Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth Portrait

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth

Conservative - None

3 APPG memberships (as of 21 Apr 2021)
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Gypsies, Travellers and Roma, Srebrenica
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
8th Jan 2018 - 24th Jul 2019
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Wales Office)
27th Oct 2017 - 24th Jul 2019
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Communities and Local Government)
17th Jul 2016 - 8th Jan 2018
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office)
14th Jun 2017 - 27th Oct 2017
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Wales Office)
12th May 2015 - 14th Jun 2017
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
13th Aug 2014 - 17th Jul 2016
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Energy and Climate Change)
12th May 2015 - 17th Jul 2016
Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee
12th Jun 2014 - 13th Aug 2014


Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 12th May 2021
15:00
Public Services Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: The role of public services in addressing child vulnerability
12 May 2021, 3 p.m.
At 3.00pm: Oral evidence
Sarah Kincaid - Assistant Director at Crest Advisory
Dr Jo Casebourne - Chief Executive at Early Intervention Foundation
Mike Brewer - Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Economist at Resolution Foundation
At 4.00pm: Oral evidence
Cllr Lucy Nethsingha - Lead Member at Local Government Association Children and Young People Board, and Director of Children's Services at Cambridgeshire County Council
Jenny Coles - Immediate Past President at Association of Directors of Children’s Services
View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 19th May 2021
15:00
Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 26th May 2021
15:00
Division Votes
Wednesday 28th April 2021
National Security and Investment Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 219 Conservative No votes vs 2 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 318 Noes - 241
Speeches
Tuesday 27th April 2021
Employment Rights Act 1996 (Protection from Detriment in Health and Safety Cases) (Amendment) Order 2021

My Lords, it is always a great pleasure to follow the noble Lord, Lord Blunkett, who clearly knows a thing …

Written Answers
Thursday 29th April 2021
Coronavirus: Vaccination
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have considered night clinics for the vaccination of Muslims during Ramadan.
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Thursday 26th June 2014
Pension Schemes Act 2015
A bill to make provision about pension schemes, including provision designed to encourage arrangements that offer people different levels of …
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
None available

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth has voted in 161 divisions, and 8 times against the majority of their Party.

23 Feb 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 33 Conservative Aye votes vs 188 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 367 Noes - 214
2 Feb 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 16 Conservative Aye votes vs 194 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 327 Noes - 229
2 Feb 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 40 Conservative Aye votes vs 165 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 359 Noes - 188
13 Jan 2021 - Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 13 Conservative Aye votes vs 208 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 339 Noes - 235
18 Nov 2020 - United Kingdom Internal Market Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 15 Conservative Aye votes vs 190 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 367 Noes - 209
9 Nov 2020 - United Kingdom Internal Market Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth voted No - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 44 Conservative No votes vs 147 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 165 Noes - 433
9 Nov 2020 - United Kingdom Internal Market Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth voted No - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 38 Conservative No votes vs 134 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 148 Noes - 407
20 Oct 2020 - United Kingdom Internal Market Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 39 Conservative Aye votes vs 158 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 395 Noes - 169
View All Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth 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 Greenhalgh (Conservative)
Minister of State (Home Office)
(11 debate interactions)
Lord Callanan (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
(10 debate interactions)
Baroness Wheatcroft (Crossbench)
(7 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Home Office
(29 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(23 debate contributions)
Ministry of Justice
(7 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth's debates

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.

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


Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth


A bill to make provision about pension schemes, including provision designed to encourage arrangements that offer people different levels of certainty in retirement or that involve different ways of sharing or pooling risk and provision designed to give people greater flexibility in accessing benefits and to help them make informed decisions about what to do with benefits.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Tuesday 3rd March 2015 and was enacted into law.

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


220 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Explanation of written questions
14th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to encourage data sharing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The National Data Strategy published in September 2020 sets out the Government's commitment to transform the way data is collected, managed, used and shared in government. Current initiatives to improve data sharing during the COVID-19 pandemic include:

  • Tackling legal barriers through promoting the data sharing provisions in the Digital Economy Act 2017 to speed up and simplify data sharing across government and supporting public bodies who would like to introduce new data sharing regulations in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Setting and driving the adoption of data standards to improve the consistency, integrity and interoperability of government data.

  • Improving the quality of government data through the work of the Data Quality Hub, such as the recently published Data Quality Framework.

  • Working with ONS to identify data sets to be shared across government to enable a better understanding of COVID-19 in the UK.

  • Improving data leadership in government to drive strategy by establishing a Chief Digital and Data Office.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
13th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they gave to including Zoroastrianism as a religion in the 2021 census.

Everyone who wishes to identify as being Jain or Zoroastrian in the 2021 Census will be able to do so, using the write-in option in the religion question, supported online by the new search-as-you-type function. Both the Government and Office for National Statistics recognise the importance of ensuring that everyone who wishes to identify as Jain or Zoroastrian will be able to do so.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they gave to including Jainism as a religion in the 2021 census.

Everyone who wishes to identify as being Jain or Zoroastrian in the 2021 Census will be able to do so, using the write-in option in the religion question, supported online by the new search-as-you-type function. Both the Government and Office for National Statistics recognise the importance of ensuring that everyone who wishes to identify as Jain or Zoroastrian will be able to do so.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they are seeking to encourage remote working in the public sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government has been clear that people should work from home wherever possible. This applies to all workers, including those in the public sector, whilst recognising that many public sector workers continue to risk their lives in the service of their communities.

In the Civil Service, departments have been issued with working from home guidance as well as a practical working from home toolkit. This includes information on the safe and secure use of technology and data as well as advice on wellbeing, mental health and staying connected. Departments are creating their own guidance packages specific to their employees and are encouraging employees, their line managers and teams to have regular conversations during this period.

NHS England wrote to Chief Executives of all NHS trusts and providers of health services in March and April, asking that they continue to make adjustments, including allowing remote working where appropriate. All NHS secondary care providers now have access to video consultation technology to deliver some clinical care without the need for in-person contact. General practice has moved from carrying out around 90% of consultations as face-to-face appointments to managing more than 85% of consultations remotely.

To support the hard work of schools in delivering remote education, the Oak National Academy launched on 20 April - a brand-new enterprise created by 40 teachers from some of the leading schools across England, backed by government grant funding.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
9th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord True on 6 March (HL1720), what specific actions they are taking in relation to (1) health, and (2) education, as a result of the data and analysis published by the Race Disparity Unit.

The Race Disparity Unit (RDU) publishes data and analysis on the Ethnicity Facts and Figures website about variances in treatment or outcome affecting people of different ethnicities in relation to health and education.

Changes to Government policy will be announced by departments in the usual way.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
4th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they are carrying forward work on the Race Disparity Audit.

The Race Disparity Unit (RDU) continues to collate and publish data about ethnicity in the UK. The RDU also continues to publish reports on ethnicity, the most recent being on the Black Caribbean, Indian and Chinese ethnic groups. In addition to this, the RDU published 9 updates (https://www.ethnicity-facts-figures.service.gov.uk/dashboards/whats-new) to existing data in January 2020 across a range of topics including school teacher workforce, pupil exclusions, judges and non-legal members of the judiciary, Prison officer workforce, and NHS workforce

Earl Howe
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
25th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that measures (1) to mitigate the impact of climate change, and (2) to promote COP26, are taken account of in their levelling up agenda.

Many of the actions we need to take to mitigate the impact of climate change and reach net zero emissions will support both our recovery from COVID-19 and the future growth of our economy, including levelling up our regions.

My Rt hon Friend the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution will mobilise £12 billion government investment across the UK to accelerate the net zero transition, support up to 250,000 green jobs and reinvigorate our industrial heartlands, helping to level up the country.

As part of the Ten Point plan, we will for example, invest £1 billion to support the establishment of CCUS in at least four industrial clusters. Developed alongside Hydrogen, we can create transformative ‘SuperPlaces’ in areas such as central and north-eastern Scotland, south Wales, the Humber, Teesside and Merseyside.

Over the coming months, ahead of COP26, we will bring forward further bold proposals, including a Net Zero Strategy, to cut emissions and create new jobs and industries across the whole country – going further and faster towards building a stronger, more resilient future and protecting our planet for this generation and those to come.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many vials of COVID-19 vaccine are currently held in the UK.

We are not able to disclose details regarding the number of vials held in the UK due to its commercially sensitive nature. It should be noted that the UK has a sufficient number of glass vials available, due to orders already placed.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to increase the number of heat pumps being installed in homes.

As my Rt hon Friend the Prime Minister outlined in the Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, we are putting in place policies to scale up the deployment of heat pumps. Our ambition is to reach 600,000 heat pump installations per year by 2028, by creating a market-led incentive framework to drive growth, and we will bring forward regulations to support this. More details will be provided when our Heat and Buildings Strategy is published next year.

In addition, the Government is providing financial support to help install heat pumps. Through the Renewable Heat Incentive, we are spending an estimated £1bn in 2020/21 to encourage the deployment of low carbon technologies, including heat pumps, in homes and businesses across Great Britain. Furthermore, we have extended the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive until March 2022 and committed £100m to the Clean Heat Grant, which is expected to be introduced in April 2022. And heat pumps also qualify for the Green Homes Grant, the £2bn government-funded voucher scheme which is already helping people install energy efficiency and low carbon heating measures in their homes; reducing their energy bills and their carbon emissions.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to increase insulation in properties to contribute to the net-zero carbon emissions target.

The £1.5 billion Green Homes Grant Voucher scheme aims to deliver energy efficiency and clean heat upgrades to 600,000 homes across England. Insulation forms one of the groups of primary measures funded through the scheme. The scheme has been extended to March 2022, as announced in my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.

Support is also available for installation of energy efficiency measures, including insulation, through a number of government-funded schemes. In addition to the £640 million per year Energy Company Obligation (ECO), in financial year 2020-21, these include the £500 million Local Authority Delivery (LAD) Green Homes Grant Scheme and the £50 million Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Demonstrator (SHDFD), with a further £60 million for this scheme for 2021-22 announced in the Spending Review.

The Government is planning to publish a Heat and Buildings Strategy in the new year, which will set out the immediate actions we will take for reducing emissions from buildings.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they are having with (1) states, and (2) cities in the United States about participation in COP26.

We are taking an ‘all of society approach’ to COP26 and are encouraging real-world action from business, cities, regions, and civil society as well as at national level. We have consistently engaged with a wide range of climate actors in the US, including the US Climate Alliance and the We Are Still In coalition. These alliances include cities and states from across the United States that support climate action to meet goals of the Paris Agreement.

As part of this engagement, COP President Designate, Alok Sharma, has spoken with representatives of the states of New York and California and has written to the Governor of Michigan to congratulate her on that state’s recent commitment to a carbon-neutral economy by 2050. In addition, Eric Garcetti, the Mayor of Los Angeles and Chair of C40 Cities is acting as one of the ‘Friends of COP’.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
5th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the use of low order deflagration to clear unexploded bombs from the seabed as a means of clearing bombs without damage to marine life.

The Government recognise the potential for significant impact of underwater noise from unexploded ordnance (UXO) clearance on vulnerable marine species and is taking active steps to manage and reduce the risk. Two phases of a Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) funded project to characterize and contrast the acoustic fields generated by UXO clearance using high order detonation and using low-order deflagration have been completed and reported on.

A third phase has now been initiated to further improve the information base, allowing further assessment of the clearance options. A potential 4th phase of the work involving offshore field work is also being actively explored in which comparative noise measurements would be made during actual UXO clearance campaigns using both deflagration and high order detonations. This would require cooperation and active support from industry (windfarm developers) and the regulatory authorities.

The outcomes from the 3rd and 4th phases would allow an informed discussion and consideration of the adequacy of evidence by regulatory authorities and the statutory nature conservation bodies (SNCBs). It will be for the regulatory authorities and the SNCBs to consider the best available scientific evidence when providing advice on these matters.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
5th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the devolved administrations about the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill.

UK Government Ministers and officials have been open to engaging with all devolved administrations following the publication of the UK Internal Market Bill on 9 September, with discussions held both before and after publication.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will publish the Terms of Reference of the Hydrogen Advisory Council.

Draft Terms of Reference were discussed at the first meeting of the Hydrogen Advisory Council on 20 July. The terms of reference will be published on the GOV.UK website in due course.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with (1) the Welsh Government, (2) the Scottish Government, and (3) the Northern Ireland Executive, about the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill.

UK Government Ministers and officials have been open to engaging with all devolved administrations following the publication of the UK Internal Market Bill on 9 September, with discussions held both before and after publication. Further discussions are planned at Ministerial and official-level with all three devolved administrations as the legislative Consent Motion process continues.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to retrofitting existing buildings to make them more energy efficient.

The Government has a number of policies and proposals to improve the energy performance of buildings, for example:

  • In his Summer Economic Update, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £2bn Green Home Grant scheme that will support homeowners and landlords in England to improve the energy efficiency of their properties, reducing energy bills and carbon emissions, and supporting a green economic recovery. The funding will be spent on paying for accredited tradespeople to install a range of measures, for example insulation, to improve the energy performance of their homes. Further detail on the range of measures will be announced in the coming days, before the full launch.
  • The Energy Company Obligation (ECO), which installs energy efficiency measures is funded at £640 million per year, is now entirely focused on providing support to low income, vulnerable and?fuel poor households.
  • The Private Rented Sector Minimum standard regulations introduced on 1?April 2018 will improve the energy performance of rented properties. The regulations require landlords of domestic and non-domestic rental properties to bring their properties to EPC Band E or above. We recently consulted on raising the minimum energy standards for non-domestic privately rented properties to meet a preferred target of EPC B by 2030, and plan to publish the Government Response later this year. We will consult on tightening the minimum energy standards for domestic privately rented properties in due course.
  • Public sector organisations can access the funding for decarbonisation projects, including certain retrofits through the Public Sector Energy?Efficiency?Loan Scheme. The capital pot for England stands £385 million by the end of 2020/21.
  • The Government is planning to publish a Heat and Buildings Strategy in due course, which will set out the immediate actions we will take for reducing emissions from buildings.?These actions include the deployment of energy efficiency measures and low carbon heating as part of an ambitious programme of work required to enable key strategic decisions on how we achieve the mass transition to low-carbon heat and set us on a path to decarbonising all homes and buildings.
Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they are seeking to encourage the holding of meetings remotely in the private sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the exception of the organisations covered in the Government guidance on closing non-essential shops and public spaces, the Government has not required any other businesses to close and indeed, it is important for business to carry on where this is possible.

Businesses and workplaces should make every possible effort to enable working from home as a first option. Employers and employees should discuss their working arrangements, and employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working.

Where working from home is not possible, employers should follow Government guidance on working safely, including consulting with workers and trade union representatives.

It is the responsibility of companies and organisations to develop working practices in line with Government guidance and employers who have people in their offices or onsite should ensure that employees are able to follow Public Health England guidelines.

The Government, in consultation with industry, has published new guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These guides cover a range of working environments and are available at www.gov.uk/workingsafely.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to promote the manufacture of electric cars in the UK.

The Government is seeking to lead the world in the decarbonisation of transport. We are consulting to bring forward the phaseout of petrol and diesel cars and hybrid models by 2035, or earlier.

Last October, the Government announced up to £1 billion of additional funding to support electric vehicle technologies in the UK. This funding will support research and development, as well as establish UK supply chains for the large-scale production of electric vehicles. This will be done through major investments in the manufacturing of batteries, electric motors, power electronics, and hydrogen fuel cells.

The UK’s Automotive Sector is innovative, productive, competitive, and well-placed to emerge successfully from these challenging times.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions, if any, they have had with the Welsh Government about the future of nuclear power at Trawsfynydd.

We have spoken with the Welsh Government about their idea for potential re-use of the Trawsfynydd site for energy generation and production of medical isotopes.

29th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to promote small independent shops.

Government recognises the Retail Sector is changing. We are committed to helping communities adapt and also supporting all parts of the retail sector during this change.

The industry-led Retail Sector Council provides a single source of strategic liaison between BEIS, on behalf of all relevant government departments, and retailers. All retail activity in the UK, including small independent shops, is represented on the Council.

The Council aims to accelerate positive change, increase the productivity of the sector, and ensure the sector remains robust and sustainable to continue providing a beneficial service to consumers and the community.

We have announced a £3.6 billion Towns Fund, including an accelerated £1 billion Future High Streets Fund, which will support local areas in England to renew and reshape town centres and high streets in a way that improves experience, drives growth and ensures future sustainability. We are promoting small independent shops through initiatives such as the Great British High Street Awards, which has been won by Welsh High Streets for the past two years.

We are also supporting local leadership with a High Streets Task Force, giving high streets and town centres expert advice to adapt and thrive.

For one year from 1 April 2020, eligible small retailers will benefit from a 50% retail discount off their business rates bills. This is an increase on the one third off bills available through the retail discount scheme in 2019/20. In addition, the Government has doubled the threshold for 100% small business rates relief, meaning more than 675,000 of the smallest businesses, including many independent shops, pay no rates at all.

28th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to ensure that their climate change targets are met.

The UK is a world leader in cutting emissions while creating wealth. Between 1990 and 2017, the UK reduced its emissions by 42% while growing the economy by 73% – the best performance in the G7 on a per person basis.

The UK over-achieved against the first (2008-12) and second (2013-17) carbon budgets. We exceeded the required emissions reduction in the first carbon budget by 1.2%, and the second carbon budget by nearly 14%.

Since setting the 2050 net zero target, we have invested £2bn and will continue to build on the strong frameworks we have in place for driving decarbonisation across the UK economy.

2020 will be a vital year for climate action, and we will set out our ambitious plans in the run up to COP26 through a number of sectoral strategies, including the Transport Decarbonisation Plan, Energy White Paper and a policy roadmap for heat.

21st Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what goals they have set for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, due to be held in Glasgow in November 2020.

As hosts of COP 26 we aim to rally to bring forward ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets (Nationally Determined Contributions), and to urge countries, businesses and organisations to bring credible plans to hit net zero by 2050. We will publish further details in due course.

14th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take to encourage engagement with the Data Sharing Code of Practice, published by the Information Commissioner's Office on 17 December 2020.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the UK’s independent data protection regulator and has a statutory duty under the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) to produce a code of practice that provides practical guidance on data sharing. The ICO is engaging with organisations to help them understand the code and promote the benefits of sharing data. Alongside the code, the ICO has launched a data sharing information hub on its website, where organisations can find clear guidance and practical tools for organisations and businesses on how to share data fairly, lawfully and transparently, while protecting people’s personal information.

The Government is committed to working with the ICO to promote responsible data sharing which can have benefits for the economy and the delivery of public services. The National Data Strategy recognised that better use of data can help organisations of every kind succeed – across the public, private and third sectors. Data can be a driver of scientific and technological innovation, and central to the delivery of a whole range of vital public services and societal goals, from tackling climate change to supporting the National Health Service.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
26th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assistance they are providing for (1) travelling fairgrounds, and (2) charter fairs, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Government has introduced a number of support measures to support the tourism and outdoor events sector through COVID-19, which travelling fairground businesses can access. Support includes various government-backed loans, as well as the extended furlough and self-employed support schemes. We also introduced a substantial, UK-wide cut in VAT for many tourism and hospitality activities, including admission to circuses and fairs, until the end of March.

Further to this, the Additional Restrictions Grant discretionary fund will allow Local Authorities to help businesses more broadly during this period. It supports businesses that are not covered by other grant schemes, such as the Local Restrictions Support Grant, or where additional funding is needed.

We recognise that Covid-19 has significantly impacted the culture sector and that these are extremely difficult times for organisations such as travelling fairgrounds. We continue to meet with representatives of the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain to assess how we can most effectively support the industry through this period.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to guarantee the future of public libraries throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government is providing local councils with unprecedented support during the pandemic with a £4.3 billion package, including £3.7 billion which is not ringfenced and £600 million to support social care providers. This is part of a wider package of almost £28 billion which the Government has committed to support local areas, with funding going to councils, businesses and communities.

DCMS has a statutory duty to superintend, and promote the improvement of, the public library service provided by local authorities in England. To assist delivery of this statutory duty, DCMS issued a joint letter with the Local Government Association to all local authorities in England requesting detail of restoration of their library services given the opening of physical library buildings is now permitted. This detail is assisting the department’s engagement with local authorities and its ongoing monitoring of library service provision.

DCMS continues to work closely with Libraries Connected and other key stakeholders to ensure that the Libraries Connected Service Recovery Toolkit remains relevant and continues to assist libraries with their opening and reintroduction of their services during the pandemic.

In response to the rise in demand for e-lending immediately following the closure of libraries in March, Arts Council England provided £151,000 (around £1,000 per library authority in England) to supplement existing e-book funding.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on tourism; and what steps they are taking to mitigate any such impact.

We are regularly assessing Covid-19’s significant impact on the tourism sector.

The Government has implemented a series of Covid-19 related financial measures that are assisting tourism businesses. This includes the significant cut to VAT for tourism and hospitality activities until the end of March, plus business rates relief for eligible retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in England.

Tourism businesses can also continue to make use of the broader support package available to them. This includes the Bounce Back Loans scheme, the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

We are continuing to engage across Government and with stakeholders to assess how we can most effectively support the recovery of tourism across the UK.


Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
17th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to help address loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government launched a plan to tackle loneliness and social isolation in the context of Covid-19 in April 2020.

This includes the latest #Let’sTalkLoneliness public campaign to get people talking openly about loneliness, including new public guidance offering useful tips and advice on how people can look after themselves and others safely.

The plan also included a £5 million fund to support national loneliness organisations supporting those at risk of loneliness. A new £4 million microgrants fund to support small, grassroots organisations is due to open early in the new year.

Finally, as part of the plan, the Government launched a new ‘Tackling Loneliness Network’, a group of over 60 high-profile charities, businesses and public sector organisations. The network is now working to find and implement innovative solutions to loneliness, drawing on their diverse expertise.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they provide for the promotion of literary festivals.

Through Arts Council England (ACE) we are investing and promoting the arts and culture all around the country. ACE provides funding to a number of literary festivals including the Manchester Literature Festival and Ilkley Literature Festival, and in 2019/20 will provide over £3.7 million to a number of organisations and festivals that promote literature.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the potential long-term benefits of hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2022; and what steps they are taking to realise any such benefits.

Hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham will create long-term benefits for the city and the region, and DCMS is working closely with all Games Partners - including the Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee, Birmingham City Council and the West Midlands Combined Authority to maximise these. We are developing an evaluation methodology for the legacy, and this will be published in due course alongside a wider Games legacy plan. This legacy work will be informed by lessons from previous Games, including London 2012 and Glasgow 2014.

The ambitions for the Games are to improve health and wellbeing, bring people together, be a catalyst for change, put Britain on the map and help the region to grow and succeed. Hosting the Games is accelerating infrastructure and public transport improvements across the city and region, including new housing in Perry Barr and improvements to the University and Perry Barr railway stations.

The Games will also bring upgraded elite and community sport facilities to Alexander Stadium, and the creation of a brand new aquatics centre in Sandwell, creating more opportunities for people to get active. We will build on the lessons from Sport England’s £10m investment to tackle inactivity in underrepresented groups in Birmingham and Solihull to ensure as many people as possible access opportunities to get active as a result of the Games.

The Games is also a unique opportunity to drive economic growth in the region, create jobs and boost local skills. The Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee is expected to require around 41,000 staff, contractors and volunteers. The Commonwealth Games Village alone will support up to 400 new jobs, including 50 new apprenticeships. To boost skills, a Construction Training Hub has been established next to the Village site in Perry Barr offering bespoke training for local unemployed people to access these new construction opportunities being created in the region. A series of business engagement events has been hosted to support local businesses in bidding for Games contracts.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what infrastructure developments they are planning to support the delivery of the Commonwealth Games in 2022.

There are two major capital projects which are funded through the budget for the 2022 Commonwealth Games: the redevelopment of the Alexander Stadium, to be delivered by Birmingham City Council; and the new Sandwell Aquatics Centre, delivered by Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council.

In addition to the budget for staging the Games, there are a number of existing projects in the region that will also help deliver the Games. The Games village is being delivered by Birmingham City Council, with government housing funding support for infrastructure and land assembly costs. Transport for West Midlands is supporting two station upgrades, at Perry Barr and the University, and the development of three new rapid bus routes, to help provide improved transport access for the Games.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they supporting work to combat racism at football grounds (1) with the English Football League, and (2) more generally.

Racism or any form of discrimination has no place in football or society, and we must confront this vile behaviour.

The Government supports the steps the football authorities, including the English Football League, have taken for the current season to combat discrimination. This included actions targeted at and around football grounds such as: improving reporting systems; providing better training and support for referees and stewards; and improving the quality of CCTV around stadia.

However it is clear there is more to do. The Minister for Sport recently held meetings with both the English Football League and the Football Association in which he discussed their action on discrimination. He has asked the football authorities to report back with a more detailed update about their work on this important issue before considering future government support.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
29th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they support the provision of library services to the blind and partially sighted.

Local authorities in England have a statutory duty under the Public Libraries & Museums Act 1964 to provide a ‘comprehensive and efficient’ library service that meets local needs.

Public libraries have a number of services and facilities available to support visually impaired library users. These include access to e-books and e-audio books, and in some cases the loan of e-book readers and other technology to enlarge the print. Other services include specialist software and hardware to aid the use of computers and specific reading groups.

Libraries Connected has developed the Six Steps Promise with the Royal National Institute for the Blind and Share the Vision to ensure libraries can support people with reduced vision. The promise includes a commitment to:

? ensuring that all blind and partially sighted customers are connected to the most appropriate service for their reading needs and that they are able to make full use of an accessible public library service

? using Reading Sight, a free website supporting practitioners and blind and partially sighted people to access reading and reading services; and

? providing local collections of accessible reading materials and information in physical or digital formats, and the ability to signpost library users to a wider range of resources

Many public libraries will be taking part in the Share the Vision, HI VIS initiative over the two week period 1 – 14 June 2020. The initiative is a celebration of accessible library services and alternative formats and its aim is to champion and raise awareness of the range of library services and activities that are available to visually impaired people to access.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to use software licensing audits to investigate the practice of software vendors imposing unfair licence conditions on customers.

The Crown Commercial Service conducts software licensing audits on behalf of the public sector. Additionally, they operate an asset transfer system that allows unused software to be distributed across the public sector.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to commission a review of the importance of access to public libraries in all parts of England, including consideration of the relationship between library access and (1) income, and (2) social class.

Libraries play an important role in giving everyone opportunities to improve their life chances and achieve their full potential. They serve a diverse range of people from all backgrounds and provide access to a variety of services. The regularly published Taking Part Survey provides details of the proportion of adults who have used a public library service at least once in the previous 12 months. This includes details of use by upper and lower socio-economic groups, as well as by index of multiple deprivation. The figures for 2018/19 indicate that 36.7% of respondents from the upper socio-economic group and 27.9% of respondents from the lower socio-economic group reported visiting a library in the last 12 months. We have no plans to conduct a review.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Dec 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to promote anti-racism in sport.

The Government is clear that racism has no place in sport or society at large, in line with the sport and physical activity strategy ‘Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation’, which has diversity and inclusion at its heart. Government remains supportive of a number of anti-racism initiatives that work with sports bodies from grassroots to the elite, including Show Racism the Red Card and Kick it Out. With Kick It Out stats demonstrating that racism constitutes 65 per cent of reports made via them in the 18/19 season, government will continue to call governing bodies to account for actions in this space.

Over the past year the Government has led debates in the House of Commons on tackling racism in sport (on 22nd May 2019 and 12th July 2019), and hosted an Anti-Racism Summit in February 2019. This led to clear commitments to tackle racism in football stadia from the three main English football organisations in July 2019. Ministers and officials continue to speak to the FA and relevant football bodies to explore what more can be done. Grassroots sport clubs also receive support in tackling racism from our national sport council, Sport England, who provide free support and learning in running a club through its "Club Matters" programme.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to issue guidelines to independent schools about the cost of school uniforms.

The government is supporting the Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) private members’ bill to enable us to issue statutory guidance on the cost of school uniform. The bill does not extend to guidance for independent schools.

In choosing an independent school for their child, parents accept and expect certain associated fees, and school uniform costs are something that they need to take into consideration as part of their decision to seek a private education for their child.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to advertise the National Tutoring Programme to disadvantaged pupils.

There is extensive evidence that tutoring is one of the most effective ways to accelerate pupil progress, and we want to extend this opportunity to disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils.

We are committed to ensuring that there is a strong take-up of the programme. We have undertaken a range of communications and engagement activities to ensure that schools are aware of the support offered by the National Tutoring Programme (NTP). Our activities include offering school-focused webinars throughout the academic year and working with a range of key stakeholders to increase awareness and interest in the programme in areas that need it most, for example, through opportunity areas, multi academy trusts and regional schools commissioners. In addition, we have also been communicating with local authority groups, networks, and teaching unions.

The NTP is providing regular newsletters and blogs direct to schools, alongside targeted social media activity. Since the programme went live in November 2020, we have continued to share case studies and good practice to show how tuition can support pupils effectively, including a guide of how to make the most out of tutoring during the most recent lockdown period. We will continue to monitor take-up throughout the course of this academic year and ensure further communication is directed towards areas of low take-up.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to promote opportunities for UK companies to offer online tuition in (1) the UK, and (2) overseas.

The Department’s £350 million National Tutoring Programme (NTP) will engage around 15,000 tutors to support 250,000 pupils across England, with the majority of our tuition partners providing online support. Through our EdTech grant funding partnership, Nesta are supporting some tuition partners to strengthen their digital and online offering and capabilities. For example, adapting online content to better meet the needs of students with special educational needs, developing lower-bandwidth platforms, and embedding impact measurement into online provision. The NTP for 5 to 16 year olds has been extended for another year and more information will be available in due course.

More broadly, businesses in England can access free support and guidance on finding the right finance to grow or scale up from the network of local growth hubs and the freephone Business Support Helpline. Information and advice on scaling and growing a business can also be be found on gov.uk. Firms based in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales can access business support through their Governments.

The Government’s International Education Strategy commits to promoting overseas opportunities for UK companies. We proactively identify opportunities in global markets and to support the sector in maximising its supply capabilities to meet this demand. We promote opportunities via the Exporting Is GREAT website and work closely with British Educational Suppliers Association, the trade association for UK EdTech, and the sector to maximise exposure to opportunities for online education providers.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to promote the wearing of face masks in secondary schools.

The department has published comprehensive guidance on the use of face coverings in schools, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-in-education/face-coverings-in-education.

At each stage of its response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the government has listened to and acted on the latest medical and scientific advice, and if we think that the guidance should be revised based on further evidence then we will not hesitate to act swiftly and decisively.

When an area moves to the local restriction tier 2: ‘high’, 3: ‘very high’ or 4: ‘stay at home’, in schools where year 7 and above are taught, face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils when moving around indoors, outside of classrooms, for example in corridors and communal areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain.

As the guidance outlines, based on current evidence, and in light of the mitigation measures that schools have put in place, face coverings are not necessary in the classroom. Schools and colleges that are in local restriction tier 1: ‘medium’ will have the discretion to require the use of face coverings in indoor communal areas, outside of classrooms, where social distancing cannot be safely managed, if they believe that it is appropriate in their particular circumstances.

We continue to provide information to schools and other education and childcare settings on our guidance, and any changes to it, through regular departmental communications.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to protect apprentices whose employment has ceased as a consequence of COVID-19.

We are committed to supporting apprentices who have been made redundant as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, including enabling them wherever possible to continue and complete their apprenticeships.

We launched the Redundancy Support Service for Apprentices which provides clear, accessible advice and guidance to individuals, as well as a vacancy sharing scheme to help apprentices find new opportunities with employers. Over 1,000 employers have submitted opportunities to the vacancy sharing service for redundant apprentices.

We have also amended legislation to enable more apprentices to complete their apprenticeship in the event of redundancy. In addition to funding an apprentice’s training to completion if they have less than six months of their apprenticeship remaining at the point of redundancy, we have extended this provision to include any apprentice who has completed 75% or more of their apprenticeship at the point of redundancy.

Apprenticeships will be more important than ever in helping businesses to recruit the right people and develop the skills they need to recover and grow. In the 2020-21 and 2021-22 financial years, we are making available £2.5 billion for apprenticeships in England, double that spent in the 2010-11 financial year. To help employers offer new apprenticeships, including to those that have been made redundant, employers are now able to claim £2,000 for every new apprentice they hire under the age of 25, and £1,500 for those 25 and over, until 31 March 2021. We are extending the incentive payments available to employers taking on new apprentices until the end of this financial year, boosting job creation and supporting employers to invest in skills as the economy recovers.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to help pupils from low income backgrounds who have missed out on schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The closure of schools to all but our most vulnerable children, and those from keyworker families, was a regrettable but necessary measure. Now it is a national priority for all pupils to enjoy full-time education at school as this is the best place to improve their well-being and development. We have put in place a range of measures to help schools address the time lost; this is especially important for disadvantaged pupils who have been affected most by time away from school.

Our £100 million support for remote education distributed 220,000 laptops and 57,000 internet connections to disadvantaged pupils, to enable them to continue learning at home, as well as supporting the foundation of the popular Oak Academy. The £1 billion COVID catch-up package, announced in June, includes the National Tutoring Programme. This will provide up to £350 million of targeted support for disadvantaged pupils who are most at risk of falling further behind. From November, this investment will give schools in all regions access to subsidised tuition supplied by approved tuition partners. The programme will support schools in the most deprived areas to use in-house academic mentors to give small groups intensive catch-up tuition, small group tuition for 16-19-year olds and the improvement of early language skills in reception classes.

To complement the National Tutoring Programme, our £650million catch-up premium is enabling schools to target funding at specific pupil needs. The £1 billion package helps schools take immediate action to address the lost learning pupils are facing as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and is in addition to the £14.4 billion 3-year investment for schools announced last year.

We continue to provide pupil premium funding, worth £2.4 billion, that allows school leaders to design support reflecting their disadvantaged pupils’ changing needs.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with universities regarding accommodating the demand for places on courses following the withdrawal of A-level results based on algorithms; and what additional resources are being made available to universities as a result of the change of policy.

My hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Universities, has written directly to all Vice Chancellors and has set up a Higher Education Taskforce so that the government can work with the sector to build capacity, harness expert views and tackle challenges. Together, we have agreed that all students who achieved the required grades will be offered a place at their first-choice university, wherever possible.

We have taken a number of steps to support this commitment. We have announced that, subject to parliamentary approval, we will completely remove temporary student number controls to help ensure there are no additional barriers to students being able to progress to higher education.

We have announced that we will lift caps on domestic medicine and dentistry courses in the next academic year. We will support providers to offer places to as many students who have met the grades for their current offer as they have capacity for, and where there are clinical placements available, through additional grant funding to support the costs of this provision.

We will also provide additional teaching grant funding to increase capacity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and other high-cost subjects, which are vital to the country’s social needs and economy. The Office for Students (OfS) will consult the sector on the details of how the allocations are made.

Providers will also be eligible to bid for a share of up to £10 million in funding to support capital expenditure. This funding will be used to support the infrastructure required to accommodate additional students recruited as a result of the changes to policy on A level grades.

The fund will be administered by the OfS, and providers will be eligible to bid for projects that support expansion in 2020/21.

We will continue to monitor the situation and to consider the effects that deferrals will have on future years. Funding decisions for future years will be taken at the Spending Review.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they had with devolved authorities about co-ordinating the approach to the awarding of A-levels and equivalent qualifications in the summer of 2020; and what plans they have to publish details of those discussions.

Ministers have had discussions throughout the year with their counterparts from the devolved administrations about the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including about summer 2020 grading. In addition, officials and regulators have been in regular contact to discuss co-ordination of approaches on grading, taking into account the differing features of the educational systems across the UK. There are no plans to publish details of these discussions. The department will continue to work with the devolved administrations on plans for examinations in summer 2021.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that children, in particular those from low-income families, are not negatively affected by missed schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic and can catch-up on lessons.

Education recovery lies at the heart of our national mission as we emerge from the disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. On 19 June we announced a £1 billion COVID-19 catch-up package to directly tackle the impact of lost teaching time.

£650 million will be shared across state primary, secondary and special schools over the 2020/21 academic year. This one-off grant to support pupils recognises that all young people have lost time in education as a result of the outbreak, regardless of their income or background.? School leaders will have discretion over how to use the funding, but we expect it to focus on the most effective approaches. The Education Endowment Foundation has published guidance to help schools make good decisions about how to use the money effectively.

Separately, a National Tutoring Programme worth £350 million will increase access to high-quality tuition for children and young people from deprived backgrounds. This will help to accelerate their academic progress and tackle the attainment gap between them and their peers.??We published guidance on both parts of the package on 20 July, which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-catch-up-premium.

This £1 billion package is on top of the £14.4 billion core funding increase over three years announced last year, and the £2.4 billion pupil premium funding which schools continue to receive to support their disadvantaged pupils.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the higher education sector concerning the next academic year, in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The department engages regularly with representative bodies covering all types of higher education provider, encompassing all locations, as well as receiving representations in person and by correspondence from individual providers on a range of issues including the next academic year 2020-21.

The government announced a package of measures in May to protect students and the higher education sector from the impact of COVID-19. This has been discussed extensively with the sector, including through ministerial roundtables and letters. The package included a range of measures for next academic year. To ensure a fair, structured distribution of students across providers, temporary student number controls have been put in place for full-time, undergraduate domestic and EU students for academic year 2020/21 (with certain specific exemptions). The Government has also pulled forward tuition fee payments, expected to be worth £2.6 billion, for providers so that they receive more cash in the first term of academic year 2020/21. Through the proposals from the government and the sector, students will also benefit from a new proactive and personalised UCAS Clearing process this summer.

The government is working with higher education (HE) providers to make sure all reasonable efforts are being made to enable students to continue their studies to the best of their abilities this academic year and next.

Whilst recognising universities are autonomous institutions, we will shortly publish guidance to support them to make informed decisions on making university buildings and campuses accessible again, while minimising risks to students and staff

Furthermore, the HE sector is already working hard to prepare learning materials for the autumn term. This includes the government working with the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, professional bodies and the Office for Students (OfS), the higher education regulator in England, to ensure students continue to leave university with qualifications that have real value. The OfS has published guidance for registered providers about how the OfS will approach the regulation of quality and standards during the COVID-19 outbreak. This guidance is clear that standards must be maintained - further details are available at https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/guidance-for-providers-about-quality-and-standards-during-coronavirus-pandemic/. Actions that providers are taking now may continue to be required in the 2020- 21 academic year if the disruption as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak is prolonged.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the higher education sector.

In 2018-19, there were 2.38 million students studying at UK higher education providers. This includes 143,000 students from the EU and 343,000 students from other countries.

The total UK sector income in 2018/19 was £40.8 billion. Almost 50% of this income was from tuition fees, around 15% comes from research grants and contracts and around 6% comes from residences, catering and conferences.

The government recognises that the Covid-19 outbreak will have an unparalleled impact on all elements of the global and UK economy. The higher education sector, including student recruitment, is no exception.

On 4 May, my right honourable Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced a package of measures to stabilise university admissions this autumn and to ensure sustainability in higher education at a time of unprecedented uncertainty. My right hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Universities, wrote to all Honourable Members with full details of the package, details of which have also been published on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-support-package-for-universities-and-students.

The government is doing all that it can to keep staff and students at our universities safe in this unprecedented situation whilst mitigating the impact on education. In March, my right hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Universities, wrote to students at higher education institutions to outline the support available. We continue to work closely with the sector, putting student wellbeing at the heart of these discussions.

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

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

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to encourage the promotion of distance learning courses at universities and colleges in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the significant disruption being felt across the higher education sector, students deserve appropriate support and recognition for their hard work and dedication. I welcome the way in which many universities and colleges have moved rapidly to develop new ways of delivering courses through online teaching and alternatives to traditional end-of-course exams.

We expect providers to consider how their response to the current situation will affect all students and those who might be most vulnerable to disruption. This includes students suffering from COVID-19 or who need to self-isolate, international students, and students unable or less able to access remote learning for whatever reason, together with care leavers, those estranged from their families, and students with disabilities.

The Office for Students (OfS) has recently published guidance setting out the actions it will take to support providers to maintain standards and teaching quality. The guidance highlights flexible models for teaching, learning, assessment that will most likely satisfy OfS quality and standards conditions. The clear expectation is that providers should make all reasonable efforts to enable students to complete their studies, for achievement to be reliably assessed, for qualifications to be awarded securely. Providers are already be making these arrangements. On 23 March, the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education published the first in a series of good practice guidance notes that are available to all UK higher education providers. We know higher education providers take their responsibilities seriously and are best placed to identify the needs of their student body, as well as how to develop the services needed to support it.

The government recognises the Open University plays an important role as the largest provider of part-time higher education in this country and has brought opportunities to engage in higher education to people across the country who would not have had that chance otherwise. The Higher Education and Research Act 2017 placed a duty on OfS to have regard for part time study, and to promote choice and opportunity in the provision of higher education. The OfS targets an element of the Teaching Grant to recognise the additional costs of part-time study and the Open University receives funding through this.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support and promote the Open University during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the significant disruption being felt across the higher education sector, students deserve appropriate support and recognition for their hard work and dedication. I welcome the way in which many universities and colleges have moved rapidly to develop new ways of delivering courses through online teaching and alternatives to traditional end-of-course exams.

We expect providers to consider how their response to the current situation will affect all students and those who might be most vulnerable to disruption. This includes students suffering from COVID-19 or who need to self-isolate, international students, and students unable or less able to access remote learning for whatever reason, together with care leavers, those estranged from their families, and students with disabilities.

The Office for Students (OfS) has recently published guidance setting out the actions it will take to support providers to maintain standards and teaching quality. The guidance highlights flexible models for teaching, learning, assessment that will most likely satisfy OfS quality and standards conditions. The clear expectation is that providers should make all reasonable efforts to enable students to complete their studies, for achievement to be reliably assessed, for qualifications to be awarded securely. Providers are already be making these arrangements. On 23 March, the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education published the first in a series of good practice guidance notes that are available to all UK higher education providers. We know higher education providers take their responsibilities seriously and are best placed to identify the needs of their student body, as well as how to develop the services needed to support it.

The government recognises the Open University plays an important role as the largest provider of part-time higher education in this country and has brought opportunities to engage in higher education to people across the country who would not have had that chance otherwise. The Higher Education and Research Act 2017 placed a duty on OfS to have regard for part time study, and to promote choice and opportunity in the provision of higher education. The OfS targets an element of the Teaching Grant to recognise the additional costs of part-time study and the Open University receives funding through this.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide financial assistance to international Higher Education students in England to assist with any increase in the cost of returning to their home countries at the end of the 2019–20 academic year.

The government has been working closely with the sector to ensure that international higher education students who have remained in the UK have continued accommodation and access to essential services for the duration of their stay. In addition to continuing to provide accommodation for those who cannot travel home or have no alternative residence, providers are also offering a range of other services to international higher education students, including support for catering and cleaning, and support for mental health. International higher education students are encouraged to speak to their provider if they have any specific concerns about financial hardship.

Before an international student considers returning to their home country, they should seek advice from their home country’s embassy or consulate in the UK. Students planning to travel should adhere to Public Health England advice while in the UK to ensure they are travelling safely. Students should not travel if they, or anyone else in their household, has symptoms of COVID-19.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to provide meals to students resident at hostels in the higher education sector who are unable to return to their home countries.

The government is grateful for the huge amount of work being done across the higher education sector to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on our students and institutions.

There will be many students – international students, along with students estranged from their parents and care leavers, among others – who remain in university-owned, or private university accommodation at present, particularly now government advice is for students to remain in their current residence, and not to return home. Higher education (HE) providers should aim to ensure that sufficient institutional accommodation is available to these students

In addition, the government has reminded HE providers of their responsibility to support services for students who remain on campus. This includes practical support to ensure students can access sufficient food and medical and cleaning supplies. HE providers have been asked to ensure catering staff are available to support on halls management, even in the event of wider university closure.

It is particularly important that universities who rely on outsourced staff, such as catering, who maintain the delivery of critical services and infrastructure, take appropriate measures to protect the health, safety and welfare of their staff.

The government is also working to improve joint continuity planning between HE providers and Local Resilience Forums to consider how to ensure availability of supply of food and medicines.

We stand ready to support HE providers in any discussion that is needed to ensure they have access to the right resources to care for their students. It is essential that students are reassured that their provider will continue to support them through these difficult and unsettling times.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to promote the uptake of Mandarin in schools in England.

The government believes that learning other languages is important in our globalised economy, as well as helping pupils to prepare for life. As part of this aim, we are funding an intensive language programme which aims to see at least 5,000 young people on track towards fluency in Mandarin Chinese by 2020.

The programme started in 14 secondary schools in 2016, building to 76 schools in the current academic year, with around 5,000 pupils now studying Mandarin. The Mandarin Excellence Programme is intellectually enriching for students and gives them a significant advantage when they enter the world of work. Pupils on the programme study Mandarin for eight hours a week, at least four hours of which are teacher-taught classroom lessons – a significant increase on the time pupils usually spend on the subject.

More widely, the department has introduced the English Baccalaureate performance measure, which includes languages, and has seen the proportion of GCSE entries from pupils in state-funded schools in a modern foreign language increase from 40% in 2010 to 47% in 2019. The reformed national curriculum now makes it compulsory for pupils in maintained schools to be taught a foreign language in key stage 2.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to improve the life chances of children taken into care.

The government is committed to ensuring that all children taken into care have the best possible chances in life.

We have given looked after children top priority in school admissions to ensure they have access to the very best schools and their education is supported through the expertise and leadership of local authority Virtual School Heads (VSHs). VSHs are directly accountable for the educational outcomes of looked-after children and receive pupil premium plus funding to work with schools to support the education of individual children and the cohort as a whole. Pupil premium plus funding is £2,300 per child in 2019/20 rising to £2,345 in 2020/21. In addition, in recognition of the importance of ensuring that the mental health and wellbeing needs of looked-after children are identified, we are investing over £1 million to pilot high quality mental health assessments for children entering care.

The support does not stop when children leave care. Building on the measures already introduced through the cross-government care leaver strategy, in October 2019 we announced a further £19 million in 2020/21 to improve care leavers’ outcomes, including £10 million to expand Staying Put, so more care leavers can continue to live with their former foster carers until age 21 and £6 million to begin rolling out Staying Close, which provides extra support for young people leaving residential care. We are also providing £3 million to improve support for care leavers in further education.

The announcement also set out plans to establish a cross-government ministerial board to drive improved support for care leavers and a target to secure 1,000 public sector internships for care leavers by 2022.

The government also confirmed in February that it would carry out an independent review of the care system to make sure that all care placements and settings are providing children and young adults with the support they need so that they have the best possible chance to succeed in life.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
4th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure children are taught how climate change can be combatted.

It is important that young people are taught about climate change and sustainability. Topics related to this are included in both the science and geography curricula and qualifications.

For example, in primary science pupils are taught about how environments can change as a result of human actions. In secondary science, pupils are taught about the production of carbon dioxide by human activity and the effect this has on the climate. They will also learn about the efficacy of recycling. This is expanded on in GCSE science where pupils will consider the evidence for anthropogenic causes of climate change. They will study the impact of increased levels of carbon dioxide and methane and how this can be mitigated. Pupils will also learn about renewable and non-renewable energy sources.

As part of GCSE geography pupils will look at the causes, consequences of and responses to extreme weather conditions and natural weather hazards. In 2017, the Department also introduced a new environmental science A-Level. This will enable students to further study topics that will support their understanding of climate change and how it can be tackled.

In addition, sustainability content will be included in T-Levels, new post-16 technical study programmes. In setting outline content, the T-Level panels of employers and industry experts must consider the inclusion of sustainability as relevant to their sector. For example, in construction, T-Level students will be required to learn about renewable energy and emerging technologies to support energy efficiency.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
21st Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to promote (1) racial, and (2) religious, integration in schools.

Education plays a vital role in promoting integration and preparing our children and young people for life in a modern and diverse Britain.

All schools must promote community cohesion and are required to actively promote our shared values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance for those of different faiths and beliefs. Promotion of these values is part of Ofsted’s inspection framework and the department has published guidance to schools on promoting these important values as part of pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Schools are also required to comply with the relevant provisions of the Equality Act 2010.

In 2016, the department also launched the Educate Against Hate website, through which we continue to provide free resources for teachers and school leaders to support their promotion of these values. This includes the department’s Respectful School Communities toolkit; a self-review and signposting tool to support schools to develop a whole-school approach which promotes respect and discipline, helping to combat bullying, harassment and prejudice of any kind.

The department also funds a number of specific initiatives to support schools in addressing these issues. This includes the provision of over £2.8 million of funding between September 2016 and March 2020 to four anti-bullying organisations, to support schools to tackle bullying – including projects focused on targeted bullying of particular groups, such as those who are victims of hate-related bullying, and projects which encourage children and young people to think about the importance of tackling prejudice and discrimination.

As part of our commitments in the Government’s Integrated Communities Action Plan, the department is also funding an expanded national school linking programme, which seeks to encourage meaningful social mixing between different types of schools and foster understanding of those with different backgrounds, faiths and beliefs. In the last year, the Linking Network has worked with over 540 schools, leading to over 22,500 pupils taking part in activities supporting integration.

As part of this same package, the department has also strengthened expectations for all new free schools on the promotion of community cohesion and integration, to make sure they are doing all that they can to ensure children and young people are able to participate fully in life in modern Britain.

The department is also introducing health education for pupils receiving state-funded primary and secondary education, alongside relationships education in all primary schools, and relationships and sex education (RSE) in all secondary schools. Mental wellbeing is a core component of the new health education curriculum, as well as being embedded in (RSE). Schools will be required to teach about a range of issues which will be relevant to wellbeing, including bullying, respectful relationships and online relationships.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
8th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to combat hate crime at universities.

Any incident of hate crime is unacceptable and we cannot tolerate staff and students being victims of it at our world-leading universities.

Higher education (HE) providers have clear responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010. They should discharge their responsibilities fully and have robust policies and procedures in place to comply with the law, and to investigate and swiftly address incidents reported to them.

In its guidance to the Office for Students (OfS), the government has tasked the OfS to tackle these important issues, including the implementation of Universities UK’s (UUK) Taskforce recommendations. The OfS and its predecessor body allocated £4.7 million for a safeguarding scheme to address harassment and hate crime in HE. On 9 January 2020, the OfS published a consultation on harassment and sexual misconduct in HE. This consultation, which concludes on 27 March 2020, asks for views on how the OfS will regulate harassment, including hate-based and sexual misconduct. The OfS expects providers to have policies, processes and systems in place to effectively address these issues.

Evaluation to date has shown that progress has been made but that there is still more to do. The government will continue to work closely with partners, including UUK and the OfS to support work to address hate crime and harassment in universities.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to promote freedom of speech on campuses at universities.

This government will ensure that our universities are places where free speech can thrive and will strengthen academic freedoms.

The freedom to express views openly, challenge ideas and engage in robust debate is crucial to the student experience and to democracy. Individuals should never be in a position where they can be stopped from, or are made to feel inhibited in, expressing an opinion perfectly lawfully.

The government worked alongside the Equalities and Human Rights Commission which published new guidance in February 2019 on freedom of speech in higher education to support higher education providers and students’ unions in delivering their duties.

The Office for Students (OfS) also has an important role to play in championing free speech and promoting good practice. A public interest principle relating to free speech is built into the OfS regulatory framework.

The government will be looking closely at how well higher education providers are meeting these obligations and will consider whether further action is needed, working with a range of partners.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that the remuneration of vice-chancellors of universities is at an appropriate level.

While universities are autonomous institutions and responsible for setting the pay of their staff, they receive significant amounts of public funding and are rightly subject to public scrutiny.‎

Vice chancellor salaries must be justifiable and should not be excessive.‎ The process for setting pay must be transparent. The government agrees with the recommendation made by the Committee of University Chairs (CUC) in its senior staff remuneration code that vice chancellors should not sit on the committee that sets their pay.

The government set up the Office for Students (OfS) to regulate the higher education sector and to ensure the sector is delivering real value for money. The OfS has said that universities should, as a minimum, be following the CUC senior staff remuneration code. Where issues with senior staff pay lead to concerns, the OfS has the power to carry out independent reviews to ensure that a provider’s governance arrangements are fit for purpose.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made in improving education outcomes for Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller communities.

The latest published data, including breakdowns for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) pupils, relates to 2019 at key stage 2 and 2018 at key stage 4. At both stages, the data showed a small improvement in headline attainment measures for this group compared to the previous year. At key stage 2, the percentage of GRT pupils attaining the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics rose from 19% in 2018 to 20% in 2019. At key stage 4, the percentage achieving grades 9-4 in English and mathematics rose from 11.8% in 2017 to 13.1% in 2018.

The government is taking significant steps forward to support attainment and progression for all pupils, including GRT pupils. Our education reforms, including those aimed at improving teaching; encouraging good attendance and behaviour; and strengthening the curriculum and examination system, are designed to improve opportunity and standards for all pupils. These reforms are underpinned by school accountability measures, which are intended to encourage schools to focus more closely on the attainment of all their pupils.

Through the pupil premium; we are addressing low economic circumstances. This is a key factor that predicts future educational outcomes, and affects a high proportion of GRT children. Since 2011, we have provided over £15 billion of this additional funding, with a further £2.4 billion being distributed in this financial year.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to promote British food and beverages.

Food and drink exports are a success story, increasing to £23.6 billion in 2019. The Government is determined to help showcase and promote our excellent food and drink even more in the years to come.

The Government promotes UK food and drink through Defra’s ‘Food is GREAT’ campaign. The campaign helps raise the profile and reputation of UK food and drink overseas, by building global demand and increasing positive perceptions of our food and drink products. It uses the UK’s growing reputation for quality food and drink, with high standards of food safety, animal welfare and sustainability as an excellent platform to increase demand for our products still further.

’Food is GREAT’ promotes excellent food and drink products from across the four nations of the UK. Most recently, the campaign showcased Northern Irish gin, Scotch Whisky, Welsh seafood, and English Sparkling Wine to Japanese consumers, trade and media in events coinciding with the Rugby World Cup. The campaign is also active in other priority markets including the USA and China, as well as within the UK.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support measures to address international deforestation.

The UK Government has a long and proud history of supporting action to combat deforestation.

As part of our 25 Year Environment Plan, we have committed to protect the world’s forests by enhancing sustainability and supporting deforestation-free supply chains. We are signatory to the Amsterdam Declarations and have endorsed the New York Declaration on Forests, which supports a fully sustainable palm oil supply chain from 2020.

The Government recently convened a Global Resource Initiative taskforce, which will report this spring and recommend actions the UK can take to address our global commodity supply chain footprint. We are a member of Tropical Forest Alliance 2020, a public-private partnership working to help organisations achieve their deforestation-free commitments. In addition the UK has set up the Partnership for Forests Programme, which supports organisations that produce agricultural goods without causing deforestation. We have also been at the forefront of tackling illegal logging though our commitment to the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade and Timber Regulations.

At the 2015 Paris climate summit, Germany, Norway and the UK pledged $5 billion over the period 2015 to 2020 to developing countries to protect forests. We have a shared objective of ensuring the forests and land-use sector plays a key role in meeting global climate goals along with encouraging ambitious action from developing countries to protect their rainforests while supporting communities to develop sustainable forest practices.

Our International Climate Finance (ICF) spending is our primary mechanism to meet the UK’s international forest commitments.

At the United Nations Climate Action Summit in September 2019, the Prime Minister announced that the ICF will be doubled to at least £11.6 billion between 2021/22 and 2025/26, in a clear signal that the UK is stepping up its efforts even further to address climate change and tackle deforestation. This fund will include spending to protect forests and mangroves, create new protected areas and restore degraded ecosystems which were once home to forests, mangroves and other precious habitats.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to prevent the export of plastic waste.

The Government is deeply concerned about the illegal trade in waste, including reports of illegal plastic waste exported from the UK.

Recognising the difficulties experienced by some countries in managing imports of plastic waste the Queen’s Speech on the 19 December included a commitment to ban the export of polluting plastic wastes to countries that are not members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The Environment Bill includes a power which will enable us to deliver on this commitment and we will consult this year on the date by which this should be achieved. The Bill also includes a power to introduce electronic tracking of waste to help tackle waste crime here in the UK and prevent illegal waste from being shipped abroad.

Compliance with the legislation on waste shipments is monitored by the UK’s four environmental regulators[1]. In England in 2018/19 the Environment Agency (EA) inspected almost 1,000 shipping containers at ports and returned over 200 of those to sites. During this period, the EA also prevented 12,000 tonnes of waste from reaching ports which may have otherwise been exported illegally.

Any operators found to be illegally exporting waste can face severe sanctions – from financial penalties to imprisonment for a period of up to two years.

[1] The Environment Agency in England, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they are providing non-governmental organisations to help the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UK has so far pledged up to £744 million of UK aid to support the global effort to combat COVID-19. This includes £200 million for charities and international organisations, who are critical partners in meeting the huge challenge of tackling the virus. As part of this package, there is funding for international NGOs, including UK charities. In addition, extra funding has been allocated to NGOs through the DFID Unilever COVID-19 Hygiene and Behaviour Change Coalition.

DFID is also adapting its programmes across its country network to respond to COVID-19 and has committed significant funding through the multilateral system. We also expect NGOs to play a key role in delivery through these channels.

Additionally, The Small Charities Challenge Fund is open on an ongoing basis for applications for grants of up to £50k from the very best small British development charities. Applications will next be reviewed on 24 September 2020 and projects which address the impacts of COVID-19 will be prioritised.

27th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what geographic protection has been secured for (1) English products, (2) Northern Irish products, (3) Scottish products, and (4) Welsh products, in the Trade Agreement between the United Kingdom and Japan for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

The new agreement includes all UK geographical indications in the previous agreement: Stilton Blue Cheese, Stilton White Cheese, West Country Farmhouse Cheddar, Scotch Whisky, Scottish Farmed Salmon, Irish Cream, and Irish Whiskey.

New protected recognition for more iconic UK goods will be possible under the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), with the possibility to increase Geographical Indications (GIs) from seven under the terms of the previous agreement to around 70 as soon as next year. These could include English sparkling wine, Yorkshire Wensleydale and Welsh lamb, Arbroath Smokies, Jersey royal potatoes, Kentish ale, Cornish Clotted Cream, and Irish poteen.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
27th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what tariffs have been agreed for the sale of meat from (1) the UK to Japan, and (2) Japan to the UK, in the Trade Agreement between the United Kingdom and Japan for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Under The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), we have secured reduced tariffs on key British products such as beef and pork, as well as reduced tariffs for flagship Japanese products into the UK, like Japanese beef and bluefin tuna. Further detailed information on tariff lines for individual products is available in the now published agreement text and parliamentary report.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
9th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of discussions with (1) the Northern Irish Executive, (2) the Scottish Government, and (3) the Welsh Government, about the Trade Bill.

Department for International Trade Ministers and officials have been engaging regularly with Devolved Administration Ministers and officials on the Trade Bill to seek consent from all the devolved legislatures. We have made a number of amendments and commitments to address their concerns. I am pleased that, as a result of this, Scottish Government have recommended consent to all the relevant clauses of the Bill, and the Welsh Government to those that were previously contained in the Trade Bill 2017-19. We are working hard to ensure that the Northern Ireland Executive also feels able to recommend legislative consent to the Bill.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
9th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what arms and equipment the UK exports for use by police services in the United States; and what restrictions, if any, are placed on such exports.

My Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade and I have been sorry to see the violence that has taken place in the United States of America.

All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (‘Consolidated Criteria’). In reaching a decision, the Department for International Trade (DIT) receives advice from a number of Departments including the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). Together, we draw on all available information, including reports from Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and our diplomatic missions. The Consolidated Criteria provides a thorough risk assessment framework and requires us to think hard about the impact of exporting any equipment. These are not decisions my Department takes lightly, and we will not license the export of items where to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.

The United Kingdom has issued licences that permit the export of crowd control equipment to the United States. The details are published online on GOV.UK. We publish information on all export licences issued, refused and revoked on a quarterly and annual basis as official statistics on GOV.UK. The most recent publication was in April, covering decisions taken up to the end of December 2019.

Any licence granted by my Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade may be subject to conditions. In addition, in line with the Consolidated Criteria, my Department are able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require. There are currently eight extant licences that may be linked to law enforcement agencies. Six are Open Individual Export Licences (‘OIELs’), which have potential end users that include law enforcement agencies. Two are Standard Individual Export Licences (‘SIELs’), which have numerous potential end users that include law enforcement agencies. There are also fifteen Open General Licences (‘OGLs’) for which businesses can register that cover the export of anti-riot gear.

We are able to review licences and suspend or revoke as necessary when circumstances require, and this is done in line with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. We have suspended or revoked licences when our assessment changes. This shows how seriously we take the guiding principle of responsible export controls.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
9th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to review the sales of arms to police services in the United States; and, if so, how.

My Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade and I have been sorry to see the violence that has taken place in the United States of America.

All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (‘Consolidated Criteria’). In reaching a decision, the Department for International Trade (DIT) receives advice from a number of Departments including the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). Together, we draw on all available information, including reports from Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and our diplomatic missions. The Consolidated Criteria provides a thorough risk assessment framework and requires us to think hard about the impact of exporting any equipment. These are not decisions my Department takes lightly, and we will not license the export of items where to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.

The United Kingdom has issued licences that permit the export of crowd control equipment to the United States. The details are published online on GOV.UK. We publish information on all export licences issued, refused and revoked on a quarterly and annual basis as official statistics on GOV.UK. The most recent publication was in April, covering decisions taken up to the end of December 2019.

Any licence granted by my Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade may be subject to conditions. In addition, in line with the Consolidated Criteria, my Department are able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require. There are currently eight extant licences that may be linked to law enforcement agencies. Six are Open Individual Export Licences (‘OIELs’), which have potential end users that include law enforcement agencies. Two are Standard Individual Export Licences (‘SIELs’), which have numerous potential end users that include law enforcement agencies. There are also fifteen Open General Licences (‘OGLs’) for which businesses can register that cover the export of anti-riot gear.

We are able to review licences and suspend or revoke as necessary when circumstances require, and this is done in line with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. We have suspended or revoked licences when our assessment changes. This shows how seriously we take the guiding principle of responsible export controls.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
7th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to limit travel into the UK to those who have had a negative COVID-19 test.

The Secretary of State for Transport announced on 8 January that the Government will introduce a requirement for all international arrivals to have received a negative result for a coronavirus test taken no more than three days prior to their departure to England from 4am 18 January.

Children under the age of 11 and those unable to take a test for medical reasons will be exempt. There will also be a limited number of exemptions for those whom taking a test within three days of departure and receiving a result on time would be impossible, such as hauliers and international transport crew.

All other existing measures remain in place, including the need to self-isolate for 10 days (or 5 days if you choose to opt into Test to Release scheme) after leaving a place not on the Travel Corridor list.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the long-term case for new railway (1) lines, and (2) stations.

The Government is committed to enhancing the railway where a business case can be made for doing so. We have set a £10.4bn budget for rail enhancements in England and Wales in Control Period 6 (2019-2024), £500m of which is available for Restoring Your Railway schemes.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to conducting COVID-19 checks at (1) airports, and (2) other points of entry into the UK.

Limiting the spread of COVID-19 at all points of international entry is of paramount importance to the Government. The Department for Transport has engaged extensively with stakeholders on measures to help prevent the spread of the virus, including the provision of advice and guidance to passengers and staff.

The Secretary of State for Transport confirmed in the House of Commons on 2 July that we are considering all options which might provide reassurance to passengers.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to deter parking on pavements.

Local authorities already have legal powers to restrict pavement parking. The Government intends to carry out a public consultation later in the year, on further possible options to help local authorities tackle pavement parking. The consultation will fill evidence gaps, seek views on specific options that were raised by the Transport Select Committee and call for alternative ideas. Ministers will take decisions on next steps in the light of the consultation responses.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to mandate the use of face coverings on public transport for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

From Monday 15 June passengers must wear a face covering when travelling on public transport in England by bus, coach, tram, ferry, hovercraft, cable car, aircraft and domestic and international train.

Government has published updated Safer Transport guidance for passengers and for operators which sets out the requirements. The guidance sets out steps that operators can take to ensure passenger compliance with the face covering regulations, as well as making clear that specific exemptions apply, including for health, equality or age reasons.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessments they are undertaking to consider the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on future (1) working patterns, (2) transport use, and (3) leisure.

The pandemic is having a profound impact on the lives of everyone in the country and the Government’s focus has been on managing the immediate situation. As part of this, the Government continues to monitor behaviour in terms of working patterns, transport use and social distancing measures, and will continue to do so as the situation develops in the coming weeks.

Given the scale of this pandemic, it is likely that we will see some changes in the way people do things in the longer term and the Government is working to understand this. For example, to help understand future demand on transport, we are commissioning research to understand how the pandemic has impacted on people’s transport behaviours and the factors that will influence their behaviour as restrictions are lifted.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to promote the use of electric cars by the public sector.

Budget 2017 included a commitment to “electrify 25% of cars in central Government department fleets by 2022” and, as part of the Road to Zero Strategy published in July 2018, the Government announced a further commitment to make 100% of the central Government car fleet ultra-low emission vehicles (zero emission or plug in hybrid) by 2030. Public sector organisations must use the product specifications set out in the Government Buying Standards (GBS) when procuring goods or services. For all vehicles the default is zero or ultra-low emission at the tailpipe. As a minimum, vehicles should meet Euro 6 emission standards.

We are investing nearly £2.5 billion?, with grants available for plug in cars, vans, lorries, buses, taxis and motorcycles, as well schemes to support charge point infrastructure at homes, workplaces and on residential streets. This includes extra funding announced at Budget 2020 of £532 million for consumer incentives for ultra-low emission vehicles, made up of £403 million for the plug-in car grant (PICG), extending it to 2022-23; and £129.5 million to extend the plug-in grants for vans, taxis and motorcycles to 2022-23. Central Government and the wider public sector are able to take advantage of these schemes.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
5th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 26 February (HL1555), when they intend to consult on bringing forward the ending of the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 to 2035 or earlier if a faster transition appears possible.

On the 4 February the Prime Minister announced a consultation on bringing forward the end to the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles to 2035, or earlier if a faster transition appears feasible. The consultation was published on 20 February.

This follows our manifesto commitment and reflects the independent Committee on Climate Change advice that the phase out date should be 2035 or ideally 2030, and that only battery electric or other zero emission vehicles should be permitted to be sold after this point.

As part of this consultation, we are asking what the accompanying package of support will need to be to enable the transition and to minimise the impacts on businesses and consumers across the UK, building on the significant demand and supply side measures already in place. We are already engaging with stakeholders on this issue and plan to conclude the consultation in the summer.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many new charge points for electric vehicles have been introduced in the UK in each of the last three years for which figures are available; and how many are to be introduced in each of the next three years.

Figures for new chargepoints for electric vehicles that have been introduced in the UK in each of the last three years are available in the table below:

Pre-2017

2017

2018

2019

Public Devices

5039

2073

3060

6333

Domestic Devices (EVHS/DRS funded)

68132

17870

20858

19989

We will invest £1 billion in charging infrastructure, ensuring that everyone is within 30 miles of a rapid charging station. Our jointly funded £400 million Chargepoint Infrastructure Investment Fund’s first investment round, worth a total of £70 million, will ensure the delivery of a further 3,000 rapid charging devices by 2024, more than doubling the current number of rapid charging devices. Last year work commenced to determine a vision for a core rapid charger network on England’s Strategic Road Network and we aim to report on this in Spring 2020.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 11 February (HL830), when they intend to announce whether charge points for electric vehicles will be installed in all newly built homes.

The Government is carefully considering the stakeholders responses we have received to the recent consultation on this matter and will respond in due course.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what financial incentives they are considering for those purchasing low emission vehicles.

We are investing nearly £1.5bn? between April 2015 and March 2021, with grants available for plug in cars, vans, lorries, buses, taxis and motorcycles, and schemes to support charge point infrastructure at homes, workplaces and on residential streets. This adds up to one of the most comprehensive support packages in the world for the transition to zero emission vehicles.

On 4 February, the Prime Minister announced our intention to consult on bringing forward ending the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 to 2035, or earlier if a faster transition appears feasible, as well as including hybrids for the first time. We will be asking what the accompanying package of support will need to be to enable the transition to zero emission motoring while minimising the impacts on businesses and consumers across the UK, and building on the significant demand and supply side measures already in place.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to reduce road casualties.

The Government is committed to improving the safety of all road users. Reducing the numbers of those needlessly killed and injured on our roads is a key priority for the Department. Our recent publication of the Road Safety Statement – ‘A Lifetime of Road Safety’ describes in some detail the Department’s intention to undertake a set of actions in the coming years aimed at improving road safety.

The effectiveness of these measures will be kept under review.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to encourage the take up of electric cars.

The Road to Zero strategy, published in July 2018, set out the Government’s mission to put the UK at the forefront of the design and manufacturing of zero emission vehicles, and for all new cars and vans to be effectively zero emission by 2040. Going beyond this, we will now consult on the earliest date we can phase out the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars, while minimising the impact on drivers and businesses.

We are investing nearly £1.5bn? between April 2015 and March 2021, with grants available for plug in cars, vans, lorries, buses, taxis and motorcycles. We also operate schemes to support charge point infrastructure at homes and workplaces and on residential streets. Our grant schemes and our £400m public-private Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund will see thousands more electric vehicle chargepoints installed across the UK. Along with the private sector Government will invest £1 billion in charging infrastructure – making sure that everyone is within 30 miles of a rapid charging station for electric vehicles.

We have consulted on proposals for chargepoints to be installed with all newly built homes in England, where appropriate, and will set out a vision in early 2020 for a core network of rapid and high powered chargepoints along England’s key road network. We have also consulted on the introduction of Green Number Plates for ultra low emission vehicles to raise awareness and help normalise cleaner vehicles and increase their uptake. The Go Ultra Low comms campaign is now into its fifth year. This joint government-industry campaign aims to inform vehicle purchasers about the benefits of ULEVs and to dispel widespread myths.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that the (1) number of charging points, and (2) supply of electricity, are sufficient to support any increase in the number of electric vehicles in the UK.

Government and industry have supported the installation of over 17,000 devices, providing over 24,000 publicly available chargepoints, of which over 2,400 are rapid chargepoints. We will invest £1 billion in completing a fast-charging network to ensure that everyone is within 30 miles of a rapid electric vehicle charging station. We will set out a vision by Spring 2020 for a core rapid charger network on England’s strategic road network. We will also consult on the earliest date we can phase out the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars, while minimising the impact on drivers and businesses. As detailed in our Manifesto last year, this Government’s first Budget will prioritise the environment, including electric vehicle infrastructure.

Our various grant schemes and the £400m Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund will see the installation of thousands more public chargepoints, with the first £70 million of investment adding 3,000 additional rapid chargepoints by 2024. On 21 January, we announced that Government has doubled the value of the On-street Residential Charging Scheme for 2020-2021 to £10 million to support the provision of up to 3,600 chargepoints for those that don’t have off-street parking.

We are confident that the grid will be able to cope with increased demand from electric vehicles. The electricity market is already set up to bring forward investment in generation capacity to meet demand. Ofgem, the independent energy regulator, ensures – through the RIIO regulatory framework – that there is sufficient investment in electricity networks to deliver our net zero target and enable the transition to electric vehicles. This is alongside numerous measures to ensure a smarter, more flexible energy system, to help increase the efficiency of the system to prepare for new sources of demand, including electric vehicles. For example, Government consulted last year on mandating that all chargepoints sold or installed in the UK have smart functionality. Smart charging during off-peak periods, when electricity demand is low, can help reduce electricity network constraints.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have considered night clinics for the vaccination of Muslims during Ramadan.

The Government and NHS England and NHS Improvement have been working closely with local vaccination providers and system partners to put arrangements in place to help support Muslims to receive their vaccination, particularly if they are invited during Ramadan.

We have ensured through key messaging from scholarly leaders and the British Islamic Medical Association that it is permissible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine while fasting during Ramadan. We have provided advice and reassurances on questions and concerns around vaccination and Ramadan and we are working closely with local authorities, charities, faith and community groups to ensure these messages are disseminated widely. Effort has been made to promote key messages in faith-based radio stations, TV channels and multi-lingual messages developed by clinical and faith leaders.

We have issued guidance to our local partners on actions they should consider with reference to the needs of their local Muslim population during Ramadan which includes:

- Extending vaccination sites opening hours during twilight hours in places with high Muslim populations;

- Supporting pop-up/roving/temporary vaccination sites in areas with a high Muslim population;

- Allowing greater flexibility in booking schedules for later appointments;

- Outreach into homes to support those who are housebound and for women; and

- Flexibility to vaccinate where needed across Muslim groups, such as vaccinating members of multi-generational households on single visits.

We have been working closely with our system partners to support these actions and many are already being implemented. Additionally, we have also been supporting the organisation of women’s only vaccine clinics.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements are they putting in place for COVID-19 vaccinations for Muslims during Ramadan

The Government and NHS England and NHS Improvement have been working closely with local vaccination providers and system partners to put arrangements in place to help support Muslims to receive their vaccination, particularly if they are invited during Ramadan.

We have ensured through key messaging from scholarly leaders and the British Islamic Medical Association that it is permissible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine while fasting during Ramadan. We have provided advice and reassurances on questions and concerns around vaccination and Ramadan and we are working closely with local authorities, charities, faith and community groups to ensure these messages are disseminated widely. Effort has been made to promote key messages in faith-based radio stations, TV channels and multi-lingual messages developed by clinical and faith leaders.

We have issued guidance to our local partners on actions they should consider with reference to the needs of their local Muslim population during Ramadan which includes:

- Extending vaccination sites opening hours during twilight hours in places with high Muslim populations;

- Supporting pop-up/roving/temporary vaccination sites in areas with a high Muslim population;

- Allowing greater flexibility in booking schedules for later appointments;

- Outreach into homes to support those who are housebound and for women; and

- Flexibility to vaccinate where needed across Muslim groups, such as vaccinating members of multi-generational households on single visits.

We have been working closely with our system partners to support these actions and many are already being implemented. Additionally, we have also been supporting the organisation of women’s only vaccine clinics.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that those traveling to the UK indirectly from 'red list' travel ban countries quarantine in a hotel upon arrival.

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

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to promote health and wellbeing nationally.

In summer 2020 Public Health England launched the ‘Better Health’ programme with a television, radio and digital campaign to support the nation to take simple steps to look after their physical and mental health and wellbeing. Better Health is focused on a number of health behaviours including weight loss, physical activity, mental health and quitting smoking. It is targeted at those most at risk. The Better Health programme directs people to evidence-based online apps and tools to support them make and sustain changes to improve their health. This includes the National Health Service 12-week Weight Loss app, Couch to 5K, Mind Plan and Active 10.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to control the amount of sugar in food.

Public Health England (PHE) oversees the voluntary sugar reduction programme on behalf of the Government. The programme challenges retailers, manufacturers and the eating out, takeaway and delivery sector to reduce the amount of sugar in foods that contribute the most to children’s intake by 20% by 2020.

PHE supports industry to achieve sugar reduction through a continued programme of engagement and provides regular reports on its progress. PHE will publish the fourth report on industry’s progress on sugar reduction later in 2021 and will provide further expert advice on measures to address excess sugar consumption to the Government so it can consider next steps.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to promote healthy eating.

Public Health England (PHE) promotes a healthy balanced diet based on the United Kingdom’s national food model, the Eatwell Guide, through a variety of online channels. PHE has three public-facing campaigns that promote healthy eating: Better Health, Change4Life and Start4Life.

In summer 2020, PHE launched the Better Health marketing campaign. The campaign directs millions of people to a range of free evidence-based tools and advice on how to take simple steps to adopt healthier eating habits and lose weight. For example, the NHS 12 Week Weight Loss Plan app helps people to develop healthier eating habits, get more active and lose weight. The Change4Life and Start4Life campaigns support families with simple healthy eating messaging including recipes and healthy snacks.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to establish the National Institute for Health Protection.

Plans are on track to establish the National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP) in spring 2021, with staff and systems moving into the new organisation over the following months. The recruitment process for the NIHP Chief Executive and Chair are ongoing and the outcomes will be announced in due course.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to promote take-up of COVID-19 vaccines amongst black and other ethnic minority communities.

We frequently engage with local authorities, faith leaders and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) organisations to provide advice and information about COVID-19 vaccines and how they will be made available. Our communications include targeted information and advice via TV, radio and social media. This has been translated into 13 languages. Print and online material, including interviews and practical advice has appeared in hundreds of national, local and specialist titles including BAME media outlets. In addition, since February a number of mosques and other places of worship have been hosting pop-up COVID-19 vaccination centres.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to their report UK COVID-19 vaccines delivery plan, published on 11 January, what criteria they use to assess whether to use the mobile model to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine to people experiencing homelessness.

Working with local community partners, it is for local systems to determine the appropriate vaccine delivery model for their populations. However, NHS England and NHS Improvement have been clear that they should consider pop-ups in community venues and mobile facilities. They have also highlighted the need for in-reach mobile delivery to hostels and hotels providing accommodation for people experiencing homelessness, as well as outreach delivery where clinically safe, to people who remain living on the streets and mobile delivery connected to places people access and feel safe including foodbanks and other community-based support. To support this, NHS England has developed COVID-19 vaccination programme: JCVI Cohort 6 - Homelessness and rough sleeping Mobilisation support pack. A copy is attached.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to promote a global vaccine passport scheme.

The Government committed to explore whether and how COVID-19 status certification might be used to reopen the economy, reduce restrictions on social contact and improve safety. COVID-19 status certification aims to provide reassurance that an individual is at reduced risk of transmission. This could allow some freedoms to be restored more safely, for example by allowing mass events to admit more participants, increased passenger numbers and reduced border restrictions for travellers and social distancing rules to be relaxed.

The Government believes that COVID-19 status certification could have an important role to play both domestically and internationally, as a temporary measure. Equally, we want to be sure that the benefits of any such approach is rigorously tested, along with analysis of the potential economic impacts that COVID-status certification would have across different settings. We will continue to gather evidence on the extent to which COVID-19 status certification is an effective measure to control the epidemic and reduce hospitalisations and deaths and continue to explore the equity and ethical concerns. The Government will set out its conclusions from the COVID-status certification review in advance of 21 June in order to inform the safe reopening of society and the economy.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce a requirement for all international travellers to quarantine in hotels upon arrival in the UK.

Due to the increased risk of new variants entering the United Kingdom, we are introducing Managed Quarantine Facilities for those arriving from high-risk countries in order to safeguard public health and our vaccine programme.

As we have done throughout this global health emergency, we will continue to take all steps necessary to protect the public and help prevent the spread of the virus. We will keep all our measures under constant review.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to provide additional support for people with mental health problems that have been (1) caused, or (2) exacerbated by, the COVID-19 pandemic.

We published Staying mentally well this winter in November 2020, in an online only format. This sets out the support being made available for people in the winter months. This plan includes advice on wellbeing, information on accessing mental health services, support in communities and support for frontline health and social care workers.

Talking therapies will continue to be made available remotely so people can access help safely from home and the National Health Service will work to ensure the option of face to face support is provided where it is clinically safe to do so. For those with severe needs or in crisis, all NHS mental health providers have established 24 hours a day, seven days a week urgent mental health helplines.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the government of Israel's approach to administering vaccinations for COVID-19; and what aspects of that approach, if any, they have drawn on for the implementation of the UK's COVID-19 vaccination programme.

We have not made a formal assessment. However, the Department continues to monitor vaccine deployment programmes across the world, including Israel, to share learning and collaborate internationally on the role of deploying safe, effective vaccines in the response to COVID-19.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to make it easier to use volunteers to support the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

We are working with the Royal Voluntary Service and St John Ambulance to recruit and train thousands more volunteer vaccinators, who will have all the relevant clinical training, as well as supervision, to ensure they can vaccinate in a way that is safe for patients and for themselves. This includes drawing on the skills of those who have volunteered through the NHS Bring Back Scheme, considering the use of a wider range of medical professionals as well as those currently working outside of the National Health Service.

Ongoing recruitment for both the clinical and non-clinical volunteering roles is via the NHS Volunteer Responder GoodSAM app. Requests for volunteer support for the COVID-19 vaccination programme are being directed through the lead provider in each area.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to deliver a 24 hour a day COVID-19 vaccination programme.

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and Nottinghamshire's Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have been piloting 24 hours a day vaccination services since 20 January.  NHS England will continue to test extended opening hours, including 24 hours a day provision and findings will be kept under review.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure compliance with legal requirements to wear masks to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

We are running a proactive communications campaign on face coverings to alert the public to the places where they now are required to wear a face covering, how to wear one correctly, and who is exempt from wearing one - exemptions for children under the age of 11 and those unable to wear a face covering, due to health, age, equality or disability reasons apply.

While the Government expects the vast majority of people will comply with the rules, as they have done throughout the pandemic, police and Transport for London officers have been given the powers they need to ensure the public comply with the regulations.

The police have been clear that they will follow the four-step escalation principles of engaging, explaining, encouraging, and enforcing, only issuing a fine as a last resort.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to (1) publicise, and (2) facilitate access to, COVID-19 vaccinations for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

The National Health Service is working with Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise partners, inclusion health providers and others to develop an accessible model for delivery of the vaccine to people from communities such as Gypsy, Roma and Traveller. Through the Community Champions Scheme councils and voluntary organisations are delivering a wide range of measures to protect those most at risk - including communicating accurate health information. Champions have been drawn from these communities themselves to share accurate health information with their neighbours, networks and wider community.

Local vaccination services are playing a vital role in reaching vulnerable groups including those who are in the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. These services mobilise general practice, working together in groups of Primary Care Networks plus large and small community pharmacy sites. These services provide the largest number of locations and are well placed to support our highest risk individuals, many of whom already have a trusted relationship with their local health services. They also coordinate and deliver vaccination to people who are unable to attend a vaccination site.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide guidance to affected trade bodies regarding legal changes relevant to the Nutrition (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020; and what consideration they have given to providing any such guidance more frequently than every three months.

Guidance for businesses and other interested parties was published on 17 November online at GOV.UK setting out the practical effect of the changes to domestic and European Union legislation relating to nutrition-related labelling, composition and standards made by the Nutrition (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020.

Officials developed the guidance in consultation with industry representatives and trade bodies via the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Business Expert Group to ensure it addressed all necessary aspects of the legislation.

The Department has heeded requests from industry to provide updates on this area at more frequent intervals. Officials meet with industry representatives on a more ad hoc basis providing updates on progress relevant to the Nutrition (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020, in addition to sharing written updates with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Group in between the scheduled quarterly sessions.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of Calcifediol in the treatment of COVID-19.

A rapid review by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), published in June 2020, concluded there was no evidence to support taking vitamin D supplements, such as Calcifediol (a form of vitamin D), to reduce the risk or severity of COVID-19.

In addition, a rapid review by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), published in June 2020, concluded that evidence currently does not support vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections in the general population of the United Kingdom.

Both NICE and SACN reviews emphasised the existing advice that vitamin D is essential for musculoskeletal health.

In September 2020, NICE published a Medicines Evidence Commentary on the clinical trial of Calcifediol in the treatment of COVID-19 by Castillo et al (2020). The Commentary concluded that “the study has many confounders so the results should be interpreted with caution. The clinical management of patients with COVID-19 should not be changed based on the results of this study.” The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has asked NICE and Public Health England to re-review the evidence on vitamin D and COVID-19, due to be published mid-December 2020.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made an assessment of the pilot clinical trials of Calcifeidiol in the treatment of COVID-19 at the Reina Sofia University Hospital in Cordoba, Spain; and, if not, whether they plan to do so in the future.

A rapid review by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), published in June 2020, concluded there was no evidence to support taking vitamin D supplements, such as Calcifediol (a form of vitamin D), to reduce the risk or severity of COVID-19.

In addition, a rapid review by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), published in June 2020, concluded that evidence currently does not support vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections in the general population of the United Kingdom.

Both NICE and SACN reviews emphasised the existing advice that vitamin D is essential for musculoskeletal health.

In September 2020, NICE published a Medicines Evidence Commentary on the clinical trial of Calcifediol in the treatment of COVID-19 by Castillo et al (2020). The Commentary concluded that “the study has many confounders so the results should be interpreted with caution. The clinical management of patients with COVID-19 should not be changed based on the results of this study.” The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has asked NICE and Public Health England to re-review the evidence on vitamin D and COVID-19, due to be published mid-December 2020.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many COVID-19 tests were processed on each day between 7 and 14 October; and how long did it take to notify individuals of the results of those tests.

The following table shows the number of tests processed on each day between 7 to 14 October 2020:

7 October 2020

152,051

8 October 2020

153,713

9 October 2020

168,783

10 October 2020

150,743

11 October 2020

155,667

12 October 2020

146,207

13 October 2020

146,073

14 October 2020

164,270

The following table shows the median time for pillar 2 testing from test to notification from 1 to 14 October 2020:

1-7 October 2020

8-14 October 2020

Regional test sites

28 hours

45 hours

Local test sites

29 hours

47 hours

Mobile testing units

78 hours

41 hours

Home testing kits

75 hours

78 hours

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government which individuals, in addition to police officers, have been given authority to issue fixed penalty notices for failure to self isolate for COVID-19.

Since 28 September in England, those who test positive for COVID-19 – or who are identified by NHS Test and Trace or local public health teams as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 – have a legal duty to self-isolate. A fixed penalty notice may be issued to a person who contravenes this requirement without reasonable excuse.

Fixed penalty notices can be issued by police constables or police community support officers. Regulations permit fixed penalty notices to be issued by officers designated by local authorities or by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, but there is no current intention for the Secretary of State or local authorities to make any designations for this purpose.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the time taken to process tests for COVID-19.

We have been focused on improving test turnaround times alongside expanding capacity and these are getting significantly better. Three out of five people who were tested in-person received their test result the very next day. Between 29 October and 4 November, the median time taken to receive a test result for regional test sites decreased to 27 hours from 31 hours in the previous week. Similarly, the median time decreased for local test sites to 29 hours from 33 hours and for mobile testing units to 25 hours from 29 hours during the same period.

We know we need to do more and are committed to improve this even further. We are validating use of robotics and improving technology used in the supply chain to speed up the flow of samples from test sites to labs and uploading of results, as well as making improvements to our logistics. We are also trialling new rapid tests that will give results on the spot and allow us to test whole cities.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of obesity in the UK; and what steps they are taking following that assessment.

Obesity rates are far too high which represents a huge cost to the health and wellbeing of the individual, the National Health Service and the wider economy.

We published Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives in July. The strategy demonstrates an overarching campaign to reduce obesity, takes forward actions from previous chapters of the childhood obesity plan and sets our measures to get the nation fit and healthy, protect against COVID-19 and protect the NHS.

In addition, Public Health England launched the Better Health campaign, which calls on people to embrace a healthier lifestyle and to lose weight if they need to, supported by a range of evidence-based tools and apps providing advice on how to reduce the waistline.

A copy of Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives is attached.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to publish the post-2020 strategy of the NHS Counter Fraud Authority.

The NHS Counter Fraud Authority’s current strategy covers the period of 2017-20. The NHS Counter Fraud Authority will be publishing its new strategy later this year.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to promote the manufacture of personal protective equipment in the UK.

Lord Deighton is leading the Government’s effort to unleash the potential of British industry to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) for the health and social care sectors. This will maximise opportunities for United Kingdom-based companies to fulfil orders of PPE.

We are building up UK manufacturing with signed contracts to manufacture and supply over three billion items of PPE through UK-based manufacturers, including facemasks, visors, gowns and aprons.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to encourage exercise during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government wants people to remain fit and active at all times. The Chief Medical Officer is clear that being physically active is very important to long-term health and crucial for keeping people healthy during the ongoing pandemic. Evidence suggests that regular physical activity can promote good physical health and help manage stress and anxiety.

Individuals were and are able to go outside for a walk, run, cycle or any other independent way they normally get active outside. The Government has published detailed guidance, in an online only format, for members of the public on how they can exercise outside and for outdoor facilities on re-opening, should they wish to do so.

Those who are identified as vulnerable, older people and those with existing health conditions, should make every effort to stay active. There are many things people can do indoors. People who recovering from feeling unwell with potential COVID-19 should avoid strenuous activity as they recover.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to review the policy that deemed consent should not apply to transplants used to create Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products.

Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMPs) are an exciting technology with new therapies being developed all the time. Current ATMPs use tissues and cells taken from living donors. However, it is also becoming possible to use material from deceased donors. Such ATMPs would be novel and the Government wants to ensure that under the new deemed consent arrangements for organ donation, donation of cells for ATMPs cannot happen without express consent being in place.

The list of organs, tissues and cells excluded from deemed consent are set out in the Human Tissue (Permitted Material: Exceptions) (England) Regulations 2020. Any changes to the regulations would need to balance evidence, public acceptability and clinical need. Before making any changes, the Government will be guided by recommendations from NHS Blood and Transplant’s Research and Innovation in Transplant Advisory Group with advice from the Human Tissue Authority.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements they have made to publicise the change of law on deemed consent for organ donation.

In April 2019, NHS Blood and Transplant started a two-year publicity campaign to highlight the change of law. The campaign has been using a number of platforms to raise awareness, including television and radio adverts, media and press releases, social media, partner and stakeholder communications channels and posters in public and community places such as general practitioner surgeries. The campaign also targets people with different backgrounds, faith and beliefs. NHS Blood and Transplant is also planning a further burst of communications activity later this year.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements they have made with the devolved administrations to facilitate cooperation and collaboration regarding organ transplants.

NHS Blood and Transplant works closely with each devolved administration to ensure there are fair and transparent allocation policies governing all types of organ transplant across the United Kingdom. These are based on factors such as clinical need and guaranteeing the best match between donor and recipient to help ensure the longest possible survival of the transplant. These arrangements will continue.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 21 April (HL3176), when health guidance for members of Gypsy, Traveller and Boater communities will be disseminated; and in what format.

We have been in close contact with Gypsy and Traveller Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) organisations and are working hard to support these communities through the pandemic. VCS organisations have used existing Public Health England (PHE) guidance as a basis for producing targeted guidance and videos to inform and advise communities.

In collaboration with the Local Government Association, Association of Directors of Public Health and NHS England and NHS Improvement, PHE has collated a suite of resources ‘COVID-19: Place-based approach to reducing health inequalities’ to complement existing work being led at a local level.

On 11 April the Minister of State for Home Affairs and Housing, Communities and Local Government, the noble Lord Greenhalgh, wrote to all local authority chief executives to highlight that some Gypsies and Travellers may need specific support to enable them to access to essential basic amenities such as water, sanitation and waste disposal facilities. A copy of the letter is attached.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the governments of (1) Germany, (2) New Zealand, and (3) South Korea, to exchange information relating to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic; and what lessons they have learned from such discussions.

The Department is regularly in discussions with other countries on a wide range of issues of issues relating to COVID-19, including Germany, New Zealand and South Korea.

COVID-19 presents a global challenge which requires a collaborative response. The Department will continue to work with other countries throughout the crisis and beyond.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they are seeking to reward those working in the National Health Service during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are incredibly proud of all National Health Service staff and we are working hard to ensure that staff feel supported and safe to continue the fight against COVID-19 and their extraordinary commitment is recognised.

Pay for over one million Agenda for Change (AfC) staff is already set for 2020/21 as part of the agreed three year pay and contract reform deal and for doctors and dentists in training following a four-year pay and contract reform deal agreed in June 2019 (2019/20 – 2022/23).

The Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration will make pay recommendations for 2020/21 as usual for consultants and speciality doctors. Next year it will be for the NHS Pay Review Body to make recommendations for the pay of staff on AfC contracts from April 2021.

We want to ensure that the NHS employment offer continues to attract, retain and reward staff and this offer continues to be kept under review.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they are seeking to encourage people to pursue a career in the National Health Service or the social care sector.

In December 2019, the Government announced that from September 2020, pre-registration nursing, midwifery and most allied health profession students studying at English universities would benefit from a new, non-repayable, training grant of at least £5,000 per academic year in addition to the funding available already through the Learning Support Fund.

The ‘We are the NHS’ campaign’ returned in September 2019 with a new televised advert and campaign to inspire the next generation of National Health Service nurses in England. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased interest in healthcare careers and the Department is working to make the most of this, for instance, looking to maximise the number of new nursing students starting degrees this autumn.

The Government’s Action Plan for Adult Social Care published last month sets out our aim to increase the social care workforce. This includes a national recruitment campaign in England, launched on 23 April, highlighting the vital role of the social care workforce during this pandemic and the longer-term opportunities for working in care.

We are also developing a new online recruitment platform which will give people wanting to work in social care the opportunity to be considered for multiple job opportunities and help employers to recruit people quickly. This includes access to free online induction training with training providers endorsed by Skills for Care and a fast-tracked Disclosure and Barring Service check to help accelerate the recruitment process.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they are seeking to ensure that those working in the social care sector during the COVID-19 outbreak are appropriately rewarded.

Social care staff have played, and continue to play, a vital role in the national effort to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. We value the contribution of the workforce on the frontline, alongside their National Heath Service colleagues.

The Department continues to work at pace to develop measures to ensure the workforce gets the recognition and parity of esteem it deserves. For example, we have recently introduced a £600 million Infection Prevention Fund. This helps providers pay for additional staff and/or maintain the normal wages of staff who are self-isolating or have reduced the number of hours they work to stop the spread of infection. This follows a previous £1.6 billion of financial support, which was also able to cover pay costs.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what additional resources they are committing to mental health services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government has recently announced an additional £5 million grant to Mind and the Mental Health Consortia to administer a COVID-19 mental health response fund to mental health voluntary and community sector organisations across England. The aim is to promote mental health and wellbeing support, which complements National Health Service services, to those struggling with their mental health and will include peer support, telephone and online support.

We are also working to protect vital mental health services and support people with mental health issues particularly those shielding or self-isolating. We have published official guidance for the public on mental health and wellbeing and for parents and carers about supporting their children’s mental health and wellbeing and are promoting this through trusted online channels like GOV.UK and Every Mind Matters.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what health advice has been provided to those living on boats during the COVID-19 pandemic; and how that advice is being made available.

The Government takes the welfare of all our citizens seriously and we are working hard to ensure people who need help to do so are identified, supported and enabled to take necessary measures to reduce the spread of the virus.

All the latest information and guidance for the public is available on the GOV.UK website. The current general advice is that everyone should stay at home except in very limited circumstances, practise social distancing and follow handwashing guidance.

We are constantly evaluating what more we can do to support different groups in society that have particular needs or face particular challenges.

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

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to encourage healthy eating.

Public Health England (PHE) promotes a healthy balanced diet based on the United Kingdom’s national food model, the Eatwell Guide, which underpins national policy relating to nutrition. The Eatwell Guide applies to most people from the age of five years.

The Eatwell Guide principles are communicated through a variety of channels, including the Government’s 5 A Day campaign, PHE’s healthier catering guidance and PHE social marketing campaigns including Change4Life and One You. Government dietary advice is also communicated online via NHS.uk. The Eatwell Guide, the 5 A Day logo licensing guidelines and Healthier and more sustainable catering: A toolkit for serving food to adults are attached.

PHE’s flagship social marketing campaign, Change4Life was launched in 2009 with the aim of inspiring a social movement, through which the Government, the National Health Service, local authorities, businesses, charities, schools, families and community leaders could all play a part in improving children’s diets and activity levels.

PHE also continues to work closely with local authorities to encourage use of our tools and resources on nutrition, as part of local initiatives.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to promote the benefits of walking.

Public Health England (PHE) has produced a range of evidence and guidance materials to promote the benefits of walking. PHE’s One You campaign launched the free Active 10 brisk walking app designed to encourage adults to undertake more physical activity by simply going for a brisk 10-minute walk. The app was relaunched in December 2019 to align with the new United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines that every minute of physical activity counts and provides health benefits.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to reduce discrepancies in life expectancy between Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities and other communities, as demonstrated by the Race Disparity Audit.

The Government has been working to improve outcomes for Gyspy, Roma and Traveller communities especially improving access to primary care. The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government will also lead development of a cross-Government strategy to improve outcomes for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, covering access to important services but also the wider determinants of health.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to promote internationally the application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

The Government has made a number of political commitments to respond to alleged genocide and other atrocities. Where there is a risk of atrocities, we use diplomacy to highlight our concerns, including through the United Nations. As a party to the Convention on the Crime of Genocide, the UK is fully committed to the prevention and punishment of genocide as appropriate under the convention. We have co-sponsored resolutions on the Prevention of Genocide and on commemorating the fifteenth anniversary of the Responsibility to Protect populations from genocide and other mass atrocities at the 43rd and 44th sessions of the UN Human Rights Council.

Since the majority of mass atrocities occur in and around conflict, the government believes a focus on conflict prevention is the best means to prevent most mass atrocities. Her Majesty's Government takes a consolidated, whole-of-government approach, using our diplomatic, development, defence, and law enforcement capabilities, to help pursue global peace and stability. We support work that seeks to address the root causes of conflict and drivers of instability, through tackling corruption, promoting good governance, improving access to security and justice, and furthering inclusive economic development. This approach aims to foster peaceful societies where atrocities are less likely to take place.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking, if any, to protect the Rohingya community in Myanmar.

600,000 Rohingya remain in Rakhine, including 128,000 who have been confined to camps since 2012. These communities face significant discrimination, including restrictions on freedom of movement and access to healthcare. The Foreign Secretary and Minister Adams both raised the use of discriminatory laws to disenfranchise the Rohingya with Myanmar's government prior to their elections in November 2020. The Prime Minister called State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi after the elections and reiterated the UK's concern at the plight faced by the Rohingya. We have urged the Government of Myanmar to comply with the International Court of Justice's provisional measures ruling which would ensure that the Rohingya are protected from further atrocities. The UK has provided over £44 million to all communities in Rakhine since 2017, including over £25 million for the Rohingya. We are the largest donor to water, hygiene and sanitation in the camps and displacement sites.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to protect the interests of Gibraltarians.

On 31 December the UK, working side by side with the Governments of Gibraltar and Spain, reached agreement on a political framework to form the basis of a separate treaty between the UK and the EU regarding Gibraltar. This covers issues of key importance to Gibraltar and the surrounding region, and the Governments of both the UK and Gibraltar judge that it provides a firm basis to safeguard Gibraltar's interests. We remain steadfast in our support for Gibraltar and its sovereignty.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the progress of securing a lasting settlement of the Cyprus issue.

The UK is a strong supporter of a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus issue, based on the internationally accepted model of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation. We welcome the UN Secretary General's commitment to explore convening an informal five-plus-UN meeting with the parties.

We continue to discuss the Settlement process with the parties, including the leaders of the Cypriot communities and the Guarantor Powers as well as with the UN. On 27 October, the Prime Minister spoke to President Anastasiades and emphasised the UK's willingness to play a more active, supportive role in the settlement process. He also discussed the Cyprus Settlement with President Erdogan on 28 September and Prime Minister Mitsotakis on 20 October. The Foreign Secretary also discussed the Settlement process with Foreign Minister Christodoulides on 7 October and Foreign Minister Cavusoglu on 19 October. We continue to encourage all sides to engage constructively and demonstrate they are committed to making progress towards a settlement. Ultimately, it is for the sides to agree on the details of any final deal; this will require the agreement of the two Cypriot leaders, their respective communities and the support of Greece and Turkey.

26th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of Cyprus on the long-term future of Cyprus.

The UK is a strong supporter of a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus issue, based on the internationally accepted model of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation. We welcome the UN Secretary General's commitment to explore convening an informal five-plus-UN meeting with the parties.

We continue to discuss the Settlement process with the parties, including the leaders of the Cypriot communities and the Guarantor Powers as well as with the UN. On 27 October, the Prime Minister spoke to President Anastasiades and emphasised the UK's willingness to play a more active, supportive role in the settlement process. He also discussed the Cyprus Settlement with President Erdogan on 28 September and Prime Minister Mitsotakis on 20 October. The Foreign Secretary also discussed the Settlement process with Foreign Minister Christodoulides on 7 October and Foreign Minister Cavusoglu on 19 October. We continue to encourage all sides to engage constructively and demonstrate they are committed to making progress towards a settlement. Ultimately, it is for the sides to agree on the details of any final deal; this will require the agreement of the two Cypriot leaders, their respective communities and the support of Greece and Turkey.

5th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the use of Confucius Institutes by the government of China.

Confucius Institutes are affiliated to the Chinese Ministry of Education, and the programme is overseen by the Office of Chinese Language Council International (referred to as Hanban), which is a Chinese Government entity. Their stated aim is to promote Chinese language and culture and promote cultural exchanges internationally. Concerns have been raised in a number of countries about the impact of Confucius Institutes on academic freedom at host institutions.

UK higher education providers that host Confucius Institutes are responsible for ensuring their partnerships are managed appropriately with the right due diligence in place. The Government will continue to support the sector to promote mutually beneficial international partnerships in line with UK values. As the Minister for Asia, Nigel Adams MP, made clear in a Westminster Hall Debate on 7 October, we will not tolerate any attempts to interfere with academic freedom or freedom of speech and encourage any institutions concerned about their international collaborations to contact the Government.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they are giving to the British Council to respond to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The FCO remains committed to the British Council, who are a key driver of our soft power overseas and a precious part of the FCO family. In order to help stabilise their immediate financial position following the impact of Covid-19 on their ability to operate, we agreed to provide the British Council with £26m of additional funding for the 2019-20 financial year. We have also provided some of their 2020-21 Grant-in-Aid funding upfront this month to further alleviate pressures.

The FCO have also supported the British Council in accessing wider government relief available through the COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme and similar schemes in other countries. This will help them support many of their workforce, and those employed through its partners, funded through the commercial side of their business. We will continue to work closely with the British Council in the coming days and weeks to seek to address the impact of COVID-19 on their ability to operate.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with United Nations agencies about the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UK is leading with partners and allies to: support an effective and co-ordinated global health response led by the World Health Organisation, reinforce the resilience of vulnerable countries, pursue a vaccine, support the global economy, and enable travelling nationals to return home where necessary. The UK is working together with international partners to achieve these objectives, including with the G7, G20 and European countries, and with the UN and other multilateral institutions, in order to galvanise a stronger global effort. The Prime Minister last spoke to the UN Secretary-General on 20 March and officials in Geneva and New York, are in regular contact with the UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes on their contributions to the crisis response. The Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary and other Cabinet Ministers are speaking regularly to their counterparts in Europe to discuss domestic and international actions.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with other governments in Europe about the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UK is leading with partners and allies to: support an effective and co-ordinated global health response led by the World Health Organisation, reinforce the resilience of vulnerable countries, pursue a vaccine, support the global economy, and enable travelling nationals to return home where necessary. The UK is working together with international partners to achieve these objectives, including with the G7, G20 and European countries, and with the UN and other multilateral institutions, in order to galvanise a stronger global effort. The Prime Minister last spoke to the UN Secretary-General on 20 March and officials in Geneva and New York, are in regular contact with the UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes on their contributions to the crisis response. The Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary and other Cabinet Ministers are speaking regularly to their counterparts in Europe to discuss domestic and international actions.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support UK citizens who are seeking to return to the UK from New Zealand who are affected by that country's lockdown due to COVID-19.

The Foreign Secretary announced on 30 March a new partnership between the Government and airlines to fly home more stranded British travelers, where commercial routes do not exist. The Government will provide up to £75 million financial support to enable special charter flights to priority countries, operated by airlines including Virgin, Easyjet, Jet 2, Titan and British Airways. This service has already begun, with flights from Peru, Senegal, UAE, Ecuador, Bolivia, Ghana, Algeria and Tunisia as of 6th April.

The British Government is working around the clock to support British Nationals as we respond to this global pandemic. The British High Commission in Wellington has established an online registration system, allowing High Commission staff to track and directly communicate with British Nationals in need of assistance, in particular the most vulnerable. This includes regular updates through email and on social media platforms. There has been an extensive drawdown of commercial flights out of New Zealand to regional hubs, reducing significantly the options for British Nationals to depart New Zealand. We are engaging commercial airlines and international governments, encouraging them to keep commercial routes open, in particular in transit hubs.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps, if any, they are planning to take in relation to the ruling of the International Court of Justice Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (The Gambia v. Myanmar), issued on 23 January.

We have welcomed the International Court of Justice's decision on provisional measures, which was clear that Myanmar must do more to protect the Rohingya. On the 4 February, at the request of the UK and partners, the UN Security Council met to discuss the decision. In our statement to the Council, we urged Myanmar to abide by the provisional measures.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has, alongside the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to mark the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide.

​Through our Embassy in Sarajevo, the British Government is in close touch with the different organisations and levels of government involved in commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide. Their plans are not confirmed at this stage, but we will ensure an active and prominent role for the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom remains committed to helping the region overcome the legacy of past conflict and build a more peaceful, prosperous and stable future for all.

In the United Kingdom, we are working closely with the group Remembering Srebrenica to commemorate and raise awareness of the Srebrenica genocide.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they intend to implement the recommendations of the Tailored Review of the British Council, published on 12 March 2019; and how the British Council will be involved in any such implementation.

​The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has been working closely with the British Council to ensure that all recommendations from the 2019 Tailored Review are implemented by summer 2020.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the devolved administrations about their levelling up agenda.

The UK Government is committed to levelling up all regions and nations of the UK. We regularly work and engage with representatives from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and the devolved administrations on a wide range of topics, including the levelling up agenda.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
1st Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with public authorities about their levelling up agenda.

Government Ministers and officials regularly meet with a wide range of local government stakeholders, including through MHCLG’s M9 Mayoral Group roundtables, and regional stocktakes. In addition to these and other engagement forums, the government draws regularly on views from across stakeholders, such as through the formal representation process around fiscal events, such as the recent Spending Review and upcoming Spring Budget.
Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have received about their plans to restore Crown Preference in insolvency proceedings from December.

Reforms to HMRC’s preferential creditor status will not restore Crown Preference. The Government has taken a proportionate approach, applying changes only to taxes paid in good faith by employees and customers, but held temporarily by the business, including Pay as You Earn (PAYE) Income Tax and VAT. Since reforms were announced at Budget 2018, officials and interested parties have maintained productive and fruitful discussion. The Government held a formal consultation between February and May 2019, seeking views from businesses, lenders and insolvency practitioners. Having balanced the interests of taxpayers, the Exchequer and other creditors, the Government believes these reforms take a fair and proportionate approach. This measure was legislated for in Finance Act 2020, to take effect from 1 December.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to enforce coronavirus restrictions relating to indoor social gatherings in premises other than (1) private dwellings, or (2) education establishments.

Illegal indoor social gatherings are unsafe and the police will continue to take the approach they have throughout the pandemic, which is to engage, explain, encourage and enforce against breaches where appropriate.

The Government fully supports the police in taking swift action against egregious breaches and fixed penalty notices can be issued ranging from £200 to £6,400 to those gathering illegally in indoor premises contrary to existing regulations.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of the Modern Slavery Act 2015; and what action, if any, they are taking as a result of any such assessment.

The UK is regarded as a world-leader for its response to modern slavery. The UK response is underpinned by the Modern Slavery Strategy 2014 and the Modern Slavery Act 2015, the first legislation of its kind.

In July 2018, the Government commissioned an Independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 led by Baroness Butler-Sloss, the then Rt. Hon. Frank Field and the Rt. Hon. Maria Miller MP. The Review considered where the Act is working well and where implementation can be strengthened. The final Review made 80 recommendations across four themes:

  • The Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner;
  • Transparency in Supply Chains;
  • Independent Child Trafficking Guardians (renamed from Independent Child Trafficking Advocates in line with the recommendations of the Independent Review);
  • Legal application of the Modern Slavery Act.

The Government response to the Independent Review was published on 9 July 2019, accepting or partially accepting the majority of the Review’s recommendations.

Key work that we have taken forward in response to the Independent Review includes:

  • In October 2019 we appointed a HMG Modern Slavery and Migration Envoy to drive forward global progress.
  • Following a public consultation, the Government committed on 22 September 2020 to taking forward an ambitious package of changes to strengthen and future-proof the Modern Slavery Act’s transparency legislation including extending the reporting requirement to public bodies with a budget of £36 million or more.
  • In January 2021, the Government announced plans to introduce financial penalties for organisations who fail to meet their statutory obligations to publish annual modern slavery statements under the Modern Slavery Act 2015. These measures require legislative change and will be introduced when parliamentary time allows.
  • Creating a free online central reporting service for businesses’ modern slavery statements, to make it easier for consumers, NGOs and investors to scrutinise the action that businesses are taking to prevent modern slavery in their supply chains. We are at the final stages of work to launch this service.
  • Work to further roll out Independent Child Trafficking Guardians which will continue to be informed by the Independent Review recommendations.
  • We have put in place a MoU between the Home Office and the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner to clarify roles and responsibilities.
Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
26th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many fixed penalty notices were issued for failure to self-isolate between 28 September and 14 October.

The UK Border Force issued 16 fines up to the 14th October, to travellers who had failed to provide contact details at the border.

These figures do not include fines issued by the police. The National Police Chiefs’ Council regularly publishes data on the number of fines issued by police forces in England and Wales only under the new emergency health regulations including those issued under the International Travel Regulations.

These statistics are available here: https://news.npcc.police.uk/releases/.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to pursue organised criminal gangs who exploit (1) property guardians, and (2) all those living in a property under a licensing arrangement.

We are determined to crack down on the county lines gangs who are exploiting our children and have a devastating impact on our communities.

That is why we are delivering a £25m programme of investment to surge our activity against these ruthless gangs. Our overall package, launched in October last year includes:

  • expanding the National County Lines Co-ordination Centre;

  • increased disruption on the rail networks by the British Transport Police’s County Lines Taskforce;

  • targeted operational activity against high harm lines in the three major exporting force areas (Met Police, Merseyside, West Midlands);

  • investment in new technology including Automatic Number Plate Recognition;

  • increased support for victims.

In respect of property guardians, local authorities have strong enforcement powers and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) published consolidated enforcement guidance for local authorities in April 2019 which sets out their duties when dealing with property guardian properties, including those on a licence agreement. This was accompanied by guidance for renters. MHCLG has also published a property guardian factsheet to help potential or current property guardians to understand their rights.

Additionally we are aware that Housing Associations are using their local knowledge to spot early signs of abuse and exploitation that could be linked to county lines.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure the effective prosecution of those who commit crimes related to modern slavery.

The Government is committed to tackling modern slavery and bringing perpetrators of these heinous crimes to justice.

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 gives law enforcement the tools and powers to tackle modern slavery, including a maximum life sentences for perpetrators and enhanced protection for victims. There has been a significant increase in operational law enforcement activity to tackle modern slavery over the last few years. The number of live police operations has increased, from 188 in December 2016 to 1,640 in May 2020. We are also seeing an increase in the number of prosecutions brought and convictions secured. We continue to work closely with criminal justice partners to improve the effectiveness of modern slavery investigations to help increase the overall number of prosecutions.

The Home Office has provided a further £1.4 million this year to continue dedicated funding for the police to tackle modern slavery, under the new Modern Slavery and Organised Immigration Crime Programme. This funding will enable us to support the police to pursue and disrupt offenders and drive forward work to increase modern slavery prosecutions.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they have publicised the Windrush Compensation Scheme (1) in the UK, and (2) overseas.

There has been significant outreach and communication activity to publicise the Windrush Compensation Scheme. Evidence has shown the importance of face-to-face communications and prior to the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak, over 30 outreach events were delivered across the UK with community partners. These events have been promoted by stakeholders and on local and social media. We are now continuing events online: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/windrush-online-engagement-events. We also work with MPs, local councils and stakeholders to raise awareness, and materials on the scheme are available on Gov.uk and have been provided to community groups. In March, the Home Secretary announced a national advertising campaign to raise awareness, and a community fund to help organisations encourage applications among their communities. These will be complemented by new activity with specialist diverse media outlets and partnerships with community leaders.

To publicise the scheme overseas, we hosted an event for High Commissioners, and working with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, we provided materials and a briefing to British Embassies and High Commissions overseas to enable them to promote the scheme locally. Plans are in development for additional activity overseas in priority countries.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they have liaised with British High Commissions to deal with the claims of people who are currently overseas to compensation under the Windrush Compensation Scheme.

There has been significant outreach and communication activity to publicise the Windrush Compensation Scheme. Evidence has shown the importance of face-to-face communications and prior to the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak, over 30 outreach events were delivered across the UK with community partners. These events have been promoted by stakeholders and on local and social media. We are now continuing events online: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/windrush-online-engagement-events. We also work with MPs, local councils and stakeholders to raise awareness, and materials on the scheme are available on Gov.uk and have been provided to community groups. In March, the Home Secretary announced a national advertising campaign to raise awareness, and a community fund to help organisations encourage applications among their communities. These will be complemented by new activity with specialist diverse media outlets and partnerships with community leaders.

To publicise the scheme overseas, we hosted an event for High Commissioners, and working with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, we provided materials and a briefing to British Embassies and High Commissions overseas to enable them to promote the scheme locally. Plans are in development for additional activity overseas in priority countries.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
6th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure effective prosecution of those guilty of modern slavery offences.

The Government is committed to tackling the heinous crime of modern slavery and bringing those individuals responsible both in the UK and overseas to justice. There has been a significant increase in operational law enforcement activity to tackle modern slavery over the last few years and we are seeing an increase in the number of prosecutions brought and convictions secured.

However as modern slavery is a complex and multi-faceted crime, some modern slavery offenders may be prosecuted for offences that are not specifically modern slavery offences. We continue to work closely with criminal justice partners to improve the effectiveness of modern slavery investigations to help increase the overall number of prosecutions.

The UK also participates in Joint Investigation Teams which bring together judicial and law enforcement partners in relevant countries, where possible, to investigate and prosecute modern slavery cases.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
6th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they cooperate with other states to ensure the effective prosecution of those guilty of modern slavery offences.

The Government is committed to tackling the heinous crime of modern slavery and bringing those individuals responsible both in the UK and overseas to justice. There has been a significant increase in operational law enforcement activity to tackle modern slavery over the last few years and we are seeing an increase in the number of prosecutions brought and convictions secured.

However as modern slavery is a complex and multi-faceted crime, some modern slavery offenders may be prosecuted for offences that are not specifically modern slavery offences. We continue to work closely with criminal justice partners to improve the effectiveness of modern slavery investigations to help increase the overall number of prosecutions.

The UK also participates in Joint Investigation Teams which bring together judicial and law enforcement partners in relevant countries, where possible, to investigate and prosecute modern slavery cases.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
19th Dec 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to tackle hate crime on public transport.

The Government is clear that all forms of hate crime are unacceptable. The Government’s Hate Crime Action Plan 2016, and the refresh in 2018, contains a number of commitments to tackle hate crime on public transport. These include:

  • The Department for Transport committing, in the July 2018 Inclusive Transport Strategy, to run a public awareness raising campaign to increase disability awareness amongst all transport passengers; and
  • Working with local transport providers to ensure that bus drivers across England and Wales are fully equipped to challenge hate, including new guidance to support them.

The 2018 Hate Crime Action Plan refresh also includes a number of broader actions addressing all forms of hate crime, including hate crime on public transport. These include:

  • A review by the Law Commission into the coverage and approach of current hate crime legislation; and
  • A wide-ranging national hate crime communications campaign to publicly address hate crime and make clear that it is unacceptable to target people on the basis of their identity.

More widely, the British Transport Police (BTP) provides a policing service that meets the needs of all passengers and people who use or work on the railways. BTP has a firm commitment to responding to all reports of hate crime and it actively works with train operating companies and Network Rail to improve awareness, vigilance and reporting of information on hate crime incidents.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
25th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government which Cabinet minister is responsible for the levelling up agenda.

Levelling up all areas of the country remains at the centre of the Government’s agenda and this requires collective action across Government as a whole. We remain committed to levelling up opportunity across the UK so that people feel that they can succeed in their local area. The Spending Review established a set of provisional priority outcomes and metrics across all Departments and policy areas which have been published (attached) here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/spending-review-2020-documents.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
1st Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the devolved administrations about their levelling up agenda.

We are committed to levelling up opportunities across the UK to spread opportunity and investment so that people feel that they can succeed in their local area. UK Government officials have met with their counterparts in the devolved administrations on multiple occasions to discuss the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) and the future of local growth funding. This includes regular meetings to discuss any updates, concerns or queries. The UK Government has also held 16 engagement events across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, to discuss the UKSPF and local priorities. These were attended by representatives from a breadth of sectors, including officials from the devolved administrations.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
1st Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with local authorities about their levelling up agenda.

Levelling up all areas of the country remains at the centre of the Government’s agenda, empowering our regions by devolving money, resources and control away from Westminster. Government has worked with local leaders throughout the pandemic to ensure every region, city and town will recover from Covid-19 and ultimately level up. Government will continue to engage with mayors to discuss the economic opportunities across our major cities whilst also engaging with local partners who represent the different types of places across the country.

The Devolution and Local Recovery White Paper will cover how the UK Government will partner with places across the UK to build a sustainable economic recovery and set out our plans for future devolution arrangements. Ministers and officials have regular conversations with partners in local government, working together to progress and shape the levelling up agenda.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
14th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities in the last six months to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government are holding regular discussions with representatives from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities to understand the issues they are facing. We have written to local authority Chief Executives highlighting the need to mitigate potential impacts of COVID-19 amongst Gypsy and Traveller communities and published online guidance for those leading a nomadic way of life. In addition we have announced funding for GRT children and young people to get extra educational support and launched the £25 million Community Champions scheme, which will fund local authorities and community organisations to improve the reach of official public health guidance about the virus into specific places and groups most at risk from COVID-19.

The Government is determined to ensure everyone gets the support they need to look after themselves and their families during this pandemic.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
10th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for extending the Help to Buy scheme to properties other than new builds.

The Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme has dual objectives. It provides an affordable route into Home Ownership by enabling customers to purchase a home with a deposit from as little as 5 per cent, at the same time focusing the scheme on newbuild homes ensures the demand it creates drives up new housing supply. The scheme has been extremely successful in supporting both would-be purchasers and boosting supply.

There are no plans to widen the scheme to include non-newbuilds as this would not deliver the same supply benefits. However the Government does have a range of other policies that support people into homeownership within the wider housing market, such as the Help to Buy ISA (no longer open but can be used for purchases until 2029), the Lifetime ISA and Help to Buy Shared Ownership.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
17th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to eradicate rough sleeping.

Since the start of the?COVID-19?pandemic, we have ensured that nearly 15,000 vulnerable people experiencing or at risk of rough sleeping have been housed in emergency accommodation.?We must now ensure that as few individuals as possible return to the streets following this initial period of accommodation.

The Next Steps Accommodation Programme makes available the financial resources needed to support local authorities and their partners to prevent these people from returning to the streets. £161 million will deliver 3,300 units of?longer-term move-on accommodation?in 2020/2021; and £91.5 million?has been allocated to pay for immediate support and interim accommodation.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to mark Roma Holocaust Memorial Day on 2 August.

Every year we honour the memory of the Roma and Sinti population murdered by the Nazi's at the annual Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations on 27 January. The 2nd of August marks the liquidation of the Gypsy Family camp' at Auschwitz-Birkenau and this year due to the restrictions on gatherings brought about by the Covid -19 pandemic we will be honouring the memory of the Roma and Sinti men, women and children murdered by the Nazi's on social media.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what protections they have put in place for property guardians who do not have a tenancy agreement.

Property guardians are typically offered licences to occupy rather than tenancies. Anyone entering into such an arrangement should be aware that their rights may be more limited than on a standard tenancy agreement. We have published a property guardian factsheet to enable potential or current property guardians to understand their rights.

If a property guardian is concerned about the condition of their property, they should contact their local authority, which has a duty to take action if serious hazards are present.

A local authority can inspect a property even when they haven’t been contacted by tenants, if they think that there may be serious risks to the health and safety of those living in a guardian property - whether or not it is let on an tenancy or a licence. The Housing Act 2004 gives local authorities powers of entry in these cases.

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) applies across all tenures; it can be used to assess hazards in all residential premises including those let to property guardians and applies to all parts of a building that are occupied as a dwelling. If a local authority identifies a serious ‘category 1’ hazard, they have a duty to take action.

In regards to protections during COVID 19, all tenants and licensees who benefit from protection from eviction anyway under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 will be protected from possession proceedings by the suspension of ongoing proceedings until 23 August 2020. If property guardians do not know whether they have a licence or a tenancy they should seek independent advice.

The Government has put in place an unprecedented support package to help prevent people getting into financial hardship or rent arrears and property guardian licence agreements are a valid proof of housing costs for entitlement to the housing element of Universal Credit.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to prevent the exploitation of (1) property guardians, and (2) all those living in a property under a licensing arrangement.

All property guardians, whether they are on a tenancy or licence agreement, should contact their local authority if they are concerned about property conditions, unlawful eviction or harassment. In some cases, property guardians may in fact have a tenancy even when the agreement is labelled as a licence. If property guardians do not know whether they have a licence or a tenancy they should seek independent advice.

If a local authority thinks that there may be serious risks to the health and safety of those living in a guardian property, they can inspect a property even when they haven’t been contacted by tenants - whether or not it is let on an a tenancy or a licence. The Housing Act 2004 gives local authorities powers of entry in these cases.

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) applies across all tenures; it can be used to assess hazards in all residential premises including those let to property guardians and applies to all parts of a building that are occupied as a dwelling. If a local authority identifies a serious ‘category 1’ hazard, they have a duty to take action.

Local authorities have strong enforcement powers and the Department published consolidated enforcement guidance for local authorities in April 2019 which sets out their duties when dealing with property guardian properties, including those on a licence agreement. This was accompanied by guidance for renters. We have also published a property guardian factsheet to help potential or current property guardians to understand their rights.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have set a date by which prohibited aluminium composite material cladding is to be removed from buildings; and if so, what is that date.

For the removal of unsafe ACM cladding from high-rise residential buildings the Government has provided £600 million in funding. We have made progress, and as a result of our action, across all sectors, 209 buildings have either completed remediation or have had their ACM cladding systems removed. It is our ambition that all remaining building owners have works on site by the end of 2020, with completion of remedial works by the end of 2021.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assistance they are providing to those living in residential blocks with prohibited aluminium composite material cladding who wish to sell their property.

The Government has committed £1.6 billion to fund the remediation of high rise residential buildings with unsafe cladding. This includes the removal of aluminium composite material (ACM). In these cases the work is guaranteed and leaseholders are protected from costs.

In cases where there is a costed plan, a timetable to deliver and mitigating measures in place in the meantime, there should be little barrier to mortgage valuations and lending.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
30th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made on the development of a cross-Government strategy to tackle inequalities faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

The Government’s top priority over recent months has been to respond to the unprecedented challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.

My department?has been supporting?the?co-ordination of?cross Government work in?response to the impact of Covid-19 on Gypsy, Roma and Traveller?communities, to ensure their needs are reflected in response and recovery planning.

We?expect to?shortly resume?our?scoping?work on?the?Government's June 2019?commitment to develop a?GRT Strategy?to tackle inequalities in these communities.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
30th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Greenhalgh on 29 June (HL6045), whether residents in buildings that have failed cladding tests in relation to aluminium composite material cladding are notified of that failure.

Building safety is the responsibility of the building owner. Where a building is found to have unsafe ACM cladding, the building owner should inform all leaseholders and residents of this. Building owners should also inform leaseholders and residents of the nature of the remedial works they intend to carry out, and provide regular updates on progress.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
30th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures are in place to protect those residents in buildings with unsafe aluminium composite material cladding; and how such residents are notified of those measures.

The Government has worked closely with local authorities and Fire and Rescue Services to ensure that interim safety measures, where needed, are in place in all buildings until the cladding is replaced. The Responsible Person for the building, who may be building owner or managing agent, should inform residents of these measures.

Working with the Home Office, the Local Government Association and the National Fire Chiefs Council, government has established a Protection Board to provide greater assurance to central government of Fire and Rescue Service protection activity. This work included ensuring that the interim measures in place in ACM-clad high-rise residential buildings are well-maintained and providing assurance that fire safety risks are being managed effectively.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
30th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Greenhalgh on 29 June (HL6045), when the corporate entities that have indicated that they are taking on the responsibility for the remediation of unsafe aluminium composite material cladding but where at least one of their buildings does not yet have a plan in place, named in the list published in February, will be held to account for the lack of remediation.

The Department has been clear that some buildings are being remediated too slowly. To maintain the pace of remediation the department publishes the names of corporate entities which do not yet have a plan to remediate dangerous ACM.

We have written to the relevant local authorities, making sure they are aware of insufficient progress. The Joint Inspection Team, a team set up and funded by Government and hosted by the Local Government Association, is providing support to local authorities to take enforcement action under the Housing Act 2004. Action is currently being taken by a local authority for one of these buildings, and enforcement action has previously been taken by a Fire and Rescue Service for another of the buildings.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the celebration of Windrush Day on 22 June.

I would like to reflect on the success of Windrush Day, which was marked on June 22. This was the second annual National Windrush Day, and the third year that Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has supported celebrations since the 70th anniversary. I would like to thank my Noble friend for his role in initiating these earlier celebrations.

The day was well recognised in national and international media, with hundreds of broadcast features, including a piece on BBC’s The One Show and CNN broadcasting live from Brixton. There were tens of thousands of tweets, instagram and facebook posts shared to celebrate the Windrush Generation and their descendants. This was illustrative of the way in which communities and individuals led the way in marking the day.Supportive messages were delivered by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, His Excellency the Jamaican High Commissioner and the Most Reverend Primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

In the midst of challenging circumstances, most of the 49 organisations which received funding from MHCLG’s Windrush Day Grant have demonstrated admirable willingness, aptitude and innovation to deliver their events through online or virtual means. Celebrations were mostly digital, but there were still plenty of them taking place across the country. From Bristol to Birmingham and Leicester to Leeds, grant recipients hosted online exhibitions, radio documentaries and educational workshops and lectures over zoom.

I was pleased to take part in the day myself by being hosted on a tour of Reading Museum's online exhibition The Enigma of Arrival . The exhibition was part-funded by MHCLG's Windrush Day Grant and was developed in partnership with the University of the West Indies as well as the Barbados Museum and Historical Society and members of the town's Caribbean community. I was particularly moved by images of men working at the town's Huntley and Palmers Biscuit factory and took a moment to reflect upon the truly vast scope of the Windrush Generation's contribution to all aspects of our national life in the aftermath of the Second World War.

I would finally like to reiterate my gratitude to the Windrush Day Advisory Panel, originally convened by my Noble friend, in supporting the funding's delivery and helping ensure that the day is marked appropriately year-on-year.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many buildings above 18 metres in height still have aluminium composite material cladding.

The Department publishes data on the number of high-rise residential and publicly owned buildings in England with ACM cladding systems unlikely to meet building regulations. The latest data is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/building-safety-programme-monthly-data-release-may-2020. This shows that there are 300 high-rise residential and publicly owned buildings with ACM cladding systems unlikely to meet Building Regulations yet to be remediated in England. Of these, 140 buildings have started remediation, including 54 buildings that have had their ACM cladding systems removed.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the details of the owners of buildings above 18 metres in height with aluminium composite material cladding have been disclosed.

The Department has a policy of not publicly disclosing information which could reveal the identity of buildings which have failed or are inferred to have failed cladding tests. This is because there are concerns that this information could be used by those with malicious intent to attack or otherwise compromise the safety of these buildings and their residents.

However, in February 2020, the Department published a list of corporate entities that have indicated that they are taking on the responsibility for the remediation of unsafe ACM cladding, but where at least one of their buildings does not yet have a plan in place. This can be (attached) found here , and the list will be updated periodically. Entities are excluded from this list if it would lead to the identification of a specific building with unsafe ACM cladding .

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to establishing a task force to deal with specific challenges experienced by Gypsy, Traveller and Roma communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have been in close contact with Gypsy and Traveller Voluntary and Community Sector organisations and are doing everything we can to support them through the pandemic.

We have provided £3.2 billion to local authorities to help them respond to the immediate impact of COVID-19. It is for local authorities to determine how best to support vulnerable groups, in line with their public health responsibilities. To enable compliance with COVID-19 public health guidance, access to basic amenities, including water, sanitation and waste disposal facilities is essential.

On 11 April I wrote to all local authority chief executives to highlight that some Gypsies and Travellers may need specific support, including access to basic services such as water, sanitation and waste disposal (attached): https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-mitigating-impacts-on-gypsy-and-traveller-communities.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
23rd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with members of the Gypsy and Traveller community concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government is determined to ensure everyone gets the support they need to look after themselves and their families during the COVID-19 outbreak and are enabled to take the necessary measures to reduce the spread of the virus. We are holding regular discussions with representatives from Gypsy and Traveller communities to understand the issues they are facing, including what guidance and support is needed locally.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
23rd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with representatives of faith communities concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.

Faith leaders and communities have a critical role to play during the Covid-19 response and we recognise their contribution, as well as the significant importance of respecting different faith groups, religious practices and personal preference. As the Department responsible for Faith, MHCLG has played a facilitative role in ensuring Government understands the needs of faith communities and the challenges they are facing due to the pandemic. We have consulted widely with key faith and belief stakeholders through ministerial and official level engagement.

We are committed to ensuring faith and belief communities have access to the latest public health advice to support them to adapt their practices to meet the governments Covid-19 guidance. We will continue to engage with national and local faith and belief communities to ensure that any needs arising are understood.

We worked closely with faith and belief groups throughout the passage of the Coronavirus Act to ensure that the religious practices of the deceased are taken into account by local authorities as far as possible. Local authorities are now under an obligation to have regard to the deceased’s wishes, religion and belief, as to their final committal, where known, in accordance with Section 58 and Schedule 28 to the Coronavirus Act 2020.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that all Gypsies, Roma and Travellers have access to basic utilities, water and sanitation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Local authorities have a responsibility to look after vulnerable groups in their area, including Gypsy and Traveller communities. That is why I wrote to local authority Chief Executives on 11 April highlighting the need to mitigate potential impacts of COVID-19 amongst Gypsy and Traveller communities. In this letter, I noted that some Gypsies and Travellers may need assistance in accessing basic facilities such as water, sanitation and waste disposal, to enable them to adhere to public health guidelines around self-isolation and social distancing.

The Government is determined to ensure everyone gets the support they need to look after themselves and their families during the COVID-19 outbreak and are enabled to take the necessary measures to reduce the spread of the virus. We are holding regular discussions with representatives from Gypsy and Traveller communities to understand the issues they are facing, and to understand what guidance and support is needed, including for local authorities. On 18 April, the Local Government Secretary announced that councils across England will receive a further £1.6 billion to help them to deal with the immediate impacts of coronavirus. This takes the total funding to support councils to respond to the pandemic to over £3.2 billion.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
25th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that there is timely, accessible advice available to religious communities concerning rules relating to (1) funeral services, (2) burials, and (3) cremations, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government issued guidance on closure of business and venues on 23 March: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close-guidance. This sets out that funerals may continue to take place in places of worship and crematoria. On 31 March, Public Health England (PHE) published further guidance to ensure funerals are conducted safely, consistent with social distancing principles: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-advice-for-safe-funerals-after-discussions-with-faith-leaders. Faith leaders were consulted and worked with PHE to ensure that communities, the funeral industry and the NHS are protected.

Government is working with partners, including leaders and members of faith and belief communities, to communicate relevant guidance and to understand the issues faith communities are facing at this difficult time. We continue to value the input of our faith and belief communities.

Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
25th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have established a hotline service to (1) advise on faith and secular gatherings, (2) provide information to the public, and (3) receive relevant information from members of the public, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government has issued guidance on social distancing on 16 March: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-guidance-for-mass-gatherings. In line with this guidance, large gatherings should not take place. Further guidance was published on 23 March on the closure of businesses and venues, including places of worship: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close-guidance.

The guidance is clear that all places of worship should be closed. This includes for the holding of faith and secular gatherings and solitary prayer. However, services are encouraged to take place with congregations online.

Government continues to have regular discussions with faith and belief groups to ensure that guidance relating to the COVID-19 pandemic is communicated clearly and effectively.

Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
25th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that there is protection from eviction for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government takes the welfare of all citizens seriously and we are working hard to ensure those most at risk are identified and supported including those in GRT communities who will be receiving support alongside others.

The Government is also holding regular discussions with community representatives to understand issues faced and are looking into what guidance and support is required for Local authorities, who have a responsibility to look after vulnerable groups.

We are sending a clear message to landlords that they should do everything possible to avoid evictions – particularly where households are facing hardship as a result of coronavirus.

Where a person’s main home is on a camp site or caravan park, those sites can stay open.

We are urgently introducing emergency legislation to protect tenants in social and private accommodation from an eviction process being started and are considering what further action may be appropriate. In the meantime, we are urging the landlords of those on licences to follow the same guidance to work with renters who may be facing hardship as a result of Covid-19.

Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure the appropriate remembrance of genocide.

Since 2001, the Government has supported and promoted Holocaust Memorial Day which commemorates the six million Jewish men, women and children murdered during the Holocaust as well as all victims of Nazi persecution, and victims of the genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

The Government continues to support the Remembering Srebrenica charity in all that it does to commemorate the victims of the Srebrenica genocide, particularly as this year marks the 25th anniversary of the tragedy. Our plans for a new Memorial next to Parliament will provide a powerful focal point for national Holocaust remembrance and education, and the learning centre will educate visitors about the Holocaust and subsequent genocides.

Earl of Courtown
Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist on 25 February (HL1468), when they intend to publish their proposals for a devolution deal for West Yorkshire.

The Government announced at the Budget on 11 March that agreement had been reached on an ambitious devolution deal with West Yorkshire. On 12 March the agreement was formally signed in Leeds by the Chancellor and the Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government on behalf of the Government, and by the Leaders of the West Yorkshire Councils.

This devolution deal will provide over £1.1 billion of investment funding for the area together with other funding streams including £25 million Heritage funding. Implementation of the deal is subject to the statutory requirements for the necessary secondary legislation being met, including the consent of the West Yorkshire Councils to, and Parliamentary approval of, that legislation.

Earl of Courtown
Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many buildings still have illegal aluminium composite material cladding.

Information on the number of high-rise (over 18m) residential and publicly owned buildings in England with Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding systems, unlikely to meet building regulations and yet to be remediated, is published in the building safety programme monthly data release, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/building-safety-programme-monthly-data-release-january-2020.

At 31 January 2020, there are 141 high-rise residential and publicly owned buildings in England that have completed remediation works to remove and replace ACM cladding systems – an increase of six since the end of December.

This leaves a total of 310 high-rise residential and publicly owned buildings with ACM cladding systems unlikely to meet Building Regulations yet to be remediated in England. Of the 86 social sector residential buildings with ACM cladding systems unlikely to meet Building Regulations yet to be remediated:

• 75 have started remediation;

• 10 have a remediation plan in place but works have not started; and

• 1 building has reported an intent to remediate and is developing plans.

Of the 175 private sector residential buildings with ACM cladding systems unlikely to meet Building Regulations yet to be remediated:

• 32 have started remediation;

• 100 have a remediation plan in place but works have not started; and

• 43 have responded with an intent to remediate and are developing plans.

Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made in respect of their commitment to publish a definition of Islamophobia.

This Government remains committed to stamping out anti-Muslim hatred and all forms of hate crime. It is unacceptable for anyone to feel unsafe while practicing their religion and we continue to take a zero-tolerance approach to Islamophobia.

The definition proposed by the APPG is not in line with the Equality Act 2010 and could have consequences for freedom of speech. We recognise the importance of this matter and will interrogate the issue in further detail.

Earl of Courtown
Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)
27th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what funding, if any, they have committed to improving the life chances of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities; and whether that funding is ringfenced.

The Government has provided funding aimed at improving the life chances of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities.

The Department for Education has provided over £15 billion of pupil premium funding since 2011 and a further £2.4 billion in the current financial year, which will have benefited children from GRT communities.

In 2018/19, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government provided £200,000 of ring-fenced funding to Voluntary and Community Sector organisations for six pilot projects aimed at improving outcomes for GRT in the areas of educational attainment, health and social integration. Two of these pilot projects received further ring-fenced funding totalling £95,000 in 2019/20.

The Controlling Migration Fund (2016 – 2020) has provided £102 million of non-ringfenced funding for local authorities under section 31 of the Local Government Act 2003. This funding is designed to help ease the pressures on local services caused by recent migration. These projects aid in helping migrant communities to access services, improve health outcomes, raising educational outcomes for children and young adults and English language provision. Roma communities are the beneficiaries, but not the sole focus of several of the projects funded through the Controlling Migration Fund.

Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
27th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to tackle hate crimes against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

The Government takes hate crime against all communities very seriously, which is why we published the hate crime action plan (Action Against Hate: The UK Government’s plan for tackling hate crime) in July 2016. This plan was refreshed in October 2018.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is supporting Herts GATE (Gypsy and Traveller Empowerment) with over £75,000 of funding in 2019/20 to encourage reporting and support Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) victims of hate crime.

In November 2019 the Crown Prosecution Service held its second National Scrutiny Panel on hate crime affecting GRT communities. The Panel considered issues relating to the investigation and prosecution of GRT hate crime and subsequently produced an Action Plan of commitments, including working with key departments across Government to raise awareness of the issues. This followed a first Action Plan that was published in February 2017.

Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
27th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the terms of Dame Louise Casey’s review into rough sleeping; and when she will report.

Dame Louise Casey has been appointed to undertake a review into rough sleeping that will provide the Government with advice on additional action required to end rough sleeping within this Parliament. Dame Louise’s recommendations will inform the Government’s approach to meeting this manifesto commitment and will support the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to develop their Comprehensive Spending Review bid in summer 2020.

Dame Louise will report to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. She will consider as part of the urgent review the links between 24-hour street activity and rough sleeping and how best we can support this group. It will also look into those struggling with drug and alcohol misuse, and those with physical and mental health issues.

Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
10th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to promote high quality design in the provision of housing.

Design quality is emphasised within the National Planning Policy Framework and the National Design Guide. We have committed to producing a National Model Design Code this year, which will set detailed standards for key elements of successful design.

We convened the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission in 2019 to advise on the promotion of high-quality design for new build homes, whose final report and recommendations were published on 30 January to which we will respond in due course. In addition, we have hosted two national design quality conferences, with a third planned this year.

Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
10th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to promote the creation of metro mayors beyond the existing metro mayors.

The Government wants to see more devolution across the country, and we welcome locally backed proposals. Government is committed to completing the Sheffield City Region devolution deal and are in formal negotiations for a devolution deal for West Yorkshire. The English Devolution White Paper will provide further information on our plans for full devolution across England, increasing the number of mayors and doing more devolution deals.

Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
10th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have for the future funding of combined authority areas.

The Government is committed to ensuring an effective funding model for Mayoral Combined Authorities, including gainshare investment funds. We will publish an English Devolution White Paper in 2020. It will consider the future role of local growth funding and will provide further information on our plans for full devolution across England, whilst levelling up powers between Mayoral Combined Authorities.

Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
4th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to encourage 'self-build' housing.

Government has put in place a range of measures to encourage self and custom housebuilding including the Self & Custom Housebuilding legislation. The legislation is focussed on bringing forward more suitable land, providing access to developer finance through the £2.5 billion Home Building Fund and working with finance providers to increase mortgage availability. We have allocated £95,000 of new burdens funding to each relevant authority to support them to fulfil their duties under the legislation to maintain a register of people who want to acquire serviced plots of land in their area; and permission serviced land to satisfy demand on the register. Additionally, we strengthened the National Planning Policy Framework to state that self and custom build properties can provide affordable housing and that demand must be taken into account when determining housing need and reflected in planning policies. The Department also supports the National Custom and Self Build Association’s ‘Right to Build Task Force’ which helps local authorities, community groups and other organisations to deliver affordable self and custom build housing across the UK.

Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
29th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to appoint a second adviser on the matter of defining Islamophobia.

It is unacceptable for anyone to feel unsafe while practising their religion, and this government will never allow prejudice and discrimination of any kind against the Muslim community.

We will continue to take a zero-tolerance approach to anti-Muslim hatred and recognise the importance of this matter. We will continue to explore and interrogate the issue of publishing a definition of Islamophobia in further detail.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
29th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to involve civil society in the development of successful integration (1) under the five integration areas outlined in the Integration Area Programme, and (2) more generally.

The work of civil society partners is integral to the positive work my department leads to build thriving, integrated communities in places across the country. Listening to, and acting on, what local voices can tell us about their place and their lives is at the heart of this government’s approach to tackling the complex reasons why some groups do less well at school, earn less at work, or are more likely to be victims of crime. MHCLG’s Integration Area programme is a good example of this. Each Integration Area has created a Local Integration Partnership, with membership drawn from local businesses, charities, faith organisations and many others who possess the experience, expertise and understanding of the whole community in their place. This enables the areas to build in representation from all communities and sectors – including across the civil society landscape - and ensure everyone who wants to, is able to input on the ambitious local integration strategies and other work being developed through this innovative programme.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
28th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect to publish their definition of Islamophobia.

It is unacceptable for anyone to feel unsafe while practising their religion, and this government will never allow prejudice and discrimination of any kind against the Muslim community.

We will continue to take a zero-tolerance approach to anti-Muslim hatred and recognise the importance of this matter. We will continue to explore and interrogate the issue of publishing a definition of Islamophobia in further detail.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
28th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what specific steps they are taking to ensure that students living in blocks with aluminium composite material cladding which does not comply with safety regulations are aware of the dangers of such cladding.

Building owners are responsible for building safety. The Government has worked closely with local authorities and Fire and Rescue Services to ensure that interim safety measures are in place in all high-rise student accommodation buildings with unsafe ACM cladding, until the cladding is replaced. We have regular engagement with a named contact from each building to ensure progress with remediation is being made. Further delay from building owners is unacceptable and their buildings must be made safe as soon as possible . Where building owners are failing to make acceptable progress, those responsible should expect further action to be taken – including naming and shaming and enforcement.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
28th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect to consult on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The Government has been working closely with interested parties across the UK whilst developing the fund. Government officials have held 25 engagement events across the UK, attended by over five hundred representatives from a breadth of sectors, which has helped inform progress on policy design


The Government intends to bring forward plans on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund shortly.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what additional action is being taken to alert customers of hotels with Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding which do not comply with building regulation requirements of the ACM cladding on any such hotel.

Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (the “Fire Safety Order”), responsible persons for hotels must ensure that they have completed a fire risk assessment and that it is regularly reviewed to ensure that the fire safety measures in place remain appropriate and are being adequately maintained. This includes assessing and where appropriate, taking the necessary steps to reduce the risk on the external walls which may include cladding.

All hotels that have confirmed ACM cladding have been visited by the local fire and rescue service to ensure that the appropriate risk mitigation measures are in place. Hotels will have a range of comprehensive fire safety measures which may include a 24-hour concierge, simultaneous fire evacuation strategy and a fully functioning alarm system. If hotels do not have sufficient mitigating measures, the fire and rescue service has the power to take appropriate enforcement action.

The Department continues to work with the Home Office and National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) to ensure correct fire safety arrangements are in place on all high-rise hotels to mitigate risks and to ensure remediation is taking place.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Viscount Younger of Leckie on 13 January (HL292), when the removal and replacement of Aluminium Composite Material cladding will be completed.

It is important to recognise remediation work cannot be done overnight – and it must be done properly. The time to complete works varies considerably depending on factors such as structure, extent of cladding, and existing fire safety systems. For many buildings this is a complex job involving major construction work.

The £600 million which the Government has committed to remediate high-rise buildings with unsafe ACM cladding removes the biggest blocker to pace of remediation. Further delay from building owners is unacceptable and their buildings must be made safe as soon as possible. From next month, those responsible for buildings will be named where remediation has not started, and only be removed from the public list when it has. The Department will also be working with the relevant local authorities to support enforcement where necessary.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
16th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress has been made in relation to Metro Mayors in Yorkshire.

As the Prime Minister said at his speech in the Convention of the North ‘we are going to do devolution properly…with more Mayors across the North’. In Yorkshire we are pleased to see recent progress the Mayor and leaders of the Sheffield City Region are making towards getting their devolution deal over the line with the benefits that will bring for people across South Yorkshire, including £30 million annually of investment funds. We are also proceeding with negotiations for a devolution deal with a Mayor for Leeds and West Yorkshire, and other areas of Yorkshire are discussing devolution with us.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
14th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given, if any, to the extension of legislation combating hatred to give specific protection to Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

The Government takes all forms of hate crime, including that directed towards Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, very seriously. We have one the strongest legislative frameworks in the world to protect all communities from hostility, violence and bigotry, and to deal with the perpetrators of hate crime. We have asked the Law Commission to undertake a full review of the coverage and approach of current hate crime legislative provisions. This will include a review of the existing range of protected characteristics, including race. The commission is due to open a public consultation in early 2020.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many buildings in London with Aluminium Composite Material cladding do not comply with building regulation requirements; and what was the figure for each of the previous six months.

Information on the number of buildings with Aluminium Composite Material cladding systems unlikely to meet building regulations that are yet to be remediated is available by local authority in Table 2 (attached) of the monthly Building Safety Programme data release. The latest information is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/851774/Table_2_Building_Safety_Data_Release_November_2019.csv/preview

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are proposing to take in relation to the 30 hotels identified as needing action in relation to Aluminium Composite Material cladding, as per the figures published on 30 November 2019.

The Government’s priority is to ensure that unsafe Aluminium Composite Material cladding(ACM) is removed and replaced swiftly. The time to complete works varies considerably depending on factors such as structure, extent of cladding and existing fire safety systems. While we accept that for many buildings, this is a complex job involving major construction work we have taken steps to support building owners undertake the work and are continuing to monitor progress. We have made £600 million of public money available for remediation. We are working closely with a named contact for each building to ensure progress is being made. We have written to all building owners in December 2019 emphasising the need for pace. Where building owners are failing to make acceptable progress, those responsible should expect further action to be taken – including naming and shaming and enforcement.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they anticipate the 446 buildings identified as not meeting building regulation requirements in relation to Aluminium Composite Material cladding will all meet such requirements.

The Government’s priority is to ensure that unsafe Aluminium Composite Material cladding(ACM) is removed and replaced swiftly. The time to complete works varies considerably depending on factors such as structure, extent of cladding and existing fire safety systems. While we accept that for many buildings, this is a complex job involving major construction work we have taken steps to support building owners undertake the work and are continuing to monitor progress. We have made £600 million of public money available for remediation. We are working closely with a named contact for each building to ensure progress is being made. We have written to all building owners in December 2019 emphasising the need for pace. Where building owners are failing to make acceptable progress, those responsible should expect further action to be taken – including naming and shaming and enforcement.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Viscount Younger of Leckie on 7 January (HL15), why there are more buildings with Aluminium Composite Material cladding systems which are unlikely to meet building regulation requirements identified in their figures for 30 November 2019 compared to those for 31 October 2019.

We have set up a comprehensive programme to oversee Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) remediation. We have pushed building owners and local authorities hard to identify and remediate unsafe buildings. When we are notified about additional buildings these are reflected in the published data.

We have also worked closely with local authorities and Fire and Rescue Services to ensure that interim measures are in place in all buildings until the cladding is replaced. Working with the Home Office, the Local Government Association and the National Fire Chiefs Council government has established a protection board to provide greater assurance to central government of Fire and Rescue Service protection activity. This work includes ensuring that the interim measures in place in ACM-clad high-rise residential buildings are well-maintained and providing assurance that fire safety risks are being managed effectively.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Viscount Younger of Leckie on 7 January (HL15), whether their 30 November 2019 figure for the 53 student accommodation buildings with Aluminium Composite Material cladding identified as unlikely to meet building regulation requirements is final.

We have set up a comprehensive programme to oversee Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) remediation. We have pushed building owners and local authorities hard to identify and remediate unsafe buildings. When we are notified about additional buildings these are reflected in the published data.

We have also worked closely with local authorities and Fire and Rescue Services to ensure that interim measures are in place in all buildings until the cladding is replaced. Working with the Home Office, the Local Government Association and the National Fire Chiefs Council government has established a protection board to provide greater assurance to central government of Fire and Rescue Service protection activity. This work includes ensuring that the interim measures in place in ACM-clad high-rise residential buildings are well-maintained and providing assurance that fire safety risks are being managed effectively.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
7th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to improve participation in public bodies by members of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

In June 2019, the Government announced that MHCLG would lead development of a cross-government strategy to improve outcomes for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. In developing the strategy, the Government will consider how best to encourage participation in civic and public institutions by members of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
19th Dec 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress has been made in removing cladding made from Aluminium Composite Material from educational buildings.

Information on progress to remove Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding from student accommodation and publicly-owned schools can be found in the Building Safety Programme monthly data release. This can be found (attached) at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/building-safety-programme-monthly-data-release-november-2019

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
12th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people are in custody in England and Wales awaiting trial; and what is the average time taken from imprisonment to trial for those in custody.

The latest published data by the Ministry of Justice shows that on 31 December 2020 there were 8,222 prisoners in custody awaiting trial in England & Wales (Table 1.1, “Prison Population: 31 December 2020” https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/offender-management-statistics-quarterly-july-to-september-2020).

Prison receptions data has enabled an approximation of the average time taken from imprisonment to trial for those in custody. Table 2 sets out (for those held on pre-trial remand) the average amount of time that prisoners were remanded in custody pre-trial up to the point that they were admitted to prison between conviction and sentencing in each of the last five years. In 2019 the average (mean) number of days that prisoners were remanded in custody pre-trial was 67. Published figures for the whole calendar year 2020 are not yet available.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
12th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people over the age of 18 are awaiting trial for alleged offences committed while they were 17 years old.

As at 31 December 2020, there were 18 outstanding cases in the Crown Court where the defendant was aged 17, had entered a not-guilty plea to one or more counts and for whom a trial date had been set. There were 38 outstanding cases in the Crown Court where the defendant was aged 17 at the time of the earliest offence on the case, and on 31 December 2020, the defendant was aged 18 or more, had entered a not-guilty plea to one or more counts and for whom a trial date had been set.1 To provide this data for Magistrates Courts would require examination of individual file records and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

HMCTS prioritises and regularly reviews youth cases to clear outstanding cases and reduce the number of children awaiting trial. In 2020 outstanding youth cases at the magistrates' court reached an annual peak of 12,138 in June, then consistently fell to 9,930 cases by December. In the same period, outstanding youth cases at the Crown Court remained stable, peaking at 665 in October then falling to 629 by December. HMCTS prioritises cases where there is a possibility that the defendant may turn 18 before conviction. The judiciary has re-published a note about listing in magistrates’ courts highlighting the impact on the remand status of youth defendants and the need to list cases expeditiously where a child is about to turn 18.

1. Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that the data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when data are used.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
12th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people aged 17 are awaiting trial in England and Wales.

As at 31 December 2020, there were 18 outstanding cases in the Crown Court where the defendant was aged 17, had entered a not-guilty plea to one or more counts and for whom a trial date had been set. There were 38 outstanding cases in the Crown Court where the defendant was aged 17 at the time of the earliest offence on the case, and on 31 December 2020, the defendant was aged 18 or more, had entered a not-guilty plea to one or more counts and for whom a trial date had been set.1 To provide this data for Magistrates Courts would require examination of individual file records and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

HMCTS prioritises and regularly reviews youth cases to clear outstanding cases and reduce the number of children awaiting trial. In 2020 outstanding youth cases at the magistrates' court reached an annual peak of 12,138 in June, then consistently fell to 9,930 cases by December. In the same period, outstanding youth cases at the Crown Court remained stable, peaking at 665 in October then falling to 629 by December. HMCTS prioritises cases where there is a possibility that the defendant may turn 18 before conviction. The judiciary has re-published a note about listing in magistrates’ courts highlighting the impact on the remand status of youth defendants and the need to list cases expeditiously where a child is about to turn 18.

1. Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that the data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when data are used.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
8th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to bring forward measures to safeguard against predatory marriages, particularly those involving older people.

A registration official has a duty to stop proceedings if they are of opinion that either of the parties to a marriage does not have the capacity to marry. The Government has no current legislative plans to change the existing safeguards.

The Law Commission is currently reviewing how and where weddings take place, including the formalities and safeguarding checks required before a marriage is conducted. The Government looks forward to publication of the Law Commission’s consultation paper in September.

27th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to improve the condition of the prison estate.

We recognise the need to invest in the maintenance of the existing prison estate. £156m of maintenance funding has been committed for financial year 2020/21 as a first step to addressing maintenance pressures. We will be targeting this funding at worn out and failing infrastructure, as well as supporting additional maintenance workload.

In the previous financial year, we invested an additional £31m to improve conditions in some of the prisons with the most pressing issues. This saw us refurbish nearly 1,000 cells, over 100 shower blocks and 14 food serveries, and in addition carry out essential fire safety work.

We have launched a Living Conditions Audit across 60 prisons and a national Clean and Decent Project is also underway, producing materials such as cleaning schedules, guidance and training for all prisons to draw on to improve conditions.

We have set out our commitment to build 10,000 additional prison places through an investment of £2.5 billion to refurbish the estate and to create modern prisons. Work to construct a new prison at Wellingborough is progressing on schedule and we have planning permission to build a 1,680-place prison at Glen Parva, scheduled to start in Summer 2020.

We will also be seeking further longer-term increases in capital funding in discussions with HM Treasury in order for us to continue to make progress on the condition of the prison estate.

14th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect the Law Commission review into hate crime to be completed.

The Law Commission were invited to review the law on hate crime and to make recommendations for its reform. The review began in March 2019 and will also consider which characteristics (for example gender, age, disability) deserve enhanced protection by the criminal law and on what basis.

The Law Commission plan to issue a consultation on this matter in early 2020. Further information on the review can be found on the Law Commission webpage at: https://www.lawcom.gov.uk/project/hate-crime/

13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of using a model of University Cum Court Annexed Arbitration for civil disputes to aid those who are unable to afford legal fees.

The Government has made no assessment of University Cum Court Annexed Arbitration. However, the Government supports early dispute resolution and it is playing a key role in the HMCTS court reform programme. For example, the Online Civil Money Claims Service has recently started piloting a new approach where claims up to £500 are automatically referred to mediation, unless both parties ‘opt out’. The results of the pilot and the impact of this approach will be evaluated.

9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had, or plan to have, with President-elect Biden about the Belfast Agreement.

This Government looks forward to engaging and working closely with the new President-elect. The Prime Minister spoke to Mr Biden and assured him that the UK Government would continue to uphold the Belfast Agreement in all circumstances. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is also engaging with US politicians and congressmen of all parties.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
16th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had, and intend to have, with the Welsh Government about nuclear power in Wales.

The Government is committed to new nuclear as part of the UK’s future energy mix and although a reserved matter I am keen to work with the Welsh Government to ensure where we can deliver on new nuclear in Wales. Officials from my department and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy regularly engage with officials from Welsh Government on nuclear in Wales. I am keen to ensure discussions continue on areas where we are jointly affected.

Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
15th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had, or intend to have, with the Welsh Government about securing a sustainable future for Old College, Aberystwyth.

Last week, the National Lottery Heritage Fund announced that Old College, Aberystwyth has been awarded almost £10 million of National Lottery money. The National Lottery Heritage Memorial Fund, which allocates Lottery funds to heritage, is a non-departmental public body accountable to parliament through the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The mechanism in which funding decisions are made on individual applications and policies are independent of the Government. The National Lottery Heritage Fund is the distributor. This funding commitment builds on the investment of over £400million of National Lottery funding into more than 2,600 heritage projects in Wales.

The investment in Old College will generate around 50 new jobs and encourage graduates to stay in Aberystwyth to establish new businesses, boosting the local economy. The renovation will create gallery spaces, a centre for entrepreneurs and new businesses, artist studios, community rooms and facilities for major events and festivals. This investment will give the building a new lease of life, securing a sustainable future for generations to come. This funding will also be supported by £3 million investment by Welsh Government and £3 million from the European Regional Development Fund through the Tourism Attractor Destination programme.

Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
7th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to promote infrastructure projects in Wales.

The Government understands the importance of ensuring that all infrastructure projects are promoted across the United Kingdom which is why we are determined to ensure we level up the UK’s cities and regions and this includes Wales.

The Government recognises that world class connectivity is increasingly essential to people at work and at home. That is why the UK Government has allocated £69 million for the rollout of superfast broadband across Wales. At Autumn Budget we announced £200 million for the hardest to reach areas and Wales will be included in the first phase of this work. We have also recently announced that North Wales have been awarded £8 million from the Local Full Fibre Networks Challenge Fund. Furthermore, the Government have committed to progress plans for the West Wales Parkway to deliver better connectivity for commuters across south-west Wales and increase opportunities for the region.

We have delivered a £50 million project to upgrade North Wales’ railway, committed £125 million towards the upgrade of the Valley Lines and, subject to value for money, we are providing up to £58 million towards upgrading Cardiff Central. We will continue to look at the case for further investment in rail in Wales.

We will continue to discussions with the Welsh Government looking at the case for jointly funding cross-border road schemes such as the Pant-Llanymynech bypass and the A5-A483 Shrewsbury to Wrexham.

Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)