Lord Birt Portrait

Lord Birt

Crossbench - Life peer

2 APPG memberships (as of 22 Jul 2022)
Media, Metal, Stone and Heritage Crime
1 Former APPG membership
Sri Lanka
Lord Birt has no previous appointments


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Division Votes
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Speeches
Monday 6th June 2022
Champions League Final
My Lords, I am a Liverpool supporter and I attended this shamefully managed event. The inquiry announced by UEFA needs …
Written Answers
Friday 29th July 2022
Energy: Housing
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of UK homes have an energy efficiency performance rating of (1) A, or …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
None available
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
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Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Lord Birt has voted in 62 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
Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
(13 debate interactions)
Lord Callanan (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
(9 debate interactions)
Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Conservative)
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
(7 debate interactions)
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Legislation Debates
Health and Care Act 2022
(750 words contributed)
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Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Lord Birt, 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 Birt has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Lord Birt has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Lord Birt has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Lord Birt has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


127 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
11th Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether (1) civil servants, and (2) special advisers, in 10 Downing Street are restricted from commenting on the process to elect a new leader of the Conservative Party.

The Civil Service should act as it did during previous periods in 2016 and 2019. Official resources must not be used to support leadership campaign activity.

As at all times, the Civil Service must serve the Government in a way which maintains political impartiality and retains the confidence of Ministers, while at the same time ensuring it will be able to establish the same relationship with those who may go on to lead the Government.

Special advisers are exempt from the Civil Service Code requirement of political impartiality. Therefore, as laid out in the Special Adviser Code of Conduct, their involvement in political activity does not need to be restricted in the same way as it is for other civil servants. All Special Advisers have been made aware of the expectations regarding their role and conduct during this period. If they wish to take part in leadership campaign activity, they must do so in their own time, out of office hours or via unpaid leave, and not involve the use of departmental resources.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
4th Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord True on 22 June (HL862), (1) by what date, and (2) by what means, the Whitehall Boiler System will be fully decarbonised.

The date and means to fully decarbonise the Whitehall Boiler System are not currently known, as the next phase (Phase 2) of the project to reduce carbon emissions / decarbonise is currently undergoing a feasibility / options appraisal and is anticipated to be the subject of an investment decision as part of the next spending review (SR).

Phase 1 includes installation of pipework lagging (completed 2021/22) and replacing heat exchangers to lower the operating temperature (to be completed from 2022/23). Phase 1 will result in a carbon saving of approximately 17%.

Phase 2 is anticipated to run from 2024 to 2028 and include delivery of Ground Source Heat Pumps to achieve carbon savings of approximately 71% (including Phase 1 carbon savings).

Phase 3 is a further potential scheme that could connect into a wider district heating system anticipated from 2026 to 2035. Phase 3 could achieve carbon savings of approximately 92% (against current emissions).

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
13th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to decarbonise the heating of buildings accommodating government departments (1) on, and (2) close to, Whitehall.

The primary source of heating for government offices in Whitehall is the Whitehall District Heating System, which is operated by the Government Property Agency (GPA). GPA has ongoing plans to reduce carbon emissions from and decarbonise the district heating system.

  • In 2021/22FY, a pipework lagging project was completed to reduce heat losses and provide carbon savings.

  • In 2022/23FY, it is planned to start a project to lower the operating temperature of the system from 145oC to 95oC.

  • Forecast reductions in Carbon from the completion of both projects is approximately 17%.

  • GPA has plans from 2025 to consider a decarbonisation of the Whitehall Boiler System that feeds the district heating system.

Other government office projects are ongoing in and around Whitehall to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions through upgrades to LED lighting and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
6th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the percentage of British businesses that have stopped trading with the EU since 1 January 2021.

A response to the noble Lord’s Parliamentary Question of 6 June is below and attached.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond | National Statistician

The Lord Birt
House of Lords
London
SW1A 0PW

17 June 2022

Dear Lord Birt,


As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am responding to your Parliamentary Question asking what estimate has been made of the percentage of British businesses that have stopped trading with the EU since 1 January 2021 (HL603).

Unfortunately, the Office for National Statistics does not hold or publish data on the percentage of British businesses that have stopped trading with the EU since 1 January 2021.

Through the Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS), however, we do collect some data on the changes businesses have made to how and where they import and export since 1 January 2021.

Estimates from early May 2022 show that 4% of trading exporting businesses changed from exporting their goods and services to EU countries to nations from outside the EU. The percentage of trading importing businesses who changed from importing from within the EU to outside the EU was 2%. Table 1 provides the estimates from BICS at the start of 2021 and May 2022, where we asked businesses that have exported or imported in the last 12 months if they have changed where they have exported/imported goods or services to in the last three months.[1]

In early March 2022, estimates from BICS show that 7% of businesses made changes to supply chains due to the end of the EU transition period. Table 2 provides the time series from BICS, where we asked businesses if they made changes to supply chains due to the end of the EU transition period.

The UK leaving the EU and the subsequent transition period, along with the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, global recession and supply chain disruption, have caused higher levels of volatility in trade statistics in the past two years. We have investigated the impacts of EU exit and COVID-19 on UK trade in goods [2] and UK trade in services [3] in recent articles, and have also examined the extent to which supply chains have shifted following theend of the EU exit transition period in UK trade in goods, year in review: 2021. [4]

However, it continues to be difficult to assess the extent to which trade movements reflect short-term trade disruption or longer-term supply chain adjustments.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sir Ian Diamond

Table 1: Have you changed where you have exported/imported your goods or services to in the last three months?

Percentage of businesses currently trading and have exported or imported in last 12 months, weighted by count, UK, 8 February 2021 to 15 May 2022

Reference period

Changed from EU to non-EU

Changed from non-EU to EU [5]

No Changes Made

Not Sure

Exporting businesses

8 February to 21 February 2021

2.1%

[c]

93.1%

4.3%

3 May to 15 May 2022

4.2%

1.0%

92.5%

2.3%

Importing businesses

8 February to 21 February 2021

1.7%

1.2%

95.2%

2.5%

3 May to 15 May 2022

1.6%

[c]

91.6%

5.9%

Source: Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS) [6]

Table 2: Has your business made changes to supply chains due to the end of the EU transition period?

Percentage of businesses not permanently stopped, weighted by count, UK, 22 March 2021 to 20 March 2022

Reference Period

Yes

No

Not Sure

Not applicable

22 March to 4 April 2021

3.7%

59.6%

4.6%

32.1%

5 April to 18 April 2021

4.3%

57.0%

4.2%

34.5%

19 April to 2 May 2021

3.8%

56.8%

5.3%

34.1%

3 May to 16 May 2021

3.7%

56.9%

3.8%

35.6%

17 May to 30 May 2021

3.6%

47.1%

5.1%

44.2%

31 May to 13 June 2021

4.0%

51.1%

4.2%

40.6%

14 June to 27 June 2021

4.5%

45.0%

5.1%

45.3%

12 July to 25 July 2021

4.3%

36.3%

6.7%

52.7%

9 August to 22 August 2021

4.1%

40.4%

6.4%

49.0%

6 September to 19 September 2021

4.4%

39.2%

6.7%

49.7%

18 October to 31 October 2021

4.9%

48.8%

5.2%

41.2%

15 November to 28 November 2021

5.0%

51.6%

5.0%

38.5%

13 December to 26 December 2021

4.7%

48.3%

4.9%

42.1%

10 January to 23 January 2022

4.7%

41.0%

6.0%

48.2%

7 February to 20 February 2022

4.7%

43.4%

5.6%

46.3%

7 March to 20 March 2022

6.6%

47.8%

4.5%

41.1%

Source: Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS)

1 https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/economicoutputandproductivity/output/datasets/businessinsightsandimpactontheukeconomy

2 https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/internationaltrade/articles/theimpactsofeuexitandthecoronavirusonuktradeingoods/2021-05-25

3 https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/nationalaccounts/balanceofpayments/articles/theimpactsofeuexitandcoronaviruscovid19onuktradeinservices/latest

4 https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/nationalaccounts/balanceofpayments/articles/uktradeingoodsyearinreview/2021

5 [c] represents data that has been removed for confidentiality reasons, such as percentages less than 1%.

6 Further time periods are available: https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/economicoutputandproductivity/output/datasets/businessinsightsandimpactontheukeconomy

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
22nd Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (1) civil servants, (2) special advisers, and (3) contractors, were employed in the Cabinet Office in (a) 2001, (b) 2011, and (c) 2021.

The number of (1) civil servants, (2) special advisors, and (3) contractors, were employed in the Cabinet Office in (a) 2001, (b) 2011, and (c) 2021 is set out in the table below.

Figures for contractors in 2001 and 2011 were not held centrally during those years and are therefore unavailable.

In 2011, the role and remit of the Cabinet Office was largely to act in support of the Prime Minister and the operation of Government. Since then, the role of the Cabinet Office in managing the Civil Service has grown significantly to include centralisation of a number of functions including Human Resources, Commercial, Digital, Communications, and Security.

The Cabinet Office also supports the Government in its response to national events, such as – in recent years – EU Exit, COVID-19, and COP26.

Headcount

2001

2011

2021

Civil Servants

1,890

1,641

1807 - Secretariats and Policy 8,437 - Corporate Centre for Government, Inquiries, Equalities Hub, COP 26 and COVID Taskforce

Special Advisors

25

43

58

Contractors

N/A

N/A

429

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
5th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Callanan on 31 March (HL7081), how many days’ supply of gas is available in contingency emergency reserves, based on average levels of consumption.

Great Britain does not have contingent emergency storage reserves.

The UK has highly diverse sources of gas supply, made up of supplies from the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS), our long-term energy partner Norway, and international markets via LNG and interconnectors to the Continent. Though gas storage provides flexibility to balance demand and supply of gas, it is not intended as a source for gas supply.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the UK's gas storage capacity in billions of kWh, compared with (1) Germany, (2) Italy, and (3) France.

An assessment of the UK’s gas storage capacity is provided by Ofgem in GB Gas Storage Facilities 2021. There are no any gas storage sites in Northern Ireland. The Government does not hold publicly available datasets on British gas storage compared to European counterparts.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether Distribution Network Operators’ plans to upgrade local systems will meet additional power needs should their electric vehicle and domestic heat pump targets be met by 2030.

The regulation of electricity networks is the responsibility of Ofgem as the independent energy regulator and the Distribution Network Operators. Ofgem use price controls, known as RIIO, to determine the revenues that Distribution Network Operators recover, the investment they make and the performance standards they must deliver. As part of this process, Distribution Network Operators forecast likely take-up of electric vehicles and heat pumps.

In December, the Distribution Network Operators published their final business plans for the upcoming electricity distribution price control due to commence in April 2023. Within these plans, Distribution Network Operators have committed to addressing the barriers to electric vehicle uptake and have forecast heat pump deployment that is compatible with Government’s ambition to deploy 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028. Ofgem is working to enable future changes via various mechanisms, including a Net Zero Re-Opener, whereby DNOs can seek additional funding for Net Zero related projects, such as catering for greater uptake of electric vehicles and heat pumps.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the additional electric power that will be needed by 2030 if their targets for (1) electric vehicles, and (2) heat pumps, are met.

The Government’s Net Zero Strategy sets out how electricity generation by 2030 might need to increase by around 50TWh (or 16%) compared to 2019 levels to meet growing demand, including from electric vehicles and heat pumps.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) what percentage of the annual investment in the mathematical sciences has been in pure mathematics and not invested in mathematics defined as maths of the “physical and material universe” in the past five years; and (2) what percentage of such annual investment is planned for future expenditure.

The UK is a world leader in Mathematics. British mathematicians publish a large volume of highly regarded work. When compared to international colleagues, British mathematicians have the 5th largest share of publications in the world. When looking at the top 1% of most cited publications, UK mathematicians are responsible for the third largest share.

Between Financial Year 2015-2016 and September 2021, UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) council the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) committed £259.9m to research grants Mathematical Sciences. This includes commitment from the Additional Funding Programme. At this time, EPSRC are unable to make a direct comparison between specific types of Mathematics.

Following the Government’s announcement in January 2020 to invest additional funding into Mathematical Sciences, UKRI has awarded around £104 million of additional funding to the discipline, over and above EPSRC’s core Mathematical Sciences Theme budget. The additional funding has covered institutes, small and large research grants, fellowships, doctoral studentships and postdoctoral awards.

On the 27 October 2021, the Government announced the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review. BEIS and UKRI will now set out how we meet the commitment to invest additional funding into Mathematical sciences in forthcoming years, as part of the allocations process.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Callanan on 1 June (HL 257), whether OneWeb will be free to make decisions on the launchers it chooses on purely commercial grounds.

Although OneWeb will be encouraged to make use of the UK’s future launch capabilities, decisions on launches are entirely a business matter for OneWeb.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Callanan on 26 April (HL14697), what proportion of OneWeb launches are anticipated to use small launchers; and what is their assessment of the scale of the market for small launchers sited in Cornwall and Scotland.

Launch decisions are a business matter for OneWeb. The company is aware of the UK’s ambitions to launch satellites from Cornwall and Scotland by 2022 and will be encouraged to utilise this launch capability.

Based on market analysis conducted to date by the UK Space Agency, we are confident there is a market to support planned UK spaceports in Cornwall, Sutherland, and Shetland.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether OneWeb will use large or small launchers to create Low Earth Orbit satellite constellations.

OneWeb currently utilises heavy launch via their ArianeSpace contract executed through the Soyuz launcher. This is currently the most economical option for launching multiple Low Earth Orbit satellites at a single time.

The UK aims to develop domestic small satellite launch capabilities from Cornwall and Scotland by 2022, which OneWeb will be able to utilise as applicable to their business operations.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that decision-making by the UK Vaccine Task Force relating to COVID-19 vaccines has been delayed by the civil service.

The Vaccine Taskforce has made, and continues to make, decisions rapidly to tackle COVID-19 and its variants. This has been recognised by the Public Accounts Committee in its recent report, that “the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, NHS England and NHS Improvement, and Public Health England have made major and world beating progress in buying and starting to roll-out the vaccines.”

The Vaccine Taskforce has worked at pace, resulting in the UK being the first country to procure, authorise, and deploy the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccines. This is the largest immunisation programme in UK history and, as of 23 February, over 17.5 million people in the UK have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This has been alongside various other achievements within the past 11 months, including:

  • The Government has struck agreements to buy 457 million doses of vaccines across eight leading candidates, including the Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford University/AstraZeneca, and Moderna vaccines, which have shown positive efficacy results through clinical trials.

  • The Government has invested over £300 million to ensure the country's vaccine manufacturing capabilities are scaled-up, so that effective vaccines can be made available to the public as quickly as possible.

  • Over 440,000 people have enrolled in a national registry expressing their interest to take part in clinical trials to accelerate the development of a successful vaccine.

  • The Government has committed to ensuring that everyone at risk of COVID-19, anywhere in the world, has access to safe and effective vaccines, and has donated £500 million to the COVAX international vaccine-sharing initiative to enable this.
Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to offer financial assistance to the owners of small businesses that are required to close as a result of restrictions put in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic and who can furlough their employees but not themselves.

Substantial grant support is being made available for businesses that are required to close or which are severely affected by restrictions put in place to tackle Covid-19 and save lives.

Businesses that are mandated to close due to the national or local Covid restrictions are eligible for up to £1,500 for each 14-day period of closure. Local authorities may also choose to provide grant funding for businesses via the discretionary grant schemes.

Further to this, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced on the 5th January an additional one-off top-up grant of up to £9,000 for business required to close. Additionally a top-up to the Additional Restrictions Grant of £500m has been announced, alongside the £1.1 bn of discretionary funds made available in November 2020.

The application deadline for three Coronavirus business interruption loan schemes – the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme – has been extended. Eligible businesses will be able to ‘top up’ existing Bounce Back Loans should they need additional finance.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will publish their plans for meeting their Net Zero target for carbon emissions by 2050.

Tackling climate change and delivering our world-leading Net Zero target is a key priority for the Government.

In 2020-21, ahead of hosting COP26, we will bring forward ambitious new plans to reduce emissions across key sectors of the economy – including an Energy White Paper, Transport Decarbonisation Plan and Heat and Building Strategy.

This will build on the strong foundations we have established through our world-leading progress in decarbonising our economy, our ambitious manifesto commitments, and recent announcements from my Rt. Hon. Friends the Prime Minister and Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer of measures to cut emissions as we build back better in our economic recovery from Covid-19.

We look forward to the Committee on Climate Change’s advice on the sixth carbon budget in December this year, ahead of setting this next ambitious target on the path to Net Zero by June 2021 as required by the Climate Change Act.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Callanan on 15 July (HL6348), how they propose to be publicly accountable for their investment in OneWeb.

The deal is subject to certain regulatory clearances and is expected to close before the end of the year.

We will have strong representation on the board, fully involved in setting the strategic direction of the business and developing the company’s business plan.

Mechanisms will be implemented for the continued monitoring and evaluation of the investment.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the letter from the Permanent Secretary of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on 26 June, what assessment they have made of the accuracy of the statement “there is a possibility that the entirety of the investment is lost and no wider benefits accrued” in relation to the investment into OneWeb.

The Government carried out a detailed examination of the business which demonstrated a commercial case for investment.

The fact that we are investing alongside a private commercial investor indicates a rational commercial case for investing. The deal will support the UK to be a pioneer in the research, development, manufacturing of novel satellite technologies, whilst boosting UK manufacturing.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the reasons for the collapse of OneWeb in March; and, further to reports that they are considering investing in that company, why they are considering such an investment.

On July 3rd, 2020, the Government announced it had led a successful bid to acquire OneWeb, who develop cutting-edge satellite technology in the UK and in the United States. The move signals the government’s ambition for the UK to be a pioneer in the research, development, manufacturing, and exploitation of novel satellite technologies through the ownership of a fleet of Low Earth orbit satellites.

As part of developing our bid and making the acquisition, the UK Government undertook appropriate due diligence.

The deal will support the UK to be a pioneer in the research, development, manufacturing, and exploitation of novel satellite technologies, whilst boosting UK manufacturing.

It will also allow the UK to explore other potential strategic opportunities, working with our international allies.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Callanan on 23 June (HL5752), in what ways, if at all, the Horizon judgments considered the extent to which individuals were responsible for the failings of the Post Office

The Horizon Judgments did not attribute individual responsibility for the system failings. The Judgment on the first "Common Issues" trial, concerned the terms and interpretation of the contract between postmasters and Post Office, and the second "Horizon Issues" trial, concerned the function and reliability of the Horizon Point of Sale system.

The findings outlined throughout the Horizon judgments provided an extensive insight as to what went wrong at the Post Office, including an independent judicial view of the facts all sides were looking for. The Post Office has accepted that, in the past, it got things wrong in its dealings with a number of postmasters. Under the leadership of its new CEO, the Post Office is now committed to applying the lessons learnt from the litigation to build and strengthen the relationship with postmasters.

The Judge when handing down the Horizon Issues Judgment raised concerns in relation to the evidence provided by Fujitsu employees. He has referred these cases to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Ministerial Statement by the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets on 10 June (HCWS280) announcing an Independent Review into the Post Office Horizon IT System and Trials, whether that Review (1) will take account of the “significant failings within Post Office Ltd over nearly two decades” identified by Mr Justice Fraser, (2) will have the power to require Ministers, Board Members, executives, staff and suppliers associated with the organisation throughout the period to appear before it, and (3) will have the power to access all relevant documentation from throughout the period. [T]

The?findings outlined throughout the Horizon judgments?provided an?extensive insight as to what went wrong at the Post Office, including an?independent?judicial view of the facts all sides were looking for. However, the Government accepts more needs to be done. The Government now wants to be fully assured that through the Independent Review there is a public summary of the failings that occurred at Post Office Ltd, drawing on the judgments from the Horizon case and by listening to those that have been most affected, without repeating the extensive findings of Justice Fraser.

Post Office Ltd have committed to fully cooperating with the Review. The Review will have sufficient strength and breadth and deliver in a timely manner. The Chair of the review will be fully independent of both the Post Office and Government. They will draw conclusions and make recommendations as he or she sees fit.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the reasons for the 0.3 per cent improvement in UK productivity over the last decade; and why UK productivity is below that of other comparable countries.

The UK has a longstanding ‘productivity gap’ with its main competitors. This has been exacerbated in recent years by weak productivity growth, commonly referred to as the ‘productivity puzzle’.

The slowdown in UK productivity growth in the last decade can largely be attributed to changes in the finance and manufacturing sectors which saw an outsized fall in their productivity growth. Economic shocks and pressures arising from the Financial Crisis and the Euro Area crisis also had a dampening effect on productivity.

Productivity is the main driver of long-run economic growth. The UK’s ability to improve living standards is almost entirely dependent on its ability to raise productivity. In 2017 the Government published a document on the Industrial Strategy that set out a long-term plan to boost productivity by backing businesses to create good jobs and increase the earning power of people throughout the UK with investment in skills, industries and infrastructure. The Government recently published the Business Productivity Review in response to the Industrial Strategy’s core priority of addressing the UK’s productivity issue.

Furthermore, the Industrial Strategy Council – an independent, non-statutory advisory group comprised of leading men and women from business, academia and civil society – was created to provide impartial and unbiased evaluation of the Government’s progress in delivering the Industrial Strategy. The Council published its success metrics on its website in Autumn 2019.

13th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether all the recommendations of Baroness Casey of Blackstock's review of events surrounding the UEFA Euro 2020 Final have been acted on.

Her Majesty’s Government continues to work with the relevant authorities to ensure that football fans can enjoy the sport and attend matches safely. This includes working with partners on the recommendations of Baroness Casey of Blackstock’s review into the events surrounding the UEFA Euro 2020 Final.

Although this review was commissioned by and reported to the English Football Association, Her Majesty’s Government was referred to in four of the recommendations and we have been undertaking work to take these forward.

This includes work on extending football banning orders to cover offences of the selling and taking of Class A drugs at football games (under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022). We continue to work with relevant parties on the other issues raised in the review, on stewarding events, clarifying the responsibility of Zone Ex for major events, and ensuring the categorisation of matches is appropriate.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are monitoring how (1) Google, (2) Facebook, and (3) Twitter, have responded to reported demands by the government of Russia to withhold reports of Russia's armed actions in Ukraine.

As the Secretary of State set out in her statement on 3 March, we have been engaging regularly with the major platforms, which have taken a number of positive steps in response to the situation.

The Counter Disinformation Unit in DCMS continues to work closely with platforms to flag specific pieces of disinformation and have them removed where they violate a platform's terms of service. Regular engagement with platforms is ongoing, and we are continuing to speak to them about safeguarding features and ways of better protecting civilians who are using their services. We will continue to work closely with them to encourage further action to support the Ukrainian people.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
1st Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay on 31 January (HL5527), whether they will now answer the question put, namely, further to the tweet by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on 16 January where she stated that “this licence fee announcement will be the last”, whether they intend this to be the last time the BBC licence fee is renewed.

The Secretary of State’s announcement to Parliament on 17 January made clear that this was the start of the process and that no decisions have been taken at this stage.


The statement can be seen on Hansard.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
19th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the tweet by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on 16 January where she stated that “this licence fee announcement will be the last”, whether they intend this to be the last time the BBC licence fee is renewed.

The Government has committed to maintain the current licence fee funding model for the duration of this 11-year Charter period, i.e. until 2027.

As the Secretary of State has made clear, we will be reviewing the licence fee funding model well in advance of the next Charter period.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government which (1) body, or (2) individual, is accountable for the delivery of gigabyte-capable broadband for all by 2025.

DCMS is the lead Government department for the delivery of gigabit capable broadband, working closely with the telecommunications industry and other Government departments.


Government is delivering a number of reforms to make it easier for the private sector to deploy gigabit broadband. For example, the Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill will make it easier for network builders to access blocks of flats where there is an absent or unresponsive landlord. The Government also intends to bring forward legislation to ensure new build homes have the infrastructure to support gigabit capable connections. In addition, the Government intends to invest £5 billion of funding to deliver faster broadband in the hardest to reach areas of the UK.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to review the rates of interest on student loans.

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

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the total annual investment at Higher Education level in the pure mathematical sciences; and how, as a share of GDP, this compares with that of countries with the best mathematics results at that level.

​The government strongly supports mathematical sciences in higher education. Ensuring that there is high-quality provision in a range of subjects is critical in order to build our workforce and support our public services. We are pleased many students chose to take up courses in mathematical sciences, with 39,210 students enrolling in England in 2019/20 academic year: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/students/table-49.

Our student loan system supports students who have the qualifications to access higher education, including a range of mathematics courses. In the 2019/20 academic year, a total of £300 million was made available as tuition fee and maintenance loans for students doing mathematics courses.

The UK continues to be a world leader in mathematics. To support mathematics research and development, UK Research and Innovation has awarded £104 million of additional funding into Mathematical Sciences, over and above the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’s core Mathematical Sciences Theme budget. The additional investment has funded institutes, small and large research grants, fellowships, doctoral studentships and postdoctoral awards.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the success of individual universities in maintaining student courses and contact during the lockdown.

As my right hon. Friends, the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have both made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

Our latest guidance on the impact of COVID-19 is set out below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.

Teaching, learning and assessment in higher education are not stopping and we are working with the sector to ensure that universities are able to make all reasonable efforts to enable students to continue and complete their studies, for their achievements to be reliably assessed and for qualifications to be awarded securely.

Higher education providers have adapted to the COVID-19 outbreak by rapidly moving teaching, examination and assessment online and all providers are developing their online provision ahead of the next academic year. Individual providers have issued advice and guidance to help support students through the transition to online provision and we are continuing to work closely with the sector, putting student wellbeing at the heart of these discussions. We believe that efforts so far have been largely successful in ensuring continued provision for the majority of students and are grateful to providers for taking such rapid action to ensure continued provision.

Universities offering good online tuition will continue to charge fees. However, the government has been clear that if universities want to charge full fees, they will have to ensure that good-quality courses are delivered which are fit for purpose and help students progress towards their qualifications.

The government’s clear expectation is that providers should make all reasonable efforts to enable students to complete their studies. If institutions are unable to facilitate adequate online tuition then they should seek to avoid charging students for any additional terms they may need to undergo as a consequence – therefore avoiding effectively charging them twice.

If students are concerned, there is a process in place. They should first raise this with their university. If their concerns are unresolved, students can contact the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education.

11th Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of the existing institutional framework in England for waymarking (1) long distance trails, and (2) local footpaths.

Effective waymarking and signage has been consistently identified as an essential component in the maintenance of public rights of ways improving access and providing a better experience for all users.

Local authorities are responsible for the management and maintenance of public rights of way including the appropriate use of signage in accordance with published guidance. No overall assessment of the condition of signage and waymarking has been undertaken however such assessments may form part of local authorities’ rights of way improvement plans.

Signage for National Trails is covered by national trail quality standards where there is a requirement to make constant improvements to individual Trails and its associated routes. Monitoring information on the assessment of the condition of path surfaces and structures including signage is reported annually.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to undertake a review of the potential risks posed by intensive farming of animals in enclosed spaces on (1) the incubation, and (2) animal to human transmission, of viruses.

Defra works in a ‘One Health’ approach with others, including public health and food safety departments and devolved administrations. We know the importance of surveillance for and management of the risk of emergence of zoonotic diseases, a constant threat in our globalised world where disease can spread so rapidly. We continue to develop a robust evidence base.

Defra’s Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) routinely carry out surveillance on farms for zoonotic pathogens. It has significant surveillance programmes for tuberculosis, avian influenza, salmonella, brucellosis and anti-microbial resistance.

We respond promptly to outbreaks to minimise the impacts of zoonotic disease associated with farming and farmed products.

Different types of farming systems can be managed in a professional way with good biosecurity plans and housing systems to reduce disease transmission.

12th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the number of pheasants in the UK, and (2) their impact on other wildlife.

The number of pheasants and their impact are being considered as part of a review by Defra that was initiated in response to a Judicial Review. The findings of the review will be published in due course.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to prevent walkers on public footpaths being killed by cattle.

Promoting safety in the countryside and ensuring the public feel safe and confident while using the rights of way network is very important.

The Health and Safety Executive provides advice on keeping cattle in areas where there are public rights of way and in open access areas, which can be accessed here: https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/ais17ew.pdf. It provides a list of actions which farmers can take to avoid or mitigate risk; for example, keeping stock elsewhere, avoiding fields with public access, putting up temporary fencing and clear signposting.

Cattle, particularly if with calves, can occasionally become aggressive towards dogs. The current Countryside Code pages on GOV.UK give advice for the public on dogs and farm animals, as well as advice for land managers regarding identifying threats to visitor safety. These pages can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-countryside-code/countryside-code-full-online-version. Natural England is refreshing the code for a planned relaunch next year which will provide an opportunity to reinforce messaging around cattle and public access.

2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment, if any, they have made of the condition of public footpaths in England and Wales; and in particular whether (1) signposts, waymarks, bridges and stiles are effectively maintained on public rights of way, and (2) crops are being planted on fields without marking the route of public rights of way.

Local authorities are responsible for the management and maintenance of public rights of way. They are required to keep a Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) to plan improvements to the rights of way network in their area, which are usually available on the authority’s website. This must include an assessment of the local rights of way including the condition of the network.

Deferring the 2026 cut-off date for registration of historic rights of way is a possibility, which would create more time for the reforms to rights of way legislation to be implemented effectively. We must weigh this against the desire for certainty around where rights of way exist, which implementing the cut-off date will bring. Officials intend to meet the rights of way reform Stakeholder Working Group soon and will discuss this issue with them and others before we come to a decision.

23rd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with supermarkets about the provision of online slots for home delivery of foodstuffs and vital supplies to older vulnerable groups.

The Government has well-established ways of working with the food industry during disruption to supply situations. Our retailers already have highly resilient supply chains and they are working around the clock to ensure people have the food and products they need. Industry is adapting quickly to these changes in demands, and we welcome the actions they are taking to support demand for online deliveries for older and vulnerable groups, including hiring more staff and prioritising delivery slots for those that need them most.

To help industry respond to this unprecedented demand we have introduced new measures to support online deliveries. We have issued guidance to local authorities to allow extended delivery hours to supermarkets so that shelves can be filled up more quickly, and we have implemented extensions to drivers’ hours. We are also temporarily relaxing certain elements of competition law to ensure retailers are able to collaborate effectively in the national interest, for example by sharing distribution depots and delivery vans.

The Government has begun to deliver food parcels to those identified by the NHS as being extremely clinically vulnerable.

We are working quickly to support people who do not fall into the category of being clinically vulnerable, but still need help getting essential food supplies. This could include those who are elderly, disabled or who have health conditions that make it difficult for them to get the food they need.

We will be launching a communications campaign to signpost vulnerable people to a range of support options. We are working closely with Local Authorities to direct vulnerable people to support available at the local level, as well as working in parallel with supermarkets to prioritise vulnerable individuals. Wherever possible, people should continue to rely on friends, families and wider community support.

12th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Gardiner of Kimble on 4 June 2019 (HL15826) and following the inception of the Raptor Persecution Priority Group, how that group will measure its success; and how many prosecutions have been mounted for the unlawful killing of hen harriers.

The Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group is a police, rather than Government, led group. The group’s objectives are supported by a tactical delivery plan which sets out targeted measurable actions to reduce raptor persecution in England and Wales.

Ministry of Justice data shows that between 2013 and 2018 there were 98 prosecutions for offences against birds under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It is not possible to break this data down by species.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Dec 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to commission an independent review into the economic, environmental and wildlife impacts of driven grouse shooting.

The Government will consider the findings of the recently released Werritty Review which addresses these issues in Scotland. We will continue to work to ensure a sustainable, mutually beneficial relationship between shooting and conservation.

13th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish a response to the questions set out in the reported letter from the Secretary of State for International Trade to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 8 July about the new UK border regime to be introduced from 2021.

As the noble Lord will be aware, HM Government does not comment on leaked documents. However, as set out by my Rt. Hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 13 July, we have set out comprehensive guidance on the movement of goods between Great Britain and the EU after the end of the transition period.

This Border Operating Model provides clarity and certainty to the border industry and businesses on the core customs processes that all importers and exporters will need to complete, and some additional processes that apply to only certain products.

21st Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment, if any, they have made of the options available to ensure the resilience of the National Rail Network at temperatures in excess of 40 degrees centigrade.

The Department for Transport has plans in place and underway to adapt to and mitigate the risks of our changing climate. The Williams-Shapps Rail Plan includes a priority for long-term investment in climate resilience supported by smarter forecasting, planning and technology.

On Wednesday 20 July, Network Rail announced the launch of a new taskforce led by independent experts to investigate and make recommendations on how the railway can develop its approach to resilience during hot weather following this week’s unprecedented heatwave.

The review will consider four key areas, each led by an independent expert in their field. Three of these areas will be focused on gathering insights from other countries and making comparisons with international rail networks that are more used to dealing with extreme heat and fluctuations in temperature.

As part of the review, the taskforce will:

- investigate options to ensure the railway infrastructure can continue to function safely and reliably during very hot weather; and

- explore operational standards, policies and practices which could allow services to continue to operate safely and without highly limiting speed restrictions in extreme heat.

Network Rail (NR) and the wider rail industry are working to improve our resilience to climate change impacts and other disruptive events. They are developing a risk-based approach to resilience planning, enabling a focus on those risks and assets that are key to delivering safety and performance improvements for passengers and freight users in a cost-effective manner.

Many infrastructure operators, including Network Rail, consider the changing climate in their strategic planning and report on their preparedness under the Adaptation Reporting Power.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans, if any, they have to assess the effectiveness of train operators in providing accurate and timely information for passengers during the disruption to services on 18, 19 and 20 July.

Evidence for the provision of accurate and timely information, including during the period 18, 19 and 20 July, will contribute to the determination of a performance-based fee for eligible rail operators. The evidence in this area and across other metrics of performance is independently evaluated before a performance score and fee is determined.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of (1) the average wait time for callers to DVLA helplines, and (2) the number of callers on average each day who are cut off without a response.

The average wait time for callers to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to speak to an advisor for the week commencing 21 February was 13 minutes 14 seconds.

During the same week, the average number of callers each day who received a message saying all lines were busy and asking them to try again later was 32,214.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 9 February (HL5871), whether the existing diesel rail fleet will be replaced with new diesel trains when it is retired.

As mentioned in my previous answer to HL 5871, when existing diesel trains require replacement we will work closely with operators and manufacturers on deploying the most appropriate traction technology. The Government supports the deployment of hydrogen and battery trains to decarbonise the network, as well as further electrification, and we would expect where diesel-only trains are replaced, their replacements combine different power technologies that make the most operational and economic sense.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the safety of passenger flights landing in the UK during Storm Eunice.

Aircraft and airlines have operational limitations that stipulate maximum winds (including crosswind components and associated gusts) that are acceptable. Crew are trained for approaches in such adverse weather conditions and will abort any landing where they believe continuing the approach will be unsafe or if the wind limits are exceeded. The Civil Aviation Authority’s ongoing review of standards suggests that the limitations and training, together with pilot performance, meant that safety barriers were maintained during storm Eunice.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to require rail operators to acquire hydrogen-powered trains to replace diesel trains on routes where electrification is not economic, in order to meet their objectives of (1) removing diesel trains by 2040, and (2) achieving net zero by 2050.

As existing diesel trains require replacement we will work closely with operators on the most appropriate traction technology. The government supports the deployment of hydrogen and battery trains to decarbonise the network, where they make operational and economic sense. The government supports this through innovation funding and research. This includes work on safety and wider issues that will have to be considered to allow battery and hydrogen trains smooth entry onto the network. That is why since the start of 2019, the Department has provided just over £4m of funding through Innovate UK-run First of a Kind competitions for new traction technologies.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they plan to take to eliminate the backlog in issuing driving licences; and when they estimate that the backlog will be cleared.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s online services are the quickest and easiest way to renew a driving licence. There are no delays in successful online applications and customers should receive their driving licence within a few days. However, many people still choose or have to make a paper application for a driving licence. The latest information on DVLA services and the turnaround times for paper driving licence applications can be found on GOV.UK.

The DVLA has introduced additional online services, recruited more staff and has secured extra office space in Swansea and Birmingham to help reduce waiting times while providing future resilience and business continuity.

The DVLA understands the impact that delays can have on people’s everyday lives and continues to work as quickly as possible to process paper applications and return people’s documentation to them.

In October, the DVLA’s primary focus was on reducing the vocational licensing queue to support tackling the HGV driver shortage. This has been successful with vocational applications now back to normal turnaround times despite a significant increase in applications. The remaining queues are reducing and customers will see an improving picture in terms of turnaround times over the next few months.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what the average waiting time was on 1 August for those who had submitted paper applications to the DVLA for the renewal of their driving licences.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s online services are the quickest and easiest way to apply for a driving licence. There are no delays in successful online applications and customers should receive their driving licence within a few days.

However, many people still choose or have to make a paper application for a driving licence. The DVLA receives around 60,000 items of mail every day which must be dealt with in person. Industrial action by members of the Public and Commercial Services union has led to delays for customers who make paper applications. The DVLA has also been working with fewer staff on site to ensure social distancing in line with Welsh Government requirements.

Information on average waiting time for a paper application for a driving licence to be processed on a specific day is not recorded.

The following table shows the average time taken to issue a driving licence after receiving a paper application where no medical condition is involved.

Apr-21

May-21

Jun-21

Jul-21

Aug-21

YTD

Ordinary licence renewal

Working days

14

20

28

37

40

30

Vocational licence renewal

Working days

12

14

16

21

21

17

The time taken is measured from date the application is received at the DVLA to the date the driving licence is sent to the customer.

The latest information on turnaround times for paper driving licence applications can be found on GOV.UK.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 12 July (HL1445), what assessment they have made of the social and economic value of Hammersmith Bridge beyond the boundaries of the local authorities it connects; and what plans they have to review whether such strategic assets of wide economic value are best owned by local authorities.

As highlighted in my Written Answer on 12 July (HL1445), Hammersmith Bridge is owned by the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (LBHF) and therefore the Department for Transport has not undertaken any assessments of the social or economic value of the closure of the bridge or its impact on other local authorities. Analyses of the impact of the closure of the bridge will be required as part of the submission of a satisfactory business case by LBHF. The submission of such a case is a condition for the release of any Government contribution to the cost of repairing the bridge, as agreed in the Transport for London extraordinary funding and finance agreement of 1 June 2021.

Under the current system of local government finance, local authorities are free to determine their own capital strategies to deliver local services, on the principle that they are best placed to make the decisions needed to support their local communities and to ensure local accountability.

Following the Government’s investment of £4 million toward emergency mitigation works, the Board responsible for the Case for Continued Safe Operation made the decision to reopen Hammersmith Bridge to pedestrians, cyclists and river traffic on 17 July. This is a very welcome development, especially for the people and businesses that use the Bridge.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of vehicles owned or hired by the government to transport (1) ministers, and (2) senior civil servants, on official business are fully electric.

The Government Car Service (GCS) provides a departmental pool car service to most Government Departments. Cars are provided as a shared resource for Ministers and senior officials, which is managed by individual departments. The departmental pool car fleet currently consists of 96 vehicles. 28 of those vehicles are fully electric (29%) and 26 are hybrid electric (27%).

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the social cost, and (2) the loss to the UK economy, of the closure of Hammersmith Bridge.

Hammersmith bridge is owned by the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (LBHF) and therefore the Department for Transport has not undertaken any independent assessments of the social or economic impact of the closure of the bridge. The submission of a satisfactory full business case, including analyses of the impact of closure and the benefits of reopening, is a condition for the release of any Government funding contribution to the cost of repairing the bridge, as agreed in the TfL extraordinary funding and finance agreement of 1 June 2021.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce regulations which standardise the connectors at charging points for electric vehicles.

This Government is working hard to ensure that motorists can access and pay for public charging easily. We launched a consultation last month on measures to improve the consumer experience of using public charging infrastructure. This includes proposals to make finding and paying for charging easier, and to set a minimum standard for the reliability of chargepoints.

We are seeing a natural progression towards the adoption of the Combined Charging System (CCS) standard; we do not believe there is the need for government intervention at this point.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to bring forward regulations to require operators of electric vehicle charging points to make their services interoperable with other charging networks in order to allow drivers to use any membership card at a charging point.

The Government is committed to ensuring consumers have reliable access to a comprehensive vehicle charging network so that they can easily and conveniently charge their cars. The Government is currently consulting on using its powers under the Automated Electric Vehicles Act to mandate minimum requirements, including requiring chargepoint operators to make their services interoperable with other charging networks, to improve the experience of consumers when using a public chargepoint. We will continue to support industry and consumers to make the switch to cleaner vehicles. We will publish a clear delivery plan in 2021.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the risk posed by private planes (1) landing next to, and (2) taxiing across, public footpaths.

Licensed or certificated aerodromes are required to adequately signpost any public right of way crossing or bordering a landing area. For unlicensed aerodromes, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has published guidance which advises that footpaths should be clearly marked with similar warning signs.

The CAA uses a wide range of information and intelligence to identify and assess any potential risks to safety posed by aviation activity. The CAA does not have evidence to suggest that this issue poses a safety risk that would necessitate additional regulations or guidance.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
17th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 16 June (HL4913), what is their guidance on the social distancing of passengers on board aircraft.

On 11 June 2020, the Government published aviation specific guidance. This guidance sets out measures operators should put in place to protect staff and passengers. The guidance to passengers covers all aspects of the travel experience, from checking the public health requirements before booking a flight, to navigating the airport safely and boarding the flight or leaving the airport.

As social distancing may not be possible on board all flights, the Government has introduced mitigating measures to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus such as wearing face covering when at the airport and on board an aircraft. These measures will be kept under constant review and updated as and when necessary.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer from Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 14 May (HL4070), what progress they have made on working with the aviation sector to develop an approach for social distancing on flights (1) within, (2) arriving in, or (3) leaving the UK.

On 12 May, the Government published transport guidance for operators and passengers on travelling safely. This addresses issues relating to social distancing. On 11 June we published guidance specific to the aviation sector, which provides advice on measures to help mitigate the risk of transmission of Covid-19.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government plans they have to require social distancing on flights (1) within, (2) arriving in, or (3) leaving, the UK. [T]

Department for Transport officials are currently working across government and with aviation sector to discuss potential baseline public health measures.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
16th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 7 January (HL105), what discussions they have had with Transport for London about the Well Managed Highway Infrastructure Code of Practice with regards to the closure of Hammersmith Bridge.

The Department for Transport has not had any discussions with Transport for London about the Well Managed Highway Infrastructure Code of Practice specifically regarding the closure of Hammersmith Bridge.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what guidance they provide to local authorities and the Greater London Authority on the (1) closure of bridges, (2) factors to be considered when deciding to close a bridge to traffic, and (3) length of time for which bridges should remain closed.

The Department for Transport endorses the Well Managed Highway Infrastructure Code of Practice, published by the UK Roads Liaison Group. The Code provides advice to highway authorities on all aspects of the management and maintenance of highways and associated assets such as bridges. It provides guidance on issues such as substandard structures and possible remedial action, such as weight restrictions or, if necessary, closure.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the implications of the take-up of a third or booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine lagging behind the take-up of first and second doses.

No specific assessment has been made.

While vaccine effectiveness is known to wane over time, protection against the most severe disease is maintained for a longer period of time. Several studies conducted in the United Kingdom indicate that two doses of vaccine are between 65% to 95% effective at preventing symptomatic disease from the Delta variant, with higher levels of protection against severe disease including hospitalisation and death. There is some evidence of waning of protection against infection and symptomatic disease over time, although protection against severe disease remains high in most groups at least five months following the second dose.

By the week ending 22 May 2022, vaccine uptake with three doses was greater than 90% those aged 70 years old and over and 51.7% in all age groups.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the NHS app will (1) record the date a COVID-19 booster vaccine has been administered, and (2) specify the type of COVID-19 vaccine used, with equal prominence to the first and second vaccinations.

Booster and third dose COVID-19 vaccinations are visible within the NHS COVID Pass through the NHS App and NHS.UK. The record includes information about the vaccine used and the date it was administered. The booster record can be found in the NHS COVID Pass for travel and the domestic pass. Boosters and third doses are displayed first, followed by an individual's first and second vaccinations.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Kamall on 29 September (HL2638), what assessment they have made of the higher hospitalisations and fatalities relating to COVID-19 recorded in England, compared to those reported in other Western European countries; and what were the main conclusions of any such assessment.

The UK Health Security Agency has not made this comparative assessment. Direct international comparisons of COVID-19 hospitalisations and fatalities in countries are complicated by a range of different factors such as the proportion of the population vaccinated, the timeliness of the vaccine delivery, non-pharmaceutical interventions and compliance and differences in reporting of key COVID-19 epidemiological metrics in different countries. Even when using several indicators, comparisons between countries should be carried out with caution.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the incidence of cases of COVID-19 in the UK on 1 September compared to the average incidence rate across Europe on that day, and (2) the reasons why the UK rate was higher than the European average.

Data on the incidence of COVID-19 cases in the United Kingdom is not available in the format requested, therefore no such assessment has been made.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the percentage of COVID-19 infections transmitted via (1) the air, and (2) surfaces.

No specific assessment has been made.

12th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the reasons for the above-average incidence of COVID-19 infections in Corby in February and March; and what assessment they have made of the efficacy of restrictions in place to reduce transmission of COVID-19.

Variation in the number of COVID-19 cases is caused by a number of factors including demography, behaviour and rate of testing. Corby has higher levels of people living in areas of deprivation. Living and working conditions for these groups contribute to increased transmission rates. A large proportion of working age people in Corby have jobs which require them to attend their workplaces, increasing the risk of transmission. It is an area with multi-generational families who live in proximity with potential for household mixing.

There was an increased level of local enforcement of COVID-19 restrictions during February and March. Case numbers have fallen in this period which from 294 cases per 100,000 population at the start of March to 183 on 24 March.

15th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the percentage of adults that need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order for the UK to achieve herd immunity.

No specific assessment has been made. The full impact of vaccination on infection and transmission of the virus will not become clear until a large number of people have been vaccinated.

12th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to issue guidance which sets out a specific radius in which exercise is permitted to be undertaken outside the home while restrictions are in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

There is no specific distance applicable for exercising but time outside of the home should be minimised. When spending time outside the home we advise to stay local and avoid travelling outside of the village, town or the part of a city where a person lives. The Government has these restrictions constantly under review.

7th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the most common situations in which COVID-19 was transmitted in December 2020, and (2) why some areas of England experienced higher levels of transmission than others in that month.

The weekly national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report summarises the information from the surveillance systems which are used to monitor COVID-19, influenza, and other seasonal respiratory viruses in England. The most common settings for which COVID-19 was transmitted in December 2020 were care homes, hospitals, educational settings, prisons, workplace settings, food outlet/restaurant and other settings.

The new variant of the COVID-19 virus along with the differing tier systems in operation at the time have been identified as contributors of higher levels of transmission in some areas.

10th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the length of time the COVID-19 virus can remain on (1) plastic packaging, (2) cardboard packaging, (3) stainless steel surfaces, (4) mobile phone screens, and (5) door handles; whether any such estimate has been revised since April 2020; and what steps they are taking to include such estimates in their guidance (a) to businesses, and (b) to the general public.

In May 2020, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) published a review of Evidence of environmental dispersion for different mechanisms, and the risks and potential mitigations/measures of control within different environments from what we know about COVID-19: A brief evidence summary for SAGE. A copy is attached. The SAGE Environmental and Modelling Group published a paper on Environmental Influence on Transmission of COVID-19, which considered the evidence relating to duration of time spent in an environment and transmission on surfaces. A copy is attached.

Preliminary analysis suggests surface contacts are likely to be a significant transmission route for COVID-19. Evidence to date suggests that the virus can persist on surfaces at a level that may pose a risk for up to 48 hours, while it is unlikely to persist in air for more than 30 minutes. As new evidence or data emerges, SAGE will continue to update its advice accordingly.

4th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the percentage of smartphone users in the UK who have downloaded the NHS COVID-19 Application.

Since it was launched on 24 September, the app has been downloaded over 21 million times. It is estimated that 62% of those with a compatible smartphone aged 16 years old and over in England and Wales have downloaded the app and 56% of smartphone users overall aged over 16 years old.

12th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the finding of the research by Australia’s National Science Agency, published on 7 October, that the COVID-19 virus can survive on bank notes, phone screens and stainless steel for up to 28 days.

No specific assessment has been undertaken.

18th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that the delivery of the flu vaccine this autumn has been delayed in reaching GP surgeries.

It is usual for flu vaccine deliveries from manufacturers to be phased throughout the vaccination period.

General practitioners and pharmacies are responsible for ordering the flu vaccine for adults directly from manufacturers, and decisions about volume and delivery dates are made by the manufacturer.

8th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what insights they have gathered from the NHS COVID-19 Test and Trace service about the main circumstances in which the virus is transmitted.

To help understand the circumstances in which COVID-19 is transmitted, a wide variety of real-time data at both local and national level is published in the Weekly COVID19 Surveillance Report in an online only format on GOV.UK.

The virus is transmitted when a contact spends time with someone who has COVID-19. This includes face-to-face contact (for one minute), being coughed on, or spending more than 15 minutes within two metres of someone with COVID-19. While those who test positive cannot say for certain where they picked up the infection, they can indicate possible places. Data from 13 to 20 September, shows the most common potential event, positive cases indicated where they may have picked up the virus as; eating out (14.6%), followed by shopping (13.4%). Then for contacts of a known positive case this was indicated from within households (59.8%), followed by visiting the positive case in their household (13.7%).

2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 1 September (HL6347), what plans they have to publish guidance on how to deal most safely with the possible COVID-19 contamination of parcels delivered to the home, or of packaged goods bought in retail outlets; and whether any precautionary measures should take into account the differences between paper, cardboard, plastic and metal.

In May 2020, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) published a review of Evidence of environmental dispersion for different mechanisms, and the risks and potential mitigations/measures of control within different environments from what we know about COVID-19: A brief evidence summary for SAGE. A copy is attached. The SAGE Environmental and Modelling Group published a paper on Environmental Influence on Transmission of COVID-19, which considered the evidence relating to duration of time spent in an environment and transmission on surfaces. A copy is attached.

Preliminary analysis suggests surface contacts are likely to be a significant transmission route for COVID-19. Evidence to date suggests that the virus can persist on surfaces at a level that may pose a risk for up to 48 hours, while it is unlikely to persist in air for more than 30 minutes. As new evidence or data emerges, SAGE will continue to update its advice accordingly.

9th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to share complete details of COVID-19 cases with Directors of Public Health in local authorities as soon as cases are identified. [T]

All upper tier local authorities have access to record level (including sex, age, occupation and postcode) test and case data. Directors of Public Health are also receiving fully identifiable test, case and contact tracing data where the case data includes, address, postcode, sex, age, NHS Number, occupation, test date, and additional data describing progress through the NHS Test and Trace contact tracing process. Public Health England (PHE) provides access to this data via a secure platform to Directors of Public Health to enable them more flexible access to test, case and contact tracing data to support their outbreak management responsibilities, as is routine. This data is currently updated on a daily basis.

PHE began providing record level positive test data, including postcodes, to local authorities (including Directors of Public Health) on 24 June.

6th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government to publish the reasons for developing a bespoke COVID-19 contact tracing application; whether they sought to collaborate with the developers of such applications in operation in other countries; if not, why not; and what lessons they have learned from the decision not to continue with their initial approach to the development of such an application.

We are working with other countries to exchange ideas and like the United Kingdom, many countries are working on solutions that best support their local systems while taking into account cultural and societal differences.

The challenges we have faced are not unique to us and have been experienced by a number of countries, including some who rolled out the app and then had to change their approach. It is only right that we test our approach and make sure we deliver a product that works.

1st Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 26 June (HL3499), where in the report Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and Mitigating Measures, published on 4 June, “the latest research on the amount of time that the COVID-19 virus remains potent on different kinds of surface” is addressed; and whether they will now answer the question put, namely, what assessment they have made of the latest scientific research on the amount of time that the COVID-19 virus remains potent on different kinds of surface; whether they will publish that assessment; and if so, when. [T]

The key conclusions on page one of the report Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and Mitigating Measures reported that the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is most strongly associated with close and prolonged contact, suggesting that close-range direct person-to-person transmission (droplets) and indirect contact transmission (via surfaces and objects) are the most important routes of transmission.

In the overview of modes of transmission from page two onwards, the report stated that transmission may also be influenced by environmental conditions. The virus is stable on surfaces and in air under laboratory conditions that simulate indoor environments. The virus survives better under colder, drier conditions with survival times of hours to days. Experiments under simulated sunlight suggests that high exposure to UV in outdoor environments will reduce the survival time to the order of minutes, however this will depend on the time of year and the cloud cover. The virus is not likely to survive for long periods of time on outdoor surfaces in sunlight, but it may survive for more than 24 hours in indoor environments.

No further assessment has been undertaken.

15th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the data obtained so far from the Test and Trace programme and, in particular, what it shows about how people are contracting COVID-19.

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

10th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the comments by the Chief Executive of NHS Providers on 6 June about the Government’s introduction of new measures to counter the COVID-19 pandemic, and in particular that NHS Trust leaders (1) felt “completely in the dark” about "significant and complex" changes; (2) are asked to make operational changes with little notice; (3) are concerned that there is insufficient strategy and planning; and (4) felt that last-minute decisions are overly influenced by politics. [T]

We are committed to working closely with the National Health Service on the introduction of new measures to counter the COVID-19 pandemic and give as much advance notice as possible. However, this is a fast-moving situation and at times it has been necessary to introduce measures at short notice.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 28 May (HL4485), what was the policy in respect of discharging patients from hospitals to care homes in the period from the onset of the COVID-19 lockdown to 14 April.

On 19 March, we published the COVID-19 Hospital Discharge Service Requirements, which sets out guidance on supporting the discharge of patients who no longer need acute care, following the ‘Discharge to Assess’ model. Wherever possible, people who are clinically ready should be supported to return to their place of residence, where an assessment of their longer-term needs will take place. A copy of this guidance is attached.

For those coming out of hospital, we have made available £1.3 billion funding via the National Health Service to support the discharge process. This funding can also cover the costs of providing alternative accommodation to quarantine and isolate residents, where needed, before returning to their care home from hospital, as set out in COVID-19: Our Action Plan for Adult Social Care on 15 April. A copy of the Action Plan is attached.

Our guidance published on 2 April, Admission and Care of Residents during COVID-19 Incident in a Care Home, sets out advice to care homes on the appropriate isolation required for care home residents who have been discharged from hospital following treatment for COVID-19. A copy of the guidance is attached.

We are currently reviewing our care homes guidance and will be publishing new guidance shortly.

18th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government with what frequency they plan to publish a national figure for R, the reproduction index for the COVID-19 virus; whether they plan to publish regularly a value for the R figure by geographic area; and whether they plan to publish regularly a value for the R figure for different demographic groups. [T]

The Government Office for Science currently publishes the latest estimate of the United Kingdom-wide range for R on a weekly basis. The current range is estimated to be 0.7-1.0 and is based on latest data available to determine infection and transmission rates. 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.

The Government is committed to publishing the scientific evidence that has informed the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies advice. These papers are being published in batches. The latest batches were released on 20 March 2020 and 5 May 2020 and the next batch will published in the coming weeks. The full list of papers released to date is available in an online only format on GOV.UK. This list will be updated to reflect papers considered at recent and future meetings.

14th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government why patients have been discharged to care homes from hospitals without prior testing for COVID-19.

The safety of residents and staff is always a priority. We are determined to make sure discharges into nursing or social care do not put residents currently in those settings at risk. We have introduced a policy of testing all residents prior to discharge to a care home. This was announced in our Adult Social Care Action Plan on 15 April.

A small number of people may be discharged from the National Health Service within the 14-day period from the onset of COVID-19 symptoms needing ongoing social care. Some care providers will be able to accommodate these individuals through effective isolation strategies or cohorting policies. If appropriate isolation/cohorted care is not available with a local care provider, the individual’s local authority will be asked to secure alternative appropriate accommodation and care for the remainder of the required isolation period.

This is an unprecedented global pandemic and we will continue to review our guidance in line with scientific advice.

13th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government which agency has the lead responsibility for supplying COVID-19 testing kits to care homes.

Public Health England (PHE) and the Department are working closely together to respond to outbreaks of COVID-19 in care homes.

PHE's health protection teams (HPTs) play a vital role locally in responding to any outbreak in care homes, providing tailored infection control advice to allow staff to protect themselves and their residents. From the outset, HPTs have been arranging testing for residents when an outbreak is reported at a particular care home.

The Department is offering a test to every staff member and resident in every care home in England, whether symptomatic or not. By 6 June, every care home for the over 65s will have been offered testing for residents and staff.

12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to stockpile sufficient (1) personal protective equipment and (2) medical equipment and supplies, to cope with any second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. [T]

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.

We are confident in the stocks and sources of supply of PPE to meet the needs of health and social care over the coming months.

As part of our concerted national efforts to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department is working closely with industry, the National Health Service and others in the supply chain to help ensure patients can access the medicines and medical devices and equipment they need. Precautions are in place to reduce the likelihood of future shortages, including management of demand.

The Department shares regular information about impending supply issues and management plans with the NHS via networks in primary and secondary care and will liaise with relevant patient groups about issues affecting specific medicines, medical devices and equipment.

28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the latest scientific research on the amount of time that the COVID-19 virus remains potent on different kinds of surface; whether they will publish that assessment; and if so, when. [T]

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) provides scientific advice to support United Kingdom decision-makers during emergencies.

The Environmental and Modelling Group presented its report Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and Mitigating Measures to SAGE on 4 June 2020.

This report addresses the latest research on the amount of time that the COVID-19 virus remains potent on different kinds of surface and sets out 39 risk mitigation measures that are important in different circumstances based on the individual setting.

A copy of the report is attached.

28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the approach taken by the government of South Korea to the COVID-19 pandemic and, specifically, their focus on testing, tracing and isolating; what plans they have, if any, to introduce a similar policy in the UK; and what contingency plans, if any, they have developed to enable implementation of such a policy.

We are working closely with other countries through international forums such as the G7, G20 and the World Health Organization, as well as on a bilateral basis on a range of issues relating to COVID-19.

We are developing a test and trace programme to support the next phase of our COVID-19 response. This will include a new app which will complement existing web and phone-based contact tracing approaches as well as swab testing. This programme will play an important role in helping to minimise the spread of the virus in the future.

28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to improve infection control in care homes.

The Department, NHS England, Public Health England and Care Quality Commission co-published Admission and Care of Residents during COVID-19 Incident in a Care Home guidance on 2 April 2020. 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.

Following publication of the Adult Social Care Action Plan on 15 April 2020, we are reviewing the Admission and Care of Residents during COVID-19 Incident in a Care Home guidance.

This is an unprecedented global pandemic and we are constantly reviewing our guidance in line with scientific advice. We continue to engage with stakeholders to ensure that any changes to guidance are made in conjunction with them. As policy develops, we will continue to update the relevant guidance.

21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of trials taking place in Sao Paulo of Azithromycin and Hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19.

The Department is considering carefully all available evidence around the potential of different drugs for use in treating COVID-19, including from clinical trials in the United Kingdom and overseas.

Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin are not currently licensed to treat COVID-19-related symptoms or prevent infection. Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin are both being tested through clinical trials in the UK. These clinical trials are ongoing, so no conclusions have yet been reached on the safety and effectiveness of these medicines to treat COVID-19.

23rd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they plan to (1) catalogue, and (2) assess, the global scientific effort to (a) create a vaccine, and (b) improve therapeutics and testing, to reduce the impact of COVID-19; and how they intend to ensure that any transformational breakthroughs that emerge are rolled out rapidly.

Development of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics is an international effort. The World Health Organization (WHO), through its R&D Blueprint team, is leading the coordination and monitoring of global research and development, including on vaccine efforts. The United Kingdom is fully supportive of this leadership and the convening role of the WHO. We will both feed-in UK expertise and use the monitoring tools that the WHO produces.

19th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to produce an estimate of the actual number of new COVID-19 cases in the UK each day, to compare against reported cases.

The Government relies on modelling work undertaken by several academic groups, who report to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) through its various subgroups. SAGE will continue to publish the evidence that it considers.

From modelling and current data on the outbreak, it is likely that the number of confirmed United Kingdom cases will rise. The number of COVID-19 cases will depend on the implementation of and adherence to public health measures, and the success of those measures in suppressing transmission of the virus and the numbers of cases of infection.

18th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what scientific advice they have received to explain the flattening of the growth trend of newly reported cases of COVID-19 (1) in Japan, (2) in South Korea, and (3) in China.

The Government is monitoring the development of the COVID-19 outbreak around the world, including in Japan, China and South Korea, and international evidence has been used alongside a wide range of other intelligence to inform the United Kingdom response. Lessons learned from other countries on what worked well in certain situations, for example social distancing measures, can be useful for the Government to consider as we form policies. The Government Office for Science is working closely with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development, Cabinet Office and other departments to ensure the latest evidence on the international outbreak and response is scientifically sound and the conclusions drawn are robust.

3rd Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford on 30 January (HL734), why those arriving in the UK on commercial flights from Wuhan after the Government had received reports of coronavirus received no medical intervention when those evacuated on the flight from Wuhan organised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office are to be quarantined for 14 days.

The supported isolation model used following the flight from Wuhan organised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 31 January and the subsequent flight on 2 February was undertaken as a highly precautionary measure. Direct flights from Wuhan ceased on 24 January. On 30 January the World Health Organization declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and the risk associated with return from the epicentre of the outbreak had increased.

We are asking anyone in the United Kingdom who has returned from Hubei Province in the last 14 days to self-isolate, to stay indoors and avoid contact with other people.

23rd Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that passengers arriving in the UK on flights from Wuhan since the outbreak of the coronavirus in China have not been medically screened upon their arrival.

Enhanced monitoring measures are in place for all direct flights from Wuhan to the United Kingdom in response to the outbreak of Wuhan novel coronavirus (WN-CoV). We are rolling the enhanced monitoring for all direct flights from China. The focus of the measures is to identify those who may be at risk of having contracted WN-CoV, ensuring that they have information and support if they are concerned and can contact Public Health England staff at the airport.

These measures do not include the introduction of ‘medical screening’ such as temperature screening. Expert advice suggests ‘medical screening’ such as temperature screening would be of very limited effectiveness and detect only a small minority of cases. This is because symptoms do not usually appear until five to seven days, and sometimes up to 14 days.

6th Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether all UK football fans, regardless of their sexuality, can safely attend the forthcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

During a visit to Doha on 4-5 July, the Minister for the Middle East, Rt Hon. Amanda Milling MP, raised this with local organisers. They reiterated their public commitment that "everybody is welcome" to the tournament, including LGBT+ visitors. We will continue to encourage the equal treatment of all fans and respect for individual rights so that anyone, of any background, can go and enjoy themselves.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
31st Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have assessed the cost of the restoration of war-damaged housing, buildings and infrastructure in Ukraine; and whether they consider that seized Russian assets could form part of a programme of reparations to rebuild Ukraine.

HMG is exploring what options there may be to use sanctioned assets, including real estate. The Secretary of State for the Department of 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.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to assist in international efforts to gather evidence of Russian war crimes in Ukraine, and to identify those responsible, including (1) individual perpetrators, and (2) those in command.

The UK led efforts to refer the situation in Ukraine to the International Criminal Court (ICC). On 4 March, the Metropolitan Police's War Crimes Team announced it was gathering evidence in relation to alleged war crimes in Ukraine in support of the ICC investigation. The Government has also made clear that we are willing to provide the necessary technical assistance to support successful convictions.

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)
8th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to help alleviate the risk of a winter famine in Afghanistan.

The Prime Minister has announced that the Government will increase our overall assistance for Afghanistan to £286 million this financial year. On 31 October he announced the allocation of £50 million of that money for humanitarian purposes to those who need it most. We are working closely with the World Food Programme to ensure that food insecure adults and children receive the support they need.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the percentage of the world’s adult population which have received one or more vaccinations against the COVID-19 virus by the end of May.

The data on global COVID-19 vaccine delivery is rapidly evolving as new vaccines are approved and distributed, and varies based on national reporting practices. As of 9 June 2021, the World Health Organization estimates that 2.09 billion vaccine doses have been administered worldwide. More data on worldwide vaccination can be found at https://covid19.who.int/.

The UK is committed to rapid, equitable access to safe and effective vaccines. We are among the largest donors to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), having committed £548 million, which through match-funding leveraged $1 billion from other donors in 2020. This support to COVAX has been critical in supporting its supply of COVID-19 vaccines to over 125 countries and economies. COVAX aims to provide COVID-19 vaccine doses to at least 30% of the adult population in low and middle-income countries by the end of 2021.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of India about the reported capture and detention of Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum, including reports of the involvement of Indian special forces.

We are aware of the allegations regarding the disappearance of Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum. The UK is not directly involved in this case but we will follow any developments closely.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Pakistan following the Legatum Institute identifying eight journalists as being murdered in Pakistan between October 2018 and October 2019.

We are deeply concerned by the reported murders of journalists in Pakistan. The UK is committed to the protection of journalists and promotion of media freedom. We regularly raise our concerns about the human rights situation, including on the freedom of expression, with the Government of Pakistan at a senior level and continue to monitor the situation actively. Pakistan's Foreign Minister Qureshi attended the UK's Global Media Freedom Conference in London in July 2019.

In support of our commitment to media freedom and the protection of journalists, the UK and other partners funded the Asma Jehangir Conference held in Lahore in October 2019. This was a two day conference, which provided space for civic discourse and included sessions on media freedom.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Mexico following reports by the Legatum Institute that 12 journalists were murdered in Mexico between October 2018 and October 2019.

We recognise the challenges Mexico faces regarding ongoing violence against journalists: media freedom is vital for healthy societies everywhere, and journalists should to be able to investigate and report without fear of violence. We engage regularly with the Mexican authorities at ministerial, official, and state levels to discuss a broad human rights agenda, including freedom of expression and freedom of the press. We welcomed Mexico's co-hosting with UNESCO of the regional International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, in November in Mexico last year. The Foreign Secretary discussed human rights and violence against journalists with his Mexican counterpart when he visited Mexico in August 2019, and Baroness Williams did the same with Interior Minister Olga Sanchez Cordero in September 2019.

20th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to require currency exchange services for consumers to display both (1) the live interbank exchange rate, and (2) the commission charged, following the UK’s departure from the EU.

Where currency conversion is provided as part of a payment transaction, the Payment Services Regulations 2017 make requirements on UK payment service providers regarding disclosure of fees and charges to the payer, for example, the exchange rate used for a currency conversion transaction. Provisions under the Cross Border Payments Regulation, which continue to apply in the UK as part of retained EU law, also contribute to price transparency, with further requirements regarding how foreign exchange costs are communicated before a payment is made. The Government has no plans at this time to amend the requirements on firms, but keeps all policy under review.

The Government recognises the importance of transparency of fees and charges in ensuring effective competition between payment service providers. These regulations, amongst other things, are intended to enable consumers to make informed decisions when making use of payment services including where currency conversion is offered as part of a payment transaction.
Baroness Penn
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
13th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the carbon footprint of the operation of cyber currencies.

The government is committed to positioning the UK at the forefront of green finance and recognises the issue of rising energy consumption from certain cryptoassets.

The government’s consultation later this year on regulating a wider set of cryptoasset activities will reflect green commitments and ensure that the approach is aligned to environmental objectives including the UK’s net zero target.

In this context, the government notes that some cryptoassets may be based on ‘proof of stake’ blockchain systems and may not face energy-consumption issues which typically relate to the ‘mining’ or proof-of-work process underpinning certain cryptoassets.

The government welcomes the efforts of some cryptoassets to move to more energy efficient ‘proof of stake’ processes. The government takes concerns about the environmental impacts of cryptoassets seriously and is closely monitoring developments within the cryptoasset industry, including rising energy usage associated with certain cryptoassets.

Baroness Penn
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
10th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to assess (1) whether the market for savers is working effectively, and (2) why the interest rates offered to savers by the major banks are not rising in line with the Bank of England base rate.

The Government recognises that over recent years low interest rates have made it challenging for people’s savings to grow. This is why the Government remains committed to supporting savers of all income levels and at all stages of life to save and has introduced a range of measures to support this.

The amount of money that individuals can save into their ISAs each year has been increased to a record £20,000 and a Personal Savings Allowance of up to £1,000 for basic rate taxpayers and up to £500 for higher rate taxpayers has been introduced. These measures mean that around 95% of people with savings income pay no tax on that income, giving consumers more flexibility to shop around when choosing the best savings product for them.

Alongside these measures, the Lifetime ISA allows younger people to benefit from a 25% government bonus on up to £4,000 of savings each year towards a first home, or later life. While the Help to Save scheme supports working families on low incomes to build up a rainy-day fund by offering a 50% bonus on up to £50 of monthly saving.

However, the pricing of financial products, including the interest rates offered on savings accounts, is a commercial decision for firms and the Government does not plan to intervene in, or make assessments of, such decisions.

The independent Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of England makes monetary policy decisions independently of the Government. The MPC sets the base rate of interest, which is known as the Bank Rate. This is the rate of interest the Bank of England will pay on reserves held with them by commercial banks. MPC decisions over Bank Rate guide commercial banks’ decisions over retail interest rates, i.e. interest rates they charge on loans and pay on deposits. However, commercial banks also make commercial judgements that influence the degree of pass‐through from changes in Bank Rate into retail interest rates, with conditions in financial markets and in the banking sector also influencing interest rates paid on deposits or charged for lending.

Baroness Penn
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
31st Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government who will be the recipient of the proceeds from the sale of Chelsea Football Club.

Financial sanctions do not change the ownership of frozen assets, so it will be for Chelsea FC and the buyers to determine the terms of any sale. Given the asset freeze a sale would require a Treasury licence to take place. The Treasury will consider any licence application made by the Club on the merits of that application.

Any licence issued under the Russia Regulations will be in line with the purposes of the Russia Regulations. The key purpose is to encourage Russia to cease destabilising Ukraine, and cease undermining and threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty or independence of Ukraine.

Baroness Penn
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
21st Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment, if any, they have made of the growth rate of each of the G7 countries from quarter 4 of 2019 to quarter 4 of 2021.

Her Majesty’s government regularly looks at UK economic growth in the context of growth in other advanced economies, including those in the G7. The Office for National Statistics publishes UK figures monthly, quarterly, and annually.

There are different metrics by which international GDP growth rates can be compared, varying by the time and reference period used. In the case of our G7 peers, as well as the UK, only Canada produces monthly GDP data. Monthly comparisons are therefore not possible for all members of the G7. International comparisons of economic growth are possible for all G7 members at both quarterly and yearly frequencies. This information is presented below.

Real GDP growth

Monthly

Quarterly

Quarterly

Quarterly

Annually

Country

February 2020 to November 2021

Q3 2021 Quarter on Year % growth

Q4 2021 Quarter on Year % growth

Q4 2019 to Q4 2021

2021

Canada

0.2%

4.0%

3.4%

0.2%

4.7%

France

N/A

3.5%

5.4%

0.9%

7.0%

Germany

N/A

2.9%

1.4%

-1.5%

2.8%

Italy

N/A

4.0%

6.4%

-0.5%

6.4%

Japan

N/A

1.2%

0.7%

-1.9%

1.7%

UK

0.2%

7.0%

6.5%

-0.5%

7.5%

US

N/A

4.9%

5.5%

3.1%

5.7%

Source: Refinitv DataStream, HMT Calculations

Comparing monthly to the latest data available in both countries, November, the ratio of monthly real (seasonally adjusted) GDP between February 2020 and December 2021 was 0.2, in both the UK and Canada. Canada is yet to release December monthly data.

The UK’s 2021 Q3 quarter-on-year growth rate was 7.0%, compared to the US (4.9%), Italy and Canada (both 4%), France (3.5%), Germany (2.9%) and Japan (1.1%).

The ratio of real GDP from Q4 2019 to Q4 2021 in the UK was -0.5%, compared to the US (3.1%), France (0.9%), Canada (0.2%), Italy (-0.5%), Germany (-1.5%) and Japan (-1.9%).

Annually, the UK’s growth rate in 2021 was 7.5%, compared to France (7.0%), Italy (6.4%), the US (5.7%), Canada (4.7%), Germany (2.8%) and Japan (1.7%).

Baroness Penn
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
29th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that International Monetary Fund data shows that the UK is placed 27th out of 28 EU countries for investment as a proportion of GDP between 2000 and 2019.

We recognise that in recent years the UK has seen relatively low levels of investment. This Government has committed to increase investment through improving infrastructure. The National Infrastructure Strategy, to be published alongside the Budget, will set out further details of the Government’s plan to transform the UK’s infrastructure and the Government’s long-term ambitions across transport, local growth, decarbonisation, digital infrastructure, infrastructure finance and delivery.

The UK corporate tax regime is highly competitive, with the lowest rate of corporation tax in the G20. Beyond this, businesses are benefitting from enhanced tax incentives, including the recent introduction of the Structures and Buildings Allowance (SBA), and a temporary increase in the Annual Investment Allowance to £1 million.

Earl of Courtown
Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)
20th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that (1) the precise spot rate, and (2) the commission charged, are identified for all consumer foreign currency transactions at the moment of the transaction post-Brexit.

Under the Payment Services Regulations 2017, where a currency conversion service is offered before the initiation of the payment transaction, the party offering the currency conversion service must disclose to the payer all charges as well as the exchange rate to be used for converting the payment transaction. This will not change after the UK leaves the EU.

From April 2020, the EU’s Cross Border Payments Regulation, known as CBPR2, will require greater transparency on currency conversion charges and exchange rates when making payments, either at a point of sale or an ATM.

After 31 January, the UK and EU will enter an implementation period, during which EU laws that currently apply, or will start to apply during the implementation period, will apply to the UK.

Under the terms of section 8 of the EU Withdrawal Act 2018 (and as further amended by the EU Withdrawal Agreement Act 2020) the Government has the power to fix deficiencies in EU legislation retained following the Implementation Period.

Earl of Courtown
Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)
19th Dec 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to require that all currency conversion rates should be expressed as a percentage mark-up on the interbank rate applying at the time of the conversion after Brexit.

HM Treasury does not publish or set the format for the presentation of exchange rate data.

Earl of Courtown
Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)
16th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of (1) the incidence, and (2) aggregate cost to victims, of online fraud; and what assessment they have made of the success of (a) the technology platforms, and (b) enforcement authorities of (i) identifying fraudulent sites or activity, and (ii) effectively countering them.

As of March 2021, online fraud was estimated, using data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales, at 58% of fraud while the volume of fraud against individuals was 4.65 million incidents. The most recent estimate (December 2021) of fraud against individuals was 5.2 million incidents. However, an estimate of online fraud for this period is unavailable at present.

The Home Office does not collate statistics regarding costs to victims of online fraud. The most recent estimate of the total cost of fraud against individuals is £4.7 bn for the FY 2015/16. The Home Office also does not measure ‘success’ of technology platforms and enforcement authorities in identifying fraudulent sites and activity and countering them. The Home Office works closely with the National Cyber Security Centre who launched their Suspicious Email Reporting Service in April 2020. This has already led to over 11 million reports received and the removal of over 78,000 scams and 144,000 harmful websites to date.

The Government’s programme of work to tackle fraudulent online advertising in collaboration with industry includes the Online Safety Bill and the Online Advertising Programme.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 7 October (HL8409), whether they will now answer the question put, namely what percentage of e-mails received by the Home Office Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre in August were answered within the usual reply period of five working days.

The Home Office does not collate the specific information requested, however, the progress of responses to questions directed to the Coronavirus Immigration Team is monitored regularly and remains a priority.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of e-mails received by the Home Office Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre in August were answered within the usual reply period of five working days.

Asylum seekers can work in the UK if their claim has been outstanding for 12 months, through no fault of their own. Those allowed to work are restricted to jobs on the Shortage Occupation List, which is published by the Home Office and based on expert advice from the Migration Advisory Committee.

It is important to distinguish between those who need protection and those seeking to work here, who can apply for a work visa under the Immigration Rules. Our wider policy could be undermined if migrants bypassed work visa Rules by lodging unfounded asylum claims here.

The Home Office is currently reviewing policy on right to work.

As part of the plans to speed up Asylum decision making, over the last 18 months, UK Visas and Immigration have increased the number of Asylum decision makers and support staff as part of a rolling recruitment campaign and mobilised a transformation programme that seeks to simplify, streamline and digitise processes.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the success of tactics used to police large gatherings of people who are not adhering to COVID-19 preventative measures.

The deployment of tactics is an operational matter for the police. The police response follows the four-step escalation principles – engaging, explaining, encouraging, and then enforcing. In general the public have followed the rules without any need for enforcement action. We have empowered the police to disperse gatherings and issue Fixed Penalty Notices for those who break the rules. This includes £10,000 fines to those who hold, or are involved in the holding of, illegal gatherings as well as fines for those who participate.

The National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) regularly publish data on fixed penalty notices issued under COVID-19 emergency health regulations by police forces and are in the process of collating data relating to the number of £10,000 fines issued.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
10th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their forecast for expenditure on defence in 2025 as a percentage of GDP.

The UK remains committed to exceeding 2% of its GDP on Defence under the terms of its existing settlement. It would not be appropriate to speculate on spending beyond the current Parliament and which will be subject to a further Spending Review.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
18th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to supply high-altitude anti-aircraft weapons to Ukrainian forces.

We were the first European country to send defensive weapons; we have already donated more than 4,200 next generation light anti-tank weapons and are now exploring the option of supplying Javelin missiles.

In response to Ukrainian requests, the Government have taken the decision to supply Starstreak high-velocity, man-portable anti-air missiles to allow the Ukrainian forces to better defend their skies.

The UK will continue to review Ukrainian requests and work with our Allies and partners to enhance Ukraine's ability to defend itself.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
28th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to ban the practice of “milling” as part of the selection process for the Parachute Regiment.

There are no plans to ban the practice of milling as part of the selection process for the Parachute Regiment. As a training activity milling is subject to risk assessment and review. To mitigate any risk milling bouts are regulated to ensure compliance under departmental Medical, Training and Health and Safety policy. A General Practitioner (GP), a dedicated ambulance and a paramedic are in attendance at all times milling takes place. The GP conducts a pre-medical to assess a participant's fitness and make them aware of the risks. Participants can withdraw at any time.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
19th Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of UK homes have an energy efficiency performance rating of (1) A, or (2) B.

The energy efficiency of housing in the UK is reported separately by each Administration. In 2020-21 2.9% of the English housing stock had an energy efficiency rating of A or B. In 2019 4% of the Scottish housing stock had an energy efficiency rating of A or B.

The proportion of housing in Wales and Northern Ireland with an energy efficiency rating of A or B is not reported.

Lord Harrington of Watford
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
25th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of the annual spend of local authorities in England is devoted to funding social care.

The Revenue Outturn statistics for 2020-21 published (attached) on 27 January 2022 https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/local-authority-revenue-expenditure-and-financing-england-2020-to-2021-final-outturn, show that expenditure by local authorities on social care was £31.6 billion. This includes expenditure that has been funded by NHS transfers to local government, notably £2.4 billion from the Better Care Fund. This is equivalent to 28% of the sum of total revenue expenditure and Better Care Fund transfers in 2020-21.

28th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 16 June (HL706), what plans they have to review whether strategic assets of wide economic value are best owned by local authorities.

Under the current system of local government finance, local authorities are free to determine their own capital strategies to deliver local services, on the principle that they are best placed to make the decisions needed to support their local communities and to ensure local accountability.

28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of prison cells in England and Wales do not contain a toilet.

Prison operating standards state that prisoners in normal accommodation should have sanitation either within their cell or as an annex to the cell. The vast majority equating to around 68,400 (90%) of cells, including all newer prisons, have modern sanitation inside the cell. These cells hold approximately 91% of the prison population.

The remaining 7,600 (10%) do not have in-cell sanitation. The majority of these are at sites subject to open conditions, where prisoners have 24-hour access to sanitation facilities that are not physically integrated into their cells.

In a small number of older prisons, however, it has not proved possible to install in-cell sanitation or the cost of doing so would be prohibitively high. In such cases, a system of electronic unlocking is in place, in which prisoners are able to request via an in-cell call bell that the cell door be remotely unlocked for a limited period of time to allow them to access to shared facilities on the wing.

12th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government why only 206 new prison places have so far been created to help meet their 2016 commitment to produce 10,000 new places.

In 2016, the then Secretary of State for Justice announced the creation of up to 10,000 new for old prison places. As part of this, a new 206 place houseblock at HMP Stocken was opened in June 2019. Work to construct a modern, uncrowded, decent, safe and secure prison at Wellingborough, providing 1,680 places, is progressing on schedule and we will commence work to build a 1,680 place prison at Glen Parva in the Summer, bringing the total places delivered to 3,566.

The Prime Minister has committed to invest up to £2.5 billion to transform the prison estate by building 10,000 additional places – in addition to the 3,566 already being delivered. The first of these new prisons will be at Full Sutton. All future new prison developments are subject to receiving planning permission and will be announced in due course.

We acknowledge the National Audit Office’s review, ‘Ministry of Justice, HM Prison and Probation Service: Improving the prison estate’, undertaken in 2019 and we will be carefully considering the report to ensure that we are able to effectively deliver the additional 10,000 places whilst ensuring value for money for taxpayers.