaced persons. These programmes, coupled with additional investments, have enabled the UK to reach nearly 8 million individuals as a part of its emergency humanitarian response.

The UK remains committed to promoting peace and security across the Horn of Africa.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) reports that the government of the USA is considering imposing sanctions on the Chinese company Hikvision, and (2) whether restrictions on Hikvision imposed by that government have any effect on that company’s operations in the UK.

US sanctions are a matter for the US Government, and it remains our position not to speculate about future sanctions or their potential impact. We continue to make clear our deep concerns about the human rights violations occurring in Xinjiang, including the use of mass surveillance and the technology used to facilitate it.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support the East and Horn of Africa in preparing for future droughts by (1) building more resilient systems, and (2) ending exacerbating factors such as conflict.

The UK is a major humanitarian donor to the East Africa region. In 2022 to support communities affected by drought plus flooding and conflict the UK has provided £72.25 million to Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan. Across the region UK funded humanitarian activities are making a difference and saving lives. For example, in Kenya to respond to the ongoing drought, 26,000 children will receive life-saving food assistance thanks to the UK's support. In Ethiopia a further 200,000 children and pregnant and lactating women in southern and eastern regions will receive similar urgent aid.

The UK also played a critical role in convening the recent 'UN Horn of Africa Drought Roundtable' which took place in late April in Geneva. This included working with states in the region and the UN to ensure appropriate levels of participation. It helped to bring much needed focus to the drought and importantly it mobilised roughly US$400 million in new funding.

Countries across the Horn of Africa will also be impacted by Russia's invasion of Ukraine due to the increase in the costs of food commodities and fuel on global markets. We are exploring how we can help lessen the impact of rising food prices caused by the war in Ukraine on vulnerable communities in East Africa. This includes assessing alternate markets for procurement of food supplies and working with UN partners to promote effective prioritisation so assistance reaches the most needy.

Our response to the drought builds on long-established resilience building programmes in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. In Kenya this includes support to the Hunger Safety Programme, which has provided 600,000 people in drought prone areas with regular financial assistance. In Ethiopia, the UK funded Productive Safety Net Programme has benefitted some 8 million people via financial welfare provision and community public works projects. In Somalia the UK has been supporting over 220 rural communities in three large urban cities with durable solutions initiatives for internally displaced persons. These programmes, coupled with additional investments, have enabled the UK to reach nearly 8 million individuals as a part of its emergency humanitarian response.

The UK remains committed to promoting peace and security across the Horn of Africa.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to provide humanitarian assistance to the 5.7 million children in the Horn of Africa who are expected to suffer acute malnourishment by June this year as a result of the ongoing drought.

The UK is a major humanitarian donor to the East Africa region. In 2022 to support communities affected by drought plus flooding and conflict the UK has provided £72.25 million to Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan. Across the region UK funded humanitarian activities are making a difference and saving lives. For example, in Kenya to respond to the ongoing drought, 26,000 children will receive life-saving food assistance thanks to the UK's support. In Ethiopia a further 200,000 children and pregnant and lactating women in southern and eastern regions will receive similar urgent aid.

Countries across the Horn of Africa will also be impacted by Russia's invasion of Ukraine due to the increase in the costs of food commodities and fuel on global markets. We are exploring how we can help lessen the impact of rising food prices caused by the war in Ukraine on vulnerable communities in East Africa. This includes assessing alternate markets for procurement of food supplies and working with UN partners to promote effective prioritisation so assistance reaches the most needy.

The UK also played a critical role in convening the recent 'UN Horn of Africa Drought Roundtable' which took place in late April in Geneva. This included working with states in the region and the UN to ensure appropriate levels of participation. It helped to bring much needed focus to the drought and importantly it mobilised roughly US$400 million in new funding.

Our response to the drought builds on long-established resilience building programmes in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. In Kenya this includes support to the Hunger Safety Programme, which has provided 600,000 people in drought prone areas with regular financial assistance. In Ethiopia, the UK funded Productive Safety Net Programme has benefitted some 8 million people via financial welfare provision and community public works projects. In Somalia the UK has been supporting over 220 rural communities in three large urban cities with durable solutions initiatives for internally displaced persons. These programmes, coupled with additional investments, have enabled the UK to reach nearly 8 million individuals as a part of its emergency humanitarian response.

The UK remains committed to promoting peace and security across the Horn of Africa.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures they are taking to secure the safety of Yezidis in Sinjar following attacks by Turkish military; when they last discussed long-term security of the Yezidi people with (1) the Kurdish regional government, and (2) the government of Iraq; and what response they received.

We are following closely the situation in northern Iraq. FCDO Ministers and senior officials regularly reiterate to the need for dialogue and cooperation between Turkey and Iraq, including the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, to combat terrorism, ensure regional security, and protect civilians. Our diplomatic missions are in regular contact with Turkish and Government of Iraq and Kurdistan regional Government authorities. Our focus is always on securing an end to violence and protecting civilians. The UK continues to champion on the rights of minorities, including Yazidis, in Iraq, including through working with a wide range of actors to ensure full implementation of the Yazidi Survivors Law.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that the rising global food prices caused by the war in Ukraine do not exacerbate food insecurity in the East and Horn of Africa.

The UK is a major humanitarian donor to the East Africa region. In 2022 to support communities affected by drought plus flooding and conflict the UK has provided £72.25 million to Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan. Across the region UK funded humanitarian activities are making a difference and saving lives. For example, in Kenya to respond to the ongoing drought, 26,000 children will receive life-saving food assistance thanks to the UK's support. In Ethiopia a further 200,000 children and pregnant and lactating women in southern and eastern regions will receive similar urgent aid.

The UK also played a critical role in convening the recent 'UN Horn of Africa Drought Roundtable' which took place in late April in Geneva. This included working with states in the region and the UN to ensure appropriate levels of participation. It helped to bring much needed focus to the drought and importantly it mobilised roughly US$400 million in new funding.

Countries across the Horn of Africa will also be impacted by Russia's invasion of Ukraine due to the increase in the costs of food commodities and fuel on global markets. We are exploring how we can help lessen the impact of rising food prices caused by the war in Ukraine on vulnerable communities in East Africa. This includes assessing alternate markets for procurement of food supplies and working with UN partners to promote effective prioritisation so assistance reaches the neediest.

Our response to the drought builds on long-established resilience building programmes in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. In Kenya this includes support to the Hunger Safety Programme, which has provided 600,000 people in drought prone areas with regular financial assistance. In Ethiopia, the UK funded Productive Safety Net Programme has benefitted some 8 million people via financial welfare provision and community public works projects. In Somalia the UK has been supporting over 220 rural communities in three large urban cities with durable solutions initiatives for internally displaced persons. These programmes, coupled with additional investments, have enabled the UK to reach nearly 8 million individuals as a part of its emergency humanitarian response.

The UK remains committed to promoting peace and security across the Horn of Africa.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to encourage the government of Cameroon to commit to participation in internationally mediated peace talks following the US State Department’s 2021 country report, which detailed evidence of human rights abuses in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon.

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 (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports of human rights abuses in Cameroon by security services and non-state armed groups, as set out in the US State Department's 2021 country report; and whether they will allow Anglophone Cameroonians to claim asylum in the UK.

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 (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they anticipate that the Joint Analysis of Conflict and Stability (JACS) assessment for Ethiopia will be instigated; what resources will be available to the assessment; what commitment of personnel is being made to enable work on the assessment to be expedited; when they expect a first preliminary assessment to be made available; and how they plan to report the assessment to Parliament.

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 (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to invest in technological innovations and supply chains to mitigate risks to (1) human rights in general and (2) freedom of religion or belief in particular across its funding and development programmes, including the Magna Carta Fund, Newton Science Fund and the Navy X innovation hub.

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. Ministers will correspond directly with the Member.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the risk of enhanced technological threats to (1) human rights in general and (2) discrimination on grounds of freedom of religion or belief in particular, in its forward planning and investments regarding the implementation of 6G capacity and capabilities (a) at home, and (b) abroad.

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. Ministers will correspond directly with the Member.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the rise in technological threats to human rights in general, and to freedom of religion or belief in particular.

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. Ministers will correspond directly with the Member.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking, if any, to hold to account the 597 perpetrators of human rights violations that are identified in the report by Korea Future The North Korean Prison Database, published on 28 March.

The UK is deeply concerned by reports, including from Korea Future Initiative, which tell of serious human rights violations in DPRK, including the specific persecution of those who are caught practising religion. We are reviewing the Report's findings and recommendations and considering how the UK Government can continue to address the appalling human rights situation in the DPRK.

The UK co-sponsored the resolution adopted at the Human Rights Council on 1 April 2022 which seeks to shine a spotlight on the DPRK's human rights record.

In July 2020, the UK designated two DPRK entities through the Global Human Rights (GHR) sanctions regime, including the Ministry of State Security Bureau 7 and Ministry of People's Security Correctional Bureau, which together are responsible for the country's notorious prison camp system.

The UK continues to urge improvements in the DPRK human rights situation, and regularly raises these concerns, including on prison camps, in international fora and directly with the DPRK authorities.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, if any, of the report by Korea Future The North Korean Prison Database, published on 28 March, that the North Korean state bears responsibility for violations of international human rights law across that country’s penal system.

The UK is deeply concerned by reports, including from Korea Future Initiative, which tell of serious human rights violations in DPRK, including the specific persecution of those who are caught practising religion. We are reviewing the Report's findings and recommendations and considering how the UK Government can continue to address the appalling human rights situation in the DPRK.

The UK co-sponsored the resolution adopted at the Human Rights Council on 1 April 2022 which seeks to shine a spotlight on the DPRK's human rights record.

In July 2020, the UK designated two DPRK entities through the Global Human Rights (GHR) sanctions regime, including the Ministry of State Security Bureau 7 and Ministry of People's Security Correctional Bureau, which together are responsible for the country's notorious prison camp system.

The UK continues to urge improvements in the DPRK human rights situation, and regularly raises these concerns, including on prison camps, in international fora and directly with the DPRK authorities.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Pakistan regarding that government's plans (1) to ratify the Refugee Convention, and (2) to provide assistance to Hazaras from Afghanistan; and what discussions they have had with that government about the number of Afghan refugees who have fled to Pakistan, including (a) their estimate of how many are Hazaras, and (b) the assistance they received upon arrival.

The UK actively promotes the implementation of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention which asserts that a refugee should not be returned to a country 'where they face serious threats to their life or freedom'. FCDO officials have discussed potential refugee flows from Afghanistan with the Government of Pakistan, and what assistance is available to new refugee arrivals.

The Government of Pakistan hosts 1.4 million Afghan refugees. UNHCR reports that between Jan 2021 and Feb 2022 117,547 Afghans arrived in Pakistan, 95,145 of whom arrived since August 2021. The ethnic breakdown of arrivals is 62% Pashtun, 17% Hazara, 11% Tajuk and 9% other. In Islamabad, the FCDO is providing assistance through the UN (UNHCR, WFP and UNICEF) to support existing and new refugee arrivals who may have entered Pakistan.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, if any, of the BBC report Beatings and Forced Abortions, Life in a North Korea Prison, published on 28 March, which outlined multiple allegations of rape, forced abortions, and other forms of sexual assault within North Korea’s penal system.

The UK remains deeply concerned by the appalling human rights situation in North Korea, including within prison camps. We are reviewing the BBC report's findings and recommendations and considering how the UK Government can continue to address the appalling human rights situation in the DPRK.

We regularly raise our concerns about human rights violations directly with the DPRK authorities and in international fora. On 1 April 2022, the UK co-sponsored the resolution adopted at the Human Rights Council which seeks to shine a spotlight on the DPRK's human rights record.

In July 2020, the UK designated two DPRK entities through the Global Human Rights (GHR) sanctions regime, including the Ministry of State Security Bureau 7 and Ministry of People's Security Correctional Bureau, which together are responsible for the country's notorious prison camp system.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, if any, of the findings in the report by Korea Future The North Korean Prison Database, published on 28 March; and what steps they are taking to hold accountable those who oversee the persecution of religious minorities, including Christians, in North Korea.

The UK is deeply concerned by reports, including from Korea Future Initiative, which tell of serious human rights violations in DPRK, including the specific persecution of those who are caught practising religion. We are reviewing the Report's findings and recommendations and considering how the UK Government can continue to address the appalling human rights situation in the DPRK.

The UK co-sponsored the resolution adopted at the Human Rights Council on 1 April 2022 which seeks to shine a spotlight on the DPRK's human rights record.

In July 2020, the UK designated two DPRK entities through the Global Human Rights (GHR) sanctions regime, including the Ministry of State Security Bureau 7 and Ministry of People's Security Correctional Bureau, which together are responsible for the country's notorious prison camp system.

The UK continues to urge improvements in the DPRK human rights situation, and regularly raises these concerns, including on prison camps, in international fora and directly with the DPRK authorities.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on victims of conflict-related sexual violence of (1) the destruction of medical clinics, and (2) reduced medical equipment and supplies, as a result of the war in Tigray.

We are appalled at the prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence and the destruction of medical facilities in northern Ethiopia, which is clearly impacting the availability and accessibility of support for survivors.

The UK has been funding the delivery of lifesaving health and social services including reproductive health kits and supplies and clinical management to prevent HIV transmission, sexually transmitted infections and treat injuries and wounds caused by sexual assault. We are working through partners to remove barriers to medical care and psychosocial support for refugees in Addis Ababa that have been targeted with sexual violence. UK programmes are also building the capacity of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission's ability to investigate conflict-related sexual violence and ensure that appropriate referrals to health and social services are made.

Despite the recent overland humanitarian convoy that reached Mekelle on 1 April, the first in nearly four months, there has been negligible humanitarian access to Tigray since July last year. The UK welcomes the recent humanitarian truce, but urges all parties to take all necessary steps to provide unfettered and sustained humanitarian access to northern Ethiopia.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assistance they are providing in (1) Tigray, and (2) Ethiopia more generally, to victims of conflict-related sexual violence, particularly in relation to medical equipment and supplies.

We are appalled at the prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence and the destruction of medical facilities in northern Ethiopia, which is clearly impacting the availability and accessibility of support for survivors.

The UK has been funding the delivery of lifesaving health and social services including reproductive health kits and supplies and clinical management to prevent HIV transmission, sexually transmitted infections and treat injuries and wounds caused by sexual assault. We are working through partners to remove barriers to medical care and psychosocial support for refugees in Addis Ababa that have been targeted with sexual violence. UK programmes are also building the capacity of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission's ability to investigate conflict-related sexual violence and ensure that appropriate referrals to health and social services are made.

Despite the recent overland humanitarian convoy that reached Mekelle on 1 April, the first in nearly four months, there has been negligible humanitarian access to Tigray since July last year. The UK welcomes the recent humanitarian truce, but urges all parties to take all necessary steps to provide unfettered and sustained humanitarian access to northern Ethiopia.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of a reported increase in violence, including sexual violence, in Darfur; and what steps they are taking to address it.

The humanitarian situation in Sudan is serious, including in Darfur where the UN report that at least 89,000 people have been displaced since October 2021. To help address the situation, the UK contributed £27 million in 2021 to humanitarian assistance in Sudan, which provided approximately 1.2 million people with live-saving assistance such as food, cash and voucher support, safe drinking water, shelter and sanitation.

The ongoing political crisis in Sudan has exacerbated the already fragile security and humanitarian situation across the country. On 28 March we raised our concerns at the UN Security Council, including on the situation in Darfur and increases in levels of sexual violence. Since the coup, Ministers, British Embassy staff in Khartoum and senior FCDO officials have encouraged all Sudanese political actors to engage in the next phase of talks facilitated by the UN and African Union to resolve the crisis. We will continue to maintain pressure on all parties to engage in this process as the best means to begin addressing the root causes of conflict and delivering an inclusive peace for all Sudanese.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to address the displacement of the Darfuri people.

The humanitarian situation in Sudan is serious, including in Darfur where the UN report that at least 89,000 people have been displaced since October 2021. To help address the situation, the UK contributed £27 million in 2021 to humanitarian assistance in Sudan, which provided approximately 1.2 million people with live-saving assistance such as food, cash and voucher support, safe drinking water, shelter and sanitation.

The ongoing political crisis in Sudan has exacerbated the already fragile security and humanitarian situation across the country. On 28 March we raised our concerns at the UN Security Council, including on the situation in Darfur and increases in levels of sexual violence. Since the coup, Ministers, British Embassy staff in Khartoum and senior FCDO officials have encouraged all Sudanese political actors to engage in the next phase of talks facilitated by the UN and African Union to resolve the crisis. We will continue to maintain pressure on all parties to engage in this process as the best means to begin addressing the root causes of conflict and delivering an inclusive peace for all Sudanese.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made as to whether starvation is being used as a weapon of war against the civilian population of Tigray.

The conflict in Ethiopia has caused huge levels of suffering. The UN estimates that more than 9 million people are in need food assistance in northern Ethiopia. The situation is most critical in Tigray where 5.2 million people require life-saving aid. Due to restrictions imposed the Government of Ethiopia and as a result of active conflict there has been negligible overland humanitarian access to Tigray since December 202 with less than 10% of required aid delivered since July last year. A critical shortage of food has seen partial food baskets distributed exacerbated by a shortage of fuel for relief operations.

The lack of access makes it very challenging to accurately assess the nutrition context in Tigray. The UN estimates that roughly 454,000 children are malnourished in the region of whom some 115,000 are severely malnourished. Roughly 400,000 people are assessed to be experiencing catastrophic conditions akin to famine.

We welcome the humanitarian ceasefire announced by the Ethiopian Government on 24 March and agreed by Tigrayan authorities on 25 March. It is crucial that this is translated immediately into the regular delivery of aid to Tigray by road following the movement of 21 trucks into Tigray – a third of which were UK funded – on 1 April. Since November 2020 the UK has allocated £15.6 million to the World Food Programme (WFP) for its food and nutrition operations in northern Ethiopia. This helped WFP reach more than 885,000 people with food assistance and approximately 219,000 people with nutrition support.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of current (1) rates of (a) starvation, and (b) malnutrition, and (2) the availability of food, in Tigray.

The conflict in Ethiopia has caused huge levels of suffering. The UN estimates that more than 9 million people are in need food assistance in northern Ethiopia. The situation is most critical in Tigray where 5.2 million people require life-saving aid. Due to restrictions imposed the Government of Ethiopia and as a result of active conflict there has been negligible overland humanitarian access to Tigray since December 202 with less than 10% of required aid delivered since July last year. A critical shortage of food has seen partial food baskets distributed exacerbated by a shortage of fuel for relief operations.

The lack of access makes it very challenging to accurately assess the nutrition context in Tigray. The UN estimates that roughly 454,000 children are malnourished in the region of whom some 115,000 are severely malnourished. Roughly 400,000 people are assessed to be experiencing catastrophic conditions akin to famine.

We welcome the humanitarian ceasefire announced by the Ethiopian Government on 24 March and agreed by Tigrayan authorities on 25 March. It is crucial that this is translated immediately into the regular delivery of aid to Tigray by road following the movement of 21 trucks into Tigray – a third of which were UK funded – on 1 April. Since November 2020 the UK has allocated £15.6 million to the World Food Programme (WFP) for its food and nutrition operations in northern Ethiopia. This helped WFP reach more than 885,000 people with food assistance and approximately 219,000 people with nutrition support.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Lord Harrington of Watford on 22 March (HL Deb col 818), what assessment they have made of the capacity in countries neighbouring Ukraine to host the 100,000 orphans in that country; how many of those orphans have been evacuated so far; and what assistance they have provided to date to support those children.

We do not have information about the number of orphans that have been evacuated from Ukraine so far and we have not made an assessment of the capacity of neighbouring countries to host them.

The UK has now committed £394 million in aid to the current crisis. This includes £220 million of humanitarian assistance which will be used to save lives and protect vulnerable people inside Ukraine and in neighbouring countries. It will also be used to support refugees, including children, fleeing Ukraine, through the provision of logistics, advice and analysis of needs on the ground.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the British Embassy in Asmara is closed; how long it has been closed; and when they expect to reopen it.

The British Embassy in Asmara is open. Opening hours can be found on the Embassy page on GOV.UK.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of call by the Global Action Fund for Fungal Infections to improve diagnostic capability for chronic pulmonary aspergillosis, especially aspergillus antibody detection and antifungal therapy; and whether UK aid is assisting this work.

The Global Action for Fungal infections has called for improved diagnostic capability for chronic pulmonary aspergillosis. The call notes the difficulties in diagnosing chronic pulmonary aspergillosis and the similarity of symptoms to TB.

Whilst the UK does not directly fund diagnosis and treatment of chronic pulmonary aspergillosis, we invest in TB treatment and care through our current £1.4 billion pledge to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, and invests in research to develop new diagnostics and treatments for TB through our partner FIND (The Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics). The UK's focus is to support countries to strengthen their health systems to address all causes of ill health.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of recent studies in India and Vietnam that found that over the last 12 months, over 50 per cent of patients cured of TB, but with new symptoms, had the fungal infection aspergillus; what assessment they have made of estimates of the number of people who will (1) develop, and (2) die from, chronic pulmonary aspergillosi after TB; and what assistance they are providing to countries with a high prevalence of this infection (a) to address misdiagnosis, and (b) to provide treatment.

Recent studies in Vietnam and India have confirmed earlier evidence that patients who recently recovered from TB can develop pulmonary aspergillosis. In the studies, over 50% of patients who had been cured of TB and had ongoing symptoms developed chronic pulmonary aspergillosis. The studies noted that larger sample sizes were required to assess the true prevalence of chronic pulmonary aspergillosis. We have not made an assessment of the total numbers of people who will develop, or die from, chronic pulmonary aspergillosis after TB.

Whilst the UK does not directly fund diagnosis and treatment of chronic pulmonary aspergillosis, we invest in TB treatment and care through our current £1.4 billion pledge to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, and invests in research to develop new diagnostics and treatments for TB. The UK's focus is to support countries to strengthen their health systems to address all causes of ill health.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park on 21 March (HL6783), what assessment they have made of the denial of transit facilities to the United Nations through Ethiopia; and whether they consider this to be a blockade.

Less than 10% of required aid has reached Tigray since July 2021. The UN has described Tigray as being subject to a 'de facto blockade' and we share this assessment. We welcome the humanitarian ceasefire announced by both sides on 24 March and are working with a range of stakeholders how to operationalise this to enable swift delivery of aid.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the decision of the government of the United States to add the Sudan Central Reserves Police to its list of sanctioned entities; what plans they have, if any, to make a similar decision; and if they have no such plans, why not.

We remain concerned at the political crisis and continued violent repression of protesters in Sudan. The US is right to condemn Sudan's Central Reserve Police for their use of excessive use of force against protestors. We will continue to consider all options to maintain pressure on the Sudanese security forces, including the possibility of sanctions. We would not normally speculate about future sanctions targets as to do so could reduce their impact.

We continue to press the Sudanese military to allow peaceful protests, protect human rights and deliver accountability for past violations; a message delivered directly by senior FCDO officials to Sudan's military leadership on 3 March in Khartoum.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the decision of Eritrea to vote against the UN resolution condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine, what representations the UK's ambassador to Eritrea has made to the government of that country regarding its support of the Russian invasion of Ukraine; and whether they are considering additional sanctions as a response.

The Minister for Africa wrote to the Eritrean Foreign Minister on 15 March expressing the UK's disappointment at the Eritrean vote and urging them to reconsider their stance on Russian aggression towards Ukraine.  Our Ambassador reiterated these points when he met the Foreign Minister on 15 March.

It is not appropriate to speculate on future sanctions designations, to do so could reduce their impact. All policy options are on the table.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that an art school in Ukraine, sheltering 400 people has been destroyed by Russian forces; and what progress they have made in discussions with the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court for ensuring that such reports and available evidence will be considered by that body in pursuit of prosecutions.

Russia's use of indiscriminate force against innocent civilians is clear. It must be investigated and those responsible held to account.

That is why the UK led efforts to refer the situation in Ukraine to the International Criminal Court (ICC). We welcome the decision of the ICC Prosecutor to open an investigation. We stand ready to provide the necessary technical assistance to the ICC to support successful convictions.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the government of the United States' determination that Myanmar's military has committed genocide against the Rohingya; what plans, if any, they have to make a similar determination; and if they have no such plans, why not.

It remains UK Government policy that any judgement on whether genocide or crimes against humanity have occurred is a matter for a competent national or international court or tribunal, after consideration of all the available evidence, rather than for governments or non-judicial bodies. We welcome the International Court of Justice's (ICJ) consideration of this issue, where there is an ongoing case brought by The Gambia against Myanmar for its alleged breach of the Genocide Convention. The UK supports the ICJ process which is putting pressure on Myanmar to protect the Rohingya. We provided funding to enable Rohingya refugees to attend the ICJ hearing in December 2019.

The Rohingya crisis remains a UK priority. We continue to support the humanitarian responses on both sides of the border. In Rakhine state the UK has provided over £81 million to all communities since 2017, including over £25 million for the Rohingya and other Muslim minorities for support such as nutrition and health.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that mass deportations and abductions from Mariupol are taking place to locations in Russia.

Her Majesty's Government is appalled by Russian atrocities in Mariupol, including attacks on schools sheltering civilians and the abduction and deportation of Ukrainians. Putin is resorting to desperate measures as he is not achieving his objectives. Putin and his regime will be held to account.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have been invited to submit evidence to the Uyghur Tribunal; if so, whether they have accepted the invitation; and if not, why not.

FCDO Ministers and officials engaged extensively with Sir Geoffrey Nice over the last year to discuss the panel's work. This included highlighting extensive relevant open source research on the situation in Xinjiang. The FCDO welcomes the contribution the panel has made to building international awareness and understanding of human rights violations in Xinjiang.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to review their policy on genocide, further to Russia's actions in Ukraine and the Prime Minister's remarks during Prime Minister’s Questions on 2 March that President Putin's actions amount to war crimes (HC Deb, col 1037).

It is the long-standing policy of the British Government that any determination as to whether genocide has occurred should be made by competent national or international court, after considering all of the available evidence, not non-judicial bodies. This includes international courts, such as the International Criminal Court (ICC), and national criminal courts that meet international standards.

Russia's use of indiscriminate force against innocent civilians amounts to war crimes which must be investigated and those responsible must be held to account. It is for the ICC Prosecutor to independently determine who should be prosecuted for war crimes committed in Ukraine, including those that ordered them, in accordance with his mandate under the Rome Statute.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what conversations they have held with the government of Myanmar in relation to the continuing presence of the former Ambassador of Myanmar, Kyaw Zwar Minn, in his official London residence; what correspondence they have had with Kyaw Zwar Minn on this matter; and what plans they have to publish any such correspondence.

The UK Government has unequivocally condemned the coup in Myanmar.

The UK Government have a longstanding policy and practice of according recognition to states, not governments.

We have stated clearly and publicly that we believe that former Ambassador Kyaw Zwar Minn took a brave stand in speaking out against the coup. The FCDO is in regular contact with him. We have provided him with significant support to help him and his family start a new life in the UK.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to make available confiscated Russian assets to victims of the war in Ukraine.

HMG is exploring what options there may be to use sanctioned assets, including real estate. Michael Gove, Secretary of State for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, has committed to exploring an option that would allow the use of homes and properties of sanctioned individuals for as long as they are sanctioned, for humanitarian and other purposes. The UK is also supporting Ukrainian refugees through the Homes for Ukraine Scheme. The Home Office has also exceptionally introduced some concessions in the Family Migration route to assist immediate family members of British Nationals normally living in Ukraine with their British national family member, who intend to return to or relocate to the UK with their British National family member.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to designate phosphorous as a banned weapon under the Chemical Weapons Convention; and what progress they have made in achieving such a designation.

White phosphorus is not a chemical weapon. The UK Government continues to condemn the indiscriminate or disproportionate use of any weapon, including incendiary weapons or those that have an incendiary effect, in contravention of international humanitarian law.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that phosphorus munitions have been used in attacks on civilians in Popasna, in the Luhansk region of Ukraine.

The UK Government continues to condemn the indiscriminate or disproportionate use of any weapon, including incendiary weapons or those that have an incendiary effect. The targeting of civilians and civilian objects is not only abhorrent, but also a blatant violation of international law, and should not continue under any circumstances. Russia appears to be conducting indiscriminate attacks on Ukrainian civilians. These allegations only strengthen the need for an International Criminal Court investigation into Russian war crimes and for the world to stand together in defence of International Humanitarian Law.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken in response to reports of white phosphorus being used against civilian populations in (1) northern Syria, and (2) Nagorno-Karabakh; and whether they are treating both incidents as potential war crimes under the Geneva Convention.

HMG is aware of unconfirmed reports of use of white phosphorus in northern Syria and during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. White phosphorus is not classed as a chemical weapon. However, the targeting of civilians or indiscriminate use of any weapons is against International Humanitarian Law.

Her Majesty's Government strongly supports efforts to pursue accountability for the most serious crimes committed in Syria, including through bodies such as the UN Commission of Inquiry and the International Impartial and Independent Mechanism. These bodies were established with the express purpose of enquiring into and investigating potential war crimes. It would be inappropriate for the UK to cut across their efforts. We continue to encourage the Armenian and Azerbaijani Governments, including through our Embassies in Yerevan and Baku, to thoroughly investigate all allegations of war crimes and serious human rights violations during and after the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the reported remarks of President Aliyev of Azerbaijan that the Nagorno-Karabakh region does not exist and it should not be called as such, and (2) the implications of these remarks for the Armenian population in the region.

There remain a number of outstanding issues related to or resulting from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict which require comprehensive solutions. We are keen to see these outstanding matters settled quickly to ensure peace and security across the region. We continue to urge the sides to refrain from rhetoric that might exacerbate tensions.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, following the cutting of the gas supply to the region.

The UK Government is aware of reports of disruption to gas supplies to the region and the impact this is having on civilians. Supplies should be restarted without any further delay. We continue to urge the parties to settle all matters through substantive negotiations without preconditions.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, following the reporting targeting of villages in the area on the border with Azerbaijan.

The UK Government is concerned by reports of recent ceasefire violations between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces and deeply regrets the loss of life. We continue to monitor the situation closely. In our contacts with both governments we continue to stress the need for substantive talks and the importance of a comprehensive peace agreement.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the use of (1) rape, and (2) the sterilisation, of Tigrayan women, in Tigray; and what evidence, if any, they have collected of such crimes.

We are appalled at the prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence in Tigray. The Foreign Secretary has made sexual violence in conflict one of her top priorities. We are working to promote justice for survivors of sexual violence, to provide support to survivors and children born of conflict related sexual violence and to prevent sexual violence from occurring. We deployed one of the UK's Team of Experts to Ethiopia to investigate how to improve health and social services for survivors, identify how access to justice can be strengthened, and scale up the UK's response to conflict-related sexual violence. We are now implementing the expert's recommendations with partners in Ethiopia.

We have supported the Joint Investigation into human rights abuses and violations during the conflict, conducted by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and we welcome the Ethiopian Government's creation of an Inter-Ministerial Taskforce to take forward recommendations of Joint Investigation report. At a special session of the Human Rights Council on 17 December 2021, we backed a resolution that created an International Commission of Experts to investigate allegations of violations in Ethiopia, including those of sexual violence. We urge all parties to engage with this Commission.

We call on all parties to the conflict to act decisively to cease all human rights violations, including the perpetration of conflict-related sexual violence.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the situation in Tigray.

We are deeply concerned by the worsening humanitarian crisis in northern Ethiopia. The conflict is causing appalling suffering to the civilian population, with over 400,000 people in Tigray now living in famine-like conditions and almost 30 million in need of urgent humanitarian assistance across the country. The humanitarian response in Tigray is now at standstill owing to the de facto blockade of the region imposed by the Government of Ethiopia since July 2021 and also due to ongoing military action by Tigrayan Defence Forces along the Tigray-Afar border.

We are working with our international partners and humanitarian agencies so that in the event that access is granted or when there is an easing of the blockade relief can be delivered to Tigray as quickly as possible. UK funding to the crisis in the north has included support to help strengthen humanitarian logistics, to improve the security of the response and to augment civil-military coordination. All parties to the conflict in the north must agree a ceasefire and allow aid to reach people in need.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the reported deliberate denial of (1) food, and (2) medicines, to the people of Tigray; and what steps they are taking to ensure that those responsible are prosecuted.

On her visit to Ethiopia in January 2022, Vicky Ford MP (FCDO Minister for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean) met the Ethiopian Minister for Health who committed to increasing the number of humanitarian flights reaching Tigray. Since that meeting, there has been marked increase in humanitarian flights principally carrying medical aid. Almost 20 metric tons of aid reached Mekelle by air during the period 7 - 11 March, for example. In February over a ten day period the International Committee of the Red Cross flew ten cargo flights into Mekelle carrying medical supplies. We welcome efforts to improve air access but highlight that this method of transport is prohibitively expensive and is not able to meet the level of needs in Tigray. We call on all parties to the conflict to urgently facilitate overland aid delivery.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they last raised the situation in Tigray in (1) the UN Security Council, (2) the UN General Assembly, and (3) the UN Human Rights Council; and what action, if any, is being taken as a result.

At the UN Security Council on 28 January, the UK called on all parties to the conflict in Ethiopia to come to the negotiating table, and uphold their duty to protect civilians in accordance with their international legal obligations. Since the start of hostilities in November 2020 the UK has urged all sides to enable humanitarian agencies to deliver life-saving aid. In January this year the Minister for Africa travelled to Addis Ababa to meet the Ethiopian Government and argued robustly for immediate and unfettered humanitarian access to Tigray. The Minister for Africa met with Ethiopia's Minister for Health, who committed to increasing the number of humanitarian flights reaching Tigray. Since this meeting there has been an increase in humanitarian flights principally carrying medical aid: over 95 metric tons of aid reached Mekelle by air during the period 14 - 19 March, for example. While we welcome efforts to improve air access, there has been almost no humanitarian access to Tigray by road since December 2021. 500 trucks per week are needed to meet the level of need in the region, and as a result of the lack of road access at least 400,000 people in the region are experiencing famine conditions.

At a Special Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) on 17 December 2021, the UK supported and voted in favour of an EU-led resolution on Ethiopia which created an International Commission of Experts to investigate human rights abuses and violations committed during the conflict. The UK made a statement at the Interactive Dialogue on Tigray at the HRC on 4 March.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Red Line initiative pioneered by Dr Denis Mukwege which aims to establish a binding treaty obliging states to end sexual violence in conflict; and what plans they have, if any, to provide support for this initiative.

The Foreign Secretary is determined to strengthen the global response to conflict-related sexual violence and build a new consensus to prevent these atrocities.

On 16 November 2021, the Foreign Secretary launched a campaign to end violence against women and girls in conflict around the world: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/foreign-secretary-launches-campaign-to-tackle-sexual-violence-in-conflict-around-the-world

We are exploring all options for stronger international action, including a new international convention. The proposal put forward by Dr Mukwege during his time on the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council (GEAC) has informed the UK's exploration of a new convention, and we will continue to engage closely with the Red Line Initiative as this work develops.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, given the reported violations of human rights in Kazakhstan and the treatment of former Prime Minister Karim Massimov, what assessment they have made of (1) the threat to the UK’s long-term relations with Kazakhstan, and (2) the UK's wider security interests in the region.

The Government is following events in Kazakhstan closely. We greatly regret the loss of life and injuries sustained as a result of unrest in January and condemned the violence and destruction of property that occurred. We await a full account of what led to these unprecedented events.

In my recent meetings with Kazakh counterparts, including Deputy Foreign Minister Vassilenko on 2 March, I [Lord Ahmad] asked for an update on the commission set up by President Tokayev to investigate the causes of the violence. We have stressed that this process should be conducted urgently, transparently and effectively, and have sought reassurance that Kazakhstan's international human rights obligations, including commitments to due process and freedom of speech and expression, will be respected.

Kazakhstan is an important partner for the UK. We have built a productive dialogue and wide-ranging ties over the 30 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, sharing experience and jointly tackling global challenges including on security issues. We are committed to furthering that cooperation and will seek opportunities, with international partners, to encourage the economic and social reform priorities set out by President Tokayev.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Kazakhstan on the status of (1) individuals arrested during protests in that country in January, and (2) the detention of former Prime Minister Karim Massimov.

The Government is following events in Kazakhstan closely. We greatly regret the loss of life and injuries sustained as a result of unrest in January and condemned the violence and destruction of property that occurred. We await a full account of what led to these unprecedented events.

In my recent meetings with Kazakh counterparts, including Deputy Foreign Minister Vassilenko on 2 March, I [Lord Ahmad] asked for an update on the commission set up by President Tokayev to investigate the causes of the violence. We have stressed that this process should be conducted urgently, transparently and effectively, and have sought reassurance that Kazakhstan's international human rights obligations, including commitments to due process and freedom of speech and expression, will be respected.

Kazakhstan is an important partner for the UK. We have built a productive dialogue and wide-ranging ties over the 30 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, sharing experience and jointly tackling global challenges including on security issues. We are committed to furthering that cooperation and will seek opportunities, with international partners, to encourage the economic and social reform priorities set out by President Tokayev.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of China regarding recent reports of the disappearance or imprisonment of human rights defenders.

We have serious concerns about the human rights situation in China, including the continued harassment and detention of human rights defenders. We consistently raise our concerns with the Chinese authorities, including by requesting to attend trials of human rights defenders. Most recently, the Foreign Secretary underlined our concerns about human rights violations in China in an address to the UN Human Rights Council on 1 March.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of China regarding recent reports that Chinese citizens who attempted to report on the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 have (1) disappeared, or (2) been imprisoned.

We regularly raise our concerns about restrictions on media freedom - including the detention of journalists - with the Chinese authorities. In December, the UK's Human Rights Ambassador urged China to free all journalists detained for their reporting, and in particular called for the release of citizen journalist Zhang Zhan, who was jailed after reporting about the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of China regarding recent reports that bishops are (1) secretly detained, (2) placed under house arrest, and (3) subjected to forced disappearance and "patriotic education"; and further to the jailing of Pastor Hao Zhiwei in February, what assessment they have made of his sentencing.

We are concerned by reports that Pastor Hao Zhiwei was sentenced to eight years in prison in February on fraud charges. This adds to our deep concern about restrictions on freedom of religion or belief in China. We regularly raise our concerns about human rights violations and freedom of religion or belief directly with the Chinese authorities and in multilateral fora. Most recently, the Foreign Secretary underlined our concerns in an address to the UN Human Rights Council on 1 March.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the estimate by the government of the United States that five million people could be displaced by the conflict in Ukraine; and what plans they have to support neighbouring countries receiving refugees from Ukraine.

As of 8 March, over 2 million people are reported by the UN to have left Ukraine. We are grateful to Ukraine's neighbouring countries for their support and their confirmation that their borders will remain open to all those fleeing the conflict. Sadly these numbers will continue to rise while Putin continues his reprehensible and needless attack. The best source of statistics on population displacement can be found at https://data2.unhcr.org/en/situations/ukraine.

We have deployed UK humanitarian experts to support Ukraine's neighbours, who are receiving and supporting the increasing flow of refugees. The UK Government has pledged £395 million of aid, which includes £220 million of humanitarian assistance. Our humanitarian support will help partners stand up their response to the deteriorating humanitarian situation, creating a lifeline for Ukrainians with access to basic necessities.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to facilitate an investigation by the International Criminal Court into war crimes committed by Russian armed forces in Ukraine.

Russia's use of indiscriminate force against innocent civilians, in its illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, must be investigated and those responsible must be held to account. That is why the UK led efforts to bring together allies on 2 March to expedite an International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into Russian war crimes in Ukraine. With 37 countries joining the UK, it is the largest referral in the history of the ICC. As a founder member of the ICC, the UK is willing to provide the necessary technical assistance to support successful convictions.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with Belarus regarding Mikita Yemialyianau, who is currently imprisoned in that country.

We are aware of the case of Mikita Yemialyianau. There are over 1000 political prisoners in Belarus. We remain deeply troubled about the intolerable prison conditions in which detainees are held in Belarus. We urge the authorities to release political prisoners, immediately and unconditionally, and have raised this both bilaterally and multilaterally. The UK has imposed over 100 sanctions in response to the fraudulent elections, human rights violations, and repression of civil society and democratic opposition in Belarus. This repression takes place amidst Belarus' unacceptable support of Russia's illegal and unprovoked attack against Ukraine, which the UK strongly condemns and is taking action against.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)