Lord Bishop of St Albans Portrait

Lord Bishop of St Albans

Bishops - Bishops

Became Member: 3rd October 2013


Lord Bishop of St Albans is not a member of any APPGs
Gambling Industry Committee
13th Jun 2019 - 16th Jun 2020


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Tuesday 18th July 2023
Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 2 Bishops Aye votes vs 0 Bishops No votes
Tally: Ayes - 195 Noes - 216
Speeches
Thursday 8th February 2024
Asylum Seekers: Convictions
My Lords, both the Church of England and my most reverend friend the Archbishop of Canterbury have repeatedly said that …
Written Answers
Wednesday 21st February 2024
Shipping: Russia
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the extent of UK-based protection and indemnity insurance underwriting …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Tuesday 28th November 2023
Coroners (Determination of Suicide) Bill [HL] 2023-24
A Bill to require the coroner, following an inquest, to record an opinion as to the relevant factors in a …
MP Financial Interests
None available

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Lord Bishop of St Albans has voted in 106 divisions, and 3 times against the majority of their Party.

9 Nov 2020 - Agriculture Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Bishop of St Albans voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Bishops Aye votes vs 1 Bishops No votes
Tally: Ayes - 130 Noes - 290
22 Mar 2022 - Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Bishop of St Albans voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Bishops No votes vs 3 Bishops Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 181 Noes - 157
5 Jul 2022 - Sitting Times - View Vote Context
Lord Bishop of St Albans voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 1 Bishops Aye votes vs 1 Bishops No votes
Tally: Ayes - 158 Noes - 124
View All Lord Bishop of St Albans Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Conservative)
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
(48 debate interactions)
Lord Greenhalgh (Conservative)
(39 debate interactions)
Baroness Barran (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
(35 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
View all Lord Bishop of St Albans's debates

Lords initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Lord Bishop of St Albans, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.


4 Bills introduced by Lord Bishop of St Albans


A Bill to require the coroner, following an inquest, to record an opinion as to the relevant factors in a case of death by suicide; and for connected purposes

Lords Completed
Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 20th October 2023

A Bill to require the coroner or jury at an inquest to record an opinion as to gambling addiction and any other relevant factors in a case of death by suicide; and for connected purposes

Lords Completed

Last Event - 3rd Reading
Friday 25th March 2022
(Read Debate)

A Bill to require the coroner, following an inquest, to record an opinion as to the relevant factors in a case of death by suicide; and for connected purposes.

Lords - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Tuesday 28th November 2023
(Read Debate)

A Bill to require the coroner or jury at an inquest to record an opinion as to gambling addiction and any other relevant factors in a case of death by suicide; and for connected purposes.

Lords - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Thursday 16th January 2020
(Read Debate)

Lord Bishop of St Albans has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


616 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
1 Other Department Questions
2nd Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by (1) Baroness Neville-Rolfe on 11 January (HL4504), and (2) the Parliamentary Under-Secretary at DCMS on 14 December 2021 (88799), why they provided statistics on the amount of customer suicides that have been reported by gambling operators in the past three years in 2021 but not in 2023; and whether they will now provide updated statistics.

In the past three years, the Gambling Commission has published details of two enforcement cases which have had links to deaths by suicide.

The Office for National Stastics’s process of collecting mortality statistics is separate from gambling operator data. The Gambling Commission asks operators to notify the Commission if they are made aware of a death by suicide which may be linked to their gambling facilities. This enables the Commission to make enquiries to determine whether there has been a breach of social responsibility codes and licence conditions and whether compliance or enforcement action is appropriate.

To strengthen provisions further, the Commission has recently opened a consultation on reporting deaths by suicide. The proposals would require licensees to inform the Commission when they become aware that any customer has died by suicide, whether or not there is a clear link to their gambling activity.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sharpe of Epsom on 14 March (HL6096), what assessment they have made of why there have only been two prosecutions for female genital mutilation out of the 229 offences recorded.

The Government is committed to tackling female genital mutilation (FGM) and all forms of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG). The familial and hidden nature of FGM presents challenges in bringing a prosecution. Victims are mostly of a young age and vulnerable, and they often do not want to report offences that could lead to them giving evidence against family members. Some identified FGM victims have had the procedure before coming to the UK to live; in these circumstances there may not be jurisdiction to prosecute where the offence had no connection to the UK. Securing prosecutions is important, but it is also essential to protect women and girls at risk and to prevent FGM happening in the first place. FGM Protection Orders, mandatory reporting by front-line staff and an offence of failing to protect a girl from FGM are being used to safeguard those who may be at risk. The Government is funding a feasibility study to explore whether a more rigorous estimation of the prevalence of FGM and forced marriage in England and Wales can be made, to allow a deeper understanding of these crimes.

The CPS is working closely with stakeholders, including FGM support organisations, to develop a new VAWG Strategy to bring more offenders to justice and to improve victims’ experience of the criminal justice system. It will be published in Summer 2023.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
23rd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many prosecutions were initiated in relation to forced marriage in (1) 2014, (2) 2015, (3) 2016, (4) 2017, (5) 2018, and (5) 2019; and how many such prosecutions were successful in each year.

From 2014 to date, CPS data for the number of cases prosecuted and the outcomes is:

2014-2015

2015-2016

2016-2017

2017-2018

2018-2019

2019-2020

Convictions

29

32

32

37

7

6

Non-Convictions

17

21

12

13

5

2

Total

46

53

44

50

12

8

Between 2014 – 15 and 2017 – 18, this data included cases that included the forced marriage flag on the CPS’s case management system as well as cases charged as forced marriage. In 2018 – 19, the CPS conducted quality assurance checks on the guidance for applying the forced marriage flag. The data for that year does not include flagged cases but only cases charged as a forced marriage offence. The most recent data (2019 – 20) includes flagged cases but reflects the updated guidance on applying the flag which has resulted in improved accuracy.

6th Sep 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the purchase of UK businesses by funds owned by the state of China; and what safeguards exist to protect national security in this situation.

As an open economy, the government welcomes foreign trade and investment, including from China, where it supports growth and jobs in the UK, meets our stringent legal and regulatory requirements, and does not compromise our national security.

The government has powers under the National Security and Investment Act 2021 (NSIA) to scrutinise and, where necessary, intervene in acquisitions of control over entities and assets in or linked to the UK that may pose national security risks. These powers apply to all acquirers regardless of nationality. The government will not hesitate to use our powers to protect national security where we identify concerns.


Further detail on investment screening activity is available in the NSIA Annual Report, which was published on 11 July 2023 and is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-security-and-investment-act-2021-annual-report-2023

Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
19th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many deaths that occurred in England and Wales in the past four years mentioned gambling anywhere on the death certificate.

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

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

The Rt Rev. the Lord Bishop of St Albans

House of Lords

London

SW1A 0PW

25 July 2023

Dear Lord Bishop,

As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am responding to your Parliamentary Questions asking how many deaths occurred in England and Wales in (1) 2019, (2) 2020, (3) 2021 and (4) 2022 where malnutrition was either the cause of death or was mentioned anywhere on the death certificate (HL9519); and how many deaths that occurred in England and Wales in the past four years mentioned gambling anywhere on the death certificate (HL9520).

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes statistics on deaths registered in England and Wales. Mortality statistics are compiled from information supplied when deaths are certified and registered as part of civil registration. Causes mentioned on the death certificate are converted to International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes, with the underlying cause of death defined as the disease or injury that initiated the events that directly lead to the death. At the ONS, we use the term “due to” to refer to the underlying cause of a death and the term “involving” where a cause is mentioned anywhere on the death certificate.

The ICD codes for malnutrition are E40 to E46, which come under the endocrine, nutritional, and metabolic diseases sub-chapter. This consists of:

• E40- Kwashiorkor

• E41- Nutritional Marasmus

• E42- Marasmic kwashiorkor

• E43- Unspecified severe protein-energy malnutrition

• E44- Protein-energy malnutrition of moderate and mild degree

• E45- Retarded development following protein-energy malnutrition

• E46- Unspecified protein-energy malnutrition

Table 1 shows the number of deaths due to and involving malnutrition ICD-10 codes, that occurred from 2019 to 2022, and were registered by 7 July 2023, in England and Wales. Deaths due to malnutrition are very uncommon; mortality data and hospital admissions both show that malnutrition is usually accompanied with several other diagnoses. Further information on the nature of malnutrition as a cause of death can be found on our blog [1] .

The ICD codes for gambling consist of:

• Z72.6- Gambling and betting

• F63.0- Pathological gambling

There were no deaths in the past four years involving gambling ICD-10 codes registered in England and Wales. While these codes exist, they are likely to be used only in the case of medically diagnosed gambling addiction. To identify some deaths involving gambling, we can also use the coroner’s text report from deaths registered involving suicide (ICD codes X60 to X84, Y10 to Y34). It is possible that more suicides were related to gambling, but this cannot be definitively stated, as not all the circumstances are necessarily known or reported in the death registration by the coroner. Table 2 shows the number of deaths where gambling was mentioned in the coroner’s text, that occurred from 2019 to 2022, and were registered by 31 December 2022 [2] , registered in England and Wales.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sir Ian Diamond

Table 1: Numbers of deaths due to and involving malnutrition, deaths occurring from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2022, England and Wales [3,4,5,6].

Year

Due to malnutrition

Involving malnutrition

2019

76

390

2020

78

383

2021

85

398

2022

67

386

Source: Office for National Statistics

Table 2: Numbers of deaths involving intentional self-harm and events of undetermined intent where gambling was mentioned in the coroner’s text, deaths occurring from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2022, England and Wales [4,7,8].

Year

Involving gambling

2019

4

2020

4

2021

1

2022

0

Source: Office for National Statistics

[1] https://blog.ons.gov.uk/2018/02/14/deaths-involving-malnutrition-have-been-on-the-rise-but-nhs-neglect-is-not-to-blame/

[2] For information on the impact of registration delays please see: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/articles/impactofregistrationdelaysonmortalitystatisticsinenglandandwales/latest

[3] Figures are for deaths occurring in each period and registered by 7 July 2023.

[4] Figures include deaths of non-residents.

[5] International Classification of Diseases 10th edition (ICD-10) codes are as follows; E40, Kwashiorkor; E41, Nutritional marasmus; E42, Marasmic kwashiorkor; E43, Unspecified severe protein-energy malnutrition; E44, Protein-energy malnutrition of moderate and mild degree; E45, Retarded development following protein-energy malnutrition; E46, Unspecified protein-energy malnutrition.

[6] Number of deaths by ICD-10 code are available through our explorable dataset NOMIS from 2013 onwards, this can be accessed here: Nomis - Official Census and Labour Market Statistics - Nomis - Official Census and Labour Market Statistics (nomisweb.co.uk)

[7] Figures are for deaths occurring in each period, and registered by 31 December 2022; death registration data for 2023 are provisional and do not yet provide coroner’s text information.

[8] International Classification of Diseases 10th edition (ICD-10) codes are as follows; X60 to X84 and Y10 to Y34.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
19th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many deaths occurred in England and Wales in (1) 2019, (2) 2020, (3) 2021, and (4) 2022, where malnutrition was either the cause of death or was mentioned anywhere on the death certificate.

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

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

The Rt Rev. the Lord Bishop of St Albans

House of Lords

London

SW1A 0PW

25 July 2023

Dear Lord Bishop,

As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am responding to your Parliamentary Questions asking how many deaths occurred in England and Wales in (1) 2019, (2) 2020, (3) 2021 and (4) 2022 where malnutrition was either the cause of death or was mentioned anywhere on the death certificate (HL9519); and how many deaths that occurred in England and Wales in the past four years mentioned gambling anywhere on the death certificate (HL9520).

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes statistics on deaths registered in England and Wales. Mortality statistics are compiled from information supplied when deaths are certified and registered as part of civil registration. Causes mentioned on the death certificate are converted to International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes, with the underlying cause of death defined as the disease or injury that initiated the events that directly lead to the death. At the ONS, we use the term “due to” to refer to the underlying cause of a death and the term “involving” where a cause is mentioned anywhere on the death certificate.

The ICD codes for malnutrition are E40 to E46, which come under the endocrine, nutritional, and metabolic diseases sub-chapter. This consists of:

• E40- Kwashiorkor

• E41- Nutritional Marasmus

• E42- Marasmic kwashiorkor

• E43- Unspecified severe protein-energy malnutrition

• E44- Protein-energy malnutrition of moderate and mild degree

• E45- Retarded development following protein-energy malnutrition

• E46- Unspecified protein-energy malnutrition

Table 1 shows the number of deaths due to and involving malnutrition ICD-10 codes, that occurred from 2019 to 2022, and were registered by 7 July 2023, in England and Wales. Deaths due to malnutrition are very uncommon; mortality data and hospital admissions both show that malnutrition is usually accompanied with several other diagnoses. Further information on the nature of malnutrition as a cause of death can be found on our blog [1] .

The ICD codes for gambling consist of:

• Z72.6- Gambling and betting

• F63.0- Pathological gambling

There were no deaths in the past four years involving gambling ICD-10 codes registered in England and Wales. While these codes exist, they are likely to be used only in the case of medically diagnosed gambling addiction. To identify some deaths involving gambling, we can also use the coroner’s text report from deaths registered involving suicide (ICD codes X60 to X84, Y10 to Y34). It is possible that more suicides were related to gambling, but this cannot be definitively stated, as not all the circumstances are necessarily known or reported in the death registration by the coroner. Table 2 shows the number of deaths where gambling was mentioned in the coroner’s text, that occurred from 2019 to 2022, and were registered by 31 December 2022 [2] , registered in England and Wales.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sir Ian Diamond

Table 1: Numbers of deaths due to and involving malnutrition, deaths occurring from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2022, England and Wales [3,4,5,6].

Year

Due to malnutrition

Involving malnutrition

2019

76

390

2020

78

383

2021

85

398

2022

67

386

Source: Office for National Statistics

Table 2: Numbers of deaths involving intentional self-harm and events of undetermined intent where gambling was mentioned in the coroner’s text, deaths occurring from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2022, England and Wales [4,7,8].

Year

Involving gambling

2019

4

2020

4

2021

1

2022

0

Source: Office for National Statistics

[1] https://blog.ons.gov.uk/2018/02/14/deaths-involving-malnutrition-have-been-on-the-rise-but-nhs-neglect-is-not-to-blame/

[2] For information on the impact of registration delays please see: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/articles/impactofregistrationdelaysonmortalitystatisticsinenglandandwales/latest

[3] Figures are for deaths occurring in each period and registered by 7 July 2023.

[4] Figures include deaths of non-residents.

[5] International Classification of Diseases 10th edition (ICD-10) codes are as follows; E40, Kwashiorkor; E41, Nutritional marasmus; E42, Marasmic kwashiorkor; E43, Unspecified severe protein-energy malnutrition; E44, Protein-energy malnutrition of moderate and mild degree; E45, Retarded development following protein-energy malnutrition; E46, Unspecified protein-energy malnutrition.

[6] Number of deaths by ICD-10 code are available through our explorable dataset NOMIS from 2013 onwards, this can be accessed here: Nomis - Official Census and Labour Market Statistics - Nomis - Official Census and Labour Market Statistics (nomisweb.co.uk)

[7] Figures are for deaths occurring in each period, and registered by 31 December 2022; death registration data for 2023 are provisional and do not yet provide coroner’s text information.

[8] International Classification of Diseases 10th edition (ICD-10) codes are as follows; X60 to X84 and Y10 to Y34.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
7th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many cases of whistleblowing were (1) reported, and (2) investigated, by the Civil Service in (a) 2020, (b) 2021, (c) 2022, and (d) 2023 to date.

I refer the Noble Lord to my previous answers - HL7792 and HL8058 - provided in May 2023.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
23rd May 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many cases of whistleblowing were (1) reported, and (2) investigated, by the Civil Service in (a) 2020 (b) 2021, (c) 2022, and (d) 2023.

I refer the Noble Lord to my answer HL7792 on 25th May.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
9th Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many instances of knife crime occurred in Hertfordshire in (1) 2022, (2) 2021, (3) 2020, and (4) 2019.

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

A response to the noble Lord Bishop’s Parliamentary Question of 9 February is attached.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond | National Statistician

The Rt Rev. the Lord Bishop of St Albans

House of Lords

London

SW1A 0PW

16 February 2023

Dear Lord Bishop,

As the National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am responding to your Parliamentary Question asking how many instances of knife crime occurred in Hertfordshire from the years 2019 to 2022 (HL5628).

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is responsible for collecting and publishing figures on the levels and trends of crime in England and Wales based on two sets of crime statistics: the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) and police recorded crime data. Police recorded knife or sharp instrument offences data are supplied to the ONS by the Home Office.

Hertfordshire is one of 38 forces who supply data through the National Data Quality Improvement Service (NDQIS). The NDQIS uses a computer-assisted classification tool to determine whether an offence included a knife or sharp instrument or not.

An offence is recorded as involving a knife or sharp instrument when the weapon is present during offence, or the threat is believed to be real, even if the weapon has not necessarily been used. Offences of “possession of an article with a blade or point” are covered separately by a specific recorded crime category.

The number of offences involving knives or sharp instruments for each Police Force Area are published in our Police Force Area tables alongside our quarterly Crime in England and Wales release.

We have provided the estimates of Hertfordshire for years 2019 to 2022 in Table 1.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sir Ian Diamond

Table 1: Number of recorded offences which involved a knife or sharp instrument in Hertfordshire Police Force Area, year ending March 2019 to year ending March 2022[1]

Apr 2018 to Mar 2019Apr 2019 to Mar 2020Apr 2020 to Mar 2021Apr 2021 to Mar 2022
Number of Offences550908719731

Source: Home Office - Police recorded crime

[1] Police recorded crime are not designated as National Statistics.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
30th Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what is the value of UK direct imports and exports to Eritrea.

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

A response to the noble Lord Bishop’s Parliamentary Question of 30 January is attached.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond | National Statistician

The Lord Bishop of St Albans

House of Lords

London

SW1A 0PW

1 February 2023

Dear Lord Bishop,

As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am responding to your Parliamentary Questions asking the value of UK direct imports and exports to Ethiopia; the value of UK direct imports and exports to Sudan; and the value of UK direct imports and exports to Eritrea (HL5226; HL5227; HL5228).

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publish UK trade data at country level in our UK total trade, all countries release[1] .

Data on UK trade with Ethiopia, Sudan and Eritrea for 2016-2021 can be found in Table 1, Table 2, and Table 3 respectively.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sir Ian Diamond

[1] https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/nationalaccounts/balanceofpayments/datasets/uktotaltradeallcountri esseasonallyadjusted

Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
30th Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what is the value of UK direct imports and exports to Sudan.

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

A response to the noble Lord Bishop’s Parliamentary Question of 30 January is attached.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond | National Statistician

The Lord Bishop of St Albans

House of Lords

London

SW1A 0PW

1 February 2023

Dear Lord Bishop,

As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am responding to your Parliamentary Questions asking the value of UK direct imports and exports to Ethiopia; the value of UK direct imports and exports to Sudan; and the value of UK direct imports and exports to Eritrea (HL5226; HL5227; HL5228).

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publish UK trade data at country level in our UK total trade, all countries release[1] .

Data on UK trade with Ethiopia, Sudan and Eritrea for 2016-2021 can be found in Table 1, Table 2, and Table 3 respectively.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sir Ian Diamond

[1] https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/nationalaccounts/balanceofpayments/datasets/uktotaltradeallcountri esseasonallyadjusted

Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
30th Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what is the value of UK direct imports and exports to Ethiopia.

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

A response to the noble Lord Bishop’s Parliamentary Question of 30 January is attached.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond | National Statistician

The Lord Bishop of St Albans

House of Lords

London

SW1A 0PW

1 February 2023

Dear Lord Bishop,

As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am responding to your Parliamentary Questions asking the value of UK direct imports and exports to Ethiopia; the value of UK direct imports and exports to Sudan; and the value of UK direct imports and exports to Eritrea (HL5226; HL5227; HL5228).

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publish UK trade data at country level in our UK total trade, all countries release[1] .

Data on UK trade with Ethiopia, Sudan and Eritrea for 2016-2021 can be found in Table 1, Table 2, and Table 3 respectively.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sir Ian Diamond

[1] https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/nationalaccounts/balanceofpayments/datasets/uktotaltradeallcountri esseasonallyadjusted

Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
21st Dec 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government how many customer suicides have been reported by gambling operators in each of the past five years.

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

A response to the noble Lord’s Parliamentary Question of 21 December is attached.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond | National Statistician

The Rt Rev. The Lord Bishop of St Albans

House of Lords

London

SW1A 0PW

10 January 2023

Dear Lord Bishop,

As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am responding to your Parliamentary Question asking how many customer suicides have been reported by gambling operators in each of the past five years (HL4504). The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes statistics on deaths registered in England and Wales. Mortality statistics are compiled from information supplied when deaths are certified and registered as part of civil registration. As gambling operators do not contribute to this process, the ONS does not hold any information on suicides that have been reported by gambling operators.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sir Ian Diamond

Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
20th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Forces in Mind Trust report The United Kingdom Armed Forces Veterans' Health and Gambling Study, published on 23 September.

This UK wide study explores levels of gambling participation and attitudes towards gambling in ex-serving personnel and adds to the important existing data on the issue of gambling in our veteran community. We will consider the study’s findings as part of our broader research programme looking at a range of policy issues which may affect veterans and their families.

We are fully committed to providing support to our veterans. Veterans can access a range of health and wellbeing services to help them with mental and physical health problems. Veterans who need support can access it via the Veterans' Gateway which provides a single point of contact to make it easier for veterans, service personnel and their families to get the right information, advice and support 24/7. The National Gambling Helpline also gives confidential information, advice and support for anyone affected by gambling problems in England, Scotland and Wales.

Lord True
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
16th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to facilitate an emergency meeting of the G7 to address the (1) hoarding, and (2) wasting, of COVID-19 vaccines by developed countries.

The UK continues to work with our G7 partners to implement the vaccines commitments made at the G7 Leaders' Summit and to coordinate further international efforts, including ahead of the G20 Leaders' Summit in Rome 30-31 October, to support our shared goal of global vaccination from COVID-19.

Lord True
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
10th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the ethical implications of awarding public contracts to firms which (1) directly, or (2) indirectly, help to promote tax avoidance.

Aggressive tax avoidance is unacceptable.

The grounds for exclusion of bidders from public procurement procedures relating to tax are set out in The Public Contracts Regulations 2015.

Lord True
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
11th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Barran on 10 November (HL9675), how many contracts they have issued to Pyronix-Hikvision in (1) 2018, (2) 2019 and (3) 2020 to date; and what was the value of each such contract.

This information is not held centrally, as individual departments are responsible for their own procurements.

Central Government contracts above £10,000 are published on Contracts Finder at https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Search.

Lord True
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
29th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have to encourage employers to pay their employees a real living wage in light of the finding in the report, UK Poverty 2023, published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on 26 January, that 11 per cent of all destitute respondents are in paid work.

The Government has accepted the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission to increase the National Living Wage to £11.44 an hour for workers aged 21 and over in April 2024 - meeting the manifesto target of two thirds of median earnings and ending low hourly pay for this group. National Minimum Wage rates for younger workers and apprentices will also increase significantly.

We commend employers who can pay more than the statutory minimum rates, but recognise that the ability to do so varies. The LPC takes into account affordability for business and the wider impact on the economy.

Lord Johnson of Lainston
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
20th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have to tackle the issue of underage children working as delivery app riders.

In the UK children’s employment is regulated through national and local legislation. In England the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 (amended 1998), along with byelaws made by local authorities, prohibits employment of children aged under 14, and places restrictions on the hours and types of work those aged 14 and over can undertake.

We engage in regular conversation with businesses who utilise the service of delivery drivers. This department continues to work closely with business to ensure that risks are minimised by ensuring business has robust onboarding systems and processes in place, to cover matters such as age verification.

Lord Offord of Garvel
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
20th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have to address fuel poverty in rural areas, bearing in mind that many rural households are not on the gas grid, in the winter of 2023 and 2024.

We are supporting rural homes and homes off the gas grid through targeted energy efficiency schemes including the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) and Home Upgrade Grant. The Home Upgrade Grant delivers energy efficiency upgrades to low-income households living in the least energy efficient homes off the gas grid.

The Warm Home Discount scheme provides low-income and vulnerable households across Great Britain, including rural areas, with a £150 rebate off their winter energy bill.

This year, low income or vulnerable rural households may also be in receipt of the £900 Cost of Living Payment which is being paid across three instalments.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of delays in connecting solar farms and wind turbines to the national grid; and what steps they are taking to accelerate this process.

Years of world-leading green investment has meant network operators have experienced record demand for connections to the electricity network. We have increased the amount of renewable energy connected to the grid more than sixfold since 2010.

Government is working with Ofgem and network companies to release capacity and improve the connections process, to accelerate connections. Actions already underway by network companies are expected to see a reduction in transmission connection timescales of 2-10 years, for the majority of existing projects. Building on this work, the Government and Ofgem will publish a joint action plan on accelerating connections this summer.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to upgrade three-phase power supply to support British farmers with the uptake of renewables.

The regulatory framework for investment in and connections to the electricity network is the responsibility of Ofgem. For connection applications from 1 April 2023, Ofgem has removed the requirement for demand connection customers to contribute to any distribution network reinforcement costs, this would include installing onsite generation on a farm below its maximum demand. For generation in excess of maximum demand for a site, Ofgem has reduced the network reinforcement contribution required.

Connection customers must fund upgrades to a three-phase connection cable, however an Independent Connection Provider can provide this which can reduce costs.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
23rd Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to provide energy bill relief for businesses.

The Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS), worth £7.3billion, provides a discount on the wholesale element of gas and electricity bills to ensure that all eligible businesses are protected from high energy costs this winter period.

Following a review of the EBRS, a new Energy Bill Discount Scheme (EBDS) starts on 1 April 2023, and all eligible non-domestic customers, except for those experiencing low energy costs, will automatically receive a per unit discount on their bills of up to £19.61/MW for electricity, and £6.97/MW for gas.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
9th Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government whether they have held any discussions with BP following reports that the company will fail to meet its climate targets; and what steps they are taking to promote sustainability in oil companies.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Minister of State met BP on 17th February and discussed its climate targets, including the company’s planned investments in CCUS, hydrogen, wind and electric vehicle charging projects.

The UK promotes sustainability in oil and gas companies. The North Sea Transition Deal is a global exemplar of how a government can work with the offshore oil and gas industry to achieve a managed energy transition.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
29th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have to increase their promotion of social tariffs in areas of deprivation in the light of the finding that many older people are unaware of social tariffs, particularly in the broadband sector, in the report A constant struggle: The impact of high household costs on older people facing financial hardship, published by Independent Age in September.

The Government has worked closely with internet service providers to ensure provision of social tariffs for those on Universal Credit and other means tested benefits – including Pension Credit.

Ofcom’s latest Affordability Report shows awareness of social tariffs amongst eligible groups has increased from 16% in February 2022, to 47% in April 2023. The Government recognises more is needed to ensure eligible households know about the support available and continues to work closely with operators, charities, and consumer groups to raise awareness of social tariffs.

In July, Dame Melanie Dawes, Ofcom’s Chief Executive, wrote to the sector to set out the regulator’s expectation that they should do more to promote awareness, such as by highlighting tariffs on bills and end-of-contract notifications. We continue to work closely with Ofcom to monitor public awareness of social tariffs as well as the other barriers to take up.

Viscount Camrose
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
17th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of recent reports by the World Meteorological Organization of the El Niño weather pattern.

The latest World Meteorological Organization reports, with contributions from the Met Office, show that El Niño is emerging. Latest forecasts suggest it is likely to be a large event, which could drive record global heat and produce widespread climatic impacts in tropical countries. The Met Office is closely monitoring the evolution of El Niño, which is expected to peak at the end of the year. The Met Office will continue to provide forecasts and advice on associated impacts to Government and other stakeholders, to support mitigation of potential impacts in countries that will be adversely affected by El Niño.

Viscount Camrose
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
29th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay on 9 February (HL4988), what estimate they have made of the number of people relying on Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) and Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites for internet access.

Ofcom estimates that as of October 2022, 13,000 customers have opted for a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) broadband service from Starlink. Based on analysis of Starlink’s data, at least some of these customers are based in areas which do not have access to traditional decent broadband services. Premises may also use satellite services in conjunction with other terrestrial services.

Ofcom estimated that at the end of 2021, there were 25,500 fixed broadband satellite connections. This data represents data collected from a non-exhaustive list of UK satellite service providers (excluding Starlink), and most likely to be based on Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) services.

Viscount Camrose
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
27th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay on 9 February (HL4988), how many rural premises have 4G coverage from more than one operator; and what assessment they have made of (1) consumer choice, and (2) higher costs, for broadband users in rural areas.

Ofcom publishes 4G coverage data in its Connected Nations Report. As of September 2022, 4,544,995 (99%) rural premises have outdoor 4G premises coverage from at least one mobile network operator (MNO), with 4,042,465 (88%) having coverage from all 4 MNOs. The Shared Rural Network programme will help provide 4G coverage to 280,000 rural premises and provide consumers with more choice of provider.

Geographically differentiated pricing is not allowed in the UK. Internet Service Providers should therefore not charge differential prices to consumers in rural locations and Ofcom has prohibited Openreach from introducing geographical pricing on its network. Ofcom’s Connected Nation report also shows that 97% of UK homes have access to superfast broadband with gigabit capable infrastructure services available to 70% of premises - which means consumers have a choice of services depending on their area.

Viscount Camrose
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
23rd Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of how many people in rural areas do not have access to (1) landline phones, (2) mobile telephone coverage, (3) wireless coverage, (4) broadband, and (5) satellite internet.

Ofcom collects coverage as part of its reporting requirements, most recently in its Connected Nations Report, with data for the period to September 2022.

Ofcom reports that 96% of rural premises have indoor 4G coverage from at least one operator, rising to 99% for outdoor coverage. This equates to c.195,000 rural premises not having 4G indoor coverage, with c.26,500 not having outdoor 4G coverage.

With 2G and 3G coverage added in, 99% of rural premises have indoor voice coverage from at least one operator, rising to approximately 100% for outdoor coverage. This equates to 35,000 rural premises not having indoor voice coverage, with c. 6,900 not having outdoor voice coverage.

The Shared Rural Network programme will see the UK’s geographic (landmass) 4G coverage extend to 95% by the end of the programme, reducing rural ‘not spots’, and levelling up coverage between rural and urban areas.

Ofcom reports that 95% of UK premises have access to an Mobile Network Operator (MNO) Fixed Wireless Access Service. 7% of premises have access to a network operated by a Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP), which operate wireless networks independently of an MNO and coverage may therefore overlap. The data is not broken down by rurality.

In relation to broadband coverage, Ofcom reports that there are approximately 29,000 (~1%) rural premises in the UK unable to access a decent broadband connection of at least 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload through a fixed or WISP broadband connection. We expect this number to fall as broadband rollout continues through commercial investment and publicly-funded deployment such as Project Gigabit and the Shared Rural Network. Any premises unable to access a decent broadband connection is eligible to request one under the broadband Universal Service Obligation.

Commercial services for both Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) and Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites are available across the UK. These services may not be suitable for premises in all locations, however.

As part of its Telecommunications Market Data Update, Ofcom reported that there were approximately 30.5 million fixed-line telephone services (including PSTN, ISDN and managed VoIP connections) in the UK. Ofcom does not break these down by rurality. Any premises which do not have access to a landline can request one under the telephony Universal Service Obligation.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Dec 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Callanan on 17 November (HL3214), why they have no plans for a price cap on alternative fuel.

The markets for alternative fuels – including heating oil, coal, LPG, and biomass – contain a large range of suppliers not subject to the same regulation as electricity and gas suppliers. This means there is no single regulated standard price to modify by the imposition of a price cap.

The Government has doubled support to £200 for alternatively fuelled households, in recognition of the pressures caused by these rising fuel costs. The Government will continue to monitor the prices of alternative fuels and will consider further intervention if required to protect UK households from extraordinary fuel prices.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
3rd Nov 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to help those who rely on oil or liquefied petroleum gas to heat their homes; and what plans they have, if any, to extend the energy price cap to oil and liquefied petroleum gas.

Households reliant on oil or Liquefied Petroleum Gas to heat their homes will receive the Alternative Fuel Payment (AFP).

The AFP will ensure that households which do not benefit from the Energy Price Guarantee, receive support for the cost of the fuel they use.

Households eligible for these payments in Great Britain will receive £100 as a credit on their electricity bill this winter. Households who are eligible but do not have a relationship with an electricity supplier will receive the £100 via the AFP Alternative Fund.

The Government has no plans for a price cap on alternative fuels.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
3rd Nov 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Benyon on 31 October (HL2654), what specific provisions the Energy Bill Relief Scheme contains to support farming businesses; and what estimate they have made of the impact of that scheme on farming businesses.

The Energy Bill Relief Scheme is available to all eligible non-domestic energy customers, including businesses, charities and the public sector and will provide a discount on the wholesale costs of gas and electricity. This includes farming businesses on eligible non-domestic energy supply contracts.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
6th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to improve the capture of waste heat from British industry to alleviate rising energy costs.

The £315 million Industrial Energy Transformation Fund (IETF) supports a wide range of projects, including waste heat recovery, at industrial sites with high energy use across the UK.

The IETF has supported a number of these projects thus far, one such example is the recovery project undertaken by GSK Ltd in County Durham, which includes the installation of a heat pump to recover waste heat from site compressors and displace heat demand on natural gas boilers. The Fund is currently open for applications and will have a further two application rounds this year.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
6th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what (1) grants, and (2) subsidies, they are planning to introduce, if any, to improve the insulation of homes.

The Government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy sets out our plans to transform heat and buildings over the next decade. This includes a continuation of local authority delivery through increased funding for the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) (investing a further £800 million over 2022/23 to 2024/25, which is planned to be open to all registered providers of social housing) and HUG (investing £950 million over 2022/23 to 2024/25). Both schemes aim to improve the energy performance of low-income households, support low carbon heat installations, help to reduce fuel poverty and build the green retrofitting sector to benefit all homeowners.

In addition, the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is an obligation the Government has placed on the larger energy suppliers to make energy-efficiency upgrades to low-income homes throughout Britain. We have committed to extending ECO from 2022 to 2026, boosting its value to £1 billion a year. Meanwhile, the Government has removed VAT on energy-saving measures such as insulation to help householders with the cost of making their homes more energy efficient.

In addition to this, the Government has removed VAT on energy-saving measures such as insulation to help householders with the cost of making their homes more energy efficient.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
30th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they (1) audit, and (2) monitor, the commercial UK real estate holdings of companies directly associated with regimes with poor human rights records.

Monitoring of individuals, and any companies they may be associated with, for human rights abuses overseas is a matter for FCDO and HM Treasury, under the recently introduced Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
21st Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the report by Christians Against Poverty Shipshape or sinking ship?, published on 21 July, what plans they have to remove insolvency fees for individuals with insufficient surplus income.

There are no immediate plans to review the bankruptcy application or Debt Relief Order (DRO) fees. Where the fee is an issue, assistance is already available to allow a debtor to pay in instalments prior to the making of the bankruptcy order or DRO. In addition, some charities offer help with paying the fee.

The Government has announced that it will be conducting a review of the personal insolvency framework in due course to ensure that it continues to be fit for purpose.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
26th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many COVID-19 vaccination doses they have ordered in total; whether they intend to order more doses than the number required to vaccinate the population of the UK; and if so, what plans they have to ensure that any surplus doses are used effectively.

The UK Government has secured early access to 457 million vaccines doses through agreements with eight separate vaccine developers. This includes agreements with BioNTech/Pfizer, Oxford/AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi Pasteur, Novavax, Janssen, Valneva and Moderna.

The Government continues to monitor the landscape of COVID-19 vaccine development, both here in the UK and internationally, and will keep the situation under review.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister has made clear that equitable access is an integral part of the UK’s approach to vaccine development and distribution. The UK is working with international partners to support vaccine development, manufacturing scale-up and future distribution to meet both domestic and international needs.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
7th Sep 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support the recovery of stolen artefacts from the British Museum; and what measures they are taking to increase security in this area.

My department is closely monitoring the situation at the British Museum, and engaging directly with the Museum on this concerning issue.

The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has spoken with the Chairman of the British Museum about this issue on a number of occasions and has sought assurances on the immediate measures that have been put in place to increase security at the Museum. She has also sought assurances on the details of the scope and timetable for the independent review of security which the Museum has instigated, led by a former trustee, Nigel Boardman, and the Chief Constable of British Transport Police, Lucy D’Orsi. The review will also support efforts to recover all missing collection items.

The matter is also currently under investigation by the Economic Crime Command of the Metropolitan Police. The British Museum is working with the police to support their investigations.

My department and I will continue to work closely with the British Museum – and the wider museums sector – to ensure that lessons are learned from this incident once the independent review is complete.

Further details on this matter have been set out in the Written Statements which the Secretary of State and I made to Parliament on 4 September 2023 (HCWS994 and HLWS979).

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to promote research on the types and extent of financial harms experienced by people who gamble.

While millions of people gamble without experiencing problems, for some it becomes an addiction with serious consequences. His Majesty’s Government recognises the importance of continuing to collect data, evidence, and research into the types of harms experienced by problem gamblers.

The Gambling Commission is undertaking a project to improve the way it collects data on adult gambling participation and the incidence, nature, and severity of harm experienced as a result of gambling, whether one’s own or someone else’s. This will inform the new Gambling Survey for Great Britain, which the Commission aims to launch this year. This will support future research and provide decision-makers with a strong evidence base.

The Government will introduce a statutory levy, part of which will be dedicated to funding research to help improve the evidence base on gambling. A consultation on the levy will be published later this summer.

Our Gambling Act review White Paper also committed to working with UK Research & Innovation to stimulate interest in gambling as a research field among researchers across a range of academic disciplines.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of a national self-exclusion register for problem gamblers.

Gambling businesses are required to have their own self-exclusion arrangements in place so customers can self-exclude from individual operators. They are also required to participate in Multi-Operator Self-Exclusion Schemes, which allow a customer to make a single request to self-exclude from a licensed gambling sector, either nationally or on a local basis. Further information about each of the schemes can be found on the Commission’s website. Nearly 400,000 consumers have used GAMSTOP to self-exclude from all online gambling licensed by the Commission.

The Commission works closely with the schemes, including hosting a regular Self-Exclusion Scheme Owners Group meeting which is chaired by GAMSTOP. The group works together to improve effectiveness and is currently working on making it easier for consumers to access information and self-exclude across sectors in one place.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay on 15 June (HL8254), what assessment they have made of any loopholes to this restriction, in particular the 'Pay by Phone' loophole.

In April 2020, new licence conditions came into effect which banned both online and land-based gambling operators from accepting payments from credit cards (including via e-wallets) for gambling services.

The Gambling Commission has published an interim evaluation of the ban on credit card gambling which showed that the measure had been successful and that there had not been widespread displacement to other forms of credit as payment, but the Commission has committed to continue to monitor the situation.

‘Pay by Phone’ transactions are not directly covered by the ban but are limited by law to £40 per transaction and no more than £240 per month. These limits cover all services charged to telephone bills, such as music downloads. This is not a common means of spending on gambling, currently accounting for around 0.4% of annual gross gambling yield (including lotteries), and the Phone-paid Services Authority market review suggests that gambling expenditure via telphone has decreased since the credit card ban was introduced.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay on 15 June 2023 (HL8253) what training is provided to retailers about the risk of National Lottery and society lottery products.

The 2018 Health Survey for England showed that lotteries were associated with the lowest rates of problem gambling of all gambling products considered, and the National Lottery Operator is mandated under its licence to have player protection strategies.

The Operator’s training programme, ‘Being a Responsible Retailer’, supports National Lottery retailers on risks related to National Lottery products and focuses on supporting healthy playing and preventing underage playing of the National Lottery. This consists of online and face-to-face training, healthy playing knowledge checks, and further support where needed. The operator also provides retailers with advice through leaflets and telephone calls to improve awareness and to help the retention of responsible retailing principles. Retailers are also trained in engaging with customers about healthy playing — including direction to GamCare as appropriate — and about signs they should look out for to help identify players who may be at risk.

To ensure that retailers are benefiting from and acting on its training, the operator runs a healthy playing ‘mystery shopper’ programme, alongside the ‘Operation 18’ programme to ensure that retailers are correctly asking for proof of age. As a result of these initiatives, 94% of National Lottery retailers visited in 2022/23 successfully passed a healthy playing knowledge check. If a retailer does not pass these visits or checks, it is offered additional training.

Each society lottery operator will have their own specific approach to training retailers about the risk of its products, and must comply with the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice and Social Responsibility Code for society lotteries.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to prevent gambling from an e-wallet, such as PayPal, where the money was loaded from a credit card.

It is not possible to use a credit card to play the National Lottery online or via the National Lottery smartphone application.

Licence conditions for gambling operators make clear that, where businesses take deposits via an electronic wallet, they must ensure that the money was not loaded from a credit card. If they cannot verify this, they must not accept the deposit.

Shoppers can use credit cards to buy National Lottery and society lottery products in retailers, recognising the lower risk posed by lottery products relative to other gambling products – along with the controls which are already in place, such as the training provided to retailers.

There are currently no plans to change this position under the 4th National Lottery licence but, in any case, the licence increases player protection requirements.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
5th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how much funding they provided for community choirs in each of the past three years.

His Majesty’s Government recognises the huge contribution cultural groups and organisations make, not only to the economy and international reputation of the United Kingdom, but also to the wellbeing and enrichment of its people. Local choirs are an important part of many people’s lives across the UK, providing a creative outlet and strong sense of community, as well as an accessible, enjoyable cultural experience enjoyed by people of all ages.

The Government supports the arts financially, including choirs and singing, through its arm’s-length body Arts Council England.

The Arts Council does not have a specific category for identifying investment in ‘community choirs’. We are therefore unable to provide precise funding figures for this specific activity. The Arts Council does, however, hold details of funding to organisations which provide a focus on choral/opera music and community engagement. Organisations which fall into this category have received the following National Lottery Project funding over the last three years:

  • 2020/21 £348,903

  • 2021/22 £238,080

  • 2022/23 £432,840

The Arts Council’s investment in music remains high: of the 985 organisations included in the 2023–26 National Portfolio, 139 are classed as ‘music' and will receive around £65 million per year.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
16th May 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government when they plan to launch the consultation on gambling advertising promised in their white paper, 'High stakes: gambling reform for the digital age', published on 27 April.

As outlined in our White Paper, the Gambling Commission will launch detailed consultations on the construction and targeting of bonus offers and on consent for direct marketing in online gambling. The Commission plans to make progress on and implement proposals in the White Paper as quickly as possible, with targeted consultations planned to launch this summer and later this year.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Apr 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what meetings (1) ministers, and (2) senior officials, at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport have had with representatives from the gambling industry in the past six months.

Ministers and officials at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport regularly meet a range of people and organisations with an interest in gambling, including industry and charity representatives, to hear their views on the sector and to discuss areas of concern. All ministerial meetings are published on GOV.UK and can be accessed on that website.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support the provision of (1) swimming pools, and (2) leisure centres, in rural areas.

HM Government recognises the importance of ensuring public access to swimming pools across the country, including in rural areas. Swimming is a great way for people of all ages to stay fit and healthy. The responsibility for providing this access lies with local authorities, and the Government continues to encourage them to support swimming facilities.

We appreciate the impact that rising energy prices are having on organisations of all sizes, including on operators of swimming pools. That is why we announced the £18 billion Energy Bill Relief Scheme in September last year. The scheme was always time-limited, and has now been succeeded by the Energy Bills Discount Scheme. Under the new scheme, swimming pools will continue to receive discounts on their gas and electricity bills during the 12-month period from April 2023 to March 2024.

Officials in my Department are in regular contact with representatives from the sector to assess the impact of rising energy costs, including monitoring how operators and local authorities are responding to them.

Sport England has invested £12,775,274 of public money in swimming and diving projects since April 2019, which includes £9,360,002 to Swim England. This is in addition to the Government’s £100 million National Leisure Recovery Fund, which supported the reopening of local authority swimming pools throughout the country after the pandemic.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
7th Dec 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government how many fines were imposed against gambling companies by the Gambling Commission for failing to meet their social responsibility obligations in (1) 2016, (2) 2017, (3) 2018, (4) 2019, (5) 2020, and (6) 2021.

The Gambling Commission can fine a gambling operator if a licence condition has been breached. In some circumstances, the Commission may decide to agree a regulatory settlement instead of issuing a fine. While fines are paid to the Exchequer, regulatory settlements are divested by the company to third parties. The following financial penalties were imposed against gambling companies for failing to meet their social responsibility obligations between 2016 and 2021:

Year

Monetary value

Details

2016/17

£1.7m

3 regulatory settlements

2017/18

£18.4m

2 fines and 7 regulatory settlements

2018/19

£19.6m

2 fines and 7 regulatory settlements

2019/20

£30.2m

2 fines and 10 regulatory settlements

2020/21

£32.1m

5 fines and 10 regulatory settlements

2021/22

£29.4m

9 fines and 5 regulatory settlements

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
7th Nov 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government when the Gambling Act white paper will be published.

The Gambling Act Review is an extensive, evidence-led review, which aims to ensure gambling regulation is fit for the digital age. We will publish a White Paper setting out our conclusions and next steps in the coming weeks.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Sep 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government how many (1) church buildings, and (2) other historical buildings, in the UK are adversely affected by the presence of bat roosts.

Whilst His Majesty’s Government does not directly hold this information, we are aware of data through the Bats in Churches project, which is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and is a partnership between Natural England, Historic England, Church of England, Bat Conservation Trust, and Churches Conservation Trust. The project aims to bring together the parties to create solutions to allow bats to be managed in churches either by their exclusion or by restricting access within the church itself to concealed roof spaces. The project has accumulated some data about the prevalence of bats in ecclesiastical buildings.

This data highlighted that around 60% of pre-16th century churches contain bat roosts, many home to nationally important breeding colonies. Churches are known to house larger roosts than other, natural sites.

Of 120 churches with bats consulted by the project partnership, for the 2015 project questionnaire, 90 churches reported damage caused by bats to the fabric of the church building, 81 churches reported damage to more than one monument, and 97 churches reported damage to fixtures and fittings.

6th Sep 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what grants are available to repair medieval artwork damaged by bats in (1) church buildings, and (2) other historical buildings.

The £42 million per annum government funded Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme refunds the VAT incurred on the costs of repair and maintenance of Listed Places of Worship of all faiths and denominations. Under the scheme, repairs to wall paintings and murals are eligible as well as works to repair damage to the fabric of the building and mitigation measures to reduce or prevent damage caused by bats.

A Church of England congregation seeking advice on how to assess and address any damage is advised to contact the Head of Conservation at the Cathedral and Church Buildings Division, who may also signpost funders who have supported conservation projects in the past.

Those concerned about other historic buildings will find advice on historic wall paintings, their conservation and how to find an appropriate conservator on the Historic England website: https://historicengland.org.uk/advice/technical-advice/buildings/decorative-features/wall-paintings/.

The Heritage Fund is currently funding a five year long Bats in Churches project that provides practical help and advice on the mitigation and management of bats. The project gives congregations the confidence to cope with their bats positively while giving regard to their protected status under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) (as amended) and The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations (2017) (as amended). The project runs until October 2023 and will continue to support and enable churches until it closes.

19th Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether loot boxes are (1) games of chance, and (2) capable of being exchanged for real money.

Her Majesty’s Government’s response to the call for evidence sets out our findings on loot boxes, and our view on the next steps to address the issues it identified.

The call for evidence identified an association between the purchase of loot boxes and problem gambling. There are, however, a range of plausible explanations for this association, and research has not established whether a causal relationship exists.

Loot boxes vary in their design and deployment within games. Loot box rewards are usually confined for use within a given game and cannot be sold for real world currency, so are unlikely to meet the Gambling Act 2005's definition of a prize of ‘money or money’s worth’.

It is for the Gambling Commission to decide on a case-by-case basis whether to pursue enforcement action against any operations which it believes to be facilitating unlicensed gambling. It has shown that it can and will take action where the trading of items obtained from loot boxes brings loot box mechanics within the statutory definitions of gambling. Its recent uplift in fees has given the regulator new resources to monitor for and tackle unlicensed gambling.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the link between loot boxes and problem gambling.

Her Majesty’s Government’s response to the call for evidence sets out our findings on loot boxes, and our view on the next steps to address the issues it identified.

The call for evidence identified an association between the purchase of loot boxes and problem gambling. There are, however, a range of plausible explanations for this association, and research has not established whether a causal relationship exists.

Loot boxes vary in their design and deployment within games. Loot box rewards are usually confined for use within a given game and cannot be sold for real world currency, so are unlikely to meet the Gambling Act 2005's definition of a prize of ‘money or money’s worth’.

It is for the Gambling Commission to decide on a case-by-case basis whether to pursue enforcement action against any operations which it believes to be facilitating unlicensed gambling. It has shown that it can and will take action where the trading of items obtained from loot boxes brings loot box mechanics within the statutory definitions of gambling. Its recent uplift in fees has given the regulator new resources to monitor for and tackle unlicensed gambling.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to increase monitoring of third-party websites that enable the trading of loot box items.

Her Majesty’s Government’s response to the call for evidence sets out our findings on loot boxes, and our view on the next steps to address the issues it identified.

The call for evidence identified an association between the purchase of loot boxes and problem gambling. There are, however, a range of plausible explanations for this association, and research has not established whether a causal relationship exists.

Loot boxes vary in their design and deployment within games. Loot box rewards are usually confined for use within a given game and cannot be sold for real world currency, so are unlikely to meet the Gambling Act 2005's definition of a prize of ‘money or money’s worth’.

It is for the Gambling Commission to decide on a case-by-case basis whether to pursue enforcement action against any operations which it believes to be facilitating unlicensed gambling. It has shown that it can and will take action where the trading of items obtained from loot boxes brings loot box mechanics within the statutory definitions of gambling. Its recent uplift in fees has given the regulator new resources to monitor for and tackle unlicensed gambling.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to include active members of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry with five years of service to the list of groups awarded the commemorative Platinum Jubilee Medal.

Individual Government Departments, the devolved administrations and the Crown Dependencies were responsible for applying the criteria and making eligibility decisions regarding the award of The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal to their staff and other organisations that fall under their sponsorship. The criteria are in line with those for the Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

To qualify for the Medal, recipients must be in an eligible public sector role in a frontline emergency service accessed via a call to the 999 emergency telephone number or equivalent. This does not include members of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry, but that in no way diminishes our appreciation for the vital work they do.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
27th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the NERA report Economic Assessment of Selected House of Lords Gambling Reforms, published 26 May 2021; and what assessment they have made of how gambling reform could help to level up disadvantaged communities.

The report of the House of Lords Select Committee has been an important contribution to the evidence base informing our Review of the Gambling Act 2005. We have also carefully considered the “Economic Assessment of Selected House of Lords Gambling Reforms” by NERA, along with a wide range of evidence from other sources including the 16,000 submissions to our call for evidence. We are determined to tackle gambling harms across society with effective but proportionate controls, and will publish a white paper outlining our vision for the sector in the coming weeks.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
11th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for granting local authorities greater powers to determine the number and location of gambling premises, such as betting shops, in a local area, to help mitigate gambling related harms.

The Gambling Act Review is taking a comprehensive look at gambling legislation and regulation in Great Britain to make sure it is fit for the digital age, including whether licensing and local authorities have enough powers to fulfil their responsibilities in respect of premises licences. We will publish a white paper setting out our conclusions and next steps in the coming weeks.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
11th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for introducing a mandatory levy on gambling firms to help fund an expansion of treatment and support services for those experiencing gambling related harm.

The Government’s Review of the Gambling Act called for evidence on how best to recoup the regulatory and societal costs of problem gambling. We will publish a white paper setting out our conclusions and vision for the sector in due course.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
26th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of rural communities’ access to reliable broadband on the fiscal wellbeing of businesses in those areas.

Gigabit-capable networks can deliver the broadband services that businesses will rely on for decades to come, paving the way for new developments in commerce, trade and society and bringing benefits including improved productivity, jobs and economic growth

The 2021 Evaluation of the Superfast Broadband Programme, which primarily delivered broadband upgrades to rural areas, found that the programme has increased the annual turnover of local businesses by £1.9 billion per year. The report also highlights that the most commonly reported impacts of improved connections amongst businesses were enhanced customer services (72 per cent), using internet connected devices (55 per cent), cloud-based computing (51 per cent) and promoting flexible working (50 per cent).

The final evaluation of our Superfast Programme will be completed in 2022/23 and will add to our understanding of the economic impact of fast and reliable broadband for businesses operating in rural areas.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
7th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to investigate the sale in the UK of ancient artefacts stolen from Ethiopia’s Tigray region as part of the ongoing conflict in that area.

HM Government is committed to combating the illicit trade in cultural objects. We have a range of provisions in international and domestic UK law, including criminal offences, to protect cultural objects from unlawful removal and illicit trade. The investigation of cases of illicit trade in cultural objects is a matter for the police, and the prosecution of such cases is a matter for the relevant prosecuting authorities. UK authorities work with online selling platforms, such as eBay, to combat the sale of stolen cultural objects. The Government encourages anyone who believes that a cultural object is being unlawfully traded to raise it with the appropriate authorities.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay on 17 November (HL3696), what is their estimate of the total number of stolen funds that are used for gambling purposes each year.

The Written Answer of 17 November set out amounts divested by licensed operators in cases where there was both identified anti-money laundering failings and criminal spending and an individual was criminally convicted. The Gambling Commission does not hold further data on stolen funds used for gambling purposes.

All gambling operators have a responsibility to keep financial crime out of gambling. The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 places an obligation on operators to be alert to attempts by customers to gamble money acquired unlawfully, either to obtain legitimate money in return or simply using criminal proceeds to fund gambling.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the recommendation from the report by Bristol University What are the odds? The appeal of gambling adverts to children and young persons on twitter, published on 26 October, that there should be an opt-in requirement to receive gambling advertisements on social media.

The Government is carrying out a Review of the Gambling Act 2005 and is looking closely at the evidence regarding the impacts of allowing operators to advertise, including on social media. It will consider the research conducted by Bristol University carefully as part of that Review.

All gambling advertising, wherever it appears, is subject to strict controls on content and placement. Gambling operators advertising online, including on social media, must abide by the advertising codes issued by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Gambling Commission may take enforcement action against them if they do not. The CAP consulted earlier this year on proposals to strengthen the codes and further limit the presence of gambling adverts for the protection of children and vulnerable people. Changes to safeguard vulnerable adults were announced this summer, and the full outcome is to be announced before the end of the year.

Following work with the Gambling Commission, the industry has also committed to make better use of advertising technology to target adverts away from children on social media. The Gambling Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising now requires operators to ensure paid-for advertising is targeted only at those over 25 years old on social media and to age-gate operator YouTube channels and content.

The Government is also looking more broadly at how online advertising is regulated through the Online Advertising Programme, which will be launching a public consultation this year. Our aim is to foster fair, accountable and ethical online advertising that works for individuals, businesses and society as a whole.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by Bristol University What are the odds? The appeal of gambling adverts to children and young persons on twitter, published on 26 October; and particularly the findings that (1) the majority of gambling advertisements were twice as likely to appeal to children as older adults, and (2) nearly half of children and almost three quarters of young people saw gambling adverts on Twitter almost once per week

The Government is carrying out a Review of the Gambling Act 2005 and is looking closely at the evidence regarding the impacts of allowing operators to advertise, including on social media. It will consider the research conducted by Bristol University carefully as part of that Review.

All gambling advertising, wherever it appears, is subject to strict controls on content and placement. Gambling operators advertising online, including on social media, must abide by the advertising codes issued by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Gambling Commission may take enforcement action against them if they do not. The CAP consulted earlier this year on proposals to strengthen the codes and further limit the presence of gambling adverts for the protection of children and vulnerable people. Changes to safeguard vulnerable adults were announced this summer, and the full outcome is to be announced before the end of the year.

Following work with the Gambling Commission, the industry has also committed to make better use of advertising technology to target adverts away from children on social media. The Gambling Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising now requires operators to ensure paid-for advertising is targeted only at those over 25 years old on social media and to age-gate operator YouTube channels and content.

The Government is also looking more broadly at how online advertising is regulated through the Online Advertising Programme, which will be launching a public consultation this year. Our aim is to foster fair, accountable and ethical online advertising that works for individuals, businesses and society as a whole.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many times gambling companies have paid compensation for failing to prevent money laundering when an individual criminally convicted of theft used stolen funds to gamble; and what was the total amount paid by gambling companies in such cases.

The Gambling Commission can fine a gambling operator if a licence condition has been breached. In some circumstances, the Commission may decide to agree a regulatory settlement instead of issuing a fine. While fines are paid to the exchequer, regulatory settlements are divested by the company to third parties. In circumstances where a victim of crime can be identified, for example an employer whose money was stolen by someone who went on to gamble with those funds, the Commission would expect funds to be divested back to the employer.

The information we hold shows that in the last three years, the Commission has required four operators to pay compensation to victims where stolen funds have been used to gamble and an individual has been criminally convicted. The total amount paid by each gambling company is as follows:

  • Betway - £5,068,577

  • Gamesys - £460,472

  • Platinum Gaming - £629,420

  • Petfre - £140,000

In addition to these figures, all regulatory actions taken by the Gambling Commission are accessible on their Public Register which may be found at the following link.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the recommendations of the Independent Review of the Regulation of BetIndex Limited, published on 13 September, what steps they are taking, beyond additional funding, to ensure that the Gambling Commission is better able to monitor and intervene in the case of novel gambling products.

The Gambling Commission has already taken steps to address issues identified in the independent reviewer’s report, including updating its frameworks for risk-based regulation so that novel products are placed under greater scrutiny and commencing a review of all remote licensees to check for issues relating to boundary-pushing products. The Commission and the Financial Conduct Authority have also strengthened their Memorandum of Understanding, including new escalation routes so that regulatory impasses are identified and overcome quickly.

As set out in the terms of reference, the independent review into the regulation of BetIndex was intended to inform our ongoing Review of the Gambling Act 2005. This is looking closely at a range of issues, including the Gambling Commission’s powers and how it uses them, as well as the potential risks posed to consumers by new and emerging technologies. We are considering its findings and recommendations carefully, and aim to publish a white paper setting out any conclusions in due course.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of OpenRAN (1) as part of their gigabit capable broad rollout, (2) in increasing connectivity to rural communities, and (3) in extending connectivity to rural ‘notspots’.

The Government continues to explore the role of interoperable technologies, such as Open RAN, in the future of our telecommunications networks as part of the 5G Supply Chain Diversification Strategy, published in November last year and here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/5g-supply-chain-diversification-strategy/5g-supply-chain-diversification-strategy . Open RAN is still a nascent technology which promises efficiency and flexibility gains, and the Government is supporting its development as part of the telecoms diversification agenda, including through the £30m Future RAN Competition (FRANC).

The Government is extending connectivity to rural areas - both mobile and full fibre. Project Gigabit recognises Fixed Wireless Access as a potential gigabit-capable technology, which can provide a broadband connection via infrastructure also used for mobile networks. Furthermore, the Shared Rural Network programme will bring 4G coverage to 95% of the UK by 2025 - including total not-spots. We expect Open RAN to play an ever larger role in 5G mobile networks and beyond; these technologies are capable of reaching gigabit speeds and may support the Government's ambition to connect at least 85% of UK premises to gigabit speeds by 2025.

The Government also welcomed the news from Vodafone that it will be supplying large parts of Wales and the South West of England with Open RAN technology, and that deployment will start in rural areas.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the announcement that the Belgium Gambling Commission will be running a gambling awareness campaign during this summer’s UEFA European Football Championship, what plans they have to advertise gambling support services during the tournament.

All gambling advertising, wherever it appears, is subject to strict controls on content and placement. The Gambling Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising also requires social responsibility messaging throughout the length of all broadcast gambling adverts. This includes the begambleaware.org link, which signposts to a wide range of advice and support related to gambling. Since 2019, the GambleAware-led Bet Regret campaign has encouraged awareness of risky betting behaviours and action to help regain control, as well as signposting to further support. Since June 2020, members of the Betting and Gaming Council have also committed 20% of their advertising on TV and radio to safer gambling messaging.

The government launched the Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. As part of the wide scope of that Review, we called for evidence on the effectiveness of safer gambling messaging, and we are considering the evidence carefully.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the study by Alan M Emond et al Gambling by young adults in the UK during COVID-19 lockdown, published on 18 April, what assessment they have made of the reported correlation between higher rates of gambling and COVID-19 lockdowns.

Overall participation in gambling has declined over the period of COVID-19 lockdowns in Great Britain, largely due to the closure of land-based gambling for much of the past year. The Gambling Commission’s latest official statistics show the proportion of respondents participating in any gambling in the past four weeks fell from 46.7% in the year to March 2020 to 40.0% in the year to March 2021. As in the study by Professor Emond et al., the Commission data indicates a small increase in online gambling participation. The government continues to monitor the situation and consider the evidence carefully.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the six recommendations in the report by the Centre for Social Justice Not a Game – A call for effective protection from the harms of gambling', published in May, in creating a co-operative framework for effective affordability checks.

The Government is carrying out a Review of the Gambling Act 2005 and making sure we have the right balance between freedom of choice and protection from harm is a core objective. We welcome contributions to the debate, including the report by the Centre for Social Justice, and we will consider its recommendations carefully alongside the responses to our call for evidence.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
4th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to theit revised target to reach a "minimum of 85 per cent gigabit broadband coverage by 2025", as set out in the National Infrastructure Strategy, published in November 2020, whether they still intend to use an "outside-in approach" to support full-fibre rollout.

We are still committed to the ‘Outside In’ approach. This is why we are not waiting until commercial delivery is complete before starting to build in the hardest to reach areas under the £5 billion UK Gigabit Programme and why we are also looking to prioritise premises without an existing superfast broadband connection, wherever possible.

As we committed to do in the Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review in 2018, and reconfirmed in the National Infrastructure Strategy in 2020, we are ensuring that delivery to the hardest to reach parts of the UK takes place in parallel with commercial build.

We have already been doing this through our existing Superfast, Local Full Fibre Networks and Rural Gigabit Connectivity programmes, which have delivered gigabit-capable broadband to over half a million homes and businesses since 2018.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
4th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to undertake a longitudinal study to consider the impact of exposure to gambling advertising from an early age.

The Gambling Commission commissioned and published a scoping review looking at the feasibility of a longitudinal study of gambling behaviours and gambling harms, with advertising among the suggested issues of interest for that study. Public Health England has also carried out a major evidence review into the prevalence and impacts of gambling related harms which is due to be published later this year.

The government launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. As part of the wide scope of that Review, we have called for evidence on the benefits or harms of allowing gambling operators to advertise, as well as barriers and enablers of high quality research.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the finding of the study in the Nature Human Behaviour journal The association between gambling and financial, social and health outcomes in big financial data, published on 4 February, that increased gambling is associated with lower levels of socialisation and spending on local amenities; and what assessment they have made of the impact of online gambling on the local economy.

The recently published study, ‘The association between gambling and financial, social and health outcomes in big financial data’, analysed banking transaction data and reported a correlation between higher rates of gambling spend as a proportion of outgoings and indicators of lower financial inclusion, wellbeing and healthiness. These correlations were generally strongest after the 75th percentile of spend levels. The analysis did not establish a causative link between gambling spend and the indicators identified.

The analysis also demonstrated a correlation between higher gambling spend and reduced spending on other amenities and leisure activities. It did not distinguish between electronic transactions made to online operators, and those made in local gambling premises, or look at gambling transactions involving cash. It is therefore not possible to assess the impact of online gambling on the local economy using this research.

The government has launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 with the publication of a Call for Evidence, and this will look at whether the right protections are in place to protect people who gamble online. We have called for evidence on the case for and against additional controls on online gambling accounts, and whether such controls should be based on affordability. The Gambling Commission’s Remote Customer Interaction consultation also called for evidence on the potential for enhanced requirements for online operators to conduct affordability checks to further protect consumers from harm. The deadline for submissions was 9 February, and the Commission is currently reviewing the evidence received.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the finding of the study in the Nature Human Behaviour journal The association between gambling and financial, social and health outcomes in big financial data, published on 4 February, that increased gambling correlates with lower financial planning, missed mortgage payments, and increased bailiff interaction; and what assessment they have made of the potential for affordability checks in gambling to produce long-term secure financial outcomes for individuals.

The recently published study, ‘The association between gambling and financial, social and health outcomes in big financial data’, analysed banking transaction data and reported a correlation between higher rates of gambling spend as a proportion of outgoings and indicators of lower financial inclusion, wellbeing and healthiness. These correlations were generally strongest after the 75th percentile of spend levels. The analysis did not establish a causative link between gambling spend and the indicators identified.

The analysis also demonstrated a correlation between higher gambling spend and reduced spending on other amenities and leisure activities. It did not distinguish between electronic transactions made to online operators, and those made in local gambling premises, or look at gambling transactions involving cash. It is therefore not possible to assess the impact of online gambling on the local economy using this research.

The government has launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 with the publication of a Call for Evidence, and this will look at whether the right protections are in place to protect people who gamble online. We have called for evidence on the case for and against additional controls on online gambling accounts, and whether such controls should be based on affordability. The Gambling Commission’s Remote Customer Interaction consultation also called for evidence on the potential for enhanced requirements for online operators to conduct affordability checks to further protect consumers from harm. The deadline for submissions was 9 February, and the Commission is currently reviewing the evidence received.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to their report Planning for Gigabit Delivery in 2021, published on 22 December 2020, what percentage of (1) "red: large contract procurement areas", (2) "blue: small procurement areas", and (3) "grey: forecast build areas", will be covered by gigabit broadband by 2025.

The government’s target is for a minimum of 85% gigabit capable coverage by 2025, but is seeking to accelerate roll-out further to get as close to 100% as possible. It is not yet possible to break down the coverage as requested at this stage, since the procurement pipeline has not yet been established.

The Planning for Gigabit report included potential large and small procurement areas and the Government will be publishing revised maps and procurement pipeline in the Spring, once it has taken account of suppliers’ and local authorities’ feedback on the illustrative areas.

The government will also publish an overall programme delivery profile and report progress against its milestones .

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the statement in Government Response to the House of Lords Gambling Industry Committee Report: Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry, published on 8 December, that gambling advertising did not correlate to gambling participation among 11 to 24 year olds, what plans they have to undertake a review of the effects of gambling advertising on children as part of the Gambling Act Review.

The government launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. As part of the wide scope of that Review, we have called for evidence on the benefits or harms of allowing gambling operators to advertise. We welcome any relevant evidence, including on the effects of gambling advertising on children.

The Gambling Commission has worked closely with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) on the issue of affiliates in recent years and has tightened its Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP). As a result, many operators have scaled back or terminated their affiliate programmes to come into line with regulatory expectations. Affiliate advertisement standards have also improved markedly as a result of the joined up work of the Commission and the ASA.

Due to ongoing compliance work, there has rarely been the need to take enforcement action against operators. Where there has, three gambling operators have been sanctioned due to breaches of rules committed by contracted affiliates since 2018/19.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to Government Response to the House of Lords Gambling Industry Committee Report: Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry, published on 8 December, how many gambling operators have been sanctioned due to breaches of rules committed by contracted affiliates.

The government launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. As part of the wide scope of that Review, we have called for evidence on the benefits or harms of allowing gambling operators to advertise. We welcome any relevant evidence, including on the effects of gambling advertising on children.

The Gambling Commission has worked closely with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) on the issue of affiliates in recent years and has tightened its Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP). As a result, many operators have scaled back or terminated their affiliate programmes to come into line with regulatory expectations. Affiliate advertisement standards have also improved markedly as a result of the joined up work of the Commission and the ASA.

Due to ongoing compliance work, there has rarely been the need to take enforcement action against operators. Where there has, three gambling operators have been sanctioned due to breaches of rules committed by contracted affiliates since 2018/19.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to Government Response to the House of Lords Gambling Industry Committee Report: Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry, published on 8 December, what assessment they have made of why the prevalence of gambling among those aged 11 to 16 has increased.

Data published by the Gambling Commission shows the percentage of 11-16 year olds who had taken part in gambling in the past seven days fell from 23% in 2011 to 11% in 2019. The 2020 survey was truncated by Covid-19, so is not directly comparable, but data has been published which shows a 9% past-week participation rate for England and Scotland. An increase in the rate of gambling participation amongst children has not been recorded since 2018, when it rose to 14%, from 12% in the previous year. The majority of gambling participation by children is on forms of gambling which are legal for them to participate in, including private bets with friends and family, or low stake gaming machines.

The government launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. The Review will be wide-ranging and evidence led, and aims to make sure that the regulation of gambling is fit for the digital age. The government remains committed to protecting children from gambling related harm, and is inviting specific evidence on children’s access to gambling, including on children’s access to Category D slot machines, the effectiveness of age controls, protections for young adults and the age limit for society lotteries.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Government Response to the House of Lords Gambling Industry Committee Report: Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry, published on 8 December, what plans they have to mandate a ban on all gambling transactions via credit cards.

In April this year, new licensing conditions came into effect which banned both online and land-based gambling operators from accepting payments from credit cards (including via e-wallets) for gambling services. National Lottery products already could not be purchased with a credit card online.

National Lottery and society lottery products can still be purchased via credit cards in retailers. Following the Gambling Commission’s consultation on the use of credit cards for gambling, requiring retailers to identify and block credit card payments for lottery products was seen as disproportionate since they are often purchased alongside other items as part of a wider shop. National Lottery retailers are also trained in preventing excessive play, and lottery products are consistently shown to be associated with lower problem gambling rates than commercial gambling products.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether outdoor congregational carol singing will be permitted as part of their COVID-19 Winter Plan.

Carol singing can take place if all attendees comply with the latest guidance for the Christmas period as published here.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the announcement that Burnley FC are working with the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust to educate staff and supporters about the risks of gambling, what representations they have made to the Premier League to encourage clubs to adopt similar initiatives.

Sporting bodies have a responsibility to consider the welfare of their staff and fans, and we welcome efforts, such as those of Burnley FC and others, to educate their staff and supporters about the risks associated with problem gambling.

The Government works closely with the Premier League on a wide range of issues including those related to social responsibility and community engagement.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether their plans to ban advertisements that promote unhealthy lifestyles will be extended to gambling advertisements.

In the Tackling Obesity strategy published in July, government announced its intention to introduce a 9pm watershed on TV and online for advertising products high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS). This strategy also said we wanted to go further online. Therefore on Tuesday 10th November, government published a new consultation on its proposal for a total online restriction in HFSS advertising. We have been clear that during the media our children use the most, we want to ensure the food and drink advertised promotes a healthy balanced diet. This is particularly important because obesity is one of the biggest health crises the country faces, with 1 in 3 children leaving primary school overweight or obese.

The government has committed to review the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age. Further details will be announced in due course.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the findings of the survey published by the Gambling Commission Young People & Gambling 2020, published in August, what representations they have made to the Advertising Standards Authority on what further measures can be taken to reduce childhood exposure to gambling.

The government works closely with the Gambling Commission to minimise gambling harms and recognises the important role that financial service providers can play in helping their customers monitor and manage their gambling spend. The Commission cannot set controls on financial institutions, however in April this year, new licencing conditions came into effect which banned gambling operators from accepting payments from credit cards, including via e-wallets. The Commission and government engage all areas of the financial sector to actively encourage service providers to adopt effective measures like opt-in gambling blocks. While this extends to building societies where applicable, most building societies principally offer savings products and mortgages which cannot be accessed using debit cards. The Commission has approved funding for a two year programme to increase action among firms from across the financial sector and recently helped facilitate a dedicated conference with the finance industry on the role they could play in reducing gambling harm. This built on progress made following a Secretary of State-hosted roundtable with leading financial institutions in February last year.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is the UK’s independent regulator of advertising, which enforces the advertising codes set by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP). The codes set out strict rules on the content and placement of gambling advertising which prohibit adverts being targeted at children or vulnerable people, or seeking to appeal particularly to these groups. CAP is currently consulting on proposed changes to the advertising codes aimed at further restricting the potential for gambling adverts to appeal to children or vulnerable people. Data on children’s exposure to gambling advertising published by the ASA showed that children saw an average of 2.5 gambling adverts per week on TV in 2019, down from a peak of 4.4 per week in 2013.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Barran on 10 November (HL9946), what representations they have made to the Gambling Commission to encourage building societies to introduce gambling blocks on personal current accounts and credit cards.

The government works closely with the Gambling Commission to minimise gambling harms and recognises the important role that financial service providers can play in helping their customers monitor and manage their gambling spend. The Commission cannot set controls on financial institutions, however in April this year, new licencing conditions came into effect which banned gambling operators from accepting payments from credit cards, including via e-wallets. The Commission and government engage all areas of the financial sector to actively encourage service providers to adopt effective measures like opt-in gambling blocks. While this extends to building societies where applicable, most building societies principally offer savings products and mortgages which cannot be accessed using debit cards. The Commission has approved funding for a two year programme to increase action among firms from across the financial sector and recently helped facilitate a dedicated conference with the finance industry on the role they could play in reducing gambling harm. This built on progress made following a Secretary of State-hosted roundtable with leading financial institutions in February last year.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is the UK’s independent regulator of advertising, which enforces the advertising codes set by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP). The codes set out strict rules on the content and placement of gambling advertising which prohibit adverts being targeted at children or vulnerable people, or seeking to appeal particularly to these groups. CAP is currently consulting on proposed changes to the advertising codes aimed at further restricting the potential for gambling adverts to appeal to children or vulnerable people. Data on children’s exposure to gambling advertising published by the ASA showed that children saw an average of 2.5 gambling adverts per week on TV in 2019, down from a peak of 4.4 per week in 2013.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Barran on 10 November (HL9946), what representations they have made to the (1) Gambling Commission, and (2) Electronic Money Association, about encouraging the providers of e-wallets to introduce gambling blocks.

The government works closely with the Gambling Commission to minimise gambling harms and recognises the important role that financial service providers can play in helping their customers monitor and manage their gambling spend. The Commission cannot set controls on financial institutions, however in April this year, new licencing conditions came into effect which banned gambling operators from accepting payments from credit cards, including via e-wallets. The Commission and government engage all areas of the financial sector to actively encourage service providers to adopt effective measures like opt-in gambling blocks. While this extends to building societies where applicable, most building societies principally offer savings products and mortgages which cannot be accessed using debit cards. The Commission has approved funding for a two year programme to increase action among firms from across the financial sector and recently helped facilitate a dedicated conference with the finance industry on the role they could play in reducing gambling harm. This built on progress made following a Secretary of State-hosted roundtable with leading financial institutions in February last year.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is the UK’s independent regulator of advertising, which enforces the advertising codes set by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP). The codes set out strict rules on the content and placement of gambling advertising which prohibit adverts being targeted at children or vulnerable people, or seeking to appeal particularly to these groups. CAP is currently consulting on proposed changes to the advertising codes aimed at further restricting the potential for gambling adverts to appeal to children or vulnerable people. Data on children’s exposure to gambling advertising published by the ASA showed that children saw an average of 2.5 gambling adverts per week on TV in 2019, down from a peak of 4.4 per week in 2013.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Gambling Commission and Ipsos Mori Young People & Gambling 2020 Technical Report, published in August, in particular its finding that the number of 11 to 16 year-olds classified as problem gamblers had risen from 1.7 per cent in 2019 to 1.9 per cent in 2020; and what discussions they have had with the Gambling Commission about ways in which problem gambling by children can be reduced.

Protecting children and vulnerable people from being harmed or exploited by gambling is a priority for government, and the government and the Gambling Commission work closely together on that issue. Gambling operators must abide by strict requirements for the protection of children and are subject to sanction by the Commission if they breach these rules. In May 2019 the Commission strengthened protections further to prevent children engaging in illegal underage gambling online by requiring operators to verify age and identity before allowing customers to deposit money or place a bet.

Since September 2020 teaching about the risks related to online gambling has been included in the Health Education curriculum, which is compulsory for pupils in state-funded schools. This is in addition to initiatives by third-sector bodies, including the PSHE Association’s resources to help teachers educate their pupils about the risks of gambling and how to avoid them, and the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust’s (YGAM) training and tools for teachers, youth workers, mental health specialists and others who work with children and young people.

The Gambling Commission conducts an annual survey of gambling activity by children and young people. The outbreak of Covid 19 halted fieldwork for the 2020 survey before it was finished, which meant that the survey’s sample size was significantly smaller than in previous years and that no surveys were completed in Wales. The Commission has made clear that results of the 2020 survey are therefore not representative of Great Britain and should not be compared to those of previous years. However, we have noted the information carefully as we do all research and data relating to children and gambling.

The government has committed to review the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age and further details will be announced in due course.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Barran on 10 November (HL9675), what guidance they have provided to local councils and NHS Trusts on the use of Pyronix-Hikvision technology in UK infrastructure.

HMG has issued no specific guidance on the use of Pyronix-Hikvision technology. Hikvision provides surveillance systems which are digital and non-digital, and their cameras can be used for a range of environments and purposes. When using such equipment, Local Authorities and NHS Trusts should take general NCSC guidance on cyber security into account, in particular its guidance on secure design principles, devices and supply chain security.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Agnew of Oulton on 3 November (HL9493), whether the commitment to provide gigabit-capable broadband nationwide will be rolled out equitably between rural and urban communities.

The Government is committed to delivering nationwide gigabit-capable broadband as soon as possible, in both urban and rural areas. The Government is supporting commercial gigabit capable broadband deployment to the majority of the country (c. 80% of premises) by encouraging greater network competition and removing barriers to deployment. To ensure that areas in the harder to reach 20% of the country - which are predominantly rural and more remote - get gigabit capable broadband in parallel to commercial build, the Budget committed the Government to invest £5 billion into these areas.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the findings from the Gambling Commission’s 2020 Young People and Gambling Survey; and what steps they are taking to reduce problem gambling among 11 to 16-year olds.

Protecting children and vulnerable people from being harmed or exploited by gambling is a priority for government, and the government and the Gambling Commission work closely together on that issue. Gambling operators must abide by strict requirements for the protection of children and are subject to sanction by the Commission if they breach these rules. In May 2019 the Commission strengthened protections further to prevent children engaging in illegal underage gambling online by requiring operators to verify age and identity before allowing customers to deposit money or place a bet.

Since September 2020 teaching about the risks related to online gambling has been included in the Health Education curriculum, which is compulsory for pupils in state-funded schools. This is in addition to initiatives by third-sector bodies, including the PSHE Association’s resources to help teachers educate their pupils about the risks of gambling and how to avoid them, and the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust’s (YGAM) training and tools for teachers, youth workers, mental health specialists and others who work with children and young people.

The Gambling Commission conducts an annual survey of gambling activity by children and young people. The outbreak of Covid 19 halted fieldwork for the 2020 survey before it was finished, which meant that the survey’s sample size was significantly smaller than in previous years and that no surveys were completed in Wales. The Commission has made clear that results of the 2020 survey are therefore not representative of Great Britain and should not be compared to those of previous years. However, we have noted the information carefully as we do all research and data relating to children and gambling.

The government has committed to review the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age and further details will be announced in due course.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of NatWest’s announcement of a 48-hour gambling block for debit cards to reduce gambling-related harm; and what action they are taking to encourage other companies in the banking sector to adopt similar policies.

The government recognises the important role banks can play in helping their customers monitor and manage their gambling spend. Last year the then Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport convened a roundtable of banks and other stakeholders in the financial sector to encourage them to do more in this regard and ministers have since corresponded with industry leaders on this issue. I am pleased that many banks have acted to offer their customers the option to block gambling transactions from their accounts and welcome NatWest’s introduction of a 48 hour gambling block.

Research published by the University of Bristol in July this year estimated that debit card gambling blocks are available for roughly 63% of UK current accounts but we encourage those banks that have not yet developed these kinds of services to do so. We also encourage banks to follow best practice in the design of their blocks, for instance including a sufficient 'cooling off' period.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to review the use of Pyronix-Hikvision technology in UK infrastructure in the light of reports of the alleged use of that company’s technology in Uighur detention facilities.

We are aware of reports that Hikvision's technology has been used in Xinjiang. The UK has repeatedly taken a leading international role in holding China to account for the situation in Xinjiang, including by leading statements at the UN Human Rights Council in June and the UN Third Committee in October. We are actively considering the implications for the UK and continue to encourage human rights to be at the centre of all business that takes place in this country.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the economic impact of problem gambling; and what estimate they have made of how likely problem gamblers are (1) to experience family break up, (2) to commit crime, (3) to be unemployed, (4) to lose their homes, and (5) to have compromised life expectancy, compared with the rest of the population.

Public Health England is currently undertaking a major evidence review looking at the prevalence of gambling health harms and their social and economic burden. Publication of this study has been delayed by Covid 19 and is expected in early 2021.

The government does not hold figures on the proportion of problem gamblers who experience family break up, commit a crime, experience unemployment, lose their homes, or have a lower than average life expectancy. However, the Health Surveys for Scotland and England and the Gambling Commission’s survey of gambling behaviour in Wales collect data on the differing incidence of problem gambling amongst different demographic groups. The 2016 combined Health Survey and the 2018 Health Survey for England estimated that the rate of problem gambling amongst those who are unemployed is 1.9%. The 2016 Health Surveys for England and Scotland also give data on the incidence of problem gambling amongst those who have probable mental ill health (2.2%), a low well-being score (2.6%) and who consume alcohol at a level of increased risk (0.8%).

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Advertising Standards Agency, Trends in exposure to TV ads during COVID-19, published on 8 October; and what steps they are taking to reduce young people’s exposure to gambling adverts.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) recently published data on TV viewing patterns and exposure to TV advertising during the initial lockdown period (16 March – 3rd May 2020). That data shows that both adults and children spent more time watching TV during lockdown compared to the same period in 2019, with average viewing time per week 20% higher amongst adults and 17% higher amongst children. Similarly, exposure to all TV advertising showed a year-on-year increase of 16% amongst adults, and 9% amongst children. Looking at gambling adverts specifically, children saw an average of 4 ads per week during early lockdown, compared to 2.7 ads per week during that same period in 2019, with adverts for lotteries and bingo accounting for most of this increased exposure. Longer term trends show that children’s exposure to advertising fell from a peak of 4.4 TV ads per week in 2013 to 2.5 per week in 2019.

Gambling advertising is subject to strict controls on content and placement. Operators must ensure that their ads are not targeted at children and in 2019 the ASA launched a programme of avatar monitoring to identify operators failing to effectively target ads away from children online. In addition, following work with the Gambling Commission, the industry has committed to make better use of advertising technology to target adverts away from children online and on social media. The sixth edition of the Gambling Industry Code for Socially Responsible advertising, which came into force this month, requires operators to ensure advertising is targeted only at those over 25 years old on social media and to age-gate operator YouTube channels and content. These measures build on last year’s voluntary whistle-to-whistle ban on betting ads shown during live sport shown before the watershed. Figures published by the industry indicate that children’s exposure to gambling advertising during live sport has fallen by 70% since the introduction of the ban.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the long-term effects of gambling advertising on young people and their future participation in gambling activities.

Gambling advertising and sponsorship, including around sport, must be socially responsible and must not be targeted at children. The government assessed the evidence on advertising in its Review of Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures, the full response to which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-proposals-for-changes-to-gaming-machines-and-social-responsibility-measures.

Since then, in March this year, the charity GambleAware has published the final report of a major piece of research into the effect of gambling marketing and advertising on children, young people and vulnerable people. That study found that exposure to advertising was associated with an openness to gamble in the future amongst children and young people aged 11-24 who did not currently gamble. It also found that there were other factors that correlated more closely with current gambling behaviour amongst those groups, including peer and parental gambling. It did not suggest a causal link between any of these and problem gambling in later life.

The government takes concerns raised about loot boxes in video games very seriously. On 23 September 2020 we launched an 8 week call for evidence which includes a focus on whether loot boxes cause harm and, if so, the nature of the harm. This will put us on the best footing to take any action that is necessary. We expect to publish a Government response to the call for evidence early next year.

Ministers and officials regularly engage with stakeholders on a wide range of issues. Ministers have not recently received representations from either the gambling or the sports sectors about gambling advertising or sponsorship of professional sports teams. The House of Lords Select Committee on the Economic and Social Impact of the Gambling Industry and Gambling Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group have made recommendations to Ministers in both these areas.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the statement by Lord Ashton of Hyde on 2 July 2019 (HL Deb, cols 1344–6), and in the light of the pledge made by the Betting and Gambling Council’s five largest members this week, whether the announcement made in the July 2019 statement is now null and void; and if not, where the money has been distributed; what involvement Her Majesty's Government had in the announcement by the Betting and Gambling Council; and why is the money no longer being distributed by the committee launched by Lord Chadlington.

On 2 July 2019 five major gambling operators committed to raise their contribution to funding for research education and treatment to 1% over a four year period, and as part of that to spend a cumulative total of £100m over four years on expanding treatment services. On 15 June 2020 industry body the Betting and Gaming Council set out further detail about the allocation of industry donations for the 2020-21 financial year, and announced that the charity GambleAware would be funded to expand treatment services.

The government has been clear that the gambling industry has a responsibility to protect people from gambling harm and support those who have been affected. It welcomed industry’s commitment to increase contributions and will monitor closely the progress of these new measures. While this a voluntary agreement, Ministers and officials have been clear that funds must be spent independently of industry and focused exclusively on reducing gambling related harm.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Barran on 1 April (HL2887), what is the nature of the scoping work being undertaken; who is involved in that work; and when they anticipate concluding such work.

The Government committed in its manifesto to review the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age. This commitment remains a priority, but as with other areas of Government business the impact of Covid-19 has placed unforeseen pressures on the Department. We are continuing to work closely with the Gambling Commission, including on ensuring that vulnerable people are protected in this time of potentially heightened risk.

Much of our continuing work, such as monitoring the impact of regulatory interventions in this and other jurisdictions, will be relevant to the review, as will the recommendations of the National Audit Office, which we are considering carefully. A timeline for the review and its scope will be announced in due course.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Barran on 18 March (HL2292), whether they will now answer the question put: when the (1) terms of reference, (2) call for evidence, and (3) deadlines, of the review of the Gambling Act 2005 will be announced.

We will announce further details of the review once scoping work is complete. Ministers and the Gambling Commission have made clear to online operators that while we recognise the challenges the sector is facing dealing with the impact of Covid-19, they must continue to comply with licence conditions, protect consumers and address any new risks of gambling related harm during this period.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the announcement about the delivery of 4G mobile signal to 95 per cent of the country on 25 October 2019, how many full 'not-spot' communities in England will benefit from the Government's investment in the Single Rural Network.

The Government wants the UK to have high-quality mobile coverage where people live, work and travel, and we are committed to extending geographic mobile coverage further to 95% of the UK, as well as providing an uninterrupted mobile signal on all major roads.

Subsequent to the 25 October 2019 announcement, the Government announced on 9 March that it had agreed a deal with the mobile network operators to deliver the Shared Rural Network programme. This will see Government and industry jointly invest to increase 4G mobile coverage throughout the UK to 95% geographic coverage by the end of 2025.

While the biggest improvements in coverage arising from the Shared Rural Network will be in Scotland and Wales, there will be improvements across all four nations. 4G geographic coverage in England is currently 97% from at least one operator and 81% from all four operators. As a result of the programme, this will increase to 98% coverage from at least one operator, and 90% from all four by the end of 2025.

Today, 97% of UK premises outdoors are covered by 4G data services from all operators, while almost all UK premises have 4G data coverage from at least one operator. The Shared Rural Network will provide guaranteed additional coverage to 280,000 premises across the UK, both in areas that currently have no coverage from any operator, and those that have coverage from at least one operator but not all four. There will also be further indirect improvements over time, including better indoor coverage in around 1.2m business premises and homes.

We do not currently have specific details on the precise impact that the Shared Rural Network will have on individual communities across the whole of the UK, including those in England. Exact site deployment plans will be managed by the operators themselves in order for them to best deliver the agreed coverage outcomes. However, we expect that consumers will feel the benefit of the programme long before its conclusion and the operators will consult with communities as roll out plans become clearer.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Mar 2020
4G
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the announcement about the delivery of 4G mobile signal to 95 per cent of the country on 25 October 2019, what assessment they have made of the proportion of the population that live in full 'not-spot' communities that will benefit from that delivery.

The Government wants the UK to have high-quality mobile coverage where people live, work and travel, and we are committed to extending geographic mobile coverage further to 95% of the UK, as well as providing an uninterrupted mobile signal on all major roads.

Subsequent to the 25 October 2019 announcement, the Government announced on 9 March that it had agreed a deal with the mobile network operators to deliver the Shared Rural Network programme. This will see Government and industry jointly invest to increase 4G mobile coverage throughout the UK to 95% geographic coverage by the end of 2025.

While the biggest improvements in coverage arising from the Shared Rural Network will be in Scotland and Wales, there will be improvements across all four nations. 4G geographic coverage in England is currently 97% from at least one operator and 81% from all four operators. As a result of the programme, this will increase to 98% coverage from at least one operator, and 90% from all four by the end of 2025.

Today, 97% of UK premises outdoors are covered by 4G data services from all operators, while almost all UK premises have 4G data coverage from at least one operator. The Shared Rural Network will provide guaranteed additional coverage to 280,000 premises across the UK, both in areas that currently have no coverage from any operator, and those that have coverage from at least one operator but not all four. There will also be further indirect improvements over time, including better indoor coverage in around 1.2m business premises and homes.

We do not currently have specific details on the precise impact that the Shared Rural Network will have on individual communities across the whole of the UK, including those in England. Exact site deployment plans will be managed by the operators themselves in order for them to best deliver the agreed coverage outcomes. However, we expect that consumers will feel the benefit of the programme long before its conclusion and the operators will consult with communities as roll out plans become clearer.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Baroness Barran on 5 March that they will review the Gambling Act 2005 with "great urgency", when the (1) terms of reference, (2) call for evidence, and (3) deadlines, of that review will be announced.

The government has committed to review the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age. We will announce further details in due course.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the annual report by the Gambling Commission Gambling participation in 2019: behaviour, awareness and attitudes, published in February, which shows of the general public (1) 29 per cent agreed it would be better for gambling to be banned, (2) 62 per cent believe gambling should be discouraged, and (3) 82 per cent said there were too many opportunities to gamble.

The Gambling Commission’s Gambling participation in 2019: behaviour, awareness and attitudes report found statistically significant increases from 2018 in the proportion of people saying that gambling should be banned (25% to 29%), that it should be discouraged (58% to 62%) and that there were too many opportunities to gamble (79% to 82%). Respondents most frequently said that news on TV (40%) had informed their opinions, followed by personal experience (31%) and newspapers (26%).

Gambling remains a widely popular activity and the report also found that rates of gambling participation were stable year on year, with 47% of the population having participated in any form of gambling in the last four weeks, or 32% excluding the National Lottery. While participation among 16-24 year olds had increased by 4%, this was not a statistically significant change. The single age group most likely to have gambled was 45-54 year olds, with a 53% participation rate.

Rates of problem gambling have been stable at under 1% of the adult population in Great Britain since 1999. The problem gambling rate as measured in the Health Survey England 2018 was 0.5% of the adult population.

The Government has committed to review the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age. As part of this review we will consider relevant research and statistics, such as the Gambling Commission report. We will announce further details in due course.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the finding in the annual report by the Gambling Commission Gambling participation in 2019: behaviour, awareness and attitudes, published in February, that gambling participation amongst 16 to 24 year olds has increased by four per cent.

The Gambling Commission’s Gambling participation in 2019: behaviour, awareness and attitudes report found statistically significant increases from 2018 in the proportion of people saying that gambling should be banned (25% to 29%), that it should be discouraged (58% to 62%) and that there were too many opportunities to gamble (79% to 82%). Respondents most frequently said that news on TV (40%) had informed their opinions, followed by personal experience (31%) and newspapers (26%).

Gambling remains a widely popular activity and the report also found that rates of gambling participation were stable year on year, with 47% of the population having participated in any form of gambling in the last four weeks, or 32% excluding the National Lottery. While participation among 16-24 year olds had increased by 4%, this was not a statistically significant change. The single age group most likely to have gambled was 45-54 year olds, with a 53% participation rate.

Rates of problem gambling have been stable at under 1% of the adult population in Great Britain since 1999. The problem gambling rate as measured in the Health Survey England 2018 was 0.5% of the adult population.

The Government has committed to review the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age. As part of this review we will consider relevant research and statistics, such as the Gambling Commission report. We will announce further details in due course.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the finding in the annual report by the Gambling Commission Gambling participation in 2019: behaviour, awareness and attitudes, published in February, that overall gambling participation is declining yet rates of problem gambling are unchanged.

The Gambling Commission’s Gambling participation in 2019: behaviour, awareness and attitudes report found statistically significant increases from 2018 in the proportion of people saying that gambling should be banned (25% to 29%), that it should be discouraged (58% to 62%) and that there were too many opportunities to gamble (79% to 82%). Respondents most frequently said that news on TV (40%) had informed their opinions, followed by personal experience (31%) and newspapers (26%).

Gambling remains a widely popular activity and the report also found that rates of gambling participation were stable year on year, with 47% of the population having participated in any form of gambling in the last four weeks, or 32% excluding the National Lottery. While participation among 16-24 year olds had increased by 4%, this was not a statistically significant change. The single age group most likely to have gambled was 45-54 year olds, with a 53% participation rate.

Rates of problem gambling have been stable at under 1% of the adult population in Great Britain since 1999. The problem gambling rate as measured in the Health Survey England 2018 was 0.5% of the adult population.

The Government has committed to review the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age. As part of this review we will consider relevant research and statistics, such as the Gambling Commission report. We will announce further details in due course.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Insolvency Service's figures which show gambling to be a feature in 373 bankruptcies last year, an increase from 158 in 2015–16.

Gambling and Other Rash Speculation was recorded as the main cause of insolvency in 2% of the total bankruptcy orders made in 2018/19, or 373 cases. The numbers of bankruptcies with this listed as the primary cause have varied in the last ten years, falling to their lowest point of 158 in 2015/16 and then rising in subsequent years (see Table 1 below). Rises or falls in annual bankruptcy numbers can be complex and will relate to a number of factors such as interest rates and creditor attitudes. Over the same period problem gambling rates in Great Britain have remained stable at under 1% of the adult population.

Table 1: Bankruptcy orders where the primary cause was recorded as “Gambling and other rash speculation”, England & Wales, 2008/09 to 2018/191

Year

Total Bankruptcy Orders [2]

Number of Bankruptcy Orders with Gambling and Other Rash Speculation Listed as the Cause [3,4,5]

Percentage of Bankruptcy Orders with Gambling and Other Rash Speculation Listed as the Cause

2008/09 [5]

72,383

728

1%

2009/10 [5]

72,863

543

1%

2010/11 [5]

53,326

363

1%

2011/12

38,460

201

1%

2012/13

29,325

185

1%

2013/14

23,575

168

1%

2014/15

19,065

163

1%

2015/16

15,219

158

1%

2016/17

15,352

238

2%

2017/18

15,408

300

2%

2018/19

16,725

373

2%

Notes:

1. Source: The Insolvency Service.

2. Total bankruptcy statistics are consistent with National Statistics published by the Insolvency Service at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/insolvency-service-official-statistics.

3. The cause of bankruptcy is recorded on the Insolvency Service’s case administration system. These data are management information and have not undergone the same level of quality assurance as the Insolvency Service’s National Statistics outputs.

4. The data provided as cause of bankruptcy is reliant on the Insolvency Service’s examiner listing Gambling and Other Rash Speculation as the primary cause of bankruptcy, so it cannot be guaranteed that this figure covers all bankrupts that had gambling debts. The Gambling and Rash Speculation category covers causes other than gambling, but it is not possible to break this down further.

5. Data on cause of bankruptcy prior to 2011/12 is from The Insolvency Service’s legacy system, so they cannot assure its accuracy. Following data migration they became aware that some legacy data was not compatible with the new case management system and can therefore be unreliable.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the sponsorship of sports teams' shirts will be included in their review of gambling.

The Government has committed to review the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age. We will announce further details in due course.

Gambling sponsorship of sports teams must be socially responsible and must never be targeted at children. The government has also made clear that sporting bodies must consider their responsibilities to fans when entering commercial arrangements.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Barran on 10 February (HL474), who is conducting the research on the impact of marketing and advertising on children, young people and other vulnerable people; and when that research will be published.

GambleAware commissioned a major research project examining the effects of gambling-related marketing and advertising on children, young people and other vulnerable people. The project comprises multiple strands and conducted by two consortia. The first consortium is led by Ipsos Mori in partnership with the University of Bristol, the University of Edinburgh, Ebiquity and the Centre for Analysis of Social Media at Demos. The second is led by the University of Stirling in partnership with ScotCen Social Research, the University of Glasgow and the University of Warwick.

An interim report of initial findings was published in July 2019 and can be seen here: https://about.gambleaware.org/media/1965/17-067097-01-gambleaware_interim-synthesis-report_090719_final.pdf

We understand that the final report is due to be published in March 2020.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to include the "gamblification" of sport as part of their review of the Gambling Act 2005.

The government has committed to a review of the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age. We will announce further details in due course.

Gambling sponsorship of sports teams, and advertising around sport, must be socially responsible and must never be targeted at children or vulnerable people. The government has also made clear that sporting bodies must consider their responsibilities to fans when entering commercial arrangements.

The Gambling Commission has issued licences to 2,690 gambling operators. Government does not hold figures on how many of these operators have entered into commercial sponsorship agreements with football clubs but across the 92 clubs in the top four leagues of English football (the Premier League, the Championship, League One and League Two) 34 clubs had front or back shirt sponsorship deals with gambling operators (some of which sponsor multiple teams) for the current season.

The Football Association has strict rules about the size and placement of sponsor logos on all players’ shirts, and prohibits any reference to gambling or gambling operators on shirts for teams where all players are under 18 years old. It has taken action where the logos of gambling sponsors have been found to breach these rules. The gambling industry code for socially responsible advertising also requires that operators’ logos must not appear on any commercial merchandising which is designed for children (for instance in children’s sizes). In August 2019 the code was amended to include a whistle to whistle ban on broadcast advertising around live sport.

In 2018 and 2019 the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) published strengthened guidance on gambling advertising and the protection of vulnerable people and of children and young people. The guidance makes clear that content likely to appeal particularly to children is unacceptable and explicitly states that gambling advertising cannot feature sports people who are, or appear to be, under 25 years old. The Advertising Standards Agency has also said it will look closely at advertising that features sports personalities who have a significant profile amongst under 18s and will continue to take action where these rules are breached. Further research on the impact of marketing and advertising on children, young people and other vulnerable people, including whether and how advertising influences attitudes to gambling, is due to be published this spring.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of gambling sponsorship appearing on football players' shirts.

The government has committed to a review of the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age. We will announce further details in due course.

Gambling sponsorship of sports teams, and advertising around sport, must be socially responsible and must never be targeted at children or vulnerable people. The government has also made clear that sporting bodies must consider their responsibilities to fans when entering commercial arrangements.

The Gambling Commission has issued licences to 2,690 gambling operators. Government does not hold figures on how many of these operators have entered into commercial sponsorship agreements with football clubs but across the 92 clubs in the top four leagues of English football (the Premier League, the Championship, League One and League Two) 34 clubs had front or back shirt sponsorship deals with gambling operators (some of which sponsor multiple teams) for the current season.

The Football Association has strict rules about the size and placement of sponsor logos on all players’ shirts, and prohibits any reference to gambling or gambling operators on shirts for teams where all players are under 18 years old. It has taken action where the logos of gambling sponsors have been found to breach these rules. The gambling industry code for socially responsible advertising also requires that operators’ logos must not appear on any commercial merchandising which is designed for children (for instance in children’s sizes). In August 2019 the code was amended to include a whistle to whistle ban on broadcast advertising around live sport.

In 2018 and 2019 the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) published strengthened guidance on gambling advertising and the protection of vulnerable people and of children and young people. The guidance makes clear that content likely to appeal particularly to children is unacceptable and explicitly states that gambling advertising cannot feature sports people who are, or appear to be, under 25 years old. The Advertising Standards Agency has also said it will look closely at advertising that features sports personalities who have a significant profile amongst under 18s and will continue to take action where these rules are breached. Further research on the impact of marketing and advertising on children, young people and other vulnerable people, including whether and how advertising influences attitudes to gambling, is due to be published this spring.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the promotion of gambling advertisements by sport stars on the propensity of children to gamble.

The government has committed to a review of the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age. We will announce further details in due course.

Gambling sponsorship of sports teams, and advertising around sport, must be socially responsible and must never be targeted at children or vulnerable people. The government has also made clear that sporting bodies must consider their responsibilities to fans when entering commercial arrangements.

The Gambling Commission has issued licences to 2,690 gambling operators. Government does not hold figures on how many of these operators have entered into commercial sponsorship agreements with football clubs but across the 92 clubs in the top four leagues of English football (the Premier League, the Championship, League One and League Two) 34 clubs had front or back shirt sponsorship deals with gambling operators (some of which sponsor multiple teams) for the current season.

The Football Association has strict rules about the size and placement of sponsor logos on all players’ shirts, and prohibits any reference to gambling or gambling operators on shirts for teams where all players are under 18 years old. It has taken action where the logos of gambling sponsors have been found to breach these rules. The gambling industry code for socially responsible advertising also requires that operators’ logos must not appear on any commercial merchandising which is designed for children (for instance in children’s sizes). In August 2019 the code was amended to include a whistle to whistle ban on broadcast advertising around live sport.

In 2018 and 2019 the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) published strengthened guidance on gambling advertising and the protection of vulnerable people and of children and young people. The guidance makes clear that content likely to appeal particularly to children is unacceptable and explicitly states that gambling advertising cannot feature sports people who are, or appear to be, under 25 years old. The Advertising Standards Agency has also said it will look closely at advertising that features sports personalities who have a significant profile amongst under 18s and will continue to take action where these rules are breached. Further research on the impact of marketing and advertising on children, young people and other vulnerable people, including whether and how advertising influences attitudes to gambling, is due to be published this spring.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of gambling companies sponsoring sports venues and football clubs.

The government has committed to a review of the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age. We will announce further details in due course.

Gambling sponsorship of sports teams, and advertising around sport, must be socially responsible and must never be targeted at children or vulnerable people. The government has also made clear that sporting bodies must consider their responsibilities to fans when entering commercial arrangements.

The Gambling Commission has issued licences to 2,690 gambling operators. Government does not hold figures on how many of these operators have entered into commercial sponsorship agreements with football clubs but across the 92 clubs in the top four leagues of English football (the Premier League, the Championship, League One and League Two) 34 clubs had front or back shirt sponsorship deals with gambling operators (some of which sponsor multiple teams) for the current season.

The Football Association has strict rules about the size and placement of sponsor logos on all players’ shirts, and prohibits any reference to gambling or gambling operators on shirts for teams where all players are under 18 years old. It has taken action where the logos of gambling sponsors have been found to breach these rules. The gambling industry code for socially responsible advertising also requires that operators’ logos must not appear on any commercial merchandising which is designed for children (for instance in children’s sizes). In August 2019 the code was amended to include a whistle to whistle ban on broadcast advertising around live sport.

In 2018 and 2019 the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) published strengthened guidance on gambling advertising and the protection of vulnerable people and of children and young people. The guidance makes clear that content likely to appeal particularly to children is unacceptable and explicitly states that gambling advertising cannot feature sports people who are, or appear to be, under 25 years old. The Advertising Standards Agency has also said it will look closely at advertising that features sports personalities who have a significant profile amongst under 18s and will continue to take action where these rules are breached. Further research on the impact of marketing and advertising on children, young people and other vulnerable people, including whether and how advertising influences attitudes to gambling, is due to be published this spring.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the "gamblification" of sport, and (2) the number of gambling companies which sponsor football clubs.

The government has committed to a review of the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age. We will announce further details in due course.

Gambling sponsorship of sports teams, and advertising around sport, must be socially responsible and must never be targeted at children or vulnerable people. The government has also made clear that sporting bodies must consider their responsibilities to fans when entering commercial arrangements.

The Gambling Commission has issued licences to 2,690 gambling operators. Government does not hold figures on how many of these operators have entered into commercial sponsorship agreements with football clubs but across the 92 clubs in the top four leagues of English football (the Premier League, the Championship, League One and League Two) 34 clubs had front or back shirt sponsorship deals with gambling operators (some of which sponsor multiple teams) for the current season.

The Football Association has strict rules about the size and placement of sponsor logos on all players’ shirts, and prohibits any reference to gambling or gambling operators on shirts for teams where all players are under 18 years old. It has taken action where the logos of gambling sponsors have been found to breach these rules. The gambling industry code for socially responsible advertising also requires that operators’ logos must not appear on any commercial merchandising which is designed for children (for instance in children’s sizes). In August 2019 the code was amended to include a whistle to whistle ban on broadcast advertising around live sport.

In 2018 and 2019 the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) published strengthened guidance on gambling advertising and the protection of vulnerable people and of children and young people. The guidance makes clear that content likely to appeal particularly to children is unacceptable and explicitly states that gambling advertising cannot feature sports people who are, or appear to be, under 25 years old. The Advertising Standards Agency has also said it will look closely at advertising that features sports personalities who have a significant profile amongst under 18s and will continue to take action where these rules are breached. Further research on the impact of marketing and advertising on children, young people and other vulnerable people, including whether and how advertising influences attitudes to gambling, is due to be published this spring.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Sep 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support parents with back-to-school costs, including (1) uniform, and (2) stationery.

The government understands the pressures people are facing with the cost of living and has provided £94 billion to support households with higher costs across 2022/23 and 2023/24.

Additional cost of living payments of up to £900 will be made in 2023/24 to households on means tested benefits.

The government is investing up to £30 million in the National School Breakfast Programme until the end of the summer term in 2024. This funding will support up to 2,700 schools in disadvantaged areas, meaning that thousands of children from low-income families will be offered free nutritious breakfasts to better support their attainment, wellbeing, and readiness to learn.

Rather than subsiding expensive uniform policies with financial assistance, the department published statutory guidance on the cost of school uniform to ensure uniform is affordable for all families. The guidance came into force in September 2022 and is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cost-of-school-uniforms/cost-of-school-uniforms.

Schools must be mindful of this guidance when designing and implementing their uniform policy. The guidance requires schools to ensure that their uniform is affordable and secures best value for money for parents.

There is no specific funding for schools to support families to meet the costs of school uniform, but schools may offer additional support in cases of financial hardship where they choose to do so.

No specific support is provided for the purchase of stationery.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the percentage of school leavers who take up apprenticeships at age 16; and how many drop out at a later stage.

Available data on destinations of state-funded mainstream school leavers (after reaching the end of key stage 4, typically aged 16) shows that 2.4% of the cohort took up apprenticeships that were sustained for at least 6 consecutive months in the following academic year (2019/20 leavers’ active during 2020 to 2021 academic year). This was down from 3.7% in the previous year. The 2020 to 2021 academic year was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. More information is available in the attached table.

Apprenticeship starts by age group for the 2020/21 and 2021/22 academic years are shown in the table below. To note, some young people may not immediately enter into an apprenticeship after leaving key stage 4 study. The total number of 16 to 18 year olds starting an apprenticeship in the 2021/22 academic year was 77,520.

2020/21

2021/22

All age starts

321,440

349,190

16-18

65,150

77,520

19-24

94,610

106,330

25+

161,690

165,340

Apprenticeship retention and achievement rates by age group in 2020/21 and 2021/22 are shown in the table below. A number of factors may cause a learner not to complete or achieve their course, which could include learner dropout, change of employer or failure to pass end-point-assessment. For apprentices aged 16-18, the retention rate in 2021/22 was 54.8% and the achievement rate was 53.4%.

Achievement Rate

Retention Rate

Leavers

2020/21

2021/22

2020/21

2021/22

2020/21

2021/22

All age

57.7%

53.4%

58.8%

54.8%

275,380

263,550

16-18

59.5%

55.2%

60.7%

56.8%

66,950

58,560

19-23

63.1%

59.4%

64.4%

60.9%

72,800

70,070

24+

53.8%

49.6%

54.8%

50.7%

135,630

134,920

To note:

  1. Volumes in tables are rounded to the nearest 10 and percentages rounded to 1 decimal place.
  2. Achievement and retention rates are based on the Hybrid End Year, not academic year. The Hybrid End Year is the later of the Achievement Year, Expected End Year, Actual End Year or Reporting Year of a programme.
  3. Apprenticeship retention reflects the number of apprentices that reach the end of their apprenticeship but have yet to undergo end point assessment. Apprenticeship achievements reflect the number of apprenticeships that pass end point assessment. In both cases, the rates are given as a proportion of the cohort that leave or expect to leave their apprenticeship in the relevant year (the Hybrid End Year).

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many people signed up for apprenticeships in (1) 2019, (2) 2020, (3) 2021, and (4) 2022.

The number of apprenticeship starts from the 2018/19 to 2021/22 academic years are available in the attached table.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that all apprenticeships receive the mandated off-the-job training entitlement.

The government has made significant reforms to the quality of apprenticeships to ensure they meet the needs of employers and bring wider benefits to the country and the economy. Apprenticeships have a minimum 12-month duration with more training (minimum 20% off-the-job) and are more rigorous and credible with employer led standards and independent end-point assessments.

Off-the-job training is an essential component and a legal requirement of an apprenticeship, supporting apprentices to develop the skills and behaviours set out in the apprenticeship standard so they can achieve occupational competence

When employers recruit an apprentice, they enter a legally binding contract that requires compliance with the apprenticeship funding rules. These rules must be followed by both employers and apprenticeship training providers to receive funding for the training and assessment of apprentices in England. It is mandatory for all apprentices, regardless of their programme, to complete a minimum of 20% off-the-job training.

To ensure that apprentices receive the required off-the-job training, providers must report both the planned and actual off-the-job training hours for every apprenticeship and the department conducts regular reviews of training provider activity through funding reports and quality assessment audits, taking necessary action to address providers found not to be following these rules.

The department also support providers by promoting a better understanding of the apprenticeship funding rules through online webinars, publishing myth busters and detailed guidance on off the job training, plus supporting evidence templates.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what programmes exist to support 18 year olds leaving the care system.

As set out in the Children Act 1989, local authorities have the primary responsibility for supporting care leavers. The 2017 Children and Social Work Act imposed a new duty on local authorities to consult on and publish their ‘local offer’ for care leavers, setting out their legal entitlements and any further discretionary support that the local authority provides, such as Council Tax exemptions.

All care leavers up to the age of 25 are entitled to support from a personal adviser to help with access support from mainstream services, such as housing, health, and benefits. Personal advisors also provide practical and emotional support to help them prepare for and cope with the challenges of living independently.

The department is providing over £230 million over this spending review to support young people leaving care with housing, access to education, employment, and training, and to help them develop social connections and networks to avoid loneliness and isolation.

To support young people leaving the care system the department has:

  • Launched the care leaver covenant. 400 businesses are signed up and are offering opportunities to care leavers. Businesses include John Lewis, Sky and Amazon.
  • Established the Civil Service care leaver internship scheme, which has led to over 880 care leavers taking up paid jobs across government.
  • Committed £8 million since October 2021 to run a pilot in 58 local authority areas, for virtual school heads to use Pupil Premium Plus (PP+) to provide targeted support to looked-after children and care leavers in further education. The department will provide a further £24 million of PP+ funding between 2023 and 2025 to expand this programme.
  • Increased the Leaving Care Allowance from £2,000 to £3,000 from 1 April 2023 to enable the young person to furnish their first home.
  • Committed to increasing the care leaver apprenticeship bursary from August 2023 from £1,000 to £3,000. Local authorities must provide a £2,000 bursary for care leavers who go to university.
  • The department is providing £99.8 million to local authorities to increase the number of care leavers that stay living with their foster families in a family home up to the age of 21 through the ‘Staying Put’ programme.
  • The department are providing £53 million to increase the number of young people leaving residential care who receive practical help with move-on accommodation, including ongoing support from a keyworker, through the ‘Staying Close’ programme.
  • The department are providing an additional £3.2 million to local authorities per year to provide extra support to care leavers at highest risk of rough sleeping.

Our ambitions for reform, set out in the ‘stable homes, built on love’ strategy and consultation, put loving and stable relationships at the heart of children’s social care. This includes the mission that by 2027, every care-experienced child and young person will feel that they have strong, loving relationships in place.

As outlined in ‘stable homes, built on love’ the department is providing over £30 million in the next two years to significantly increase the number of local authorities with family finding, befriending and mentoring programmes. The department also wants to increase the accessibility and take-up of the Independent Visitors offer by working with the sector to reinforce current good practice and developing standards for Independent Visitor services. Additionally, the department is assessing levels of interest in introducing a way for care-experienced people to legally formalise a lifelong bond with someone they care about, such as a former foster carer or family friend. The ‘stable homes, built on love’ consultation is attached.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Apr 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Barran on 3 April (HL6647),  what discussions they have had with (1) Barclays LifeSkills, (2) EVERFI, (3) HSBC, (4) Lloyds Banking Group, (5) NatWest MoneySense, (6) Santander Moneywise, and (7) other financial education providers, about improving financial education in the UK.

The department has had conversations with a number of external organisations to understand what financial education programmes they deliver. This includes conversations with Barclays LifeSkills, Santander MoneyWise, the Just Finance Foundation, the Church of England, the Financial Times’ Financial Literacy and Inclusion Campaign, Young Enterprise and KickStart money.

The department has not spoken to the other organisations included in this list, but does work closely with The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) and His Majesty’s Treasury to consider how we can support the teaching of financial education in schools. MaPS, as an arm’s length body sponsored by the Department for Work and Pensions, published their UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing in January 2020. This is a ten-year framework to help UK citizens to make the most of their money and pensions. One of the key themes of their strategy is to support the financial wellbeing of children and young people. Their national goal is to ensure that two million more children and young people receive a meaningful financial education by 2030.

Education on financial matters throughout secondary school helps to ensure that pupils are prepared to manage their money well, make sound financial decisions and know where to seek further information when needed. Children should receive age appropriate financial education as part of compulsory education, so that those who leave school early can benefit. Financial education forms part of the citizenship National Curriculum, at Key Stages 3 and 4, but can be taught by all schools at all Key Stages. The subject covers the functions and uses of money, the importance of personal budgeting, money management, and managing financial risk. At secondary school, pupils are taught about income and expenditure, credit and debt, insurance, savings and pensions, financial products and services, and how public money is raised and spent.

The mathematics curriculum includes a strong emphasis on the essential arithmetic that primary pupils should be taught. A strong grasp of mathematics will underpin pupils’ ability to manage budgets and money, including, for example, using percentages. The secondary mathematics curriculum develops pupils’ understanding in relation to more complex personal finance issues such as calculating loan repayments, interest rates and compound interest.

MaPS has published financial education guidance for primary and secondary schools and we will deliver a series of webinars in due course. The MaPS guidance can be found attached.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to promote financial literacy in schools.

Education on financial matters helps to ensure that young people are prepared to manage their money well, make sound financial decisions and know where to seek further information when needed.

Finance education forms part of the citizenship National Curriculum, at Key Stages 3 and 4, but can be taught by all schools at all Key Stages. The subject covers the functions and uses of money, the importance of personal budgeting, money management, and managing financial risk. At secondary school, pupils are taught about income and expenditure, credit and debt, insurance, savings and pensions, financial products and services, and how public money is raised and spent.

The mathematics curriculum includes a strong emphasis on the essential arithmetic that primary pupils should be taught. A strong grasp of mathematics will underpin pupils’ ability to manage budgets and money, including, for example, using percentages. The secondary mathematics curriculum develops pupils’ understanding in relation to more complex personal finance issues such as calculating loan repayments, interest rates and compound interest.

My right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, has set out a new mission to ensure all pupils study some form of mathematics to 18. Studying mathematics to 18 will equip young people with the quantitative and statistical skills that they will need for the jobs of today and the future. This includes having the knowledge to feel confident with finances in later life, including things like finding the best mortgage deal or savings rate.

The Department works with the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) and HM Treasury to support the effective teaching of financial education. MaPS has published financial education guidance for primary and secondary schools, and we will deliver a series of webinars in due course. The MaPS financial education guidance for primary and secondary schools can be found in the attached documents.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many local authority maintained schools designated as rural were shut down in (1) 2019, (2) 2020, and (3) 2021.

The table below shows the number of mainstream local authority maintained primary schools that are designated by order as rural as part of the Rural Primary Schools Designation and have closed in the years stated in the question. This data has been taken from Get Information About Schools, the department’s register of schools. Schools are identified as rural via the Office of National Statistics Rural Urban Classification. The data excludes closures of schools which are not local authority maintained primary schools as set out in Section 15 (4) of Education and Inspections Act 2006.

Calendar Year

Number of rural schools closed

2019

7

2020

7

2021

3

The presumption against the closure of rural schools means that when considering proposals to close a rural local authority maintained primary school, decision makers must refer to the list of rural designated schools. This does not mean that a rural school will never close, but that the case for closure should be strong and clearly in the best interests of educational provision in the area. The bodies listed under Section 16 (1) of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 are also required to be consulted when proposing the closure of a rural local authority maintained primary school, and other alternatives to closure must have been considered.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Baroness Barran on 9 January (HL4502 and HL4503), what current research informs their statutory curriculum for relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) with regard to gambling education.

The current statutory guidance for relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) was informed by a stakeholder engagement process in 2017, including a public call for evidence that received over 23,000 responses from parents, young people, schools and experts.

The department has worked closely with subject experts Parent Zone and Childnet to develop the Internet Safety and Harms training module, which includes content on gambling and was published in September 2020, alongside modules on all aspects of the RSHE curriculum.

The department is also working closely with Gambling with Lives and the Department of Health and Social Care to review the ongoing evidence around gambling to help inform future policy. The research currently being undertaken for the department by IFF Research will test whether schools are teaching RSHE effectively, including about the risks of gambling, and will provide emerging findings to inform decisions regarding the department’s review of the RSHE statutory guidance which is anticipated to start this year.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports of an increase in the number of pupils who are ineligible for free school meals being unable to afford lunch.

The Department is aware of these reports and continues to monitor current issues affecting families, such as the rising cost of living and the effect this is having on school food. In particular, the Department continues to keep free school meals (FSM) eligibility under review to ensure these meals are supporting those who most need them. FSM are currently provided to over one third of school children.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Dec 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of the statutory guidance Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education in preventing harmful gambling by school pupils.

The statutory curriculum for relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) covers the risks relating to gambling, including the accumulation of debt. This can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education.

Teaching about gambling and financial risks is also reinforced by other curriculum areas, including teaching financial literacy in citizenship and relevant topics in mathematics.

To support teachers to deliver these topics safely and with confidence, we have produced RSHE teacher training modules that are free to download from GOV.UK and include the dangers associated with gambling. These can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-relationships-sex-and-health.

The department is monitoring the implementation of RSHE, including measuring teacher confidence in teaching the statutory requirements. The department has contracted with IFF Research to undertake a national survey of headteachers, RSHE leads and RSHE teachers, supported by qualitative research with school staff and pupils.

The research will assess whether schools are teaching the subjects effectively and how good teaching of different topics can affect wider outcomes. It will also seek evidence on how to deliver high-quality teaching which the department will use to inform any further support. The research will provide emerging findings to inform decisions about our review of the RSHE statutory guidance. The department anticipates the final report of this research will be published in early 2024.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Dec 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have to review the statutory guidance Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education to provide further clarification on what pupils should know about online gambling.

The statutory curriculum for relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) covers the risks relating to gambling, including the accumulation of debt. This can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education.

Teaching about gambling and financial risks is also reinforced by other curriculum areas, including teaching financial literacy in citizenship and relevant topics in mathematics.

To support teachers to deliver these topics safely and with confidence, we have produced RSHE teacher training modules that are free to download from GOV.UK and include the dangers associated with gambling. These can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-relationships-sex-and-health.

The department is monitoring the implementation of RSHE, including measuring teacher confidence in teaching the statutory requirements. The department has contracted with IFF Research to undertake a national survey of headteachers, RSHE leads and RSHE teachers, supported by qualitative research with school staff and pupils.

The research will assess whether schools are teaching the subjects effectively and how good teaching of different topics can affect wider outcomes. It will also seek evidence on how to deliver high-quality teaching which the department will use to inform any further support. The research will provide emerging findings to inform decisions about our review of the RSHE statutory guidance. The department anticipates the final report of this research will be published in early 2024.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Dec 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have to expand the National School Breakfast Programme.

The government is committed to continuing support for school breakfasts and has extended the National School Breakfast Programme (NSBP) for an additional year in November. We are investing up to £30 million in our national school breakfast programme until the end of the summer term in 2024. This funding will support up to 2,500 schools in disadvantaged areas, meaning that thousands of children from low-income families will be offered free nutritious breakfasts to better support their attainment and wellbeing.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to ensure that the teaching of British values in schools respects protected characteristics, freedom of speech, and the freedom of conscience.

All schools must offer a curriculum which is balanced and broad, and which promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental, and physical development of pupils and prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities, and experiences of later life. The department expects all schools to promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance.

As part of a broad and balanced curriculum, pupils should be taught about different societies, and how different groups have contributed to the development of Britain, and this can include experiences and voices of people from all backgrounds. The curriculum offers many opportunities for schools to do this, notably through citizenship education and relationships, sex, and health education (RSHE).

The RSHE curriculum has a strong focus on equality, respect, the harmful impact of stereotyping, as well as the importance of valuing difference. The citizenship curriculum includes content on democracy and human rights.

In delivering the curriculum, schools should be aware of their duties relating to political impartiality as set out under the Education Act 1996, and must ensure that, where political issues are discussed in the classroom, they are presented in a balanced way.

Pupils should learn about equality, kindness, and respect, and it is for schools to decide how they teach these important values. The department believes in the importance of these shared values which are taught and reinforced every single day in schools across the UK.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what evidence they have that the requirement in the statutory guidance Relationship Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education, published in June 2019, that “pupils should know … the risks related to online gambling including the accumulation of debt” has assisted in reducing gambling among those under 18 years old.

The statutory guidance for Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education (RSHE) was published in June 2019 and the subject has been compulsory since September 2020. As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, some schools have only just started to deliver their RSHE curricula and others are planning to start theirs later this year.

Due to this, it is too early to assess the impact of the RSHE curriculum on pupils’ knowledge and skills, including gathering evidence of any link between teaching and a reduction in gambling among those under 18 years of age. However, the statutory guidance is clear that pupils should be taught about the risks related to online gambling, including the accumulation of debt, how advertising and information is targeted at them and how to be a discerning consumer of information online.

The department has published a one-stop page for teachers, including training modules developed by subject experts and teachers. This is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-relationships-sex-and-health.

In particular, ‘teacher training: internet safety and harms’ includes teaching about the risks related to online gambling. The module also covers the law in relation to gambling and that for many gambling activities the legal age is 18. Pupils are taught how to be resilient towards gambling, the signs of problem gambling, and how and where to access support, including for debt and gambling addiction. More information on this module is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teacher-training-internet-safety-and-harms.

The department is developing plans to monitor the implementation of RSHE over the coming years and will continue to build its evidence base to inform future RSHE policy, including by working with other government departments to access relevant data and influence research plans as appropriate.

11th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the decision not to pay for the tuition of disadvantaged students on the Turing scheme on the ability of such students to study abroad.

Rather than being EU-focused, the Turing Scheme is truly global, and every country in the world will be eligible to partner with UK educational settings. It will be backed by £110 million of taxpayers’ money to support international projects and activities during the 2021/22 academic year. This will provide funding for around 35,000 students in universities, colleges, and schools to go on placements and exchanges overseas – a similar number as under Erasmus+.

Under Erasmus+, we have seen that UK undergraduates from more advantaged backgrounds have been 1.7 times more likely to participate in mobilities compared to disadvantaged students. The Turing Scheme is targeted at all students, particularly the most disadvantaged. More information is available on the website: www.turing-scheme.org.uk, and in the Programme Guide, which can be accessed here: https://www.turing-scheme.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/The-Turing-Scheme-Guide-V1.pdf.

Erasmus+ only provides travel support to partner countries, which make up less than 3% of the total number of outgoing Erasmus+ UK higher education mobilities. Unlike Erasmus+, the Turing Scheme provides support for travel costs to all destinations. For schools and colleges, all participants will receive travel funding. For disadvantaged students in higher education, the Turing Scheme will provide travel costs to all destinations. We are also going further than just direct travel costs, offering support for visas, passports, insurance and other related costs for disadvantaged students.

All participating students will receive grants to contribute towards their cost of living, which will be dependent on the destination country. Under Erasmus+, higher education students can receive a maximum of €540 per month for the cost of living in programme countries, including the disadvantaged supplement. For an Erasmus+ study placement, this includes €370-420 per month for cost of living, plus €120 per month disadvantaged uplift. Under the Turing Scheme, participants can receive the equivalent of a maximum of €573 per month. This includes the equivalent of €392-445 per month for the cost of living, plus a €129 per month disadvantaged uplift. These rates are based on an exchange rate of 1.17 Euro to 1 Pound Sterling. Students can continue to apply for student finance.

For all students participating in the Turing Scheme, we expect tuition fees to be waived by host institutions, as is typical under Erasmus+ and other exchange schemes. This is a matter for individual institutions to agree, and something that universities do as a matter of course when they form exchange partnerships with international providers.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the differences between (1) the Turing scheme, and (2) the Erasmus+ scheme.

Rather than being EU-focused, the Turing Scheme is truly global, and every country in the world will be eligible to partner with UK educational settings. It will be backed by £110 million of taxpayers’ money to support international projects and activities during the 2021/22 academic year. This will provide funding for around 35,000 students in universities, colleges, and schools to go on placements and exchanges overseas – a similar number as under Erasmus+.

Under Erasmus+, we have seen that UK undergraduates from more advantaged backgrounds have been 1.7 times more likely to participate in mobilities compared to disadvantaged students. The Turing Scheme is targeted at all students, particularly the most disadvantaged. More information is available on the website: www.turing-scheme.org.uk, and in the Programme Guide, which can be accessed here: https://www.turing-scheme.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/The-Turing-Scheme-Guide-V1.pdf.

Erasmus+ only provides travel support to partner countries, which make up less than 3% of the total number of outgoing Erasmus+ UK higher education mobilities. Unlike Erasmus+, the Turing Scheme provides support for travel costs to all destinations. For schools and colleges, all participants will receive travel funding. For disadvantaged students in higher education, the Turing Scheme will provide travel costs to all destinations. We are also going further than just direct travel costs, offering support for visas, passports, insurance and other related costs for disadvantaged students.

All participating students will receive grants to contribute towards their cost of living, which will be dependent on the destination country. Under Erasmus+, higher education students can receive a maximum of €540 per month for the cost of living in programme countries, including the disadvantaged supplement. For an Erasmus+ study placement, this includes €370-420 per month for cost of living, plus €120 per month disadvantaged uplift. Under the Turing Scheme, participants can receive the equivalent of a maximum of €573 per month. This includes the equivalent of €392-445 per month for the cost of living, plus a €129 per month disadvantaged uplift. These rates are based on an exchange rate of 1.17 Euro to 1 Pound Sterling. Students can continue to apply for student finance.

For all students participating in the Turing Scheme, we expect tuition fees to be waived by host institutions, as is typical under Erasmus+ and other exchange schemes. This is a matter for individual institutions to agree, and something that universities do as a matter of course when they form exchange partnerships with international providers.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) what assurances they have sought from Edenred that the food voucher scheme will work for all those who require them; (2) what plans they have to provide emergency aid to those who are unable to benefit from the scheme; and (3) what plans they have to seek financial compensation from Edenred.

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

During this period, we are asking schools to support children who are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals, by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. We know that many schools are successfully delivering food parcels or arranging food collections for eligible children, and we encourage this approach where it is possible. However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the Department for Education.

Through the national voucher scheme, schools and families could initially access e-gift cards for Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer. On Monday 27 April, we added Aldi to this list and on Wednesday 29 April, we added McColl’s. We recognise that it may not be convenient or possible for some families to visit one of these supermarkets and we have been working with a range of retailers to see if they can be added to this list. This would involve them having the right infrastructure to deliver e-gift cards across all their stores.

If schools wish to provide vouchers through a supermarket that is not part of our national scheme, they can make their own voucher arrangements locally. Our guidance for schools sets out that they can be reimbursed for costs incurred where the national voucher scheme is not suitable for their families, and this can include alternative voucher arrangements with supermarkets that are not part of the national voucher scheme.

In terms of the financial arrangements with our supplier, Edenred, we can confirm that we are only paying for the face value of goods delivered – in this case, vouchers.

Voucher codes are being processed through the national scheme and many thousands of families are redeeming them. As of Friday 22 May, Edenred reported that more than £101.5 million worth of voucher codes have been redeemed into supermarket e-gift cards by schools and families. As of Tuesday 12 May, Edenred reported that 17,000 schools had placed an order. We have been working closely with Edenred to improve the scheme, and we thank schools using the system for their patience while it has been upgraded to meet increased demand.

12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they can take to encourage all food shops to accept food vouchers.

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

During this period, we are asking schools to support children who are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals, by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. We know that many schools are successfully delivering food parcels or arranging food collections for eligible children, and we encourage this approach where it is possible. However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the Department for Education.

Through the national voucher scheme, schools and families could initially access e-gift cards for Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer. On Monday 27 April, we added Aldi to this list and on Wednesday 29 April, we added McColl’s. We recognise that it may not be convenient or possible for some families to visit one of these supermarkets and we have been working with a range of retailers to see if they can be added to this list. This would involve them having the right infrastructure to deliver e-gift cards across all their stores.

If schools wish to provide vouchers through a supermarket that is not part of our national scheme, they can make their own voucher arrangements locally. Our guidance for schools sets out that they can be reimbursed for costs incurred where the national voucher scheme is not suitable for their families, and this can include alternative voucher arrangements with supermarkets that are not part of the national voucher scheme.

In terms of the financial arrangements with our supplier, Edenred, we can confirm that we are only paying for the face value of goods delivered – in this case, vouchers.

Voucher codes are being processed through the national scheme and many thousands of families are redeeming them. As of Friday 22 May, Edenred reported that more than £101.5 million worth of voucher codes have been redeemed into supermarket e-gift cards by schools and families. As of Tuesday 12 May, Edenred reported that 17,000 schools had placed an order. We have been working closely with Edenred to improve the scheme, and we thank schools using the system for their patience while it has been upgraded to meet increased demand.

17th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have to manage grocery inflation in light of disruption to the Red Sea and the potential delay in shipping times.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain, which is well equipped to deal with situations with the potential to cause disruption.

Our high degree of food security is built on supply from diverse sources: strong domestic production as well as imports through stable trade routes. The proportion of UK food imports using the Red Sea routes is extremely small and we do not expect the disruption to have a significant impact on UK consumer food prices in the short term.

We produce 60% of all the food we need, and 73% of food which we can grow or rear in the UK for all or part of the year. These figures have changed little over the last 20 years, and the Government is committed to maintaining the amount of food produced domestically to support our farmers.

Lord Douglas-Miller
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the need to invest in infrastructure and technology to support food waste valorisation to reduce (1) greenhouse gas emissions, and (2) the amount of waste sent to landfill.

New provisions in the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (as amended by the Environment Act 2021) will require all local authorities and relevant non-domestic premises in England to arrange for the collection of food waste for recycling. Our preference is for food waste to be separately collected for treatment by anaerobic digestion which produces biogas and significant carbon savings over sending food waste to landfill.

This will help achieve our commitment for at least 65% of municipal waste by weight to be recycled by 2035, with no more than 10% ending up in landfill. It will also support our commitment to explore options for the near elimination of biodegradable municipal waste to landfill from 2028.

Government currently supports anaerobic digestion (AD) through the Green Gas Support Scheme (GGSS), which provides tariff-support for AD-produced biomethane injected into the gas grid.

Through a minimum waste feedstock threshold, and lifecycle greenhouse gas criteria, the GGSS encourages the use of waste feedstocks for biomethane production due to their significantly greater upstream carbon savings compared to sending those wastes to landfill.

Lord Douglas-Miller
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to promote the adoption of cold chain methods globally to reduce food loss and waste in supply chains.

Defra is supporting action to reduce food loss internationally through the Official Development Assistance funded Sustainable Cooling and Cold Chain Solutions programme. This programme promotes the adoption of sustainable cold chain solutions by providing policy and technical assistance to improve cold chain availability, and through capacity building to reduce food waste resulting from lack of efficient cold chain in countries predominantly across Africa and Asia. This programme has funded the Africa Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Cooling and Cold Chain (ACES) – a first-of-kind Centre dedicated to sustainable cooling, cold-chain and post-harvest management, launching from March this year.

Lord Douglas-Miller
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to provide education and outreach programmes to consumers to reduce food waste and promote sustainable food choices.

Defra funds the Waste and Resources Action Programme’s citizen campaigns such as Food Waste Action Week (18-24 March 2024) and Love Food Hate Waste, which aim to raise public awareness of food waste and the ways in which we can all reduce it. We support retailers and food businesses with the development of best practice advice and guidance to make sure their products help consumers to waste less, for instance, through storage advice.

To support consumers who wish to make more sustainable food choices, Defra is developing a mandatory methodology for the voluntary labelling of food and drink products.

Lord Douglas-Miller
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Dec 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to assist farmers transitioning towards net zero; and what steps, if any, they are taking to (1) support carbon auditing on farms, (2) standardise carbon calculators, and (3) invest in water management infrastructure.

We are taking a range of measures to support farmers’ transition to net zero. We are investing in a range of actions through farming schemes such as the Sustainable Farming Incentive and Countryside Stewardship and Landscape Recovery. Our schemes will help farmers deliver environmental outcomes on the land they manage while helping their businesses become more productive and sustainable.


We will also pay farmers for improvements to animal health and welfare, as those improvements in turn can support lower emissions and improve productivity. We will also support market-led approaches such as improved productivity and use of precision techniques.


Robust and accurate carbon audits which are based on business-level data can be valuable in benchmarking performance and help farm businesses plan and action decarbonising measures and enhance management of negative emissions. To help farmers confidently understand the emissions on their land and take advantage of the new financial opportunities this will unlock, we are committed to developing a harmonised approach to measuring carbon on farms. We are also considering how we can best support the implementation of carbon audits through a controlled expansion of the Defra Farming and Countryside Programme sustainable farming advice offer.


We recognise the challenges in improving the robustness and consistency of carbon auditing tools. Defra is currently funding a 'Harmonisation of Carbon Accounting Tools for Agriculture' project to assess the level of divergence between a number of market leading carbon calculators, to understand the causes of this divergence and how it impacts tool users and consider recommendations for harmonisation. Defra aims to publish the full research report in 2024. Building on this research and working with existing tool providers, Defra aims to support carbon tool providers to harmonise their underlying methodologies so that outputs are consistent and comparable, and their ability to serve different customer needs is maintained.


Defra is also working to provide greater access to the calculations and the models developed as part of the UK’s Agricultural Inventory of Ammonia and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions to interested third parties. This will support longer term alignment between the UK’s national GHG accounts and primary data gathered from farms


The Government and the Environment Agency also support the agricultural sector with the Water Management Grant, under the Farming Transformation Fund, for the construction of new on-farm reservoirs and the adoption of best practice irrigation application equipment to help ensure farmers have access to water when they need it most. Through the first round of the grant, launched in November 2021, we are forecast to create an additional 4.7million cubic meters of reservoir storage. The total investment in reservoirs and irrigation equipment is predicted to be £7.4 million. Round 2 of the grant was launched in April 2023 with a total budget of £10 million.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Sep 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how much grant-funding was paid to village halls seeking to improve and modernise their facilities in (1) 2019, (2) 2020, (3) 2021, and (4) 2022.

Village halls received grant funding to improve and modernise their facilities under the Village Hall Improvement Grant Fund in the amounts of (1) £392,228 in financial year 2019-2020, (2) £1,180,917 in financial year 2020-2021, (3) £868,357 in financial year 2021-2022, and (4) £203,742 in financial year 2022-2023.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Sep 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support regenerative agriculture.

Environmental land management (ELM) is the foundation of our new approach to farming. ELM includes the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI). This pays farmers for actions that support food production and can help improve farm productivity and resilience, while protecting and improving the environment. It will support sustainable food production and contribute towards the environmental targets set out in the government’s Environmental Improvement Plan. The SFI 2023 opened for applications on 18 September 2023, and farmers who have a live SFI 2023 agreement before the end of the year will receive an accelerated payment in the first month of their agreement.

ELM’s Landscape Recovery (LR) scheme also supports a regenerative approach to agriculture. It focuses on restoring nature across a wider landscape, bringing together landowners and managers who want to take a more large-scale, long-term approach to producing environmental and climate goods on their land.  Projects involving elements of regenerative farming can apply. Round two LR pilot applications closed on 21 September 2023, but we have committed to launching a further round in 2024 and expect to continue to launch at least annual rounds in future years as we scale the scheme up.

Our Countryside Stewardship scheme includes actions that can form part of a regenerative or restorative farming approach: to improve soil quality, enhance biodiversity, decrease water pollution, and restore, create, and manage habitats. We are expanding the scheme to make around 30 additional actions available to farmers by the end of 2024, as well as targeting our funding towards actions in places where they can have the biggest impacts, in ways that are joined up across larger areas.

We are also offering farmers and land managers, including those who take a regenerative approach, funding for equipment, technology, and infrastructure that improves farm productivity and benefits the environment through the Farming Investment Fund. This offers funding for equipment, technology, and infrastructure that improves farm productivity and benefits the environment.

The Farming Innovation Programme encourages groups of farmers, growers, businesses, and researchers to get involved in collaborative research and development. Farmers testing out regenerative approaches to agriculture will be able to apply for these grants, and we believe that by working together, they will be able to solve challenges and exploit opportunities for increasing productivity and environmental sustainability in the agricultural and horticultural sectors in England.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Sep 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Benyon on 24 July (HL9373), how much has been paid out as part of the Farming Investment Fund.

The Farming Investment Fund (FIF) provides grants to farmers, foresters and growers (including contractors) to invest in the equipment, technology and infrastructure that will help their businesses grow, whilst increasing farm productivity and environmental sustainability. We have paid out over £46 million to date. This includes smaller value grants towards a specified list of items proven to be effective in raising farm productivity alongside environmental sustainability and animal health and welfare outcomes. It also includes larger grants run on a more flexible model where applicants are making higher-value investments for more significant infrastructure and equipment that is transformative to their farm businesses such as on-farm reservoirs, slurry storage and automation and robotics.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Sep 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the results of Star Count 2023 project published by CPRE, the countryside charity.

The Government has not made a formal assessment of the results of CPRE’s Star Count 2023. We recognise that light pollution may have an impact on people and the environment and have put in place a range of measures to ensure that artificial light is managed effectively. These include controls in the planning system, the statutory nuisance regime, and improvements in street lighting.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government whether they intend to take forward in the current parliamentary session the provisions of the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill on livestock worrying.

The Government takes the issue of livestock worrying very seriously, recognising the distress this can cause farmers and animals, as well as the financial implications. We will be taking forward measures from the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill individually through other means during the remainder of this Parliament.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what support exists for farmers who are not claimants of the Basic Payment Scheme and who want to plant hedges and trees for the purpose of carbon sequestration.

There are several options available for farmers who are not claimants of the Basic Payment Scheme. Under the Countryside Stewardship (CS) Scheme, we pay for the management of hedgerows by rotational cutting and leaving some hedgerows uncut (BE3) and capital grants to plant and restore hedgerows. This includes hedgerow laying, hedgerow cropping and hedgerow gapping up.

We pay for actions to create woodland under CS and the England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO). This includes capital grants which are required to create woodland, such as planting trees and allowing natural colonisation of trees. Producing woodland creation plans ensure all proposals for new woodland consider any impacts on existing biodiversity, landscape character, water, soil and the historic environment, and that local stakeholders have been consulted. Maintenance payments are also essential to support the establishment of young trees.

Woodland creation maintenance payments currently exist across multiple schemes including CS, EWCO and the Tree Health Pilot. We plan to bring these together into a single offer when EWCO transitions into the Environmental Land Management schemes. For Woodland management, under CS, we pay for producing a woodland management plan, woodland improvement and restoring plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites.

Farmers and land managers can also apply to get money for projects that support carbon sequestration via our Landscape Recovery Scheme.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what incentive schemes exist to promote the uptake of renewables among British farmers.

Food production is the primary purpose of farming and we are backing British farmersdelivering long-term energy security with more renewables.


At the No 10 Farm to Fork Summit, the Government committed to expand this year’s grant offer for farmers to fund investments in barn-top solar. This will first be available for cattle farmers wishing to install solar alongside wider upgrades to their calf housing as part of the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway.


Government have also announced the Farming Investment Fund, which supports farmers investing in technologies with improved energy-use efficiency and use of renewable energy, and have provided funding for the Farming Innovation Programme which offers support to industry-driven research into innovative technologies. Government is also exploring renewable energy sources such as capturing methane on farms for use as biogas and green fuels for farm machinery, supporting further research into innovative new technologies.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Benyon on 13 June (HL8317), how many (1) arrests, and (2) prosecutions, were made in connection to livestock worrying in the last four years.

Defra does not hold this information. Data on arrests and prosecutions may be held by individual police forces or by the courts.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what exemptions will there be to the general ban on the sale of peat and peat-containing products in the retail horticultural sector from 2024.

In August last year Ministers announced that the Government in England would be banning the sale of peat for use in the amateur gardening sector by 2024. We intend to provide various exemptions for professional growers up to 2030, including those for mushroom growing and plug plants. Discussions with stakeholders on the detail of these exemptions are ongoing. The legislation implementing our proposals will be introduced when Parliamentary time allows.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support farmers who suffer from livestock worrying.

The Government takes the issue of livestock worrying very seriously, recognising the distress this can cause farmers and animals, as well as the financial implications. Section 3 of the Animals Act 1971 provides that anyone who is the keeper of a dog which causes damage by killing or injuring livestock will be liable for that damage. Furthermore, farmers can obtain and claim on their insurance in relation to losses incurred as a result of livestock worrying incidents. As highlighted in our 2021 Action Plan for Animal Welfare, we look forward to progressing the delivery of additional measures to tackle livestock worrying soon.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th May 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what are their current plans for exercising powers to be granted to them under the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Repeal) Bill in relation to the Habitats Directive.

Defra has been clear in its commitments to uphold and not weaken environmental protections. That is why our approach has always been to keep REUL, unless there is a good reason to either remove it from the statute book or reform it. That approach is now also reflected in the legislation, as the recently tabled Government amendment will mean that REUL is retained unless it is specifically cited in the revocation schedule. The Habitats Regulations are not on the schedule and therefore will not be revoked by the Bill. Defra is carefully considering the use of REUL Bill powers in the context of the Habitats Regulations.

We remain committed to our ambitious plans of the Net Zero Strategy and the Environment Improvement Plan 2023. We are clear that any REUL reform must be consistent with international obligations, including the various Multilateral Environment Agreements we are signatory to, such as the Bern Convention and the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Apr 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how much was paid to farmers through the Slurry Infrastructure grant in 2022.

To date no payments are due under the Slurry Infrastructure Grant. The Rural Payments Agency has been assessing approximately 1,300 expressions of interest and will be inviting those applicants in the highest priority areas to submit a full application by the deadline of 24 June 2024. Once work has been completed claims will be submitted and payments issued.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the authenticity of British honey, following the investigation by the European Commission's Anti-Fraud Office and the Joint Research Centre in which all British honey samples failed authenticity tests.

The UK Government takes any type of food fraud very seriously, including honey adulteration. Defra works closely with enforcement authorities, the Food Standards Agency, and the National Food Crime Unit to ensure honey sold in the UK is not subject to adulteration, meets our high standards and maintains a level playing field between honey producers.

The UK welcomes the EU’s study assessing adulteration of honey with added sugars. There is no place for adulterated honey which undermines consumer confidence and disadvantages responsible businesses acting within the law.

We are working closely with the Food Standards Agency to follow up on the small number of honey samples, exported via the UK, which were flagged as suspicious for adulteration with added sugars. We will need to await the outcome of these enquiries before drawing any definitive conclusions relating to the UK results. We will act immediately if we find any wrongdoing as part of the investigation

Honey is a complex natural and variable product, meaning analysis can often be challenging. There are a range of different techniques available to ensure compliance with the Honey (England) Regulations 2015, which are like those in place in the EU. No single test can definitively determine a honey’s authenticity and a weight of evidence approach, including traceability investigation, is often needed regardless of the results of laboratory testing.

We support the EU’s call for increased efforts and cooperation in developing harmonised methods for detecting added sugars in honey. The Government has an active programme of research dedicated to honey authenticity, working to support monitoring and enforcement and to protect consumers and legitimate businesses.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Benyon on 21 March (HL6421), how many grants they made to private landowners for support with the costs described in (1) 2022, (2) 2021, (3) 2020, and (4) 2019.

The Government provides grants for private landowners, to help with costs associated with ecological surveys and felling roadside ash with ash dieback, through the Tree Health Grant Pilot. This scheme provides financial and technical support to facilitators to coordinate the removal of dangerous ash trees along roads and public paths for groups of landowners. Support covers the costs and administration of ecological surveys, felling licences, protected species licences (if needed) and road closure permissions, as well as restocking.

Pilots are running in the North West, the South East, London and the West Midlands and landowners are eligible if they have ash with ash dieback along roads or paths. The pilot launched in August 2021 and the full scheme is expected to be launched Nationwide in 2025. The numbers of grants made under this pilot for ash dieback so far are:

  • 2022: 4 grants, totalling £157,846.54

Following this low uptake, Defra is working with the Forestry Commission and the Tree Council to review and improve the provision for ash with ash dieback along roads and paths. Defra has also brought together local authorities in the pilot areas to provide feedback on the ash offer and how it can be improved to better suit their needs. Following an independent evaluation report, which included several recommendations from local authorities, Defra has amended the ash offer and this improved offer will be launched across the pilot areas in April.

Local authorities can also apply for funds to restore landscapes ecologically degraded by ash dieback and other pressures through the Local Authority Treescapes Fund (LATF), also launched in 2021. Although local authorities must lead applications to this fund, they are able to work with private landowners and other organisations to deliver recovery planting. Since 2021, over £15m has been awarded through this fund, although the number of private landowners receiving funding is determined by the local authorities administering funding, and Defra do not hold data on this. The grant is currently open for 2023 applications. The numbers of grants made to local authorities under LATF so far are:

  • 2021: 42 grants, totalling £8.5m
  • 2022: 35 grants, totalling £6.7m
Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Benyon on 21 March (HL6420), what steps they are taking to provide financial (1) assistance, or (2) compensation, to those carrying out Statutory Plant Health Notices.

Statutory Plant Health Notices (SPHNs), requiring the felling and/or destruction of infected trees or the containment of susceptible material, are issued to prevent the spread of tree pests and diseases.

It has been the policy of successive governments not to pay compensation for plant health measures, as we believe that resources should be directed at the detection of pests and diseases, risk management and research. Protecting plant health is not an issue for the Government alone. The current arrangements ensure that everyone shares a common understanding of biosecurity and their role and responsibilities.


Individual landowners are responsible for the care and management of trees on their land; however, Government advice and financial support is available. Detailed case-specific advice is available from Forestry Commission Woodland Officers, who can support landowners with undertaking SPHN actions, and the Countryside Stewardship Scheme provides financial support for those affected by certain tree diseases. This includes support for the removal of Phytophthora ramorum infected trees and rhododendron, and grants for restocking following clearance because of this and other diseases (e.g. ash dieback and sweet chestnut blight).

In 2021, we launched a series of pilot grant schemes for land managers, which test and refine different ways to slow the spread of tree pests and diseases and build the resilience of our treescape in the North West, the South East (including London) and the West Midlands. The Forestry Commission will support the felling and restocking of trees as well as providing maintenance payments for restock sites. Land managers are eligible if they have:

  • Ash with ash dieback
  • Larch with Phytophthora ramorum
  • Spruce growing in the high-risk spruce bark beetle area
  • Sweet chestnut with either Sweet Chestnut Blight or Phytophthora ramorum
  • Oak infested with Oak Processionary Moth

In 2023 we introduced the tree health advice package for all SPHN holders[1], which aims to build land managers knowledge and awareness of tree health issues and woodland management, through providing funding for forestry/land agent advice and consultation to assist in creating a biosecurity management plan, and funding for biosecurity training and a personal biosecurity kit.

[1] Statutory Plant Health Notice (SPHN) advice package - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the percentage of (1) tomatoes, (2) peas, (3) onions, and (4) carrots, consumed in England that were imported; and for each of those types of produce, what were the countries of origin of those imports.

For the UK in 2021, imports accounted for 83% of domestic consumption of fresh tomatoes, 8% of peas, 43% of onions, and 6% of carrots. Figures for England are not available as statistics on overseas trade cover the UK as a whole.

For UK imports of tomatoes, the top three trading countries by volume were the Netherlands, Morocco, and Spain, out of 20 countries in total. For peas it was Guatemala, Peru and Kenya, out of 39 countries in total. For onions it was the Netherlands, Spain and Egypt out of 43 countries. For carrots Spain, the Netherlands, and Israel were the top three out of 28 countries in total.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what was the average income of farmers in the UK in (1) 2022, (2) 2021, (3) 2020, and (4) 2019.

The average Farm Business Income for farms in the UK are as follows;

2019/20 £39,000

2020/21 £46,500

2021/22 not yet available

These have been taken from https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1088561/AUK-Chapter3-14jul22.ods and have been compiled from the 4 devolved Farm Business Surveys. Defra are only responsible for the English data.

The average Farm Business Income for farms in England only, from the Defra Farm Business Survey are as follows;

2019/20 £46,000

2020/21 £51,900

2021/22 £86,100

2022/23 to be published Nov 2023

Taken from Farm Business Income by type of farm in England 2021/22 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Data are reported on a March – February year, so 2021/22 year includes the 2021 harvest and BPS payments (March 21 – Feb 22)

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Benyon on 8 March (HL5863), how much they paid to farmers in 2022 as part of the Avian Influenza Compensation scheme.

In 2022, a total of £41.0 million was paid in compensation to bird keepers whose flocks were culled for avian influenza disease control purposes.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what resources they are making available to implement their Plant biosecurity strategy for Great Britain (2023 to 2028), published on 9 January.

Plant health is a devolved matter. The Plant Biosecurity Strategy for Great Britain (2023-2028) sets out the joint approach that Defra, the Scottish and Welsh Governments and the Forestry Commission will take to plant biosecurity for the next five years.

Financial information is not held centrally. Collation of this information across the different government bodies which deliver plant health services (for example, Defra, the Animal and Plant Health Agency, Forestry Commission and RBG Kew) in Great Britain was not possible within the timeframe.

Defra’s annual accounts report a spend of over £330 million on animal and plant health in 2021/22. It has not been possible to provide a breakdown of this spend within the timeframe.

As part of the new plant biosecurity strategy for GB, Defra is investing in a range of new initiatives, including:

  • Over £10 million on new information technology to transform the work of the plant health service.
  • Over £4.5 million on a new Centre for Forest Protection at Forest Research and RBG Kew.
  • Defra has increased the number of plant health inspectors to meet demand since January 2021, when checks of high priority plants from the EU began, ensuring minimal disruption to trade. This includes recruiting 137 new plant health inspectors to perform import checks. New inspectors will also undertake work in the APHA expanded Internet Trading Unit, to step up monitoring of online retailers and social media sites for the trade of high-risk plant products.
  • Since 2020, we have also doubled the workforce at Border Control Posts, an essential component of the UK’s biosecurity regime.
  • To ensure that we effectively protect UK biosecurity, the UK Government will continue to monitor plant health inspector resource against the demand for checks and emerging risks of pests and disease that our imports pose. We will be publishing more details on our new risk-based approach very soon in the upcoming border Target Operating Model.
Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have to limit the spread of Hymenoscyphus fraxineus causing ash dieback in England.

Hymenoscyphus fraxineus, the fungus responsible for ash dieback disease, is spread via spores in the air/wind. The spores are produced in the leaf litter and can spread for considerable distances before infecting another ash tree. It is not possible to limit the spread of the disease at a national level, and it is now present in all counties.

The severity and impact of the disease at a local level varies by tree age and condition, climate, the presence of secondary pathogens and other environmental factors. Removal of leaf litter may be an effective way to reduce the level of inoculum in certain conditions, for example around high value trees in urban environments. Government grants are available for private landowners, to help with costs associated with ecological surveys and felling roadside ash, and also to restock with alternative species. Local authorities can also apply for funds to restore landscapes ecologically degraded by ash dieback.

The Government has invested more than £8 million to advance our scientific understanding of this disease since it was first detected, including into the development of resistant ash trees. We have conducted the world’s largest screening trials for tolerant trees and have planted over 3000 trees of 1000 genotypes in the first UK archive of tolerant ash. They have been drawn from a wide geographic spread to maximise the genetic diversity in the collection and facilitate the possibility of a future breeding programme of resilient ash.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have to limit the spread of Phytophthora ramorum in trees in England.

Phytophthora ramorum is primarily distributed across the western regions of GB affecting larch plantations. For over twelve years we have had a robust management programme in place, including aerial and ground-based surveillance and risk-based inspections at nurseries and retail sites. Scotland and Wales have their own management programmes.

Where it is found, given the economic impact of the disease to the forestry industry, Statutory Plant Health Notices are served requiring the destruction of infected trees and those nearby. Specific measures are taken related to the handling, movement and processing of larch infected with P. ramorum, to prevent the spread through the trade in timber and related products.

Government guidance and grants are available through Countryside Stewardship for restocking woodland post P. ramorum infection, and for the removal of immature larch and rhododendron. Further financial support is available through the tree health pilot, which aims to test further support for land managers, including farmers, so they can act against tree pests and diseases which attack our trees, woods, and forests.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to improve water quality in Hertfordshire.

Improving water quality remains a government priority. We have set new targets under the Environment Act to address major pressures on water. This will significantly reduce pollution from agriculture, wastewater treatment works and abandoned metal mines pollution.


In August 2022 HM Government launched the most ambitious plan to reduce sewage discharges from storm overflows in water company history - £56 billion capital investment over 25 years. We have increased the number of storm overflows monitored across the network from 10% in 2015 to almost 90% now monitored, and we will reach 100% cover by end of this year. It is this increase in monitoring which has revealed the extent of the sewage discharge problem, rather than the problem becoming worse over the years.


Water company investment in environmental improvements has been scaled up to £7.1 billion over the period 2020-25. This includes £3.1 billion invested in storm overflow improvements on approximately 800 storm overflows, 8 of which are in the Hertfordshire and North London area. In Hertfordshire, actions water companies take during this planning period will improve or protect over 200km of watercourse and support meeting Water Framework Directive objectives.


HM Government has doubled the budget of the Catchment Sensitive Farming partnership to £15m per year and provided new funding to the Environment Agency (EA) to increase farm inspections to at least 4,000 inspections a year in 2023. The EA works with local farmers across Hertfordshire to mitigate and prevent agricultural pollution. EA teams have visited 15 farms in the Hertfordshire and North London area already this year.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to address issues with the egg supply chain.

The UK egg industry operates in an open market and the value of egg commodities, including the farm gate egg price, is established by those in the supply chain including farmers, processors, wholesalers, retailers and consumers.

Recognising the challenges that the agricultural industry, including the egg sector, is facing due to the rise of input costs as a result of the war in Ukraine, the Government has put in place a number of measures to support supply chains. These include cuts to VAT and fuel duty and support through the Energy Bill Relief Scheme. We also recognise that both the poultry and egg sectors have been impacted by Avian Influenza. Defra announced changes to the Avian Influenza compensation scheme on 28 October and granted a concession to the rules for the labelling of free-range eggs from poultry that have been housed under Avian Influenza Prevention Zone with mandatory housing measures for longer than the 16-week period for which an automatic derogation applies.

The Minister for Food, Farming and Fisheries hosted an egg industry roundtable on 6 December 2022. This involved representatives from across the UK egg supply chain. The roundtable focused on the various challenges that the sector is facing. The meeting was productive with a clear willingness from all parties to address issues affecting the supply chain.

Defra continues to work closely with the egg sector and to monitor the egg market through the UK Agriculture Market Monitoring Group (UKAMMG).

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to address issues of supply for fruit and vegetables.

We remain in close contact with suppliers, who are clear that current issues relating to the availability of certain fruits and vegetables are predominately caused by poor weather in Spain and North Africa where they are produced. These issues have been caused by unseasonal weather hampering production and harvest during December and January.

We are aware some supermarkets are limiting sales of certain fruit and vegetables. While short term supplies might be tight, overall, the supply chain is robust, and we are keeping the market under review through the UK Agriculture Market Monitoring Group.

The capability, levers, and expertise to respond to disruption lie with industry.
Government's role is to support and enable an industry-led response. UK Food Security remains resilient, and we continue to expect industry to be able to mitigate supply problems through alternative sourcing options.

We work with industry bodies across the horticulture sectors, including with the Edible Horticulture Roundtable Group (EHRG), as well as with other key stakeholders, such as the British Growers Association (BGA) and the National Farmers Union (NFU) to monitor and assess the current market situation. We also work with colleagues in the Devolved Administrations at the UK Agricultural Market Monitoring Group (UK AMMG).

Minister Spencer will be holding an industry roundtable with supermarkets on Monday 27 February to explore their plans for a return to normal supplies and contingencies for dealing with these supply chain problems.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain, as demonstrated throughout the Covid-19 response and is well equipped to deal with situations with the potential to cause disruption. Defra has a collaborative relationship with industry which allows us to effectively respond to disruption, should it occur.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support biodiversity in Hertfordshire.

In England we have set four legally binding targets for biodiversity:

- By 2030: to halt the decline in species abundance

- By 2042: to reverse declines; to reduce the risk of species extinction; and to restore or create more than 500,000 hectares of wildlife-rich habitat.

These targets will drive actions to support biodiversity in Hertfordshire and every other county across England. We have set out our plan to deliver on these ambitious targets, along with our other environmental targets, in the Environmental Improvement Plan (EIP23) published on 31 January 2023. The EIP23 revises the 25-Year Environment Plan, which set out our vision for a quarter-of-a-century of action to help the natural world regain and retain good health. For local authorities in Hertfordshire, Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS) will also identify the most valuable areas for nature and opportunities for them to be developed or expanded. LNRS are being designed to work with a range of policies and delivery mechanisms so that we able to meet our nature recovery objectives in the most efficient and effective way.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
31st Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of their review into contractual practice in the UK pig sector.

A public consultation was conducted between July and October 2022 which invited views from the pig industry about potential improvements to fairness and transparency. The consultation received a very positive level of engagement with responses from individuals and organisations across the supply chain.

The Government will publish a Summary of Responses, outlining main findings and next steps, in the coming months. Any actions arising as a result of the consultation will be developed alongside industry with the close involvement of stakeholders.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
31st Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with (1) the EU, and (2) other pork export markets, regarding regionalisation in the event of an African swine fever outbreak in the UK.

If African swine fever (ASF) is detected in Great Britain, we would need to agree the process of regionalisation for GB exports with the EU and other trading partners, based on the individual circumstances. Defra will continue to make use of long-established communication channels with the respective Competent Authorities of trading partners to which the UK exports pork and pork products, in order to mitigate as far as possible the disruption to exports in the event of an ASF outbreak, including regionalisation.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
31st Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of new laws, introduced on 1 September 2022, to restrict the non-commercial importation of pork into the UK.

The latest risk assessment conducted by the Animal and Plant Health Agency of the risk of entry of the African swine fever (ASF) virus in live animals and products of animal origin from affected countries remains at medium. The risk through human-mediated routes such as introduction from non-commercial imports from ASF-affected areas (including illegal imports) or fomites is high. The strict new controls introduced on 1 September 2022 restrict the movement of pork and pork products into Great Britain from the European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Association states. It is no longer legal to personally bring in pork or pork products weighing over 2 kilograms unless they are produced to the EU’s commercial standards. Officials working at ports and airports continue to inspect vehicles and when illegally imported pork and pork products are identified these are seized and destroyed.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government whether they collect data on the number of village halls in England; and if so, what estimate they have made of how many village halls closed in (1) 2019, (2) 2020, (3) 2021, and (4) 2022.

Defra is committed to supporting village halls and is well aware of their role as important rural community buildings. This support is predominately delivered through our funding of Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE).

Through a network of skilled advisers, ACRE coordinates a nationwide information and advice service for the volunteers who manage halls. Advisers are based in every rural county of England and combine their specialist knowledge of running community buildings with extensive local knowledge. The advisers help with a wide range of queries, from holding AGMs to recruiting volunteers, applying for funding and building relationships with local councils.

ACRE does not collect data on the number of village halls but estimates this to be around 10,000 in England. ACRE surveys the halls known to its members every 10 years. The last survey was in 2020 and found that halls were not closing at the same rate as pubs and religious buildings. When a hall closes it is usually because a new one is being built or users have moved to use a new hall in another local village, making the old hall no longer viable.

ACRE reported that while there were concerns that some village halls may not re-open after being temporarily closed during the Covid lockdown, ACRE has no evidence that the closure of halls is significant. There was also concern that halls might close over the winter due to rising energy costs, but ACRE has received no reports that this has happened.

Village halls across England can now apply for grants to improve and modernise their facilities. Launched to mark the occasion of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, the £3 million Platinum Jubilee Village Halls Fund recognises the important role that village halls play in supporting rural communities.

The fund is managed by ACRE on behalf of Defra. It is anticipated that the fund will support around 125 village halls over a three-year period creating bigger, better and brighter village halls for communities to enjoy. The Fund opened in December 2022 to applications from projects aiming to deliver a positive impact on the local environment, reduce rural loneliness, support the rural economy and contribute to community life. Capital grants will be allocated to support infrastructure improvements and measures to improve energy efficiency.

ACRE also administers the £700,000 Rural Community Buildings Loan Fund on behalf of Defra. The Fund helps community groups with renovation, refurbishment and building projects. The Rural Community Buildings Loan Fund can be used to support a larger number of halls regularly carrying out maintenance, repair and small improvements, whereas a progressively smaller number of halls undertake more costly projects, which the Platinum Jubilee Village Halls Fund is designed to assist.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the contribution of village halls as community spaces, and (2) the risk of closures of such facilities; and what steps they are taking to support local authorities and community groups to keep village halls open.

Defra is committed to supporting village halls and is well aware of their role as important rural community buildings. This support is predominately delivered through our funding of Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE).

Through a network of skilled advisers, ACRE coordinates a nationwide information and advice service for the volunteers who manage halls. Advisers are based in every rural county of England and combine their specialist knowledge of running community buildings with extensive local knowledge. The advisers help with a wide range of queries, from holding AGMs to recruiting volunteers, applying for funding and building relationships with local councils.

ACRE does not collect data on the number of village halls but estimates this to be around 10,000 in England. ACRE surveys the halls known to its members every 10 years. The last survey was in 2020 and found that halls were not closing at the same rate as pubs and religious buildings. When a hall closes it is usually because a new one is being built or users have moved to use a new hall in another local village, making the old hall no longer viable.

ACRE reported that while there were concerns that some village halls may not re-open after being temporarily closed during the Covid lockdown, ACRE has no evidence that the closure of halls is significant. There was also concern that halls might close over the winter due to rising energy costs, but ACRE has received no reports that this has happened.

Village halls across England can now apply for grants to improve and modernise their facilities. Launched to mark the occasion of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, the £3 million Platinum Jubilee Village Halls Fund recognises the important role that village halls play in supporting rural communities.

The fund is managed by ACRE on behalf of Defra. It is anticipated that the fund will support around 125 village halls over a three-year period creating bigger, better and brighter village halls for communities to enjoy. The Fund opened in December 2022 to applications from projects aiming to deliver a positive impact on the local environment, reduce rural loneliness, support the rural economy and contribute to community life. Capital grants will be allocated to support infrastructure improvements and measures to improve energy efficiency.

ACRE also administers the £700,000 Rural Community Buildings Loan Fund on behalf of Defra. The Fund helps community groups with renovation, refurbishment and building projects. The Rural Community Buildings Loan Fund can be used to support a larger number of halls regularly carrying out maintenance, repair and small improvements, whereas a progressively smaller number of halls undertake more costly projects, which the Platinum Jubilee Village Halls Fund is designed to assist.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the decline in the UK’s breeding pig population; and what steps they are taking to support British pig farmers.

There has been a 15% decrease in the pig breeding herd in 2022, but this should be seen alongside a 10% increase in 2021. The number of fattening pigs has remained fairly constant over the past decade due to productivity improvements in the sector so this has masked the steadily falling number of breeding pigs. A number of factors, including high feed and energy costs, have led some producers to not put breeding pigs back into production. This is a commercial decision for producers.

In July 2022, Defra launched a UK-wide review of supply chain fairness in the pig sector seeking views on potential improvements that could be made to ensure a profitable and productive future for the industry. The consultation was carried out in response to recent challenges experienced by the sector, due to global pressures including rising costs and labour shortages, which raised questions about the functioning of the supply chain. The consultation closed on 7th October, and we are currently analysing the responses to the consultation and will publish a Summary of Responses, outlining the main findings, in early 2023.

To further support the sector Defra is working closely with the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Education on addressing recruitment and retention of domestic workers in the pig sector.

Defra continues to keep the pigmeat market under review through the UK Agriculture Market Monitoring Group. UKAMMG monitors UK agricultural markets including price, supply, inputs, trade, and recent developments.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Benyon on 5 December 2022 (HL3620), how much they have invested into research into an avian influenza vaccine.

Defra funds research directly or by leveraging funding through UK Research & Innovation (UKRI), a BEIS-funded non-governmental public body of which the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is a research council partner. In the last five years, £4.3 million has been invested in research, funded through BBSRC, either solely focussed on avian influenza vaccines, or as part of wider projects for poultry disease control.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Nov 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, if any, of the need to classify (1) agriculture, and (2) horticulture, as a vulnerable sector.

We understand that the global spike in oil and gas prices has affected the price of agricultural commodities, which are always closely correlated to energy costs. The Energy Bill Relief Scheme will provide a price reduction to make sure that all businesses, including farmers, food producers, manufacturers and packagers, are protected from excessively high energy bills over the winter period.

HM Treasury will publish a review into the operation of the scheme to inform decisions on future support after March 2023. The review will focus in particular on identifying the most vulnerable non-domestic customers and how the government will continue assisting them with energy costs.

HM Government is also supporting businesses to improve their energy efficiency by at least 20% by 2030. This could deliver up to £6 billion in cost savings by 2030. We have extended the Energy Intensive Industries Compensation Scheme by three years and more than doubled its budget.

We recognise that for the pig and poultry sectors, animal feed is a substantial input cost. As of 1st June, we have successfully concluded the removal of Section 232 tariffs, allowing us to remove the 25% tariff on US maize imports, a key ingredient for animal feed.

Defra has a collaborative relationship with industry which allows us to effectively respond to disruption, should it occur. This was successfully demonstrated in response to unprecedented disruption to both supply and demand throughout COVID-19.

We continue to keep the market situation under review through the UK Agriculture Market Monitoring Group, which monitors UK agricultural markets including price, supply, inputs, trade and recent developments. We have also increased our engagement with industry to supplement our analysis with real time intelligence.

HMG recognises the importance of the ornamental and edible horticulture sectors, both for ensuring a reliable and sustainable supply of fresh produce, plants and cut flowers, but also for its valuable contribution to our economy and the benefits it brings to people’s health and wellbeing. We have a high degree of self-sufficiency in many of those crops suited to our growing conditions, and our innovative and enterprising growers are exploring ways to maximise this further by optimising growing conditions to increase yields and extend growing seasons. However we do not underestimate the impact on our growers that increases in the cost of a range of inputs, including high energy prices, is having on production. We monitor the situation closely through UK Agriculture Market Monitoring Group, which monitors UK agricultural markets including price, supply, inputs, trade and recent developments. We have increased our engagement with the sector to supplement our analysis with real time intelligence.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Nov 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to deliver a horticulture strategy for England, with particular reference to access to affordable energy, and the cap on the Seasonal Worker Scheme.

We are not developing a specific strategy. We will continue to support the sector to operate, including by establishing the seasonal worker visa route.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Nov 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government why avian influenza vaccines are not permitted for commercial poultry.

Outside of zoos, the vaccination of birds as an immediate disease control response is not currently permitted. Swift and humane culling of birds on infected premises coupled with good biosecurity including the separation of poultry and other captive birds from wild birds and disease surveillance remains the most effective means of controlling the disease.

A limited number of commercial avian influenza vaccines are authorised for use in the UK; however, these vaccines are unlikely to provide full protection for the current strains of highly pathogenic avian influenza circulating in the UK and continental Europe, or provide cross-protection to other strains which may circulate in the future. At present, vaccination can help to reduce mortality, but it is likely that some vaccinated birds would still be capable of transmitting avian influenza if they became infected. This would increase the time taken to detect and eradicate the virus.

In addition, there are a number of practical, animal welfare and commercial disadvantages relating to the use of currently available vaccines which would present significant logistical and cost challenges to industry. These vaccines need to be delivered by individually injecting each bird and, since it is difficult to differentiate infected from vaccinated birds, this leads to significant trade issues relating to exporting poultry and their products to other countries.

Defra continues to invest in avian influenza research and monitors the situation in Europe and globally. In conjunction with the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), Defra will continue to monitor the development and availability of vaccines for use to protect against avian influenza and as a control measure during avian influenza outbreaks, as they are put forward for marketing authorisation by vaccine manufacturers.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Nov 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what international discussions they have had about supporting research into avian influenza vaccines.

Defra continues to invest in avian influenza research and monitors the situation in Europe and globally. International collaboration and knowledge exchange is facilitated through discussions between the UK Chief Veterinary Officer and her counterparts in the EU and globally through the World Organisation for Animal Health. Both the UK CVO and representatives from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) avian influenza national reference laboratory were present and engaged in discussion with their global counterparts at the recent International Alliance for Biological Standardisation conference on High Pathogenicity Avian Influenza (HPAI) Vaccination Strategies to Prevent and Control HPAI held in Paris in October.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Nov 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government how many of the poultry or other captive birds culled for avian influenza since the start of the outbreak on 27 October 2021 were free from infection at the time of culling.

Not all birds on infected premises are tested. It is therefore not possible to estimate accurately the number of uninfected birds on the premises at the point of culling.

However, it should be noted that once introduced into the premises, avian influenza spreads rapidly through birds present. Following a report of suspicion of avian influenza, the National Reference Laboratory undertakes rigorous testing of a statistically valid sample of birds. All birds assessed as being part of the same epidemiological group on infected premises are humanely culled to stop the spread of the disease, and mitigate any public health risk these infected birds may pose.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Nov 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the 16-week grace period during which eggs from birds that were intended to be free-range may be marketed as such despite the introduction of mandatory housing measures on 7 November.

Egg Marketing Standards provides a 16-week derogation period during which the free-range description can be retained on eggs even if hens have been housed.

Defra currently has no plans to review this derogation period. However, in recognition of the pressures the egg sector is currently facing, particularly rising input costs alongside the impacts of Avian Influenza, Defra has granted a concession which will apply if the housing orders that are currently in place in England exceed the 16-week derogation period. This concession will allow producers and packers, on a one-off basis, the option to use either direct print to pack or an affixed label on free-range boxes. Accompanying clear and transparent point of sale signage should also be in place to ensure consumers are not misled and to avoid undermining consumer confidence in the free-range industry.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Oct 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the economic challenges facing vegetable growers in the Lee Valley due to increasing energy prices.

We are aware of the impact increasing energy prices are having on greenhouse growers and other farming sectors and we continue to keep the situation under review.

In October this year we wrote to a sample of industry representatives to request information to inform future policies to support greenhouse crop production. We are pleased to have received an informative response from Lea Valley Growers Association.

While no Government can control the global factors pushing up the cost of energy, we will continue to support our farmers and growers through these difficult times. Our Energy Bill Relief Scheme will provide a welcome price reduction to ensure that all eligible businesses, including farming businesses, are protected from excessively high energy bills over the coming winter period. HM Government is engaging with businesses and trade associations to understand more about how effective the scheme is and which groups are most in need of further support after the six months. In the longer-term, we will be supporting businesses to improve their energy efficiency by at least 20% by 2030.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Oct 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what additional support they will give to vegetable growers in the Lee Valley, following reports that more than 10 per cent of them have gone out of business in the past year.

An innovative, productive, and competitive agricultural sector is one of HM Government's key priorities, and we recognise the role greenhouse crop production, such as that carried out by the vegetable growers in the Lee Valley, has in ensuring a reliable and sustainable supply of fresh produce.

We are aware of the challenges facing greenhouse growers and other farming sectors as a result of the increase in the cost of a range of inputs, including high energy prices, and the impact this is having on producers.

Our plan to support the horticulture sector was outlined in the Government Food Strategy, launched on 13th June, which announced the development of a new Horticulture Strategy for England which aims to increase domestic production through the adoption of a range of growing models.

We are also looking at a potential future offer for the Producer Organisation Fruit and Vegetables Aid Scheme. We are currently exploring the best way to support the sector once the Scheme ends in 2025.

While no Government can control the global factors pushing up the cost of energy, we will continue to support our farmers and growers through these difficult times. Our Energy Bill Relief Scheme will provide a price reduction to ensure that all eligible businesses, including farming businesses, are protected from excessively high energy bills over the coming winter period. We will also be supporting businesses to improve their energy efficiency by at least 20% by 2030.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Oct 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what progress they have made with the (1) treatment, and (2) prevention, of bird flu since the establishment of a research consortium on the issue announced on 20 June.

Defra’s approach to avian influenza is set out in the Notifiable Avian Disease Control Strategy for Great Britain supported by the Mitigation Strategy for Avian Influenza in Wild Birds in England and Wales. Current policy reflects our experience of responding to past outbreaks of exotic animal disease and is in line with international standards of best practice for disease control. Defra’s disease control measures seek to contain the number of animals that need to be culled, either for disease control purposes or to safeguard animal welfare. Our approach aims to reduce adverse impacts on the rural and wider economy, the public, rural communities and the environment (including impact on wildlife), whilst protecting public health and minimising the overall cost of any outbreak.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) leads HM Government action on animal disease control and alongside HM Government’s continued investment in the Avian Influenza National Reference Laboratory and APHA’s Weybridge site; earlier this year an eight-strong consortium ‘FluMap’ led by APHA and funded by Defra and the Biotechnology and Biosciences Research Council (BBSRC) was launched that received £1.5 million in funding to develop new strategies to tackle avian influenza outbreaks. This year-long research project will help build our understanding in a number of key areas, including why the current virus strains have formed larger and longer outbreaks and understanding transmission and infection in different bird populations. The research gaps addressed by the consortium were identified from the recent STAR-IDAZ International Research Consortium Animal Influenza Research Review and knowledge gaps identified during recent avian influenza outbreaks. The STAR-IDAZ International Research Consortium is a global initiative aiming to coordinate research programmes at the international level and to contribute to the development of new and improved animal health strategies for priority diseases, infections and issues. The research consortium will report in due course, as this is a year-long programme of work, but Defra officials have regular meetings with the consortium members to monitor progress.

Defra’s approach to avian influenza prevention and control considers the latest ornithological, epidemiological, veterinary and other scientific advice. However, once a bird has been infected with the influenza virus, there is no treatment available. The virus spreads very rapidly through poultry flocks and causes a very high level of mortality in gallinaceous poultry. Defra will continue to monitor the situation both in Europe and globally, and the effectiveness of any disease control measures taken and will consider developments from both 'FluMap' and the wider research programmes at APHA, and other academic institutions when reviewing the effectiveness of our current approach to avian influenza.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Oct 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support British farmers (1) with the increasing cost of energy, and (2) to ensure food security.

We will continue to support our farmers and growers through these difficult times. Our Energy Bill Relief Scheme will provide a welcome price reduction to ensure that all eligible businesses, including farming businesses, are protected from excessively high energy bills over the coming winter period. We will also be supporting businesses to improve their energy efficiency by at least 20% by 2030, delivering up to £6 billion in cost savings by 2030.

In addition to this, Defra have taken a number of steps to support British farmers with increasing costs, including bringing forward 50% of the BPS payment and delaying changes to the use of urea fertiliser. We have also established the UK Agricultural Market Monitoring Group which monitors all key agricultural commodities to help inform HM Government policy.

Regarding food security, COVID-19 and its subsequent supply chain impacts demonstrated that the UK has a highly resilient food supply chain. We recognise the importance of food security and have well-established ways of working closely with the industry to monitor risks. The first UK Food Security Report (UKFSR) was published in December 2021 which recognised the contribution made by British farmers to our resilience. The report concluded that the UK produces about 60% of domestic food consumption by economic value and has further production capacity, providing that the right market conditions are available. The UK’s import sources are also diverse, with no one country providing more than 11% of our imports in 2020. The report and its conclusions serve as a strong evidence base for future policies pertaining to the UK’s food security.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Sep 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, if any, of the value of damage caused by bats to the contents and fabric of (1) church buildings, and (2) other historical buildings.

No specific assessments of the value of damage caused by bats to the contents and fabric of church buildings and other historical buildings have been made.

Natural England's Bats in Churches project has been working closely with the Church of England to find workable solutions that both protect bats and enable churches to manage impacts without prohibitive costs. The project has worked with volunteers to carry out surveys at over 650 churches to understand the impact of bats and has provided support and funding to 108 churches to create practical, tailored solutions.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government why (1) the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (No. 1012), and (2) the Conservation of Habitats and Species (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (No. 579), are not included in the Cabinet Office’s Retained EU Law dashboard.

The REUL dashboard presents an authoritative catalogue of REUL, not a complete list of REUL. To ensure the integrity of the data published, Defra undertook a quality assurance process. In the case of retained law relating to habitats, this information completed the quality assurance process only after Cabinet Office’s deadline for publication, so was not able to be included in the initial data. When the dashboard is next updated, this legislation will be added to the data set.

11th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the report by the National Farmers Union Growing our agri-food exports to 2030 and beyond, published on 27 April, what plans they have to match Agricultural and Horticulture Development Board levy contribution funding to help grow British agricultural exports.

We welcome the National Farmers Union (NFU) report on growing exports over the next few years and we look forward to working with NFU to grow exports. We always champion our hardworking farmers and growers and look for ways to unlock opportunities for the sector’s growth. The recently launched Farming Investment Fund supports the creation of on-farm reservoirs and irrigation infrastructure directly supporting growers in producing a variety of crops.

The promotion of food exports and the opening up of new markets round the world is a key part of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board’s (AHDB) activities. AHDB works closely with the Government on this work and although there are no plans for the Government to match the levy contribution, the Government continues to invest in building UK export capability, including the expansion of the agri-food and drink attaché network and formation of the Export Council. In addition, the Government has invested in a range of schemes to help the sector grow their exports such as the Department for International Trade’s Export Academy, the Internationalisation Fund, support from our vast overseas network, UK Export Finance, an international events programme, online services, Export Champions and the Export Support Service.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the report by the National Farmers Union Growing our agri-food exports to 2030 and beyond, published on 27 April, what plans they have (1) to expand the GREAT campaign in relation to agricultural products, and (2) to make the campaign more accessible to potential users in the agricultural sector.

The GREAT Food and Drink campaign supports food and drink exports via marketing and promotional activity targeted to consumers and trade audiences in four key priority markets: China, Japan, the United Arab Emirates and the United States. It promotes the breadth, quality and innovation of the UK’s food and drink production and champions our unique culinary offer to help shift perceptions and support exports.

Meat and dairy continue to be central to the GREAT campaign’s food and drink promotion in international markets. The campaign works with meat and dairy producers across the UK and will continue to ensure that the best of UK food and drink features prominently in international promotion, working closely with the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. The Government continues to invest in building UK export capability, including the expansion of the agri-food and drink attaché network and formation of the Export Council. In addition, the Government has invested in a range of schemes to help the sector grow their exports such as the Department for International Trade’s Export Academy, the Internationalisation Fund, support from our vast overseas network, UK Export Finance, an international events programme, online services, Export Champions and the Export Support Service.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the APPG for Rural Business and Rural Powerhouse Levelling Up the Rural Economy: An Inquiry into rural productivity, published on 27 April.

We welcome this report which highlights some of the key challenges for rural areas.

We are providing funding to put in place the infrastructure that rural areas need. We are investing £5 billion so hard-to-reach areas can get gigabit speeds. Over 67% of UK premises can now access gigabit-capable broadband. The Government-led £1 billion Shared Rural Network will also roll out fast and reliable 4G coverage to 95 per cent of UK landmass.

We are committed to levelling up rural areas, with over £2.6 billion committed nationwide via the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to spread opportunity.

The Government has made a clear commitment to rural proofing. We will publish the second annual Rural Proofing report following our Levelling Up White Paper which will set out the Government’s approach to levelling up in in rural areas and targeted approaches where needed to develop rural infrastructure services.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to close the 18 per cent productivity gap in rural areas.

Latest statistics show rural areas in England contributed over £260 billion to our economy in 2019. There are over half a million businesses registered in rural areas.

There are many successful rural businesses, providing high levels of employment, and vital supply chains. However, we know that productivity in some rural areas has fallen behind other parts of the country.

We are determined to help rural areas fulfil their full economic potential. The Government is committed to helping rural communities and businesses as we level up every region and nation of the UK, boosting productivity and spreading opportunity. We have announced over £2.6 billion through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).

Defra will set out later this year its plans to replace EU funding for LEADER and the growth programme elements of the Rural Development Programme for England and is working closely with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to make sure there are synergies with UKSPF, while reflecting rural needs.

We are already providing funding to put in place the infrastructure that rural areas need to boost their potential. We are investing £5 billion so hard-to-reach areas can get gigabit speeds and have already upgraded 600,000 premises. The Government-led £1 billion Shared Rural Network will also roll out fast and reliable 4G coverage to 95 per cent of UK landmass.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to address the shortfall of workers in the agricultural sector.

Defra continues to work closely with industry and other Government departments to understand labour supply and demand, including both permanent and seasonal workforce requirements, and to ensure there is a long-term strategy for the food and farming workforce.

On 24 December 2021, the Government announced that the seasonal worker visa route will be extended to 2024 to allow overseas workers to come to the UK for up to six months to harvest both edible and ornamental crops. This will provide a greater degree of certainty to the sector after a series of annual pilots between 2019 and 2021. For 2022 and through to 2024, 30,000 visas will be available each year. This will be kept under review, with the potential to increase the annual visa numbers by 10,000 to 40,000 each year if necessary.

While acknowledging the sector’s reliance on foreign workers, the UK is committed to becoming a high-skilled, high-wage economy and the government has been clear that more must be done to attract UK workers through offering training, career options, wage increases and to invest in increased automation technology.

Defra’s Review of Automation in Horticulture will inform a range of policy decisions regarding automation and seasonal labour from 2022 onwards. Defra plans to publish the automation review and Government response in early summer, after the pre-election period for the 2022 local elections.

In addition, food and farming businesses can continue to rely on EU nationals living in the UK with settled or pre-settled status. Over 5.5 million EU citizens and their families have been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Defra is also working with industry and the Department for Work and Pensions to raise awareness of career opportunities within the food and farming sectors among UK workers.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions imposed on Russia, what plans they have to strengthen food security in the UK.

Recognising the importance of food security, in the Agriculture Act 2020 the Government made a commitment to produce an assessment of our food security at least once every three years. The first UK Food Security Report was published in December 2021, and shows that, overall, the UK has a highly resilient food supply. As we have seen over recent times, the food supply has coped well in responding to unprecedented challenges.

The UK's food import dependency on the Eastern European region is very low, so Defra does not expect any significant direct impact of this conflict on UK food supply. Ministers meet regularly with food industry figures, who remain confident in the supply chain. We will continue to speak with the industry to understand any potential pressures.

Defra has increased its engagement with industry through various forums to understand significant impacts of the Russian invasion on individual industries and supply chains in Defra's sectors.

Defra is well-versed in responding to disruption. Extensive work in this space has reinforced the long-standing view that the most effective response to food supply disruption is industry led, with appropriate support and enablement from Government.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, (1) to investigate the purchase of agricultural farmland by multinational companies for the purpose of planting trees to offset carbon emissions, and (2) to prevent agricultural farm land being purchased for such purposes.

Voluntary carbon markets can be used by companies to finance nature-based solutions to climate change, and they can provide another potential income stream for landowners and farmers in appropriate areas. However, they should only ever be used in addition to action that companies are taking to reduce their own emissions in line with independently verified science-based targets. Guidance for companies on the responsible use of voluntary carbon markets is set out in Environmental Reporting Guidelines.

The UK Woodland Carbon Code and UK Peatland Code provide robust arrangements for the registration and monitoring of woodland creation and peatland restoration projects in the UK. These codes are supported by the publicly accessible UK Land Carbon Registry, which contains details of projects registered under these codes and the issuance of carbon units arising from these projects.

Her Majesty's Land Registry publishes information on all companies (UK and overseas) which own property in England and Wales ( https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/land-registry). Agricultural and planning policies are devolved matters.

It is important that tree planting and nature-based solutions more generally are undertaken in places that account for the multiple benefits we get from land. Planning policy is an important tool in helping to manage land use, as are environmental regulations and consultations to ensure that woodland creation, in particular, is undertaken in appropriate places. New tools, like Local Nature Recovery Strategies introduced in the Environment Act 2021, will help identify and map new opportunities for nature recovery and nature-based solutions.

We are also exploring how we can support more land sharing, for example by encouraging tree planting alongside or as part of food production through agroforestry. In the Net Zero Strategy published in October 2021, we committed to encourage and support increased agroforestry.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have (1) to encourage tourism in rural areas, and (2) to revitalise local rural economies.

The Prime Minister set out in the Reopening Roadmap published on 22 February the Government's intention to publish a Tourism Recovery Plan in Spring. We are working with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to ensure tourism in rural areas is embraced and rural organisations are consulted.

We work closely with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government to ensure that plans to revitalise local economies take into account the needs of rural economies. The UK Levelling Up Fund prospectus sets out how the Fund will help invest in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK, including regenerating town centres and high streets, upgrading local transport, and investing in cultural and heritage assets. The UK Community Renewal Fund will support innovative responses to local challenges and local needs in urban, rural and coastal areas across the UK, to help local areas prepare for the introduction of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund from 2022.

3rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that farmers involved in the Environmental Land Management Scheme are adequately compensated for the impact of introducing nature-based solutions on future flood risk on their land.

We are working with stakeholders and end users to determine the specific land management actions that will be paid for under the Environmental Land Management scheme. We will set out more details on this later this year. The Path to Sustainable Farming: An Agricultural Transition Plan 2021 to 2024’ set out examples of the types of actions that we envisage paying for under the Environmental Land Management scheme. This included the potential to contribute to reducing the risk of harm from environmental hazards such as flooding with natural flood management. We will set out more details on what the Environmental Land Management scheme will pay for this later this year.

We are in the process of developing our approach to making payments under the scheme. We recognise that providing the right level of payment to participants will be critical to this. We are therefore exploring how best to balance providing a fair payment to farmers and ensuring delivery of environmental objectives, against maximising value for money and respecting our international obligations. We will also set out more details on this later this year.

3rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to encourage the abstraction of high flow water to reduce the amount of surplus rainwater being wasted.

The Environment Agency has worked with abstractors and the National Farmers Union (NFU) to temporarily abstract flood water to fill large reservoirs, subject to it not causing derogation to existing licensed abstractors or creating any environmental risk or damage. Where abstractors applied to take more water than their current licensed quantities, the Environment Agency assessed these as one off requests and asked abstractors to apply to vary their licences to properly reflect their needs and provide access to this water in the future.

The temporary period of high flow abstraction ended on the 7 February. The Environment Agency has so far only received 5 applications, of which 3 were approved. This reflects the fact that most farm reservoirs are already full due to the wet winter and saturated soil conditions. The NFU does not anticipate any further requests from their members to extend the period of high flow abstraction beyond this date.

This initiative follows on from the so called ‘flexible abstraction’ approach that the Environment Agency implemented over the last few years to help farmers with water availability during prolonged dry weather, including refilling reservoirs outside of licensed abstraction periods when river flows were sufficiently high to protect other abstractors and the environment.

We highlighted the potential of high flow abstraction to help abstractors improve access to water in our Water Abstraction Plan, published in 2017. Since then the Environment Agency has undertaken trials to investigate its feasibility. It has published results in the relevant Abstraction Licensing Strategies, for the Lincolnshire Witham and the East Midlands Idle and Torne. In the Witham Catchment, it concluded that high flow abstraction could be used to fill reservoirs throughout the year. However, in the Idle and Torne catchment, it concluded that high flows are important for controlling sedimentation and that more evidence would be needed before any high flow abstraction licences could be granted.

The Environment Agency will continue to consider applications for new and varied abstraction licences on a case-by-case basis to ensure maximum access to water is possible whilst protecting the rights of other abstractors and the environment.

2nd Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park on 6 February (HL944), what progress they have made on the introduction of a mandatory electronic waste tracking system to combat fly tipping.

We are taking forward powers to introduce electronic waste tracking in the Environment Bill which is currently going through parliamentary passage in the House of Commons.

These powers, along with other measures being introduced as part of this Bill (for example amendments to the section 108 powers of entry) will help tackle waste crime, including fly-tipping.

We have committed to introducing mandatory digital waste tracking in England subject to consultation. In parallel, work to develop the digital system is already well underway.

We have started to design and test waste tracking prototypes using the GovTech Catalyst Fund which incentivises Britain’s pioneering tech firms to develop innovative solutions to public sector problems.

We are designing the prototypes with input from a wide range of user groups including small and micro businesses to ensure we understand how waste tracking can be developed to meet their needs.

2nd Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to address the costs of disposing of toxic or hazardous waste incurred by victims of fly tipping.

Fly-tipping is a crime which blights local communities and the environment, and we are committed to tackling this unacceptable behaviour. We set out our strategic approach to preventing, detecting and deterring waste crime, such as fly-tipping, in our 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy.

We appreciate the difficulty and cost that fly-tipping poses to landowners and we are working with a wide range of interested parties through the National Fly-Tipping Prevention Group to promote and disseminate good practice, including how to prevent fly-tipping on private land.

The Environment Agency may investigate incidents of fly-tipping that are over a certain size (more than 20 tonnes, 20m3 or a tipper load), linked to organised crime, or involve hazardous waste. The Environment Agency will only arrange for the removal of such fly-tipped waste where there is no adequate response from a responsible party and there is actual or imminent threat to the environment or human health. In such circumstances, the Environment Agency will seek to recover costs from responsible parties where it is appropriate to do so.

We expect all local authorities to investigate all other incidents of fly-tipping, including those on private land, to prosecute the fly-tippers when there is sufficient evidence and to recover clearance costs where possible. On conviction, a cost order can be made by the court so that a landowner’s costs can be recovered from the perpetrator.

We recognise the burden that clearing fly-tipped waste has on landowners. However, central Government generally does not compensate individuals for non-violent crime of which they are a victim. Furthermore, compensating landowners for the costs of removing fly-tipping may risk creating a perverse incentive for some people to dump, or facilitate the dumping of, waste.

6th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what scheme they intend to establish to replace Natural England's Wood-Pasture Restoration Option within the Countryside Stewardship Scheme.

The Wood-Pasture Restoration option is still available for lowland farmers and land managers under the Countryside Stewardship (CS) scheme and has not been removed. Defra, Natural England and the Rural Payments Agency are currently considering how best to support wood pasture restoration through CS options for upland farmers and land managers. In the meantime Natural England advisers are working with this year’s CS applicants to find alternative options to ensure this important habitat can be restored in the uplands.

Wood pasture is a valuable habitat that provides a new generation of scattered trees and scrub. This habitat allows flower-rich unimproved grasslands and mires to flourish for pollinators and provides benefits for both water management and the reduction of soil erosion.

23rd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to encourage domestic food production as a result of COVID-19.

We are lucky in the UK that we have the climate, the landscape, and the entrepreneurial farmers and food producers that equip us to produce world-class food. We will always champion our farmers and producers to provide a reliable and sustainable food supply to the British public, supporting them to grow more of our great British food. This includes through using powers under our landmark Agriculture Bill, and through our work with the Food and Drink Sector Council, a formal industry partnership with Government, helping create a more productive and sustainable food and drink sector.

Half of the food that the UK population consumes is home-grown and it is renowned for its quality, high standards of food safety, traceability, animal welfare and sustainability. The Government has well established ways of working with the food and farming industry on potential disruptions to the supply chain. We will work closely with stakeholders and industry to support preparations for a range of scenarios and are ready to respond to emerging issues quickly and effectively.

29th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether there has been any increase in fly-tipping in the last five years; and what consideration they have given to legislative and regulatory reforms to support local authorities and the police in the prevention of such a crime.

Defra publishes annual fly-tipping statistics for England, which show that incidents of fly-tipping have gradually increased over the last five years, albeit with a decrease reported between 2016/17 and 2017/18. Defra most recently published the annual fly-tipping statistics on 7 November 2019. The 2018/19 figures reported an increase of 8% from those reported in 2017/18. However, this most recent increase in recorded incidents does not necessarily mean the number of fly-tipping incidents has increased. Local authorities have reported that as they make it easier for citizens to report fly-tipping, for example through mobile apps, they see an increase in the number of incidents recorded.

In recent years we have bolstered local authorities’ powers to tackle fly-tipping, including introducing new fixed penalty notices, and we continue to work with partners to tackle this unacceptable criminal activity. Defra is preparing a number of legislative reforms to tackle waste crime, including fly-tipping.

We are taking forward the commitment in the Resources and Waste Strategy (RWS) to develop proposals for the reform of the waste carrier, broker, and dealer regime. We are working with industry and the regulator and we intend to consult later this year. At the same time, we intend to consult on the introduction of mandatory electronic waste tracking. This will, amongst other things, reduce the ability of waste criminals to hide evidence of the systematic mishandling of waste material dropping out of the system and so make it easier to protect against fly-tipping. The reform aims to deter illegitimate operators from entering the sector. This will help to ensure that waste is dealt with appropriately and to reduce the incidence of waste crime and fly-tipping.

The newly introduced Environment Bill amends section 108 of the Environment Act 1995. This will make it easier for an officer to search premises that they have the power to enter, to seize and remove documentary or other evidence, to require electronic information to be produced in a form that enables it to be removed or produced as documentary evidence, and to operate equipment found on the premises to produce information from it. The new power does not require a warrant if there are reasonable grounds to suspect that first obtaining a warrant would allow for evidence to be concealed, altered or destroyed. Further to this, Schedule 11 of the Environment Bill removes the seven-day notice period required before powers of entry can be used to access residential premises. The current seven-day notice requirement enables, for example, rogue waste carriers who operate from their home address rather than a business address, to destroy evidence. These new powers will work to ensure waste criminals, such as illegitimate waste operators reliant on fly-tipping for income, are held accountable for their actions.

As well as forthcoming legislative reforms and recent fixed penalty notice powers, we recently published publicity materials to help householders better understand their responsibilities under the waste duty of care. The materials have been provided to the Local Government Association to circulate to local authorities, and published on the National Fly-Tipping Prevention Group’s website. Householders have a legal ‘duty of care’ to ensure they only give their waste to a licensed carrier and that it is not taken by an illegal waste carrier who is likely to fly-tip it, but about two-thirds of fly-tipped waste is household waste.

A conviction in a Crown Court for fly-tipping can lead to an unlimited fine or up to five years in prison. Defra has worked with the Sentencing Council to amend sentencing guidance for these offences, but will continue this work to help to secure tougher penalties in line with the Government’s manifesto commitment.

Defra is also developing a fly-tipping toolkit following a commitment in the RWS. The toolkit will be a web-based tool to help local authorities and others work in partnership to tackle fly-tipping. It will cover, for example, the use of new technology to report fly-tipping, the presentation of cases to court, the sharing of intelligence within and between partnerships and promoting the duty of care to individuals and businesses.

7th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the prevalence of fly-tipping in England; whether it has increased over the last five years; and whether local authorities have sufficient powers to prevent fly-tipping.

Defra publishes annual fly-tipping statistics for England, with the most recent publication detailing the number of fly-tipping incidents reported by local authorities in 2018/19 published on 7 November 2019. The statistics show that incidents of fly-tipping have shown gradual increases over the last five years, albeit with a decrease reported between 2016/17 and 2017/18. The 2018/19 figures reported an increase of 8% from 2017/18. This most recent increase in recorded incidents does not, however, necessarily mean the number of fly-tipping incidents has increased. Local authorities have reported that as they make it easier for citizens to report fly-tipping, for example through mobile apps, they see an increase in the number of incidents recorded.

Local authorities have a range of powers available to tackle fly-tipping. These include the power to issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) of up to £400 for fly-tipping offences, including to those caught fly-tipping and householders who pass their waste to a fly-tipper. Local authorities also have enhanced powers to search and seize vehicles of suspected fly-tippers. Powers to issue FPNs provide local authorities with an efficient mechanism to hold fly-tipping perpetrators to account without having to go to court, which can be a time-consuming, resource-intensive and expensive process. Additionally, the ability to issue FPNs can deter potential fly-tippers from fly-tipping in the first place.

Local authorities also have the ability to take those accused of fly-tipping to court. If a fly-tipper is convicted, the offence is punishable by up to £50,000 or 12 months imprisonment if convicted in a Magistrates' Court. The offence can attract an unlimited fine and up to five years imprisonment if convicted in a Crown Court. Defra has already worked with the Sentencing Council to amend sentencing guidance for magistrates to ensure that they are aware of local fixed penalty levels for these offences. The Resources and Waste Strategy published in December 2018 includes a number of commitments to improve this, including working with the Sentencing Council to increase magistrates’ awareness of the prevalence and importance of waste crime, helping local authorities improve the quality of cases, and ensuring the Environmental Offences Definitive guideline is kept up to date and magistrates are effectively trained on it.

Recent figures showed that there were 76,000 fixed penalty notices issued by Local Authorities in 2018/19, up by 11% from 2017/18. Prosecution outcome figures from 2018/19 also showed that the value of total fines increased by 29% to £1,090,000.

19th Dec 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the Agriculture Bill will be introduced to Parliament.

A new Agriculture Bill was announced alongside the Queen’s Speech and will be introduced shortly.

12th Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether the procedure and available time for the ratification of the Australia and New Zealand free trade agreement allows for sufficient parliamentary scrutiny.

The Government has committed to additional measures for new free trade agreements which go beyond our statutory scrutiny requirements.

The Australia and New Zealand agreements were made available for scrutiny for an additional six months before commencement of the statutory period under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 (CRaG). We have made additional reporting commitments to support scrutiny, including publishing the advice of the independent Trade and Agriculture Commission.

The Trade (Australian and New Zealand) Bill is currently being scrutinised by Parliament. The agreements cannot be brought into force until the legislation has been passed by Parliament.

Lord Johnson of Lainston
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
11th Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have to mitigate any damage caused to the UK farming sector by the free trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand.

Farming is a crucial part of the UK economy, and this Government wants to ensure rural economies can thrive. Our free trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand balance opportunities for UK exporters, importers and consumers with protections for the agricultural industry.

British agri-food exporters will benefit from both deals removing tariffs for all UK goods. We offer a range of support for those looking to increase their exports, including the Export Support Service, the digital GREAT.gov.uk platform and our new Food and Drink Export Council.

Lord Johnson of Lainston
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
11th Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have to conduct an economic impact assessment on the free trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand.

The Department’s impact assessments of the UK-Australia and UK-New Zealand Free Trade Agreements were published on 17th December 2021 and 28th February 2022 respectively.

The full impact assessments are available on gov.uk.

Lord Johnson of Lainston
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
11th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the report by the National Farmers Union Growing our agri-food exports to 2030 and beyond, published on 27 April, what plans they have to increase the number of agri-food experts in British embassies located in target markets for future free trade agreements.

The Department for International Trade has staff in more than 100 markets across the world who are helping British businesses in the agriculture, food, and drink sector to trade with the world.

HM Government additionally has a dedicated agricultural attaché in the United Arab Emirates, which is a member of the Gulf Co-operation Council, with whom we aim to begin negotiations for a free trade agreement soon. We aim to have a total of ten agricultural attachés in growth markets across North and South America, Africa and Asia by the end of 2022.

18th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the economic, and (2) the diplomatic, consequences for the UK of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

As a supporter of free trade, the UK takes a close interest in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which should help standardise rules and facilitate trade between partners in the region. The Government is committed to enhancing our trade in Asia Pacific through our trade negotiations with Japan, Australia and New Zealand, our intention to accede to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and our bilateral trade engagement with partner countries.

19th Dec 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to exclude agriculture from future trade deals.

In negotiating free trade agreements after the UK leaves the EU, the Government will pursue an agenda that will deliver prosperity for the whole of the UK. Mandates for future negotiations are still under consideration and the Government will publish its negotiating objectives in due course. The Government has committed that the NHS will not be on the table in any trade agreement.

Earl of Courtown
Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)
8th Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of ships in the ‘dark fleet’ passing through the English Channel carrying Russian oil and oil products in (1) 2020, (2) 2021, (3) 2022, and (4) 2023.

Definitions of the ‘shadow fleet’ or ‘dark fleet’ vary and so it is not possible to provide accurate figures in relation to the English Channel. This practice has emerged since the introduction of the Russian Oil Services ban and Oil Price Cap Exception by the Price Cap Coalition of the G7, the European Union and Australia in December 2022.

However, the Joint Maritime Security Centre provides Department for Transport officials with daily vessel tracking reports for Vessels of Interest within or thought to be heading towards the UK Marine Area. This can include ships where a Russian link is identified, or where the vessel has transited from a Russian port, or engaged in a Ship-to-Ship transfer with a vessel which has departed from a Russian port.

Lord Davies of Gower
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government whether emergency planning is in hand in the event of an uninsured tanker leaking oil in British waters.

Regardless of the insurance status of a vessel, the UK has well-established plans/protocols for the response to an oil spill. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is the National Competent Authority for at-sea pollution response. MCA Counter Pollution and Salvage (CPS), under the direction of HM Coastguard, are custodians of the national pollution response resources which comprise specialist oil containment and recovery equipment and dispersant. These are supported by manned aircraft for spill surveillance, verification and quantification and aerial dispersant spraying capability. Personnel and resources are in place 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year and provide an incident management and response capability anywhere within the UK’s Exclusive Economic Zone. Regular exercises are undertaken to test national multi-agency spill response procedures.

Whilst shoreline pollution response is led by local authorities and devolved nations, MCA CPS will support pollution response along the UK shoreline using nationally held containment and recovery capability held in the stockpiles.

Incident management, specialist response teams, and liaison personnel are also available and will be activated by the MCA as required. As with at-sea pollution response, regular engagement with local authorities in response exercises is undertaken. The resources held by the MCA are commensurate with a Tier 3 national response requirement as described within the National Contingency Plan for Pollution from Shipping and Offshore Installations.

Lord Davies of Gower
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government whether they keep records of the occasions when oil tankers in the English Channel have turned off their transponders.

This data is not regularly collated in this form. The Joint Maritime Security Centre provides regular reporting on vessels of interest in the UK Marine Area.

Lord Davies of Gower
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have to explore green hydrogen as a solution to railway emissions.

The Transport Decarbonisation plan has committed to delivering a net zero rail network by 2050, with an ambition to remove all diesel-only trains from the network by 2040. While Government expects electrification to remain the dominant zero emission technology, the government supports the deployment of alternative traction such as battery and hydrogen to decarbonise the network where it makes operational and economic sense.

Through the First of a Kind competition, the Department granted £750,000 to facilitate trials of the UK's first hydrogen-powered train, HydroFLEX, to enable a better understanding the operational feasibility of hydrogen trains. The government welcomes further innovation of hydrogen technology for the railway and will keep this under review. The Department will continue to work with the Great British Railway Transition Team to develop future options to decarbonise the railway.

Lord Davies of Gower
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Dec 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to minimise disruption from train driver strikes over the festive period.

There are currently no planned train driver strikes over the festive period. However, the ASLEF union has mandates for industrial action ending between February and April for all 14 train operating companies.

Parliament has approved regulations to implement minimum service levels for passenger rail, designed to reduce disproportionate disruption caused by rail strikes. The regulations came into force on 8 December 2023. Whilst it is the Government’s hope that these regulations need not be used, and strike action can be avoided, they provide employers with an additional tool to support passengers by enabling a minimum level of service to be delivered during any strike action affecting services specified in the regulations.

Lord Davies of Gower
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have to respond to the high level of transport poverty in rural areas, as outlined in the report Getting the measure of transport poverty published by the Social Market Foundation on 15 November.

The Government understands that the transport needs of communities in rural areas differ from those in urban environments for a variety of reasons including demographics, lower population density and travel distances.

The Department for Transport published its ‘Future of Transport: supporting rural transport innovation’ guidance in early October, and will now work to implement its pledges, such as working closer with local leadership to help deploy and scale innovative new technologies in rural communities. As part of this guide, the Department is making up to £3 million of funding available for rural innovation. This will help explore innovative solutions to long-standing issues, such as loneliness and isolation, poor access to services and economically challenging business cases for rural transport services.

The Department is also providing considerable support for bus and other transport services, including in rural areas. Our £20 million Rural Mobility Fund is supporting 16 innovative, demand-led minibus trials in rural and suburban areas across 16 local authorities, including Hertfordshire, in England. These pilots are exploring whether Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) can serve these communities more effectively than traditional public transport solutions alone. We have also announced that a new uplift of 60% will be added to Community Transport Operators’ (CTOs) Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) claims until 31 March 2025.

More widely, in May, we announced a long-term approach to protect and improve bus services backed by an additional £300 million from July 2023 until April 2025. £140 million of this funding will go to bus operators to support services, and the remaining £160 million will go to Local Transport Authorities (LTAs) to protect and enhance bus services, and support local fares initiatives.

The Government is investing nearly £600 million to deliver a £2 fare cap on single bus fares in England outside London to help passengers save on their regular travel costs, which the Prime Minister recently announced would be extended until the end of 2024.

On 4 October, as part of Network North, we announced a further £1 billion from redirected HS2 funding to level up bus services in the North and Midlands, helping to make them more frequent, reliable, cheaper, and easier to use.

Lord Davies of Gower
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to restrict the climate impact of London Luton Airport.

The Government has ambitious plans to decarbonise all aviation, as part of our Jet Zero strategy and is already supporting a variety of technology, fuel and market-based measures to do so.

Many airports have committed to decarbonising their operations including through the deployment of low carbon vehicles, on-site renewables, phasing out gas for heating and surface access strategies. Details of Luton Airport’s specific commitments and proposals have been published in its 2022 Sustainability Report.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th May 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many bus routes (1) in rural areas, and (2) outside London as a whole, were closed in each of the past five years.

The Department does not hold information on bus routes that have been terminated by operators.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th May 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what alternative provisions they are making for individuals who live in areas affected by closures of rural bus routes.

Our £20 million Rural Mobility Fund is supporting 16 innovative, demand-led minibus trials in rural and suburban areas across 15 local authorities in England. These pilots are exploring whether DRT can serve these communities more effectively than traditional public transport solutions alone.

The Government has provided over £2 billion in emergency and recovery funding since March 2020 through to 30 June to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic and prevent reductions to bus services.

On 17 May, we announced a long-term approach to continue protecting vital bus services with an additional £300 million from July 2023 until April 2025. Almost half of this additional funding will be provided to bus operators, partially based on the distance of the services that they operate. This will allow us to focus funding on longer routes, such as those in rural areas, where some services are less likely to be commercially sustainable without additional funding. In addition, the successful fare cap scheme has also been extended to help with costs and increase patronage.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Apr 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they will take to uphold the obligation "to render assistance to any person found at sea in danger of being lost” under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea once fully automated ships are brought into service.

Automated Ships, or MASS (Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships), will be expected to meet the same United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) obligations to render assistance as conventional (non-MASS) ships. The obligations to render assistance under UNCLOS already provides flexibility for the Master by stating “in so far as he can do so without serious danger to this ship, the crew or the passengers”. This flexibility means that the level of assistance that may be rendered varies depending on ship type, size, capabilities etc. so although a MASS may not be able to render the same level of assistance as a conventional ship, they will be able to render assistance in line with the obligation under UNCLOS.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of how many people used public transportation supported by the Rural Mobility Fund in (1) 2018, (2) 2019, (3) 2020, (4) 2021, and (5) 2022.

Our £20 million Rural Mobility Fund (RMF) was awarded via a competitive process in 2021. It is supporting 16 innovative, demand-led minibus trials in rural and suburban areas across 15 local authorities in England. The majority of these pilot Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) schemes have now launched, with most launching in late 2021 and over the course of 2022.

A monitoring and evaluation process is in place. We expect to publish interim findings, including on patronage, in the first half of 2023, further findings in late 2023/early 2024, and the final findings in 2025 in the form of written reports. However, the exact timings and dissemination approach will be determined closer to the time.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to prevent the closure of rural bus routes.

The Government has provided nearly £2 billion of support since March 2020 through emergency and recovery grants to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic on the bus sector. This includes a six-month extension to the Bus Recovery Grant to provide up to £130 million to continue supporting bus services in England outside London until the end of March of this year.

The Government is also providing £60 million to help bus operators cap single fares at £2 on services in England outside London from 1 January to 31 March 2023. Over 130 operators covering more than 4,600 routes throughout England are participating in the scheme, including in rural areas, which will help increase patronage on buses and help millions save on their regular travel costs.

Our £20 million Rural Mobility Fund (RMF) is supporting 16 innovative, demand-led minibus trials in rural and suburban areas across 15 local authorities in England. These pilots are exploring whether Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) can serve these communities more effectively than traditional public transport solutions alone.

We have engaged extensively with rural stakeholders on how new transport modes can benefit rural communities in developing the soon to be published Future of Transport: Rural Strategy.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the reply by Lord Markham on 14 December 2022 (HL Deb col 653), what assessment they have made of the provision of freezers and fridges to increase food banks’ storage capacity.

Foodbanks are independent, charitable organisations and the Department for Work and Pensions does not have any role in their operation.

Whilst Government recognises that food charities are a great example of the generosity of spirit of communities across the country, it is important to recognise the important distinction between government welfare support and discretionary charitable support. Therefore, the Department for Work and Pensions is unable to make an assessment as Foodbanks are independent, charitable organisations who design their own delivery models and criteria to access their services.

Government understands the pressures people, including parents, are facing with the cost of living and is taking action to help. Overall, the government is providing total support of over £94bn over 2022-23 and 2023- 24 to help households and individuals with the rising cost of bills.

The Government also announced over £100 million of support for charities and community organisations in England at the Spring Budget. This will support frontline organisations experiencing increased demand and higher delivery costs and will provide some investment in energy efficiency measures. It will be targeted towards those organisations most at risk from cost of living pressures, due to increased demand and higher delivery costs, as well as providing investment in energy efficiency measures. Further detail will be published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport shortly.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Dec 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Stedman-Scott on 16 November (HL3212), why they have kept the £25 Cold Weather Payment amount the same; and what plans they have to increase it in light of the increasing cost of energy bills.

There are currently no plans to increase payment of the Cold Weather Payment scheme. The current Cold Weather Payment scheme represents a contribution towards additional heating costs, paid at the time of need.

Pensioner households are in the process of receiving an extra £300 on top of their winter fuel payment to help them cover the rising cost of energy this winter. For those in receipt of Pension Credit the second Cost of Living Payment of £324 was issued in November. Pensioners in receipt of eligible disability benefits will have also received the disability cost of living payment of £150 issued in September.

The Government understands the pressures people are facing with the cost of living and that pensioners are disproportionately impacted by higher energy costs, and many low-income pensioner households do not claim the means tested benefits they are entitled to. That is why, in addition to the £37 billion of support we have provided for cost of living pressures in 2022/23, we are acting now to ensure support continues throughout 2023/24.

To ensure stability and certainty for households, in the Autumn Statement the Government has announced £26 billion in cost of living support for 2023/24. In 2023/24, households on eligible means-tested benefits will get up to a further £900 in Cost of Living Payments. A £300 payment will be made to pensioner households and individuals in receipt of eligible disability benefits will receive a £150 payment. Also included is the amended Energy Price Guarantee which will save the average UK household £500 in 2023/24 and raising the benefit cap by 10.1% in line with inflation.

3rd Nov 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Stedman-Scott on 27 October (HL2653), on what basis they can provide for the Cold Weather Payment being £25; when they undertook their last review into the appropriateness of that figure; and what assessment they have made of the efficacy of a one-off payment for those eligible for the Cold Weather Payment.

There are currently no plans to introduce a one-off payment under the Cold Weather Payment scheme. The scheme ensures that vulnerable claimants on qualifying benefits automatically receive a payment of £25 for every 7-day period of exceptionally cold weather. This represents a generous contribution towards additional heating costs, paid at the time of need.

The Government has already announced additional financial support to help vulnerable people with energy costs this winter, and the Department continues to keep its policies and procedures under review.

1st Nov 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the risk to individuals from the practice of Liability Driven Investment by pension funds.

Individual member benefits were not at risk. The DB pension promise is ultimately the responsibility of the sponsoring employer and does not depend on the performance of the fund. The steep rise in gilt yields and subsequent market turmoil at the end of September did not result in any DB schemes being at risk of insolvency. If any schemes do suffer losses which result in a funding deficit, this can be addressed through investment returns and additional contributions from the sponsoring employer over a reasonable period.

1st Nov 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Pensions Regulator regarding the use of Liability Driven Investment by pension funds.

Individual member benefits were not at risk. The DB pension promise is ultimately the responsibility of the sponsoring employer and does not depend on the performance of the fund. The steep rise in gilt yields and subsequent market turmoil at the end of September did not result in any DB schemes being at risk of insolvency. If any schemes do suffer losses which result in a funding deficit, this can be addressed through investment returns and additional contributions from the sponsoring employer over a reasonable period.

21st Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the report by Christians Against Poverty Shipshape or sinking ship?, published on 21 July, what plans they have to review whether social security meets (1) the basic cost of living, and (2) the Eatwell Guide.

Statistics on the number and percentage of children in low income and material deprivation, including by receipt of benefit, are set out in the annual "Households Below Average Income" publication.

Universal Credit (UC) awards are formed of a Standard Allowance, paid according to age and family status, plus help with eligible housing costs, which can then be supplemented with additional elements for groups recognised as having additional needs, such as parents, disabled people and carers. The rates of benefit are not determined by individuals' living costs.

This Government firmly believes that people should be free to spend their benefit as they see fit, in light of their individual needs and preferences. Everyone’s requirements vary and to attempt to base rates upon personal expenditure of individual recipients would produce an unfair and unsustainable system.

UC is a personalised system without the ‘cliff edges’ featured across legacy benefits, where money was lost when working more than 16, 24 and 30 hours. UC makes work pay by introducing a smoother, more transparent reduction of benefits at a consistent and predictable rate when people move into work and increase their earnings. A single taper, of 63 per cent per £1 is applied as earnings rise.

We have expanded the Holiday Activities and Food programme to all children in every local authority in England, covering Easter, Summer and Christmas in 2021. We also expanded Healthy Start payments from £3.10 to £4.25 a week from April 2021, to ensure pregnant women and children under 4 have access to basic food and vitamins.

We take the issue of food insecurity seriously, which is why we added internationally used food security questions to the Family Resources Survey in 19/20 and these questions remain in the survey for 20/21. Statistics on levels of food insecure households covering 2019/20, can be found on Gov.uk.

12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the rate of child poverty in Luton; and what plans they have to provide additional financial support to the Luton Borough Council to help it address that rate. [T]

The national and regional statistics on the number and proportion of people in low income as set out in the annual ‘Households Below Average Income’ publication are not available at local authority level due to limitations around the survey sample.

New experimental data on Children in Low Income families was published on 26 March 2020 and is available at Local Authority level. For the Luton Local Authority area, 23 per cent of children were in families with absolute low income in 2018/19 compared with 25 per cent in 2014/15.

Our current focus is on helping vulnerable families cope with the financial hardships brought about by COVID-19. We have increased Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit by £1,000 from 6 April 2020 for one year, benefiting over four million of the most vulnerable households, and increased Local Housing Allowance rates - putting an average of £600 into people’s pockets.

In addition, Local Authorities in England will now be able to use the £500 million Hardship Fund announced at the Spring Budget to help working people on Local Council Tax Support to provide additional help to vulnerable people locally through arrangements such as Local Welfare Schemes.

This Government’s long-term ambition remains to build an economy that will support work, and ensure that everyone has opportunities to enter work and progress, while being supported by the welfare system in their time of need. This is based on clear evidence of the important role of work in reducing child poverty. In 2018/19, only three per cent of children in households where both parents work full time were in absolute poverty (before housing costs) compared to 47 per cent in households where one or more parent was in part-time work.

18th Dec 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the findings in the Health Foundation report, Doing more for less?, published on 12 December, that (1) primary care network (PCN) funding is currently not sufficient to cover the additional challenges in areas of high deprivation, and (2) the current PCN contract focuses on addressing inequalities within PCNs, but not between PCNs.

Reducing health inequalities in health care is a priority for the National Health Service, and general practice and primary care networks (PCNs) have a major role to play in this.

Practices are paid for delivering essential and additional services based on the size of a practice’s registered list of patients. This funding accounts for patient sex, age, additional needs from a mortality and morbidity perspective, patient list turnover, care home residents and geographic location, including rurality and area costs.

PCNs also receive funding via the Network Contract Direct Enhanced Service, which sets out the requirements of PCNs. One of the core requirements of PCNs is to tackle neighbourhood health inequalities, as detailed in the Tackling Neighbourhood Health Inequalities Supplementary guidance, a copy of which is attached.

NHS England is undertaking a review of the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme, and outputs will inform the 2024/25 contract.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Dec 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how they are supporting the NHS to build additional capacity over winter, in light of pressures including high numbers of patients being admitted with winter viruses.

A range of measures are in place to support National Health Service capacity over winter. NHS winter planning started earlier this year than in previous years. Our Delivery plan for recovering urgent and emergency care services set the ambition in to increase the core general and acute (G&A) bed base by 5,000 permanent beds above originally planned 2022/23 levels. A copy of the plan is attached.

The latest published core G&A beds figures show over 3,700 additional core beds are now in place. The peak of total G&A bed numbers, encompassing both core and escalation beds, will depend on demand pressures, including from respiratory illnesses such as flu. This is alongside £200 million of additional funding to ambulance services this year to grow capacity and improve response times.

In July 2023, NHS England wrote to integrated care boards, trusts and primary care networks to set out a national approach to 2023/24 winter planning and the key steps to be taken across all parts of the system to meet the challenges expected from winter pressures.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Dec 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have to regulate the use of oral tobacco-free nicotine pouches in England.

Oral tobacco, otherwise known as snus, is banned in the United Kingdom under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016. Prevalence of oral tobacco-free nicotine pouches remains low, with data from Action on Smoking and Health in 2022 showing that 3.9% of adults had ever tried nicotine pouches.

There is limited research and evidence into the harms of nicotine pouches and their ability to support smoking quit attempts. However, we will continue to monitor the evidence. Whilst there is currently no age of sale restrictions on nicotine pouches, manufacturers do print age restrictions on their packs.

In October 2023, the Government and devolved administrations launched the smokefree generation and youth vaping consultation. This included consideration of whether consumer nicotine products, such as nicotine pouches, should come under a similar regulatory framework as nicotine vapes. The consultation response will be published shortly.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Dec 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made the long-term medical effects of using oral tobacco-free nicotine pouches.

Oral tobacco, otherwise known as snus, is banned in the United Kingdom under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016. Prevalence of oral tobacco-free nicotine pouches remains low, with data from Action on Smoking and Health in 2022 showing that 3.9% of adults had ever tried nicotine pouches.

There is limited research and evidence into the harms of nicotine pouches and their ability to support smoking quit attempts. However, we will continue to monitor the evidence. Whilst there is currently no age of sale restrictions on nicotine pouches, manufacturers do print age restrictions on their packs.

In October 2023, the Government and devolved administrations launched the smokefree generation and youth vaping consultation. This included consideration of whether consumer nicotine products, such as nicotine pouches, should come under a similar regulatory framework as nicotine vapes. The consultation response will be published shortly.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Dec 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the prevalence of the use of (1) oral tobacco-free nicotine pouches and (2) oral tobacco pouches, in England, especially among children and teenagers.

Oral tobacco, otherwise known as snus, is banned in the United Kingdom under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016. Prevalence of oral tobacco-free nicotine pouches remains low, with data from Action on Smoking and Health in 2022 showing that 3.9% of adults had ever tried nicotine pouches.

There is limited research and evidence into the harms of nicotine pouches and their ability to support smoking quit attempts. However, we will continue to monitor the evidence. Whilst there is currently no age of sale restrictions on nicotine pouches, manufacturers do print age restrictions on their packs.

In October 2023, the Government and devolved administrations launched the smokefree generation and youth vaping consultation. This included consideration of whether consumer nicotine products, such as nicotine pouches, should come under a similar regulatory framework as nicotine vapes. The consultation response will be published shortly.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what precautions they have taken against the spread of infectious diseases resulting from future climate emergencies.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) established a Centre for Climate and Health Security to address the challenges posed by climate change to public health. UKHSA was commissioned by the National Adaptation Programme to update the evidence on the health impacts of climate change through a United Kingdom-focused report entitled Health Effects of Climate Change in the UK. This report is due to be published in mid-December.

UKHSA conducts horizon scanning for infectious disease signals to detect, assess and communicate potential infectious threats to UK public health. Working across Government, UKHSA has developed guidance and contingency response plans to support the prevention, management, and control of infectious diseases. Surveillance systems and diagnostic pathways are in place to detect, monitor trends of, report and rapidly diagnose infectious diseases. UKHSA specialist laboratories also work with research and One Health partners to ensure readiness of testing capacity for zoonotic and vector borne diseases, and to develop testing approaches which can detect novel and emerging pathogens.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, following a survey by the School and Public Health Nurses Association and the British Dental Association in June which showed that 65 per cent of health practitioners reported that children’s health had got worse over the last year as a result of hunger, what plans they have to address hunger and poor nutrition in children.

The Government understands concerns regarding food inflation and its impact on the current cost of living, and as such is providing support of over £94 billion over 2022/23 and 2023/24 to help households and individuals.

Data from the Office for National Statistics shows prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages rose by 13.6% in the year to August 2023. This was down from 14.9% in July and a recent high of 19.2% in March 2023, which was the highest rate seen for over 45 years. This means that food prices are still increasing but at a slower rate than before.

Through the Healthy Food Schemes, the Government provides a nutritional safety net to those who need it the most. The three Healthy Food Schemes, namely Healthy Start, Nursery Milk and the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme, together help more than three million children. They support wider Government priorities on obesity and levelling up. The schemes help to support children and babies when they are at home, in childcare and in early years at school, and pregnant women. From April 2021, the value of the Healthy Start increased from £3.10 to £4.25, providing additional support to pregnant women and families on lower incomes to make healthy food choices.

The School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme provides approximately 2.2 million children in Key Stage 1 with a portion of fresh fruit or vegetables each day at school. Around 419 million pieces of fruit and vegetables were distributed to children in 2022/2023. In addition, the Nursery Milk Scheme provides a reimbursement to childcare providers for a daily 1/3 pint portion of milk to children and babies.

Free school meals are provided to over one third of school children. This includes two million pupils who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals, making up 23.8% of all pupils, which is an increase from January 2021 when 1.7 million or 20.8% pupils were eligible. In addition, almost 1.3 million more infants enjoy a free and nutritious meal at lunchtime following the introduction of universal infant free school meals in 2014. A further 90,000 disadvantaged pupils in further education also receive a free meal at lunch time. Overall, we spend over £1 billion per annum delivering free lunches to a large proportion of school children.

The Government’s wider programme of work to create a healthier environment to help people achieve and maintain a healthy weight includes:

- regulations which restrict the placement of products high in saturated fat, salt or sugar in store and online;

- efforts to reformulate products high in calories, sugar and salt;

- the Soft Drinks Industry Levy; and

- calorie labelling regulations for food sold in large out of home businesses.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many children and young people were being treated by the NHS for addiction to video games or gaming disorder annually from 2015 to 2022.

The National Centre for Gaming Disorders, providing treatment for people aged between 13 and 25 experiencing problem gaming in England, opened in October 2019. The following table shows the total number of annual referrals since the service became operational. The specific data requested is collected by the service provider to inform service delivery. This data is not subject to National Health Service quality assurance protocol and is therefore unsuitable for publication.

Year

Number of referrals of people aged 13 – 25 experiencing problems with gaming

2019 (October to Dec only)

12

2020 (Full year)

62

2021 (Full year)

99

2022 (Full year)

148

2023 (January to August only)

121

Total

442

Source: NHSE - National Centre for Gaming Disorders

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what progress they have made towards their target, announced in November 2014, of reducing the rates of stillbirths, neonatal and maternal deaths and brain injuries in babies by 50 per cent by 2025.

The Government’s National Maternity Safety Ambition is to halve the 2010 rates of stillbirths, neonatal and maternal deaths and brain injuries in babies occurring during or soon after birth by 2025. The ambition also includes reducing the rate of pre-term births from 8% to 6% by 2025.

The most recently published data which measures progress against the Ambition is for 2021 and 2022. This data coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic and is out of date. It will, therefore, not reflect recent efforts and initiatives to improve outcomes. The Department is working to increase the frequency and timeliness of publications, which will allow for closer monitoring of progress against the National Maternity Safety Ambition.

According to the latest data for 2021 and 2022, the stillbirth rate reduced by 23%, and the neonatal mortality rate for babies born over the 24-week gestational age of viability reduced by 30% since 2010.

Meanwhile, the proportion of babies born pre-term, with gestational age under 37 weeks, reduced from around 8% of all births in 2017, to 7.7% in 2021, and the overall rate of brain injuries occurring during or soon after birth has fallen to 4.2 per 1,000 births in 2019, 2% lower than the 2010 baseline.

The maternal death rate has increased. In the period 2019 to 2021, the maternal death rate was 11.56 per 100,000 maternity, which is a 9% increase from the 2009-2011 baseline.

The Department will keep Parliament updated when more recent data becomes available.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Oct 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with Servier to expand access to vorasidenib for patients that might benefit by including it in the early access to medicines scheme, or by any other means.

The Department has had no specific discussions with Servier regarding vorasidenib, and neither has the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The MHRA has not issued a scientific opinion for Vorasidenib under the early access to medicines scheme but should an application for this be received, the MHRA will consider this accordingly.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Sep 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support the digitisation of adult social care.

We are funding a programme of digitisation for adult social care that is delivered through integrated care systems having spent £50 million so far and investing a further £100 million over the next two years.

This investment is targeted at driving up adoption of digital social care records and other proven care technologies, while improving the foundations for digital working across the sector, including digital skills, cyber security, and connectivity.

We have made good progress so far, increasing adoption of digital social care records by Care Quality Commission-registered providers from 40% in December 2021 to over 55% today; and over 60% of people now have a digital social care record, enabling care teams to have the right information at their fingertips to deliver safe, outstanding care.

We are also supporting local systems to identify and invest in care technologies that address local population needs and priorities, while developing a robust evidence base on effective care technologies to inform future investment decisions.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Sep 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what service the NHS provides for people with fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva.

While there is no specific prescribed service for fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP), children with the condition are cared for by National Health Service paediatric rheumatologists and/or geneticists with input from other clinicians as required. For patients with rare diseases such as FOP, expert centres provide clinical guidance, support and advice to patients, their families, and carers.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Sep 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the UK Rare Diseases Framework on international collaboration since January 2021.

Whilst no assessment has been made, international collaboration is an underpinning theme of the UK Rare Diseases Framework. The Department continues to engage with the Horizon Europe Partnership on Rare Diseases, due to begin in autumn 2024. To support United Kingdom input into the proposal for the partnership, we have worked with Newcastle University to establish an International Mirror and Action Group, bringing together UK researchers working on rare diseases. We also engage with the World Health Organisation and Rare Diseases International on development of the important Global Network for Rare Diseases initiative, which will pool resources and connect centres of excellence around the world, to improve diagnosis and care for people living with a rare disease.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Sep 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the efficacy of Naltrexone in the treatment of problem gambling.

No assessment has been made. The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence is developing a clinical guideline for the treatment of harmful gambling. This will cover psychological and psychosocial interventions as well as pharmacological treatments. The attached document outlines the full scope of the guideline. Publication is expected in spring 2024.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Sep 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Markham on 7 September (HL9841), whether they have any plans to discuss Vorasidenib with Servier Laboratories.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has not granted a marketing authorisation for Vorasidenib, however should an application be received from Servier Laboratories, the MHRA has licensing pathways available, with the aim of ensuring the products can be made available for patients in the United Kingdom in the shortest time possible and to support and protect public health. While the MHRA will assess any submitted applications and is willing to facilitate the appropriate regulatory processes, the agency cannot actively seek these applications and as such there are currently no plans to discuss Vorasidenib with Servier Laboratories.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Sep 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what measures exist to support effective suicide (1) surveillance, and (2) prevention.

The National near Real Time Suspected Suicide Surveillance system will be live by the end of 2023. Its reports will act as an early warning system for indications of change in suicides through analysis of data on suspected suicides.

Everyone has a role to play in suicide prevention and the Government published its new five-year, cross-Government and cross-sector suicide prevention strategy for England on 11 September 2023. The content of the strategy was informed by data, evidence, and engagement with stakeholders, including people with lived experience, and by the mental health and wellbeing plan call for evidence conducted in 2022.

The Strategy is a call for action for national and local government, the health service, and the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector, employers, and individuals to tackle suicide. It sets out over 100 actions from across a wide range of organisations to support our ambitions for suicide prevention.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Sep 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what safeguards exist to protect whistle-blowers in the NHS.

Workers who blow the whistle are entitled to protections, which were introduced through the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. These include protection from detriment or dismissal because of blowing the whistle, and a route of redress through an Employment Tribunal if these protections are infringed. In 2018, the Government enhanced legal protections available for whistle blowers in the National Health Service to prohibit discrimination against job applicants on the grounds that they have spoken up in the past.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Sep 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the efficacy of Vorasidenib for the treatment of brain tumours.

In the United Kingdom, medicines need to have a licence before they can be marketed, and these are granted by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The MHRA has not issued a scientific opinion for Vorasidenib. Should an application for Vorasidenib be received, the MHRA will consider this accordingly.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Sep 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many cases of whistleblowing occurred in NHS hospitals in (1) 2019, (2) 2020, (3) 2021, and (4) 2022.

The information requested is not collected or held centrally.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Sep 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many (1) doctors, and (2) nurses, left the NHS in (a) 2019, (b) 2020, (c) 2021, and (d) 2022.

The table below shows the published data on the leaver rates as a percentage and the number of doctors and nurses & health visitors who have left active service in National Health Service trusts and core organisations, for each annual period 2019 to 2022.

Period

Doctors

Nurses & Health Visitors

31 December 2018 to 31 December 2019

17,863 (14.7%)

33,188 (10.2%)

31 December 2019 to 31 December 2020

17,045 (13.3%)

30,392 (9.0%)

31 December 2020 to 31 December 2021

19,156 (14.4%)

36,689 (10.6%)

31 December 2021 to 31 December 2022

21,078 (15.2%)

41,121 (11.4%)

Source: NHS England Workforce Statistics

The latest figures published by NHS England for the year to March 2023 show leaver rates are falling, and currently stand at 15.0% for doctors and 10.9% for nurses and health Visitors. Leaver’s data is based on headcount and shows staff leaving active service. This would include those going on maternity leave or career breaks, as well as those leaving NHS trusts and core organisations, including integrated care boards, to work in another part of the health and social care sector, including social care or primary care. The number of doctors leaving includes doctors in training grades, of whom some will be rotating out of NHS trusts to other parts of the health and social care sector as part of planned programmes of training.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation in treating (1) alcoholism, (2) problem gambling, (3) depression, and (4) substance disorders.

The Department has made no such assessment. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published interventional procedures guidance on repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation for depression (IPG542) in December 2015. A copy of this guidance is attached.

NICE found that the procedure showed no major safety concerns and the evidence on its efficacy in the short term was adequate, although the benefits vary for different people. NICE interventional procedures guidance does not consider clinical and cost effectiveness and funding decisions are made by local National Health Service commissioners.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to promote accurate recording of the number of care homes.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is responsible for the accurate recording of the number of care homes as well as all health and adult social care providers that fall within the scope of registration with the CQC within England. A list of all the providers is publicly available on CQC’s website and is updated monthly. This has been the case since 2012, prior to which it was available on request.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the dangers of microplastics in food; and what steps they are taking to investigate this.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) continues to monitor and assess emerging information concerning microplastics in food. The Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment is an independent scientific committee that provides advice to the Food Standards Agency and other government departments, and is currently considering the issue of microplastics, having previously concluded that the available data was not sufficient for a complete assessment. The FSA has advised that, based on current information, they consider it is unlikely that the presence of these particles in food or drink would cause harm to consumers. However, this will be kept under review as new evidence becomes available.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many recorded cases of rickets occurred in each of the past four years; and what evidence they have regarding what is causing the increase in cases.

NHS England publishes data on hospital admissions in England for rickets. A count of finished admission episodes with a “primary” diagnosis and a “primary or secondary” diagnosis of rickets for the years 2018-19 to 2021-22 is shown in the table below:

Financial year

Primary diagnosis

Primary or secondary diagnosis

2018-19

68

477

2019-20

43

504

2020-21

50

391

2021-22

53

439

Rickets is a condition which mostly affects children and is usually caused by prolonged vitamin D or calcium deficiency. Evidence on the relationship between vitamin D status or vitamin D supplementation and risk of nutritional rickets in children was assessed by the government’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition in its report ‘Vitamin D and Health’ (2016).

The National Diet and Nutrition Survey reported evidence of low vitamin D status, as indicated by low plasma 25-hydroxy vitamin D concentrations in blood, in all age groups surveyed between 2016 and 2019. 16% of adults aged 19 to 64 years, 13% of adults aged 65 years and over, 19% of children aged 11 to 18 years and 2% of children 4 to 10 years had low vitamin D status (taking account of seasonal variation). A low vitamin D status does not necessarily indicate clinical deficiency.

Copies of these reports has previously been placed in the Library but are also attached here.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many recorded diagnoses of malnutrition occurred among children in England in (1) 2019, (2) 2020, (3) 2021, and (4) 2022.

NHS England has provided a count of Finished Admission Episodes, for patients aged 0-17, by year of admission, with a “primary” or “primary or secondary” diagnosis of malnutrition for the years 2019 to 2022. The following table shows activity in English National Health Service Hospitals and English NHS-commissioned activity in the independent sector:

Year

Primary Diagnosis

Primary or Secondary Diagnosis

2019

38

406

2020

47

332

2021

39

320

2022 (provisional)

52

303

Source: Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), NHS England

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many S2 funding applications were approved in (1) NHS Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board, and (2) NHS Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care Board, in (a) 2019, (b) 2020, (c) 2021, and (d) 2022.

NHS England administers the Planned Treatment Scheme (S2) for residents of England. The Integrated Care Boards (Establishment) Order 2022 legally established 42 integrated care boards (ICB) with effect from 1 July 2022, therefore the following table can only provide information for two ICB’s showing the number of S2’s approved. Exact numbers have not been provided to prevent the identification of individual patients.

Number of S2’s approved between 1 July 2022 to 31 December 2022

NHS Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board

Five or less

NHS Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care Board

Five or less

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what was the average ambulance response time in (1) NHS Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board, and (2) NHS Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care Board, in (a) 2019, (b) 2020, (c) 2021, and (d) 2022.

Ambulance response times by Integrated Care Board (ICB) area are not centrally collected

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how much money they are directing annually to research the (1) causes, and (2) treatment, for corticobasal degeneration.

The Department funds research through the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). While the NIHR have not provided programme funding for studies into corticobasal degeneration over the past five years, the NIHR has supported the delivery of 25 studies relating to corticobasal degeneration via the NIHR infrastructure.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what support is available for people suffering from corticobasal degeneration.

Patients with a diagnosis of corticobasal degeneration would be supported through the usual range of commissioned health and social care services. Depending on the needs of an individual, support may be provided through a range of commissioned health and social care services including their general practitioner, general neurology services, specialised neurology services and social care. There is not a separately commissioned service for this condition.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many people were diagnosed with corticobasal degeneration in (1) 2018, (2) 2019, (3) 2020, (4) 2021, and (5) 2022.

The National Congenital Anomaly and Rare Diseases Registration Services (NCARDRS) does not hold comprehensive data on corticobasal degeneration. Therefore, this this information is not available in the format requested.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what support is available for people with progressive supranuclear palsy.

Patients with a diagnosis of progressive supranuclear palsy would be supported through the usual range of commissioned health and social care services. Depending on the needs of an individual, support may be provided through a range of commissioned health and social care services including their general practitioner, general neurology services, specialised neurology services and social care. There is not a separately commissioned service for progressive supranuclear palsy.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what funding is being directed annually to researching the causes and treatment of progressive supranuclear palsy.

National Congenital Anomaly and Rare Disease Registration Service (NCARDRS) does not hold comprehensive data on progressive supranuclear palsy, therefore this information is not available in the format requested. The Department funds research into rare diseases through the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). The usual practice of NIHR is not to ring-fence funds for expenditure on particular topics such on the causes and treatment of progressive supranuclear palsy. Research proposals in all areas compete for the funding available.

In the past five years the NIHR has funded a study into progressive supranuclear palsy with a total award value of £1,200,000. In the last five years the NIHR has further supported the delivery of over 40 studies relating to progressive supranuclear palsy via the NIHR infrastructure which includes research on potential causes and treatments.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, for each year since 2017, how many people have been diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy.

National Congenital Anomaly and Rare Disease Registration Service (NCARDRS) does not hold comprehensive data on progressive supranuclear palsy, therefore this information is not available in the format requested. The Department funds research into rare diseases through the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). The usual practice of NIHR is not to ring-fence funds for expenditure on particular topics such on the causes and treatment of progressive supranuclear palsy. Research proposals in all areas compete for the funding available.

In the past five years the NIHR has funded a study into progressive supranuclear palsy with a total award value of £1,200,000. In the last five years the NIHR has further supported the delivery of over 40 studies relating to progressive supranuclear palsy via the NIHR infrastructure which includes research on potential causes and treatments.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what measures they are taking to protect clinically extremely vulnerable and immunocompromised people from COVID-19.

As set out in the Written Ministerial Statement on 30 March 2023, in 2023/24 the Government will maintain a range of capabilities to protect those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Given the continued effectiveness of vaccines and improved treatments, for most people there is a much lower risk of severe illness compared to earlier in the pandemic.

Appropriate levels of testing will remain to support diagnosis for clinical care and treatment and to protect very high-risk individuals and settings. Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and immunocompromised are part of the group who are eligible for COVID-19 treatments in the community, enabling them easy access to anti-viral treatments. High risk individuals are also part of the priority cohort in line for booster vaccines. The Government will continue to consider the advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation on future vaccine selection and booster programmes for those at greatest risk.

The Government will also maintain essential COVID-19 surveillance activities in the community, primary and secondary care, and in high-risk settings.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of Evusheld 2 in protecting clinically extremely vulnerable and immunocompromised people against COVID-19; and whether there are plans for it to be made available on the NHS.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has made no evaluation of Evusheld 2. Should such an application be received, the MHRA will review this for quality, safety and effectiveness and the overall benefit risk. The MHRA, together with independent advisory groups, continues to review the emerging body of evidence regarding potential medicines for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many clinically extremely vulnerable and immunocompromised people are living in the England.

During the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, patients deemed to be clinically extremely vulnerable patients were advised to shield or take extra precautions. The success of the COVID-19 vaccination programme has meant that people who were part of this patient cohort are no longer at substantially greater risk than the general population and so are advised to follow the same guidance as everyone else on staying safe and preventing the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections.

The definition and number of clinically extremely vulnerable and immunocompromised population has evolved as patients are diagnosed or complete treatment courses that remove their vulnerability.

However, there remains a smaller number of people whose weakened immune system means they may be at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, despite vaccination. This cohort remain a priority for the Government and as such, are offered enhanced protections such as treatments, booster vaccines, free lateral flow tests and public health advice.

The current assessment of the population in England at higher risk for COVID and therefore eligible for assessment for COVID-19 therapeutic treatments options is 2.5 to 3 million patients.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Food Standards Agency's investigation into the mislabelling of the country of origin on pre-packaged sliced beef.

The Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) National Food Crime Unit is carrying out an investigation into a meat supplier. The investigation commenced in August 2021 and is pursuing allegations that the supplier fraudulently provided products labelled as British that were sourced from other countries. As this is a complex criminal investigation which must be carried out with due process and fairness, it is important that the investigation continues to adhere to the highest possible professional standards so that justice can be served.

In recent weeks allegations have been made regarding potential hygiene and food safety breaches, with the FSA currently exploring these allegations. No current food safety risks have been identified. The Chief Executive has recently made a statement about the investigation.

The FSA is held to account by its independent Board, which was set up in the 1999 Food Standards Act. The Board meets in public on a quarterly basis and next meets on 21 June 2023, in Belfast.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the efficacy of medication, such as paroxetine, for the treatment of problem gambling.

Whilst no specific assessment has been made, the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence is developing a clinical guideline for the treatment of harmful gambling. This will cover psychological and psychosocial interventions as well as pharmacological treatments, with publication expected in early 2024.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Dec 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government why screening of malnutrition is not standard practice in all health settings across England.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends that all hospital inpatients on admission and all outpatients at their first clinic appointment should be screened for malnutrition. Screening should be repeated weekly for inpatients and when there is clinical concern for outpatients. Residents in care homes should be screened on admission and when there is clinical concern.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Dec 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the number of children under five years old who benefit from the provision of free school milk; and what plans they have to expand that provision.

Approximately 810,587 children received a portion of milk through the Nursery Milk Scheme every school day during 2021/22. There are no plans to expand the provision.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Nov 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Lord Markham on 16 November (HL3261) and 17 November (HL3260), what data they can provide on patient numbers at (1) NHS gambling clinics, and (2) the NHS national children and young person’s pilot gambling clinic.

While the information requested is not held by clinic, the following table shows the number of referrals to the NHS London Gambling Service via the National Problem Gambling Clinic and Children and Young Person’s Clinic and the Northern Gambling Service in Leeds, Manchester and Sunderland in each year since 2020/21.

2020/21

775

2021/22

1,013

April to September 2022

599

Data from the Children and Young Person’s Clinic includes referrals for gaming.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Nov 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Lord Markham on 16 November (HL3261) and 17 November (HL3260), why they do not have the data requested; and what plans they have to collect such data.

The information requested is currently collected by service rather than by clinic. In 2023/24, NHS England plans to report data from all National Health Service gambling services through the Mental Health Services Dataset.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Nov 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government how many young people have been treated in the NHS national children and young person’s pilot gambling clinic in the past year, broken down by (1) age, and (2) the region of the country they live in.

This information is not collected centrally in the format requested.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Nov 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government how many patients have been treated in the NHS gambling clinics in (1) London, (2) Leeds, (3) Manchester, and (4) Sunderland, in the past year.

This information is not currently collected in the format requested.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Nov 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government how many more NHS gambling clinics are being planned; and where those clinics will be situated.

The National Health Service will open an additional seven specialist gambling clinics by the end of 2023/24, to deliver the NHS Long Term Plan’s commitment to establish 15 such clinics in England. While the locations of these clinics have not yet been confirmed, NHS England aims to have a clinic in each region in England.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the prevalence of microplastics in food production.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is monitoring and assessing emerging information concerning microplastics in food. Based on current information, the FSA considers it is unlikely that the presence of these particles in food or drink would cause harm to consumers. However, this will be kept under review as new evidence becomes available.

28th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Kamall on 27 June (HL1046), what plans they have to record data on the number of health care professionals who were hired from countries graded as red by the World Health Organisation.

We have no plans to do so.

We collate data from published sources to monitor the patterns of staff joining the National Health Service who have trained outside the United Kingdom. This includes data from the the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s register and the Electronic Staff Record’s information on the nationality of staff.

16th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to stop hiring health care professionals from countries listed as red by the World Health Organisation.

Information on the number of nurses hired in England from countries graded as red by the World Health Organization (WHO) for each of the past 10 years, is not collected in the format requested. While the National Health Service Electronic Staff Record collects self-reported data on nationality, this does not show where staff were trained or the country in which they were resident at that time.

International recruitment in England is guided by the Code of Practice for the International Recruitment of Health and Social Care Personnel, which is available in an online only format. The Code prevents active international recruitment, without a Government to Government agreement, from the 47 countries on the WHO’s Health Workforce Support and Safeguards list. These countries have been identified by the WHO as having health economies with significant and unsustainable workforce challenges. However, the Code is mindful of an individuals’ right to migrate and those from countries on this list can make direct applications for vacancies in the United Kingdom health and social care sectors of their own accord.

16th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many nurses were hired in England from countries graded as red by the World Health Organisation for each of the past 10 years.

Information on the number of nurses hired in England from countries graded as red by the World Health Organization (WHO) for each of the past 10 years, is not collected in the format requested. While the National Health Service Electronic Staff Record collects self-reported data on nationality, this does not show where staff were trained or the country in which they were resident at that time.

International recruitment in England is guided by the Code of Practice for the International Recruitment of Health and Social Care Personnel, which is available in an online only format. The Code prevents active international recruitment, without a Government to Government agreement, from the 47 countries on the WHO’s Health Workforce Support and Safeguards list. These countries have been identified by the WHO as having health economies with significant and unsustainable workforce challenges. However, the Code is mindful of an individuals’ right to migrate and those from countries on this list can make direct applications for vacancies in the United Kingdom health and social care sectors of their own accord.

16th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what concerns they have, if any, regarding the marketing of e-cigarettes and vapes to under-18s.

The Government collects statistics on smoking and vaping for 11 to 15 year olds through the Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People survey. Due to the pandemic, the latest data available is from 2018, which shows regular use of vapes for 11 to 15 year olds at 3% and regular use of smoking cigarettes at 2%. Fieldwork for the latest survey is complete and due to published later this year. The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities collects data on vaping among 11 to 18 year olds, which will be published in its 2022 Vaping in England report shortly.

The regulatory framework for vaping aims to maximise the opportunities for adult smokers to convert from cigarettes while preventing non-smokers and young people from starting to smoke. The independent review into tobacco control measures led by Dr Javed Khan supports this approach. However, further measures have been recommended to discourage uptake among young people. We are considering the review’s recommendations and continue to monitor the evidence on use among young people and vaping regulations are kept under review.

16th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how the consumption by individuals under the age of 18 differs between smokers of tobacco and users of e-cigarettes or vapes.

The Government collects statistics on smoking and vaping for 11 to 15 year olds through the Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People survey. Due to the pandemic, the latest data available is from 2018, which shows regular use of vapes for 11 to 15 year olds at 3% and regular use of smoking cigarettes at 2%. Fieldwork for the latest survey is complete and due to published later this year. The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities collects data on vaping among 11 to 18 year olds, which will be published in its 2022 Vaping in England report shortly.

The regulatory framework for vaping aims to maximise the opportunities for adult smokers to convert from cigarettes while preventing non-smokers and young people from starting to smoke. The independent review into tobacco control measures led by Dr Javed Khan supports this approach. However, further measures have been recommended to discourage uptake among young people. We are considering the review’s recommendations and continue to monitor the evidence on use among young people and vaping regulations are kept under review.

16th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of how many people in England under the age of 18 regularly use a vape or e-cigarette.

The Government collects statistics on smoking and vaping for 11 to 15 year olds through the Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People survey. Due to the pandemic, the latest available data is from 2018, which shows regular use of vapes for 11 to 15 year olds at 3% and regular use of smoking cigarettes at 2%. Fieldwork for the latest survey is complete and due to be published later this year. The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities collects data on vaping among 11 to 18 year olds, which will be published in its 2022 Vaping in England report shortly.

Under the current Tobacco Control Plan for England, the former Public Health England commissioned annual independent reports on vaping in England. The final report is due to be published by the Office of Health Improvement and Disparities shortly. The report will include systematic reviews of the respiratory, cardiovascular and cancer risks and reports on the risks from fires, explosions and poisonings.

16th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what research they are currently undertaking into the long-term health effects caused by smoking e-cigarettes and vapes.

The Government collects statistics on smoking and vaping for 11 to 15 year olds through the Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People survey. Due to the pandemic, the latest available data is from 2018, which shows regular use of vapes for 11 to 15 year olds at 3% and regular use of smoking cigarettes at 2%. Fieldwork for the latest survey is complete and due to be published later this year. The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities collects data on vaping among 11 to 18 year olds, which will be published in its 2022 Vaping in England report shortly.

Under the current Tobacco Control Plan for England, the former Public Health England commissioned annual independent reports on vaping in England. The final report is due to be published by the Office of Health Improvement and Disparities shortly. The report will include systematic reviews of the respiratory, cardiovascular and cancer risks and reports on the risks from fires, explosions and poisonings.

6th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the risk presented to UK citizens by low vaccine rates in low income countries.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has not made a specific assessment of the overall risk presented by low vaccine rates in low-income countries. However, the UKHSA produces regular assessments of the risk presented to the United Kingdom by travellers from other countries and nations. Assessment of vaccination coverage in low income countries forms part of these individual country risk assessments, including the risk/threat to public health in the UK. These risk assessments are used by Ministers to decide on border security measures, such as ‘red listing’.

4th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to include consideration of issues relating to gambling harm in the professional sports community in the development of the cross-Government addiction strategy.

Due to the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic on departmental resources, work on the cross-Government addiction strategy has been delayed. The scope of the strategy is yet to be determined, with work on this expected to resume later in 2021.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the finding of the study in the Nature Human Behaviour journal The association between gambling and financial, social and health outcomes in big financial data, published on 4 February, that an individual is more likely to become a heavy gambler in a period of six months than to go from heavy gambling to abstention; and what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of existing gambling treatment programmes.

We have made no such assessment. Public Health England is currently undertaking an evidence review on the prevalence, determinants and harms associated with gambling, and the social and economic burden of gambling-related harms. The review is expected to be completed in March 2021.

The NHS Long Term Plan includes a commitment to open 15 specialist problem gambling clinics by 2023/24. As these services expand, NHS England will continue to explore how to make best use of existing treatment models to help problem gamblers.

7th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the cost of gambling addiction to the NHS in each of the last five years; and (2) the likely cost in each of the next five years.

The exact figures on the cost to the National Health Service of gambling addiction is not collected centrally. However, the NHS Mental Health Implementation Plan 2019/20 – 2023/24 has committed to spending up to £15 million on problem gambling by 2023/24.

16th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to Government Response to the House of Lords Gambling Industry Committee Report: Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry, published on 8 December, how they intend to record gambling related suicides.

As detailed in the Government’s response to the Committee’s Report, we have no plans to separately identify gambling-related suicides as, amongst other things, coroners do not usually provide what might be understood as the ‘reason’ for a suicide in their verdicts, which would seriously compromise the reliability and, therefore, the validity of any resulting data.

15th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Government Response to the House of Lords Gambling Industry Committee Report: Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry, published on 8 December, what plans they have to ensure that any company that (1) was previously connected to, or (2) has a conflict of interest with, the gambling industry is not procured by NHS Digital to carry out the 2021 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey.

Crown Commercial Services, through their RM6018 Research Marketplace Dynamic Purchasing System, ran a Call for Competition (CFC) on behalf of NHS Digital to put in place a contract for the provision of the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2021.

The CFC requested bidders to declare any conflict of interest, which as part of the tender process we would have subsequently conducted due diligence on. In this case we not aware of any such conflicts of interest for bidders. As of 18 December 2020, this is a live procurement.

1st Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to increase the funding that clinical commissioning groups provide to the charitable hospice sector.

The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement recognise the huge role palliative and end of life care services, including hospices, have played in the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This importance was acknowledged in the provision of over £150 million in additional central funding to the hospice sector between April and July. Further additional funding of up to £125 million has now been announced to enable hospices to continue their vital end of life care services and deliver even greater support for the NHS.

1st Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide funding to Rennie Grove Hospice Care to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement recognise the huge role palliative and end of life care services, including hospices, have played in the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This importance was acknowledged in the provision of over £150 million in additional funding to the hospice sector between April and July. Further additional funding of up to £125 million has now been announced to enable hospices to continue their vital end of life care services and deliver even greater support for the National Health Service.

NHS England and NHS Improvement can confirm that Rennie Grove Hospice received £1,000,317 between April and July this year. Rennie Grove, like other hospices, will be eligible to apply for the further additional funding now being made available.

1st Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide funding to charitable hospice care providers who have lost community funding during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement recognise the huge role palliative and end of life care services, including hospices, have played in the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This importance was acknowledged in the provision of over £150 million in additional funding to the hospice sector between April and July. Further additional funding of up to £125 million has now been announced to enable hospices to continue their vital end of life care services and deliver even greater support for the National Health Service.

NHS England and NHS Improvement can confirm that Rennie Grove Hospice received £1,000,317 between April and July this year. Rennie Grove, like other hospices, will be eligible to apply for the further additional funding now being made available.

19th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have put in place to financially support charitable hospice care providers; and what assessment they have made of the impact of visiting restrictions in hospitals on the level of demand experienced by such providers.

NHS England and NHS Improvement regularly assess the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak on the hospice sector and are in regular discussions with stakeholders in the sector about the challenges they face.

Between April and July, £150 million in additional funding was provided to the hospice sector. Further funding of up to £125 million has now been made available to enable hospices to continue their vital end of life care services.

Alongside this, hospices have benefited from the financial support offered by HM Treasury to all charities, such as paying no business rates for their shops next year and applying for a Business Interruption Loan. Charities, alongside other sectors, can also access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the replacement Job Support Scheme.

No specific assessment has been made of the impact of visiting restrictions in hospitals on the level of demand experienced by charitable hospice care providers.

19th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on charitable hospice care providers.

NHS England and NHS Improvement regularly assess the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak on the hospice sector and are in regular discussions with stakeholders in the sector about the challenges they face.

Between April and July, £150 million in additional funding was provided to the hospice sector. Further funding of up to £125 million has now been made available to enable hospices to continue their vital end of life care services.

Alongside this, hospices have benefited from the financial support offered by HM Treasury to all charities, such as paying no business rates for their shops next year and applying for a Business Interruption Loan. Charities, alongside other sectors, can also access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the replacement Job Support Scheme.

No specific assessment has been made of the impact of visiting restrictions in hospitals on the level of demand experienced by charitable hospice care providers.

10th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the report by GambleAware Annual Statistics from the National Gambling Treatment Service (Great Britain), published on 29 October, what steps they are taking to encourage those affected by gambling-related harm to seek help.

The Government remains committed to the treatment of gambling-related harms.

The NHS Long Term Plan announced the creation of an additional 14 specialist problem gambling clinics by 2023/24, three of which are already up and running. The NHS England Northern Gambling Service in Leeds opened last summer and includes satellite sites in Manchester and Sunderland.

Work continues on the phased expansion of these services, enabling the National Health Service to explore how best to use existing treatment models to reach those in most need of support.

The Department is working collaboratively with key delivery partners to support the integration and expansion of treatment services and improve public awareness. GambleAware launched a new campaign during February and March to raise awareness of the treatment available through the National Gambling Treatment Service.

9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether Uighur forced labour was used in the production of personal protective equipment purchased by the UK from Medwell Medical Products; and what plans they have to implement due diligence checks to ensure that items purchased by the UK have not been produced using such forced labour.

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

Government guidance advises public sector contracting authorities on how to assess suppliers in terms of mitigating the risk of modern slavery. Contracts are normally placed in line with Departmental terms and conditions which include clauses requiring Good Industry Practice to ensure that there is no slavery or human trafficking in supply chains. In the event that allegations of modern slavery are substantiated in relation to a Departmental supplier, we will consider all available options.

3rd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many children with gambling addictions have received treatment from the NHS since the opening of the first child gambling clinic.

The data requested is not available.

3rd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to widen gambling treatment services; and what targets are in place for (1) the percentage of gamblers to be treated, and (2) the date by which that treatment should take place.

Whilst there are no specific targets in place, the NHS Long Term Plan committed to expanding the geographical coverage of treatment services by opening up to 15 specialist problem gambling clinics 2023/24. Work continues on phased expansion of these services, enabling the National Health Service to explore how best to use existing treatment models to reach those most in need of support.

14th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce an NHS-led and commissioned treatment system to treat gambling addiction.

The NHS Long Term Plan made a commitment to expand the geographical coverage of NHS services for people with serious gambling problems.

In addition to the existing National Problem Gambling Clinic in London, the National Health Service has committed to opening an additional 14 new problem gambling clinics by 2023/24. The NHS Northern Gambling Service in Leeds opened in 2019 and now has satellite sites in Manchester and Sunderland. The NHS Mental Health Implementation Plan has committed to spending a total of £6 million on gambling-related harms by 2023/24.

As part of the Long Term Plan, NHS England and NHS Improvement are improving referral routes for mental health services in primary care, by focusing on the integration of services.

14th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Royal Society for Public Health Problem gambling and suicidality in England: secondary analysis of a representative cross-sectional survey, published on 12 May; and what regulatory measures they have changed as a result of evidence linking gambling-related harm and suicide.

Officials have assessed the research article published by the Royal Society for Public Health as a valuable addition to the evidence base about the risk factors of suicidal behaviour but have noted that caution is needed when interpreting the study’s results as the sample size for the problem gambler group is very small and comes from data collected in 2007.

We know that there may be wider lifestyle factors associated with gambling addiction that may link to poor mental health and that gambling addiction can create a cycle of debt which can also have a significant impact on mental health and may, in extreme cases, lead to thoughts of suicide. We committed to addressing suicide risk and gambling in the most recent progress report on the National Suicide Prevention Strategy and the Cross-Government Suicide Prevention Workplan, published in January 2019.

30th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the percentage of dairy bought by the NHS in England in each of the last 12 months that was produced by UK dairy farmers.

NHS Supply Chain, the main provider of consumables and equipment into the National Health Service, report that the great majority of their suppliers responded to a request for information on dairy products (milk, cream, eggs, yoghurt and cheese). All of these suppliers reported that 100% of the dairy products they supply into the NHS are produced in the United Kingdom.

Information is not available centrally on a month by month breakdown of such products purchased by individual NHS organisations.

10th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what safeguards they have put in place to ensure that protein fermentation products (1) provide good nutritional value, and (2) do not add to existing dietary and food standards concerns.

Sweetened fermented (yogurt) drinks, yogurts and fromage frais contribute to sugar intakes and are included in the sugar reduction programme, which is part of the Government’s childhood obesity plan. A copy of Fermented (yogurt) drinks: A supplementary report to the sugar reduction guidelines, outlining the drinks included and the guidelines set is attached.

All sectors of the food and drink industry have been challenged to reduce the amount of sugar in these products by 20% by 2022. Industry’s progress will be monitored and the first report on progress is expected this year.

All food and drink products sold in the United Kingdom are covered by the Food Safety Act 1990 and Food Information Regulation, which ensures that products meet certain standards and are appropriately labelled.

24th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford on 13 February (HL1452), what assessment they have made of the potential benefit resulting from the (1) collection, and (2) publication, of data on the number of people who commit suicide for reasons connected with gambling-related harm.

We presently have no such plans. There is currently no reliable estimate of the number of suicides linked to problem gambling in the United Kingdom, and there would be significant challenges in attempting to record this. Expecting coroners to routinely assess the motivation for individual suicides in all cases would take the coroner role fundamentally beyond its legal parameters. The coroner’s role, and in particular what they are required to ascertain and determine, is a matter of both statute and case law, and cannot be extended administratively. Any legislative change would have to be considered very carefully.

7th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to establish a publicly accessible central record of the number of people who commit suicide for reasons connected with problem gambling.

We presently have no such plans. There is currently no reliable estimate of the number of suicides linked to gambling addiction or problem gambling in the United Kingdom. The Government is committed to improving our understanding of the link between suicide and gambling.

GambleAware has commissioned some preliminary research into gambling-related suicide, which was published in July 2019, and the Department has invited GambleAware to return to the National Suicide Prevention Strategy Advisory Group to discuss the research findings and what further research may be needed in this area.

31st Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the joint report by the UN World Food Programme and Famine Early Warning Systems Network Ethiopia - Food Security Outlook 2023-24: Food assistance needs remain high amid slow recovery of livelihoods in 2024, published in October 2023, which found that "Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are expected in northern, southern, and southeastern Ethiopia through at least early 2024", and (2) the risk of famine in Tigray.

Across northern Ethiopia, millions of people are facing hunger. War and climate change have crippled crop production and driven people off their lands. The conflict in Tigray has left more than 1 million people displaced. The combination of conflict and failed harvests in northern Ethiopia have plunged over 3 million into a state of critical food security and hunger. Millions more people are in need, with women and young children in particular, severely affected. During his recent visit, Minister Mitchell announced £100 million of new aid for over three million vulnerable people in Ethiopia as humanitarian crisis deepens.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
31st Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government how much money was allocated to tackling humanitarian crises in Ethiopia in (1) 2019–20, (2) 2020–21, (3) 2021–22, and (4) 2022–23.

The UK has been an overseas development assistance (ODA) donor to Ethiopia over the last four years. Our overall ODA allocations have been: £300 million in 2019-20, £254 million in 2020-21, £134 million in 2021-22 and £90 million in 2022-23. Since 2019, the UK has allocated over £400 million to tackle humanitarian crises in Ethiopia. UK funding has provided 950,000 Ethiopians with medical supplies and is delivering lifesaving nutrition, health, water and sanitation and protection support to the most vulnerable. In February 2024, Minister Mitchell announced an extra £100 million in humanitarian aid during his visit to Ethiopia in response to the worsening humanitarian situation.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports of forced evictions by the government of Tanzania of indigenous peoples living in Ngorongoro Conservation Area and in the vicinity of Ruaha National Park.

The British High Commission continues to meet with the Government of Tanzania, Maasai community leaders and non-government organisation (NGO) representatives to better understand the challenges faced by all parties and to support an open and constructive dialogue. Those discussions have made clear the complexities of meeting the needs of growing numbers of pastoralists and livestock in an environmentally and economically sustainable manner. An investigation conducted by the World Bank into events in Ruaha is ongoing. We continue to monitor the situation closely and support engagement by the parties involved, including to address any humanitarian issues.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the governments of (1) India, and (2) Pakistan, to ensure that religious minorities are not denied their right to vote in upcoming elections in those countries.

We regularly engage with the Government of Pakistan to advance our key priorities and interests, including upholding democracy through inclusive elections. On 19 January, I raised the need for inclusivity in the upcoming elections with Pakistan's Caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani.  On 25 September 2023, the former Foreign Secretary raised the importance of credible, inclusive and timely elections with Pakistan's Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-haq Kakar. On 21 August, I wrote to Foreign Minister Jilani to raise concerns about the treatment of minority religious communities and underline the need to ensure all Pakistan's citizens are able to exercise their democratic rights. The British High Commission in New Delhi continues to monitor the rights of religious minorities across India, including in the context of elections.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have to put in place mandatory training for diplomats on Freedom of Religion and Belief.

In July 2021, the Prime Minister's Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion and Belief (FoRB), Fiona Bruce, MP, and I, launched the FCDO International Academy's training module "Religion for International Engagement," delivering recommendation 11 of the Bishop of Truro's review of FCDO support for persecuted Christians. The training is essential for FCDO diplomats, and highly recommended for all FCDO staff. The training is also available to all civil servants.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking, in their capacity as penholder for Myanmar at the UN Security Council, to help find solutions to the Rohingya refugee crisis, and particularly to create the conditions necessary for safe, dignified, and voluntary repatriation of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar.

We continue to use our UN Security Council (UNSC) penholder role to maintain a spotlight on Myanmar, including the Rohingya. In December 2022, the UNSC passed a landmark resolution on Myanmar, led by the UK, which stressed the need to address the root causes of the crisis in Rakhine State and create the conditions for the voluntary, safe and dignified return of Rohingya refugees. In December, at the Global Refugee Forum, the Minister for the Indo-Pacific reiterated this commitment. We will continue to use our platform in multilateral fora to reiterate UK support for sustainable solutions to improve the conditions in Myanmar's Rakhine State.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government whether they will consider increasing their funding for the World Food Programme to enable the Programme to restore its monthly food vouchers for Rohingya refugees to the full value of 12.50 US dollars.

The UK prioritised food provision in its Rohingya response programme in 2023, providing £14.8m of food support in Cox's Bazar delivered by the World Food Programme and other UN agencies. Food rations were increased in January 2024. The UK was the second largest bilateral donor to the food response in Cox's Bazar in 2023. We will continue to prioritise food support in our future response.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo about strengthening and enforcing national laws regarding mining and evictions in line with international human rights standards.

Illicit mining in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) remains a concern. We regularly raise the challenges within the mining sector both with the DRC government and through multilateral fora such as the Human Rights Council. The UK also supports initiatives including the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) which aims to improve transparency and governance across the mining sector.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of China regarding the treatment of Uighurs and other Turkic people in Xinjiang.

The UK continues to lead international efforts to hold China to account for its human rights violations. In March 2021, we imposed sanctions on four individuals and one entity for their involvement in the egregious violations taking place in Xinjiang, acting with 29 other countries. Sanctions are just one tool at our disposal. At the UN, we were the first country to lead a joint statement on human rights violations in Xinjiang in 2019 and last year we led another joint statement, which had a record number of signatories. We have taken action to tackle forced labour in supply chains, for example, guidance to UK businesses and enhanced export controls. Bilaterally, we continue to raise China's human rights violations with the Chinese authorities at the highest levels - the Foreign Secretary raised the situation in Xinjiang during his first call with China's Foreign Minister in December last year.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with counterparts in other governments about taking action to impose targeted sanctions on Chinese officials involved in human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

The UK continues to lead international efforts to hold China to account for its human rights violations. In March 2021, we imposed sanctions on four individuals and one entity for their involvement in the egregious violations taking place in Xinjiang, acting with 29 other countries. Sanctions are just one tool at our disposal. At the UN, we were the first country to lead a joint statement on human rights violations in Xinjiang in 2019 and last year we led another joint statement, which had a record number of signatories. We have taken action to tackle forced labour in supply chains, for example, guidance to UK businesses and enhanced export controls. Bilaterally, we continue to raise China's human rights violations with the Chinese authorities at the highest levels - the Foreign Secretary raised the situation in Xinjiang during his first call with China's Foreign Minister in December last year.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what support they are providing to those UK citizens names as co-conspirators in the trial of Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai.

As the Minister for the Indo-Pacific said on 23 January, it is unacceptable that British nationals, including the former Consul-General, have been named by the prosecution in Jimmy Lai's national security trial in Hong Kong. We have made clear our concerns to the Chinese authorities. The Minister for the Indo-Pacific has met with several of the named individuals, who bravely speak out on human rights concerns in Hong Kong and China, despite threats to themselves. We will not tolerate any attempts to intimidate, harass or harm individuals or communities in the UK. The UK has no active extradition agreement with Hong Kong or China.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the protection of religious and cultural sites in Nagorno-Karabakh, and what representations they are making to the government of Azerbaijan in this regard.

The UK Government is clear that the preservation of religious and cultural sites in the region is an important issue and we take seriously reports of the destruction of churches or other sites of religious significance. We are aware of allegations from both Armenia and Azerbaijan that cultural and religious sites have been deliberately damaged over the course of the conflict. The British Embassy in Baku has raised this with the Azerbaijani government consistently and at senior level.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the launch of the new Congolese rebel group known as Alliance Fleuve Congo and the consequences for relations between the East African Community and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The UK is concerned about the establishment of Alliance Fleuve Congo, which combines various armed rebel groups active in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The proliferation of armed groups threatens the lives of civilians in an area of the DRC that has suffered years of conflict. Along with our partners, the UK urges all parties to pursue dialogue including through the Nairobi and Luanda peace processes. Our embassies in the region are delivering this clear message.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have to draw on academic expertise to help deliver financially sustainable rail infrastructure in developing countries.

The FCDO funds academic research into transport in Low- and Middle-Income Countries. Rail examples include 1) the High-Volume Transport programme supporting modelling on the viability of hydrogen engines for rail lines in Africa and research into more resilient infrastructure and systems, including rail; and 2) the ieConnect programme evaluating mobility impacts of rail construction in Dakar, Senegal. Both programmes' research includes safety and accessibility of trains for women, girls and people with disabilities.

The Green Cities and Infrastructure Centre of Expertise will use this evidence to advise partner governments on infrastructure policies and investments in large scale urban infrastructure projects.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Dec 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of Kenya regarding the evictions of the Ogiek people and other indigenous peoples in the Mau forest in that country.

The British High Commission in Nairobi is closely monitoring events in the Mau Forest. The Minister for Africa and Development has not raised this issue with the Kenyan authorities.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 27 November (HL485), how much the UK donated in aid to the Rohingya response in Bangladesh in (1) 2017, (2) 2018, (3) 2019, (4) 2020, (5) 2021, and (6) 2022.

The UK is a leading donor to the Rohingya response in Bangladesh, providing over £373 million in humanitarian support for the crisis since 2017. In the years requested, the UK has provided the following funding:

2017-2018 - £51.8 million

2018-2019 - £63.9 million

2019-2020 - £112.5 million

2020-2021 - £65.5 million

2021-2022 - £36.6 million

2022-2023 - £20.2 million.

Given unprecedented global humanitarian need, the UK has adjusted annual allocations for specific crises, including the Rohingya. The UK will return to the 0.7 per cent ODA/GNI target as soon as the fiscal situation allows.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have to reconsider the cuts made to aid for the humanitarian response for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

The UK is a leading donor to the Rohingya response overall in Bangladesh, providing over £373 million in humanitarian support for the crisis since 2017. Given unprecedented global humanitarian need, the UK has adjusted annual allocations for specific crises, including the Rohingya. The UK will return to the 0.7 per cent ODA/GNI target as soon as fiscal tests allow.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have to request a meeting of the UN Security Council to address the ongoing genocide of the Rohingya.

We continue to monitor the risk of further violence in Rakhine State, and to underline the need for humanitarian access and protection of civilians, including the Rohingya and other vulnerable groups. We continue to raise our concerns at the targeting of Rohingya and other minorities in multilateral fora and with international partners. On 15 November, the UK filed a joint declaration of intervention at the International Court of Justice in The Gambia's case which alleges Myanmar has perpetrated genocide against the Rohingya, in order to set out our interpretation of the relevant provisions of the Genocide Convention before the Court.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Sep 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Libya concerning the recent floods in that country; and what emergency provision they will be providing to them.

The UK is horrified by the scale of flooding in eastern Libya following Storm Daniel and is committed to working with partners to deliver aid in support of the Libyan people. The UK is providing support in response to both the floods in Libya and the earthquake in Morocco, having allocated a package worth up to £10 million. Flights carrying UK-funded aid to Libya have so far delivered relief items including emergency shelter for up to 14,400 people, and over 800 portable solar lanterns. The UK is also providing water filters and hygiene kits that can reduce the threat of disease from contaminated water for up to 10,500 people. The UK is also supporting the UN's Central Emergency Response Fund and Education Cannot Wait programme, both of which have contributed to emergency responses in Libya. I spoke with Chairman of Libya's Presidential Council Mohamed al-Mnefi on 13 September to convey his condolences and the UK's commitment to supporting Libya in the aftermath of this tragedy. I also spoke to UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths, to discuss the international response to the crises in Morocco and Libya along with humanitarian coordination.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Sep 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Morocco concerning the recent earthquake in that country.

The Foreign Secretary and I have both spoken to Foreign Minister Bourita following the earthquake on 8 September, and the UK remains in close contact with the Moroccan authorities. With their agreement, the UK deployed a team of 62 search and rescue specialists and a four-person UKMED medical assessment team, who have since withdrawn following the conclusion of their operations in support of Morocco's recovery efforts. The Foreign Secretary and I have also both spoken to the UN's emergency relief coordinator about coordinating support and ensuring a sustained humanitarian response in Morocco.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Sep 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many officials of the government of China are currently under UK Government sanctions.

The UK has sanctioned four Chinese officials and one Government entity under the Global Human Rights sanctions regime. These individuals/entity were designated in March 2021 in coordination with international partners. They were designated for enforcing repressive security policies across many areas of Xinjiang which amount to violations of the right not to be subject to torture or cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. These measures were taken alongside the US, Canada and the EU, sending a clear message to the Chinese Government that the international community will not turn a blind eye to such serious and systematic violations of basic human rights.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how much aid they have provided to South Sudan since the start of the conflict in that country earlier this year.

The 2018 Peace Agreement has prevented a return to large-scale national conflict in South Sudan, though there have been instances of sub-national violence this year. The Government of South Sudan need to ensure the Peace Agreement is implemented in full in order to bring justice and a lasting end to conflict to the people of South Sudan. The UK Government will provide £47 million of development assistance to South Sudan in the financial year (FY) 2023/24, and plans to increase this figure to £111 million in FY 2024/25. This assistance funds crucial health, education, humanitarian and peacebuilding work in South Sudan, as well as the placement of technical experts in both the ceasefire and Peace Agreement implementation monitoring mechanisms.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with (1) Sudanese Armed Forces, (2) Rapid Support Forces, and (3) the Sudan People's Liberation Movement–North, about the ongoing conflict in Sudan.

UK officials have had various contacts with representatives of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPMN-N) factions and other groups. In these contacts, we have demanded that the warring parties respect calls for a ceasefire, engage in a meaningful peace process and grant immediate humanitarian access. The UK is working with a range of international partners, including counterparts from the Quad (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, UK, US), African and European countries, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the African Union (AU) and the UN, to get the parties to the negotiating table and end hostilities in Sudan. On 12 July, we announced a package of six sanctions under the Sudan (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020, freezing the assets of three commercial entities linked to each party involved in the conflict. These sanctions target entities which the SAF and RSF have used to support their war efforts and are designed to press the parties to allow humanitarian assistance, end the violence and engage in a meaningful and sustained progress to peace.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Myanmar following recent fighting which led to more than 1,000 Christians fleeing Nam San Yang in Kachin State.

We are aware of the continued vulnerability of religious minorities in Myanmar, including in Kachin state. Although the UK has no political engagement with the military regime, we continue to publicly call for an end to the violence, including in multilateral fora. The UK has co-sponsored a number of UN Human Rights Council resolutions, including one in April, which condemned the regime's human rights violations and urged an end to discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities. On 21 December 2022 the UK coordinated a landmark UN Security Council Resolution which stressed the need for the protection of minority groups.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Hong Kong police raid on the family of the UK-based Hong Kong activist, Nathan Law, on 11 June; and what, if any, representations they have made to the government of Hong Kong regarding this incident.

As I [Lord Ahmad] said to the House on 13 July, the Hong Kong authorities' targeting of family members and alleged associates who remain in Hong Kong in an attempt to intimidate and silence individuals living in the UK is unacceptable. Any attempt by any foreign power to intimidate, harass or harm individuals or communities in the UK will not be tolerated. At the instruction of the Foreign Secretary, his senior official conducted a formal diplomatic démarche of the Chinese Ambassador on 13 July. The démarche set out our objections to actions in Hong Kong in recent weeks, including the issuing of arrest warrants and bounties for eight individuals living overseas, three of whom live in the UK, and the detention and questioning of the family members of some of those individuals in Hong Kong. The démarche also set out our ongoing opposition to the imposition of the National Security Law by Beijing on Hong Kong, which is a breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute SIPRI Yearbook 2022: Armaments, Disarmaments and International Security, published on 12 June; in particular, the finding that the global number of nuclear weapons is increasing.

The Integrated Review and its Refresh acknowledge that the security environment has grown more contested and that some states are now significantly increasing and diversifying their nuclear arsenals, contributing to the increase in global stockpiles of nuclear weapons and posing a threat to strategic stability. The UK has achieved substantial reductions in its nuclear weapon stockpile from its cold war peak. HMG believes the best way to achieve a world without nuclear weapons is through gradual multilateral disarmament under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support journalists, particularly women journalists, in the Horn of Africa.

The UK is committed to media freedom, which we believe is essential to a functioning society. We oppose all attempts by any state to restrict press freedom, silence debate, abuse journalists, or spread misinformation whether online or offline.

UK support for journalists takes different forms in different countries. In Ethiopia, we support independent media to become more resilient. In Somalia, we are defending media freedom by supporting protection for Somali journalists and free media. In Sudan, before the current crisis, the UK focused on demonstrating public support for freedom of expression and building resilience in the Sudanese media.

12th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support journalists and the free press in China, particularly Xinjiang province.

The UK Government supports media freedom and the right of journalists to do their jobs without harassment. We are disturbed by the increasing restrictions on media freedom in China. We regularly raise the deteriorating situation for journalists in China directly with the Chinese authorities.

We also continue to challenge China in international fora where appropriate. On 21 March 2022, we highlighted the lack of media freedom in China in our 'Item 4' statement at the 49th session of the Human Rights Council, and called on China to allow journalists to report without fear of arrest, harassment or reprisal.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the surge in tuberculosis cases in Sudan; and what steps they are taking to provide medical aid to that country.

The FCDO is tracking the risk of a rise in tuberculosis cases in Sudan, resulting from increased displacement of people and the lack of access now to treatment facilities following the outbreak of conflict on 15 April. The UK remains one of the top global donors to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which is continuing its work to support people in Sudan, although access in the current circumstances is extremely difficult. The FCDO is using our full diplomatic reach to secure humanitarian access and end the violence. We are in regular contact with the Global Fund and are coordinating with the international humanitarian system to support them and other partners to be able to scale-up delivery within Sudan, including of medical supplies, if and when the access situation improves.

24th May 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the status of journalists, particularly women journalists, in Sudan and South Sudan.

In April 2023, the UK led the mandate renewal for the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan (CHRSS) at the UN Human Rights Council. The Commission reported that journalists in South Sudan experience severe harassment, including arbitrary detention and death threats, with some going into hiding or fleeing the country. In South Sudan, the UK consistently raises the importance of media freedom with the Government of South Sudan and funded a project with the Female Journalists Network to enhance media literacy skills among civil society women leaders and improve the technical ability of female journalists.

In Sudan, the UK condemns the restrictions placed on media freedom since the coup on 25 October 2021 and the outbreak of hostilities on 15 April. The UK's work on protecting media freedom has focused on demonstrating public support for freedom of expression and building resilience in the Sudanese media. We have publicly supported a number of journalists who have faced harassment and attended UNESCO's event for the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists in 2022.

18th May 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many permanent employees are currently employed by the BBC Somali Service; and whether this number is forecasted to decrease.

The FCDO strongly values the BBC World Service's role in bringing high-quality and impartial broadcasting to audiences around the globe. The FCDO funds 12 language services through the World2020 programme; the remaining 29 services, including the BBC Somali service, are funded by the Licence Fee. The BBC is operationally and editorially independent from the Government and therefore decisions on the level of staffing and resources for each of the 42 language services are for them to take.

18th May 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of Somalia about the prevention of famine in that country; and what future engagements they have scheduled.

In 2022 the collective efforts of humanitarian partners and donors, including the UK, averted famine in Somalia. Despite the reduced famine risk, humanitarian needs remain extraordinary. The UK is committed to addressing the acute food security and malnutrition situation. Last financial year we committed over £61million to support the drought response in Somalia. We regularly engage at all levels with the Federal Government and Federal Member States on the humanitarian situation. In December, the Minister of State for Development and Africa's first overseas visit was to Somalia to raise the profile of the crisis and engage the government. Ministers and senior officials continue to engage, up to Presidential level. On 24 May the UK will co-host a UN pledging event in collaboration with the Governments of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia to mobilise funding for humanitarian operations in the Horn of Africa.

27th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what representations they have made to (1) the government of China, and (2) the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, about British citizen Jimmy Lai.

The Foreign Secretary set out our views regarding developments in Hong Kong with State Councillor Wang Yi last month. We continue to use our channels with the Chinese Government to make clear to the Chinese and Hong Kong authorities our strong opposition to the National Security Law. The deliberate targeting of journalists and businessmen such as Mr Lai is unacceptable. The Minister for the Indo-Pacific met representatives of Mr. Lai's international legal team on 10 January. Senior officials have and will continue to raise cases such as Mr Lai's with the Hong Kong authorities. Diplomats at our Consulate-General in Hong Kong will continue to attend Mr Lai's court proceedings.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the (1) famine, and (2) security situation, in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique.

In northern Mozambique, the UN estimates 946,000 people are displaced and in need of humanitarian assistance. UK Aid has provided over £22 million in humanitarian support in Cabo Delgado, ensuring that people displaced by the crisis have access to food, water, shelter and basic health. The UK signed a Defence Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mozambique providing technical assistance and capacity building through our Defence Engagement programme. We have provided security and human rights training to over 200 Armed Forces personnel. We welcome progress by Mozambican defence and security forces to take back areas previously under insurgent control and will continue to work with the Government of Mozambique to build long term peace and stability.

20th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the recent trends in population migration in the Horn of Africa, given the famine in that region.

Across East Africa levels of displacement are increasing due to the humanitarian impacts of conflict and climate change. For example, the International Organisation for Migration estimate that, in 2022, 2.8 million people were displaced by drought across Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. Armed violence continues to cause significant displacement including of 2.2 million refugees from South Sudan who are currently hosted in the region.

20th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to find alternative routes for the export of grain from Ukraine given the closure of Black Sea ports in that country.

Grain is leaving Ukraine through Black Sea ports. As of 19 March, more than 900 voyages carrying over 25 million tonnes of grain and other foodstuffs departed ports to deliver vital foodstuffs to Asia, Africa and Europe through the UK supported Black Sea Grain Initiative. The UK, along with G7 partners, has also supported increased exports of grain from Ukraine through land routes into Europe. Specifically the UK provided £10 million to bolster the Ukrainian railway system and provide greater resilience to facilitate the movement of grain by land exports.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how much funding they provided for the BBC World Service in (1) 2019, (2) 2020, (3) 2021, and (4) 2022.

Since 2016, the FCDO has provided over £468 million to the World Service through the World2020 programme, funding 12 language services and enhancements to services in Arabic, Russian, Thai and English, to enable digital transformation and counter disinformation.

At last year's Spending Review, we agreed to provide the World Service with a flat-cash funding settlement of £283 million over 2022-2025. The FCDO also provided an additional £1.44 million in financial year 2022-23 for countering disinformation in Russia and Ukraine, alongside a £2.66 million contribution from the DCMS in 2021-22.

As part of the Integrated Review Refresh, the Government announced it would provide a one-off uplift of £20 million over two years to the BBC to protect all 42 World Service languages, in recognition of the crucial role the World Service plays in supporting UK soft power, projecting UK culture and values overseas and in countering harmful disinformation.

14th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what support they are providing to Kenya to alleviate the effects of famine caused by drought in that country.

In response to the ongoing drought in Kenya, 30,500 children have received life-saving nutritional assistance due to the UK's support. UK supported programmes have also reached over half a million people in Kenya in drought-prone areas. Programmes such as the Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP) are bolstering the use of cash-based safety nets and have had a demonstrable impact in mitigating some of the worst effects of the drought.

9th Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assistance they are providing to support victims of the earthquake in Turkey and northern Syria.

The UK responded immediately to provide life-saving support to Turkey and Syria. In Turkey, a UK International Search and Rescue team arrived in Gaziantep on 7 February and commenced operations within the critical 72-hour rescue window. From 14 February, we deployed a world-class UK medical team, field clinic and field hospital to Turkey, which continues to treat patients. In Syria, the UK-aid-funded White Helmets mobilised a major search and rescue effort. We have dispatched thousands of vital items including tents and blankets to Turkey and Syria totalling over 400 tonnes. The Disasters Emergency Committee appeal, now exceeding £93 million, includes £5 million of the UK Aid Match. On 19 February UK Development Minister Mitchell visited Turkey to witness first-hand the impact of UK aid, helping those affected in Turkey and Syria.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what recent assessment they have made of the Chinese surveillance companies (1) Dahua, and (2) Hikvision; what assessment they have made of any links between those companies and human rights abuses in the Xinjiang province; and what assessment they have made of whether they constitute a security threat to the UK.

The UK takes its national security extremely seriously. On 24 November 2022, the Government announced that Departments should cease deployment of visual surveillance systems produced by companies subject to China's National Intelligence Law onto sensitive sites. The Government has also consistently led international efforts to hold China to account for its human rights violations, including the use of invasive surveillance to target Uyghurs and other minorities. On 31 October, we supported a joint statement at the UN Third Committee alongside 49 other countries that specifically called out China's systematic use of invasive surveillance on the basis of religion and ethnicity. We also consistently raise the situation in Xinjiang with the Chinese authorities at the highest levels. Most recently, the Foreign Secretary did so in a meeting with his Chinese counterpart on 20 September.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what recent discussions they have had with signatories to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), regarding Britain’s continued membership of that agreement.

We have worked intensively to deliver a diplomatic solution to address Iran's nuclear escalation. After many months of negotiations, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) Coordinator tabled viable deals in March and again in August 2022 which would have returned Iran to full compliance with its JCPoA commitments and returned the US to the deal. Iran refused to seize a critical diplomatic opportunity to conclude the deal with continued demands beyond the scope of the JCPoA.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Somalia regarding their involvement in China's Belt and Road initiative.

China is a significant partner for many countries, including through the Belt and Road Initiative. The Somali Government pursues its international trading, development and political relations as it chooses. The UK's focus is on working closely with the Somali Government to support its ambitious programme for a more stable and peaceful Somalia. This includes the provision of humanitarian relief and crucial support for the fight against Al-Shabaab.

11th Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of China regarding the independence of Hong Kong’s judicial system.

The preservation of Hong Kong's independent judiciary was promised by China under the terms of the Sino-British Joint Declaration. As a co-signatory, we will continue to hold China to the international obligations it freely entered into.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the implications of China’s Belt and Road Initiative on countries in the Horn of Africa.

China is an important source of aid, finance and investment for many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including in the Horn of Africa. This includes activity under the Belt and Road Initiative. We are working with partners including the G7 to ensure low and middle income countries have an alternative to strategic dependence on China or any other country. The UK offers wide-ranging partnerships to African countries that support a freer, safer, healthier, greener and more prosperous continent. Through British Investment Partnerships, we are providing honest, reliable investment that creates jobs, boosts economic growth and draws countries closer to major free-market democracies.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Azerbaijan regarding the blockade of Lachin Corridor between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

The UK Government has made clear that the closure of the Lachin corridor during winter risks severe humanitarian consequences. Officials are in contact with humanitarian agencies, including the ICRC, about their assessment of the impact of the closure and the Government is a significant donor to agencies providing assistance on the ground. The Minister for Europe, Leo Docherty issued a statement highlighting the importance of re-opening the Lachin corridor on 13 December and our Ambassadors in the region and other senior UK officials have reinforced this message with key interlocutors. We also called for early resolution of this issue in our interventions in Vienna at the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on 15 December and in New York at the UN Security Council on 20 December, where I also discussed this with the Foreign Minister of Armenia.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the humanitarian impact of the blockade on Lachin Corridor between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

The UK Government has made clear that the closure of the Lachin corridor during winter risks severe humanitarian consequences. Officials are in contact with humanitarian agencies, including the ICRC, about their assessment of the impact of the closure and the Government is a significant donor to agencies providing assistance on the ground. The Minister for Europe, Leo Docherty issued a statement highlighting the importance of re-opening the Lachin corridor on 13 December and our Ambassadors in the region and other senior UK officials have reinforced this message with key interlocutors. We also called for early resolution of this issue in our interventions in Vienna at the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on 15 December and in New York at the UN Security Council on 20 December, where I also discussed this with the Foreign Minister of Armenia.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of South Sudan regarding the reported arrest of six journalists in that country.

The UK Charge d'Affaires in Juba met with the Chair of the Union of Journalists for South Sudan and has publicly called for due process to be followed in the case of six members of South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation staff being detained. We consistently raise the importance of freedom of expression and of the media, and the need to adhere to fair legal processes, with the Government of South Sudan.

21st Dec 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the strategic importance of the BBC World Service during the Arab Spring protests.

The FCDO strongly values the BBC World Service's role in bringing high quality and impartial broadcasting to global audiences, particularly where free speech is limited. The Integrated Review stated that the BBC's foreign language services are part of what makes the UK a soft power superpower.

During the Arab Spring, news and information was fiercely contested. Disruptions to the internet, misinformation and a breakdown of trust in some national broadcast media gave greater significance to the BBC World Service for its objective and impartial reporting on events across the region.

The Government remains committed to the World Service, and its important role in delivering trusted, accurate and independent broadcasting worldwide.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Dec 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with their partners in the Missile Technology Control Regime; what those discussions entailed; and when such discussions last took place.

Informal discussions with partners in the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) are held throughout the year, with the most recent formal meeting of the MTCR taking place in October 2022. The discussions covered issues including ballistic missiles; regional issues and missile programmes of concern; proliferation trends, procurement activities; and national experiences and best practices. Updates to the technical control lists were also made. More detail can be found on the MTCR website: https://mtcr.info/. The UK takes a leading role in MTCR, including chairing the Technical Experts Meeting last year.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Dec 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Iran regarding human rights violations against children in that country.

The UK is committed to holding Iran to account for the appalling treatment of children throughout the brutal crackdown of protests. The UK highlighted this issue at the UN Human Right Council on 24 November, at which we supported a successful Resolution to establish a UN investigation into the human rights violations committed by the regime during the protests. The Foreign Secretary also called out Iran's treatment of children alongside his G7 partners at the meeting of Foreign Ministers on 4 November. The UK will continue work with partners at international fora to call on the Iranian authorities to abide by their obligations under international law and to improve the practices surrounding children in detention.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Dec 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the detention of Xing Hongwei in China.

We are aware of reports that author Xing Hongwei has been detained. The FCDO has previously highlighted the detention of Early Rain Covenant Church members and we continue to closely monitor the severe restrictions on freedom of religion or belief in China. More broadly, we regularly raise the human rights situation in China directly with the Chinese authorities at the highest levels. Most recently, the Foreign Secretary did so in a meeting with his Chinese counterpart on 20 September.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Dec 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the number of children detained in prisons in Iran.

The treatment of juvenile offenders in Iran falls short of international standards. The Iranian judicial system is deeply flawed with frequent and well-documented violations of fair trial rights. The use of death sentences against minors is also a regular occurrence. Because of the lack of transparency of the Iranian judicial system, it is difficult to calculate with accuracy the number of children detained in Iran. In recent months, we have observed a significant increase in the rate at which children are arrested and a disproportionate number who have died during the protests. This was also noted by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on 17 October. The UK will continue to work with partners to hold Iran to account for its actions.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th Oct 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the call by the Women’s League of Burma and Burma Campaign UK to institute a comprehensive global arms embargo.

The UK is a longstanding supporter of an arms embargo on Myanmar. We are clear that countries should not sell arms to the Myanmar military. On 27 March, the UK coordinated a joint statement with 48 signatories that committed us to working to prevent the flow of arms and equipment to the Myanmar military. We have also worked with international partners at the G7, UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council.to secure strong language on stopping the flow of arms.

We have extensive targeted sanctions on the military and its business interests, including on multiple institutions responsible for procuring weapons from abroad. We are working closely with partners on next steps, including securing further commitments from the international community to halt the transfer of arms, equipment and spare parts to the military.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th Oct 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the call by the Women’s League of Burma and Burma Campaign UK to refer the situation on human rights in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

The UK is clear that there must be accountability for the atrocities committed in Myanmar. We condemn the ongoing serious human rights violations committed by the Myanmar military, including the historic atrocities against the Rohingya. These actions require further scrutiny, and the UK is supportive of any attempts to bring these issues before the International Criminal Court.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th Oct 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the call by the Women’s League of Burma and Burma Campaign UK to enact targeted sanctions against (1) the Burmese military, and (2) its proxies.

Since the military coup in Myanmar on 1 February 2021, the UK Government has imposed 12 tranches of sanctions targeting the military's leadership, and its access to revenue, arms and military equipment.

On 28 February 2022, the UK updated its Overseas Business Risk Guidance to make it clear that UK businesses should conduct thorough supply chain due diligence to ensure that commodities such as aviation fuel do not reach the Myanmar military. The UK is exploring both sanction and non-sanction measures to tackle the Myanmar military's air capabilities and ability to target civilians.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th Oct 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the call by the Women’s League of Burma and Burma Campaign UK to impose aviation fuel sanctions on Myanmar.

Since the military coup in Myanmar on 1 February 2021, the UK Government has imposed 12 tranches of sanctions targeting the military's leadership, and its access to revenue, arms and military equipment.

On 28 February 2022, the UK updated its Overseas Business Risk Guidance to make it clear that UK businesses should conduct thorough supply chain due diligence to ensure that commodities such as aviation fuel do not reach the Myanmar military. The UK is exploring both sanction and non-sanction measures to tackle the Myanmar military's air capabilities and ability to target civilians.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th Oct 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government whether they have made representations to the government of Myanmar following the killing of at least 80 people by military airstrikes in Kachin State.

The UK condemned the Myanmar military's airstrikes in Kachin State, which killed a large number of civilians. The military's use of indiscriminate airstrikes continues to cause harm and suffering across the country. In response, the British Embassy in Yangon issued a statement with likeminded partners condemning the attacks. Since the coup, we have had no senior bilateral engagement with the military regime, however we continue to publicly call for an end to violence and a need for de-escalation.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Oct 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the recent treatment of Christian minorities in Iran.

Promoting the right to freedom of religion or belief for all is one of the UK's longstanding human rights priorities. In July of this year, the UK hosted the International Freedom of Religion or Belief Conference, which provided an important platform for discussion of religious rights in Iran. We continue to assess that Christians in Iran, particularly recent converts, face arrest, harassment and unfair detention. We raise our concerns with the Iranian authorities on these and other human rights issues at all appropriate opportunities. We continue to work closely with our international partners to hold Iran to account for its poor human rights record, including through the Human Rights Council in Geneva and the UN General Assembly in New York.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Oct 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that crimes have been committed against Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other Turkic Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China; and what steps they are taking in response to ensure that the perpetrators of any such crimes are brought to justice.

The report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights provides new evidence of the extent of China's efforts to silence and repress Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang. It includes a broad range of evidence, including first-hand accounts from victims.

The UK has led international efforts to pressure China to change its behaviour. We have imposed sanctions, led joint statements at the UN, taken action to tackle forced labour in supply chains, funded research to expose China's actions, and consistently raised China's human rights violations at the highest levels in Beijing. Most recently, the Foreign Secretary did so in a meeting with his Chinese counterpart on 20 September.

Given the seriousness of the report's findings, on 6 October we supported formal action at the UN Human Rights Council that requested a