Lord Roberts of Llandudno Portrait

Lord Roberts of Llandudno

Liberal Democrat - Life peer

Lord Roberts of Llandudno is not a member of any APPGs
2 Former APPG memberships
Foreign Affairs, Korea
Works of Art Committee (Lords)
9th Jun 2010 - 30th Mar 2015


Scheduled Event
Monday 18th July 2022
Oral questions - Main Chamber
Whether the government intend to withdraw the UK from the European Convention on Human Rights
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Division Votes
Tuesday 21st June 2022
Abortion (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2022
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 29 Liberal Democrat No votes vs 1 Liberal Democrat Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 28 Noes - 181
Speeches
Tuesday 21st June 2022
Spousal Visas: Processing Times
My Lords, what preparations are in process to counteract the effects of climate change and the greatly increased number of …
Written Answers
Wednesday 29th June 2022
Asylum: Rwanda
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many airlines they consulted regarding the cost of relocating asylum applicants to Rwanda on …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Tuesday 4th February 2020
Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (Legal Advice and Appeals) Bill [HL] 2019-21
A bill to make provision for unaccompanied asylum seeking children to receive legal advice and for extending the deadline for …
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
None available

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Lord Roberts of Llandudno has voted in 234 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
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Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Baroness Williams of Trafford (Conservative)
Minister of State (Home Office)
(24 debate interactions)
Lord True (Conservative)
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
(13 debate interactions)
Lord Greenhalgh (Conservative)
Minister of State (Home Office)
(12 debate interactions)
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Department Debates
Home Office
(19 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(9 debate contributions)
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View all Lord Roberts of Llandudno's debates

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Lord Roberts of Llandudno, 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 Roberts of Llandudno has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Lord Roberts of Llandudno has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Lord Roberts of Llandudno


A bill to make provision for unaccompanied asylum seeking children to receive legal advice and for extending the deadline for an unaccompanied asylum seeking child to appeal an asylum decision


Last Event - 1st Reading (Lords)
Tuesday 4th February 2020
(Read Debate)

Lord Roberts of Llandudno has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


485 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
15 Other Department Questions
10th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the results of the local government elections on 5 May.

The Government does not undertake any formal assessment of the delivery or outcome of elections.

The Electoral Commission is responsible for formally reporting on the delivery of elections.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
31st Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to house refugees currently living in hotels.

Work is continuing across Government to ensure the Afghans who stood side by side with us in conflict, their families and those at highest risk who have been evacuated, are supported as they now rebuild their lives in the UK.

We are working closely alongside all councils to provide accommodation and support for Afghans in need of our compassion and support to rebuild their lives in the UK.

We are conscious of pressures on the housing market across the country. That said, we think by working closely with councils we can work effectively to continue to support moves into settled accommodation.

One example of the work we are doing is a new private rented sector (PRS) accommodation route. This route is being scoped to support people to source their own accommodation. Our engagement with Afghan families has suggested that there is appetite amongst the cohort for independent house-hunting, with the right support. Options are being defined and tested, including working with local government partners to consider what role they might play in supporting this more independent property sourcing pathway.

Lord Harrington of Watford
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to connect potential sponsors and applicants to the Ukrainian Sponsorship Scheme who may not have a pre-existing relationship.

The initial phase of the Homes for Ukraine scheme is designed for sponsors with a named Ukrainian beneficiary. We are actively exploring ways in which we can build connections between UK Sponsors and Ukrainians that do not yet know each other, including working with NGOs. We are funding a pilot scheme for a digital matching tool and casework service that the NGO ReSet are testing.

Lord Harrington of Watford
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the protocol for applicants of the Ukrainian Family Scheme and the Ukrainian Sponsorship scheme if applicants have no formal Government identification.

If a Ukrainian person does not have a valid passport, they can attend a Visa Application Centre in Europe to undertake biometrics checks before applying for a visa. Further information, including the location of centres, has been published online at: www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-visa-under-the-ukraine-sponsorship-scheme

Lord Harrington of Watford
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many Ukrainian refugees are being accommodated in each of the UK's four nations as a result of the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

I refer the noble Lord to the initial data published at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ukraine-family-scheme-application-data . Additional data is currently being quality assured and it remains my intention to publish this data shortly. This is further to my answer to the Noble Lord Ponsonby during my statement to the Lords on the issuing of visas on 31 March 2022, where I reiterated my intention to write to the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee with details of the number of arrivals under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Lord Harrington of Watford
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
8th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that there is appropriate accommodation available for those coming from Ukraine.

Information for both sponsors and councils on appropriate accommodation is available at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-sponsor-guidance and https://www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-guidance-for-councils.

Considerations have been set out in the published FAQs for the scheme: www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-scheme-frequently-asked-questions

All accommodation will be different however there are a number of standards that ensure the accommodation is free from serious health and safety hazards

Local authorities will need to use their discretion in determining the appropriate approach to undertaking these checks and we have and will continue to engage extensively with local authorities on this as the programme develops.

Lord Harrington of Watford
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
8th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that those who need to leave Ukraine are welcomed into the UK.

I refer the Noble Lord to the Secretary of State's Oral Statement (attached) to Parliament of 14 March 2022.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
25th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they plan to give to local authorities to assist in housing refugees from Ukraine.

I refer the Noble Lord to the Secretary of State's Oral Statement (attached) to Parliament of 14 March 2022.

Lord Harrington of Watford
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
29th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many staff are directly supporting intergovernmental relations; in which departments they are based; and in which locations in each part of the UK they are based.

Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) is a cross-government priority, involving officials in all Government Departments. There is a dedicated team in the Cabinet Office, based across the UK, focusing on IGR specifically and supporting the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in his role as Minister for Intergovernmental Relations.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
26th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government why they have appointed a Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities as Minister for Intergovernmental Relations; and what assessment they have made of whether the two roles can be performed by a single individual.

The role of Minister for Intergovernmental Relations is a continuation of my Rt. Hon. friend’s role as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office. The creation of this ministerial responsibility alongside his role as Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities demonstrates the importance that this Government places on working effectively with the devolved administrations to deliver for citizens in every part of the UK.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Leader of the House what (1) steps they are taking, and (2) safeguards are in place, to ensure that ministerial statements delivered in the House of Lords are accurate.

The Government attaches great importance to informative and accurate ministerial statements. The right of parliamentarians to take up issues directly with the Government is a key part of the democratic process and underlines the accountability of Ministers to Parliament. It is important that ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament and that they correct any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity.

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
13th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to review areas of the report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities which have been criticised.

The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report makes an important contribution to both the national conversation about race, and our efforts to level up and unite the whole country.

We are carefully considering the report’s findings and recommendations. We will publish a Government response in due course. This Government remains fully committed to building a fairer Britain and taking the action needed to address disparities wherever they exist.

13th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the involvement of HSBC UK in the report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities; and why no other banks were mentioned or included in the report.

The Commission engaged with a wide range of stakeholders, including banks and financial institutions not limited to HSBC, either to hear evidence or to discuss recommendations. The list of those with whom the Commission engaged is available in ‘Appendix D: Stakeholders’ of the report.

12th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to address racism.

The Government’s Race Disparity Audit (RDA) and its website, Ethnicity Facts and Figures, was launched in October 2017. The website is a world first and has been welcomed internationally for its open and data-driven approach to highlighting inequalities of outcomes.

In response to its findings, Government has taken action to address disparities in criminal justice, increasing diversity in employment, mental health, school exclusions, and barriers to progress for young people.

To date, the Race Disparity Unit has worked across Whitehall and with local authorities to co-produce interventions to address disparities. These include:

? In the last 12 months, we have undertaken work to improve trust between police forces and the local communities that they serve, including increasing diversity in the police workforce and developing additional training

? We continue to provide targeted employment support in twenty areas around the country with high rates of ethnic minority unemployment to boost earning potential

? Last year, we announced measures to drive change in tackling inequalities between ethnic groups in higher education, and the last 10 years have seen a significant increase in the rates of 18 year olds from ethnic minority groups going to university;

? And we are acting on the findings of the Public Health England Review into disparities in the risks and outcomes of COVID-19 to ensure we take the right steps to protect and minimise the risks to vulnerable groups.

In addition, this year the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities was established and is examining all aspects of continuing racial and ethnic disparities in Britain. The Commission aims to set out a new, positive agenda for change - balancing the needs of individuals, communities and society, maximising opportunities and ensuring fairness for all.

It is building on the work of the Race Disparity Unit. The Commission is carrying out a deeper examination of what the causes of these disparities are, and is seeking to establish what works to address them effectively.

20th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Prime Minister's flight to Ukraine on 17 June was (1) a special charter flight, or (2) a regular commercial flight.

Details of the Prime Minister’s overseas travel are published quarterly and will be made available on GOV.UK in due course.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
20th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the cost of the Prime Minister's flight to Ukraine on 17 June.

Details of the Prime Minister’s overseas travel are published quarterly and will be made available on GOV.UK in due course.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
16th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many of the 91,000 civil service jobs that they intend to cut are based in the Home Office.

The Prime Minister has tasked the Chancellor, CDL, the Minister for Government Efficiency and the Cabinet Secretary to work together on producing a plan for returning the Civil Service workforce numbers to 2016 levels over the next three years. This work will be overseen by the Efficiency and Value for Money Cabinet Committee. Secretaries of State will lead the drive for reductions within their departments and the Civil Service organisations for which they have responsibility.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
22nd Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Prime Minister is planning to visit Rwanda; and if so, when.

Our new migration and economic development partnership is a world first, which will tackle head-on the imbalance between illegal and legal migration routes. It will ensure that those who are in genuine need of protection will be safe and secure in a host country recognised globally for its record on welcoming and integrating migrants. And it will disrupt the business model of organised crime gangs and deter migrants from putting their lives at risk.

As has been the practice under successive Administrations, for security reasons, future engagements by the Prime Minister are announced as and when appropriate.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will publish the full Sue Gray report into alleged gatherings on government premises during the period of COVID-19 restrictions.

I refer the noble Lord to the Cabinet Office update from the Second Permanent Secretary which has been published on GOV.UK and placed in the Library of the House.

It would not be appropriate for the Government to comment further while the Metropolitan Police Service’s investigation is ongoing. At the end of the process, the Prime Minister will ask the Second Permanent Secretary to update her findings, which will be published in line with the Terms of Reference.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
13th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they take to ensure that ministerial statements are checked for accuracy.

Civil servants support Ministers in providing information to Parliament. When providing advice and briefing, civil servants are subject to the professional standards set out in the Civil Service Code and internal clearance procedures.

Ministers are accountable to Parliament for the statements they make to the House. Parliament has long-established mechanisms for the record to be corrected should any errors be identified.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
4th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what cyber security precautions organisations are required to take when selling software or providing software as a service to the Government.

Each government department is responsible for managing security risk when procuring any service based on their own risk appetite. Cabinet Office and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) provides guidance on how to do this including through the provision of commercial frameworks which include cyber security clauses. This is made clear in the Minimum Cyber Security Standard for Government which state that “Departments shall understand and manage security issues that arise because of dependencies on external suppliers or through their supply chain”.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) provides extensive guidance and recommended security frameworks that apply to a wide range of digital services. Buying organisations are encouraged to use these in determining their requirements to ensure that appropriate security controls are specified according to risk.



Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
19th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of how many operators of Critical National Infrastructure have used the National Cyber Security Centre’s new 'Knowledge Base' tool to map the UK’s Critical National Infrastructure and its interdependencies.

Personnel with a responsibility for Critical National Infrastructure sectors from Lead Government Departments and agencies have been engaging closely with the National Cyber Security Centre to develop the Knowledge Base tool and provide validation of the content.

This work will enable government to better understand risks to CNI and prioritise efforts more effectively. The majority of departments responsible for CNI sectors have already been able to benefit from the Knowledge Base’s analytical capabilities through the support provided by NCSC.

Lead Government Departments have primary responsibility for the designation and governance of Critical National Infrastructure in their respective sectors, and will have access to the Knowledge Base tool, along with other relevant parts of HM Government. Due to the sensitivity of the amalgamated information stored within the tool, operators and companies will not have direct access.

It is not possible to not share further details around usage of the tool due to security considerations.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
19th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government who are the members of the ministerial group tasked with cohering cyber decision-making across Government, as set out in The Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, published in March 2021.

The Ministerial Cyber Steering Group is chaired by the First Secretary of State. Other members are the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (currently delegated to the Paymaster General), the Home Secretary, the Defence Secretary and the Culture Secretary. Other ministers are invited to attend depending on the topics being discussed and senior officials from intelligence and law enforcement also attend. The meeting is supported by the National Security Unit in the Cabinet Office.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
16th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to update the National Cyber Security Strategy, last published on 11 November 2016.

The Government's Integrated Review set out an objective to cement the UK's position as a leading responsible and democratic cyber power. To support this, the Government intends to adopt a new comprehensive cyber strategy, considering the full range of our capabilities and critical cyber technologies, as well as international action to influence the future of cyberspace. Work is well underway to develop this strategy and it will be published later this year, succeeding the National Cyber Security Strategy 2016-21.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
9th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much money they are spending on the (1) development, and (2) construction, of a Situation Centre in 70 Whitehall.

£9.3m has been allocated in the 2021/22 spending review for development of a National Situation Centre, spanning establishing a permanent team, data and analytic capabilities, and physical build.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
1st Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people were employed in the agricultural sector in Wales in (1) 1991, (2) 2000, (3) 2010, and (4) 2019.

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

Professor Sir Ian Diamond | National Statistician

The Lord Roberts of Llandudno

House of Lords

London

SW1A 0PW

05 February 2021

Dear Lord Roberts,

As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am responding to your Parliamentary Question asking how many people were employed in the agricultural sector in Wales in (1) 1991, (2) 2000, (3) 2010, and (4) 2019 (HL12843).

Agricultural employment estimates are produced using a combination of DEFRA surveys and Office for National Statistics (ONS) employment surveys. Employment estimates by year, industry and geographic location are available to download on the employment surveys datasets area of NOMIS[1].

Table 1 below shows agricultural employment in Wales in 1991, 2000, 2010 and 2019.

Table 1: Agricultural employment in Wales[2]

Year

All employees, thousands

1991 [3]

20,000

2000 [4]

12,000

2010 [5]

15,000

2019 4

14,000


Yours sincerely,

Professor Sir Ian Diamond

[1] https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/query/select/getdatasetbytheme.asp?opt=3&theme=&subgrp=

[2] Numbers are rounded to the nearest thousand

[3] ONS source is the Annual Employment Survey

[4] ONS source is the Annual Business Inquiry

[5] ONS source is the Business Register Employment Survey

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
18th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that the nomination process for the elections due to be held in May is not adversely affected by COVID-19 restrictions; and in particular, whether they intend (1) to change the number of signatures required per nominee, and (2) to allow such signatures to be sent electronically.

We have received representations from Parliamentarians on this issue, and we are currently considering the matter.

We will keep Parliament updated on the election preparations, will engage with political parties and will publish detailed guidance in due course.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
14th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have made to mitigate any job losses following the end of the transition period for the UK's departure from the EU.

The Government believes that leaving the EU will lead to long-term benefits for the UK economy. Whilst many businesses would have been preparing for the end of the Transition Period since last year, we recognise the impact COVID-19 will have had on their ability to plan and prepare.

We have a number of support schemes available including loans, grants, income support schemes and tax deferrals to support businesses through this period. Details are available on GOV.UK.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
14th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the likelihood of securing Parliamentary approval for government expenditure on a ceremony to mark the UK’s departure from the EU.

The Government was elected on a manifesto which made clear our plans to exit the EU, that the transition period will end on 31 December 2020, and that we will have recovered our economic and political independence.

Many millions of people welcome this outcome and will mark it in their own private ways. A ceremony is not appropriate at a time of COVID restrictions.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that local government elections are held in May 2021; and what social distancing measures they intend to put in place.

The Government is working with the electoral administrators and Public Health England to identify and resolve challenges involved in delivering the May 2021 elections, including ensuring polling stations are safe and covid-secure places to vote. People will be able participate in the polls safely, and in a way of their choice, whether by post, proxy or in-person.

This was outlined in the Minister for the Constitution and Devolution’s letter to Electoral Returning Officers, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/letter-from-chloe-smith-mp-to-returning-officers

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
26th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government on what basis they are able to refuse consent for Scotland and Wales to hold referendums.

For the devolved administrations to hold a referendum in relation to any reserved matter, an order under the Scotland Act 1998 or Government of Wales Act 2006, or Westminster primary legislation, would be required.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
21st Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have in place to facilitate the postponement of (1) local, (2) mayoral, and (3) Police and Crime Commissioner, elections in May 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government has been working closely with key electoral stakeholders, as well as Public Health England and representatives of political parties, regarding local and mayoral elections in England and the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in England and Wales in May 2021.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
21st Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to encourage young people to register to vote.

Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) have the statutory responsibility for maintaining complete and accurate registers for their areas. The Government is committed to encouraging democratic engagement amongst all electors, including young people, and we want to build upon recent record levels of individuals registering to vote for elections. Our Register to Vote website is widely used by young people, with almost 8 million online applications submitted by 16-24 year olds since the service was introduced in 2014.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
21st Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the (1) Scottish, and (2) Welsh, Government about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on any elections due to be held in May 2021.

The Government has been working closely with key electoral stakeholders, as well as Public Health England and representatives of political parties, regarding local and mayoral elections in England and the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in England and Wales in May 2021.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
21st Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have in place to ensure that polling stations comply with COVID-19 safety measures.

The Government has been working closely with key electoral stakeholders, as well as Public Health England and representatives of political parties, regarding local and mayoral elections in England and the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in England and Wales in May 2021.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
17th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consultations they have held with (1) the Northern Ireland Executive, (2) the Scottish Government, and (3) the Welsh Government, about recommendations for appointments to the House of Lords which represent their respective nations.

As has been the case under successive administrations, appointments to the House of Lords are a matter for the Prime Minister. Members of the House of Lords are appointed from a wide range of backgrounds to ensure the House is able to carry out its scrutiny work effectively.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
17th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what personnel would be necessary to manage any agreed administrative border between Great Britain and the island of Ireland; and where these personnel would be located.

The UK’s approach to implementing the Northern Ireland Protocol was set out in the Government’s Command Paper on The UK's Approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol, published on 20 May. As the document made clear, there will be no new physical customs infrastructure in Northern Ireland.

We have however, always been clear that some process will be required on agri-food goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain, in order to respect the pre-existing status of the island of Ireland as a single epidemiological unit.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
17th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what changes will be necessary at the ports of Holyhead, Fishguard and Pembroke Dock following the end of the transition period with the EU on 1 January 2021.

On 13 July, the Government announced a £705 million funding package in 2020/21 for border infrastructure, staffing and IT to ensure GB border systems are fully operational when the UK takes back control of its border after the end of the transition period. The £705 million will be split between £470 million for port and inland infrastructure and £235 million for new staff and IT systems.

As Ministers have previously set out, a breakdown will be provided, port by port and region by region, in due course.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
17th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to ensure there will be no shortage of medicinal drugs produced outside the UK in the event they do not reach a trade agreement with the EU.

Our priority is to ensure that patients continue to have access to medicines and medical products that they need. We are working closely with industry, the NHS and others in the supply chain to ensure that precautions are in place.

The Government continues to hold stockpiles of medicines to cope with a range of scenarios, and robust contingency planning continues to ensure that the country is prepared for the end of the transition period.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
14th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to extend the transition period for the UK’s departure from the EU beyond 31 December, in the light of the progress of negotiations.

There are no plans. At the second meeting of the WAJC on 12 June, the UK formally notified the EU that it will neither accept nor seek any extension to the Transition Period.

The deadline for extension has now passed.

The UK will regain its economic and political independence on 31 December at the end of the transition period and uphold a key demand of the British people.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
27th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that anyone appointed to advise them about their policies can be scrutinised by Parliament.

Ministers are accountable to Parliament for the policies, decisions and actions of their departments and agencies, as set out in the Ministerial Code. As has long been the case, advisers advise but ministers decide and are accountable for those decisions.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
27th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures are in place to ensure that ministerial replies, both oral and written, are fact checked to ensure accuracy.

The Government always strives to give accurate and timely responses to both oral and written questions, with guidance on both set out in its Guide to Parliamentary Work.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what further plans they have to change regulations relating to COVID-19; and how any such plans have been influenced by the behaviour of any ministers or advisors who may have previously violated those regulations.

We are at a stage of the epidemic where the number of infections has come down considerably from its peak and the virus is broadly under control in the majority of the UK. The Government keeps the situation under constant review and remains ready to take further action if required. We have made regulations in response to local outbreaks. We have also amended the border restrictions on various occasions in response to changes in the spread of the virus in other countries. As is always the case, decisions on health and other such measures are made on the basis of official advice, informed by expert scientific advisers.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to make certain that no future (1) election, or (2) referendum, in the UK will be subject to outside interference.

The Security and Intelligence Agencies produce and contribute to regular assessments of the threat posed by Hostile State Activity. We keep such assessments under review and, where necessary, update them in response to new intelligence. It is, and will always be, an absolute priority to protect our democracy and elections. In July 2019 we announced the Defending Democracy programme to bring together government, civil society and private sector organisations to ensure our democracy stays open, vibrant and transparent.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
16th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements they have made with the ports of Holyhead, Pembroke Dock and Fishguard to address any changes required following the end of the transition period of the UK's departure from the EU.

I refer the noble Lord to the oral statement made by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office on 13 July in the Other Place about the publication of a detailed Border Operating Model, which I repeated in this House on 15 July 2020. This will allow Welsh border industry and traders to prepare for the end of the transition period.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
15th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to reconsider their decision not to extend the Brexit transition period.

None. At the second meeting of the WAJC on 12 June, the UK formally notified the EU that it will neither accept nor seek any extension to the Transition Period.

The deadline for extension has now passed.

The UK will regain its economic and political independence on 1 January 2021 at the end of the transition period and uphold a key demand of the British people.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
4th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to review trading arrangements with the EU.

Last week the UK completed its fourth round of negotiations. Negotiations covered the full range of issues and were mostly constructive and positive in tone, including on the most difficult issues such as fisheries, governance, and the so called “level playing field” where our differences are the most acute.

We believe it still would be straightforward to agree a suite of agreements with a Free Trade Agreement at the core, like those the EU has agreed with other close partners around the world, and that this could be done quickly.

A Written Ministerial Statement (HLWS267) was made on 8 June to update the House on the progress of negotiations.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
18th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans, if any, they have to extend the transition period as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I refer the noble Lord to the answer I gave to PQ HL3150 on 28 April 2020.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
28th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Prime Minister's statement on 20 December 2019 (HC Deb, col 146) that "now is the moment, as we leave the European Union, to reunite the country", what steps they are taking in order to do so.

I refer the noble Lord to the Prime Minister’s address to the nation given on Friday 31 January 2020.

Earl Howe
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
28th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the anticipated cost of any Government-sponsored celebrations about the UK's departure from the EU on 31 January.

The commemorations for this historic day included the release into circulation of a new 50p coin, and a light display at Downing Street, alongside a special address by the Prime Minister. Union Jack flags also lined Parliament Square and the Mall on 31 January and the public saw government buildings in Whitehall lit up throughout the evening. The costs of these events were drawn from existing budgets.

Earl Howe
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
11th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they last assessed the merits of daylight saving time.

The Government believes that the current daylight-saving arrangements represent the optimal use of the available daylight across the UK.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many immigrants are currently part of the UK labour force; what estimate they have made of the value of the labour of immigrant workers in the UK; and what assessment they have made of the level of immigration required by the UK labour market in each of the next five years.

As the UK builds back from the pandemic, our new points-based immigration system will attract top talent from around the world while also supporting the enormous potential of our domestic workforce.

High-skilled migration can boost growth and drive the international competitiveness of the UK’s high-growth innovative businesses. Bespoke immigration routes will enable more students, scientists, academics, investors and entrepreneurs to come to the UK and contribute to our economic growth.

The Government recognise and value the contribution that people from all over the world have made to our culture, society and economy. The independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) set out in detail the contribution to the economy by EEA migration in its 2018 report, which is published on the GOV.UK website.

The Office for National Statistics estimates the numbers of people not born in the UK and the number of people who are not UK nationals, within the UK labour force, from the Labour Force Survey. However recent level estimates have been temporarily suspended until they are reweighted to better account for the recent population movements.

The overall needs of the UK labour market are owned and kept under close review by the Department for Work and Pensions. Immigration policy and the Points Based System are matters for the Home Office.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what conclusions they drew from the COVID-19 human challenge trials; and how they used those data to inform their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The human challenge virus characterisation studies commenced in February 2021, and no results from the study have yet been analysed or published. We expect to see data on whether the virus characterisation study has been a success in the second half of 2021.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what records they maintain in relation to land and property in the UK held by non-UK citizens; and whether they will publish a list of the ten non-UK citizens who own the most property in the UK.

HM Land Registry does not hold information on the nationality of property owners.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they are offering to those who volunteer for the COVID-19 human challenge study.

The safety of any participant in a clinical study is always the absolute priority of the research team. The studies will take place in specialised units with very close monitoring and with medics on hand with treatments if they are needed.

The volunteers for the COVID-19 Human Challenge Study will be compensated for their time. The amount that the volunteers receive will be benchmarked against previous studies and the Research Ethics Committee has reviewed this amount to ensure that it is fair. For expenses such as travel, volunteers will be compensated out-of-pocket.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will take action to protect diagnosed diabetics returning to work in the hospitality industry from the risk of COVID-19 infection.

It is for each business to carry out its own risk assessment, in consultation with their workers, to inform the actions they should take to reduce the risks of COVID-19.

The Government has published guidance – specifically, section 3.1 ‘Protecting people who are at higher risk’ – 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 on the Government’s website.

Nothing in this guidance affects employers’ existing responsibilities under employment and equalities legislation. Employers therefore need to bear in mind the particular needs of different groups or individuals, and make sure that the steps they take to address the risk of COVID-19 do not unjustifiably impact on some groups compared with others.

The safer workplaces guidance provides information to employers on how best to meet these responsibilities in the context of COVID-19.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assistance they are giving to companies facing making substantial redundancies due to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to reduce the increase in unemployment.

The Government has made available a wide range of schemes to companies in order to help them avoid making redundancies in response to the covid-19 pandemic. These include the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme; deferral of VAT and self-assessment payments; business rates relief; the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS); the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS); the Coronavirus Future Fund; the Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan; the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility; the Coronavirus Small Business Grant Fund; the Coronavirus Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund; and the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund.

The Government has published details of all these schemes on the GOV.UK website.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to support the self-employed affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On 26 March, the Chancellor announced a world-leading scheme to support the UK’s self-employed, affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The Self-employment Income Support Scheme will support self-employed individuals, including members of partnerships, whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s ‘Time To Pay’ service. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. If self-employed people have missed - or are worried about missing - their next tax payment due to COVID-19, they can call the HMRC helpline for advice on 0800 024 1222.

All details of Government support for businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak can be found on the dedicated business support webpage at gov.uk.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many organisations are certified under the Cyber Essentials or Cyber Essentials Plus schemes.

At the end of August 2021, 75,237 Cyber Essentials certificates had been awarded to organisations in the UK. Of these, 61,481 certificates were awarded at Cyber Essentials level and 13,756 were awarded at Cyber Essentials Plus level.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
4th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many insurance payouts are made annually from the cyber liability insurance scheme.

This information is not held by the government. The insurance scheme referred to is a commercial arrangement between organisations with a Cyber Essentials certificate and IASME, the operators of the scheme.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
14th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government where the money is directed if a company is fined for failing to report a data breach of personal information to the Information Commissioner's Office.

Any monetary penalty issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is paid into the HM Treasury Consolidated Fund and is not retained by the ICO.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
9th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish an online media literacy strategy.

The Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper Consultation, published last December, confirmed our commitment to publish an Online Media Literacy Strategy. The Strategy will explore the media literacy landscape and ensure a strategic and coordinated approach to media literacy activity. The Strategy will further help support users with the skill and knowledge they need to make informed and safer choices online.The Strategy will be published later this year.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have (1) to provide funding for, and (2) to further the work of, the Future News Pilot Fund.

The government invested £2 million in the pilot Future News Fund, which sought to invest in new technological prototypes, start-ups and innovative business models to explore new ways of sustaining public interest news in a changing landscape. The pilot received 178 applications and grants were awarded to 19 projects.

The pilot fund came to an end in June 2020. We are considering options for taking forward innovation funding, building on the model set by the Future News Fund pilot and taking into account Nesta’s independent evaluation, sector feedback, and the changing landscape as a result of Covid-19.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have any plans to work with local authorities to provide additional leisure facilities, especially for young people, in areas of high unemployment following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active. Swimming pools, indoor gyms and leisure centres (including sports halls) should now be able to reopen. These facilities will be able to offer on-site services to customers, provided they are COVID-secure and follow Government guidance.

Sport England have announced a £195 million package of support to help community clubs through this crisis. It recently boosted its Community Emergency Fund by a further £15 million to meet the demand, taking the total up to £210 million.

The income scheme announced on Thursday 2 July by the Secretary of State for Local Government, aims to support local authorities who have incurred irrecoverable loss of income from sales, fees and charge which they had reasonably budgeted for. Further guidance will follow on the principle of the scheme.

The Government is providing local authorities with an unprecedented package of support, allocating £4.3bn of support for?spending?pressures, including £3.7bn of un-ringfenced grants and the £600m Infection Control Fund.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the alert published by the Charity Commission on 17 April Coronavirus (COVID-19): increased risk of fraud and cybercrime against charities, what discussions they have had with charities to improve the security of their IT infrastructure.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) continues to work closely alongside the Charity Commission, and sector representative bodies in supporting the charity sector to enhance their cyber resilience. During this period of increased online reliance and activity, the NCSC has produced sector neutral guidance for organisations on remote working, and has briefed the Charities Against Fraud Group, hosted by the Charity Commission, on the current threat landscape and support available.

The Charity Commission updated its alert in May to include advice from the NCSC on how to report suspicious emails and how to use video conferencing safely, as well as a recorded webinar with The Fraud Advisory Panel and sector partners, including the City of London Police, to help charities spot Covid-19 related fraud. The Charity Commission has supported the Digital Code for Charities Steering Group which has developed a COVID-19 digital checklist for charity trustees and leaders to help them make the right decisions about digital during the crisis, which has been published online: https://charitydigitalcode.org/covid19/trustees-checklist-covid19/.

In conjunction with Small Charities week (15-19th June) NCSC will be hosting a series of cyber security workshops to help charities understand what steps they can take to protect their IT infrastructure.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to return any entertainment and sports centres that are currently being used for medical purposes to their normal use.

Both sport and healthcare are devolved, and each of the Devolved Authorities will have its own approach to these facilities. Changes in use of such facilities will be made on a location by location basis as a result of discussions between the local parties, depending on local need at the time.

In England, six NHS Nightingale hospitals have been opened of the seven being built across the country, as part of actions taken to ensure the NHS has sufficient hospital capacity to care for COVID-19 patients. This includes the Nightingale hospitals in London (London ExCel) and Birmingham (Birmingham National Exhibition Centre).

Surge capacity is holding up well in NHS hospitals across the country. As such, both the London ExCel and Birmingham National Exhibition Centre have now been placed on standby and will not be accepting patients. It is possible the NHS Nightingale hospitals will be needed in the months ahead, and the Government will maintain that extra capacity until there is more certainty.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
29th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what financial support they are making available to (1) the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, (2) the National Eisteddfod of Welsh, (3) the Urdd National Eisteddfod, and (4) the Hay Festival of Literature and Arts, following their cancellation in 2020.

Culture is classed as a devolved competency and organisations should look at the support being provided by the relevant Government in the Devolved Authorities. In addition to the support provided by the UK Government, the Welsh Government has announced almost £2 billion of support for businesses in Wales (https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice/). The Arts Council of Wales has also established the Arts Resilience Fund which provides financial support to artists and cultural organisations so they may survive this crisis and to find ways of getting back on their feet (https://arts.wales/funding/coronavirus).

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide additional funding to charities that provide care for the homeless during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The £750 million funding package announced on 8 April will support front line charities providing vital services and helping vulnerable people affected by Covid-19.

DCMS has been supporting the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government alongside the hotel sector, to provide an offer of accommodation for rough sleepers that will allow them to socially distance. A centrally-coordinated process across government has been set up for block booking hotels.

More than 5,400?rough?sleepers?– over 90% of those on the streets?at the beginning of the crisis?known to local authorities have now been made offers of safe accommodation – ensuring some of the most vulnerable in society are protected from the pandemic.

We will continue to work with external partners to support the homeless during the pandemic. For example we have established a connection between Unilever and NHS England, through which Unilever have already offered 30,000 units of toothpaste and deodorant for homeless people being sheltered.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the amount of public money required to run the S4C television channel; and what steps they will take to ensure that that channel receives financial support.

Following the independent review of S4C conducted by Euryn Ogwen Williams, the government accepted the recommendation for S4C to be fully licence fee funded from April 2022.

The government will assess the amount of public money required to run S4C’s television channel and other services during the discussions on the licence fee settlement due to take effect from April 2022.

S4C’s licence fee funding is guaranteed to remain at £74.5 million until 2021/22.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the BBC about the funding of the BBC’s Orchestras.

The BBC is editorially and operationally independent of the Government and as such the Government is not involved in the funding of BBC Orchestras.

According to the BBC's 2018/9 Annual Report, the BBC spent £29million in 2019 on 'Orchestras and performing groups'.

In the past five years, Arts Council England (ACE) has invested over £107 million in orchestras and related classical music organisations in its National Portfolio. As culture is a devolved matter, this figure excludes funding decisions taken by the devolved administrations in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Orchestras have also benefited from the Government’s introduction of the Orchestras Tax Relief (OTR), which is helping to support the increase of productions, especially via touring. Since the introduction of the OTR in 2016, £23 million has been paid out relating to 170 claims and 770 productions.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many children in England currently receive free school meals.

Free school meal (FSM) eligibility criteria is a devolved policy. In England, under the benefits-based criteria, 1.7 million of the most disadvantaged pupils are eligible for and claiming a free school meal. An additional 1.3 million infant aged children can also access a free, healthy and nutritious meal at lunchtime, following the introduction of the Universal Infant Free School Meal policy in 2014.

Under the benefits-based criteria, to be eligible to receive FSMs, a pupil or their parent must be in receipt of specific welfare benefits and must make a claim to the school for FSMs. The criteria are available at: https://www.gov.uk/apply-free-school-meals.

Schools provide free school meals for eligible pupils during term time. Beyond that, billions of pounds of welfare assistance is in place to support families and children. Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak and during the period in which schools were largely closed, the department funded around £450 million supermarket vouchers through the National Voucher Scheme. Since November 2020, the Department for Work and Pensions has put in place funding to support vulnerable households across the country. The latest fund is the DWPs £500 million Household Support Fund to help families and individuals with essentials over the coming months as the country continues its recovery from the COVID-19 outbreak. This fund will allow local authorities to directly help the hardest-hit families and individuals with daily needs such as food, clothing and utilities.

The recent Budget also confirmed the continuation of the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme, with an investment of over £200 million per year. Operated through local authorities and taking place in schools and community venues across England, national delivery began at Easter 2021 and has run across the summer and will run in the Christmas holidays. It supports disadvantaged pupils and their families with enriching activities, providing them with healthy food, helping them to learn new skills, providing physical activity, nutritional education, and supporting socialisation and well-being. Local authorities are required to operate against the core HAF objectives including the provision of food that meets the school food standards but have freedom to determine the delivery approach, for example working with local partners, businesses and supermarkets.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to arrange for restaurants and cafes to provide children who qualify for free school meals with meals during school holidays.

Free school meal (FSM) eligibility criteria is a devolved policy. In England, under the benefits-based criteria, 1.7 million of the most disadvantaged pupils are eligible for and claiming a free school meal. An additional 1.3 million infant aged children can also access a free, healthy and nutritious meal at lunchtime, following the introduction of the Universal Infant Free School Meal policy in 2014.

Under the benefits-based criteria, to be eligible to receive FSMs, a pupil or their parent must be in receipt of specific welfare benefits and must make a claim to the school for FSMs. The criteria are available at: https://www.gov.uk/apply-free-school-meals.

Schools provide free school meals for eligible pupils during term time. Beyond that, billions of pounds of welfare assistance is in place to support families and children. Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak and during the period in which schools were largely closed, the department funded around £450 million supermarket vouchers through the National Voucher Scheme. Since November 2020, the Department for Work and Pensions has put in place funding to support vulnerable households across the country. The latest fund is the DWPs £500 million Household Support Fund to help families and individuals with essentials over the coming months as the country continues its recovery from the COVID-19 outbreak. This fund will allow local authorities to directly help the hardest-hit families and individuals with daily needs such as food, clothing and utilities.

The recent Budget also confirmed the continuation of the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme, with an investment of over £200 million per year. Operated through local authorities and taking place in schools and community venues across England, national delivery began at Easter 2021 and has run across the summer and will run in the Christmas holidays. It supports disadvantaged pupils and their families with enriching activities, providing them with healthy food, helping them to learn new skills, providing physical activity, nutritional education, and supporting socialisation and well-being. Local authorities are required to operate against the core HAF objectives including the provision of food that meets the school food standards but have freedom to determine the delivery approach, for example working with local partners, businesses and supermarkets.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to provide meals during school holidays for pupils who qualify for free school meals.

Free school meal (FSM) eligibility criteria is a devolved policy. In England, under the benefits-based criteria, 1.7 million of the most disadvantaged pupils are eligible for and claiming a free school meal. An additional 1.3 million infant aged children can also access a free, healthy and nutritious meal at lunchtime, following the introduction of the Universal Infant Free School Meal policy in 2014.

Under the benefits-based criteria, to be eligible to receive FSMs, a pupil or their parent must be in receipt of specific welfare benefits and must make a claim to the school for FSMs. The criteria are available at: https://www.gov.uk/apply-free-school-meals.

Schools provide free school meals for eligible pupils during term time. Beyond that, billions of pounds of welfare assistance is in place to support families and children. Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak and during the period in which schools were largely closed, the department funded around £450 million supermarket vouchers through the National Voucher Scheme. Since November 2020, the Department for Work and Pensions has put in place funding to support vulnerable households across the country. The latest fund is the DWPs £500 million Household Support Fund to help families and individuals with essentials over the coming months as the country continues its recovery from the COVID-19 outbreak. This fund will allow local authorities to directly help the hardest-hit families and individuals with daily needs such as food, clothing and utilities.

The recent Budget also confirmed the continuation of the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme, with an investment of over £200 million per year. Operated through local authorities and taking place in schools and community venues across England, national delivery began at Easter 2021 and has run across the summer and will run in the Christmas holidays. It supports disadvantaged pupils and their families with enriching activities, providing them with healthy food, helping them to learn new skills, providing physical activity, nutritional education, and supporting socialisation and well-being. Local authorities are required to operate against the core HAF objectives including the provision of food that meets the school food standards but have freedom to determine the delivery approach, for example working with local partners, businesses and supermarkets.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the criteria for children to qualify for free school meals.

Free school meal (FSM) eligibility criteria is a devolved policy. In England, under the benefits-based criteria, 1.7 million of the most disadvantaged pupils are eligible for and claiming a free school meal. An additional 1.3 million infant aged children can also access a free, healthy and nutritious meal at lunchtime, following the introduction of the Universal Infant Free School Meal policy in 2014.

Under the benefits-based criteria, to be eligible to receive FSMs, a pupil or their parent must be in receipt of specific welfare benefits and must make a claim to the school for FSMs. The criteria are available at: https://www.gov.uk/apply-free-school-meals.

Schools provide free school meals for eligible pupils during term time. Beyond that, billions of pounds of welfare assistance is in place to support families and children. Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak and during the period in which schools were largely closed, the department funded around £450 million supermarket vouchers through the National Voucher Scheme. Since November 2020, the Department for Work and Pensions has put in place funding to support vulnerable households across the country. The latest fund is the DWPs £500 million Household Support Fund to help families and individuals with essentials over the coming months as the country continues its recovery from the COVID-19 outbreak. This fund will allow local authorities to directly help the hardest-hit families and individuals with daily needs such as food, clothing and utilities.

The recent Budget also confirmed the continuation of the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme, with an investment of over £200 million per year. Operated through local authorities and taking place in schools and community venues across England, national delivery began at Easter 2021 and has run across the summer and will run in the Christmas holidays. It supports disadvantaged pupils and their families with enriching activities, providing them with healthy food, helping them to learn new skills, providing physical activity, nutritional education, and supporting socialisation and well-being. Local authorities are required to operate against the core HAF objectives including the provision of food that meets the school food standards but have freedom to determine the delivery approach, for example working with local partners, businesses and supermarkets.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the computers provided to Computacenter, made under Procurement Policy Note 01/20 as part of their provision of computers to schoolchildren during the COVID-19 pandemic, were made on loan.

The value of the Computacenter contract is £60 million. Details of the contract can be found on the ‘Contracts Finder’ on gov.uk: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/e9047eeb-be82-4506-8a97-448ff0d73cfe?origin=SearchResults&p=1.

A total of 260,000 devices have been delivered under this contract. The breakdown of devices is as follows: 175,426 Windows laptops, 67,817 Google Chromebooks, 6,757 Windows tablets and 10,000 Apple iPads were delivered.

Devices have not been provided on a loan basis. Laptops and tablets are owned by the school, college, academy trust or local authority, who can lend them to children and young people who need them most during the current COVID-19 restrictions.

9th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many organisations were asked to provide offers for the purchase of laptops and tablets provided to children to use for home learning.

The department issued tender opportunities for the procurement of devices to all suppliers present under the Crown Commercial Services Framework, under Technology Products and Associated Services (TePAS) Lot 2: Hardware and Associated Services. A list of all suppliers present under Lot 2 of the TePAS framework can be found at: https://www.crowncommercial.gov.uk/agreements/RM6068.

The only exception to the above is the very first procurement, which was a Direct Award to Computacenter made under Procurement Policy Note 01/20: Responding to COVID-19, details of which are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-0120-responding-to-covid-19. We awarded this contract directly because of the urgency at the start of COVID-19 outbreak of providing devices for disadvantaged children and care leavers to support access to remote education and social care.

25th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many laptops have been delivered to students for the purposes of online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic; what was the cost of those laptops; and what organisations supplied those laptops.

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, including securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people.

As of Monday 01 February 2021, over 927,000 laptops and tablets had been delivered to schools, academy trusts and local authorities by the Department to support children to access remote education during the COVID-19 outbreak. Numbers of devices delivered to date by the programme is published regularly at https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/laptops-and-tablets-data/2021-week-5.

For supplying devices to schools, the Department has signed contracts with Computacentre and XMA to supply a variety of device types according to the needs of schools and end users. Unit costs of specific devices distributed by the programme are not published as these are commercially sensitive.

17th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many children were eligible for free school meals in (1) October 2018, and (2) October 2020; and what financial support they are providing to help pay for these meals.

In October 2018, 1,205,000 pupils in England were eligible and claiming free school meals, which is 14.7% of all pupils in state-funded schools. The department plans to publish the information relating to October 2020 in due course.

Where pupils become newly entitled to free school meals, local authorities and schools are able to quickly verify their eligibility using the department’s electronic Eligibility Checking System to ensure that this vital support is available immediately.

We have introduced a number of immediate measures, including the launch of the National Voucher Scheme, to ensure that children who usually receive benefits-related free school meals still had access to this support during the period that schools were previously restricted from opening to the majority of pupils. Schools received, and continue to receive, their funding for free school meals as normal.

Building on the significant support given to the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 outbreak, a new £170 million Covid Winter Grant Scheme has been launched by the Department for Work and Pensions, and will be run by councils in England. A link to the scheme is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-winter-grant-scheme.

20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to increase the provision of apprenticeships.

As part of the government’s Plan for Jobs, apprenticeships will be more important than ever in helping businesses to recruit the right people and develop the skills they need to recover post COVID-19. Apprenticeships also present excellent opportunities to young people seeking to start and build careers.

We recognise that employers, at the moment, face increased challenges with hiring new apprentices and so we will introduce a new payment of £2,000 to employers in England for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25, and a £1,500 payment for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over, from 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021. We will also ensure that there is sufficient funding to support small businesses wanting to take on an apprentice this year. In addition, we have increased the number of reservations that small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) can now make through the apprenticeship service, from 3 to 10, enabling them to recruit more apprentices.

Details can be found at the link below: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/a-plan-for-jobs-2020.

We continue to listen to the views of businesses and are working closely with employers to help them make the most of our apprenticeship reforms and funding support offer.

16th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have any plans to arrange, in conjunction with the Welsh Government, training for local people to undertake any additional jobs needed at the Welsh ports following the UK's departure from the EU.

Skills training and education is devolved and therefore any training delivered in Wales to support employment opportunities in Wales are matters for the Welsh Government.

In England we want to make the skills systems more responsive to employer skill needs both locally and nationally and we have been working with employers to jointly design and deliver policies and programmes to do this.

This includes key reforms to apprenticeships, making them longer, better, with more off-the job training and proper assessment at the end. With employers in control of developing standards, they can be assured that apprentices will get the skills employers need.

We are also making technical education more responsive to the needs of communities and employers, with the introduction of T levels this September, proposals to reform higher technical education and investment in Institutes of Technology.

28th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that British students can continue to participate in the Erasmus Plus programme.

The Withdrawal Agreement Act 2020 ensures that students, young people, and learners will be able to participate fully in the remainder of the current Erasmus+ programme and organisations should continue to bid for the Erasmus+ programme to the end of 2020.

As stated in the Political Declaration, the UK is open to participation in certain EU programmes, such as the next Erasmus+ programme (2021-27), if it is in our interest to do so.

The proposed regulations for the next 2021-27 Erasmus+ programme are still being discussed in the EU and have yet to be finalised. Future participation in EU programmes will be a subject of our negotiations on the future UK-EU relationship.

31st Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to encourage more home grown food production; and what assessment they have made of whether a policy akin to the Dig for Victory campaign during World War 2 would be effective.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain, as demonstrated throughout the Covid-19 response. Our high degree of food security is built on supply from diverse sources, strong domestic production as well as imports through stable trade routes. We produce 60% of all the food we need, and 74% of food which we can grow or rear in the UK for all or part of the year. These figures have changed little over the last 20 years.

Strong domestic food production is an important factor in our food security. The UK enjoys considerable self-sufficiency in food, with production to supply ratios of nearly 100 percent in poultry, carrots and swedes, and we also produce 88% of all the cereals that we need. In addition, UK consumers have access through international trade to food products that cannot be produced here, or at least not on a year-round basis. This supplements domestic production, and also ensures that any disruption from risks such as adverse weather or disease does not affect the UK's overall security of supply. The Government is also supporting farmers in England to become more efficient and has recently awarded grants of £48.5 million through the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund, helping boost productivity at this critical time.

Recognising the importance of food production, the Government has set out a legal obligation on the Government to produce an assessment of our food security at least once every three years. The first UK Food Security Report was published in December 2021. It recognised the contribution made by British farmers to our resilience, and the importance of strong domestic production to our food security. This report will serve as an evidence base for future policy work.

With regard to the Noble Lord’s question on Dig for Victory, the Government is not considering the introduction of this type of mass civilian food production campaign at this time. However, the Government has recently announced a number of steps it is taking to support farmers ahead of the growing season. Farmers are facing rising costs in inputs, including manufactured fertiliser prices, which we know has an impact on the productivity and profit of farms in this country. The Government’s measures include new slurry guidance and new slurry storage grants, a delay in planned changes to urea usage, and further details of the early rollout of the Sustainable Farming Incentive and opening of more farming grants worth more than £20 million to support farming R&D and productivity. The Government will also continue to work with farmers and growers, including through a newly created fertiliser roundtable, to identify solutions and better understanding of current pressures on farmers.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the impact of climate change on global food production, and (2) the potential for mass migration from areas where food supply has failed owing to climate change.

1) The Climate Change Committee's Independent Assessment of UK Climate Risk (CRIA) offers a detailed and up to date insight into the growing risks and opportunities the UK faces from climate change. The report provides evidence for risks to UK food availability, safety, and quality from the impact of climate change on global food production and supply chains.

The CRIA will inform our third UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA), due for publication in January 2022, which states our position relative to such advice and marks the formal end of the third CCRA cycle. This evidence will be indispensable in informing greater action and ambition in the third National Adaptation Programme (a five-yearly requirement under the UK Climate Change Act 2008), which will set out how the government will address climate risks.

In the 2021 policy paper "Global Britain in a Competitive Age: the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy", the Government made tackling climate change and biodiversity loss its number one international priority.

(2) The UK recognises the need to better understand the complex links between migration, climate change and environmental degradation to inform our policy and action. The Government has commissioned an assessment of existing evidence of how climate change impacts migration to support this dialogue.

The UK is also supporting countries with adaptation and resilience planning through major international climate funds such as the Green Climate Fund and programme funding.[1]

We are fulfilling our pledge to attain the goals of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction through our contributions to the Risk-informed Early Action Partnership. Through this, the UK is leading the way in scaling up early-warning systems to make 1 billion people safer from disaster by 2025.

We have also supported the efforts for the establishment of a High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement, which will look at climate change as a compounding factor contributing to internal displacement. The High-Level Panel submitted a report to the United Nations Secretary General in September with recommendations on how to resolve and prevent further displacement, including through adaption.

[1] We also fund Climate Investment Funds and Global Environmental Facility.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) how HGV drivers’ average earnings in the UK compare to those in the rest of Europe, and (2) how many European HGV drivers are likely to apply to the temporary visa scheme to work in the UK; and what steps they are taking to incentivise take-up of the scheme.

4700 visas will be available for HGV drivers delivering food ahead of Christmas 2021. Defra is not going to provide a running commentary on scheme take-up. However, industry engagement has been positive.

Defra continues to work with other Government departments and industries and has already taken action to support the road haulage sector with measures to help to attract new drivers, simplify training, and to encourage people to return to or stay in the industry. The Government encourages all sectors to make employment more attractive to UK domestic workers through offering training, careers options, attractive wages and good working conditions.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that the UK is prepared for sustained periods of unusually high temperatures.

Adapting to current and predicted changes to our climate is vital across the economy, including preparing for extremes. There are a range of activities we are taking across government to manage and prepare for the impacts of high temperatures, including in the health and built environment sectors. These include adapting our health systems to protect people against the impacts of overheating, such as ensuring all clinical areas in NHS Trusts have appropriate thermal monitoring.

The Heatwave Plan for England aims to protect public health from heat-related harms and is supported by the Heat-Health Alert Early Warning System. This is run by Public Health England (PHE) in collaboration with the Met Office. These form part of the Heatwave and Summer preparedness programme, led by PHE, which became operational on 1 June 2021. Heat-Health Alerts are cascaded through the health and care system, including National Health Service providers and commissioners, social care and local government.

The Extreme Heat National Severe Weather Warning Service (NSWWS) was also launched on 1 June 2021 to warn the public and emergency responders whenever a severe or prolonged hot weather episode is forecast.

Overheating in buildings has been highlighted as a key risk for the health and productivity of people in the United Kingdom. Through the Future Buildings Standard consultation, the Government, led by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, has proposed a new overheating mitigation requirement to reduce the risk of overheating in new residential buildings. The Future Buildings Standard consultation was launched on 19 January 2021 and closed on 13 April 2021. We plan to regulate later this year.

Defra, its agencies and partners are also preparing for the impacts of climate change on the natural environment, including from high temperatures. For example, Natural England and the RSPB’s updated Adaptation Manual (2020) addresses issues associated with high temperatures for freshwater species and habitats, and the role of riparian trees in keeping rivers cool.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to introduce a shelf-labelling scheme to inform customers of the food items that are most needed in food banks.

Food banks are independent, charitable organisations and the UK Government does not have any role in their operation. Decisions about shelf-labelling are therefore a matter for food bank providers.

12th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 13 November 2020 (HC112026), what impact has been made by the winter support package; and whether there is an increasing need for support regarding food insecurity.

Throughout the pandemic, the Government has sought to protect jobs and incomes. This includes through the furlough scheme, which has now been extended until September 2021, and by spending billions on strengthening welfare support and ensuring the most vulnerable can meet their basic needs. This additional support includes increases to the Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit standard allowances of up to £1,040 this financial year, and uplifts to the Local Housing Allowance rates to cover the lowest 30% of market rents.

Tackling poverty in all its forms is a key priority for this Government. We are committed to helping people with the cost of living and providing a safety net for those that need it through our well-established social security systems. Building on the significant support given to the most vulnerable during the initial months of the pandemic, the Government has also delivered a winter support programme to support the economically vulnerable. This package included increasing the value of Healthy Start Vouchers, the national rollout of the Holiday Activities and Food programme, and a £170 million Covid Winter Support Grant to local authorities which started in December to support households with food and other essential costs.

The winter package also included £16 million of funding for Defra to support food charities with the purchasing and distribution of food to the vulnerable over a 16-week period starting from the beginning of December. This funding stream is being managed by the food redistributor FareShare

Defra will also continue to monitor food insecurity. As part of the Agriculture Act the Government has committed to lay a report on food security before Parliament by the last sitting day of 2021 and at least once every three years thereafter.

The report will cover a range of current issues relevant to food security including: global food availability; supply sources for food; the resilience of the supply chain for food; household expenditure on food; food safety; and consumer confidence in food.

1st Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much money they estimate was provided by the European Economic Community to support agriculture in Wales in 1991; and how much such money was provided by the EU in (1) 2000, (2) 2010, and (3) 2019.

The following estimated amounts to support agriculture were paid by the Welsh Office Agriculture Department / Welsh Government under Common Agricultural Policy schemes in the years shown:

- 1991 £42.757 million;

- 2000 £175.620 million;

- 2010 £321.185 million;

- 2019 £318.311 million.

The above figures exclude market measures paid for the whole of the UK by the Intervention Board / Rural Payments Agency.

25th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to make sure there is sufficient stock in shops.

The Government has well-established ways of working with the food industry during disruption to supply situations. Our retailers already have highly resilient supply chains and they are working around the clock to ensure people have the food and products they need. The industry has adapted quickly to changes in demand, and food supply into and across the UK is resilient.

To help the industry, the Government has already introduced new measures to keep food supply flowing. We have temporarily relaxed elements of competition law to enable supermarkets to work more closely together to ensure people can access the products they need. Food retailers are now able to share data on their stock levels, cooperate to keep stores open and share staff, distribution depots and delivery vehicles. This is helping keep shops open and staffed and better able to meet high demand. Guidance has been issued to local authorities to show flexibility to allow extended delivery hours to supermarkets to ensure shelves can be replenished more quickly. The Transport Secretary has also announced a temporary and limited relaxation of the drivers’ hours rules so that more goods can be delivered to every store every day. We welcome the actions that the industry is taking, including hiring more staff, and prioritising delivery slots for those that need them most.

Representatives of our leading supermarkets have asked customers to shop considerately and we echo their call. Retailers have provided reassurance that there is plenty of stock available if people shop considerately and buy only what they need.

We are grateful for the extensive support and positive collaboration that the industry has shown. We should be proud of all those across the country who are working tirelessly to make sure people have the food they need.

9th Mar 2020
To ask the Senior Deputy Speaker what support is available to support new House of Lords and bicameral staff to learn English.

The House of Lords Administration has partnered with the House of Commons to offer an English Language course to staff of both Houses and bicameral staff. The programme is provided by West London College and runs for 13 weeks, from 10 January 2020 to 3 April 2020. The Administration has marketed this course to staff in Property and Office and Catering & Retail Services where there is high representation of people for whom English is not their first language. Depending on evaluation of the course, it may run again in 2020.

27th Jul 2020
To ask the Senior Deputy Speaker what arrangements are in place to ensure that House of Lords staff with pre-existing health conditions are protected from COVID-19 if they return to work in the office after the summer recess.

The Administration continues to work with Public Health England to maintain Parliament’s status as a COVID-19-secure workplace. A risk assessment process has also been put in place to enable the Administration to consider and act on risks to employees who may be returning to the parliamentary estate.

23rd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the letter from the First Secretary of State to the Chair of the House of Commons International Development Committee on 22 July, whether the decision to reduce the international aid budget by £2.9 billion this year will affect their commitment to maintain the international aid budget at 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income when the Department for International Development is merged with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

This Government is committed to spending 0.7% of GNI on Official Development Assistance which is enshrined in law. The future funding of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office will be subject to the conclusions of the upcoming Integrated Review and the Spending Review.

14th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what information they collect about conditions in refugee camps outside the UK; and what assessment they have made of those conditions.

The UK does not itself undertake primary data collection on conditions in refugee camps. We are a major supporter of UN High Commission for Refugees, the UN’s refugee agency, which is mandated with the protection of refugees. UNHCR undertakes regular assessments of the standards of living and conditions in camps against a set of standards agreed with partners. The Department for International Development rigorously monitors the performance of UK partners in specific refugee responses, including against information on living conditions in camps compiled and provided by UNHCR.

1st Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government why moral considerations are not included in the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria used to assess arms export licence applications.

The Consolidated Criteria provide a thorough risk assessment framework and require us to consider the possible impact of providing equipment and its capabilities. HM Government will not grant an export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
9th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the decision by the government of the United States to end arms sales to Saudi Arabia; and what plans they have to do the same.

The US announced it would end support to Saudi-led offensive operations in Yemen, including relevant defence exports. This is entirely a matter for the US Government.

Our position on arms exports to Saudi Arabia – as with all countries – is that such exports require an export licence and that all export licence applications are carefully assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the “Consolidated Criteria”) on a case-by-case basis. A licence would not be granted if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
26th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the level of influence that the UK electorate will have over new trade deals.

HM Government will always negotiate Free Trade Agreements that best serve the interests of Britain’s businesses, consumers and communities.

As champions of the British people, Parliamentarians have a key role to play in our new independent trade policy. That is why HM Government is engaging with Parliament – and others from across the country – at all stages of our trade negotiations with Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Our approach provides for strong levels of scrutiny when compared to similar parliamentary democracies and is appropriate to our constitutional arrangements.

The Department for International Trade will continue to make sure that future Free Trade Agreements are negotiated and implemented subject to such scrutiny, whilst protecting the national interest.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
7th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the value of UK arms sales to Yemen in (1) 2017, and (2) 2019.

Although defence and security export statistics by region are published annually on GOV.UK, they do not separately identify data relating to individual countries.

The Government publishes official statistics about export licences granted and refused each quarter. The data currently includes details of licences up to 31 March 2020. Data for the period 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2020 was published on 13 October 2020. The data can be accessed on GOV.UK.

Licences granted are not necessarily a measure of exports shipped in a given period as they are valid for between two and five years. Licensing data only provides a partial indication of sales as exporters only declare export values for a subsection of licences (Standard Individual Export Licences). Some licences expire before they are used and, in these circumstances, exporters must submit a further application, which can result in an element of double counting. All UK export licence applications are assessed rigorously against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing criteria.

Export values declared for Standard Individual Export Licences for military exports granted to Yemen in 2017 and 2019 are as follows:

Year

Value (£)

2017

£21,150

2019

£0

It is also the case that there is a partial arms embargo on Yemen. The embargo applies only to designated individuals and entities.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
7th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the value of UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia in (1) 2017, and (2) 2019.

Although defence and security export statistics by region are published annually on GOV.UK, they do not separately identify data relating to individual countries.

The Government publishes official statistics about export licences granted and refused each quarter. The data currently includes details of licences up to 31 March 2020. Data for the period 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2020 was published on 13 October 2020. The data can be accessed on GOV.UK.

It should be noted that licences granted are not necessarily a measure of sales or exports shipped in a given period as they are valid for between two and five years. Licensing data only provides a partial indication of sales as exporters only declare export values for a subsection of licences (Standard Individual Export Licences). Some licences expire before they are used and, in these circumstances, exporters must submit a further application, which can result in an element of double counting. All UK export licence applications are assessed rigorously against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing criteria.

Export values declared for Standard Individual Export Licences for military exports granted to Saudi Arabia in 2017 and 2019 are as follows:

Year

Value (£)

2017

£ 1,133,477,661

2019

£ 638,236,675

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government why they are proposing that Parliament should not ratify future trade deals after the UK leaves the EU trading bloc on the 31 December.

This is not the case. All treaties that require ratification are subject to the scrutiny procedures laid out in the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010.

Further, the constitutional arrangements of the United Kingdom mean international treaties cannot themselves amend domestic legislation. Should any changes to our law be needed to implement a future Free Trade Agreement, legislation will need to be scrutinised and passed by Parliament in the usual way.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have any plans for Parliament to ratify future trade deals involving the NHS; and if they have no such plans, why.

Trade is vital for the NHS, which relies heavily on crucial goods and services that come wholly, or in part, from suppliers based overseas. Trade enables the NHS to buy the best possible medicines and medical devices that industry – here and overseas – has to offer.

At the same time, Britain’s international public procurement commitments do not apply to the procurement of British healthcare services. In fact, Britain’s public services are protected by specific exclusions, exceptions and reservations in the trade agreements to which we are party, and HM Government will continue to make sure that the same rigorous protections are included in future trade agreements.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
25th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government to which countries in the Middle East they sell arms.

Arms exports require an export licence. As outlined in my response to the Noble Lord on 22 June, UIN:HL5414, HM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) about export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK, including those for exports to the Middle East. These reports contain information including the overall value, type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
15th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with companies in Denmark and Germany about setting up manufacturing bases for insulin in the UK.

The Government is keen to attract companies to set up manufacturing facilities in the UK across the Life Sciences sector. However, we have not had any discussions with companies in Denmark and Germany about setting up manufacturing bases for insulin in the UK as we are not aware of any companies from these countries who have such plans.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
8th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their policy regarding the sale of arms to the United States of America.

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.

All countries are under continual review, in line with the Consolidated Criteria, and my Department is able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require.

We do not hold complete records based on shipments of items exported to the United States or any country, although we do hold some information based on the value of licences granted for Standard Individual Export Licences (SIELs). The Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) about export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK. These reports contain information including the overall value, type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences. This information is available at: www.gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data.

The most recent publication was in April 2020, on licences issued until the end of December 2019. Quarterly reports are available from 2008 onwards.

Records from 1997–2007 are available in the United Kingdom Strategic Export Controls Annual Report, laid each year and placed within the libraries of the House.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
8th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what types of arms are currently sold to the United States.

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.

All countries are under continual review, in line with the Consolidated Criteria, and my Department is able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require.

We do not hold complete records based on shipments of items exported to the United States or any country, although we do hold some information based on the value of licences granted for Standard Individual Export Licences (SIELs). The Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) about export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK. These reports contain information including the overall value, type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences. This information is available at: www.gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data.

The most recent publication was in April 2020, on licences issued until the end of December 2019. Quarterly reports are available from 2008 onwards.

Records from 1997–2007 are available in the United Kingdom Strategic Export Controls Annual Report, laid each year and placed within the libraries of the House.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
8th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the value of arms sold to the United States in (1) 1990; (2) 2000; (3) 2010; and (4) 2018.

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.

All countries are under continual review, in line with the Consolidated Criteria, and my Department is able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require.

We do not hold complete records based on shipments of items exported to the United States or any country, although we do hold some information based on the value of licences granted for Standard Individual Export Licences (SIELs). The Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) about export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK. These reports contain information including the overall value, type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences. This information is available at: www.gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data.

The most recent publication was in April 2020, on licences issued until the end of December 2019. Quarterly reports are available from 2008 onwards.

Records from 1997–2007 are available in the United Kingdom Strategic Export Controls Annual Report, laid each year and placed within the libraries of the House.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
8th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government to which countries the UK exports arms.

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.

All countries are under continual review, in line with the Consolidated Criteria, and my Department is able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require.

We do not hold complete records based on shipments of items exported to the United States or any country, although we do hold some information based on the value of licences granted for Standard Individual Export Licences (SIELs). The Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) about export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK. These reports contain information including the overall value, type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences. This information is available at: www.gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data.

The most recent publication was in April 2020, on licences issued until the end of December 2019. Quarterly reports are available from 2008 onwards.

Records from 1997–2007 are available in the United Kingdom Strategic Export Controls Annual Report, laid each year and placed within the libraries of the House.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
7th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans, if any, they have to encourage rail companies to allow Ukrainian refugees to travel free of charge on UK rail networks.

The Department for Transport is considering what can be offered to Ukrainian refugees by way of free rail travel, along with other Government initiatives.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what data they hold on the effectiveness of the MOT in preventing road accidents.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) collects data on the proportion of vehicles presented for MOT tests that fail, as well as the most common defects that are detected. Last year, 29.9% of vehicles failed their MOT test for ‘major’ or ‘dangerous’ defects, that is, those defects most likely to have an impact on road safety. The MOT test ensures that vehicles with such defects cannot be driven legally, and is an important part of ensuring that vehicles on our roads are safe. The vast majority of road accidents are caused by driver error. Estimates are that only around 2% of accidents are directly caused by mechanical vehicle defects.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had about an underwater tunnel connecting Holyhead and Dublin; and which (1) ministers, and (2) civil service teams, have been involved in any such discussions.

As part of the Union Connectivity Review (UCR), independently chaired by Sir Peter Hendy CBE, an assessment will be made on the feasibility of a fixed transport link between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This study will solely focus on the technical viability of such a construction and will outline an estimation of its potential costs and timescales.

As with the wider UCR, the Fixed Link Feasibility Study is independent of Government and is being led by Professor Douglas Oakervee CBE and Professor Gordon Masterton OBE, with support from a dedicated engineering function.

As with any assessment at this early stage, it is important to consider the broad range of options, so a route between Holyhead and Dublin is being assessed as a comparator. Since this route is not the main focus of the study, only high-level discussions around it have taken place. These have been facilitated by the independent technical team leading the study.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to safeguard the Holyhead to London line as part of the proposed reorganisation of Rail Services in England .

On 20th May, Government published Great British Railways: The Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail – a blueprint for a more customer focused, reliable and growing railway. The biggest reform and simplification of our railways in 30 years will bring “track and train” together under single national leadership in a new public body – Great British Railways – accountable to ministers. Great British Railways will own the infrastructure, collect fare revenue, run and plan the network, set the timetable and most fares.

As set out in The Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, a joint working agreement between Transport for Wales and Great British Railways will be explored to improve the rail offer in Wales.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
17th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what changes are being made to improve traffic conditions at the port of Holyhead; and what changes are being made in the surrounding area in order to improve access to the port.

The Union Connectivity Review, led by Sir Peter Hendy CBE is focusing on improving transport connectivity between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The review is carefully considering and evaluating all strategically significant routes across the UK, including access to ports such as Holyhead.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to encourage (1) banks, and (2) the holiday and travel sector, to pay refunds to customers whose holidays were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government recognises that businesses have legal obligations to ensure consumers are fairly compensated when cancellations occur. We have put in place a wide range of financial support to help businesses manage cashflow to enable timely refunds to consumers. Most are trying to arrange refunds due to Covid-19, where appropriate. However, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has created a Covid-19 taskforce to allow reporting and to take appropriate enforcement action, if there is evidence that any business is behaving unfairly during the pandemic.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assistance they provide to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is very proud of its independence from HM Government, that its lifeboat service is provided through volunteers and supported through public donations and subscriptions. The RNLI has not sought assistance from HM Government to support its lifeboat services.

During the current pandemic the RNLI have drawn on both the Furlough (UK) and Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (Ireland) allowing them to claim most of the staff costs for people whose activities have paused. In addition, the RNLI have also applied for business grant applications for their shops.

The RNLI works closely with HM Coastguard who are the tasking authority for maritime and coastal search and rescue. They have a long association of working together to provide assistance to persons in distress around the coast of the UK.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
26th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to compensate (1) Holyhead Port, (2) Pembroke Dock, and (3) Fishguard Port, for any local economic decline because of a reduction in ferry crossings due to the UK’s departure from the EU.

The UK-EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement delivers for the whole of the United Kingdom and provides for streamlined customs arrangements to support the smooth flow of goods at the border. We will continue to work closely with traders to ensure that exporters understand the requirements they need to meet to continue trading with the EU. There is a period of adjustment for some businesses and whilst that occurs this may account for any initial reductions to freight flows on these and other UK routes, already affected by Covid19 restrictions. There are no plans for compensation for any ports as a result of this.

Welsh ports, and Holyhead in particular, will continue to be critical routes to and from the Republic of Ireland and continental Europe irrespective of direct links for haulage between Ireland and France. The land bridge route has significant advantages for hauliers over maritime routes and the Government is confident that Welsh ports will continue to thrive as we build on the opportunities provided by being an independent trading nation.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
26th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effect of the UK’s departure from the EU on ferry crossings from Ireland to Welsh ports since 1 January.

Government continues to monitor traffic on ferry routes into and out of the UK, including Wales – Ireland routes. There have been changes to traffic, including some initial reductions on these routes compared to prior year figures. However, freight movements and businesses involved in international trade are early in the period of adjustment to a new customs and border regime, which may have impacted on volumes in the short term, but it is too early to identify any longer term trends.

Welsh ports, and Holyhead in particular, will continue to be critical routes to and from the Republic of Ireland and continental Europe, irrespective of direct links for haulage between Ireland and France. The land bridge route has significant advantages for hauliers over maritime routes and the Government is confident that Welsh ports will continue to thrive as we build on the opportunities provided by being an independent trading nation.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the UK’s departure from the EU, what plans they have to amend regulations concerning diabetic motorists.

The Secretary of State for Transport’s Honorary Medical Advisory Panel on Driving and Diabetes provides advice on the medical standards in regard to diabetes and safe driving. There are no current plans to change the medical standards for driving with diabetes which would require a change to regulations.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to mitigate any economic impact resulting from Stena Line’s cancellation of Irish Sea sailings.

The Department is aware of the sharp drop in ferry passengers resulting from the Covid-19 lockdowns. Currently, there are no plans in place to respond to Stena Line's cancellation of Irish Sea sailings. Generally, ferry operators adjust their schedules in response to demand and Stena Line has acted accordingly in this case. The demand is being kept under review and we expect the sailing to be reinstated when demand increases again.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what (1) toilet, (2) refreshment, and (3) other arrangements they have made for lorry drivers delayed by the closure of English Channel ports.

The Department for Transport is providing catering, toilet and medical facilities for hauliers who are directed to the Manston and Sevington sites. In the event of significant disruption on the M20, the Kent Resilience Forum (KRF) may take the decision to activate their Driver Welfare Plan, which includes the proportionate distribution of welfare at the roadside. Both the Department and the KRF monitor the situation closely and have the capability to increase the provision of welfare depending on the scale of demand. This was demonstrated in the response to the extreme traffic disruption that occurred over the Christmas period due to the closure of the French border.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what additional (1) toilet, (2) refreshment, and (3) rest, arrangements they have made for individuals, including bus passengers, in preparation for any increased traffic (a) to, and (b) from, ports in the UK.

We have worked with Local Resilience Forums across the UK to help them prepare for the end of the Transition Period. In particular the Kent Resilience Forum have a Driver Welfare plan, which is for both freight and non-freight traffic.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they anticipate that there will be additional lorries arriving at the Port of Holyhead from 1 January 2021; and where they plan for any additional lorries to park.

Transport policy is devolved and is a matter for the Welsh Government. The Department for Transport is working closely with and supporting the Cabinet Office’s Border and Protocol Delivery Group on delivering the required preparations for the end of the transition period. The Government has committed to spending £470m on new border infrastructure to support ports in building extra capacity to meet the new control requirements where there is space to do so, and, if necessary, to build additional inland sites across the country where checks can take place. The Port Infrastructure Fund will support ports in preparing for any potential disruptions that may occur at the end of the transition period. All ports which submitted bids for the PIF have been informed of the outcome. Holyhead will be served by an HMG-provided inland border controls area.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on job losses of the withdrawal of ferry services between Ireland and (1) Holyhead, (2) Fishguard, and (3) Pembroke Dock.

Ferry services between Ireland and the ports of Holyhead and Fishguard are a matter for the respective Irish and Welsh governments. There have been no direct discussions with Irish Ferries concerning services between Ireland and Pembroke Dock which is part of the Port of Milford Haven. Milford Haven is a reserved major Trust Port.

However, the Department has had regular engagement with the full breath of the maritime sector including ferry operators and Trade Unions. Any operational decisions that could cause potential job losses are regrettable and the Department will continue to engage relevant parties. However, the impact of the global pandemic has created significant challenges and the Department recognises that operators have to make difficult commercial decisions.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
29th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support those who are at higher risk from COVID-19 and may not be entitled to a refund for a booked holiday that they wish to cancel on health grounds.

Consumers who are shielding due to underlying health conditions should discuss options for a refund or a credit note with their travel provider, or consider a claim through their travel insurance. Government have urged businesses to act fairly in this unprecedented situation. The CAA as the regulator actively monitors airline performance on protecting consumer rights and takes appropriate action where that is not satisfactory.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
29th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that vessels from the Republic of Ireland have access to the port of (1) Fishguard, and (2) Holyhead, following the end of the transition period.

Vessels will continue to be able to sail between the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain, or on any other shipping route, after the end of the transition period. No additional steps need to be taken and vessels will therefore continue to have access to the ports of Fishguard and Holyhead as currently.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of questions for written answer tabled by members of the House of Lords that have not been answered within the required timeframe; and why those questions have not yet received an answer.

As of 30th July, there have been 7,372 QWAs tabled this session in comparison, a total of 6,266 QWAs were tabled in the whole of 2019. All departments have been working extremely hard in difficult and unprecedented circumstances. My office is in regular contact with departments about late responses. Additionally, I remind my ministerial colleagues of the need to provide timely answers to written questions and have received assurances that any backlogs are being worked through.

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what agreement they have reached, if any, with the EU to resolve regulatory differences with regard to driving hours for truck drivers travelling from mainland Europe to the UK.

Commercial road vehicles in use on UK roads are expected to meet roadworthiness standards, be suitably loaded and have their drivers’ hours controlled to ensure road safety standards are maintained. We will continue to enforce these standards in a non-discriminatory way with regard to UK/non-UK operators and expect that European Union Member States will continue to act in a similar manner. Discussions are continuing towards a future UK/EU free trade agreement, including international commercial road transport.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what agreement they have reached, if any, with the EU to resolve regulatory differences with regard to overloading of vehicles for truck drivers travelling from mainland Europe to the UK.

Commercial road vehicles in use on UK roads are expected to meet roadworthiness standards, be suitably loaded and have their drivers’ hours controlled to ensure road safety standards are maintained. We will continue to enforce these standards in a non-discriminatory way with regard to UK/non-UK operators and expect that European Union Member States will continue to act in a similar manner. Discussions are continuing towards a future UK/EU free trade agreement, including international commercial road transport.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what agreement they have reached, if any, with the EU to resolve regulatory differences with regard to vehicle roadworthiness for truck drivers travelling from mainland Europe to the UK.

Commercial road vehicles in use on UK roads are expected to meet roadworthiness standards, be suitably loaded and have their drivers’ hours controlled to ensure road safety standards are maintained. We will continue to enforce these standards in a non-discriminatory way with regard to UK/non-UK operators and expect that European Union Member States will continue to act in a similar manner. Discussions are continuing towards a future UK/EU free trade agreement, including international commercial road transport.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
16th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many extra (1) trucks, and (2) other vehicles, they estimate will be using the A55 from Holyhead after 31 December.

The Department has not made such estimates, and in any case, roads are a devolved matter. Changes in traffic volumes on the road network in Wales (including on the A55) is a matter for the Welsh Government.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with (1) the Welsh Government, (2) the Isle of Anglesey County Council, and (3) any other organisations, about the future of (a) Irish Sea crossings, and (b) access to the EU, from the port of Holyhead.

There has been, and there will continue to be, frequent liaison between Government Departments, the Welsh Government and other interested parties regarding access to Ireland and access to other EU Member States.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
31st Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether the current level of benefits is sufficient to meet the rising costs of living.

The Secretary of State undertakes an annual review of benefits and pensions using the Consumer Prices Index in the year to September. This is the latest figure that the Secretary of State can use to allow sufficient time for the required legislative and operational changes before new rates can be introduced at the start of the following April. All benefit up-rating since April 1987 has been based on the increase in the relevant price inflation index in the 12 months to the previous September.

The government understands the pressures people are facing with the cost of living. These are global challenges, and the government has taken action to support families with help worth over £22 billion in 2022-23.

The £22bn of extra support includes the £9.1bn energy package, the Universal Credit taper rate reduction from 63% to 55%, the increase in the Universal Credit work allowance by £500 per annum and the doubling of the Household Support Fund to £1bn by providing an extra £500 million from April 2022, on top of the £500 million already provided since October 2021.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what impact assessment they carried out ahead of the cessation of the Universal Credit uplift on 6 October.

No Impact Assessment has been made of ending the Universal Credit Uplift, as it was always intended to be temporary.

The Chancellor announced a temporary six-month extension to the £20 per week uplift at the Budget on 3 March to support households affected by the economic shock of Covid-19. Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and the temporary uplift was part of a COVID support package worth a total of £407 billion in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

There have been significant positive developments in the public health situation since the uplift was first introduced. With the success of the vaccine rollout and record job vacancies, it is right that our focus is on helping people back into work.

Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes of people of all ages to help them prepare for, get into and progress in work. These include: Kickstart, delivering tens of thousands of six-month work placements for Universal Credit claimants aged 16-24 at risk of unemployment; we have also recruited an additional 13,500 work coaches to provide more intensive support to find a job; and introduced Restart which provides 12 months’ intensive employment support to Universal Credit claimants who are unemployed for a year. Our Plan for Jobs interventions will support more than two million people.

We recognise that some people continue to require extra support, which is why we have introduced a £421 million Household Support Fund to help vulnerable people in England with essential household costs over the winter as the economy recovers. The Barnett Formula will apply in the usual way, with the devolved administrations receiving around £80 million (£41m for the Scottish Government, £25m for the Welsh Government and £14m for the NI Executive), for a total of £500 million.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the extent of food price rises in the event of the UK and the EU not agreeing a deal on their future relationship; and what plans they have, if any, to increase pensions and other benefits to help people to cover these costs.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions is required by law to conduct an annual review of benefit and pension rates to determine whether they have retained their value in relation to the general level of prices or, in some cases, earnings. The measure used for prices is the Consumer Price Index, which measures the aggregate change in prices of a sample of items that represent the spending patterns of a typical household, including food items.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to maintain the £20 increase to the weekly standard allowance of Universal Credit, made during the COVID-19 pandemic, indefinitely.

The Government introduced a package of temporary welfare measures worth around £9.3 billion this year to help with the financial consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. This included the £20 weekly increase to the Universal Credit Standard Allowance rates as a temporary measure for the 20/21 tax year.

Future decisions on spending will be made at the next appropriate fiscal event, and Parliament will be updated accordingly.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they provide to low-income families to help pay for the funeral costs of family members who have died of COVID-19.

For those in receipt of income related benefits or tax credits, the Funeral Expense Payments scheme can offer a significant contribution to the cost of a funeral. The scheme meets the necessary costs of a burial or cremation in full, and additionally offers up to £1000 to meet other funeral expenses. The value of this additional element was raised from £700 to £1000 on 8 April this year, offering additional help at this particularly difficult time.

Budgeting Loans or Universal Credit budgeting advances can also be used for funeral expenses.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government why (1) payments from the Armed Forces Pension Scheme, and (2) War Pension payments to cover the costs of injuries arising from service, are treated as income when being assessed for Universal Credit.

Payments made under the War Pension Scheme or the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme are not taken into account as income in Universal Credit.

Income-related benefits already partially disregard War Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation Scheme payments for injuries and bereavement. With the introduction of Universal Credit, we have gone a step further, and have ensured that War Pensions and all Armed Forces Compensation Scheme payments are fully disregarded in the assessment of income for Universal Credit.

All other regular, occupational and personal pension payments, that are designed to provide support to help people meet their living costs, are taken fully into account in the assessment of entitlement to Universal Credit.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that no one resident in the UK will suffer hardship with which they cannot cope in the next year.

This Government’s current focus is on supporting people whose finances have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including through income protection schemes, mortgage holidays and additional support for renters.

For those most in need, we have injected more than £6.5 billion into the welfare system, increasing Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit by over £1,000 for this financial year. We have also increased Local Housing Allowance rates - putting an average of £600 into people’s pockets.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what public funds are available to those who have no recourse to ordinary benefits.

Non-UK nationals and family members who are issued with a residence permit with a No Recourse to Public Funds condition are not eligible to access taxpayer-funded benefits such as Universal Credit, Child Benefit or housing assistance for the duration of their leave. Public funds do not include contributions-based benefits and the State Pension. The Department has no powers to award taxpayer-funded benefits to an individual whose Home Office immigration status specifies no recourse to public funds. The Home Office determine whether persons granted leave to enter or remain in the UK are eligible to access public funds.

However, as part of its response to COVID-19, the Government announced in the Budget on 11 March that it would provide local authorities in England with £500 million of new grant funding to support economically vulnerable people and households in their local area.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what long term proposals they have to tackle any unemployment resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

We know this is a worrying time for people and we stand ready to support anyone impacted by job loss. In response to COVID-19 we have established an alternative service to our usual face-to-face offer. People will be able to access redundancy help and job search advice on the Department’s new Job Help campaign website (www.jobhelp.dwp.gov.uk). There is also information on gov.uk and updated information packs provided to employers to help them signpost employees to the support that is available. The support includes:

  • connecting people to jobs in the labour market;
  • helping with job search including CV writing, interview skills, where to find jobs and how to apply for them;
  • helping to identify transferable skills and skills gaps (linked to the local labour market); and
  • advising what benefits they may get and how to claim.

The Rapid Response Service is co-ordinated nationally by the National Employer and Partnership Team and managed by Jobcentre Plus. Delivery partners include the National Careers Service, local training providers, employers, HM Revenue & Customs, Money Advice Service and the skills bodies in England.

These services are offered by equivalents in the Devolved Administrations: PACE (Scotland) and ReAct (Wales). Redundancy support in Northern Ireland is devolved with separate funding and delivery arrangements where no partner support is available

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide support (1) now, and (2) in the future, to those most financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic

Households receiving Universal Credit and tax credits will benefit straight away from the increase of £20 a week in the standard allowances which was announced on 20 March, meaning claimants will be up to £1040 better off. New claimants who have either become unemployed, or whose earnings or work hours have decreased because of the outbreak, will benefit too; subject to their eligibility.

We have also made a number of changes to legacy and other working age benefits in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including increasing certain entitlements, such as Local Housing Allowance, lifting rates to the 30th percentile from April 2020 which will increase the housing support available and reduce shortfalls for those renting in the private rented sector. Up-to-date information about the employment and benefits support available, including Universal Credit, Statutory Sick Pay, New style Jobseeker’s Allowance, and Employment and Support Allowance, can be found here: https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/employment-and-benefits-support/

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the benefits being made available to employees as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are available to those who were on zero-hours contracts and whose employment has ceased.

The Government is committed to supporting people through this unprecedented time. We have introduced a number of measures, including the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), as well as ensuring Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is payable from day 1, to ensure people are supported.

Unemployed people who are not eligible for SSP or CJRS, may be able to claim Universal Credit (UC), ‘new style’ Jobseeker’s Allowance, or ‘new style’ Employment and Support Allowance, and this will include those people who are self-isolating in accordance with government guidelines.

People on zero hour contracts who are already claiming UC do not need to take any actions, as UC will auto adjust to represent the income received within that assessment period.

More information about the support available during the Covid-19 outbreak is available at: www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are stockpiling COVID-19 tests in advance of any new variant becoming prevalent; and if so, whether they will be in a position to reinstate free tests for the public in such circumstances.

The Government has retained the ability to reinstate widespread COVID-19 testing in the event of a new, serious variant. This includes a stock of lateral flow device tests and increasing testing capacity in laboratories and delivery channels. A decision on how these contingency arrangements would be used and who would be provided with free tests, would be made in view of the circumstances and the risks posed by the variant.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that people who have family members with terminal illness will be eligible for free lateral flow tests after 1 April.

From 1 April 2022, free universal access to lateral flow device tests for the public in England will end. We will continue to make testing available for a small number of at risk groups. Further details on eligible groups will be made available in due course.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether those individuals classed as high risk will still be able to obtain free lateral flow tests from 1 April; and if so, who will be considered high risk.

From 1 April 2022, free universal access to lateral flow device tests for the public in England will end. We will continue to make testing available for a small number of at risk groups. Further details on eligible groups will be made available in due course.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that Type 1 diabetics who would benefit from insulin pumps and glucose monitoring devices have access to these through the NHS.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends insulin pump therapy as an option for adults and children over the age of 12 years old with type 1 diabetes, provided that multiple-daily insulin therapy has already been tried to address specific problems related to glucose control. It also recommends that insulin pump therapy can be used for children younger than 12 years old with type 1 diabetes, provided specific criteria are met. Clinical commissioning groups are required to fund technologies recommended by NICE in its guidance.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the ending of COVID-19 restrictions in England before other areas of the UK.

The Government’s decision to end all COVID-19 restrictions in England has been informed by a wide range of scientific research and other evidence. The Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE) and its sub-groups provide advice which is used in decisions taken by Ministers, alongside economic, social and deliverability considerations. Recent advice from the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling sub-group has included medium term projections of the trajectory of the pandemic, assuming no future policy or behavioural changes and estimates of the extent to which all measures and behaviour change are currently reducing transmission.

Prevalence of COVID-19 in the population remains relatively level and case numbers and hospitalisations are falling. The proportion of infections resulting in hospitalisations is significantly lower than previous waves, with less than one per 100 infections compared to above four per 100 infections during the peak of the Alpha variant. The proportion of hospitalisations requiring the most critical care has remained low throughout the wave of the Omicron variant and has fallen even when infections and hospitalisations increased over the Christmas period. The Omicron variant is less severe and there are now high levels of immunity across the population due to vaccination and natural infection.

The Government works with the devolved administrations on the response to COVID-19. However, public health is a devolved matter and each of the devolved administrations determines its own policy with regard to restrictions. Therefore, no assessment of the impact of the ending of COVID-19 restrictions in England before other areas of the United Kingdom has been made.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they had with the governments of the devolved nations regarding the decisions to end COVID-19 restrictions in England.

There are ongoing discussions across multiple Government departments and the devolved administrations.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what guidance they provide to Government Ministers on wearing face coverings in crowded places with people they do not usually meet every day.

There is no separate guidance for the usage of facemasks worn by Government Ministers.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government which members of the Government benefitted financially either (1) directly, or (2) indirectly, through a benefit to a close friend or family member, from the provision of goods and services in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The information requested is not held by the Department. Regulation 24 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 requires contracting authorities to take appropriate measures to effectively prevent, identify and remedy conflicts of interest arising in the conduct of procurement procedures. The Department has robust rules and processes in place to ensure that conflicts of interest do not occur, including declaration from suppliers, publication of Ministerial interests and robust Departmental guidance.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether an additional £250 million a week has become available for the NHS since the UK's departure from the EU; and if so, whether they will provide a breakdown of how this has been spent.

Detail on overall National Health Service spending will be available in annual reports and accounts for 2020/21 in due course. In September an agreement was reached with Her Majesty’s Treasury to provide a further £15.7 billion to the NHS over three years from April 2022 to March 2025. This funding comes on top of the historic long-term settlement for the NHS, which will see NHS funding increase by £33.9 billion by 2023/24 and was announced prior to the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Aug 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of any evidence which suggests that wearing a face covering reduces the spread of viruses other than COVID-19.

The Government has not looked at the effectiveness of face coverings for reducing the spread of viruses other than COVID-19.

20th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government why they are introducing a requirement for proof of vaccination in some indoor spaces from September and not immediately; and what assessment they have made about (1) infection levels, and (2) transmissibility, to inform this decision.

Starting this requirement in September allows for all adults in the United Kingdom to be offered vaccination. Infection rates for fully vaccinated in those under 65 years old are three times lower than in the unvaccinated. There is now significant evidence that vaccines are effective at preventing infection and therefore will prevent transmission. There is also further evidence that even if vaccinated individuals become infected there is a reduced risk of transmission to others of approximately 40-45% after one dose.

19th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what the arrangements are for the COVID-19 pilot scheme in which Cabinet members may avoid self-isolating after being contact traced.

There are currently two pilot schemes on contact testing. The general public daily contact testing clinical study is a randomised control trial trialling at-home testing led by Public Health England. The workplace daily contact testing pilot evaluation scheme is evaluating the operational feasibility of daily contact testing in workplaces. The Cabinet Office is one of the 20 participating workplaces.

The general public daily contact testing study is comparing two approaches to routine testing of contacts. Participants in the ‘self-isolation’ group are given one polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test and must isolate for the full self-isolation period even if they receive a negative test result. Participants in the ‘daily testing’ group are given seven rapid lateral flow tests and can leave self-isolation for 24 hours if the test result is negative and also receive two PCR tests. Only participants in the daily testing group who continue to test negative and do not have symptoms are excused from the legal duty to self-isolate each day. Participants in the daily testing group have a legal duty to tell their employer that they are taking part in the study or if they cease to do so.

For the workplace daily contact testing pilot evaluation scheme, individuals who work at one of the participating workplaces who have been identified as a contact of someone with COVID-19 either in or outside the workplace but not within their own household, can opt to take part in daily contact testing. This involves daily lateral flow tests for each day they attend work for a period of seven days. Participants self-isolate until the first test is taken and if they test positive or they develop symptoms.

14th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people have been told to isolate through the NHS Track and Trace app only to (1) show no symptoms, and (2) not need hospitalisation.

The NHS COVID-19 app cannot be used to identify users, whether they showed symptoms or were hospitalised.

6th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the accuracy of the NHS COVID-19 contact tracing app in identifying close contacts with people who test positive for the virus.

The app uses Bluetooth Low Energy to understand the distance over time between people who have downloaded the app. If someone tests positive for COVID-19, the app’s risk-scoring algorithm uses this data, along with the infectiousness of the individual testing positive, to make calculations about the risk of transmission and who should receive an alert. If a notification to self-isolate is received, the user’s device has been in close proximity to the device of someone who has recently tested positive. For its ability to judge proximity, the app achieves ‘excellent’ performance by scientific standards.

Prior to the launch of the app it was tested in a range of environments, in order to evaluate its effectiveness at accurately measuring distance. The app has also been modelled in simulations involving hundreds of thousands of scenarios. The app performed as expected and we are confident that it can accurately detect distance in different settings. As Apple and Google develop aspects of the underlying contact tracing technology, they have also conducted their own tests related to accuracy.

7th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that accurate records of vaccination status are maintained where individuals receive a first COVID-19 vaccine in one part of the UK and a second vaccine in a different part of the country.

The National Immunisation Management System (NIMS) is used as the national register for COVID-19 vaccinations. At the point a COVID-19 vaccine is given, the vaccinating team record this information onto NIMS and a patient’s general practitioner (GP) record. NIMS sends daily updates to GP systems to update their local record and monitor progress for their patients.

Work is ongoing to transfer data between devolved health administrations to ensure that vaccinations which occur outside of the patient’s ‘home’ nation are delivered to their patient record.

17th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many GP medical practices in England are owned by US-based insurance and investment companies.

Information on general practitioner (GP) practice ownership is not held centrally. It is for local commissioners to arrange the provision of appropriate services, by contracting with providers, in order to best serve the needs of their patient population.

Legislation sets out which individuals and companies are eligible to hold contracts to provide primary medical services. Eligibility varies slightly between contract type but there is no distinction in the eligibility criteria between companies registered in the United Kingdom and those registered overseas.

All contract holders and providers of National Health Service core primary medical services are subject to the same requirements, regulation, and standards. Patients should receive high-quality NHS care when they need it, that is free at the point of use.

17th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to protect GP medical practices in England from being purchased by US-based companies.

Information on general practitioner (GP) practice ownership is not held centrally. It is for local commissioners to arrange the provision of appropriate services, by contracting with providers, in order to best serve the needs of their patient population.

Legislation sets out which individuals and companies are eligible to hold contracts to provide primary medical services. Eligibility varies slightly between contract type but there is no distinction in the eligibility criteria between companies registered in the United Kingdom and those registered overseas.

All contract holders and providers of National Health Service core primary medical services are subject to the same requirements, regulation, and standards. Patients should receive high-quality NHS care when they need it, that is free at the point of use.

13th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there are restrictions preventing GP practices from being sold to investors based outside of the UK.

Legislation sets out which individuals and companies are eligible to hold contracts to provide primary medical services. Eligibility varies slightly between contract type but there is no distinction in the eligibility criteria between companies registered in the United Kingdom and those registered overseas. All contract holders and providers of National Health Service core primary medical services are subject to the same requirements, regulation, and standards. Patients should receive high-quality NHS care when they need it, that is free at the point of use.

27th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how often countries on the travel 'red list' are being reviewed; and how far in advance any changes to the red list will be announced.

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

22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support and advice is available to visually impaired people in relation to social distancing guidelines and requirements.

We have published support and advice regarding social distancing for blind and visually impaired people in an online only format. The guidance explains how to minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19 while in unfamiliar settings, communicating with others, shopping and exercise. This guidance has been developed to permit support, including guiding, to be given whilst mitigating the risk of transmission as far as possible, informed by the available clinical evidence.

25th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether all NHS staff who are not UK citizens will be offered COVID-19 vaccinations.

Vaccination against COVID-19 is offered to every adult living in the United Kingdom free of charge, regardless of immigration status. For the first phase of the vaccination programme, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation have advised that the vaccine be given to care home residents and staff, as well as frontline health and social care workers. This includes foreign National Health Service frontline healthcare workers.

25th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that (1) rough sleepers, (2) homeless people, and (3) illegal immigrants not registered with a GP, are offered COVID-19 vaccinations.

National Health Service regional teams are working with appropriate local systems to reach out to unregistered people so as to ensure that all their health needs are met and that they are offered the COVID-19 vaccine in line with Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s priorities. NHS England and NHS Improvement recently launched a general practitioner (GP) registration campaign alongside the voluntary sector. To support this, NHS England and NHS Improvement are providing materials, such as training for practice staff and access cards which support the message that everyone is entitled to register with a GP and give the NHS England and NHS Improvement Customer Contact Centre number for people to use if they have been refused registration.

20th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to prioritise crematorium and funeral workers for receipt of a COVID-19 vaccination.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccine/s the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level. The JCVI identified that the vaccination of frontline healthcare workers should be a priority for the COVID-19 vaccination programme. Frontline staff are at high risk of acquiring COVID-19 infection but also of transmitting that infection to multiple persons who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 as well as to other staff in a healthcare environment.

Crematorium operations may involve handling the deceased and therefore present a risk of exposure to COVID-19. However, these functions do not necessitate entering or accessing a healthcare setting so there is a low risk of transmitting infection to multiple vulnerable persons or other staff in a healthcare environment.

5th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 4 May 2020 (HL3062), what steps are now being taken to expedite the registration of those doctors who are awaiting final registration by the General Medical Council so that they may assist with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The General Medical Council (GMC) has taken a number of steps to ensure that doctors’ registration is not delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The GMC has prioritised applications from people who are able to provide the required evidence, which can be assessed more quickly, and will expedite the application of those who already have a job offer subject to the evidence requirements around safe practice.

Requirements for registration ensure that anyone joining the medical register has the necessary medical knowledge and skills to practise safely in the United Kingdom.

30th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the income requirement of £25,600 for immigrants on staffing levels in care homes; and what plans they have to ensure that care homes experience no staff shortages because of that requirement.

The new ‘Skilled Worker’ route will mean roles such as senior care worker and registered manager that meet the skills and/or salary requirements will be eligible for a sponsored Skilled Worker visa. However, we recognise that occupations such as direct care roles which do not meet the skills and salary threshold will not be eligible. The flow of European Union workers into the sector annually is small comparable to the size of the workforce – fewer than 5% of all workers joining the sector in a direct care role in 2019/20 had arrived from the EU in the previous 12 months. Therefore, we expect employers will be able to recruit domestically to outnumber any decreased flow of workers from the EU and we are taking action to support this.

2nd Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the priority that should be given to making a COVID-19 vaccine available to people with diabetes.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) consists of independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccine/s the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level. The JCVI has advised that the first priorities for any COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of COVID-19 mortality and the protection of health and social care staff and systems.

Therefore, in line with the recommendations of the JCVI, the vaccine will be initially rolled out to the priority groups including care home residents and staff, people over 80 years old and health and care workers,. The vaccine will then be prioritised amongst the rest of the population in order of age and risk, including those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and all individuals aged 16-64 years old with underlying health conditions such as diabetes.

2nd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether overseas doctors with applications pending to register to practise medicine in the UK at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic have had their applications processed; and whether those whose applications were approved have been allowed to come to the UK.

The General Medical Council took steps to ensure that doctors’ registration was not delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Anyone who submitted an application to register at the start of the pandemic, or who subsequently became eligible and applied, has had their application processed as normal.

The Department does not hold information on whether those whose applications were approved have been allowed to come to the United Kingdom.

28th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect to respond to the Question for Written Answer tabled by Lord Roberts of Llandudno on 21 April (HL3216).

The Department has noted the findings from this study. The Therapeutics Taskforce is continuing to monitor any new, high quality evidence on COVID-19 therapeutics.

26th Oct 2020
To ask the Senior Deputy Speaker what assessment has been made of the continued application of the catering subsidy for food and drink purchased by members of the House of Lords; and what plans there are, if any, to discontinue the application of that subsidy for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Senior Deputy Speaker has asked me, as Chair of the Services Committee, to respond on his behalf.

The net cost of catering has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic caused by a reduction in revenue because there have been limited catering outlets open (due to fewer Members and staff on site each day) and no banqueting events have taken place since March. The largest cost which impacts the subsidy is payroll and the Administration has continued to pay staff in full each month. Arrangements have been made for variable hours staff to receive pay averaging that which would have been expected prior to the pandemic. Catering management have reviewed the catering operations in view of the continuing effects of COVID-19 and have put mitigations in place, including:

  • Stopping the recruitment process to fill current vacancies and any leavers;
  • Reducing the items available in the outlets currently open without detriment to quality. This means reducing food costs, production time, and food waste;
  • Curtailing expenditure on trading overheads where possible;
  • Ensuring the staffing rotas are managed effectively to offer resilience in the COVID-secure workplace.

The financial impact of the pandemic on catering services will remain under review.

13th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the number of UK residents who contracted COVID-19 whilst on an aeroplane.

It is not possible to concretely identify where infection occurs in individual positive cases of COVID-19. Where someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 has recently travelled on a flight, contact tracing will be carried out by a public health specialist. Priority is given to contact-tracing close contacts and co-travellers, since these persons face a higher risk than other passengers.

7th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government from which (1) sources, and (2) countries, they purchase insulin.

All medicines require a licence approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. This includes information about the sites where the medicine may be manufactured and where components may be sourced. There may be multiple sites associated with each licence, which is gives manufacturers resilience in their supply chains, but means that it is not possible for the Department to determine accurately the proportion of medicines manufactured in any one country at any particular time. In addition, any information of this nature that suppliers do share with the Department is commercially confidential.

7th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of the UK’s supply of insulin is manufactured in the UK.

All medicines require a licence approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. This includes information about the sites where the medicine may be manufactured and where components may be sourced. There may be multiple sites associated with each licence, which is gives manufacturers resilience in their supply chains, but means that it is not possible for the Department to determine accurately the proportion of medicines manufactured in any one country at any particular time. In addition, any information of this nature that suppliers do share with the Department is commercially confidential.

14th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what provision they have made available for people who do not have their own transport who have been told they must travel for a COVID-19 test.

One of the biggest innovations is the pioneering of mass home-testing. Home testing is an innovative solution to provide the best possible access to testing to anyone, anywhere in the country.

Home testing enables anyone who cannot get to a testing site, such as those who are shielding, self-isolating, have mobility issues, live in very rural areas or are waiting for elective surgery, to take a test in their own home. We are continuously improving the testing service so that testing is accessible to all.

14th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to review the number of people who can meet indoors ahead of the Christmas period.

We are taking early action, at the beginning of autumn and as infections are starting to rise. By taking this action now we hope we can control the virus so as we get into winter, we will not have to take more drastic action.

Christmas is three months away and we keep all aspects of our response to COVID-19 under review and responsive to the changing number and composition of cases in the country.

29th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Noctura 400 Sleep Mask as a treatment for diabetic retinopathy patients.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence published a Medtech Innovation Briefing (MIB) on the Noctura 400 Sleep Mask for diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular oedema in April 2018 [reference number MIB144]. MIBs provide information to National Health Service and care commissioners and staff who are considering using new medical devices and other medical or diagnostic technologies.

29th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to reduce the number of diabetic patients whose eyesight may be damaged due to delayed care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have put extra measures in place during the COVID-19 pandemic so that people living with diabetes can continue to receive care. Diabetic Eye Screening (DES) services have not been paused during the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the availability of screening facilities, and in some cases the need to redeploy staff, has led to rescheduling of DES appointments.

DES providers are now working to restore full screening services, prioritising those most at risk of sight loss, followed by those who attended their last screening invitation and for whom there were no signs of eye damage.

15th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made about whether any drugs or medicines will be in short supply after the UK leaves the EU.

The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January and is now in a Transition Period until 31 December 2020. During this time, it remains our objective to negotiate a future relationship with the EU and in our respective published negotiating documents, we have both stated objectives to reach an agreement on trade in goods. The UK’s published approach sets out how we want to facilitate trade in medicinal products and support high levels of patient safety.

The Government, pharmaceutical industry and National Health Service will always work closely together to help ensure patients continue to have access, to the medicines and treatments they need, including insulin, under all scenarios.

The Department has well-established procedures to deal with medicine shortages and is working closely with industry, the NHS and others in the supply chain to reduce the likelihood of future shortages resulting from any cause.

15th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they will ensure that there is sufficient insulin available when the UK leaves the EU.

The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January and is now in a Transition Period until 31 December 2020. During this time, it remains our objective to negotiate a future relationship with the EU and in our respective published negotiating documents, we have both stated objectives to reach an agreement on trade in goods. The UK’s published approach sets out how we want to facilitate trade in medicinal products and support high levels of patient safety.

The Government, pharmaceutical industry and National Health Service will always work closely together to help ensure patients continue to have access, to the medicines and treatments they need, including insulin, under all scenarios.

The Department has well-established procedures to deal with medicine shortages and is working closely with industry, the NHS and others in the supply chain to reduce the likelihood of future shortages resulting from any cause.

14th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that sufficient personal protective equipment is available for purchase by the general public.

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

14th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that diagnosed diabetics in the UK will have sufficient medication to prevent diabetic ketoacidosis, in the event that the UK leaves the transition period without a trade agreement with the EU on 31 December.

As part of our concerted national efforts, we will continue doing everything we can to ensure patients continue to access safe and effective medicines in all scenarios.

It remains the Government’s objective to negotiate a future relationship with the European Union before the end of the Transition Period and to make sure that patients reap the rewards. Both the United Kingdom and EU, in their published negotiating documents, have stated objectives to reach an agreement on trade in goods. The UK’s published approach sets out how we want to facilitate trade in medicinal products such as diabetic medicines and medical radioisotopes and support high levels of patient safety.

The Department will continue to work closely with the pharmaceutical industry, the National Health Service and others in the supply chain to help ensure patients can access the medicines they need, and precautions are in place to reduce the likelihood of future shortages.

14th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure there will be no delay (1) to the supply of radiopharmaceuticals, and (2) to the treatment of patients with serious conditions, in the event that the UK leaves the transition period without a trade agreement with the EU on 31 December.

As part of our concerted national efforts, we will continue doing everything we can to ensure patients continue to access safe and effective medicines in all scenarios.

It remains the Government’s objective to negotiate a future relationship with the European Union before the end of the Transition Period and to make sure that patients reap the rewards. Both the United Kingdom and EU, in their published negotiating documents, have stated objectives to reach an agreement on trade in goods. The UK’s published approach sets out how we want to facilitate trade in medicinal products such as diabetic medicines and medical radioisotopes and support high levels of patient safety.

The Department will continue to work closely with the pharmaceutical industry, the National Health Service and others in the supply chain to help ensure patients can access the medicines they need, and precautions are in place to reduce the likelihood of future shortages.

14th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that medication prescriptions will be guaranteed in the event that the UK leaves the transition period without a trade agreement with the EU on 31 December.

As part of our concerted national efforts, we will continue doing everything we can to ensure patients continue to access safe and effective medicines in all scenarios.

It remains the Government’s objective to negotiate a future relationship with the European Union before the end of the Transition Period and to make sure that patients reap the rewards. Both the United Kingdom and EU, in their published negotiating documents, have stated objectives to reach an agreement on trade in goods. The UK’s published approach sets out how we want to facilitate trade in medicinal products such as diabetic medicines and medical radioisotopes and support high levels of patient safety.

The Department will continue to work closely with the pharmaceutical industry, the National Health Service and others in the supply chain to help ensure patients can access the medicines they need, and precautions are in place to reduce the likelihood of future shortages.

12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the contribution of NHS hospital chaplains during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have not made a formal assessment of the contribution of National Health Service chaplains during the COVID-19 pandemic. NHS England and NHS Improvement recognise the importance of chaplains, and leaders of all faiths, in the delivery of high-quality palliative and end of life care. The significant role they play in spiritual, emotional and psychological care is recognised in our clinical guides for palliative care in hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic and for compassionate visiting arrangements.

29th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there have been any changes to the categories of those with authority to sign a death certificate due to arrangements put in place for the COVID-19 pandemic.

On 21 April the Government published guidance for doctors completing Medical Certificates of Cause of Death (MCCDs) in England and Wales which advised that, in an emergency period, any doctor can complete the MCCD, when it is impractical for the attending doctor to do so. This may, for example, be when the attending doctor is self-isolating, unwell, or has pressure to attend patients. In these circumstances, it may be practical to allow a medical examiner or recently retired doctor returning to work to complete the MCCD. There is no clear legal definition of ‘attended’, but it is generally accepted to mean a doctor who has cared for the patient during the illness that led to death and so is familiar with the patient’s medical history, investigations and treatment.

29th Apr 2020
To ask the Senior Deputy Speaker what arrangements have been made to support parliamentary staff working for the House during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The safety and well-being of staff and members is at the forefront of the Administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are a range of interventions which have been put in place to support staff during the pandemic, and these are regularly updated and communicated to staff, including on a dedicated section of the parliamentary intranet. The guidance is informed by advice from Public Health England.

22nd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether COVID-19 related legislation will be revoked once the pandemic is over or when such legislation is no longer reasonably required.

The Government have consistently made it clear over the course of our response to the COVID-19 outbreak, and during debates in both Houses on the recent Coronavirus Act 2020, that we will take all measures necessary to protect the public’s health, and that in doing so we will act proportionately and with due regard for the rights of the individual. These measures are therefore intended to be temporary, and the legislation contains many safeguards to ensure that its provisions are in force for only as long as they need to be.

Some measures, for example indemnities for National Health Service employees, will of necessity remain in force after the outbreak is over, but wherever possible we will ensure that we remove any burdens on individuals and on society as soon as the science tell us that we can.

22nd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to expedite the registration of those doctors who are awaiting final registration by the General Medical Council so that they may assist with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government is working closely with the General Medical Council (GMC), which is responsible for registering medical practitioners in the United Kingdom.

Requirements for registration are at a high standard to ensure that anyone joining the medical register has the necessary medical knowledge and skills to practise safely in the UK.

The GMC has prioritised applications from people who are be able to provide the required evidence, which can be assessed more quickly.

The GMC has also written to all final year medical students across the UK to invite them to apply for provisional registration. The GMC will follow its usual policies and procedures to ensure that students joining the medical register are fit to practise.

22nd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken jointly with the EU to tackle COVID-19.

Infectious diseases such as COVID-19 do not respect borders and we are working closely with the European Union, European countries and global partners to tackle this global pandemic.

As the United Kingdom is no longer an EU Member State, we do not attend EU Health Ministers’ meetings. However, we are engaging constructively with the EU to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. The UK continues to attend EU Health Security Committee meetings related to COVID-19 and shares information through the EU’s Early Warning and Response System. The UK has also confirmed that it will participate in the EU’s latest Joint Procurement round relating to therapeutics and attends meetings of the Joint Procurement Steering Committee.

In addition, we have engaged bilaterally with the European Commission on our respective responses to COVID-19, including on the issue of personal protective equipment and procurement.

Our responses will continue to benefit from this international cooperation, and we are committed to continuing this as we move into future stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

22nd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (1) nurses, and (2) doctors, whose countries of origin are outside the UK, are working in the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic.

NHS Digital publishes Hospital and Community Health Services workforce statistics. These include staff working in hospital trusts and clinical commissioning groups, but not staff working in primary care or in general practitioner surgeries, local authorities or other providers.

The latest data shows that, on a headcount basis, as at December 2019 there were:

- 35,204 non-United Kingdom national doctors, that is 29% of all doctors (excluding unknowns); and

- 56,805 non-UK national nurses and health visitors, that is 18% of all nurses and health visitors (excluding unknowns).

22nd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much personal protection equipment the NHS has (1) received, and (2) purchased, from other countries.

In March 2020 a new, dedicated unit was set up to focus on securing supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE). This unit identified PPE suppliers from across the globe to meet the increasing demand for a growing list of PPE products. We have now contracted with over 150 suppliers able to deliver at the scale and pace the United Kingdom requires.

The central database system for these new PPE contracts, implemented by Cabinet Office colleagues, does not identify non-UK suppliers by individual country; and many of the UK-based suppliers also import supplies from other countries for which the information is not held centrally. It is therefore not possible to supply complete information on how much PPE has been received or purchased from non-UK countries. Procurement Regulations require the publication of Contract Award Notices in the Official Journal of the European Union and certain information will be published on Contracts Finder about the contracts awarded.

21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that a COVID-19 placenta-based cell therapy, developed in Israel, has had a 100 per cent survival rate during clinical trials.

The Department has noted the findings from this study. The Therapeutics Taskforce is continuing to monitor any new, high quality evidence on COVID-19 therapeutics.

21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure a sufficient supply of drugs and medicines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of our concerted national efforts to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, we are doing everything we can to ensure patients continue to access safe and effective medicines.

The Department is working closely with the pharmaceutical industry, the National Health Service and others in the supply chain to help ensure patients can access the medicines they need, and precautions are in place to reduce the likelihood of future shortages.

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

25th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of Interferon alfa-2B in treating COVID-19; and what plans they have, if any, to use that drug.

The Department is considering carefully all available evidence around the potential of different medicines for use in treating COVID-19.

Clinical trials are being developed to assess the benefits of a number of different medicines in treating COVID-19. Further medicines may be trialled should evidence indicate to the Department that this would be an appropriate course of action.

The world’s largest randomised clinical trial of potential coronavirus treatments is well underway in the United Kingdom as part of the race to find a treatment. A number of promising treatments are being tested and, if the science supports it, will be given to National Health Service patients as quickly as possible.

23rd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many staff employed in the National Health Service are not British citizens.

NHS Digital publishes Hospital and Community Health Services workforce statistics. These include staff working in hospital trusts and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), but not staff working in primary care or in general practitioner surgeries, local authorities or other providers.

As at December 2019, the latest available data, there were 166,857 non-United Kingdom nationals (excluding unknowns) employed in National Health Service trusts and CCGs.

23rd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to use hotels to treat patients with COVID-19.

There are no plans to use hotels for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

The National Health Service currently reports that hospital bed capacity is sufficient to manage the demand from COVID-19 patients.

The Department continues to work with the hotel sector to support the effort to tackle COVID-19 through provision of accommodation for key workers.

23rd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the drugs being used in other countries to treat patients with COVID-19 successfully; and what progress has been made towards developing a vaccine.

Although several potential drugs for COVID-19 are being trialled around the world, few results have been reported yet, and we do not know if any could help save people who are already seriously ill when diagnosed.

The World Health Organization (WHO) along with several countries in Europe, including the United Kingdom, are coordinating an international trial of the most promising drugs which include the long-used antimalarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, a new antiviral drug called remdesivir and a combination of two HIV drugs called lopinavir and ritonavir. The HIV drugs will also be tested in combination with an antiviral called interferon beta.

The trial will focus on whether any of these drugs reduce mortality or the time patients are in hospital and whether patients receiving drugs require ventilation or an intensive care unit.

On 3 April, the Government also announcement that the world’s largest randomised clinical trial of potential coronavirus treatments is well underway in the UK as part of the race to find a treatment.

Scientific and medical advisers are already developing a new vaccine against the COVID-19, as they initiated vaccine development as soon as the genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus was released.

23rd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to waive the payment of any immigration surcharge for medical personnel employed by the NHS who are not from the UK.

The Government fully recognises the contribution that international professionals make to the United Kingdom and we remain committed to ensuring that this country still attracts highly skilled people to work here, including for the National Health Service. Many employers in the NHS already cover the cost of the Immigration Health Surcharge in full or as a loan to overseas recruits. The Government is working with NHS England and NHS Improvement to ensure international recruitment best practice is spread throughout the NHS. In addition, we have set out plans to introduce a new NHS visa, which will offer an attractive package for NHS staff. The details of the NHS visa will be announced in due course by the Home Secretary.

19th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that Interferon Alfa 2B may be effective in treating COVID-19.

The Department is considering carefully all available evidence around the potential of different medicines for use in treating COVID-19.

Clinical trials are being developed to assess the benefits of a number of different medicines in treating COVID-19. Further medicines may be trialled should evidence indicate to the Department that this would be an appropriate course of action.

19th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to result in any medicine shortages.

The country is well prepared to deal with any impacts of COVID-19 and we have stockpiles of generic drugs, in the event of any supply issues or significant increases in demand.

The Department is working closely with industry, the National Health Service and others in the supply chain to help ensure patients can access the medicines they need, and precautions are in place to reduce the likelihood of future shortages.

The steps being taken to protect United Kingdom supplies in response to the COVID-19 outbreak were set out in the Department’s press statement issued on 11 February 2020. These steps include asking suppliers to carry out risk assessments of the potential impacts of COVID-19 on their business and to retain any existing stockpiles of medical supplies from our previous European Union exit work. The statement also outlines that there is no need for the public or NHS to stockpile as this could aggravate problems elsewhere in the supply chain if they emerge.

6th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of Venezuela regarding the removal of any illegal squatters from outside that country's (1) Embassy, and (2) Consulate, buildings in London.

No concern has been raised with us by the Venezuelan authorities about illegal squatters in the Venezuelan Embassy or Consulate building in London.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to increase sanctions on individuals associated with Nicolas Maduro.

UK sanctions are helping to encourage democratic change by keeping pressure on the illegitimate Maduro regime, targeting illicit finance, and calling out human rights abuses. We do not speculate on future listings.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what aid they are providing to those fleeing Venezuela.

The UK is extremely concerned by the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. Since 2019, Her Majesty's Government has spent £37 million in humanitarian aid in response to the Venezuelan crisis, focusing on health, nutrition, and water and sanitation, both inside Venezuela, and with refugees in countries in the region. Due to the devastating impact of the pandemic on the UK's economy and resulting ODA cuts, the UK is not funding substantial new bilateral humanitarian programmes in response to the Venezuela crisis.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they plan to assist the International Criminal Court to ensure the Rome Statute is upheld with regards to the cases against Nicolas Maduro.

The UK respects the independence of the International Criminal Court (ICC). As an ICC State Party, the UK can provide assistance in response to requests for assistance or cooperation from the Court pursuant to Part 9 of the Rome Statute. However, we have not yet received any such requests in relation to this situation.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to seek the expulsion of Venezuela from the United Nations Human Rights Council due to that country's human rights record.

The UK has been clear about our human rights concerns in Venezuela. Reports on the situation by the UN's Independent International Fact-Finding Mission have been deeply worrying, suggesting very serious human rights violations are being carried out with the support of regime leaders, senior military officers and officials. The UK actively promotes and supports human rights in Venezuela through our engagement and projects.

The UK is clear that all members of the Council should uphold the high standards expected of them and demonstrate respect for the principle of universal human rights in their actions.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with European partners about using Europe's railway network to transport refugees and humanitarian goods in response to the war in Ukraine.

We continue to work closely with NGOs and organisations such as the UN who are providing vital support on the ground. The UK is also standing alongside the European Rail family to provide safe and free passage for Ukrainians.

UK train operators will provide free onward train travel for Ukrainians on arrival in the UK. Those who have entered the UK will be able to travel for free on the national rail network by showing their Ukrainian passport and a boarding pass or ticket showing arrival into the UK. Many bus and coach operators are also offering free onward travel to final destinations.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assistance they are giving to (1) Poland, and (2) other countries, who are receiving refugees from Ukraine.

The Home Secretary announced on Tuesday 1 March phase 2 of our bespoke humanitarian support package for those affected by the crisis. Firstly, we are establishing an expansive Ukrainian Family Scheme so that British nationals and people settled in the UK can bring a wider group of family members to the UK, extending eligibility to parents, grandparents, adult offspring, siblings, and their immediate family members. Those joining family in the UK will be granted leave for an initial period of 12 months. They will be able to work and access public funds.

Secondly, we will establish a humanitarian sponsorship pathway, which will open up a route to the UK for Ukrainians who may not have family ties with the UK but who are able to match with individuals, charities, businesses, and community groups. Family members of British nationals resident in Ukraine who need a UK visa can apply through the temporary location in Lviv, or through Visa Application Centres in Poland, Moldova, Romania, and Hungary.

We have created additional capacity in all locations at pace, in anticipation of the invasion of Ukraine. This includes a pop-up Visa Application Centre in Rzeszow in Poland, which has provided total capacity currently of well over 3,000 appointments per week.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what diplomatic presence the UK has in Syria.

The UK closed the British Embassy in Damascus in 2012 and has no plans to re-open it. The UK's position is unchanged; the Assad regime has lost its legitimacy due to its atrocities against the Syrian people. We urge the regime to engage seriously in the political process established by UN Security Council Resolution 2254 to bring lasting and inclusive peace to Syria.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with other European countries about welcoming refugees from Ukraine.

The Foreign Secretary has engaged in recent weeks with our Allies, including Poland, Slovakia and Turkey. Our Embassies in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Turkey and Bulgaria are in regular contact with their host governments. The Foreign Secretary and FCDO Ministers have engaged with a range of partners, including international and multilateral organisations about Russian aggression towards Ukraine.

The UK stands ready to provide emergency humanitarian assistance as needed. We are providing financial and technical assistance to partners on the ground, to ensure the system is prepared to support those in Ukraine who may need it most. We are calling on other donors to step up and provide immediate support now, so that the system is prepared to support those who need it, including planning to meet the humanitarian needs of people displaced across borders.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 21 February (HL6047), whether they will now answer the question put, namely what discussions they have had with Muslim charities who are able to reach those in need in Afghanistan about the provision of aid.

In August, the Prime Minister announced that the UK would double its assistance for Afghanistan to £286 million this financial year. This will support over 6.1 million people with life-saving aid. Since April, we have disbursed over £261 million and we are working at pace to allocate the remaining funding. On 31 March, the UK with the UN and Germany will host a pledging conference on Afghanistan to raise funds to scale up essential humanitarian support for the people of Afghanistan.

Officials have met frequently with humanitarian NGOs including representatives of Bond, which includes Muslim charities. Our meetings with these organisations form an important part of assessing the changing situation on the ground and how we can address any obstacles to aid getting through.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to deliver aid to those in need in Afghanistan.

Since April 2021, we disbursed over £176 million - £166 million for life-saving humanitarian support inside Afghanistan, including for emergency food, health, nutrition, shelter, water and sanitation, and mine action, and £10 million in neighbouring countries to support new and existing refugees and host communities to support regional stability. NGOs have been, and will remain, vital partners for delivering essential assistance in Afghanistan. We deliver through UN agencies and NGOs who have a track record of delivering in challenging circumstances. We are working with them to assess the changing situation on the ground and assess needs.

Ministers and officials have met frequently with humanitarian NGOs and representatives of vulnerable groups. They are in regular touch with our partners to discuss the situation on the ground and address any obstacles to aid getting through. I met Deborah Lyons, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan before her recent visit to Kabul.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with Muslim charities who are able to reach those in need in Afghanistan about the provision of aid.

Since April 2021, we disbursed over £176 million - £166 million for life-saving humanitarian support inside Afghanistan, including for emergency food, health, nutrition, shelter, water and sanitation, and mine action, and £10 million in neighbouring countries to support new and existing refugees and host communities to support regional stability. Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) have been, and will remain, vital partners for delivering essential assistance in Afghanistan. We deliver through United Nation (UN) agencies and NGOs who have a track record of delivering in challenging circumstances. We are working with them to assess the changing situation on the ground and assess needs.

Ministers and officials have met frequently with humanitarian NGOs and representatives of vulnerable groups. They are in regular touch with our partners to discuss the situation on the ground and address any obstacles to aid getting through. I [Lord Ahmad] met Deborah Lyons, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan before her recent visit to Kabul.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what (1) aid, and (2) assistance, they are providing to help ease the migrant crisis in Belarus.

As the Foreign Secretary wrote on 14 November, the situation at the Polish border marks the latest step by the Lukashenko regime to undermine regional security. He is using desperate migrants as pawns in his bid to create instability and to cling on to power regardless of the human cost. We have made clear to the Belarusian authorities, including through their Ambassador to the UK, that this harmful, aggressive and exploitative behaviour must stop.

The UK is supporting its humanitarian partners to help alleviate the suffering of migrants at the border, including through our contributions to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund, organised by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and through our political advocacy. As President of the G7, the UK led on a 18 November Foreign Ministers statement, which called on the Belarusian regime to provide international organisations with immediate and unhindered access to deliver humanitarian assistance. We were also pleased to send a small team of personnel to Poland to provide engineering support to ease pressure at the border. The Foreign Secretary discussed the situation with her Polish counterpart on 16 November, reiterating the UK's support and solidarity with Poland.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government why they removed five Syrian individuals from the UK Sanctions List on 30 September.

Following a routine review of the UK's autonomous sanctions, on 30 September 2021 the FCDO revoked the designation of five Syrian individuals, as the listings were no longer compliant with regulations. This does not signal a change in our Syria policy and is not a sign of rapprochement with the regime.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they recognise Bashar al-Assad as the head of the government of Syria.

The UK's position remains unchanged; the Assad regime has lost its legitimacy due to its atrocities against the Syrian people. Despite the military successes of the regime and its external supporters, we do not believe that Assad is capable of delivering a lasting peace in Syria. We firmly believe that United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254 offers a clear path out of the conflict which protects the rights of all Syrians, in which civil society, women and minorities must play a role. We remain committed to highlighting the appalling violations of international humanitarian law in Syria and to pursuing accountability for the most serious crimes.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the likelihood of a future conflict in Turkish-occupied Syria, and (2) the steps that need to be taken to prevent such a conflict.

The UK made clear its opposition to Turkey's military operation in north east Syria in October 2019.  We assess that the ceasefire in north east Syria is broadly holding. The UK engages regularly with Turkey on Syria and continues to call for all actors to meet their obligations under international law. We are aware of the recent reports of increased violence in the region and the Minister of State for Middle East and North Africa called for de-escalation on the 1 September.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they intend to take to resolve the current (1) food shortages, and (2) danger due to conflict, affecting people in Afghanistan.

The Government is using every diplomatic and humanitarian lever at our disposal to address the crisis, including doubling our humanitarian and development aid to Afghanistan and the region to a total of £286 million this year. We are working closely with the World Food Programme to ensure that food insecure adults and children receive the support they need. Responding to food insecurity is a high priority for our funding and we will be making further announcements shortly.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to work with the United Nations to reduce aggression and conflict globally.

The United Nations is a key UK partner in working to reduce the frequency and intensity of conflict and instability to alleviate suffering and to reduce aggression both diplomatically and through development. The UK plays a leading role at the UN in tackling conflict as a permanent member of the UN Security Council to foster coordinated responses to conflicts by the international community. The UK champions the UN Secretary-General's Sustaining Peace agenda, engaging with and providing support to the UN Peacebuilding Commission, agencies, funds, and programmes to shape a more effective approach to conflict prevention.

The UK is one the biggest supporters of the UN's Peacebuilding Fund, having committed over £175 million since 2006. We are also working with the UN on the ground through the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF), which is receiving £874 million in 2021-22 to focus on the link between stability, resilience and security, and work partners on peace initiatives. The UK is also the fifth largest contributor to the UN peacekeeping budget, deploying around 600 troops to UN peacekeeping missions such as in Mali. Our operational experience strengthens our credibility in promoting and supporting UN peacekeeping best practice to improve impact in conflicts.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the proposal by the government of France to recognise the Taliban as a legitimate government, if certain conditions regarding human rights and women's rights are met.

French policy towards the Taliban is a matter for the French Government. The UK's long-standing policy is that we recognise states not governments. The UK and France, along with other members of the G7, are working closely together to maintain pressure on the Taliban to ensure respect for human rights, including the full access of girls to education and women to employment, to allow humanitarian access, and to sever all contact with terrorist groups.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how the UK plans to assist the (1) United States, and (2) United Nations, in delivering medicine and medical products to Afghanistan.

We are committed to ensuring the delivery of critical drugs, medical supplies and immunisations to the most vulnerable in Afghanistan. We are working with the United States, the EU, Canada; and multilateral organisations including the WHO, World Bank and Global Fund to explore how we can further support primary health care provision in the country.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to promote and support an effort to (1) co-ordinate, (2) fund, and (3) deliver education to children in Afghanistan.

Supporting education for children, and particularly girls, in Afghanistan, is a priority for the government and we are working with other donors to coordinate a consistent international response. Taliban policy on girls' education remains unclear, particularly in respect of girls' secondary education. We will continue to work with the international community to use our influence to secure girls' rights, including the right to education. Before making any funding decisions we will look carefully at how we might support girls' equal access to schooling.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the feasibility of delivering emergency aid to Afghanistan without working directly with the Taliban.

No funding will be provided directly to the Taliban. Our support will be delivered through partners such as the UN and international NGOs who have capability on the ground, and capacity to deliver at scale, as well as experience of delivering in Taliban controlled areas. Before funding is committed we conduct due diligence assessments on partners and implementation chains to assess risks and actions needed; and we remain in regular contact with partners to review these risks during implementation.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of pro-democracy movements in Cuba.

We are clear that all Cubans should have the right to protest peacefully and that detention must not be used as a tool to restrict freedom of expression, assembly or religion. The UK was one of the first countries on 12 July to call for the Cuban people to be allowed to express their views freely and peacefully. We have raised our concerns directly with the Cuban Government, both in London and Havana, and called for the authorities to release information on detained citizens, including their whereabouts.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support LGBTQ+ people who are imprisoned and mistreated in countries with poor human rights records.

The UK has a long-standing commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights. The UK is fundamentally opposed to all forms of discrimination and works to uphold the rights and freedoms of LGBT+ people in all circumstances. Our Embassies and High Commissions monitor and raise human rights issues in their host countries. We urge the international community to address discrimination, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and to promote diversity and tolerance. We also work with allies and partners through the multilateral system including the Equal Rights Coalition, the UN, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe to stand up for and defend human rights.

We continue to evolve approaches to tackle serious human rights violations and abuses around the world. For example on 6 July 2020, the Government established the Global Human Rights sanctions regime which gives the UK a powerful new tool to hold to account those involved in serious human rights violations or abuses.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will publish a list of the 39 countries that were classified as "not free" by Freedom House to which the UK exported arms in the last 10 years.

The UK operates one of the most robust export licensing systems in the world. We publish quarterly and annual statistics on all our export licensing decisions, including details of export licences granted, refused and revoked. Data on licences issued since 2008, including end user destinations, are published as official statistics on GOV.UK.

Her Majesty's Government takes its strategic export control responsibilities very seriously. We will not grant an export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, including respect for human rights and international humanitarian law.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to reverse the reduction in foreign aid spending following the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. The Minister will write directly to the Member with a response shortly.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to donate surplus vaccines to other nations; and if they have such plans, how they will decide which nations will receive those vaccines.

The UK remains committed to rapid, equitable access to safe and effective vaccines, treatments and tests globally. We have already contributed £548m to the COVAX Advanced Market Commitment, a mechanism to support access for over 100 countries. The Prime Minister confirmed that the UK will share the majority of any surplus vaccines that the UK might have with COVAX and this multilateral mechanism, set up to support international co-operation on vaccines, remains the best way to ensure global equitable access to vaccines.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to work with the governments of other nations to coordinate the (1) donation, and (2) distribution, of surplus vaccines.

The Prime Minister has confirmed that the UK will share the majority of any surplus vaccines with COVAX. This multilateral mechanism, set up to support international co-operation on vaccines, remains the best way to ensure global equitable access to vaccines. The UK is committed to rapid, equitable access to safe and effective vaccines, treatments and tests globally.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to restore overseas aid to Yemen to at least the level of £164 million set in 2019–20.

On 1 March, the Minister of State for Middle East and North Africa announced an extra £87 million in UK aid over the course of financial year 2021/22. We have committed over £1 billion in funding to the humanitarian crisis since the conflict began in 2015. The new UK aid pledge will feed an additional 240,000 of the most vulnerable Yemenis every month, support 400 healthcare clinics and provide clean water for 1.6 million people. We will also provide one-off cash support to 1.5 million of Yemen's poorest households to help them buy food and basic supplies.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government which countries are having the amount of aid provided by the Government reduced.

The Foreign Secretary has set out seven core priorities for the UK's aid budget in the overarching pursuit of poverty reduction: climate and biodiversity; Covid and global health security; girls' education; science and research; defending open societies and resolving conflict; humanitarian assistance; and promoting trade and economic growth. We are working through our internal business planning process which will allocate the ODA budget across these priorities and geographies.

No final decisions have yet been made on budget allocations for 2021/22.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to invite President Biden to extend his visit to the UK following the G7 conference in June.

Details relating to the proposed visit of President Biden to the G7 conference in June will be set out in due course.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to invite the President and Vice President of the USA for a state visit to the UK.

President Biden has been invited to the G7 meeting in Cornwall in June. We also hope that he will attend COP26 in Glasgow in November. Any other visits will be set out in due course.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they are providing to prevent children from dying from malaria.

The UK is committed to driving down malaria deaths. This is closely linked to our manifesto commitment to end the preventable deaths of mothers, newborns and children. In 2019, under five-year olds accounted for 67% of all malaria deaths globally.

The UK continues to be one of the most generous donors in the world on malaria. UK investments are broad and lead to significant impact. For example, our support to the Medicines for Malaria ventures has led to the development of the world's first child - friendly antimalarial drug, which has been distributed in more than 50 countries. The UK's current £1.4 billion pledge to the Global Fund is the largest to date and will help to distribute 92 million bednets. The UK's support to countries to strengthen health systems will help to protect the most vulnerable, including children, through sustained malaria prevention and control programmes.

19th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to reduce the level of overseas aid in 2021.

Due to the severe impact that the pandemic has had on our economy, we are taking the tough decision to spend 0.5 per cent of our national income next year on Official Development Assistance, rather than the usual 0.7 per cent. Despite these fiscal pressures, we remain firmly committed to helping the world's poorest people and we will retain our position as a leader in the global fight against poverty. The government intends to return to the 0.7 per cent target when the fiscal situation allows.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what aid, if any, they are sending to the Tigray Region of Ethiopia.

UK-funded humanitarian partners with existing presence in Tigray (UN's World Food Programme (WFP), UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) Ethiopian Humanitarian Fund) are continuing to provide assistance, where possible and in very challenging circumstances. We are in close contact with them to understand humanitarian needs and establish the status of on-going activities, such as life-saving nutrition support to children, child protection and the installation of water infrastructure in schools. We are also working to secure humanitarian access to deliver further assistance.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government who will represent the UK at the inauguration of the new President of the United States of America.

Arrangements for the inauguration of the next President of the United States have not yet been announced. However, it is customary for the UK to be represented by our Ambassador in Washington DC at such events.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have contracted any non-governmental organisation to select election monitors to observe the elections in the United States on 3 November.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions we have not contracted election monitors, so will not be sending observers this year. However, we have every confidence that the US election will be free and fair.

7th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much foreign aid they sent to Yemen in (1) 2017, and (2) 2019.

As stated in DFID's publicly available Annual Reports and Accounts, the final UK bilateral funding allocation to Yemen was £203 million for the 2017/18 financial year and £238 million for the 2019/20 financial year. This financial year (2020/21) we have committed to spend at least £200 million in aid to Yemen, the same amount we pledged last year, bringing the total UK commitment to over £1 billion since the conflict began in 2015.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to support victims of the fire at the Moria refugee camp on Lesbos.

The UK is responding to requests by the Greek Government to provide specific humanitarian goods and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office is urgently making plans for the delivery of these goods.

16th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consultation they have undertaken with the government of the Republic of Ireland to assess the impact of any increase of direct shipping routes between the Republic of Ireland and mainland Europe.

We have a close and constructive relationship with the Government of Ireland including on transport matters. During the Covid-19 crisis we were pleased to issue a statement with Ireland and France of our joint commitment to support the vital supply routes between our nations and to share information on our supports to freight routes. The introduction of new shipping routes between Ireland and mainland Europe are a matter for the Irish Government and the commercial operators of those routes.

24th Feb 2020
To ask the Senior Deputy Speaker what nationalities are represented among the staff of the House of Lords.

The House of Lords Administration staff are responsible for self-declaring their nationality or citizenship. As at 27 February 2020, the House of Lords Administration employs staff who identify as nationals or citizens of the following 26 countries and nations:

  • United Kingdom
  • Australia
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
  • Colombia
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Kenya
  • Lithuania
  • Morocco
  • Nigeria
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Spain
  • Tunisia
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United States of America
9th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what potential tax incentives they have (1) discussed, and (2) implemented, in support of the news publishing industry.

The Government recognises the important role that media organisations, including the news publishing industry, play at a national and local level. In order to support them, the Government extended the £1,500 business rates discount on local newspaper office space in England until 31 March 2025.

On 1 May 2020, the Government extended the zero rate of VAT to e-publications to support literacy and reading and make it clear that e-books, e-newspapers, e-magazines and academic e-journals are entitled to the same VAT treatment as their physical counterparts. Originally due to be implemented in December 2020, the introduction of the zero rate was brought forward as a boost for readers and publishers during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Government keeps all tax policy under review and regularly receives proposals for sector-specific tax reliefs.

13th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether banks are being encouraged to lend to entrepreneurs from ethnic minorities; and what plans they have, if any, to improve the lending rate to such entrepreneurs.

The Government remains committed to supporting individuals and businesses of all backgrounds access the finance they need and continues to engage with the private sector on this important issue. Since March 2020, the Government has introduced a collection of emergency loan guarantee schemes available to businesses of all backgrounds which collectively approved more than £75 billion worth of finance through more than 1.6 million facilities.

The ‘Future Fund’, launched in May 2020, also provides investment to high-growth companies impacted by covid, made up of funding from government and the private sector. As of 25 March, the Fund has committed over £1.2 billion to support over 1,200 companies of all shapes and sizes, in every region of the country, and across a variety of sectors. Senior management teams consisting solely of ethnic minority team members and those with both ethnic minority and White team members account for 61.6% of funding to companies that have been approved for Convertible Loan Agreements so far, worth £683.5m.

In addition, entrepreneurs of all backgrounds may be able to access finance through the Start Up Loans program that operates through a network of local delivery partners and is managed by Start Up Loans, a subsidiary of the British Business Bank. As at 30 June 2020, the Start Up Loans program had delivered more than 73,700 loans, providing more than £610m of funding. Entrepreneurs interested in exploring their finance options further may also visit the British Business Bank’s Finance Hub to understand and identify suitable finance options to help their business to grow.
22nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government which political parties have claimed (1) furlough payments, or (2) other emergency funding related to the COVID-19 pandemic, since March 2020; and what amount was paid to each one.

Due to HMRC’s duty of confidentiality, HMRC cannot publish identifying information that relates to their functions, which includes the coronavirus financial support schemes, unless there is an appropriate legal basis for publication. No such legal basis was in place for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) prior to 12 November 2020 when the CJRS Direction extending the scheme from 1 November was signed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

In line with the direction that was published on 12 November, as part of HMRC’s commitment to transparency and to deter fraudulent claims, HMRC published information about employers who claimed for December[1] and will continue to do so on a monthly basis.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/employers-who-have-claimed-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Senior Deputy Speaker what plans there are to ensure that those requiring access to the Parliamentary estate can renew their passes efficiently once the restrictions in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic are lifted.

A large backlog of expired or new passes has built up during the pandemic and systems and plans are in place to deal with this once the COVID-19 restrictions start to ease. Extensive communications are going out to all passholders to remind them to check the expiry date on their pass before they return, and to send in a renewal application if it has expired or will expire shortly.

An appointments system has been introduced for anyone returning to the Parliamentary estate who needs to collect a pass, so that the flow of people into the Pass Issuing Offices can be managed in a way that avoids long queues and respects social distancing. A new Pass Issuing Office is expected to open shortly, which will double the number of customer services desks currently offered by the two existing Pass Issuing Offices. The new Office will ultimately replace one of the existing Offices, however all three will remain open over the summer to help manage any peaks in demand that may arise as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

Consideration is being given to extending the opening hours of the Pass Issuing Offices during periods of high demand, and contingency arrangements, such as opening desks in Portcullis House and other locations on the estate to issue renewal passes if the Issuing Offices risk being overwhelmed, are also being considered.

These measures will be kept under review as access restrictions change in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

14th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what amount they have budgeted to cover the total cost of the UK’s departure from the EU, including the end of the transition period.

HM Treasury has made available £9.7 billion of additional funding to support EU Exit and the Transition in any outcome between financial years 2016-17 and 2020-21. As part of this funding, HM Treasury has made available £3.6 billion of additional funding in 2020-21. This includes £2 billion of allocations made at Spending Round 2019 as well as more recent allocations, such as the additional £705 million of border funding announced in July 2020 to support HMRC and other departments’ delivery of new border arrangements. All funding for 2020-21 will be confirmed at Supplementary Estimates 2020, to be published in the new year.

Spending Review 2020 also allocates over £2 billion for 2021-22 to support departments following the end of the Transition. This includes £1 billion for HMRC to reform and enhance the UK customs system and £363 million for the Home Office to maintain law enforcement cooperation with EU member states and recruit Border Force officers to deliver transit customs arrangements.

7th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to curb any (1) extra pollution, and (2) extra congestion, caused as a result of the requirement for trucks from the Republic of Ireland to travel between Holyhead and registration parks in Warrington, following the end of the transition period for the UK's departure from the EU.

As part of the work to support the Special Development Order submissions to enable the use of Warrington inland border facility, we are carrying out traffic modelling to analyse the potential for congestion of traffic moving from Holyhead to Warrington. We are also carefully considering environmental matters including noise and air quality to minimise any potential impacts.

Recent discussions with Stena Line and Port of Holyhead have also identified an option for conducting Office of Transit at the port temporarily until the enduring facility is available. This is due to the recent availability of extra space at the port and will limit the amount of traffic which is required to use Inland Border Facilities.

7th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the requirement for trucks from the Republic of Ireland to travel between Holyhead and registration parks in Warrington, following the end of the transition period for the UK's departure from the EU.

Warrington and Birmingham inland border facilities will provide interim support for Common Transit Convention movements through Holyhead for January 2021 ahead of a long term site being developed. Due to the nature of the road networks these locations are along the route that ‘land bridge’ traffic from Holyhead will be likely to take.

In addition, there will be some facilities in Holyhead from January 2021. The small facility at Roadking in Holyhead, which was prepared last year, will remain for drivers seeking to complete their ATA Carnet paperwork. A very limited service will also be provided to start and end transit movements there.

30th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Agnew of Oulton on 13 October (HL8609), how much of this land has been purchased; and what use is being made of this land.

No land has yet been purchased. Two potential sites have been identified in partnership with the Welsh Government and commercial discussions are under way.

27th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what space will be available for truck drivers arriving at the Port of Holyhead from Ireland to complete documentation papers from 1 January 2021.

The small facility at Roadking in Holyhead, which was prepared last year, will remain for drivers seeking to complete their ATA Carnet paperwork. This will require traders to book in advance with Border Force who will attend to endorse the Carnets.

HMRC will be engaging with Stena and Border Force to explore whether there is any capacity for the port to accommodate other checks.

27th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what additional (1) rest, and (2) refreshment, facilities will be available to arrivals at the Port of Holyhead from 1 January 2021.

Traffic management and rest areas are devolved to Welsh ministers but HM Government through HMRC and DfT are developing potential solutions.

29th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much land they estimate will be required for the parking of lorries travelling through the port of Holyhead following the end of the transition period.

The Government is reviewing potential sites to support Holyhead. It is estimated that approximately 14.8 acres of land will be needed to meet the Government’s requirements.

29th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure insurance companies compensate those whose holidays were cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government is in continual dialogue with the insurance sector to understand and influence its response to this unprecedented situation. The Government is encouraging insurers to do all they can to support customers during this difficult period.

The independent conduct regulator for the insurance industry – the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published guidance for firms handling consumer claims, including travel insurance claims, during the COVID-19 crisis.

The FCA’s rules require insurers to handle claims fairly and promptly; provide reasonable guidance to help a policyholder make a claim; not reject a claim unreasonably; and settle claims swiftly once settlement terms are agreed. In addition to this, the FCA has stated that, in light of the COVID-19 crisis, insurers must carefully consider the needs of their customers and show flexibility in their treatment of them. The Government is working closely with the FCA to ensure that these rules are being upheld, and supports the regulator in its role.

16th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether (1) land has been purchased, and (2) planning consent received, for new truck parking spaces at the Port of Holyhead in order to address any changes required as a result of the UK's departure from the EU; and if so, when (a) the land was purchased, and (b) the consent received.

HMRC have not purchased any land near the Port of Holyhead for new HGV parking spaces. A number of HGV spaces were leased at the nearby Roadking site to support the processing of ATA Carnets ahead of the UK’s exit from the EU in January 2020. Planning permission for this was granted on 4 October 2019.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking, if any, to alter higher rates of income tax to ensure that no-one unduly benefits financially from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government is committed to a fair tax system in which those with the most contribute the most. The income tax system consists of three progressive rates of tax, which sit above an internationally high personal allowance. This creates a highly progressive income tax system, with the top 1% of income taxpayers projected to pay over 29% of all income tax in 2019-20.

The Government is proud of its record of reducing tax for working people. The personal allowance has increased by more than 90% in less than a decade, which means that a typical basic rate taxpayer pays over £1,200 less income tax compared to 2010-11.

The Government keeps all aspects of the tax system under review; as the UK exits the current crisis, the Government will take stock of the economy and public finances and make further decisions at that point.

6th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to reduce taxation on cars to encourage recovery and re-employment following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government recognizes the challenges faced by households as a result of COVID-19. This is why the Government has announced unprecedented support for public services, business and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency.

Budget 2020 announced Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) rates would be uprated in line with inflation only so VED liabilities have not increased in real terms since 2010.

In addition, Budget announced a freeze in fuel duty rates for the tenth successive year, which by April 2021, will have saved the average car driver £1,200 compared with pre-2010 plans.

28th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the total cost of the destruction of the coins minted to commemorate the UK's withdrawal from the EU which stated the incorrect exit day.

Approximately 1 million coins were minted in October to mark the UK’s exit from the European Union.

Coins bearing this date are to be recycled and the value from the materials will be recouped by the Exchequer. The value gained from recycling these coins is commercially sensitive.

Earl of Courtown
Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)
15th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government why they selected a non-UK airline to relocate asylum applicants from the UK to Rwanda on 14 June.

The costs of our broken asylum system are at a 20 year record high, currently costing the UK taxpayer over £1.5bn a year, with £4.7 million a day being spent on hotels alone. This cannot continue – and the partnership with Rwanda is a key part of our plans to reform the system and put an end to unsustainable costs which impact the taxpayer.

The Government’s efforts to facilitate entirely legitimate and legal returns of people who have entered the UK illegally are too often frustrated by late challenges submitted hours before the flight. These claims are very often baseless and entirely without merit, but are given full legal consideration which can lead to removal being rescheduled.

Costs for individual flights and legal services will vary based on a number of different factors and are regularly reviewed to ensure that best value for money is balanced against the need to remove those individuals with no right to remain in the UK.

We do not routinely disclose commercial or operational information relating to individual charter flights.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
15th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many airlines they consulted regarding the cost of relocating asylum applicants to Rwanda on the scheduled flight of 14 June.

The costs of our broken asylum system are at a 20 year record high, currently costing the UK taxpayer over £1.5bn a year, with £4.7 million a day being spent on hotels alone. This cannot continue – and the partnership with Rwanda is a key part of our plans to reform the system and put an end to unsustainable costs which impact the taxpayer.

The Government’s efforts to facilitate entirely legitimate and legal returns of people who have entered the UK illegally are too often frustrated by late challenges submitted hours before the flight. These claims are very often baseless and entirely without merit, but are given full legal consideration which can lead to removal being rescheduled.

Costs for individual flights and legal services will vary based on a number of different factors and are regularly reviewed to ensure that best value for money is balanced against the need to remove those individuals with no right to remain in the UK.

We do not routinely disclose commercial or operational information relating to individual charter flights.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
15th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much money they spent on preparing the planned flight to relocate asylum applicants to Rwanda which was cancelled on 14 June.

The costs of our broken asylum system are at a 20 year record high, currently costing the UK taxpayer over £1.5bn a year, with £4.7 million a day being spent on hotels alone. This cannot continue – and the partnership with Rwanda is a key part of our plans to reform the system and put an end to unsustainable costs which impact the taxpayer.

The Government’s efforts to facilitate entirely legitimate and legal returns of people who have entered the UK illegally are too often frustrated by late challenges submitted hours before the flight. These claims are very often baseless and entirely without merit, but are given full legal consideration which can lead to removal being rescheduled.

Costs for individual flights and legal services will vary based on a number of different factors and are regularly reviewed to ensure that best value for money is balanced against the need to remove those individuals with no right to remain in the UK.

We do not routinely disclose commercial or operational information relating to individual charter flights.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
14th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will reconsider the status of Isa Muazu, who was deported from the UK to Nigeria in 2013.

I am unable to comment on individual cases on the grounds of data protection principles and the operational independence of the police and courts.

The UK only ever returns those who both the Home Office and the courts are satisfied do not need our protection and have no legal basis to remain in the UK. We do not routinely reconsider the cases of those who have been lawfully removed.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
13th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many Home Office decisions on the age of migrant asylum seekers have been (1) disputed, and (2) needed to be reassessed, in the past five years.

The Home Office publishes data on asylum in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’, which can be found on gov.uk.

Data on age disputes raised can be found in table Asy_D05 of the ‘asylum and resettlement detailed datasets’, which is also attached. Information on how to use the dataset can be found in the ‘Notes’ page of the workbook. The latest data relate to the year ending March 2022. Information on future Home Office statistical release dates can be found in the 'Research and statistics calendar’ section, on gov.uk (year ending June 2022 will be released on 25 August 2022)

The Home office does not publish a breakdown on the number of age assessments disputed or reassessed.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
13th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many asylum seekers will be on board the deportation flight to Rwanda on 14 June; and what was the cost per head.

We will not provide a running commentary on operational planning for a charter flight. Information will be provided in due course.

The UK has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Rwanda for the provision of an asylum partnership arrangement and to address the shared challenge of illegal migration. This has been published on GOV.UK. The Migration and Economic Development Partnership fully complies with all national and international law, including the UN Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (Section 10) enables the Home Office to remove persons unlawfully in the UK.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
16th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the reason for the backlog in the issuing of visas in the Home Office.

The Home Office is currently prioritising Ukraine Visa Schemes applications in response to the humanitarian crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We are communicating directly with customers that applications for study, work and family visas are taking longer to process at this time. Staff are being redeployed to these visa routes, in addition we continue to onboard and train more staff, as we approach the expected summer surge in visa applications including to study in the UK.

Where there are extremely compassionate or compelling circumstances (for example, a medical emergency), the Home Office will consider expediting specific cases. However, the bar for this is high and will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
16th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how old each Jamaican national deported to Jamaica on each of the last four flights was when they first came to the UK.

Our priority will always be to keep our communities safe, and we make no apology for seeking to remove those with no right to remain in the UK and foreign criminals.

Since January 2019 we have removed 10,017 foreign criminals from the UK. Information on the number of Jamaican foreign national offenders returned from the UK is available from Immigration statistics quarterly release - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) in table Ret_D03, which can be found attached.

A person’s age upon arrival to the UK or their nationality are not exceptions to automatic deportation under the Borders Act 2007, but may be relevant factors, in addition to the strength of their social, cultural and family ties in the UK, in considering whether a human rights exception applies. All those deported will have been provided with the opportunity to raise claims, which are fully considered and determined prior to removal including, where applicable, via the Courts.

We do not routinely comment on individual cases.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
16th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many Jamaican nationals will be deported on the special charter flight to Jamaica on 18 May.

Our priority will always be to keep our communities safe, and we make no apology for seeking to remove those with no right to remain in the UK and foreign criminals.

Since January 2019 we have removed 10,017 foreign criminals from the UK. Information on the number of Jamaican foreign national offenders returned from the UK is available from Immigration statistics quarterly release - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) in table Ret_D03, which can be found attached.

A person’s age upon arrival to the UK or their nationality are not exceptions to automatic deportation under the Borders Act 2007, but may be relevant factors, in addition to the strength of their social, cultural and family ties in the UK, in considering whether a human rights exception applies. All those deported will have been provided with the opportunity to raise claims, which are fully considered and determined prior to removal including, where applicable, via the Courts.

We do not routinely comment on individual cases.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
16th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, for each of the last four flights carrying deported Jamaican nationals, how many such individuals were on each flight.

Our priority will always be to keep our communities safe, and we make no apology for seeking to remove those with no right to remain in the UK and foreign criminals.

Since January 2019 we have removed 10,017 foreign criminals from the UK. Information on the number of Jamaican foreign national offenders returned from the UK is available from Immigration statistics quarterly release - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) in table Ret_D03, which can be found attached.

A person’s age upon arrival to the UK or their nationality are not exceptions to automatic deportation under the Borders Act 2007, but may be relevant factors, in addition to the strength of their social, cultural and family ties in the UK, in considering whether a human rights exception applies. All those deported will have been provided with the opportunity to raise claims, which are fully considered and determined prior to removal including, where applicable, via the Courts.

We do not routinely comment on individual cases.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
10th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many refugees and others are accommodated at the Napier barracks.

On 11 May there were 314 residents at Napier Barracks, all of whom are asylum seekers. Napier Barracks does not accommodate refugees. The numbers change daily in line with arrivals and dispersals and the current maximum occupancy is 328.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
10th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government why 250 refugees accommodated in hotels in Acton had their statutory £35 weekly allowance stopped, and how this was replaced.

Firstly, it is important to distinguish that those residing in contingency initial accommodation sites in Acton, within the London Borough of Ealing are destitute asylum seekers with an outstanding asylum claim and in receipt of asylum support.

It is not the case that the Home Office halted emergency payments for 250 people within one of these sites. We are aware of some asylum seekers with damaged or lost ASPEN cards alongside others who were experiencing difficulties accessing their support. They were issued emergency payments, in the form of cash or supermarket vouchers which is standard practice in the event of any difficulties.

Anyone experiencing difficulties with using their ASPEN cards can contact Migrant Help through the 24/7 helpline.

Lord Harrington of Watford
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
10th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many Afghan citizens have been given settled status in the UK in each of the past five years.

The Home Office publishes data on the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) in the ‘EU Settlement Scheme statistics’.

The latest published information on EUSS applications concluded by outcome type to 31 December 2021, including settled status by non-EEA nationality, can be found in table EUSS_NON_EEA_02 available at: EU Settlement Scheme quarterly statistics, December 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

A total of 890 applications from Afghan nationals had been granted settled status from when the EUSS began its first test phase on 28 August 2018 to 31 December 2021, with a further 1,730 granted pre-settled status in the same period.

The Home Office also publishes data on grants of settlement in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’ on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/immigration-statistics-quarterly-release.

Data on Afghan nationals granted settlement are published in Settlement summary table se_03 and in table Se_D01 of the managed migration detailed datasets.

The latest data are provided in the table below. Corresponding data for 2021 will be published on 25 August 2022.

Nationals of Afghanistan granted settlement, 2016 to 2020

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

Afghanistan

1,051

1,228

2,046

1,915

2,496

Please note, a person may appear in both grants under the EUSS and in grants of settlement under another part of the Immigration Rules.

Lord Harrington of Watford
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
10th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many refugee centres have stopped the £35 weekly allowance to refugees; for what duration; and what were the reasons for this.

Neither the Home Office, nor it’s accommodation providers, have stopped paying Asylum Support to those who are entitled to it.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
25th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Memorandum of Understanding between the UK and Rwanda is binding; and if so, which elements of the agreement are binding.

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

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
22nd Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to facilitate parliamentary scrutiny of their plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda.

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

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
22nd Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the estimated cost of flying asylum seekers to Rwanda.

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

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
22nd Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether male asylum seekers from (1) Afghanistan, and (2) Ukraine, will have to go to Rwanda to complete their asylum claim.

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

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
22nd Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how long they estimate that asylum seekers will have to stay in Rwanda prior to a decision on their application.

The Migration and Economic Development Partnership between the UK and Rwanda will see those migrants travelling to the UK through illegal and dangerous methods, considered for relocation to Rwanda, where they will have their asylum claim processed. Once a person is relocated to Rwanda, their asylum claim becomes the responsibility of that country and falls under their jurisdiction. However, we expect asylum claims will be decided within a reasonable period of time.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will accept expired forms of government identification if a Ukrainian applicant to the Ukrainian Family Scheme and the Ukrainian Sponsorship scheme has no other form of identification.

We will accept an expired UKR international passport with a formal extension stamp issued by the Ukrainian government. If customers do not hold a valid passport, they will need to attend a visa application centre to provide their biometric information, but are still able to apply to the two schemes.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
21st Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many Afghan citizens have been resettled under the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme; and what target number, if any, they are aiming for resettlements.

The Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme opened on 6th January, providing up to 20,000 women, children and others at risk with a safe and legal route to resettle in the UK.

There are around 6,500 people in the UK who have been brought to safety during and after the evacuation who are eligible for the ACRS through pathway one. The first Afghan families have already been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain under the scheme, and we are continuing to grant Indefinite Leave to the remainder. .

Due to the success of our emergency evacuation and the larger than anticipated number of people brought over to the UK, we plan to exceed our initial aim of 5,000 people in the first year of the ACRS.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the emergency visa office for Ukrainian refugees is in Lille and not Calais; and how many visas for Ukrainian refugees have been issued there for each week since it opened.

To support people in Northern France who are eligible for the Ukraine Family Scheme, the Home Office has set up a new temporary Visa Application Centre (VAC) in Arras, replacing the interim site in Lille. The Arras VAC is now open. It will only be used for referrals from Border Force of Ukrainians arriving in Calais without visas. Individuals eligible for the Ukraine Family Scheme should not travel to Arras or Northern France, but instead apply online (if they hold a valid passport), or make an appointment to attend their nearest VAC in person. Transport can be arranged from Calais if needed for those being referred.


Information on the number of applications issued under the Ukraine Family Scheme can be found in our published data on the GOV.UK webpage.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that the Home Office are keeping up with visa applications from those fleeing Ukraine.

We are committed to ensuring our operational teams have the resources they need to run an efficient and effective system. We actively monitor workflows to ensure sufficient resources are in place to meet demand, including from pressures relating to Ukraine.

The Home Office has surged capacity to European countries including Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Moldova, Poland and Romania. This work has increased the total capacity of UKVI who can offer over 13,000 appointments to visa applicants across the region.

The Home Office has made it easier to make applications to the Ukraine Family Scheme and the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, as Ukrainians with valid passports no longer need to go to a Visa Application Centre to give their biometrics before they come to the UK.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
28th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made regarding the implementation of the Afghan citizens resettlement scheme.

The Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme commenced on 6th January, providing up to 20,000 women, children and others at risk with a safe and legal route to resettle in the UK.

The scheme will prioritise those who have assisted UK efforts in Afghanistan and stood up for UK values such as democracy, women’s rights, freedom of speech and rule of law; and vulnerable people such as women and girls at risk, and members of minority groups (including ethnic / religious minorities and LGBT+).

There are around 6,500 people in the UK who have already been brought to safety, during and after the evacuation, and who are eligible for the ACRS. They include women’s rights activists, journalists, and prosecutors, as well as Afghan families of British Nationals. The first Afghan families have already been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain under the scheme

From Spring 2022, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will refer refugees to the scheme, based on assessments of protection need.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
25th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to co-ordinate the response of the four nations of the UK to ensure the most effective approach to supporting Ukrainian refugees.

Thousands more Ukrainians will be welcomed to the UK as the Government continues its support for Ukraine in their fight against the Russian invasion.

The Home Secretary immediately introduced concessions to support Ukrainian nationals currently in the UK who are now unable to return when their existing visa expires. These concessions will assist Ukrainian nationals in extending their stay in the UK without having to leave and re-apply from overseas.

The Government has established a Ukraine Family Scheme, which is fee free and allows British nationals, and people settled here, to bring extended family members to the UK. The Scheme covers immediate family members and a wider range of extended family including parents, grandparents, children over 18 cousins and siblings. Individuals will be granted leave for three years, giving them certainty and securing their future in the country.

The Government is also launching a humanitarian sponsorship pathway, whereby Ukrainians who may not have family ties in the UK can be sponsored to come to the UK by willing and able individuals, businesses, or community organisations. There will be no numerical limit on this scheme, and we will welcome as many Ukrainians as wish to come and have matched sponsors.

We will continue to work with our counterparts in the Devolved Administrations to ensure we deliver the best possible scheme across the whole of the UK for Ukrainians coming here. With regular engagement at Ministerial Level between the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
25th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to establish radio and television programmes teaching English to refugees and asylum seekers; and what discussions they have had with the devolved administrations about coordinating any such plans.

The Government does not have plans to establish radio and television programmes specifically for teaching English to refugees and asylum seekers.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
7th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many refugees they have deported from Afghanistan due to failed UK asylum applications.

Enforced returns to Afghanistan, including deportations, remain paused at this time.

The Home Office publishes data on the number of returns from the UK in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly release’. The latest data on asylum-related returns from the UK for the top 10 nationalities, which are broken down by return type including enforced returns (of which ‘deportations’ is a subset) can be found in table Ret_04 of the returns summary tables.

The data are for the top 10 nationalities of the returnee as opposed to destination of the return. The published data therefore relate to all returns of Afghan nationals, including returns to other safe countries. Data by destination are not currently available. The latest data relate to the year ending June 2021 with Afghanistan in the top 10 nationalities.

Asylum-related returns relate to cases where there has been an asylum claim at some stage prior to the return. This will include asylum seekers whose asylum claims have been refused, and who have exhausted any rights of appeal, those returned under third country provisions, as well as those granted asylum/protection, but removed for other reasons (such as criminality).

The term 'deportations' refers to a legally defined subset of returns, which are enforced either following a criminal conviction, or when it is judged that a person’s removal from the UK is conducive to the public good. The published statistics refer to enforced returns which include deportations, as well as cases where a person has breached UK immigration laws and those removed under other administrative and illegal entry powers that have declined to leave voluntarily. Figures on deportations, which are a subset of enforced returns, are not separately available.

The Home Office seeks to return people who do not have any legal right to stay in the UK, which includes people who:

  • enter, or attempt to enter, the UK illegally (including people entering clandestinely and by means of deception on entry);
  • overstay their period of legal right to remain in the UK;
  • breach their conditions of leave;
  • are subject to deportation action; for example, due to a serious criminal conviction and;
  • have been refused asylum.
Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
17th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people were fined for breaking the rules during all of the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Data on the number of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) issued under the COVID-19 regulations by police forces in England and Wales is collected by policing and published by the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) on their website.

The latest publication to 19 December 2021 was published on 11 January 2022 and can be found here: Update on the national police absence rate and Coronavirus FPNs issued by forces in England and Wales (npcc.police.uk). Police in England and Wales have processed a total of 118,963 FPNs for coronavirus breaches.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
10th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they will select those who are currently in Afghanistan to take part in the Afghans Citizens Resettlement Scheme.

The Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) commenced on 6 January 2022 and will provide up to 20,000 women, children and others at risk with a safe and legal route to resettle in the UK.

We helped over 15,000 people to safety in the emergency evacuation under Operation PITTING and have continued to bring people to the UK, with around 1,500 people helped to enter since the evacuation.

From Spring 2022, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will refer refugees to the scheme, based on assessments of protection need.

In the first year, the Government will honour its commitments to resettle those British Council contractors and GardaWorld contractors and Chevening alumni who are most at risk under the ACRS

There will not be an application process for the ACRS. Instead, eligible people will be prioritised and referred for resettlement through one of three ways.

More detail can be found on GOV.UK.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
10th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements they are making to provide transport for those eligible under the Afghans Citizens Resettlement Scheme to come from Afghanistan to the UK.

Providing a means to leave Afghanistan for individuals eligible for HMG support remains a top priority.

Since the end of Op PITTING, we have brought around 1,500 Afghans to the UK from the region.

The Minister for the Armed Forces recently visited the region to identify what more we can do for those eligible both in Afghanistan and in neighbouring countries. We are working with a wide range of allies and partners and are exploring every avenue to help them reach safety.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
5th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what advice they provide to homeowners offering accommodation to refugees.

Her Majesty’s Government does not provide specific advice on this issue.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
5th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will publish their plans to implement the Afghan citizens resettlement scheme.

As set out in my Oral Statement to the House on 6th January, the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) has now been launched: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/oral-statement-on-the-afghan-citizens-resettlement-scheme. The ACRS will provide up to 20,000 women, children and others at risk with a safe and legal route to resettle in the UK.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
5th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what responsibility the devolved administrations have for supervising the allocation of temporary homes for refugees within their respective nation.

The Home Office works closely with the devolved administrations, as well as strategic migration partnerships and local authorities, on the allocation of both short and long term accommodation for refuges resettled to the UK.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
5th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many rooms have been offered to house refugees in each nation of the UK; and how many rooms have been taken up by refugees in each nation of the UK.

The information is not readily available/held centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
6th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many individuals have been processed by the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme to date; how many spaces are available for new referrals in 2022; and which organisations can make referrals to the scheme.

We are working across government and with partners such as UNHCR to design and open the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme amidst a complex and changing picture. We are committed to working in step with the international community to get this right, and we will set out more details soon.

The first to be resettled through the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme will be some of those who arrived in the UK under the evacuation programme, which included individuals who were considered to be at particular risk.

Information on the eligibility, prioritisation and referral of people for the ACRS is set out in the policy statement published on gov.uk on 13 September, available at gov.uk.

All figures for operational UK resettlement schemes are published quarterly on gov.uk.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
6th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish the number of individuals and families eligible for the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme.

We are working across government and with partners such as UNHCR to design and open the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme amidst a complex and changing picture. We are committed to working in step with the international community to get this right, and we will set out more details soon.

The first to be resettled through the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme will be some of those who arrived in the UK under the evacuation programme, which included individuals who were considered to be at particular risk.

Information on the eligibility, prioritisation and referral of people for the ACRS is set out in the policy statement published on gov.uk on 13 September, available at gov.uk.

All figures for operational UK resettlement schemes are published quarterly on gov.uk.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
6th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to update (1) Parliament, and (2) the public, on the implementation of (a) the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme, and (b) the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy, including the (i) number of applicants identified or referred, and (ii) number of visas issued.

We intend to publish an update on the progress of Operation Warm Welcome in due course.

Statistical updates will be published in the Immigration statistics quarterly release from 2022, which can be found on gov.uk.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
29th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government which countries the 27 migrants who drowned in the English Channel on 24 November were from.

This tragic incident, in which at least 27 people lost their lives, occurred in French waters. Whilst the UK assisted in the immediate search and rescue operation and has offered support to the French authorities in their follow up operation, it remains a French-led criminal investigation. As such, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further except to refer the Noble Lord to the information which the French authorities have already put into the public domain.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
29th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many refugees from Afghanistan have been accepted into the UK for each of the past six months.

The Home Office publishes data on asylum in the 'Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release', which can be found on gov.uk. Data on the initial decisions made on asylum applications are published in table ASY_D02 of the 'asylum and resettlement detailed datasets' which can be found in the attached Annex. Information on how to use the dataset can be found in the ‘Notes’ page of the workbook. The latest data cover up to the end of September 2021. Additionally, the Home Office publishes a high-level overview of the data in the 'summary tables'. The ‘contents’ sheet contains an overview of all available data on asylum and resettlement.

The data show in the 6 months from April to September 2021, 246 Afghans (including dependants) were offered protection in the form of asylum, alternative forms of leave, or resettlement in the UK. Of these, 199 were granted asylum, 26 resettlement, and 37 were granted alternative forms of leave (such as humanitarian protection, discretionary leave).

Please note these statistics do not include the resettlement of those under the Afghanistan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS), the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) or similar Afghan schemes for locally engaged civilians, or those brought to the UK as part of Operation Pitting.

The UK evacuated around 15,000 individuals to the UK from Kabul during Operation Pitting. This is in addition to circa 2000 arrivals under ARAP between the end of June 2021 and when the evacuation began on 14 August.

Data on the ACRS and other schemes will be included in future statistical releases.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the number of people who emigrated from the UK in (1) 1991, (2) 2010, and (3) 2020; and how this compares to the number of people who applied to settle in the UK in each of those years.

The Office for National Statistics publishes estimates of immigration, emigration and net migration on their website:

International migration - Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk)

Provisional long-term international migration estimates - Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk)

ONS estimates of Emigration from the UK

199120102019YE March 2020
Total285,000339,000409,000403,000

All data are estimates

YE March 2020 is the latest available data

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/immigration-statistics-quarterly-release

The available Home Office data relate to grants and refusals of applications for settlement. These are published in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’ on GOV.UK:

The latest available data relates to the year ending June 2021. Data for Q3 2021 will be published on 25 November 2021.

Grants and refusals of Settlement in the UK

199120102020YE June 2021
Grant53,900241,19285,457106,876
RefusalN/A11,1341,8141,897
Grand TotalN/A252,32687,271108,773

1991 data rounded to the nearest 10

Data from 2010 to 31 December 2020 exclude EEA nationals

Nationals of EU accession countries are included or excluded according to their accession date

Only Grants of Settlement were published in 1991

YE June 2021 is the latest available data
Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consultations, if any, they are having with religious groups about potential legislation on immigration.

The Government’s New Plan for Immigration is delivering the most comprehensive reform of the asylum system in decades. An essential element of the Plan is the Nationality and Borders Bill.

A public consultation on the Plan was held earlier this year, with a wide variety of stakeholders from different sections of our society taking part. The Government published its response to the consultation in July, and this can be found on the GOV.UK website: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/new-plan-for-immigration.

The Government regularly engages with individuals and groups with an interest in migration, including religious groups, as we take forward the Bill and deliver the New Plan for Immigration.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions, if any, they have had with the government of France regarding the treatment of asylum seekers in the Calais area.

The responsibility for asylum seekers and refugees lies with the authorities of the country in which they are present in accordance with their international obligations. France has a fully functioning asylum system and is party to both the ECHR and the Refugee Convention.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment, if any, they have made of how the number of people applying for refugee status in the UK compares to the figures for (1) Greece, (2) Italy, (3) Spain, and (4) France.

The Home Office publishes information on asylum in the Immigration statistics quarterly release. Section 2.2 of the ‘How many people do we grant asylum or protection to?’ chapter includes international comparisons on the number of people applying for asylum in the UK and in the EU+ (as published by Eurostat).

There were 37,235 people (applicants and their dependants) who applied for asylum in the UK in the year ending June 2021 (the latest comparable statistics available). This is less than France (87,180) and Spain (67,425), but higher than Italy (24,885) and Greece (24,275). When looking at the EU+ and UK together, the UK received the 4th largest number of applicants, or 8% of the total asylum applicants across the EU+ and UK combined over that period (France and Spain received the second and third largest).

Asylum applications in the UK and the EU have declined in the latest year, in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the fall in applications seen by the EU+ (the EU, EEA and Switzerland) (-21%) was steeper than the decline in applications to the UK (-9%).

The number of applications to the UK has remained fairly stable in the last 5 years in comparison with the EU, where application numbers have fluctuated more.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
17th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the number of migrants sent back to Europe after travelling to the UK by boat has reduced from 289 in 2020 to five in 2021.

The UK is in discussions regarding the returns of asylum seekers to European Member States; it would not be appropriate to provide a running commentary on these negotiations.

Whilst we are working to secure appropriate new return agreements with safe, third countries, we continue to return people on a case-by-case basis.

Our inadmissibility provisions in the Immigration Rules give us the legal basis to declare an asylum claim as inadmissible where a person has a connection to or has passed through a safe country. The first returns on inadmissible grounds have been successfully carried out.

The latest statistics which were published in August 2021, can be found on gov.uk. The next set of data is due to be published in November 2021.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
17th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the EU to replace the Dublin Agreement on asylum applications.

The UK is in discussions regarding the returns of asylum seekers to European Member States; it would not be appropriate to provide a running commentary on these negotiations.

Whilst we are working to secure appropriate new return agreements with safe, third countries, we continue to return people on a case-by-case basis.

Our inadmissibility provisions in the Immigration Rules give us the legal basis to declare an asylum claim as inadmissible where a person has a connection to or has passed through a safe country. The first returns on inadmissible grounds have been successfully carried out.

The latest statistics which were published in August 2021, can be found on gov.uk. The next set of data is due to be published in November 2021.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
17th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what evidence they have that the majority of migrants crossing the English Channel to gain entry into the UK are part of criminal gangs; and whether they will publish that evidence.

At no stage has the Government claimed that the majority of migrants crossing the English Channel are part of criminal gangs. What has been said is that the majority of crossings are judged to be facilitated by criminal gangs.

These crossings are dangerous and unnecessary – France is a safe country with a fully-functioning asylum system, and those in need of refuge have no need to make these hazardous journeys. Those who attempt to cross are endangering themselves and those who have to rescue them. And those who facilitate them are risking the lives of others in the selfish pursuit of profit. Tragically, we have seen further deaths in the last few weeks of people trying to cross the Channel in small boats. We make no apology therefore for going after the evil people smuggling gangs who facilitate the majority of these crossings.

We must ensure that those involved in people smuggling are punished with the severity it rightly deserves. The Nationality and Borders Bill will enable this and will also act as a much stronger deterrent for those tempted to pursue that despicable path. These long overdue reforms will break the business model of the criminal trafficking networks and make their activities unviable.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
9th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to use the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme as a model for the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme.

The Government has committed to welcoming around 5,000 people in the first year of the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) - and up to 20,000 over the coming years. The ACRS will be partly modelled on the successful Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS), which resettled over 20,000 refugees fleeing the Syrian conflict, over a seven-year period from 2014 to 2021. Further information on the eligibility, prioritisation and referral of people for the ACRS is set out under the Afghanistan resettlement and immigration policy statement published on gov.uk on 13 September

The VPRS is now closed. The selection criteria used for the VPRS is replicated for the UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS), this information is available on gov.uk.

Evaluation of the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS), and also the Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme (VCRS), is ongoing. The UK Government’s strategy for evaluating the delivery and effectiveness of the VPRS and VCRS is outlined on gov.uk.

The VPRS was also twice inspected by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, in 2018 and 2020, with a number of recommendations accepted and implemented. Details of the inspections, and report overviews can also be found on gov.uk.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
9th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what criteria they use to select individuals for resettlement under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme.

The Government has committed to welcoming around 5,000 people in the first year of the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) - and up to 20,000 over the coming years. The ACRS will be partly modelled on the successful Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS), which resettled over 20,000 refugees fleeing the Syrian conflict, over a seven-year period from 2014 to 2021. Further information on the eligibility, prioritisation and referral of people for the ACRS is set out under the Afghanistan resettlement and immigration policy statement published on gov.uk on 13 September

The VPRS is now closed. The selection criteria used for the VPRS is replicated for the UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS), this information is available on gov.uk.

Evaluation of the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS), and also the Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme (VCRS), is ongoing. The UK Government’s strategy for evaluating the delivery and effectiveness of the VPRS and VCRS is outlined on gov.uk.

The VPRS was also twice inspected by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, in 2018 and 2020, with a number of recommendations accepted and implemented. Details of the inspections, and report overviews can also be found on gov.uk.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
9th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have reviewed the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme; and if not, what plans they have to conduct such a review.

The Government has committed to welcoming around 5,000 people in the first year of the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) - and up to 20,000 over the coming years. The ACRS will be partly modelled on the successful Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS), which resettled over 20,000 refugees fleeing the Syrian conflict, over a seven-year period from 2014 to 2021. Further information on the eligibility, prioritisation and referral of people for the ACRS is set out under the Afghanistan resettlement and immigration policy statement published on gov.uk on 13 September

The VPRS is now closed. The selection criteria used for the VPRS is replicated for the UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS), this information is available on gov.uk.

Evaluation of the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS), and also the Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme (VCRS), is ongoing. The UK Government’s strategy for evaluating the delivery and effectiveness of the VPRS and VCRS is outlined on gov.uk.

The VPRS was also twice inspected by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, in 2018 and 2020, with a number of recommendations accepted and implemented. Details of the inspections, and report overviews can also be found on gov.uk.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
25th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the increase in stabbings in the past four years.

The latest police recorded crime figures, published by ONS in July 2021 for the year ending March 2021, show that there was a 15% fall in offences involving knives or sharp instruments recorded by the police to 44,286 compared with the year ending March 2020. This was driven by substantial decreases in periods coinciding with national lockdowns. Figures from 2016 to 2021 show a 19% increase in total offences involving the use of a knife.

Tackling knife crime is a priority and the Government is determined to crack down on the scourge of violence devastating our communities.

We are clear about the inherent seriousness of offences involving knives and are determined to do all we can to protect communities and see that knife crime offenders are brought to justice. The Government remains extremely concerned by knife crime, and the corresponding increase in the number of victims of violent crime. This is why we have committed £176.5 million over two years to prevent serious violence in local communities and bolstering police capacity to respond to serious violent crimes when they do occur.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
12th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether Taliban-issued passports will be accepted as valid.

The UK continues to recognise Afghanistan as a state and as such we continue to accept their passports.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
12th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the Afghan Citizens' Resettlement Scheme is scheduled to open.

The Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) is not yet open. Officials are working urgently to stand up the remaining elements of the scheme, amid the complex and changing picture.

The Government will continue to work closely with other government departments, non-governmental organisations, charities, local authorities and other partners and relevant organisations in the development and implementation of the ACRS.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
4th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what process they followed to partner with Greater Good Global to resettle Afghan translators.

The Government has warmly welcomed hundreds of Afghan nationals to this country who have worked alongside our Armed Forces and diplomats in Afghanistan. There is a significant cross-government effort underway to ensure Afghans arriving in the UK receive the vital support they need to rebuild their lives, find work, pursue education and integrate into their local communities. To do so we are working closely with local authorities, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) and the commercial sector.

In response to the Afghan crisis, a number of NGOs offered their services to the Home Office including Greater Good Global who are helping to provide wraparound services to Afghans accommodated temporarily in hotels, ensuring that they have access to essential living items and services until they are relocated into more permanent accommodation.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
10th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are recruiting extra staff to help process increased numbers of asylum seekers in the UK.

In support of increasing the number of initial asylum decisions, the Home Office has recruitment strategies in place to increase staffing to more appropriate levels.

We are working to almost double the number of decision makers to c.1000 by March 2022.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
10th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are prioritising Afghan asylum seekers who are (1) women, (2) children, and (3) deemed to be especially vulnerable; and if so, what processes they are using to identify these people.

Through the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) the UK will relocate up to 20,000 people at risk, including women and girls and minority groups, so they can rebuild their lives in safety.

On 13th September, further details on this scheme were set out in a statement made in the House of Commons and published on gov.uk. Through these statements, the Government confirmed that the ACRS will prioritise those who have assisted the UK efforts in Afghanistan and stood up for the values we share such as democracy, women’s rights and freedom of speech and the rule of law, as well as other vulnerable people, including women, girls and members of minority groups at risk (including ethnic and religious minorities and LGBT+).

To help identify those most at risk and vulnerable, the government will work closely with the UN’s Refugee Agency, UNHCR, to identify and resettle refugees who have fled Afghanistan based on their protection and humanitarian need. The government will also work with international partners and NGOs in the region to implement a referral process for people inside Afghanistan, where safe passage can be arranged, and for those that have recently fled to other countries in the region.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
10th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they are giving to former Afghan interpreters who have been granted asylum in the UK to seek employment.

The Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) launched on 1 April 2021, offering relocation to former Locally Employed Staff in Afghanistan who have been assessed to be at serious risk as a result of their work. Work is underway across the whole of Government to ensure the Afghans who stood side by side with us in conflict, their families and those at highest risk who have been evacuated, are supported as they now rebuild their lives in the UK.

All those brought to the UK under the ARAP scheme will have the right to work, access to education and healthcare, and will be able to apply for public funds. The support provided to them will be similar to that received by those who came on the Syrian Resettlement Programme, ensuring that those who risked their lives by working closely with the British military and UK Government in Afghanistan get access to the vital healthcare, education, accommodation and support into employment they need to fully integrate into society.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
10th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the devolved administrations regarding their policy to end illegal crossings of the English Channel by migrant vessels.

Border Security is a reserved matter. Consequently, discussions on this subject have not taken place with the devolved administrations, and there are no plans to do so.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many foreign nationals have been deported in the last 12 months, and to what countries.

The Home Office publishes data on the number of returns from the UK in each quarter in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly release’.

The latest data on returns of Foreign National Offenders (FNOs) are published in Ret_02 and Ret_02q of the returns summary tables. Data on enforced returns (of which ‘deportations’ is a subset), by destination and nationality can be found in Ret_D02 of the returns detailed dataset.

The latest data relate to Q4 2020. Data for Q1 2021 are due to be published on 26 August within the Immigration statistics, year ending June 2021.

The term 'deportations' refers to a legally-defined subset of returns, which are enforced either following a criminal conviction, or when it is judged that a person’s removal from the UK is conducive to the public good. The published statistics refer to enforced returns which include deportations, as well as cases where a person has breached UK immigration laws and those removed under other administrative and illegal entry powers that have declined to leave voluntarily. Figures on deportations, which are a subset of enforced returns, are not separately available.

The Home Office seeks to return people who do not have any legal right to stay in the UK, which includes people who:

  • enter, or attempt to enter, the UK illegally (including people entering clandestinely and by means of deception on entry);
  • overstay their period of legal right to remain in the UK;
  • breach their conditions of leave;
  • are subject to deportation action; for example, due to a serious criminal conviction and
  • have been refused asylum.
Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the recommendations by the Chief Inspector of Prisons following his visits to immigration detention facilities on the south coast of England; and how many of those recommendations have been implemented.

In September 2020, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons carried out an unannounced inspection of the detention of migrants arriving in Dover in small boats. The report was published in October 2020, and the government’s response to the report was published at the same time.

The report made 20 recommendations of which the government accepted 19. At the time of publishing the government’s response to the report, all the accepted recommendations had been either completed or partially completed.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assistance, if any, they have given to (1) Kent County Council, and (2) other local authorities, to meet their statutory responsibilities to (a) asylum seekers, and (b) immigrants.

The Government has a statutory obligation to provide destitute asylum seekers with accommodation and other support whilst their application for asylum is being considered. Whilst there is no direct assistance to local authorities for asylum dispersal our accommodation providers pay council tax on the properties they procure for asylum accommodation.

For unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC), local authorities receive funding through the Local Government Finance Settlement for all ‘looked-after children’, and in addition the Home Office pays a ‘top up’ tariff directly to local authorities for UASC and former UASC care leavers.

As part of vital updates to the National Transfer Scheme, we announced more than £20m of new funding. The new tariff is £114 per UASC per day, rising to £143 if the local authority is over the 0.07% threshold, or accepts responsibility of a UASC from a higher rate receiving authority, and £270 per UASC care leaver per week. In addition, we have established a new exceptions cost fund of £3m, to support local authorities facing particular high costs for individual children. Further changes include a new national voluntary rota and increased support with age assessment.

We recognise the longstanding role that Kent County Council has played in supporting these vulnerable young people and are extremely grateful for their significant contribution. We have provided substantial operational support to Kent to help alleviate the significant pressures on their children’s services, caused by small boat arrivals on the south coast.

We do not provide accommodation or support for those in the UK illegally.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
19th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will halt the deportation of Zimbabwe nationals who are due for removal from the UK on 21 July.

No, this charter flight is part of our standard operational activity to remove Foreign National Offenders.

Returning Foreign National Offenders to Zimbabwe is also not a new development and recommenced in 2018.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
29th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the date by which settled status applications have to be made; and what steps they are taking to ensure that all applicants are treated fairly.

EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members who were resident in the UK by the end of the transition period had until 30 June 2021 to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. Yet we have made clear where a person eligible for status under the scheme has reasonable grounds for missing the 30 June 2021 deadline, they will be given a further opportunity to apply.

We have published non-exhaustive guidance on what may constitute such reasonable grounds, which underpins a flexible and pragmatic approach to considering late applications under the scheme based on the circumstances of each case.

All applications are decided fairly based on the Immigration Rules.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
29th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to clear the backlog of settled status applications.

We currently have 1,500 UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) European Casework staff in post working on applications made to the EUSS.

Our aim is to process all applications to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) as quickly as possible. The majority of applications have been concluded within 5 working days, but cases may take longer dependent on the circumstances of the case, for example if the applicant is facing an impending prosecution or has a criminal record.

The following link lists the expected processing times for EU Settlement Scheme applications, based upon current performance:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-application-processing-times/eu-settlement-scheme-pilot-current-expected-processing-times-for-applications

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
21st Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many asylum seekers were unable to receive their benefits due to recent issues with the Aspen Card.

Fully functioning and tested Aspen cards have been distributed to all service users. The vast majority have activated it and have been using it successfully since the service went live on Monday 24th May 2021.

Where replacement cards have been requested, they are being actioned swiftly and are being dispatched to service users accordingly.

Those experiencing issues with their Aspen card were, and still are, entitled to Emergency Cash Payments (ECPs) if in need. Due to this, all support-entitled asylum seekers were able to receive their benefits, either through an Aspen card or cash payments.

The vast majority of service users have now received and activated their new Aspen card since the service went live on Monday 24th May 2021. These cards are working and being used successfully to make purchases or withdraw funds (dependent on asylum seeker support type).

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
21st Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made with resolving issues with the Aspen Card.

Fully functioning and tested Aspen cards have been distributed to all service users. The vast majority have activated it and have been using it successfully since the service went live on Monday 24th May 2021.

Where replacement cards have been requested, they are being actioned swiftly and are being dispatched to service users accordingly.

Those experiencing issues with their Aspen card were, and still are, entitled to Emergency Cash Payments (ECPs) if in need. Due to this, all support-entitled asylum seekers were able to receive their benefits, either through an Aspen card or cash payments.

The vast majority of service users have now received and activated their new Aspen card since the service went live on Monday 24th May 2021. These cards are working and being used successfully to make purchases or withdraw funds (dependent on asylum seeker support type).

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
21st Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many asylum seekers are currently dependent on support from the UK Government.

The latest published Immigration Statistics detail the number of asylum seekers supported by the UK Government.

These statistics are published on a quarterly basis, with the latest information published 27 May 2021 and can be found at: (please see attached table)

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/asylum-and-resettlement-datasets#asylum-support

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many individuals were on board UK deportation flight Esparto 11; and to which countries they were deported.

The Operation Esparto 11 returns charter flight departed on 12 August 2020. Fourteen people in total were returned under the Dublin Regulation to Germany and France on this flight.

The Government’s efforts to facilitate entirely legitimate and legal returns of people who have entered the U.K. through illegal routes are too often frustrated by last minute challenges submitted hours before a scheduled flight. These claims are very often baseless and entirely without merit, but are given full legal consideration, leading to removal being rescheduled.

This Government’s priority is keeping the people of this country safe, and we make no apology for seeking to remove dangerous foreign criminals and other immigration offenders.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how the Penally Training Camp is now being used; and what discussions they have had, if any, with the Welsh Government about this camp.

The Penally site was last used to accommodate asylum seekers on 19 March 2021.

The site was handed back to the MOD on 13 May 2021

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) whether the outbreak of COVID-19 at Napier Barracks is now over, and (2) the safety of Napier Barracks for new arrivals of asylum seekers.

There is currently nobody housed at Napier Barracks who has tested positive for COVID 19. The previous outbreak was declared over on 6 March 2021.

We have sought Public Health England advice on how we can make best use of this accommodation, working within the constraints of the configuration, whilst minimising risks from COVID-19.

We are using dormitories as shared rooms, but limiting occupancy ensuring a minimum distance between beds of at least 2 metres. This is complemented by a range of additional safety measures including increased cleaning of surfaces, availability of hand sanitisers, a track and trace system, three weekly lateral flow tests for residents and staff and lateral flow tests on arrival for visitors. We also communicate with residents around COVID-19 control measures.

We continue to work with health and public health bodies to ensure an acceptable level of risk in relation to Covid-19.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
7th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many immigrants have been detained at Napier Barracks in each of the past six weeks for which figures are available.

No-one is detained at Napier Barracks as service users accommodated there are free to come and go as they please.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
7th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much was the weekly benefit payment received by asylum seekers in each of the last 10 years.

Asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute can obtain support from the Home Office. The support package usually consists of free, furnished accommodation (with utility bills and council tax paid) and a weekly cash allowance to meet other essential living needs.

The standard weekly cash allowance for a single adult asylum seeker over the past 10 years is set out in the table below.

Year

Weekly Rate

From 18 April 2011

£36.62

From 6 April 2015

£36.95

From 6 February 2018

£37.75

From 15 June 2020

£39.60

From 22 February 2021

£39.63

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
7th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the failure to pay benefits to asylum seekers due to contractual changes to the ASPEN card payments system; and what steps they will take to ensure that this does not happen again.

The PrePaid Financial Services (PFS) solution is a well-established Mastercard pre-paid card that is used by organisations across the UK as well as abroad and has undergone over 5 months of rigorous testing to integrate with Home Office systems.

Service users were notified of the transition in advance and a significant majority of service users have received their Aspen card and successfully activated it. For those who have done this the service is functioning as expected. The cards are fully working, withdrawals and purchases are being made and the automated IVR activation line is operating well.

Transitions of this nature are complex, and plans to mitigate anticipated issues were, and remain, in place. Cash payments were made available in emergencies. We will continue to work with the remainder of service users to activate their cards and ensure they are supported throughout.

As part of our management of service contracts continuous improvement assessments will be factored in throughout the contract term and implemented accordingly.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
20th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports of EU citizens (1) being handcuffed at British airports, (2) made to sleep in parked vans, and (3) prevented from accessing medication, after being denied entry into the UK.

EU citizens are our friends and neighbours and we want them to stay in the UK, which is why we launched our ground-breaking EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), and for those who do not have status under the EUSS, they can enter the UK for up to six months as visitors, visa free.

Separate to the Immigration Rules any travel to the UK at this time is also subject to requirements relating to the global pandemic. Until 17 May, it was not generally permissible to travel the UK simply for a visit under health regulations set by the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations. Those claiming to be entering for work or study in relation to these regulations must prove they meet our entry requirements, including holding the correct immigration status, for the purpose stated for their journey in relation to the border health regulations.

Individuals, including EU Citizens, may be refused permission to enter the UK if they do not meet COVID19 related health or immigration requirements. COVID19 testing requirements set by EU and other nations, combined with a lack of flights, has meant some cannot be returned as quickly and easily as normal.

We will accept nothing but the highest standards from both Home Office staff and the companies employed to provide detention and escorting services on our behalf. Home office staff have a duty to act professionally and only use detention when it is proportionate, reasonable, and justified in the circumstances. We have issued instructions to staff to reinforce the principle, in all cases there exists a presumption in favour of bail.

In detention, the rights of all detained individuals are protected by the Detention Centre Rules 2001 (DCR), published Operating Standards for immigration removal centres (IRCs) and individuals under escort and Detention Services Orders (DSO).

Published guidance, and the training received by Border Force and Detainee Custody Officers makes it clear physical force and restraint equipment should only be used after a thorough assessment of risk, and in consideration of each individual’s personal circumstances. Where restraints are used, they are removed at the earliest opportunity.

The Home Office and our escorting provider regularly review procedures to reduce the amount of time detained individuals spend on board escorting vehicles. Officers are instructed to process individuals as quickly as practically possible, whilst ensuring they still have a full and proper induction and ultimately maintain the safety and security of all detained individuals and staff involved.

All IRCs have dedicated health facilities run by doctors and nurses which are managed by the NHS or appropriate providers. Detained individuals arriving at IRCs are medically assessed by a nurse within two hours of their arrival and offered an appointment with a doctor within 24 hours. Those carrying prescribed medication, have this medication checked and re-issued by healthcare teams at the earliest possible opportunity. Individuals continue have access to medical assistance, including medication, throughout their time in an IRC.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
17th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have for the future use of the Penally Camp; and what consultations are taking place with the Welsh Government about that site.

The use of Penally Training Camp as contingency asylum accommodation ceased on 19 March 2021, with all asylum seekers relocated to alternative accommodation. The site is was handed back to the Ministry of Defence on 13 May 2021.

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration inspection is ongoing, and the timing of a final inspection report on Contingency Asylum Accommodation is a matter for the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
17th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they plan to publish the most recent report on the use of the Napier Barracks as accommodation for asylum seekers.

The use of Penally Training Camp as contingency asylum accommodation ceased on 19 March 2021, with all asylum seekers relocated to alternative accommodation. The site is was handed back to the Ministry of Defence on 13 May 2021.

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration inspection is ongoing, and the timing of a final inspection report on Contingency Asylum Accommodation is a matter for the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
17th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what evidence they used in the decision to open a new immigration detention centre in Country Durham.

The immigration removal estate is kept under ongoing review to ensure that the Home Office has sufficient resilience, geographical footprint and capacity for the men and women it proves necessary to detain for the purposes of removal, while providing value for money.

As part of our plans to manage the closure and return of the Morton Hall immigration removal centre (IRC) to Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, the Home Office considered a number of options to maintain necessary capacity in the estate, including the opening of a new IRC.

Given the timescales and value for money considerations, acquiring the vacant Hassockfield site to open as an IRC for women was considered the most cost-effective option for maintaining immigration detention capacity.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
19th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they made of the advice from Public Health England about the use of dormitory accommodation at Napier Barracks and its suitability for use during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Napier is providing safe, coronavirus (COVID-19)-compliant conditions, in line with the law and Public Health England (PHE) guidance on social distancing requirements, including recommendations when using dormitories. The accommodation has been adapted to ensure social distancing can be maintained and occupancy in dormitories is limited to ensure a minimum distance between beds of at least two metres.

This is complemented by a range of additional safety measures including increased cleaning, availability of personal cleaning products and hand sanitisers, twice weekly lateral flow tests for all residents, staff and visitors and a track and trace system. Our service providers have robust plans in place to minimise the risk of an outbreak of COVID-19 and an action plan should a COVID-19 outbreak occur.

We have established links to the appropriate leads from the local authority, PHE and statutory bodies and are committed to working with them to support the people who we accommodate and the communities where they live. Regular Multi-Agency Forums are held to ensure concerns are understood, so issues are managed and resolved accordingly.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what technology they are (1) using, and (2) developing, to improve the safety of women.

The Home Office is supporting policing to build its digital capability and maximise the use of technologies to ensure it can respond effectively to crime and protect the public, including women.

The Single Online Home (SOH) is a national platform that provides a digital front counter and online services for the public. SOH launched a pilot domestic abuse reporting service in October 2020 across five forces following heightened risks of hidden harms during the pandemic. Designed in consultation with forces, the NPCC Domestic Abuse Lead, and external charities, the service is very much victim focused and provides victims with a discrete reporting mechanism to access the support they need. The service has received a total of 1168 reports and is being used to inform a national roll out.

In light of the recent and tragic death of Sarah Everard, we have more than doubled the size of the Safer Streets Fund, which will bring funding for these local projects to £45 million in the 2021/22 financial year. Through the Safer Streets Fund, we will work with Police and Crime Commissioners and Local Authorities to deploy measures such as CCTV and improved street lighting that improve the safety of public spaces, with a focus on increasing the safety of women and girls.

Through our landmark Domestic Abuse Bill we will also strengthen our response to perpetrators and improve our support to victims. The Bill will introduce mandatory polygraph examinations of high-risk domestic abuse offenders on licence.

We intend to publish two strategies this year focussed on tackling Violence Against Women and Girls and Domestic Abuse, which will ensure a cross-government response to ensuring and increasing the safety of women and girls.

We have published the Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper, which includes specific measures to work with private companies and ensure that they are held to account for tackling illegal activity and content, such as hate crime, harassment, and cyber-stalking, as well as activity and content which may not be illegal but is nonetheless highly damaging to individuals (legal but harmful). The Full Government Response will be followed by legislation, which we are working on at pace, and will be ready this year.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
18th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they plan to relocate all asylum seekers who are housed at Napier Barracks.

The current global pandemic has presented us with significant challenges when it comes to the provision of asylum accommodation, including sourcing sufficient suitable accommodation to meet demand.

The use of hotels and wider government facilities as contingency accommodation are a short-term measure. We are working to move people to longer-term dispersal accommodation as soon as it becomes available.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
18th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many police officers have been recruited as part of the campaign to recruit 20,000 additional police officers, announced on 5 September 2019.

This Government is committed to recruiting an additional 20,000 police officers by March 2023.

We are providing £700 million this year to help with the recruitment of 6,000 additional officers by the end of March 2021.

I am pleased to say that as at 31 December 2020, 6,620 additional officers have been recruited as a result of the Police Uplift Programme.

I am extremely grateful to those brave men and women who have signed up to join the police and keep our communities safe.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
18th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the provision of personal alarms to vulnerable people who fear assault.

The Government is committed to reducing serious violence and putting an end to the tragedies afflicting our communities. It is important that we work across government, statutory, private, and voluntary sectors to deliver change.

We have announced we are investing a further £25m into the Safer Streets Fund this year, focused on ensuring people feel safe in public spaces and building on the £45m we have already committed. This investment will be launched in May once the pre-election period attached to local council and Police and Crime Commissioner elections has ended.

The Fund will deliver physical crime prevention measures, such as improved street lighting or increased CCTV coverage. There is strong evidence to show that simple solutions like these helps prevent crimes before they happen, empowering communities and individuals, including women and girls, to feel truly safe.

Violence Reduction Units are a key component of the Government’s investment to tackle violence at a local level. They bring together local partners in the 18 areas most affected by serious violence to deliver an effective, joined up approach to tackling violent crime and its drivers. The Home Office has invested £70m funding over two years (19/20 – 20/21) for Violence Reduction Units (VRUs). On 8 February, we announced a further £35m of funding for VRUs for 2021/22.

We are committed to tackling all forms of abuse against women and girls. The previous VAWG Strategy included sexual harassment for the first time in recognition of the disproportionate impact that it has on women and girls.

The Government takes all forms of harassment extremely seriously. Whether it is in the workplace, on the street, or as part of domestic or sexual abuse – sexual harassment, in any situation, is unacceptable.

We will be publishing a new Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy in 2021 which will help to better target perpetrators and support victims of these crimes and increase our ability to tackle emerging forms of VAWG such as ‘upskirting’ and revenge porn.

To inform the new strategy, we launched a Call for Evidence on 10 December, inviting responses from the public, victims, their friends, family and colleagues as well as victim support organisations, frontline professionals, and academics.

Following the tragic case of Sarah Everard and subsequent outpouring of stories and experiences of women who have faced violence or harassment, the Home Secretary decided to re-open the Government’s Call for Evidence on Friday 12 March, for a 2-week period, to inform the new strategies to tackle Violence Against Women and Girls. So far there have been over 147,000 responses to the call for evidence.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
18th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take to protect adults who fear assault.

The Government is committed to reducing serious violence and putting an end to the tragedies afflicting our communities. It is important that we work across government, statutory, private, and voluntary sectors to deliver change.

We have announced we are investing a further £25m into the Safer Streets Fund this year, focused on ensuring people feel safe in public spaces and building on the £45m we have already committed. This investment will be launched in May once the pre-election period attached to local council and Police and Crime Commissioner elections has ended.

The Fund will deliver physical crime prevention measures, such as improved street lighting or increased CCTV coverage. There is strong evidence to show that simple solutions like these helps prevent crimes before they happen, empowering communities and individuals, including women and girls, to feel truly safe.

Violence Reduction Units are a key component of the Government’s investment to tackle violence at a local level. They bring together local partners in the 18 areas most affected by serious violence to deliver an effective, joined up approach to tackling violent crime and its drivers. The Home Office has invested £70m funding over two years (19/20 – 20/21) for Violence Reduction Units (VRUs). On 8 February, we announced a further £35m of funding for VRUs for 2021/22.

We are committed to tackling all forms of abuse against women and girls. The previous VAWG Strategy included sexual harassment for the first time in recognition of the disproportionate impact that it has on women and girls.

The Government takes all forms of harassment extremely seriously. Whether it is in the workplace, on the street, or as part of domestic or sexual abuse – sexual harassment, in any situation, is unacceptable.

We will be publishing a new Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy in 2021 which will help to better target perpetrators and support victims of these crimes and increase our ability to tackle emerging forms of VAWG such as ‘upskirting’ and revenge porn.

To inform the new strategy, we launched a Call for Evidence on 10 December, inviting responses from the public, victims, their friends, family and colleagues as well as victim support organisations, frontline professionals, and academics.

Following the tragic case of Sarah Everard and subsequent outpouring of stories and experiences of women who have faced violence or harassment, the Home Secretary decided to re-open the Government’s Call for Evidence on Friday 12 March, for a 2-week period, to inform the new strategies to tackle Violence Against Women and Girls. So far there have been over 147,000 responses to the call for evidence.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
10th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the findings of the Independent Chief Inspector, published on 8 March, of the asylum accommodation at (1) Napier Barracks, and (2) Penally military training camp.

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration announced an inspection of contingency asylum accommodation on 25 January 2021.

The department acknowledges the ICIBI’s decision to publish on 8 March the initial findings from site visits to Napier Barracks and Penally.

The ICIBI’s inspection continues and a full inspection report will follow.

The duration of the inspection is a matter for the ICIBI and upon its conclusion, following standard procedure set out in the UK Borders Act 2007, the Department will issue a formal response alongside the inspection report as it is laid before Parliament and published on Gov.UK.

197 people accommodated at Napier tested positive for coronavirus earlier this year. There have been no recorded cases at Penally.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
10th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many asylum seekers have contracted COVID-19 while staying at (1) Napier Barracks, and (2) Penally military training camp.

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration announced an inspection of contingency asylum accommodation on 25 January 2021.

The department acknowledges the ICIBI’s decision to publish on 8 March the initial findings from site visits to Napier Barracks and Penally.

The ICIBI’s inspection continues and a full inspection report will follow.

The duration of the inspection is a matter for the ICIBI and upon its conclusion, following standard procedure set out in the UK Borders Act 2007, the Department will issue a formal response alongside the inspection report as it is laid before Parliament and published on Gov.UK.

197 people accommodated at Napier tested positive for coronavirus earlier this year. There have been no recorded cases at Penally.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many refugees were accommodated at (1) Napier Barracks, and (2) Pennally Camp, on (a) 1 December 2020, and (b) 1 March 2021.

Napier and Penally have been used to accommodate destitute asylum seekers. On 1 December 2020, 403 asylum seekers were accommodated at Napier and 148 at Penally. On 1 March 2021, these figures were 55 and 65 respectively.

The department acknowledges the ICIBI’s decision to publish on 8 March 2021 the initial findings from site visits to Napier Barracks and Penally. The ICIBI’s inspection report will be laid before Parliament in the usual way after the inspection has concluded. The Department will issue a formal response alongside the report as it is published on Gov.UK.

It is not known when the final inspection report will be received as this is a matter for the ICIBI.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the findings by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration on the use of Napier Barracks as contingency asylum accommodation; and what steps they will take further to those findings.

Napier and Penally have been used to accommodate destitute asylum seekers. On 1 December 2020, 403 asylum seekers were accommodated at Napier and 148 at Penally. On 1 March 2021, these figures were 55 and 65 respectively.

The department acknowledges the ICIBI’s decision to publish on 8 March 2021 the initial findings from site visits to Napier Barracks and Penally. The ICIBI’s inspection report will be laid before Parliament in the usual way after the inspection has concluded. The Department will issue a formal response alongside the report as it is published on Gov.UK.

It is not known when the final inspection report will be received as this is a matter for the ICIBI.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
25th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they introduced the provision of £39.63 in cash support to those seeking asylum in the UK; and what are the eligibility criteria for that payment.

Asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute are provided with accommodation and a weekly allowance to cover their other essential living needs.

The level of the standard allowance is reviewed each year and adjusted where necessary. As a result of this year’s review the allowance has been raised from £37.75 per week to £39.63 per week. The £39.63 rate took effect from 22 February 2021, although an earlier exceptional temporary increase to £39.60 was implemented from 15 June 2020 pending the outcome of the full review.

The allowance is reduced if the asylum seeker is accommodated in full-board facilities where some of their essential living needs, for example food and toiletries, are provided in kind.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
25th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many asylum applications they disputed on the grounds of having little or no evidence of an asylum seeker's claimed age in (1) 1991, (2) 2010, and (3) 2018.

The Home Office publishes data on asylum applications in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’. Data on the number of asylum applications that had an age dispute raised are published in table Asy_D05 of the asylum and resettlement detailed datasets. The table below is given from the published data.

Age disputes raised for asylum applicants between 2006 and 2020

Year

Age disputes raised

2006

2,246

2007

1,930

2008

1,515

2009

1,146

2010

531

2011

370

2012

338

2013

323

2014

318

2015

791

2016

929

2017

718

2018

875

2019

798

2020

732

Notes:

1. An age dispute case refers to an applicant who does not have credible documentary or other persuasive evidence to demonstrate their age claimed,

2. 'Age disputes raised' relates to the number of age assessment requests raised for a main asylum applicant in a year. Figures to the period when the age dispute was raised, which may differ from the period the asylum application was received.

3. Age dispute figures for years before 2010 can be found in as_10 of the old format asylum data tables volume 3.

Data on age disputes prior to 2006 is not readily available.

Information on how to use dataset Asy_D05 can be found in the ‘Notes’ page of the workbook. The latest data relate up to December 2020. Additionally, the Home Office publishes a high-level overview of the data in the ‘summary tables’. The ‘contents’ sheet contains an overview of all available data on asylum and resettlement.

Information on future Home Office statistical release dates can be found in the ‘Research and statistics calendar’.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the living conditions of the former Napier barracks, and (2) whether those conditions would be suitable for use by the British Armed Forces.

As required by law, we provide asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute with accommodation which is safe, secure and fit-for-purpose, paid for by the taxpayer.

We welcome independent scrutiny of our sites, processes and procedures; and routinely facilitate inspections from relevant bodies to assure ourselves of the ongoing safety and suitability of the accommodation and services we provide.

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration announced an inspection of contingency asylum accommodation on 25 January 2021.

The department acknowledges the ICIBI’s decision to publish on 8 March the initial findings from site visits to Napier Barracks and Penally.

The ICIBI’s inspection report will be laid before Parliament in the usual way after the inspection has concluded. The Department will issue a formal response alongside the report as it is published on Gov.UK. It is not known when the final inspection report will be received but this is a matter for the ICIBI.

An independent rapid review was also recently conducted to assure ourselves of the extensive COVID-19 protocols in place to safeguard the health and safety of asylum seekers during the pandemic. The Home Office is currently reviewing and acting upon the recommendations of the review.

We continue to work closely with our provider and partners to identify opportunities for improvement, as we do across our entire accommodation estate.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether (1) Napier Barracks, and (2) the Penally military training camp, are (a) adequate, and (b) satisfactory, for the purpose of accommodating migrants.

Due to pressures on the asylum system caused by the pandemic and high intake, the Home Office had to identify available contingency accommodation and put it to use quickly to ensure we could met our statutory duty to provide accommodation to any asylum seeker who would otherwise be destitute.

Following a review of available government property, the Ministry of Defence agreed to temporarily hand over two of their sites: the Penally Training Camp in Pembrokeshire and the Napier Barracks in Kent. These sites were both suitable and immediately available to be used to house asylum seekers. The accommodation, which until recently was used by the MOD is safe, habitable, fit for purpose and correctly equipped in line with existing asylum accommodation standards contractual requirements.

We have appropriate health care provision at both sites, having worked closely with the Local Health Board in Pembrokeshire and Clinical Commissioning Group in Kent. At Napier Barracks, asylum seekers have access to a prescribing nurse on site, who is linked to the local GP surgery where the asylum seekers are all registered. Transportation is made available, where necessary, to take asylum seekers to any in person medical appointments required.

Our accommodation providers have worked closely with Public Health England and Wales to ensure that all Covid-19 regulations are met and social distancing can be adhered to, including while transporting asylum seekers to and from accommodation sites, this includes the deep cleaning of vehicles and restrictions on the number of people being transported at any one time.

We do not publish figures on the number of asylum seekers accommodated in initial accommodation (including temporary) sites, however the numbers of asylum seekers accommodated in each local authority can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/asylum-and-resettlement-datasets#asylum-support.

We also do not publish figures on the numbers of asylum seekers who have tested positive for, or have passed away, from Covid-19.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how social distancing is observed when transporting migrants (1) to, and (2) from, (a) Napier Barracks, and (b) the Penally military training camp.

Due to pressures on the asylum system caused by the pandemic and high intake, the Home Office had to identify available contingency accommodation and put it to use quickly to ensure we could met our statutory duty to provide accommodation to any asylum seeker who would otherwise be destitute.

Following a review of available government property, the Ministry of Defence agreed to temporarily hand over two of their sites: the Penally Training Camp in Pembrokeshire and the Napier Barracks in Kent. These sites were both suitable and immediately available to be used to house asylum seekers. The accommodation, which until recently was used by the MOD is safe, habitable, fit for purpose and correctly equipped in line with existing asylum accommodation standards contractual requirements.

We have appropriate health care provision at both sites, having worked closely with the Local Health Board in Pembrokeshire and Clinical Commissioning Group in Kent. At Napier Barracks, asylum seekers have access to a prescribing nurse on site, who is linked to the local GP surgery where the asylum seekers are all registered. Transportation is made available, where necessary, to take asylum seekers to any in person medical appointments required.

Our accommodation providers have worked closely with Public Health England and Wales to ensure that all Covid-19 regulations are met and social distancing can be adhered to, including while transporting asylum seekers to and from accommodation sites, this includes the deep cleaning of vehicles and restrictions on the number of people being transported at any one time.

We do not publish figures on the number of asylum seekers accommodated in initial accommodation (including temporary) sites, however the numbers of asylum seekers accommodated in each local authority can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/asylum-and-resettlement-datasets#asylum-support.

We also do not publish figures on the numbers of asylum seekers who have tested positive for, or have passed away, from Covid-19.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what medical facilities are available at (1) Napier Barracks, and (2) the Penally military training camp.

Due to pressures on the asylum system caused by the pandemic and high intake, the Home Office had to identify available contingency accommodation and put it to use quickly to ensure we could met our statutory duty to provide accommodation to any asylum seeker who would otherwise be destitute.

Following a review of available government property, the Ministry of Defence agreed to temporarily hand over two of their sites: the Penally Training Camp in Pembrokeshire and the Napier Barracks in Kent. These sites were both suitable and immediately available to be used to house asylum seekers. The accommodation, which until recently was used by the MOD is safe, habitable, fit for purpose and correctly equipped in line with existing asylum accommodation standards contractual requirements.

We have appropriate health care provision at both sites, having worked closely with the Local Health Board in Pembrokeshire and Clinical Commissioning Group in Kent. At Napier Barracks, asylum seekers have access to a prescribing nurse on site, who is linked to the local GP surgery where the asylum seekers are all registered. Transportation is made available, where necessary, to take asylum seekers to any in person medical appointments required.

Our accommodation providers have worked closely with Public Health England and Wales to ensure that all Covid-19 regulations are met and social distancing can be adhered to, including while transporting asylum seekers to and from accommodation sites, this includes the deep cleaning of vehicles and restrictions on the number of people being transported at any one time.

We do not publish figures on the number of asylum seekers accommodated in initial accommodation (including temporary) sites, however the numbers of asylum seekers accommodated in each local authority can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/asylum-and-resettlement-datasets#asylum-support.

We also do not publish figures on the numbers of asylum seekers who have tested positive for, or have passed away, from Covid-19.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many migrants accommodated in (1) Napier Barracks, and (2) the Penally military training camp, have been diagnosed with COVID-19; and whether there have been any COVID-19 related fatalities at these camps.

Due to pressures on the asylum system caused by the pandemic and high intake, the Home Office had to identify available contingency accommodation and put it to use quickly to ensure we could met our statutory duty to provide accommodation to any asylum seeker who would otherwise be destitute.

Following a review of available government property, the Ministry of Defence agreed to temporarily hand over two of their sites: the Penally Training Camp in Pembrokeshire and the Napier Barracks in Kent. These sites were both suitable and immediately available to be used to house asylum seekers. The accommodation, which until recently was used by the MOD is safe, habitable, fit for purpose and correctly equipped in line with existing asylum accommodation standards contractual requirements.

We have appropriate health care provision at both sites, having worked closely with the Local Health Board in Pembrokeshire and Clinical Commissioning Group in Kent. At Napier Barracks, asylum seekers have access to a prescribing nurse on site, who is linked to the local GP surgery where the asylum seekers are all registered. Transportation is made available, where necessary, to take asylum seekers to any in person medical appointments required.

Our accommodation providers have worked closely with Public Health England and Wales to ensure that all Covid-19 regulations are met and social distancing can be adhered to, including while transporting asylum seekers to and from accommodation sites, this includes the deep cleaning of vehicles and restrictions on the number of people being transported at any one time.

We do not publish figures on the number of asylum seekers accommodated in initial accommodation (including temporary) sites, however the numbers of asylum seekers accommodated in each local authority can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/asylum-and-resettlement-datasets#asylum-support.

We also do not publish figures on the numbers of asylum seekers who have tested positive for, or have passed away, from Covid-19.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many migrants are currently being accommodated in (1) Napier Barracks, and (2) the Penally military training camp, compared to the numbers accommodated in (a) December 2020, and (b) January 2021.

Due to pressures on the asylum system caused by the pandemic and high intake, the Home Office had to identify available contingency accommodation and put it to use quickly to ensure we could met our statutory duty to provide accommodation to any asylum seeker who would otherwise be destitute.

Following a review of available government property, the Ministry of Defence agreed to temporarily hand over two of their sites: the Penally Training Camp in Pembrokeshire and the Napier Barracks in Kent. These sites were both suitable and immediately available to be used to house asylum seekers. The accommodation, which until recently was used by the MOD is safe, habitable, fit for purpose and correctly equipped in line with existing asylum accommodation standards contractual requirements.

We have appropriate health care provision at both sites, having worked closely with the Local Health Board in Pembrokeshire and Clinical Commissioning Group in Kent. At Napier Barracks, asylum seekers have access to a prescribing nurse on site, who is linked to the local GP surgery where the asylum seekers are all registered. Transportation is made available, where necessary, to take asylum seekers to any in person medical appointments required.

Our accommodation providers have worked closely with Public Health England and Wales to ensure that all Covid-19 regulations are met and social distancing can be adhered to, including while transporting asylum seekers to and from accommodation sites, this includes the deep cleaning of vehicles and restrictions on the number of people being transported at any one time.

We do not publish figures on the number of asylum seekers accommodated in initial accommodation (including temporary) sites, however the numbers of asylum seekers accommodated in each local authority can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/asylum-and-resettlement-datasets#asylum-support.

We also do not publish figures on the numbers of asylum seekers who have tested positive for, or have passed away, from Covid-19.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
4th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have received any representations over the past 30 years in relation to the death of George Taylor following a bomb explosion in Abergele on 1 July 1969; and if so, (1) from whom they received any such representations, and (2) what was their response in each case.

An answer to the question by the Noble Lord cannot be obtained as to do so would be at a disproportionate cost to the Department.

We would in any event be unable to confirm with certainty what representations were received in the last 30 years, as it is possible that such representations would have been destroyed in accordance with information retention and disposal schedules.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
1st Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the living conditions for refugees being housed at the former army barracks at Penally.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the asylum system has faced significant pressures and it has become necessary to use additional temporary accommodation to ensure the Home Office can continue to meet all of its statutory obligations.

Penally Training Camp is temporary, contingency accommodation whilst we continue to address the issues putting pressure on the asylum system. The site was previously used by our armed forces and provides safe, suitable and warm accommodation in line with existing contractual requirements for asylum accommodation.

Most recently we asked an independent health and safety consultancy, Human Applications to carry out a rapid review of a number of asylum accommodation sites including Penally. The Home Office is reviewing the recommendations of the review and will seek to publish a summary of the recommendations. We will also hold round tables with stakeholders to discuss the recommendations, actions taken and proposed next steps.

We continue to work closely with our provider and partners to identify opportunities for enhancement, as we do across our entire accommodation estate.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
21st Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether police officers will be prioritised for COVID-19 vaccinations.

For the first phase of the vaccine rollout, the Government is prioritising the elderly and clinically vulnerable, alongside the front-line healthcare workers who are directly treating and caring for them. Those over 50, and all adults in an exposure risk group, will then also be eligible for vaccination in the early phase of the programme. This already includes many police officers and police staff.

The Government recognise the vital work of the police and we continue to reemphasise that in discussions on the next phase of the vaccine prioritisation.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
13th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 27 November 2020 (HL10838), what assessment they have made of protests by asylum seekers at the Napier Barracks on 12 January; and what plans they have to reassess their assessment that “the accommodation itself is entirely adequate for its purpose, with the same standards applied as for other asylum accommodation”.

The Government takes the wellbeing of asylum seekers extremely seriously. We provide asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute with safe, warm and secure accommodation, where they receive three meals a day, whilst their claims are being processed.

Those we are accommodating are not detained and are free to come and go. We have a robust complaints process in place where those we support (or those representing them) can raise concerns through the 24/7 helpline operated by Migrant Help.

In response to the protests held at Napier, officials arranged a call with some of the residents to listen to their concerns. Reassurances were provided that moves out of the camp will shortly recommence, with vulnerability, time spent in the asylum process and overall length of stay in intial accommodation as a key considerations in this process. Weekly Home Office-led forums with residents will also be held going forward and surveys in relation to food and living standards at the site will be undertaken.

The Home Office will continue to review the operation of the site and will make any improvements necessary. We continue to work closely with our provider and partners to identify opportunities for improvement, as we do across our entire accommodation estate.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
5th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they provide to the children of asylum seekers who are expelled from the UK following imprisonment for a criminal offence.

The Home Office’s immigration departments have a legal duty under section 55 of the 2009 Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act to have regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in the discharge of its functions.

Where the child of a foreign national offender is not being deported and remains with their other parent or guardian whose asylum claim in the UK is outstanding or being appealed, support may be provided under section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 in the provision of accommodation or cash subsistence in circumstances where the family would otherwise face destitution.

In the event that the asylum-seeking parent or guardian is appeal rights exhausted and their dependents are 18 or over, they may qualify for ongoing support under section 4 of the Act if they face a practical barrier to leaving the UK.

Where an asylum-seeking family have received refugee status, they would be eligible to apply for mainstream social security benefits and accommodation.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
30th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that security guards confiscated a Christmas meal donated by volunteers to the Penally asylum camp in Pembrokeshire.

As required by law, we provide asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute with accommodation. In Penally, we also provide asylum seekers with free meals. This support is paid for by the taxpayer.

We are in regular contact with accommodation providers and the meals provided are high quality and in line with NHS Eatwell guidelines.

We are aware of an incident on Sunday, 20 December 2020, where a group attempted to share items on site. Whilst food is not permitted due to safety reasons, any other item must also comply with our safety and coronavirus measures before being distributed. All items that did not meet these guidelines were returned.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
30th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any dispensation of relevant planning regulations has been (1) required, or (2) sought, for the proposed establishment of temporary accommodation to house asylum seekers near Barton Stacey.

During these unprecedented times we have worked with local authorities and other partners to provide asylum seekers, who would otherwise be destitute, with suitable accommodation – as we are required to do by law.

As part of this work we are looking at using a site on Ministry of Defence land in Barton Stacey to accommodate those awaiting a decision on their claim.

If the plans go ahead, we will be using emergency planning powers. This is lawful because the area is Crown land.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
15th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they intend to replace the EU's mechanisms for family reunification in relation to unaccompanied children.

This Government has made it clear that we are embarking on an ambitious programme to fix our broken asylum system to make it firm and fair. As the Home Secretary said in her Conservative Party Conference speech, we will seek to stop abuse of the system while ensuring it is compassionate towards those who need our help, welcoming people through safe and legal routes.

Section 3 of the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Act 2020 (the Act) sets out a statutory obligation to review the ways in which protection claimants, including unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC), who are in an EU member state are able to enter the United Kingdom lawfully. As a part of this review, the statutory obligation includes a public consultation on legal routes for UASC in the EU seeking to join family in the UK.

The Act includes a requirement to lay a statement before Parliament by 10 February 2021 providing further details of the review and consultation.

The Government has also made a commitment, in the event of a non-negotiated outcome with the EU, to seek to pursue new bilateral negotiations on post-transition migration issues with key countries of mutual interest, including on new arrangements for the family reunion of unaccompanied asylum seeking children.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people were deported to Jamaica from the UK on 2 December; how many people who were due to be deported on that same flight were not; and why any such people were not deported.

The charter flight to Jamaica departed the UK on 2 December 2020 carrying 13 foreign national offenders (FNOs) convicted of serious offences including murder, attempted rape, aggravated burglary and supplying Class A drugs. They were sentenced to a combined total of over 100 years, which included one life sentence.

There were 23 FNOs who were sentenced to a combined total of 156 years plus one life sentence who were not deported on the charter, including a murderer and rapists.

We are unable to comment on individual cases and therefore cannot provide the detailed reasons why those removed from the flight were not deported; however, the majority were due to last minute legal challenges. We are progressing these cases as a priority.

This Government takes seriously its obligation under the UK Borders Act 2007 to deport any FNO who has served a custodial sentence of at least 12 months; and we will continue to seek to remove dangerous criminals and protect our communities.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government which organisations in Jamaica co-operated with UK authorities to provide support to those deported to Jamaica from the UK on 2 December.

Extensive cooperation was provided to HMG’s returns charter flight by the Jamaican government and its agencies. Representatives from the Jamaican Ministry of Health and Welfare, the Passport and Immigration Agency and the Jamaican Constabulary Force facilitated arrangements for receiving travellers, conducting COVID19 tests and transfers to pre-arranged hotel accommodation to quarantine, pending test results.

Following quarantine people will be placed into the care of friends or family, with additional support offered by charities Open Arms and the National Organisation for Deported Migrants (NODM). These charities offer on-arrival assistance, including transport to new places of residence, guidance on reintegration to Jamaican society and access to the Open Arms Development Centre, which can provide accommodation and vocational training.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Institute for Global City Policing Stop and Search in London: July to September 2020, published in November, and in particular its finding that in London black men between 18 and 24 years old are on average 19 times more likely than the general population to be stopped and searched by the police; what assessment they have made of the efficacy of stop and search (1) target areas, and (2) policy; and what plans they have to review the use of stop and search.

The Home Office welcomes any analysis of the effectiveness of police tactics.

The police tell us that stop and search is a vital tool which helps them tackle serious violence and protect communities. We remain clear that no one should be stopped based on protected characteristics, including race and age. Safeguards exist to ensure this, including Code A of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 which sets out the statutory requirements for conducting a search, the use of body worn video to increase accountability, and HMICFRS inspections where force level disparities are examined. The Home Office also publishes extensive data on police powers, including the use of stop and search, which allows Police and Crime Commissioners and others to hold forces to account. The latest publication is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/police-powers-and-procedures-england-and-wales-year-ending-31-march-2020.

The causes of disparities in stop and search are complex. This Government has committed to tackling racial disparities and broader structural inequalities as part of the Prime Minister’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities.

All operational decisions on how stop and search is carried out in London are a matter for the Metropolitan Police Service and City of London Police.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
30th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish (1) the reasons behind the deportation of each individual due to be onboard the deportation flight scheduled for 2 December, and (2) details of whether any of these people have appealed their deportation.

One of this Government’s key objectives is to protect the public by removing foreign national offenders who commit criminal offences and have no right to remain in the UK. Since January 2019, 6,450 foreign criminals have been deported.

We are unable to comment on individual cases and therefore cannot provide you with the reasons for deportation of those due to be on board this flight or the details of any appeals made. However, those due to be removed on the flight include people convicted of murder, rape, manslaughter, violent crime, firearms offences, burglary and the appalling scourge of dealing Class-A drugs. These are serious offences which have a very real and lasting impact on the victims and the communities in which we all live.

Those being deported are provided with the opportunity to raise reasons why they should not be deported, prior to deportation. All issues raised will be fully considered and decided before deportation. The UK only ever returns those who the Home Office and, where applicable, the courts are satisfied do not need our protection and have no legal basis to remain in the UK.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
27th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what legal assistance is available at the asylum seeker camps in (1) Penally, and (2) Folkestone, to help those who wish to seek refugee status.

All asylum seekers have access at all times to Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility (AIRE), a single, integrated service provided for the Home Office by Migrant Help.

The AIRE service provides advice and guidance to asylum seekers on the asylum process, their rights and signposts different services.

This includes information on the availability of legal advice and representation, including legal aid, upon induction into temporary accommodation.

The latest published Immigration Statistics detail the number of asylum seekers accommodated in each local authority area, which includes those in hotel and wider government facilities. These statistics can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/asylum-and-resettlement-datasets#asylum-support.

There is no secrecy about our use of Napier and Penally as accommodation, but privacy of individuals must be maintained. The accommodation itself is entirely adequate for its purpose, with the same standards applied as for other asylum accommodation. We are taking great care to ensure that we provide safe, secure accommodation and that everyone has access to the support they need. This includes providing asylum seekers with privacy and confidentiality as would be expected for those seeking sanctuary in the UK where it would be damaging for their identities to be revealed.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
27th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many asylum seekers are accommodated at the camps in (1) Penally, and (2) Folkestone.

All asylum seekers have access at all times to Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility (AIRE), a single, integrated service provided for the Home Office by Migrant Help.

The AIRE service provides advice and guidance to asylum seekers on the asylum process, their rights and signposts different services.

This includes information on the availability of legal advice and representation, including legal aid, upon induction into temporary accommodation.

The latest published Immigration Statistics detail the number of asylum seekers accommodated in each local authority area, which includes those in hotel and wider government facilities. These statistics can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/asylum-and-resettlement-datasets#asylum-support.

There is no secrecy about our use of Napier and Penally as accommodation, but privacy of individuals must be maintained. The accommodation itself is entirely adequate for its purpose, with the same standards applied as for other asylum accommodation. We are taking great care to ensure that we provide safe, secure accommodation and that everyone has access to the support they need. This includes providing asylum seekers with privacy and confidentiality as would be expected for those seeking sanctuary in the UK where it would be damaging for their identities to be revealed.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
27th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government why volunteers at refugee camps in (1) Penally, and (3) Folkestone, are required to sign confidentiality agreements stating that they will not disclose the living conditions of the refugees.

All asylum seekers have access at all times to Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility (AIRE), a single, integrated service provided for the Home Office by Migrant Help.

The AIRE service provides advice and guidance to asylum seekers on the asylum process, their rights and signposts different services.

This includes information on the availability of legal advice and representation, including legal aid, upon induction into temporary accommodation.

The latest published Immigration Statistics detail the number of asylum seekers accommodated in each local authority area, which includes those in hotel and wider government facilities. These statistics can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/asylum-and-resettlement-datasets#asylum-support.

There is no secrecy about our use of Napier and Penally as accommodation, but privacy of individuals must be maintained. The accommodation itself is entirely adequate for its purpose, with the same standards applied as for other asylum accommodation. We are taking great care to ensure that we provide safe, secure accommodation and that everyone has access to the support they need. This includes providing asylum seekers with privacy and confidentiality as would be expected for those seeking sanctuary in the UK where it would be damaging for their identities to be revealed.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
25th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 2 November (HL9318), what recent monitoring they have conducted of asylum seeker accommodation in Pembrokeshire and Folkestone; whether they will publish any reports or results of such monitoring; and what steps they intend to take should such reports show that the accommodation is not “safe, habitable, fit for purpose and correctly equipped".

The Government demands the highest standards from contractors and their accommodation and monitor them closely to ensure this is maintained. All accommodation provided is required to be safe, habitable, fit for purpose and correctly equipped, and to comply with relevant national or local housing legislation. These standards apply to all accommodation used by the Home Office including the Ministry of Defence sites in Pembrokeshire and Folkestone.

Both Penally and Napier Barracks have been inspected during November, neither inspection found any contractual failings. There are no plans to publish the inspection reports.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
19th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many refugees were settled in the UK in (1) 2010, (2) 2014, and (3) 2019.

The Home Office is committed to publishing data in an orderly way as part of the regular quarterly Immigration Statistics, in line with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. These can be found at

www.gov.uk/government/collections/migration-statistics

To access the number of refugees resettled since 2010, access the latest statistical release using the link above, then “data tables”, “asylum and resettlement” and select either the summary or detailed resettlement tables. The next set of figures will be in the quarterly release on 26 November 2020.(see attached)

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
19th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many claimants have received compensation under the Windrush Compensation Scheme to date; and how many claimants are yet to receive compensation.

Information on the amount in total that has been paid to claimants under the Windrush Compensation Scheme and the total amount of claimants that have received payments to date is available to view on GOV.UK at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/windrush-compensation-scheme-data-october-2020. There inevitably is a high degree of uncertainty around estimated costs and volumes and the Home Office will continue to review estimates as more payments are made. However, there is no cap on the amount of compensation that the Home Office will pay out.

A total of 196 claimants have received payment up to the end of September 2020. We are processing claims and awarding compensation as quickly as possible. The first payment was made just four months after the scheme was launched and we are making interim payments where parts of a claim can be resolved more easily than others.

An offer must be accepted by a claimant before it can be paid, and claimants have a right of review. Overall, the value of all payments made through the scheme was over £1.6m. A further £1.2m had been offered to individuals, awaiting acceptance or pending review. https://homeofficemedia.blog.gov.uk/2020/08/27/windrush-factsheet-august-2020/. The published figures also show that 80 claims have been rejected on eligibility grounds and 81 claims had a zero award under entitlement.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
19th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what amount in total has been paid to claimants under the Windrush Compensation Scheme to date; and how much remains to be paid.

Information on the amount in total that has been paid to claimants under the Windrush Compensation Scheme and the total amount of claimants that have received payments to date is available to view on GOV.UK at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/windrush-compensation-scheme-data-october-2020. There inevitably is a high degree of uncertainty around estimated costs and volumes and the Home Office will continue to review estimates as more payments are made. However, there is no cap on the amount of compensation that the Home Office will pay out.

A total of 196 claimants have received payment up to the end of September 2020. We are processing claims and awarding compensation as quickly as possible. The first payment was made just four months after the scheme was launched and we are making interim payments where parts of a claim can be resolved more easily than others.

An offer must be accepted by a claimant before it can be paid, and claimants have a right of review. Overall, the value of all payments made through the scheme was over £1.6m. A further £1.2m had been offered to individuals, awaiting acceptance or pending review. https://homeofficemedia.blog.gov.uk/2020/08/27/windrush-factsheet-august-2020/. The published figures also show that 80 claims have been rejected on eligibility grounds and 81 claims had a zero award under entitlement.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much compensation has been paid out by the Windrush Compensation Scheme to date; and how much they estimate will be paid out in total before that Scheme ends.

Information on the total number of claims paid and the overall amount paid out by the scheme is available to view on GOV.UK at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/windrush-compensation-scheme-data-october-2020.

In relation to estimated costs these are referred to in the Home Office’s Impact Assessment IA No: HO 0329 dated 29/1/20. The Home Office has secured funding from HM Treasury for the scheme, and there is no cap on the amount of compensation an individual can receive.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
28th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the deaths in the English Channel on 27 October, what plans they have to urgently arrange a safe legal route for refugees to enter the United Kingdom.

This week’s tragic event highlights the danger to life from channel crossings and the need to stop callous criminals exploiting vulnerable people.

Safe and legal routes are a core part of our proposed reforms to the asylum system to ensure it is both firm and fair. As Baroness Williams has previously made clear in Lords, as an integral part of that work the Government will conduct a review of safe and legal routes to the UK for asylum seekers, refugees and their families. This government intends to bring forward legislation next year that will deliver some of our much-needed reforms.

The UK already provides safe and legal routes for people to join family members in the UK through existing Immigration Rules and have a proud record of providing safety to those who need it through our world-leading resettlement schemes.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
26th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements they have in place with the government of Algeria to address any issues with asylum seekers from either the UK or Algeria.

The UK does not have any specific arrangements in place with the government of Algeria ‘to address any issues with asylum seekers from either the UK or Algeria’.

Asylum policy applies to all nationalities, including of course Algerians.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
19th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that the ex-Ministry of Defence sites currently being used to accommodate migrants in Pembrokeshire and Folkestone are in good condition.

The Government demands the highest standards from contractors and their accommodation and monitor them closely to ensure this is maintained.

All accommodation provided is required to be safe, habitable, fit for purpose and correctly equipped, and to comply with relevant national or local housing legislation.

These standards apply to all accommodation used by the Home Office including the Ministry of Defence sites in Pembrokeshire and Folkestone

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
13th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they take to ensure that asylum seekers in temporary accommodation have access to free legal advice.

The Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility (AIRE) service, operated by Migrant Help is a single integrated and national service for asylum seekers.

The AIRE service will provide advice and guidance to service users on the asylum process, their rights and signposting different services.

It will also provide asylum seekers with a single point of contact, independent from the accommodation providers and the Home Office, to report issues.

AIRE are contracted to provide information on the availability of legal advice and representation and signposting of Service User’s to the Legal Aid Agency, where appropriate upon induction into temporary accommodation.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
13th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what mental health services they make available to refugees housed at repurposed barracks in (1) Penally, and (2) Folkestone.

We take the welfare of the asylum seekers we accommodate very seriously. The people who we accommodate in Penally and Folkestone can call on an onsite nurse for assistance, we also work closely with our service providers, local health teams and the voluntary sector to ensure that support is provided to vulnerable asylum seekers.

Additionally, asylum seekers are able to contact Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility service, operated by Migrant Help 24 hours a day, 365 days a year if they need help, advice or guidance, that includes raising issues relating to safeguarding.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
12th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for reforming immigration procedure; when they last reviewed those procedures; and what plans they have to undertake another such review.

In 2016, and again in 2019, the British people voted to take back control of our borders and introduce a new points-based immigration system that will work for the whole UK.

The Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Exit) Bill delivers on these votes by ending the automatic right to live and work in UK for EU migrants and, when the Transition period with the EU ends, we will have control of our immigration system for the first time in decades.

We will be free to implement the changes we need to restore trust in the immigration system and deliver our new fairer, firmer, skills-led system from 1 January 2021.

We will continue to review the system and the underpinning Rules.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
12th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to reduce the number of people awaiting a decision on their asylum claims.

Asylum Operations has been exploring several options to get the system moving again following the outbreak of COVID-19 earlier in the year. There are plans to speed up asylum interviews and decision making with steps being taken to improve efficiency, focusing on process improvements, better quality decisions and transformation.

We are also seeking to put in place temporarily, resource from within the Home Office and other government departments to assist with outstanding claims, along with other alternatives as a short-term measure.

We are determined to fix our broken asylum system. An asylum system should provide safe haven to those fleeing persecution, oppression or tyranny. But right now, ours enables organised criminals to elbow the most vulnerable to the side.

Which is why the new system will be fairer and firmer. It will be compassionate towards those who need our help, welcoming people through safe and legal routes. And it will stop the exploitation of the broken system by those who come here illegally and often make unfounded or meritless claims to remain.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
12th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) how many, and (2) what percentage of, immigration decisions were overturned on appeal in 2019.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service publish appeal outcomes data on a quarterly basis. A link to the data for the last quarter of 2019 is provided here;

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/tribunal-statistics-quarterly-october-to-december-2019

The table in FIA­_3 contains the information requested.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
12th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by the Home Secretary at the Conservative Party Conference on 4 October, what assessment they have made of the actions of "do-gooders" and "leftie lawyers"; and what steps they intend to take in response.

The comments were made in the context of a trend whereby individuals submit last-minute appeals on the basis of human rights claims that we would have expected to have been made far earlier in proceedings and which often transpire to be unmeritorious.

Concerns have been relayed about the behaviour of certain NGOs in France in how they are supporting migrants. We take any information of organised criminality seriously and will investigate appropriately.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
1st Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what the estimated cost per week is for each asylum seeker staying in an accommodation centre.

Accommodation costs are considered to be commercially confidential, so we do not provide this information.

However total asylum spends are published as part of transparency data https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/migration-transparency-data

Data is published on a quarterly basis with the latest information covering until 30 June 2020. The next quarterly figures are due to be released in November 2020.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
1st Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they carried out any analysis of the potential cost of moving and accommodating asylum seekers to Ascension Island; and if so, what those costs were.

The UK has a long and proud history of providing protection to those who need it, in accordance with our international obligations. Tens of thousands of people have rebuilt their lives in the UK and we will continue to provide safe and legal routes for the vulnerable to do so in the future.

Meanwhile, we have seen unprecedented numbers of journeys to the UK by small boat in 2020, which are both dangerous and facilitated by criminals, and so we are determined to render these journeys unviable.

The Department has been developing plans to reform our illegal migration and asylum policies to ensure we are able to provide protection to those who need it whilst preventing abuse of the system and the criminality associated with it. As part of this, we have explored likeminded states’ responses to similar situations in order to consider the various options that exist for deterring people from undertaking these dangerous journeys, exploring a range of options, including those that have been employed by other countries in similar situations. No decisions have been made by Ministers and we continue to work to find the right approach for the UK.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
1st Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with local authorities about whether they have capacity to welcome refugees to their area.

We maintain regular dialogue with a variety of resettlement stakeholders, including local authorities, Strategic Migration Partnerships and other support providers. To date, our resettlement schemes have been supported by over 300 local authorities across the UK, and we are extremely grateful for this support.

Additionally, the successful Community Sponsorship Scheme puts in place the Government’s commitment to develop a scheme to allow community groups, charities and faith groups to support refugees directly.

Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) related restrictions and pressures, both overseas and in the UK, it is not currently possible to undertake any refugee resettlement activity. We continue to evaluate how to respond given these restrictions and pressures, but we expect to resume refugee resettlement activity when safe to do so.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
1st Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with faith communities in the UK about any new proposals for the settlement of refugees.

We maintain regular dialogue with a variety of resettlement stakeholders, including local authorities, Strategic Migration Partnerships and other support providers. To date, our resettlement schemes have been supported by over 300 local authorities across the UK, and we are extremely grateful for this support.

Additionally, the successful Community Sponsorship Scheme puts in place the Government’s commitment to develop a scheme to allow community groups, charities and faith groups to support refugees directly.

Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) related restrictions and pressures, both overseas and in the UK, it is not currently possible to undertake any refugee resettlement activity. We continue to evaluate how to respond given these restrictions and pressures, but we expect to resume refugee resettlement activity when safe to do so.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
14th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, what plans they have to make new arrangements for the welfare of asylum seekers following the UK’s departure from the EU.

Adult asylum seekers and their children who would otherwise be destitute are supported by the Home Office under arrangements set out in the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

Unaccompanied asylum seeking children are supported under arrangements provided for in the Children Act 1989, or equivalent legislation in the devolved administrations. As the support arrangements are provided for in domestic legislation there is no need to make changes to them as a result of our departure from the EU.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to create a route for asylum seekers to cross the English Channel to the UK safely.

HL7708:

The UK has a proud record of providing protection for people who need it, for as long as it is needed, in accordance with our obligations under the Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights. However, there is no provision within our Immigration Rules for someone to be allowed to travel to the UK to seek asylum or temporary refuge. Whilst we sympathise with people in difficult situations, we are not bound to consider asylum claims from the very large numbers of people overseas who might like to come here. Those who need international protection should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach – that is the fastest route to safety. France is one such safe country – with a fully functioning asylum system and over 100,000 asylum claims lodged last year

The UK’s resettlement schemes have provided safe and legal routes for tens of thousands of people, who have been given the chance to start new lives in safety. We purposefully resettle those in greatest need of protection, including those who require urgent medical treatment, survivors of violence and torture, and women and children at risk. . We resettle more refugees than any other country in Europe and are in the top five countries worldwide. Since 2015, we have resettled more than 25,000 refugees.

While resettlement arrivals are currently suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will resume them as soon as conditions allow, and meet our full commitment to those fleeing the Syrian conflict.

HL7709:

The original animation was cleared by the Minister for Immigration, Compliance & the Courts; we have since removed this content from official government channels.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government which Minister authorised the release of the Home Office video on immigration on 26 August.

HL7708:

The UK has a proud record of providing protection for people who need it, for as long as it is needed, in accordance with our obligations under the Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights. However, there is no provision within our Immigration Rules for someone to be allowed to travel to the UK to seek asylum or temporary refuge. Whilst we sympathise with people in difficult situations, we are not bound to consider asylum claims from the very large numbers of people overseas who might like to come here. Those who need international protection should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach – that is the fastest route to safety. France is one such safe country – with a fully functioning asylum system and over 100,000 asylum claims lodged last year

The UK’s resettlement schemes have provided safe and legal routes for tens of thousands of people, who have been given the chance to start new lives in safety. We purposefully resettle those in greatest need of protection, including those who require urgent medical treatment, survivors of violence and torture, and women and children at risk. . We resettle more refugees than any other country in Europe and are in the top five countries worldwide. Since 2015, we have resettled more than 25,000 refugees.

While resettlement arrivals are currently suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will resume them as soon as conditions allow, and meet our full commitment to those fleeing the Syrian conflict.

HL7709:

The original animation was cleared by the Minister for Immigration, Compliance & the Courts; we have since removed this content from official government channels.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to lower the income requirement for those from outside the UK seeking employment in the care sector.

We very much value the role many who have come to this country play in our health and care sector, but we will not be introducing a general route for employers to seek cheaper labour from abroad. This follows advice from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC).

The MAC is clear a solution to recruitment issues in social care cannot just be solved via the UK’s immigration system. Employers need to invest in technology, innovation and their existing workforce, focusing on making jobs more attractive for UK workers, not just looking to the migration system instead.

The Government is supporting the sector in many ways, including through additional funding and launching a national recruitment campaign.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
16th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many additional (1) customs, and (2) immigration, personnel are being recruited at each of the Welsh ports to deal with any additional paperwork and interviews as a result of the UK's departure from the EU.

Border Force resource and staffing requirements are continually reviewed, and we deploy resources flexibly as and when they are required. Border Force will continue to build a pipeline of resource to flexibly respond to future requirements.

We have already delivered a largescale recruitment and training exercise, which has seen an uplift of permanent staff, bringing the number of full-time equivalent Border Force staff to over 8,700 from c7,700 in March 2018. This includes a multi-disciplinary Readiness Task Force (RTF) of c.300 officers, which is available to deploy across the UK at short notice to deal with emerging issues and peaks in demand.

We are working closely across government to ensure we have the necessary trained staff, processes and infrastructure in place to respond to the increased custom checks from January in 2021.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
6th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will announce the results of their review into the deportation of Isa Muazu in 2013.

I am unable to comment on individual cases on the grounds of data protection principles and operational independence of the police and courts.

The Home Office will however always ensure that cases such as these are handled with extreme professionalism to ensure that decisions are lawfully made in the best interests of the British public.

All asylum and human rights claims are carefully considered on their individual merits in accordance with our international obligations. Each individual assessment is made against the background of the latest available country of origin information and any relevant caselaw.

The Home Office only seeks to return those whose claims have been unsuccessful and who, by definition, do not need our protection and are not at risk on return. We work closely with other countries to ensure people are returned safely and with dignity.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
6th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government in how many cases deportation orders have been suspended because new information has emerged following the Home Office’s decision.

Providing the information requested would require a manual check of individual records which could only be done at disproportionate cost.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
6th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that asylum seekers deported by the UK have access to appropriate support in their destination countries.

Returning nationals are the responsibility of the State that they are returning to. Failed Asylum Seekers who choose to return voluntarily can access the Voluntary Returns Service, which can provide help on a case by case basis, offering guidance and practical support including reintegration funds.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
6th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what information they share with the governments of destination countries for asylum seekers deported from the UK.

When a Failed Asylum Seeker refuses to leave the UK voluntarily then administrative removal may be sought. Most receiving countries are notified of the potential return of their national if a travel document is required to facilitate the journey. Receiving countries have differing requirements for travel documentation. This is usually limited to basic personal information and supporting evidence such as a copy of a passport or birth certificate (if available) to confirm identity and nationality.

In accordance with our obligations under the Refugee Convention, EU and domestic law, we do not disclose information about an individual’s asylum claim to their home country or seek information in a way that could expose them, or any family who remain in that country, to serious risk.? All claimants are made aware that we do not disclose, to their own country, that they have claimed asylum in the UK, but we may share some information, for example, to help obtain travel documentation if their claim is refused

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
6th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any new UK–EU arrangements relating to the welfare of immigrants have been put in place since the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

EEA citizens, and their family members, resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 have until 30 June 2021 to apply for status under the EU Settlement Scheme. Those who obtain this status have secured their rights in UK law and so are able to access benefits and services in the UK on at least the same basis as they were before being granted that status. No-one’s access to benefits is restricted or reduced by virtue of an application to the EU Settlement Scheme.

In the future points-based immigration system, EEA citizens coming to the UK will be subject to the same rules as non-EEA citizens, including in relation to access to benefits and services. This includes the same safeguards and exceptions for those in genuine need.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
6th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in UK immigration removal centres.

The safety and health of people who are detained are of the utmost importance.

As of 7 July 2020, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in immigration removal centres. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in individuals in detention, a third individual was also identified but after release from detention had been agreed. None of these individuals required hospital treatment.

The Home Office, its suppliers and NHS England healthcare providers in immigration removal centres are following all Public Health England guidance on COVID-19 for the management of COVID-19.

The Home Office is also taking proactive steps to monitor, manage and mitigate the threat of COVID-19 to staff and people who are detained and to reduce the likelihood of the infection spreading. Guidance on managing these risks was implemented on 5 May 2020 and subsequently published on gov.uk on 5 June https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-immigration-removal-centres.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
30th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to review the handling of the case of Isa Muazu who was deported to Nigeria in December 2013.

I am unable to comment on individual cases on the grounds of data protection principles and operational independence of the police and courts.

The Home Office will however always ensure that cases such as these are handled with extreme professionalism to ensure that decisions are lawfully made in the best interests of the British public.

All asylum and human rights claims are carefully considered on their individual merits in accordance with our international obligations. Each individual assessment is made against the background of the latest available country of origin information and any relevant caselaw.

The Home Office only seeks to return those whose claims have been unsuccessful and who, by definition, do not need our protection and are not at risk on return. We work closely with other countries to ensure people are returned safely and with dignity.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
30th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that asylum seekers who have no recourse to public funds can obtain soap and other essentials; and what plans they have, if any, to provide such people with mobile telephones whilst they are in the process of applying for asylum.

Asylum seekers receiving support under section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 are generally provided with accommodation and a cash allowance to cover other essential living needs, including hygiene products. For those in section 98 Initial Accommodation and hotel or hostel accommodation, hygiene products are provided to them.

The level of the cash allowance provided takes into account communication needs, including the cost of buying and using a mobile phone. As a result of the Covid-19 crisis a higher proportion of asylum seekers than usual are being accommodated in full-board hostels and hotels. We are looking at practical ways of providing internet access to this group and other ways to enable them to communicate effectively.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
30th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Report on short scrutiny visits to Immigration removal centres by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, published on 12 May, why nine detainees were released from the Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre without a confirmed address to go to during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We do not comment on individual cases.

With regard to support provided to foreign nationals released from detention during the current pandemic I refer the Noble Lord to my answer of 27 May 2020 which can be found at:

https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-questions-answers/?page=1&max=20&questiontype=AllQuestions&house=commons%2Clords&uin=HL4210

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
30th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many deportations (1) were halted in 2018, (2) were halted in 2019, and (3) have been halted to date in 2020; and what was the reason in each case.

Providing the information requested would require a manual check of individual records which could only be done at disproportionate cost.

The Home Office publishes data on people in detention and returns from the UK in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’ (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/immigration-statistics-quarterly-release)

Figures covering the second quarter of 2020 will be published in the next Immigration Statistics release on 27 August 2020. Information on future Home Office statistical release dates can be found in the ‘Research and statistics calendar’ (https://www.gov.uk/search/research-and-statistics?content_store_document_type=upcoming_statistics&organisations%5B%5D=home-office&order=release-date-oldest).

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
30th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many applications for settled or pre-settled status in the UK are yet to be concluded.

The Home Office publishes data on the EU Settlement Scheme in the ‘EU Settlement Scheme statistics’ (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/eu-settlement-scheme-statistics).

Data on the number of applications and concluded applications are published in Tables 1 and 2 of the monthly EUSS statistics tables (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/eu-settlement-scheme-statistics-may-2020).

Additional information on the dataset can be found in the ‘Notes’ page of the workbook. The latest data relates to 28 August 2018 to 31 May 2020.

The latest published information shows more than 3.6 million (3,612,400) EU Settlement Scheme applications had been received up to 31 May 2020. In the same period 3.3 million (3,319,000) applications had been concluded, of which 57% were granted settled status and 41% granted pre-settled status.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
30th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had, and with whom, about the possibility of devolving immigration issues to the devolved administrations.

Immigration is, and will remain, a reserved matter.

This Government will introduce a points-based immigration system that works in the interests of the whole United Kingdom, including the devolved nations.

For a devolved immigration system to function, we would have to have internal borders between different parts of the United Kingdom. This would be wholly unacceptable

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
29th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to make transcripts of Home Office interviews with asylum seekers available for scrutiny.

The Home Office follows published policy and guidance. This means substantive asylum interviews are digitally recorded, and an audio copy made of the interview is provided to the claimant or their legal representative. In addition to the digital recording they are provided with a full written verbatim interview transcript.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
29th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the policy to withdraw section 95 support from asylum seekers when they are given temporary accommodation with food.

There has been no change to policy.

Asylum seekers receiving support under section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 and in dispersed accommodation are generally provided with accommodation and a cash allowance to cover other essential living needs.

For those in full board section 98 Initial Accommodation, hotels or hostels, essential living expenses are covered and they do not therefore receive a cash allowance. Where section 98 accommodation is self-catered they will receive a cash amount to purchase their own food.

As a result of the Covid-19 crisis a higher proportion of asylum seekers than usual are being accommodated in full-board hostels and hotels.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
29th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to record Home Office interviews with those claiming refugee status.

The Home Office follows published policy and guidance. This means substantive asylum interviews are digitally recorded, and an audio copy made of the interview is provided to the claimant or their legal representative. In addition to the digital recording they are provided with a full written verbatim interview transcript.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
25th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government for which languages there are interpreters available for asylum seekers’ interviews.

A definitive list of languages is not available as both demand for different languages and provision of interpreter services to meet the demand constantly change. Such services for asylum interviews are principally organised through the Home Office Interpreter Operation Unit. The Home Office also maintains ongoing arrangements with external providers in case demand cannot be fully met internally.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
25th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what travel expenses, if any, are paid to asylum seekers required to report to Home Office centres.

A person who has claimed asylum can make an application for travelling expenses to attend a reporting event. To qualify they must live outside a 3-mile radius of their reporting location and be receiving asylum support. Consideration for support to those living within a 3-mile radius is considered on an exceptional need basis.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
25th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have ma