Abena Oppong-Asare Portrait

Abena Oppong-Asare

Labour - Erith and Thamesmead

Shadow Exchequer Secretary (Treasury)

(since October 2020)
Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee
2nd Mar 2020 - 22nd Feb 2021


Department Event
Wednesday 27th October 2021
HM Treasury
Financial Statement - Main Chamber
Budget statement
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Tuesday 2nd November 2021
11:30
HM Treasury
Oral questions - Main Chamber
2 Nov 2021, 11:30 a.m.
HM Treasury (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Tuesday 7th December 2021
11:30
HM Treasury
Oral questions - Main Chamber
7 Dec 2021, 11:30 a.m.
Treasury (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Friday 22nd October 2021
Prayers
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 114 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 3 Noes - 336
Speeches
Thursday 21st October 2021
Black History Month

I thank my hon. Friend for the work that she has done on this issue. That is completely accurate.

We …

Written Answers
Monday 18th October 2021
Domestic Abuse: Ethnic Groups
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of …
Early Day Motions
Tuesday 21st April 2020
Sanctions on Iran during the covid-19 pandemic
That this House notes the importance of meeting the humanitarian needs of Iranian people during Covid-19; further notes the need …
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 23rd August 2021
1. Employment and earnings
18 June 2021, received £400 from Grazia, 114 Johnston Lane, Annandale NSW 2038, for delivering two seminars, on 9 March …
EDM signed
Tuesday 21st April 2020
Temporary universal basic income
That this House calls on the Government to introduce a temporary universal basic income or an emergency measure to help …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 24th March 2020
Wellbeing of Future Generations (No. 2) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to make provision for requiring public bodies to act in pursuit of the United Kingdom’s environmental, social, economic …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Abena Oppong-Asare has voted in 327 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Abena Oppong-Asare Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Kemi Badenoch (Conservative)
Minister for Equalities
(22 debate interactions)
Jesse Norman (Conservative)
(18 debate interactions)
John Glen (Conservative)
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
(9 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
HM Treasury
(68 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(13 debate contributions)
Home Office
(8 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Abena Oppong-Asare's debates

Erith and Thamesmead Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

Petitions with highest Erith and Thamesmead signature proportion
Petitions with most Erith and Thamesmead signatures
Petition Open
455
of 388,408 signatures (0.12%)
Petition Open
298
of 9,218 signatures (3.23%)
Petition Debates Contributed

Much like the existing mandatory requirement for employers with 250 or more employees must publish their gender pay gap. We call upon the government to introduce the ethnicity pay gap reporting. To shine a light on race / ethnicity based inequality in the workplace so that they can be addressed.

Black Women in the U.K. are 5 times more likely to die during pregnancy and after childbirth compared to White Women (MBRRACE, 2019). We need more research done into why this is happening and recommendations to improve health care for Black Women as urgent action is needed to address this disparity.

During the pandemic government workers have delivered vital public services and kept our country safe and secure. After ten years in which the real value of civil service pay has fallen, many face hardship. The Government must start to restore the real value of their pay with a 10% increase in 2020.

The government is helping private firms to protect jobs by paying up to 80% of staff wages through this crisis. If it can do this why can it not help key workers who will be putting themselves/their families at risk and working extra hard under extremely challenging and unprecedented circumstances.

To not decide to scrap free travel for those who are under 18. As a teenager who has relied so much on free travel, it has allowed for me to go to school without the worry of an extra expense and explore around the beautiful city of London also. Destroying free travel would hurt so many of us.

The Government should explore using the new sanctions regime that allows individuals and entities that violate human rights around the world to be targeted, to impose sanctions on members of the Nigerian government and police force involved in any human rights abuses by the Nigerian police.

I would like the government to review and increase the pay for healthcare workers to recognise the work that they do.

We would like the government to support and regard social care: financially, publicly and systematically on an equal par as NHS. We would like parliament to debate how to support social care during COVID-19 and beyond so that it automatically has the same access to operational and financial support.

To revoke the Immigration Health Surcharge increases for overseas NHS staff. The latest budget shows an increase of £220 a year for an overseas worker to live and work in the UK, at a time when the NHS, and UK economy, relies heavily on them.

Give NHS workers who are EU and other Nationals automatic UK citizenship if they stay and risk their own lives looking after the British people during the COVID crisis.


Latest EDMs signed by Abena Oppong-Asare

16th March 2020
Abena Oppong-Asare signed this EDM on Tuesday 21st April 2020

Temporary universal basic income

Tabled by: Kevin Brennan (Labour - Cardiff West)
That this House calls on the Government to introduce a temporary universal basic income or an emergency measure to help freelancers and the self-employed effected by the covid-19 outbreak.
100 signatures
(Most recent: 15 Sep 2020)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 51
Scottish National Party: 28
Liberal Democrat: 9
Democratic Unionist Party: 5
Independent: 3
Alba Party: 2
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 2
Green Party: 1
Alliance: 1
24th February 2020
Abena Oppong-Asare signed this EDM on Tuesday 21st April 2020

CCTV in care homes

Tabled by: Karl Turner (Labour - Kingston upon Hull East)
That this House recognises that people living in residential care homes represent some of the most vulnerable members of society most of whom have made commendable contributions to society over the course of their working and social lives; welcomes the Government’s ongoing review of social care policy; notes that there …
26 signatures
(Most recent: 15 Sep 2020)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 16
Democratic Unionist Party: 5
Conservative: 2
Scottish National Party: 2
Plaid Cymru: 1
View All Abena Oppong-Asare's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Abena Oppong-Asare, 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.


Abena Oppong-Asare has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Abena Oppong-Asare has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Abena Oppong-Asare has not introduced any legislation before Parliament


213 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
5 Other Department Questions
20th Sep 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what progress has been made towards the $100 billion climate finance commitment.

The UK continues to encourage developed countries to increase their climate finance commitments for mitigation and adaptation in developing countries through the UK's G7 and COP26 Presidencies. At the COP President Designate’s request, Germany and Canada are leading the development of a $100 billion Delivery Plan. This will demonstrate, in advance of COP26, how developed countries will mobilise $100 billion a year through to 2025. President Biden has made a major step towards achieving the $100 billion goal, announcing recently at the UN General Assembly that the US is doubling their climate finance to $11.4 billion in 2024.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, whether he plans to visit the covid memorial wall.

The covid memorial wall is a moving reminder of the heartbreak and grief suffered by families across the United Kingdom. Each heart is a reminder of the individuals who have died. I have met and continue to meet those bereaved by Covid-19. Details of my public engagements will be announced in the usual way.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what recent assessment the Government has made of the effect of the provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020 on people with protected characteristics.

An equalities assessment was carried out on the Coronavirus Act and was published on the 28 July. - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-act-2020-equality-impact-assessment

We are undertaking a wide range of analysis to support decision making across government. We are keeping Parliament and the wider public updated on the analysis of covid including through several survey publications on business and social impacts available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-statistics-and-analysis#social-impacts.

More broadly, equality impacts have been identified as part of an ongoing process to support policy development and have been a key part of the decision-making process. The responsibility for equalities impact assessments lies with departments, who take this responsibility very seriously.

It is important to note that protected characteristics refer to age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation; the Equality Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of any of these characteristics.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps her Department is taking to support victims of conversion therapy.

We have been thoroughly considering both legislative and non-legislative options to stop this out-dated and harmful practice, and support victims. My officials are working at pace on the matter, and we will outline plans to end conversion therapy practices once we have completed this work. We know that a whole society approach will be needed to truly end conversion therapy and we will continue to engage key stakeholders to stop this abhorrent practice.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, with reference to the 2018 LGBT+ Action Plan, what assessment he has made of non-legislative options to prohibit promoting, offering or conducting conversion therapy.

We have been thoroughly considering both legislative and non-legislative options to stop this out-dated and harmful practice, and support victims. My officials are working at pace on the matter, and we will outline plans to end conversion therapy practices once we have completed this work. We know that a whole society approach will be needed to truly end conversion therapy and we will continue to engage key stakeholders to stop this abhorrent practice.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Government plans to establish a permenant memorial to people who have lost their lives as a result of covid-19.

Whilst the Government's immediate focus is on protecting the lives and livelihoods of the nation, building a fitting and a permanent memorial to the loved ones we have lost is something the Government is considering very carefully.

We will set out the Government’s proposed approach to this important matter in due course.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the procurement policies are for the securing of services from private companies for the response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The driving principle behind public procurement policy is to award contracts on the basis of value for money, which means the optimum combination of cost and quality over the lifetime of the project, not just price alone.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on setting and monitoring cross-Government objectives on supporting young people during the current economic situation.

It is a long-established precedent that information about the discussions that have taken place in Cabinet and its Committees, and how often they have met, is not normally shared publicly.

Nonetheless, the Government has outlined a range of measures to support young people.

In July, the Chancellor announced a £500m package of support to ensure young people access the training and develop the skills they will need to go on to high-quality, secure and fulfilling employment. T Levels will play a key part in rebuilding the economy after the coronavirus outbreak, boosting access to high-quality technical education for young people

The first three courses launched in 44 colleges and other providers this September.

Further T Levels will be introduced in a phased rollout over the next four years.

Further Government support including the Job Retention Scheme and the Kickstart Scheme will support young people.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Jan 2020
What estimate he has made of the number of voters at risk of becoming disenfranchised as a result of the proposals for voter ID requirements contained in the Queen’s Speech.

No one will be disenfranchised by confirming who they are. These are sensible plans to make our elections more secure. Everyone registered to vote will have the opportunity to do so. Any voter who does not have an approved form of ID will be able to apply, free of charge, for an electoral ID from their local authority.

Both the pilots and the Northern Irish experience demonstrate that showing ID does not reduce participation.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department plans to take to support the development of the UK’s hydrogen sector; and whether he has made an assessment of the steps the Government can take to support hydrogen-based steelmaking in the UK.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan was clear on our aim for 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 for use across the economy. The forthcoming Hydrogen Strategy will set out what is required to build a hydrogen economy fit for 2030, Carbon Budget 6 and beyond, whilst maximising economic benefits. We will also consult on priority policies, including hydrogen business models, a low carbon hydrogen standard, and the £240m Net Zero Hydrogen Fund.

The Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy, published on 17 March, commits to work with the newly constituted Steel Council to consider the implications of the recommendation of the Climate Change Committee to ‘set targets for ore-based steelmaking to reach near-zero emissions by 2035’. Hydrogen-based steelmaking is one of the technological approaches being examined as part of this process.

In order to support these efforts, the Government has announced a £250 million Clean Steel Fund to support the UK steel sector to transition to lower carbon iron and steel production, through investment in new technologies and processes. The decarbonisation of the steel sector and industry more widely will also be supported through the £1 billion CCUS Infrastructure Fund (CIF) and the £240m NetZero Hydrogen Fund.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of the cost of decarbonising the UK steel sector; and what plans his Department has to support that project.

Decarbonising UK industry is a core part of the Government’s ambitious plan for the green industrial revolution. The Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy published on 17 March, commits to work with the Steel Council to consider the implications of the recommendation of the Climate Change Committee to ‘set targets for ore-based steelmaking to reach near-zero emissions by 2035’.

Hydrogen, electrification, and carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) are the main technological options being examined as part of this process. The industry decarbonisation pathways technical annex of the strategy (pg. 153-155) presents two possible options for the decarbonisation of the iron and steel industry: Our wide-ranging support also includes: providing over £500m in recent years to help with the costs of energy; a £315m Industrial Energy Transformation Fund, which aims to support businesses with high energy use to cut their bills and reduce carbon emission; and our £250m Clean Steel Fund that will support the decarbonisation of the steel sector.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has plans for the Net Zero Strategy to include an assessment of the steps required to decarbonise the UK steel industry.

Decarbonising UK industry is a core part of the Government’s ambitious plan for the green industrial revolution. The Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy published on 17 March, commits to work with the Steel Council to consider the implications of the recommendation of the Climate Change Committee to ‘set targets for ore-based steelmaking to reach near-zero emissions by 2035’.

Hydrogen, electrification, and carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) are the main technological options being examined as part of this process. The industry decarbonisation pathways technical annex of the strategy (pg. 153-155) presents two possible options for the decarbonisation of the iron and steel industry: Our wide-ranging support also includes: providing over £500m in recent years to help with the costs of energy; a £315m Industrial Energy Transformation Fund, which aims to support businesses with high energy use to cut their bills and reduce carbon emission; and our £250m Clean Steel Fund that will support the decarbonisation of the steel sector.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will provide further guidance to businesses in the personal care sector on the meaning of the advice to consider providing shorter, more basic treatments as part of the covid-19 secure guidance.

The Safer Working guidance on close contact services was updated on 30 March ahead of reopening on Step 2. Extended treatments have not been banned. Since July 2020, the guidance has made clear that the personal care sector should keep appointments shorter as best practice and consider how the length of the appointment could be minimised to reduce the risk of transmission. We expect the personal care sector to continue to use their discretion and experience.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he undertook an equalities impact assessment before publishing the guidance to businesses in the personal care sector on providing shorter, more basic treatments as part of the covid-19 secure guidance.

The Safer Working guidance was developed by BEIS with input from firms, unions, industry bodies and the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, and in consultation with Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive. An equalities impact assessment was undertaken when the guidance was first published in May 2020. It has been kept under constant review and updated regularly.

Since July 2020, the guidance has made clear that the personal care sector should keep appointments shorter as best practice and consider how the length of the appointment could be minimised to reduce the risk of transmission. We expect the personal care sector to continue to use their discretion and experience.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect on businesses of the differences in criteria used by local authorities to determine applications for the Additional Restrictions Grant.

The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) provides Local Authorities with discretionary funding to enable them to support businesses including those not mandated to close, but which have had their trade affected by the restrictions that have been put in place to tackle Covid-19 and save lives.

The flexibility of the ARG allows Local Authorities to provide support that suits their local area, to determine how much funding to provide to businesses and exactly which businesses to target. The scheme aims to support businesses when most needed, and Local Authorities should use this funding as quickly as possible. We are working closely with Local Authorities to ensure that grants are delivered swiftly to businesses in scope of this funding.

All data on Government allocations and Local Authority payments of the ARG is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-grant-funding-local-authority-payments-to-small-and-medium-businesses.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with businesses operating in the hospitality sector on the level of economic support needed by that sector since the covid-19 lockdown was announced in January 2021.

I meet with representatives from across the hospitality sector on a weekly basis to discuss the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on their businesses and the Government’s package of business support.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will work with businesses in the hospitality industry to establish a strategy to ensure businesses can recover after the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown.

I recognise the important role the hospitality sector as an economic driver and as the heart of communities up and down the country. While the Government is committed to supporting the sector until the vaccines are rolled out and businesses can open without restrictions, I am also working with the sector as we plan for the longer-term recovery.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of banning firework sales to discourage private gatherings during bonfire season whilst the covid-19 outbreak remains ongoing.

The Government does not have any plans to ban the sale of fireworks, but people must be careful to safely use fireworks at home and follow their instructions for use. People must follow the coronavirus restrictions in their local area. Information on local COVID alert levels across the UK can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the PUMP IT UP! campaign's recommendations on large-scale heat pump projects.

The Pump It Up campaign recommends that Government commits to a re-think of the future support it makes available to large-scale heat pump projects.

A new allocation of Tarriff Guarantees has recently opened on the Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), supporting larger projects, including large scale ground source heat pumps>100kWth. The Non-Domestic RHI will close to new applicants on the 31st of March 2021 and we have consulted on a new scheme, the Clean Heat Grant, which with a proposed cap on the capacity of eligible appliances at 45kW will provide targeted support?to consumers and small businesses?for heat pumps?and some limited biomass?from?April 2022. This is backed by £100?million?of Exchequer funding as announced in the 2020 Budget, and will be open for two years.

The Government expects several large-scale heat pump projects to receive financial support through its other schemes, including the Green Heat Network Scheme, which BEIS will consult on later in the year, and our Industrial Energy Transformation Fund, which is open to large heat pumps providing process heat. Additionally, in the Summer Economic Update, we announced £1 billion funding over the next year to help public sector buildings through the installation of energy efficiency and low carbon heat measures, which will also support the deployment of large scale heat pumps.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on the hospitality sector of ending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in October 2020.

We have engaged closely with representatives from the hospitality sector to discuss i the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and other issues. The Government will continue to work with the hospitality sector to ensure it is supported through the reopening period and its longer-term recovery following the Covid-19 outbreak. Recent announcements such as the Job Retention Bonus, the six-month temporary VAT reduction from 20% to 5% for the hospitality sector and the “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme that is running during August will all provide additional support for the sector.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with representatives from different industries and sectors on the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on those industries and sectors.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State and other ministers at BEIS hold regular sector calls with all the industries that BEIS covers, including but not limited to sectors within manufacturing, energy, construction, life sciences, professional services, retail and hospitality. The industry representatives range from large to small businesses and trade associations. Additionally, since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak, the Secretary of State has held frequent group calls with the major business representative organisations that represent a wide range of businesses in sectors and regions. All these engagements have provided information on the impact of Covid-19 on industries and sectors, and have informed the response from BEIS and other Government departments. The BEIS ministerial team continues to use these on-going engagements to ensure the effectiveness of the Government’s responses to the Covid-19 outbreak and, as demonstrated by the Secretary of State’s recent industry roundtables on Economic Recovery, to ensure a safe return to work across the whole UK economy as quickly as possible.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to promote green jobs and investment as part of the economic recovery from the covid-19 outbreak.

In his speech of June 30, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister made clear that in recovering from COVID-19, we must build back greener. This year alone, the government has set out billions in ambitious support for our low-carbon economy and green jobs. In the Chancellor’s economic update on July 8, over £3 billion investment was announced to decarbonise the UK’s buildings and transform energy efficiency in homes. This investment could support up to 140,000 green jobs.

In addition, on 30 June, the Prime Minister announced the £40m Green Recovery Challenge Fund. This will help to restore nature and tackle climate change while also creating up to 3,000 jobs and safeguarding up to 2,000 others in conservation organisations and suppliers.

These recent announcements build on investments outlined in the Spring Budget to support our low-carbon economy and green jobs including £1 billion for ultra-low emission vehicles including for charging infrastructure and plug-in grants and £800 million to capture carbon from power stations and industry.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the UK negotiating team rejected an offer from the EU to enable visa-free travel for musicians across the UK and EU.

I refer the honourable member to the Secretary of State’s answer to Written Question 135862 on 14th January.

12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the removal of visa free travel on British musicians within the EU.

The Government recognises the importance of touring for UK musicians and other cultural and creative practitioners, and their support staff.

Leaving the EU has always meant that there would be changes to how touring artists operate in the EU. DCMS has engaged with the sector extensively throughout negotiations and since the announcement of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement to understand the diverse circumstances of companies, organisations and individual practitioners and how they may need to adapt as they plan activity across the European Union.

Going forward we will continue to work closely with the sector, including with representative organisations, to ensure businesses and individuals have the advice and guidance they need to meet new requirements. Touring artists should always check individual member state requirements as these differ across different countries. In some cases, visas and work permits may not be required.

We know that while leaving the EU will bring changes and new processes to touring and working in the EU, it will also bring new opportunities. In all circumstances, we expect UK musicians’ work to continue to be an export that is as highly valued in the European Union as it is across the world.

Oliver Dowden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what long-term financial support his Department is offering to dementia charities during the covid-19 outbreak.

There are generous long-term financial measures available for the whole charity sector which include more than £1.3 billion a year in respect of Gift Aid on donations. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the government has made available short and longer-term support packages to all charities and businesses, including deferring their VAT bills, paying no business rates for their shops next year, and furloughing staff where possible. The Department for Health and Social Care provided financial support to the Race Equality Foundation and Alzheimer’s Society to provide additional services to people with dementia during the COVID-19 pandemic. The money is part of a UK-wide £750 million package of support for the voluntary sector announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in April.

The Government’s unprecedented £750 million package of support has been made available specifically for charities, social enterprises and the voluntary during the Covid-19 pandemic. This has, and will continue to ensure charities and other civil society organisations, including those at risk of financial hardship, can continue their vital work during the Covid-19 outbreak.


13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make it his policy to increase the £750 million covid-19 support package for frontline charities announced in April 2020.

The £750 million package offered unprecedented support to allow charities and social enterprises to continue their vital work in our national effort to fight coronavirus. This funding will continue to support this work over the winter.

We are not able to replace every pound of funding charities would have received this year, and many organisations will need to assess what measures they need to take. Information on the wider measures government has made available and details on how to access the support can be found on gov.uk. The Charity Commission has also published guidance on gov.uk, which sets out how charities can get support for their staff, advice on use of reserves, and other potential issues.

We will continue to work with the charity and social enterprise sectors to assess emerging needs and how we can best support them during the COVID-19 pandemic and through recovery.

5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to support the live music industry during the next six months of covid-19 social restrictions.

We appreciate the important role that the music industry plays in the UK’s economy, and that the Covid-19 pandemic presents a significant challenge to the sector.

The Chancellor has announced the Winter Economy Plan to protect jobs and support businesses over the coming months, once the existing Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme come to end. From November, the Jobs Support Scheme will provide further support to returning workers, while the extended Self-Employed Income Support Scheme will aid the self-employed who are currently actively trading but are facing reduced demand.

We are also offering businesses who face a drop in demand for their services and possible cash flow issues generous terms for the repayment of deferred taxes and government-backed loans. We will give all businesses that borrowed under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme the option to repay their loan over a period of up to ten years. This will reduce their average monthly repayments on the loan by almost half. We also intend to allow CBILS lenders to extend the term of a loan up to ten years, providing additional flexibility for UK-based SMEs who may otherwise be unable to repay their loans.

In addition, the Secretary of State announced an unprecedented £1.57 billion support package for the cultural sector which will benefit the live music sector by providing support to music venues and many other cultural organisations to stay open and continue operating.

£3.36 million was shared among 136 venues across England who applied for the Emergency Grassroot Music Venues Fund, as part of this support package. This funding aimed to support those grassroots venues to survive the imminent risk of collapse caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

We continue to engage with the sector to discuss the on-going challenges facing the industry.

27th Apr 2020
What discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the support available for self-employed people working in the digital, culture, media and sport sectors affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

Across DCMS sectors, over 22% of workers are self employed, making the government's Self-Employment Income Support Scheme a priority for my department. I am pleased that it has been positively received by many of our stakeholders.


We continue to talk with the Treasury to help ensure that the scheme works for our sectors. This is informed by frequent discussions with our stakeholders to understand the extent to which we are reaching those most in need.

13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing the discretion of the Students Loans Company to offer loans to UK nationals who do not meet residency requirements as a result of circumstances outside their control.

Generally, to be eligible for student support a student must be resident in England and have ‘settled’ status or a recognised connection with the UK on the first day of the first academic year of the course and must have been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands (Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) for the 3 years prior to that date.

To be ordinarily resident in the UK a person must be here lawfully in the UK throughout the required period. It would not be practical or desirable for Student Finance England to have to make individual decisions about why a particular individual may not be here lawfully. We will continue to be guided by Home Office grants of leave to remain in assessing eligibility for student finance.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of changing student finance residency requirements to include UK nationals who have been resident in the UK for more than three years but have gaps in their Leave To Remain status.

Generally, to be eligible for student support a student must be resident in England and have ‘settled’ status or a recognised connection with the UK on the first day of the first academic year of the course and must have been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands (Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) for the 3 years prior to that date.

To be ordinarily resident in the UK a person must be here lawfully in the UK throughout the required period. It would not be practical or desirable for Student Finance England to have to make individual decisions about why a particular individual may not be here lawfully. We will continue to be guided by Home Office grants of leave to remain in assessing eligibility for student finance.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the impact of delays to decisions on Leave to Remain or Indefinite Leave to Remain on applications for student finance.

Generally, to be eligible for student support, a student must be ordinarily resident in England and ‘settled’ in the UK on the first day of the first academic year of the course and must have been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands (Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) for the 3 years prior to that date.

Settled status is granted by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for the Home Department, and, once confirmation of that status is received, and, if necessary checked with the Home Office, Student Finance England is able to assess whether the student is eligible for student support. In general, Student Finance England will endeavour to reach a decision on an application within 30 days of all relevant information being submitted by the student.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many applicants for student finance were rejected by Student Finance England in the last twelve months because they did not meet the three year residency eligibility period.

It is not possible to answer this question in the time available because the Student Loans Company (SLC) classes applicants who do not meet the residency criteria as ineligible and their application does not proceed any further. This activity is not automatically captured within the SLC systems.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what effect the review of post-16 qualifications at level 3 will have on performing arts courses.

The department is reviewing post-16 qualifications at level 3 and below, to ensure that every qualification approved for public funding has a distinct purpose, is high quality and supports progression to positive outcomes.

Our second stage consultation of the review proposed a number of groups of qualifications for funding alongside A levels and T Levels in the future. These include qualifications, such as performing arts, that have a strong practical focus and support progression to specialist higher education courses not accessible through A levels. We recognise concerns about the potential removal of well-established qualifications, which is why we have consulted extensively.

The consultation closed on 31 January 2021 and we will publish a full response later this year.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what process his Department has put in place to allow private candidates to be assessed effectively following the cancellation of GCSE and A Level exams in 2021.

The Department and Ofqual have ensured there is a clear and accessible route for private candidates to receive a grade this year, at the same time as other candidates.

Private candidates can work with a centre to be assessed on a range of evidence, which could include evidence from an established educational provider and the board-provided assessment materials. The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) have issued guidance for centres about assessing private candidates, taking into account their different circumstances. These candidates should have the same opportunity as other students to be assessed on what they were taught, and centres can conduct assessments remotely if needed. Further guidance on assessing all candidates (including private candidates) will be published before the end of March.

We are working with the sector to ensure there are enough centres available to support private candidates, and JCQ will publish a list of available centres by the end of March, giving private candidates the opportunity to find a centre at a similar cost to a normal year. The exam boards have committed that private candidates will not be charged late fees if entries are received by 26 April. To support centres with the additional requirements of assessing private candidates this year, and avoid the cost being passed on to candidates, we are providing a grant for centres to claim £200 per private candidate entry. The Government is encouraging all available exams centres to sign up to help these candidates achieve their qualifications in this exceptional year.

9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, which schools in (a) London and (b) Erith and Thamesmead constituency have received funding through the National School Breakfast Programme.

The department is investing up to £35 million into the National School Breakfast Programme (NSBP), using funds from Soft Drinks Industry Levy revenues. Overall, this money will kick-start or improve breakfast clubs in up to 2,450 schools in disadvantaged areas, making them sustainable in the long run. The programme has been extended by a further year until March 2021 and will support up to an additional 650 schools with up to £11.8 million being invested. We monitor management information from the programme on an ongoing basis and will review the number of children attending once the programme concludes. Future departmental spending decisions about the programme are subject to the spending review. Further details of this are yet to be determined.

More than 1,800 schools have benefitted from the programme from March 2018 - March 2020. Family Action have estimated 280,000 pupils have had access to a healthy nutritious breakfast in their report Food for Thought, published in July 2019, which can be found here: https://www.family-action.org.uk/content/uploads/2019/07/NSBP-Impact-report-v11-LOWRES.pdf.

A list of schools in London, Erith and Thamesmead taking part in the NSBP from March 2018 – March 2020 can be found in the attached table. More schools will have joined the programme since March 2020 as part of the extension to the contract.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what data his Department holds on the estimated number of children who will potentially be without a free breakfast once the National School Breakfast Programme ends in March 2021.

The department is investing up to £35 million into the National School Breakfast Programme (NSBP), using funds from Soft Drinks Industry Levy revenues. Overall, this money will kick-start or improve breakfast clubs in up to 2,450 schools in disadvantaged areas, making them sustainable in the long run. The programme has been extended by a further year until March 2021 and will support up to an additional 650 schools with up to £11.8 million being invested. We monitor management information from the programme on an ongoing basis and will review the number of children attending once the programme concludes. Future departmental spending decisions about the programme are subject to the spending review. Further details of this are yet to be determined.

More than 1,800 schools have benefitted from the programme from March 2018 - March 2020. Family Action have estimated 280,000 pupils have had access to a healthy nutritious breakfast in their report Food for Thought, published in July 2019, which can be found here: https://www.family-action.org.uk/content/uploads/2019/07/NSBP-Impact-report-v11-LOWRES.pdf.

A list of schools in London, Erith and Thamesmead taking part in the NSBP from March 2018 – March 2020 can be found in the attached table. More schools will have joined the programme since March 2020 as part of the extension to the contract.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what measures to prevent infection are in place for children of medically vulnerable parents returning to school.

Schools continue to remain open for all children and young people, as they have been since the start of the autumn term, for the duration of the New National Restrictions. Being at school is vital for the education and wellbeing of children. It continues to be our aim that all pupils, in all year groups, remain in school full-time.

The risk to children themselves of becoming severely ill from COVID-19 is very low. For the vast majority of children, the benefits of being back in the classroom far outweigh the low risk from COVID-19, and schools can take action to reduce risks still further.

The Department has published actions for schools during the COVID-19 outbreak, to support schools in welcoming back all children from the start of the autumn term. The full guidance is available through the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Schools should continue to undertake risk assessments and implement the system of controls set out in this guidance. These measures provide a framework for school leaders to put in place proportionate protective measures for all pupils and staff. If schools follow the above guidance and maximise control measures, they can be confident they are managing risk effectively. The measures in place include regular handwashing, promoting good respiratory hygiene, and minimising contact between individuals.

From 5 November 2020, following guidance for education settings during the New National Restrictions, children who live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable, but who are not clinically extremely vulnerable themselves, should continue to attend education. The guidance for education settings during the New National Restrictions can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/education-and-childcare-settings-new-national-restrictions-from-5-november-2020#schools.

New guidance for shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 was published on 4 November. The guidance is available through the following link: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/people-at-higher-risk/advice-for-people-at-high-risk/.

If parents have concerns about their child attending school because they consider that they, or members of their household, may have particular risk factors, they should discuss these with their school.

2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to Public Health England's report entitled Covid-19: review of disparities in risks and outcomes, what additional support he is providing to teachers who are more vulnerable to covid-19 during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown.


We have worked closely with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and Public Health England (PHE) to develop specific guidance for school settings, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools#school-workforce. DHSC and PHE endorsed system of controls outlined in our guidance sets out the measures that school leaders and all school staff should follow.

Where schools implement the system of controls outlined in our guidance, in line with their own workplace risk assessment, DHSC and PHE confirm that these measures create an inherently safer environment for children and staff where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced. As a result, on current evidence, DHSC and PHE advise that schools are not currently considered high risk settings when compared to other workplace environments.

Some people with particular characteristics may be at comparatively increased risk from COVID-19, as set out in the ‘COVID-19: review of disparities in risks and outcomes’ report. These staff can attend school as long as the system of controls set out in the published guidance are in place, as set out above.

While the national restrictions introduced from 5 November are in force, those individuals who are clinically extremely vulnerable are advised to work from home where possible and not to go into work. Individuals in this group will have been identified through a letter from the NHS or from their GP, and may have been advised to shield in the past. Staff should talk to their employers about how they will be supported, including to work from home where possible, during the period of national restrictions. All other staff can continue to attend work, including those living in a household with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable.

2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on setting and monitoring objectives to reduce the rate of 18 to 24 year olds not in education, employment or training; and whether he has made an assessment of the implications for his policies of the Youth Employment Group report entitled Securing a place for young people in the nation’s economic recovery.

We want to give young people the best chance to succeed, despite these challenging and unsettling times. We know that young people are likely to be disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

We welcome the work of the Youth Employment Group (YEG) and the contribution the report makes to helping our understanding of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and what the government might do to mitigate these risks. I was pleased to meet YEG chairs in September 2020 and appreciated hearing from them how we can better support young people not in education, employment or training (NEET). We continue to work closely with the YEG as part of our stakeholder work.

The department is working with a range of partners including local authorities and key stakeholders to monitor the situation and, across government, to review the impact on young people NEET as the situation emerges.

As part of my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Plan for Jobs, we made a number of skills commitments such as a significant expansion of the traineeships programme, the introduction of high value courses for year 13 leavers to continue in learning, and payments for employers to hire new apprentices. Kickstart will also create high quality work placements for young people claiming Universal Credit who are deemed at risk of long-term unemployment. It will create more sector-based work academy programmes that will provide vocational training and guaranteed interviews for more people, helping them gain the skills needed for jobs in their local area. We will be monitoring progress and take up of these offers alongside NEET numbers.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 1 October 2020 to Question 96213 on Children: Coronavirus, what contact the London regional team has had with the London borough of Bexley on the impact of covid-19 on children's services.

Departmental officials are routinely in touch with local authorities to discuss the progress of their children’s services. We have been in contact with all local authorities in recent months, including the London Borough of Bexley, to understand how they are dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak, the impact on children’s services, and how the department can support them during this difficult period.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the effect on the educational attainment gap of school closures in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

We know that school closures have had an adverse impact on all pupils, and we believe those from disadvantaged backgrounds will have been particularly affected. To ensure we properly understand all the impacts, we have commissioned independent research, which is currently in its early stages. Meanwhile, we have put in place a number of significant policy measures to help schools address the barriers to success that these pupils face, particularly as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Our £1 billion COVID-19 catch-up package is providing additional funding to support children and young people whose education has been disrupted by the outbreak. The package includes the National Tutoring Programme, which will provide up to £350 million of targeted support for disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils who are most at risk of falling further behind. From November, this investment will provide schools in all regions access to subsidised, high-quality tuition supplied by approved tuition partners. Schools in the most deprived areas will be supported to use in-house academic mentors to provide intensive catch-up support to their pupils in small groups.

The National Tutoring Programme sits alongside our £650 million universal catch-up premium funding for the current academic year, that will enable schools to prioritise support for specific groups of pupils according to their needs. We have also provided funding to support small group tuition for 16-19-year olds and the improvement of early language skills in reception classes. This £1 billion package is additional to the £14.4 billion 3-year investment in schools that we announced last year. Schools continue to receive the £2.4 billion pupil premium that allows school leaders to tailor the support they provide, based on the needs of their disadvantaged pupils, to accelerate their progress and improve their attainment.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to close the educational attainment gap in the last five years.

We understand that pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds may face greater challenges to realise their potential at school. This is why, since 2011, we have given more than £18 billion in extra grant funding to schools through the pupil premium, so that they can provide their disadvantaged pupils with additional support. £12 billion of this has been invested in schools since 2015.

In 2011, we established the Education Endowment Fund (EEF) to research and share the most effective approaches to improving academic outcomes. Since 2011, the EEF has run and reported on hundreds of trials in thousands of English schools. It maintains a range of internationally recognised effective practice resources and, in 2019, published its Pupil Premium Guide to help school leaders make the most impact with their pupil premium. All EEF’s website resources are free to English schools. The EEF’s Pupil Premium Guide is available here: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/evidence-summaries/pupil-premium-guide/.

Between 2011 and 2019, the disadvantage attainment gap narrowed by 13% at age 11 and by 9% at age 16 against a background of rising standards. By early 2020, 86% of schools were judged to be good or outstanding, compared with 68% in 2010. Our reforms, and the focus provided by the pupil premium, supported this improvement.

Recognising the impact of school closures on all pupils, particularly the disadvantaged, on 19 June, we announced a £1 billion COVID-19 catch-up package. Alongside our £650 million universal catch-up premium that enables schools to prioritise support for specific groups of pupils according to their needs, we launched the National Tutoring Programme to provide targeted support worth up to £350 million for disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils who are most at risk of falling further behind. Schools in the most deprived areas will be supported to provide intensive catch-up support to their pupils in small groups using academic mentors. This is in addition to our 2019 core funding commitment that will see an extra £14.4 billion provided to schools over the next 3 years.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to tackle the educational attainment gap following the closure of schools as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

We know that school closures have had an adverse impact on all pupils, and we believe those from disadvantaged backgrounds will have been particularly affected. To ensure we properly understand all the impacts, we have commissioned independent research, which is currently in its early stages. Meanwhile, we have put in place a number of significant policy measures to help schools address the barriers to success that these pupils face, particularly as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Our £1 billion COVID-19 catch-up package is providing additional funding to support children and young people whose education has been disrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak. The package includes the National Tutoring Programme, which will provide up to £350 million of targeted support for disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils who are most at risk of falling further behind. From November, this investment will provide schools in all regions access to subsidised, high-quality tuition supplied by approved tuition partners. Schools in the most deprived areas will be supported to use in-house academic mentors to provide intensive catch-up support to their pupils in small groups.

The National Tutoring Programme sits alongside our £650 million universal catch-up premium funding for the current academic year, that will enable schools to prioritise support for specific groups of pupils according to their needs. We have also provided funding to support small group tuition for 16-19 year olds and the improvement of early language skills in reception classes. This £1 billion package is additional to the £14.4 billion 3 year investment in schools that we announced last year. Schools continue to receive the £2.4 billion pupil premium that allows school leaders to tailor the support they provide, based on the needs of their disadvantaged pupils, to accelerate their progress and improve their attainment.

This significant cash injection helps schools to take immediate action to address the learning lost due to the COVID-19 outbreak. We will continue to monitor the attainment gap closely, both at primary and secondary levels, as the nation recovers from the COVID-19 outbreak.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the effect of the plans he has implemented on the time it will take to close the current educational attainment gap of one month.

We know that school closures have had an adverse impact on all pupils, and we believe those from disadvantaged backgrounds will have been particularly affected. To ensure we properly understand all the impacts, we have commissioned independent research, which is currently in its early stages. Meanwhile, we have put in place a number of significant policy measures to help schools address the barriers to success that these pupils face, particularly as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Our £1 billion COVID-19 catch-up package is providing additional funding to support children and young people whose education has been disrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak. The package includes the National Tutoring Programme, which will provide up to £350 million of targeted support for disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils who are most at risk of falling further behind. From November, this investment will provide schools in all regions access to subsidised, high-quality tuition supplied by approved tuition partners. Schools in the most deprived areas will be supported to use in-house academic mentors to provide intensive catch-up support to their pupils in small groups.

The National Tutoring Programme sits alongside our £650 million universal catch-up premium funding for the current academic year, that will enable schools to prioritise support for specific groups of pupils according to their needs. We have also provided funding to support small group tuition for 16-19 year olds and the improvement of early language skills in reception classes. This £1 billion package is additional to the £14.4 billion 3 year investment in schools that we announced last year. Schools continue to receive the £2.4 billion pupil premium that allows school leaders to tailor the support they provide, based on the needs of their disadvantaged pupils, to accelerate their progress and improve their attainment.

This significant cash injection helps schools to take immediate action to address the learning lost due to the COVID-19 outbreak. We will continue to monitor the attainment gap closely, both at primary and secondary levels, as the nation recovers from the COVID-19 outbreak.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that safety measures introduced to nurseries re-opening as covid-19 lockdown restrictions were eased are (a) monitored and (b) maintained.

The department has published the ‘Actions for early years and childcare providers during the COVID-19 outbreak' guidance, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures.

This guidance is for local authorities and all early years providers in England. For reception, schools should, in the most part, refer to the guidance for schools during the COVID-19 outbreak, although some of the information in the early years guidance is relevant as well. The guidance for schools is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/guidance-for-schools-coronavirus-covid-19.

Settings must comply with health and safety law, which requires them to assess risks and put in place proportionate control measures. Settings should thoroughly review their health and safety risk assessment and draw up plans as part of their wider opening. Settings should have active arrangements in place to monitor that the controls are effective, working as planned, and updated appropriately, for example when any issues are identified, or when there are changes in public health advice.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that covid-19 home testing kits are readily available in early years settings.

All education and childcare workers currently have prioritised access to testing alongside other essential workers.

Ensuring access to tests for all education and childcare staff is a key priority for our department and we are currently considering how we can improve all early years settings’ access to testing.

Further guidance on testing can be found in the ‘Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak’ guidance, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of covid-19 risk posed to nursery workers who have returned to work since 1 June 2020.

Keeping children and staff safe is the government’s utmost priority.

Settings must comply with health and safety law, which requires them to assess risks and put in place proportionate control measures. Public Health England is clear that the risk of transmission and infection is substantially reduced if nurseries and childminders implement the protective measures as set out in the ‘Actions for early years and childcare providers during the COVID-19 outbreak’ guidance. This guidance is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures.

Adults should minimise contact with each other while at work. However, in situations where social distancing between adults in settings is not possible (for example when moving around in corridors and communal areas), settings have the discretion to recommend the use of face coverings for adults on site, both staff and visitors.

We continue to keep this guidance under review as we learn more about COVID-19.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking with local authorities to ensure that children’s services are not adversely affected due to the covid-19 outbreak.

Ensuring that vulnerable children remain protected is a top priority for the government.

The department has been working closely with local authorities to assess the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, setting up dedicated regional teams that are in frequent contact. Bringing together expertise from across the department, these teams monitor the challenges local authorities are facing. This includes any increases in demand and can provide support and guidance where appropriate.

We are also monitoring referrals to children’s services via our regional teams and via the Vulnerable Children and Young People survey, which collects data fortnightly from local authorities in England. As well as this, as part of a phased return to routine inspection, Ofsted are making assurance visits to children’s social care providers.

The government has provided an unprecedented package of support for vulnerable children, including:

  • £3.7 billion of additional funding to support local authorities in meeting COVID-19 related pressures, including in children’s services. This funding is un-ringfenced, recognising local authorities are best placed to decide how to meet the major COVID-19 service pressures in their local area.
  • £1.6 million of funding for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children to help promote and expand their national UK helpline which provides advice and guidance and support to adults reporting safeguarding concerns.
  • The Adoption Support Fund has £8 million to help families under pressure as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The Innovation Programme with more than £12 million for 14 projects tackling increased risk, including from domestic violence and supporting teenagers at risk of exploitation.
  • See, Hear, Respond is a £7 million partnership of national children’s charities and local organisations to provide targeted support to vulnerable children, young people and their families who are affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Laptops and tablets for children with social workers and care leavers to help them keep in touch with the services they need, as well as 4G internet devices for connecting to the internet.
  • Continuing the Social Work Together programme to match social workers to employers bringing back 8,000 former social workers onto the professional register.

We have also made temporary legislative changes to help reduce pressure on the system and enable children's services to continue to support vulnerable children during these unprecedented times.

Our latest guidance on supporting vulnerable children and young people during the COVID-19 outbreak is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-childrens-social-care-services.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he has taken to ensure that no children’s centres are closed as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The decision on whether to keep Sure Start children’s centres open in response to the COVID-19 outbreak is a decision for local authorities to take.

Local authorities have a duty under the Childcare Act (2006) to ensure that there are sufficient children’s centres to meet the needs of local families, and a duty to consult where permanent changes are planned to local children’s centre provision. If a council decides to close a Sure Start children’s centre on a permanent basis, statutory guidance requires them to demonstrate that local children and families will not be adversely affected.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department has published for schools on (a) parents, (b) pupils and (c) teachers with covid-19 symptoms who are unable to access a covid-19 test.

All schools and further education colleges have been sent an initial supply of home testing kits that they can give directly to parents or carers collecting a child who has developed symptoms at school, or staff who have developed symptoms at school. These are for use where an individual is symptomatic and has significant barriers to accessing a test elsewhere, and where providing a test will therefore significantly increase the likelihood of them getting tested.

Guidance for schools and colleges has been published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-home-test-kits-for-schools-and-fe-providers/coronavirus-covid-19-home-test-kits-for-schools-and-fe-providers.

When a child, young person or staff member develops one or more of the symptoms of COVID-19 they should be sent home and advised that they must self-isolate in line with the Department’s guidance and encouraged to arrange a test. All staff and students attending an education or childcare setting have access to a test if they display symptoms of COVID-19 and are encouraged to get tested.

15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will issue guidance to schools (a) recommending that the six thinking hats technique is not used in schools and (b) noting the potential effect of identifying a black hat on unconscious negative bias relating to the use of the word black.

All state-funded schools in England have a duty to teach a broad and balanced curriculum that prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities, and experiences of later life. Under the Equality Act 2010, schools must also not discriminate against a pupil in a number of respects because of a characteristic protected by the Act.

The Department trusts teachers to choose curriculum resources that are appropriate for their pupils and to ensure that how they deliver the curriculum does not discriminate. The Department has already published guidance to help schools fulfil their duties under the Act, which can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/equality-act-2010-advice-for-schools. This includes advice on the Public Sector Equality Duty, which requires public bodies, including state-funded schools, to have due regard to the need to: foster good relations across all protected characteristics; advance equality of opportunity for people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it; and eliminate discrimination and other conduct prohibited by the Act. Additionally, the Independent Schools Standards requires independent schools to encourage respect for others, paying particular regard to the protected characteristics set out in the Act.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to support the families of pupils on free school meals during the school summer holidays in 2020 in Erith and Thamesmead constituency.

I refer the hon. Members to the answer I gave on 23 June 2020 to Question 54195.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the higher mortality risk from covid-19 among Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups, what guidance he is giving to schools on protecting staff and children from a BAME background and their families from covid-19; and what support he is giving to schools to enable them to implement that guidance.

We are aware that there is emerging evidence that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) individuals can be more severely affected than the general population by COVID-19. On 2 June, Public Health England published their review into disparities in the risk and outcomes of COVID-19, which included ethnicity. There is still much work to do to understand the key drivers of disparities, the relationships between the different risk factors and what we can do to reduce the impact. The Government is considering how the review and ongoing work on this issue should inform our approach. Schools should be especially sensitive to the needs and worries of BAME members of staff, BAME parents and BAME pupils, and consider if any additional measures or reasonable adjustments may need to be put in place to mitigate concerns.

We have provided detailed guidance on implementing protective measure in schools on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

This includes advice on approaches and actions schools should implement to create an inherently safer system, where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to (a) ensure that vulnerable children have access and contact with social workers during the covid-19 restrictions and (b) support teachers working in school who are the only point of contact outside the home for vulnerable children to maintain that contact.

Our latest guidance on supporting vulnerable children is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-vulnerable-children-and-young-people.

We are committed to ensuring the safety and protection of vulnerable children and young people, particularly during the current period. This is why education settings remained open for these children and local authorities are maintaining contact with them.

Children’s social care guidance states that we expect local authorities and social workers to make judgements about visiting vulnerable children. Within the statutory framework, they should prioritise children’s welfare as paramount, balancing the risks to children, the risks to families and risks to the workforce. There are many ways to keep in touch with a child, young person or family without physical face-to-face contact and it is expected that these will be utilised appropriately and proportionately in response to the risk assessment undertaken for the child on a case by case basis. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-childrens-social-care-services/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-local-authorities-on-childrens-social-care.

To ensure children and young people can maintain contact with a social worker, we are providing laptops and tablets to children with a social worker who do not have access to a device otherwise, either privately or through school. We are also providing 4G wireless routers to children with a social worker at secondary school in order to support them to maintain contact with their social worker and/or access remote education at home.

The department’s safeguarding guidance sets out that a school’s child protection policy should be updated to reflect the arrangements in place to keep children not physically attending safe, especially online, and how concerns about these children should be progressed. In addition, the advice sets out that the Designated Safeguarding Lead (or deputy) should provide support to teachers and pastoral staff to ensure that contact is maintained with children (and their families) who are not yet returning to school. The guidance is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-safeguarding-in-schools-colleges-and-other-providers/coronavirus-covid-19-safeguarding-in-schools-colleges-and-other-providers.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, what additional funding he is making available to schools to cover the costs of adapting premises to meet social distancing requirements.

We have made over £200 million in Devolved Formula Capital allocations available to schools for the financial year 2020-21. Schools can invest this in capital projects to meet their own priorities. There is, however, no expectation that schools carry out building works to adapt their premises to support social distancing.

We have published guidance on the additional funding we are providing to schools to cover unavoidable revenue costs incurred due to the COVID-19 outbreak that cannot be met from their existing resources. The fund is targeted towards the costs we have identified as the biggest barrier to schools operating as they need to at this challenging time.

The cost categories covered by the fund are clearly set out in the guidance – increased premises related costs of opening over school holidays; support for free school meals for eligible children who are not in school, where schools are not using the national voucher scheme; and additional cleaning costs relating to cases or suspected cases of COVID-19, above the cost of existing cleaning arrangements. Details are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-schools/school-funding-exceptional-costs-associated-with-coronavirus-covid-19-for-the-period-march-to-july-2020

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what adjustments will be made to exams taken in 2021 to account for lost contact time between staff and pupils as a result of the covid-19 lockdown.

We recognise that students who are studying GCSE, A level or equivalent courses, and are due to take exams and assessments in 2021, will have experienced disruption to their education. We are working with Ofqual and the awarding organisations to develop our approach to next year’s exams and assessments in light of this.

13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reasons maintained nursery schools are not eligible to claim (a) free school meal vouchers and (b) funding for exceptional costs associated with the covid-19 outbreak.

The government recognises that maintained nursery schools are an important part of the early years sector and provide valuable services, especially in disadvantaged areas.

We are committed to funding for maintained nursery schools in the longer term. Last October, we announced that maintained nursery schools would continue to receive supplementary funding for the whole of the financial year 2020-21 and this is unchanged by the COVID-19 outbreak, along with their funding for the usual early education entitlements through the dedicated schools grant. At the moment, our resources are focused on tackling the unprecedented challenges created by COVID-19. But resolving the long-term funding of maintained nursery schools is high on our list of priorities and we will return to it as soon as we are able. Any reform to the way maintained nursery schools are funded in the future will be accompanied by appropriate funding protections.

Unlike most state-funded schools, maintained nursery schools typically rely on private income for a significant proportion of their total income. Therefore, we have ensured that access to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is also available to maintained nursery schools, in line with the published guidance.

Maintained nursery schools can access the free school meal vouchers via Edenred.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many trees have been planted under the Urban Tree Challenge Fund in (a) London and (b) Erith and Thamesmead constituency to date.

To date 1,932 Government funded trees have been planted under the Urban Tree Challenge Fund in London, of which 18 trees have been planted in the Erith and Thamesmead constituency.

The planting of a further 10,918 trees is planned under the Urban Tree Challenge Fund in London by the end of March 2021, of which 13 are planned to be planted in the Erith and Thamesmead constituency. Some of these may be planted by charities or private organisations.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on levels of hunting trophy (a) imports and (b) exports as a result of delays in bringing forward legislative proposals.

The Covid-19 pandemic has delayed the publication of the Government response to the recent consultation and call for evidence on controls on the import and export of hunting trophies. I have no plans to make an assessment of the impact of this delay on imports and exports of hunting trophies. However, we are continuing to work on this important area and a response will be published as soon as possible.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to encourage the use of alternatives to cages on farms that breed partridges and pheasants.

We are committed to maintaining our position as world leaders in animal welfare and want to improve and build upon that record, working in partnership with farmers to support healthier, higher welfare animals. We are exploring options with all the industry sectors, including the gamebird industry, to see how welfare standards can be further enhanced and in a way that is sustainable.

The welfare of gamebirds is currently protected by the Animal Welfare Act 2006 which makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering. This is backed up by the statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Gamebirds Reared for Sporting Purposes, which encourages the adoption of high standards of husbandry.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department plans to take to protect Marine Protected Areas.

Marine protection is a devolved matter and the information provided relates to England only.

We have essentially completed building our comprehensive network of Marine Protected Areas, with 177 sites covering 40% of English waters. All Marine Protected Areas are protected through the planning and licensing regime to ensure activities such as offshore developments do not cause damage. For fishing, good progress has been made to protect sites in the inshore area with over 90 marine protected areas now with byelaws in place to prevent activities such as trawling which could damage protected features on the seabed. The Common Fisheries Policy has inhibited our ability to properly protect offshore areas. At the end of the Transition Period, we will use new powers contained in the Fisheries Bill to put byelaws in place as we have done in the inshore environment. A Call for Evidence for the first sites will be launched shortly, followed by the formal consultation in early 2021. As part of the Environment Bill targets work, we are developing a target requiring that our Marine Protected Areas are effectively protected so that they achieve their conservation objectives.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of trends in the level of nitrogen dioxide in the air in Erith and Thamesmead constituency.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality in the capital and has reserve powers under Part IV of the Environment Act 1995 to reflect this.

As part of these responsibilities the Mayor of London carries out monitoring of air quality in London, and this is likely to include an assessment of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels in Erith and Thamesmead.

The most recent national compliance assessment for NO2 shows that all road links in Erith and Thamesmead that are included in the assessment were below the annual mean limit value for NO2 of 40 µg/m³ in 2019, with the highest concentration recorded at 37.6 µg/m³ on the A2016. The full data is available online at https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/data/gis-mapping/.

The UK is compliant with our air quality obligations for all pollutants with the exception of NO2 concentrations at roadside locations, and we have put in place a £3.8 billion plan to tackle this issue. More widely, the Government’s Clean Air Strategy sets out an ambitious programme of action to reduce air pollution from a wide range of sources. Our Environment Bill delivers key parts of this strategy and makes a clear commitment to set a legally binding target to reduce fine particulate matter and enables local authorities to take more effective action to tackle air pollution in their areas.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Government has to further restrict the fur trade after the transition period.

I refer the hon Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Totnes on 30 June 2020, PQ UIN 62631.

[www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-06-22/62631]

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to work with food providers to ensure that disabled families have adequate access to food supplies.

We know the difficulties that people with disabilities currently face in accessing food and are taking steps to support this group. We have brokered discussions between charities and retailers to help ensure that services are accessible for disabled people.

We know that a large number of vulnerable people continue to rely on friends, family and wider community support. Where that is not possible, there are a number of options available for people to access support.

Individuals can request help from an NHS volunteer responder, by calling or visiting the Royal Voluntary Service website:

volunteering.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/nhs-volunteer-responders-portal/isolating.

Individuals can use one of the increasing range and number of local, regional and national commercial services that provide home delivery of groceries. They can also call their local authority, who will be able to help refer them to local voluntary and commercial shop and drop services and may be able to offer other support too.

Most supermarkets also offer protected in-store shopping hours to vulnerable groups including people with disabilities and their carers.


Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what her Departments policy is for consulting with UK businesses on the effect of the UK Global Tariff on those businesses.

Free Trade Agreements (FTA) are just one way in which we can help secure greater choice and lower prices for British shoppers. We intend to achieve a zero tariff and zero quotas FTA with the EU by December 2020, so we do not expect any tariffs to apply to EU imports.

If we do not have an FTA, the “UK Global Tariff” (UKGT) will apply to EU imports, in common with imports from the rest of the world where FTAs have not yet been negotiated. The UKGT almost doubles the number of products coming into the United Kingdom that are tariff free relative to what is currently applied.

The UKGT was developed following a public consultation in which interested parties from across the United Kingdom had the opportunity to help shape the policy. The over 1,300 responses which were received were assessed in a fair and equal manner, and we remain open to feedback from interested parties. To that end, HM Government will publish a Tax Information and Impact Note (TIIN) alongside the legislation, as is standard practice for all taxes.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what plans she has to mitigate a potential increase in costs to the UK consumer of imported goods in the event that a new UK-EU relationship is not agreed by the end of the transition period.

Free Trade Agreements (FTA) are just one way in which we can help secure greater choice and lower prices for British shoppers. We intend to achieve a zero tariff and zero quotas FTA with the EU by December 2020, so we do not expect any tariffs to apply to EU imports.

If we do not have an FTA, the “UK Global Tariff” (UKGT) will apply to EU imports, in common with imports from the rest of the world where FTAs have not yet been negotiated. The UKGT almost doubles the number of products coming into the United Kingdom that are tariff free relative to what is currently applied.

The UKGT was developed following a public consultation in which interested parties from across the United Kingdom had the opportunity to help shape the policy. The over 1,300 responses which were received were assessed in a fair and equal manner, and we remain open to feedback from interested parties. To that end, HM Government will publish a Tax Information and Impact Note (TIIN) alongside the legislation, as is standard practice for all taxes.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the timeline is for the publication of the aviation recovery plan.

The uncertainty created by COVID has meant that the government’s priority for aviation at this time is to ensure that people will be able to travel again as soon as is safely possible. That is why the government, through the Global Travel Taskforce, continues to work at pace to introduce test to release, as well as considering other measures to support the travel sector – including developing a global framework to make travelling easier, and boosting consumer confidence in air travel. Once complete, the government will then put forward its strategic framework for the medium and long-term recovery of the aviation sector.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent steps he has taken to prevent job losses in the travel industry.

The Department for Transport is actively monitoring the impact on jobs in the aviation sector from Covid-19 at the national and regional level, with support from other government Departments.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been available to businesses affected by COVID-19 to pay wages. On 5 November the Chancellor announced that workers across the United Kingdom will benefit from increased support with a five-month extension of the furlough scheme into Spring 2021. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will now run until the end of March with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Nov 2020
To the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department plans to take to ensure the safety of visually impaired individuals from e-scooters.

Following our consultation earlier in the year, and feedback from subsequent stakeholder activities, we have required all e-scooters used in trials to have a horn or bell so that users can make others aware of their presence. Additionally, we have instructed all local authorities participating in trials to engage throughout the trial period with disability groups in their areas to ensure their concerns are being heard. We have also made additional commitments such as allowing vulnerable road user groups to take part in the evaluation process.

The trials have created a platform for innovation, and we are seeing very encouraging use of – for example – sound emitting devices on e-scooters in York. This is precisely the sort of initiative we want to monitor and evaluate and to help inform future policy.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department plans to provide additional funding to local transport authorities to reduce the cost of travel for young people in (a) London and (b) the rest of England.

Transport in London, including fares policy, is devolved and is the responsibility of the Mayor of London and Transport for London. There are no current national plans to reduce the cost of travel for young people in the rest of England. However, concessionary travel legislation gives local authorities the flexibility to offer local travel concessions, such as free or discounted travel to young people, if they choose to do so.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what guidance he has issued to (a) local authorities and (b) businesses on the access needs of disabled people when making changes to roads, pavements and parking spaces as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department published statutory guidance to local authorities under the Traffic Management Act 2004, providing advice on the changes that Government expects them to make to their road layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians. This includes a reminder that local authorities need to be mindful of the requirements of equalities legislation, ensuring, for example, that in redesigning and reallocating road space they take careful account of the impacts this may have on disabled people. The guidance is available at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/reallocating-road-space-in-response-to-covid-19-statutory-guidance-for-local-authorities.

It is for local authorities to decide what measures are appropriate on their roads and what they are able to achieve with the resources they have.

The Department for Transport has not provided guidance to businesses on this matter.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many (a) men and (b) women have begun Kickstart scheme placements.

An initial assessment of a sample of the first 20,000 claimants who started a Kickstart job placement from the commencement of the scheme up to 6th May 2021, found that 51% were male and 49% were female. The Department for Work and Pensions will be monitoring and evaluating the Kickstart scheme throughout its implementation, and will continue to evaluate the longer term outcomes for Kickstart participants after they have completed their six-month job placements. This will include an examination of the demographic make-up of participants, including gender.

Although care is taken when processing and analysing Kickstart applications, referrals and starts, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system which has been developed quickly. The management information presented here has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics, but is provided in the interests of transparency. Work is ongoing to improve the quality of information available for the programme.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions she has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on financial support for people in receipt of the state pension.

The Secretary of State has regular discussions with the Chancellor on a range of issues. The Government is committed to ensuring that older people are able to live with the dignity and respect they deserve and the State Pension is the foundation of state support for older people. It is supported by further measures for older people, which include the provision of free bus passes, free prescriptions, Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the implications for its policies of the findings of the Pension Credit report from Independent Age.

No such assessment has been made.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of eligible people have claimed pension credit in Erith and Thamesmead constituency.

As at May 2020, 2,501 households claimed Pension Credit in Erith and Thamesmead.

Information requested on the proportion of eligible people who claim Pension Credit figure is only available at the Great Britain level: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/income-related-benefits-estimates-of-take-up-financial-year-2018-to-2019

This information is published and available at: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk Guidance for using Stat-Xplore is available at: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has provide financial assistance to clinically vulnerable people in the event that their place of work remains open but they are unable to attend that place work as a result of health concerns during the period of new national covid-19 lockdown from 5 November 2020.

BEIS Safer Workplaces guidance advises that workers who can work effectively from home should do so over the winter. If an individual cannot work from home, clinically vulnerable individuals can still attend their workplace as their workplace should be COVID-secure. Employers are required to take steps to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace.

Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable will previously have received a letter from the NHS or their GP informing them of this and may have been advised to shield in the past. Individuals who receive a notification that they need to shield should not go in to work if they are unable to work from home.

Employees who are clinically extremely vulnerable can be furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and remain eligible for New Style Employment and Support Allowance, subject to the wider eligibility criteria. Where they are not furloughed, and they cannot work from home, they may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from their employer.

Where an individual’s income is reduced while off work sick and they require further financial support, they may be able to receive Universal Credit, depending on their personal circumstances.

5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of providing statutory sick pay to foster carers during the covid-19 outbreak.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) provides a minimum level of income for employees when they are off work sick, or deemed incapable of work. It is paid in full by employers. To receive SSP from their employer, individuals must meet all SSP eligibility conditions, including being classed as an employee.

SSP is just one part of the government’s safety net and the support to people in times of need during the pandemic. Where an individual’s income is reduced while off work sick or self-isolating, for example where they are not eligible for SSP, and they require further financial support they may be able to claim Universal Credit and new style Employment and Support Allowance, depending on individual circumstances. Working people on low incomes who are required to remain at home by NHS Test and Trace to help stop the spread of the virus and cannot work from home can also now receive £500.

Background

  • SSP is paid at a flat rate of £95.85 per week to eligible employees.
  • We have already strengthened our wider safety net by temporarily increasing the standard allowance of Universal Credit by the equivalent of £20 per week, meaning that claimants will be up to £1,040 better off for the 20/21 tax year.
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what guidance her Department is providing to people with covid-19 symptoms who are required to self-isolate and do not qualify for statutory sick pay in (a) Erith and Thamesmead constituency and (b) England.

The guidance given to customers is dependent on their own personal circumstances. They will be signposted to the most relevant benefit.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the easing of covid-19 lockdown restrictions on disabled people.

The Government is committed to supporting disabled people affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. We continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on disabled people using existing and new data sources.

The Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work has had discussions with charities, disabled people's organisations and individuals to understand the range of experiences disabled people have had during the COVID-19 pandemic and to identify the support needed as lockdown restrictions are eased.

The Government is ensuring that disabled people continue to have access to accessible communications, updated guidance, including workplace and transport related guidance, as well as other support during the Covid-19 outbreak. All equality and discrimination laws and obligations continue to apply during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with representatives from disabled people on the easing of covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

The Government is committed to supporting disabled people affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. We continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on disabled people using existing and new data sources.

The Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work has had discussions with charities, disabled people's organisations and individuals to understand the range of experiences disabled people have had during the COVID-19 pandemic and to identify the support needed as lockdown restrictions are eased.

The Government is ensuring that disabled people continue to have access to accessible communications, updated guidance, including workplace and transport related guidance, as well as other support during the Covid-19 outbreak. All equality and discrimination laws and obligations continue to apply during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason employment and support allowance was not increased in line with the uplift in universal credit in March 2020.

The Government has announced a suite of measures that can be quickly and effectively operationalised to benefit those facing the most financial disruption during the pandemic. The Department was experiencing significantly increased demand and had to prioritise the safety and stability of the benefits system overall. The IT system which supports Universal Credit has more capacity to make the necessary changes than the systems that support legacy benefits. It also uses different technology from other DWP systems and these older systems have complex interactions and interdependencies. We estimate that 2.5m households receiving Universal Credit will have benefited straight away from the increase in the standard allowances which was announced on 20 March, and which is additional to the planned annual uprating. 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. Up-to-date information about the employment and benefits support available, including Employment and Support Allowance, can be found here: https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/employment-and-benefits-support/

Taken together, DWP’s pandemic measures represent an injection of over £6.5 billion into the welfare system and, along with the other job and business support programmes announced by the Chancellor, represent one of the most comprehensive packages of support introduced by an advanced economy in response to COVID19.

26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase mental health services provision for (a) children under the age of 16 and (b) 16 to 18 year olds.

No specific assessment has been made.

Through the NHS Long Term Plan we will invest at least an additional £2.3 billion a year into mental health services by 2023/24, which will see a further 345,000 children and young people a year able to access support through National Health Service-funded services including school and college-based mental health support teams by 2023/24. We have also announced an additional £79 million in this financial year to significantly accelerate the planned expansion of children and young people’s mental health services.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the level of demand for mental health services by (a) children under the age of 16 and (b) 16 to 18 year olds.

No specific assessment has been made.

Through the NHS Long Term Plan we will invest at least an additional £2.3 billion a year into mental health services by 2023/24, which will see a further 345,000 children and young people a year able to access support through National Health Service-funded services including school and college-based mental health support teams by 2023/24. We have also announced an additional £79 million in this financial year to significantly accelerate the planned expansion of children and young people’s mental health services.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of Centene taking control of (a) Thamesmead Health Centre and (b) other GP practices in Greater London on the quality of care provided to patients in those areas.

No assessment has been made. 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.

Regardless of whether the contract holder is an individual, a partnership, or an organisation, all contract holders and providers of National Health Service core primary medical services are subject to the same requirements, regulation, and standards.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that Centene upholds NHS standards of healthcare in the GP practices it operates in England.

No assessment has been made. 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.

Regardless of whether the contract holder is an individual, a partnership, or an organisation, all contract holders and providers of National Health Service core primary medical services are subject to the same requirements, regulation, and standards.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that blood tests are accessible within an acceptable timeframe during the covid-19 outbreak.

Throughout the pandemic all services remained available to meet the clinical need of patients using the National Health Service. Pathology networks deployed staff and services accordingly to ensure that testing for COVID-19 was maximised and that other services were also available within the usual timeframe expected by clinicians to manage their patients.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what targets his Department has set for the waiting time for a blood test (a) during the covid-19 outbreak; and whether that target has changed since the start of the outbreak.

Targets for blood tests are set by local hospitals and pathology networks following guidance set out by NHS England and NHS Improvement in the Pathology Quality Assurance Dashboard and from organisations such as the Royal College of Pathologists. These targets were set prior to the pandemic and no changes to these were made during the pandemic. All targets are driven by clinical need and requirements to ensure appropriate patient management.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of the aims of the Cheque for Tech Diabetes funding campaign.

The £559 million technology funding for NHSX announced in the Spending Review is not disease specific but covers the infrastructure and whole pathways work for all major diseases, including diabetes. This investment will support the National Health Service frontline, help fast track innovation and deliver a better experience for patients and staff alike.

In addition to this work and as part of the NHS Long Term Plan, NHS England and NHS Improvement committed to both improving the pipeline of innovation and speeding up the uptake and spread, so that proven and affordable innovations get to patients faster. It sets out a number of specific commitments in relation to the treatment of people living with diabetes and supporting the adoption of new technologies.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what advice his Department is giving to local authorities on enforcing mask wearing on public transport.

Local authorities do not have an enforcing role when it comes to the wearing of face coverings by members of the public on public transport. This is a matter for the police and Transport for London officers, who may issue fixed penalty notices but will adopt their usual ‘four Es’ approach first: Explain, Engage, Encourage and Enforce.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what methodology is Department uses to collect data on children’s qualitative well-being.

The Department commissioned NHS Digital to undertake a follow up survey on a representative sample of children and young people (now ages 5 to 22 years) recruited in 2017 to take part in the Mental Health of Children and Young People in England Survey, who agreed to be re-contacted. The analysis of this survey was published on 22 October and is one of the main sources of evidence on children’s qualitative wellbeing and is available at the following link:

https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/mental-health-of-children-and-young-people-in-england/2020-wave-1-follow-up

Methods for how commissioners and other health professionals can measure, understand and improve the mental wellbeing of children and young people is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/measuring-the-mental-wellbeing-of-children-and-young-people

A toolkit to help measure subjective mental wellbeing amongst the student population is available at the following link:

https://www.annafreud.org/schools-and-colleges/resources/mental-health-toolkit-for-schools/

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to increase (a) staff capacity in and (b) recruitment to oncology departments.

‘We are the NHS: People Plan for 2020/2021 – action for us all’ sets out actions to support transformation across the whole NHS, including the following commitment on the cancer workforce:

In 2021, Health Education England is prioritising the training of 400 clinical endoscopists and 450 reporting radiographers. Training grants are being offered for 350 nurses to become cancer nurse specialists and chemotherapy nurses, training 58 biomedical scientists, developing an advanced clinical practice qualification in oncology and extending cancer support-worker training.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the timetable is for the publication of contracts tendered to private companies to provide services in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

We are working to complete the publishing of all the contract award notices (CANs) and the associated contracts for all COVID-19 related work as soon as possible. 89% of the CANs have now been published and over 50% of the contracts can been be found on Contracts Finder at the following link:

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/

Delays in publishing this information have been due to the resources available within the Department for this work, given the vast increase in the volume of contracts that have had to be processed.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what advice his Department is giving to local authorities on enforcing mask wearing in public spaces.

The Regulations that mandate the wearing of face coverings in an array of indoor, public settings in England also allow for exemptions and reasonable excuses.

The Government expects the vast majority of people will comply with the rules, as they have done throughout the pandemic. However, the Regulations do give powers to the police and Transport for London officers to enforce the requirement to wear a face covering. In doing so, the police will use their usual ‘four Es’ approach: Explaining, Engaging, Encouraging; and Enforcing only issuing a fine as a last resort.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support his Department is making available to medically vulnerable parents whose children have returned to school during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has published additional guidance for everyone in England who has been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable, to help protect them from COVID-19. People in this group will previously have received a letter from the National Health Service or their general practitioner telling them this and may have been advised to shield in the past.

Children who live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable, but who are not clinically extremely vulnerable themselves, should still attend school.

Where parents who are clinically vulnerable or extremely vulnerable have concerns about their children attending school during the COVID-19 outbreak, the school should discuss those concerns with them and provide reassurance of the measures they are putting in place to reduce the risk in school.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to offer mental health support for children and young people during the second covid-19 lockdown.

We recognise the pressures on children and young people’s mental health due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated measures. We will bring forward our winter plan for mental health and wellbeing in due course, outlining the support available over the winter period.

We have published ‘Guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic’ on GOV.UK and Every Mind Matters. In September 2020, we launched a campaign through Every Mind Matters to raise awareness of the guidance and tools available to support children and young people’s mental wellbeing.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of people who refuse to wear masks in public without legitimate reason when required to do so.

There is a growing body of evidence that shows high compliance by the public with the requirements to wear face coverings: the Office for National Statistics’ Opinions and Lifestyle Survey; YouGov (Face Coverings and Staff Survey); and the Department of Health and Social Care Coronavirus Health Behaviours and Campaigns Report, all show high levels of public understanding of the regulations and adherence to wearing face coverings in the relevant settings.

While the majority of people comply with the rules, as they have done throughout the pandemic, the Regulations give powers to the police and Transport for London officers to enforce the requirement to wear a face covering. Fines are issued by enforcing officers as a last resort, so in many cases police engagement ends with the person either proceeding to wear a face covering or leaving the setting. Data published by the National Police Chiefs’ Council show that the police issued a total of 258 Fixed Penalty Notices between 15 June and 19 October for breaches of the Face Coverings Regulations across England and Wales.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the evidential basis was for the decision to close gyms during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown.

The Government’s response to the pandemic is guided by the science. Data and scientific advice informing the fight against COVID-19 are published on GOV.UK and specific relevant findings are shared in presentations accompanying significant policy announcements.

Unfortunately, we know that the virus spreads readily in indoor environments where members of different households and/or support bubbles spend time together. These restrictions do not single out restaurants, pubs or gyms but apply to a wide range of settings where the risk of transmission is high.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the number of people waiting for cancer screening tests in Erith and Thamesmead constituency since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

The information is not held centrally in the format requested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the mental health effect on patients of delayed cancer treatment due to the covid-19 outbreak.

Personalised care interventions, including holistic needs assessment, health and wellbeing information and support, and end of treatment summaries, will help to identify and address more psychological and emotional needs from diagnosis onwards, while ensuring that general practitioners are informed of patients’ ongoing needs. As set out in the NHS Long Term Plan, these interventions will be implemented where appropriate for every person diagnosed with cancer by 2021.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, all personalised care and support has continued by telephone, video, online or by post if face-to-face appointments and group sessions have not been possible.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support pregnant women facing restrictions on their partners accompanying them to antenatal appointments and scans.

Restrictions on visitors are subject to the local discretion of trusts. The Department expects Trusts to use the ‘Framework to assist NHS trusts to reintroduce access for partners, visitors and other supporters of pregnant women in English maternity services’ and consider as a priority how access for partners, visitors and supporters of pregnant women can be reintroduced as soon as possible whilst maintaining the safety of all service users, staff and visitors.

The Chief Midwifery Officer, Chief Allied Health Professions Officer (England), and the National Clinical Director for Maternity and Women's Health wrote to all NHS Directors of Nursing and Heads of Midwifery in England on 19 September to inform those that are still working through the guidance that this must happen now so that partners are able to attend maternity units for appointments.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support he plans to offer to adult social care providers facing additional costs as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises that COVID-19 is imposing significant pressures on the social care sector. £3.7 billion has now been made available to local authorities so they can address pressures on local services caused by the pandemic, including in adult social care. On 17 September 2020 the extension of the Infection Control Fund was announced, meaning over £1.1 billion of ring-fenced funding has been provided for infection control throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognising the increase in demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) this year, the Government has committed in the recently published Adult Social Care Winter Plan to the provision of free PPE for COVID-19 needs for adult social care providers until March 2021

The Government will continue to monitor pressures on adult social care.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what additional support he has made available to unpaid carers to alleviate the added financial pressure of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognise the vital role unpaid carers play, and the pressures they are facing due to COVID-19. The Department for Work and Pensions introduced two important temporary measures in the spring to help unpaid carers through the COVID19 pandemic:

- unpaid carers are able to continue to claim Carer’s Allowance if they have a temporary break in caring, because they or the person they care for gets coronavirus or if either have to isolate because of it.

- providing ‘emotional support’ rather than just more traditional forms of care to a disabled person will also now count towards the Carer’s Allowance threshold of 35 hours of care a week.

These provisions have been extended until 12 May 2021. This will allow unpaid carers receiving Carer’s Allowance who need some extra flexibility in the way they provide care during the current emergency, so as to continue to protect themselves and the people they are caring for. We continue to work with carer organisations and others to identify and respond to the needs of carers during the pandemic.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has in place to encourage awareness of the unique problems faced by deaf people and those with hearing loss during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the extra challenges faced by deaf people and those with hearing loss during the pandemic. We have taken several steps to address these and to raise awareness.

This includes making a clear exemption from wearing face coverings and a communications campaign to raise awareness of such exemptions. We have also made exemption documents available.

Government guidance on face coverings and exemptions was distributed to businesses and customer-facing organisations.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have procured 250,000 transparent facemasks from the company ClearMask which will be helpful for people who need to lip read.

The Public Health England Campaign Resource Centre provides a wide range of free materials to download and share on Government advice and guidance.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many clear face masks (a) have been sent since the covid-19 outbreak began and (b) he plans to send to NHS regions.

A deal with United States-based company ClearMask will enable 250,000 masks to be delivered to National Health Service trusts and social care providers across the United Kingdom as part of a pilot. We are gathering feedback from this pilot, which will inform decisions on future procurement. Details of personal protective equipment deliveries (by item) are provided online at GOV.UK.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the circumstances are in which the easements provided for in the Care Act 2014 and the Children and Families Act 2014 would be activated under the Coronavirus Act 2020.

Guidance for local authorities on use of the Care Act 2014 easements states that they should only take a decision to begin exercising them when the workforce is significantly depleted, or demand on social care has increased, to an extent that it is no longer reasonably practicable for it to comply with its full Care Act duties (as they stand prior to amendment by the Coronavirus Act 2020) and where to continue to try to do so is likely to result in urgent or acute needs not being met, potentially risking life.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy not to activate again the easements provided for in the Care Act 2014 and Children and Families Act 2014.

The Department has kept easements under regular review, taking expert clinical and social care advice, and has concluded that easements have been used appropriately by local authorities and the provision to use them should remain in place at this time.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of Sense Forgotten families campaign; and if he will take steps to ensure the reintroduction of community social care services for disabled people that have ceased during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are aware that during the national lockdown a range of community social care providers ceased provision of services. In July, the Social Care Institute for Excellence published guidance on the safe re-opening of services.

In addition, a proportion of the £546 million Infection Control Fund extension announced in September can be used by local authorities to fund expenditure on Infection Prevention and Control measures needed to safely reopen day and respite services.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment the Government has made of the effectiveness of the enforcement of restrictions under the Coronavirus Act 2020.

As per section 97(1)(b) of the Coronavirus Act 2020, the Secretary of State will make a statement in the two month report about whether he considers the current status of non-devolved provisions to be appropriate. The first such statement was published on 29 May and this and subsequent reports can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-act-two-monthly-reports

An analysis of the provisions was published on 23 September, to inform the debate held on 30 September, and is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-act-analysis

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with disabled people on the effect of the suspension of the Care Act 2014 in the Coronavirus Act 2020 on access to social care.

Since the start of the pandemic, I have met frequently with stakeholder groups, Care Act Easements have been discussed.

The Department has used a number of routes to gather evidence on the use and impact of temporary easements to the Care Act 2014. Departmental officials, including the Chief Social Workers, have been working with the Principal Social Worker Network and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) to gather local intelligence and are satisfied that any easements have been considered and communicated in line with the Ethical Framework for Social Care.

ADASS and Think Local, Act Personal (TLAP) have been engaging with local authorities operating under easements, and those that did not, to understand lessons learned from this period. A TLAP Insight Group has been meeting regularly to coordinate intelligence of TLAP partners on the impact and views of people accessing care and support and unpaid carers. TLAP published their report on 13 October.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to appoint a policy lead in his Department for working age disabled social care to (a) engage with stakeholders and (b) develop an action plan to tackle the (i) effects of the covid-19 outbreak and (ii) long terms reform of disabled social care.

The Department frequently engages with social care stakeholders including those who provide care to working age disabled people and those who receive this care or their representatives. For example, officials participate in fortnightly webinars with learning disability and autism stakeholders to discuss the response to COVID-19.

The ‘Adult Social Care Winter Plan 2020 to 2021’, includes support and guidance for this part of the social care sector. The Winter Plan drew on recommendations from the social care COVID-19 taskforce, which was in turn informed by advisory groups – including a learning disability and autism advisory group involving people with lived experience.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of designating family carers of people with dementia as key workers.

As set out in the Adult Social Care Winter Plan, the Government recognises the very important role of all types of unpaid, or family, carers supporting those they care for, including those with dementia.

The role of unpaid carers has been considered in the development of policies throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and they have been prioritised for a range of support. For example, they are included in the priority list for a vaccine, have access to personal protective equipment and have been exempted from interhouse mixing rules when providing the vital care and support they offer.

We will continue to work closely with stakeholders, care organisations and the wider sector and will keep support for family carers under review.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support care home residents who suffer from dementia.

Equipping the health and social care workforce with the skills they need is crucial for providing high quality care for those living with dementia. The requisite training needs are set out in The Dementia Training Standards Framework. Since 1 April 2015, newly appointed health care assistants and social care support workers, including those providing care to people with dementia, have been undergoing training as part of the national implementation of the Care Certificate. Since 2012, over one million care workers have completed the Care Certificate, or common induction standards. During the COVID-19 pandemic we have issued a range of guidance for care homes. In particular, The Social Care Institute for Excellence has published advice on COVID-19 and dementia in care homes in collaboration with NHS England and NHS Improvement (12 May 2020).

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the capacity to test school pupils during winter 2020-21.

Anyone experiencing symptoms can access a free test at a testing site or at home by calling 119 or via the online booking portal at the following link:

https://self-referral.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/antigen/condition

This includes all pupils, teachers and staff. All children of any age can get a test in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps people in Erith and Thamesmead constituency should take in the event that they have covid-19 symptoms but are unable to access a covid-19 testing kit.

The Department has worked to build testing capacity Erith and Thamesmead, currently operating sites at Erith Road and Abery Street car park alongside other facilities such as mobile testing units and home testing across south east London.

COVID-19 test sites are opening regularly across the United Kingdom, currently there are 675 sites in operation. Home testing kits are available daily for those who need them.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department is providing to parents with children with covid-19 symptoms who have been required to self-isolate by schools and who are not entitled to statutory sick pay if they do not go to work.

If a child is self-isolating because they have symptoms of COVID-19, other members of their household should also self-isolate. In this situation, parents and/or guardians should follow guidance and book a test for their child. They can do this through any of the main testing channels. In the event the child does test positive, they should continue to self-isolate for at least ten days from the onset of their symptoms, and only return to school after ten days if they do not have symptoms. All other members of the household should continue to self-isolate until 14 days after the onset of the child’s symptoms.

If a child has tested positive, other members of their household who need to self-isolate may be eligible for the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment, if they are a low-income worker, unable to work from home and losing income as a result.

If a parent or guardian needs support while a child is self-isolating, there is Government guidance on staying at home and self-isolating, accessing local support provided by their local authority and receiving assistance from NHS Volunteer Responders.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what priority his Department has accorded to ensuring that psychological support services are available for people diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

The NHS Long Term Plan sets a clear ambition that where appropriate every person diagnosed with cancer should have access to personalised care by 2021. Over the next five years, Cancer Alliances will be embedding personalised care interventions, which will identify and address the changing needs of cancer patients from diagnosis onwards.

National Health Service mental health services, including Improving Access to Psychological Therapies services, have remained open for business throughout this time, including delivering support digitally and over the phone where possible. For those with severe needs or in crisis, NHS England has instructed all NHS mental health trusts to establish 24 hours a day, seven days a week mental health crisis lines, clearly accessible from trust websites.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to prepare for a potential second wave of covid-19 during the 2020-21 winter.

To prepare the National Health Service for winter, the Government is providing an additional £3 billion of funding. This includes funding to allow the NHS to maintain the Nightingale surge capacity and continue to use the extra hospital capacity available within the independent sector.

Effective local management of any outbreaks is the first line of protection against a second wave that might overwhelm the NHS. To support local authorities, we made £300 million available and they already have robust plans in place to respond to outbreaks.

We have also made significant strides in our Test and Trace service. We have established one of the world’s largest testing programmes, with capacity at around 350,000 tests every day and we have already traced around 250,000 people who may have unknowingly spread the virus.

NHS winter preparations include delivering a very significantly expanded seasonal flu vaccination programme for priority groups.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to ensure that people with ovarian cancer can continue to access treatment in the event of a second wave of covid-19.

The Cancer Recovery Taskforce has been established, and met for the first time in September, where they took stock of the status of cancer services against recovery metrics on referrals, treatment and backlog levels. A national recovery plan will be developed for publication shortly.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are continuing to operate cancer surgical hubs, supported by the extension of the independent sector deal, to maintain a whole-system approach to managing cancer surgery at volume and in accordance with clinical priority.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 16 July 2020 to Question 62691 on NHS: Racial Discrimination, what steps his Department has taken to protect NHS staff who have been assessed as high risk.

A number of resources are available to support organisations to protect staff who have been assessed as being at high risk. These include a risk reduction framework published by the Faculty of Occupational Medicine published in response to COVID-19 and the adult social care risk reduction framework. Additionally, NHS Employers have published guidance on how to enhance existing risk assessments. Risk is best managed at a local level in discussion between individuals and their managers.

There are a range of steps employers are taking to mitigate risk. These include stringent infection prevention and control assurance such as prioritisation of fit testing, rota adjustments, and regular health checks including COVID-19 testing. Personal protective equipment is also being procured, which addresses concerns about fit for some groups of people.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 16 July 2020 to Question 62691 on NHS: Racial Discrimination, whether the risk assessments of NHS staff are mandatory; and what the obligations to conduct those risk assessments on employers of those staff are in (a) England and (b) Wales.

Employers in both England and Wales are required by law to protect employees from harm, including assessing risk, under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

All National Health Service employers were directed on 24 June by NHS England and NHS Improvement to make significant progress in deploying risk assessments within the following two weeks and complete them – at least for all staff in at-risk groups – within four weeks. NHS England and NHS Improvement have asked organisations to publish metrics from their staff reviews until fully compliant.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which disabilities his Departments plans to exempt people from wearing a face covering in shops from 24 July 2020; and what processes will be put in place for people to prove they are exempt.

People do not need to wear a face covering if they have a legitimate reason not to. This includes:

- not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability;

- if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause the wearer severe distress; and

- if travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate.

The list of exemptions is not exhaustive and would extend to someone who has a justifiable reason for not wearing one on the grounds of health or disability not outlined within the guidance.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to investigate reports of historical workplace racism in the NHS.

We do not tolerate racist abuse of National Health Service staff and are committed to promoting an inclusive and compassionate culture in the NHS. The NHS is focused on supporting staff from different ethnic backgrounds and is tracking progress against key indicators through the Workforce Race Equality Standard, with Board level oversight.

The NHS has put in place an action plan to support black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) staff through the pandemic. This includes risks assessment processes to protect staff, bespoke health and wellbeing resources and strengthened engagement with BAME staff networks to ensure their views are represented in decision making.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) domiciliary carers and (b) the personal assistants of disabled people are equipped with personal protective equipment.

The Government is doing everything it can to get domiciliary carers and social care workers the personal protective equipment (PPE) they need to provide care and support safely. On 11 May, we published guidance to support the health and wellbeing of those in the adult social care workforce. As part of our commitment to ensure that social care receives the PPE it needs, we continue to supply PPE to selected wholesalers to support social care. Additionally, we deliver PPE to all Local Resilience Forums to allow them to respond to urgent local spikes in need across the adult social care system. The National Supply Disruption Response operates a 24-hour helpline that can also respond to emergency PPE requests. Finally, we are rolling out a PPE Portal to help primary and social care providers to order critical PPE.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has in place to close the 4.9 per cent pay gap reported in 2018 between White and Black, Asian and ethnic minority consultants in the NHS.

In 2018 an independent review into the extent and causes of the gender pay gap in medicine was launched. The review, yet to be published, chaired by Professor Dame Jane Dacre is expected to make a recommendation about the need to review the pay gap in other protected characteristics. The Department is currently considering plans for a review into the ethnicity pay gap in the National Health Service.

Dialogue continues with the British Medical Association and NHS Employers to ensure all the medical contract pay, terms and conditions of service are attractive and support recruitment and retention of medical staff from all ethnic backgrounds, while enabling long term sustainability for all NHS doctors, employers and the taxpayer.

The NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard, a compulsory initiative for all NHS trusts and established in 2015, have developed a programme of work to close the gaps in experiences between black, Asian and minority ethnic and white staff, including those who aspire to develop their careers in the NHS.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will restore as soon as it is safe to do so the Care Act 2004 duties on local authorities to ensure that the care of elderly, vulnerable and/or disabled people is not diminished.

Public safety throughout this period is the Government’s top priority and this includes keeping those who need care and support safe. The changes to the Care Act 2014 duties on local authorities will be kept under review and the Secretary of State will suspend them based on expert clinical and social care advice, in accordance with the Coronavirus Act 2020.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to provide (a) PPE and (b) home testing kits for pharmacy staff.

There are around 11,500 community pharmacies in England, and deliveries of personal protective equipment (PPE) packs were made in March. Further, supplies of PPE have been distributed to wholesalers and distributor networks supplying community pharmacies.

Where there remains an urgent need for additional PPE stock, community pharmacies should contact their Local Resilience Forums (LRFs) who can provide supplies to respond to local spikes in need. For those who are critically short of PPE, they should phone the National Supply Distribution Response for an urgent delivery. We will continue to work in ensuring that community pharmacies have access to PPE.

Symptomatic pharmacy staff, or symptomatic member(s) of their household, are eligible for testing through the self-referral online portal where they are able to order home delivery testing kits. The online portal and further information on those eligible for testing is available at the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care what steps he is taking to support NHS staff in the event of increased patient admissions as a result of covid-19.

The National Health Service will be given all the resources it needs to respond to this virus and keep the public safe.

The NHS is scaling up intensive care beds, whilst NHS England is looking at NHS organisations’ critical care capacity - including the availability of additional facilities operated by independent sector providers. They are also making sure that they have as much ventilation equipment as possible and, crucially, the skilled and trained people to use it.

The Health and Wellbeing Framework sets out the standards for what NHS organisations need to do to support staff to feel well, healthy and happy at work. It sets out clear actionable steps and provides guidance for organisations to develop and deliver a staff health and wellbeing plan. The link for this guidance can be found at the following link:

https://www.nhsemployers.org/retention-and-staff-experience/health-and-wellbeing

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care what guidance he has issued to (a) schools, (b) community groups, (c) faith organisations and (d) other organisations that attract public congregation on the spread of covid-19.

The Government has made several announcements regarding social distancing to be implemented across all areas raised in this question that will help reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). More information on social distancing can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults

Additional advice on school and business closures can be found at the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-regulations-created-by-secretary-of-state-for-business-closure-covid-19

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-school-closures/guidance-for-schools-about-temporarily-closing

On 23 March the Prime Minister announced new measures to lock down the United Kingdom for a minimum of three week, stating that places of worship were among the premises that had to close immediately, along with libraries, playgrounds, most shops, and outdoor gyms. People should stay at home, except to shop for basic necessities, take exercise, address medical needs, and travel to and from essential work. More information can be found at the following link:

https://www.government-online.net/the-prime-minister-announces-new-measures-to-lock-down-the-country/

Specific guidance or information for faith groups is not held centrally. However, The Church of England have released their own advice. More information can be found at the following link::

https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-churches

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to protect the privacy and confidentiality of people diagnosed with covid-19.

The Government and other health organisations are obliged to protect patient confidentiality, in line with standard clinical practice. More information on data protection can be found on GOV.UK at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support the Government is providing to UK nationals who remain in Afghanistan.

Between 15 and 29 August, the UK evacuated over 8,000 British nationals from Afghanistan. Additionally, on 9-10 September, we evacuated a further 34 British nationals via Doha. Work continues to explore all possible avenues to ensure that any British nationals who remain in Afghanistan are able to leave safely if they wish to do so. To enable this, we have asked all British nationals in Afghanistan to register their presence with us and we are working to verify all those who have submitted their details. We have been clear that the Taliban must allow safe passage for those who want to leave.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of the UK resuming in-country consular support in Afghanistan.

Our focus is on the immediate priorities of ensuring safe passage for anyone remaining in Afghanistan who is eligible to come to the UK and wishes to leave, supporting the thousands of new arrivals in the UK, and continuing to provide assistance to the Afghan people. Our Embassy to Afghanistan has temporarily relocated to Qatar, until it can be re-established in Afghanistan, to lead our diplomatic, security and humanitarian engagement remotely. The situation on the ground remains fluid and we will continue to review this posture. Our High Commission in Pakistan and Embassies in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Qatar, reinforced by Rapid Deployment Teams, are also providing consular support.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the arrest of Nnamdi Kanu by the Nigerian authorities.

We are seeking clarification from the Nigerian Government about the circumstances of the arrest and detention of Nnamdi Kanu. The UK has requested consular access to Mr Kanu from the Nigerian Government, and we stand ready to provide consular assistance.

17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what (a) financial, (b) logistical and (c) medical support the Government is providing to assist the Indian Government’s covid-19 response.

We stand side by side with India as a friend and partner in the fight against Covid-19, and send our solidarity and condolences to the Indian people at this difficult time. Since 2015, the UK has not provided financial assistance to the Indian Government, and until recently, the Indian Government's official position has been to neither seek nor accept official international assistance from foreign governments for humanitarian assistance. Instead, the UK has put together a package focusing on India's most urgent needs, including oxygen concentrators, ventilators, and oxygen generating units. The first shipment was delivered on 27 April. On 2 May, the Prime Minister announced that the UK would send a further 1,000 ventilators to support India's response, these arrived in Delhi on 9 May, bringing the total package of equipment to 495 oxygen concentrators, 1,200 ventilators and three oxygen generating units. Given the importance of effective coordination of the large quantities of assistance arriving in India, the UK is channelling its support through the Indian Government and Indian Red Cross, to ensure the transfer of medical equipment is as efficient as possible and reaches those who need it.

There is also extensive scientific and medical collaboration underway. Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance have spoken to their Indian counterparts to provide advice, insight and expertise to the Indian healthcare system as it deals with the surge in Covid-19 cases. NHS England and NHS Improvement are establishing a clinic advisory group, led by Chief People Officer Prerana Issar, to support India's Covid-19 response.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Israeli counterpart on the situation in East Jerusalem; and if he will make a statement.

The ongoing violence across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is deeply concerning and must stop. We call on all sides to reduce tensions, restore calm and avoid provocation. The Prime Minister has called for an urgent de-escalation of tensions. The Foreign Secretary delivered a message of de-escalation in his calls to Israeli Foreign Minister Ashkenazi on 16 May, and with Palestinian Prime Minister Shtayyeh on 12 May. We have also engaged the UN Security Council, calling for measures to reduce further violence.

As the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary have made clear, this cycle of violence must stop, and every effort must be made to avoid loss of life. We urge all sides to refrain from any kind of provocation so that calm is restored as quickly as possible. The UK will continue to support that goal.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what (a) financial, (b) logistical and (c) military support the Government is providing to St. Vincent and the Grenadines in response to the recent volcanic eruptions in that nation.

We are monitoring the situation in St Vincent and the Grenadines closely and our thoughts are with those affected by the eruptions. Infrastructure and agriculture have been badly hit and ash fall is significant and causing problems with the movement of people, as well as impacting electricity and water supplies.

  • To address immediate needs, on 12 April we pledged an initial £200,000 to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) to help address the humanitarian impact of the eruptions. This will be used for emergency supplies and other requirements. The UK is also a contributor to the International Federation of the Red Cross Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) which has allocated funding of some £209,000 to the St Vincent and the Grenadines Red Cross response.
  • Prior to the latest explosive eruptions we had deployed a volcanologist to the islands to monitor La Soufrière during its earlier effusive eruption. In addition the UK provided £51,000 to pay for aerial helicopter surveillance and equipment installations to help analyse changes in the volcano and boost early warning to allow for a timely evacuation. Our support to CDEMA will also allow urgently needed technical experts to support relief efforts on the ground, support emergency telecommunications, and restore critical lifeline facilities. In addition, we have provided technical advice from the UK Government Office of Science (GO Science) and the British Geological Survey on how to deal with the significant ash fall (including on its impact on livestock).
  • The Ministry of Defence have not yet received any requests to provide military assistance.

We will continue to work with CDEMA and other appropriate agencies to provide further support.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what his Department's policy is on the concerns raised about the infringement of human rights on farmers protesting in India.

I am conscious of the level of concern from communities in the UK towards the farmers' protests in India. The right to gather lawfully and demonstrate a point of view is common to all democracies. Governments also have the power to enforce law and order if a protest crosses the line into illegality. The Foreign Secretary discussed the protests with External Affairs Minister Dr Jaishankar on his visit to India in December, while making it clear that this is an internal matter for the Indian authorities.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with members of the Punjabi diaspora living in the UK who have raised concerns about the ongoing protests in India.

I am conscious of the level of concern from communities in the UK towards the farmers' protests in India. The right to gather lawfully and demonstrate a point of view is common to all democracies. Governments also have the power to enforce law and order if a protest crosses the line into illegality. The Foreign Secretary discussed the protests with External Affairs Minister Dr Jaishankar on his visit to India in December, while making it clear that this is an internal matter for the Indian authorities.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department will take to safeguard the human rights of Christians overseas made vulnerable by the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK remains deeply concerned by the severity and scale of violations and abuses of Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) in many parts of the world. Defending the right to FoRB for all is a priority for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. We continue to assess the impact of COVID-19 on human rights globally, including members of all minority religious and belief communities. We are concerned by the secondary effects of the pandemic, including incidents of hate speech. We are also concerned by the rise in conspiracy theories that certain faiths or beliefs are to blame for the pandemic, and reports that some Christian communities have been denied access to aid and information. The UK will continue to refute these divisive and harmful claims.

The UK has called for states to ensure that any restrictions put in place to protect public health, including the right to FoRB, are necessary, proportionate and time-limited. The Minister of State for Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, urged states to take steps to mitigate the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of society, including religious and belief minorities, during the UK's closing statement at the 44th session of the UN Human Rights Council in July.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to promote the empowerment of girls and women around the world.

Promoting gender equality is a key priority of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) work. As I stated in my answer of 10 November to question 110267, the challenges of advancing girls' education, sexual and reproductive health and rights, women's political empowerment and participation, women's economic empowerment, and ending gender-based violence, including conflict related sexual violence, are more acute now, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The UK Government's commitment to the issue of empowerment for women and girls was reflected by the appointment of Baroness Sugg as the UK Special Envoy for Girls' Education in March 2020. She is committed to promoting every girl's right to attend and stay in school, and to receive 12 years of quality education by 2030, by working to accelerate progress towards getting marginalised girls into schools, staying there and staying safe.

The UK is proud to be a world leader on efforts to prevent Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG), and Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict (PSVI). We are co-lead of the new global Generation Equality Action Coalition on gender-based violence (established to mark the 25th Anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action on Gender Equality). We have increased our efforts to reach girls and women with life-saving sexual and reproductive health services, including with an additional £10m for UN Population Fund's COVID-19 response. And FCDO continues to deliver on its National Action Plan (NAP) on Women Peace and Security - focusing on elevating and legitimising the work of women peacebuilders. We will continue to engage virtually with our international partners and promote the empowerment of women and girls in multilateral fora including in the UN

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the £2.9 billion reduction to the Official Development Assistance budget on faith organisations throughout the world.

Faith groups play an essential role in reaching the "bottom billion" around the world, and we continue to engage extensively with them on development issues as part of our relationship with wider civil society. This engagement has included understanding the problems organisations are facing as a result of COVID-19, including financial. Furthermore, Lord Ahmad hosted a "faith in development" roundtable in June which discussed how faith groups are contributing to the response to COVID-19; where those interventions have been most effective, and what the challenges are for faith groups. We continue to assess the impact of potential Official Development Assistance reductions in all areas, and all amended programmes and projects are uploaded on DevTracker in the normal way.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the UK’s international response to the covid-19 pandemic tackles gender inequality.

The UK is widely recognised for its leadership on gender equality and women and girls' rights. The challenges of advancing girls' education, sexual and reproductive health and rights, women's political empowerment and participation, women's economic empowerment, and ending gender-based violence, including conflict related sexual violence, are more acute now, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to engage virtually with our international partners and champion gender equality in multilateral fora including in the UN to ensure that this issue is a central element of the COVID-19 recovery. This was reiterated by the Foreign Secretary in his statement at the UN General Assembly on 29 September. He said that our global recovery must be inclusive and support the most vulnerable who are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and we must commit to leaving no one behind. That includes standing up for gender equality and in particular every girls' right to 12 years of quality education. Baroness Sugg was appointed by the Prime Minister as the UK Special Envoy for Girls' Education in March 2020 and she works closely with international partners to encourage greater global ambition, coordination, and investment on girls' education.

The UK Government continues to build on our Strategic Vision for Gender Equality alongside our National Action Plan (NAP) on Women Peace and Security. Also, through our Presidency of COP26, we will be promoting a clean, inclusive and resilient recovery by giving a voice to those most affected by climate change, including women and girls.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent representation his Department has to the Indian Government on the detention of Jagtar Singh Johal; and what assessment he has made of the adequacy of (a) mental and (b) physical support available to Jagtar Singh Johal during that detention.

We regularly make representations on Mr Johal's case to the Government of India. Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Minister for South Asia and the Commonwealth, most recently raised Mr Johal's case with the Indian High Commissioner to the UK and the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs, on 23 September and 28 July respectively. We monitor Mr Johal's health and welfare through regular consular visits or, during the Covid-19 pandemic, phone calls, and raise any concerns with local authorities in line with our public guidance set out in Support for British Nationals Abroad: A Guide.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he plans to make to his Israeli counterpart on access to healthcare for Palestinians in Gaza affected by covid-19.

I discussed our concerns about the impact of a COVID-19 outbreak in Gaza with the Israeli Ambassador to the UK on 31 March. The British Embassy in Tel Aviv are also in regular contact with the Israeli authorities and last raised access to healthcare for Palestinians in Gaza with them on 26 May. UN agencies, the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli Government are working together to ensure that essential medical supplies and staff are able to access Gaza. As I made clear during a meeting with Israeli Director General Rotem, Palestinian PM Shattyeh, and international donors on 2 June, we continue to welcome this ongoing cooperation. The UK is providing vital support to help respond to COVID-19 in the OPTs. Our $1 million funding contribution will enable the World Health Organization and UNICEF to purchase and co-ordinate the delivery of medical equipment, treat critical care patients, train frontline public health personnel and scale up laboratory testing capacity.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what criteria the Government uses to prioritise the repatriation of constituents stranded overseas.

The UK Government is working with the airline industry and host governments across the world to help bring back British travellers to the UK as part of the plan announced by the Foreign Secretary on 30 March - with up to £75 million available for special charter flights from priority countries, focused on helping the most vulnerable travellers.

We will prioritise vulnerable British nationals most at risk from the effects of Coronavirus who normally live in the UK and are trying to return home for these flights, together with their families who normally live with them in the UK. We are giving additional consideration to the local context and the situation of the individual themselves, this can include lock-down processes in country, access to reliable healthcare, possible reduction in access to routine medication, and those at additional risk if they contract the virus for example the elderly or those with pre-existing medical conditions.

In many countries, commercial flights have also continued to operate and have been able to return British nationals to the UK. We are working with host governments to keep flights running and airspace open where possible for this to continue to happen.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what forecast he has made of the level of revenues from fuel duties for each of the next five years.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) published its fuel duties forecast up to and including 2025-26, as part of its Economic and fiscal outlook in March 2021. This set out that fuel duties are estimated to reach £26.0bn in 2021-22, £29.2bn in 2022-23, £30.1bn in 2023-24, £30.6bn in 2024-25 and £31.2bn in 2025-26.

An updated forecast is expected to be published by the OBR on Wednesday 27 October.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many officials in his Department are working on reforms to domestic Air Passenger Duty.

HMT takes a flexible and dynamic approach to resourcing in order to meet Government priorities. We do not routinely record the number of full time equivalent civil servants who work on individual policy initiatives.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many officials in his Department are working on the Net Zero Review.

HMT takes a flexible and dynamic approach to resourcing in order to meet Government priorities.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he last discussed (a) the UK's net zero target, (b) COP26 and (c) HM Treasury's Net Zero Review with the Prime Minister.

The Chancellor speaks regularly with the Prime Minister on a wide range of matters.

The government is working at pace to deliver COP26 and the Net Zero Strategy, as well as complementary publications, including HM Treasury’s Net Zero Review. This is in addition to implementing sectoral policies and programmes that support the government’s net zero objectives.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when the Infrastructure and Projects Authority will be publish an updated National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline, last published in November 2018.

I refer the Honourable Member to the answer given to UIN 21353 on 28 June 2021.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to publish the final report of his Department’s Net Zero Review.

HM Treasury’s Net Zero Review final report will be published in due course, and in advance of COP26.

It will be an analytical report that uses existing data to explore the key issues and trade-offs as the UK decarbonises. Against a backdrop of significant uncertainty on technology and costs, as well as changes to the economy over the next 30 years, it focuses on the potential exposure of households and sectors to the transition, and highlights factors to be taken into account in designing policy that will allocate costs over this time horizon. In line with the Review’s terms of reference, the report will not include policy recommendations.

The Review forms part of a cross-government effort to support the UK’s transition to net zero. The government’s Net Zero Strategy will be published later this year.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what meetings the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury has held with external stakeholders relating to her responsibilities for energy, energy infrastructure, environment and climate policy since 1 January 2021.

I have had meetings with a wide variety of external stakeholders in the public and private sectors (including businesses, regulators, industry associations and academics) in order to carry out my Ministerial duties.

Details of ministerial and permanent secretary meetings with external organisations on departmental business such as energy, environment and climate policy are published on a quarterly basis. They are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hmt-ministers-meetings-hospitality-gifts-and-overseas-travel.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the timetable is for publication of the Infrastructure and Projects Authority's next iteration of the National Infrastructure and Construction Procurement Pipeline, last published on 16 June 2020.

The Infrastructure and Projects Authority publishes a National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline annually, subject to Ministerial approval. The last Pipeline was published in response to COVID-19 and set out planned procurements with an estimated contract value of up to £37bn across the 2020/21 financial year. The next iteration of the National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline will be published later this year and will set out future investment alongside planned procurements.

23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when the Infrastructure and Projects Authority plans to publish an updated version of the National Infrastructure Delivery Plan, last published in March 2016.

The Government’s first ever National Infrastructure Strategy published in autumn 2020 sets out plans to transform UK infrastructure. The National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline and the Transforming Infrastructure Performance: Roadmap to 2030 documents to be published in 2021 will set out forthcoming projects and policies. The Spending Review in the autumn will set out the Government's plans for investment.

21st Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury's answer to the hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green on 16 June 2021, Official Report, column 318, which groups the Financial Secretary has met to discuss support for freelancers in the (a) creative and (b) other sectors.

Treasury ministers and officials have had meetings with a wide variety of organisations and individuals in the public and private sectors, including MPs, businesses, professional representative bodies, and the unions, throughout the development of the COVID-19 support package including both the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

This proactive engagement has been widely praised, and the Institute for Government has said: “The Government’s approach to consultation compensated for some of the difficulties of accelerated policy development, because it gave it fast access to information, and an early sense of whether the measures would work and how they would be received by businesses and workers. This contributed to both positive reception on announcement and successful roll-out.”

Details of ministerial and permanent secretary meetings with external organisations on departmental business are published on a quarterly basis and are available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hmt-ministers-meetings-hospitality-gifts-and-overseas-travel.

21st Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will publish the details of meetings (a) he and (b) other Treasury Ministers have had with groups representing people excluded from covid-19 support schemes in 2021.

Treasury ministers and officials have had meetings with a wide variety of organisations and individuals in the public and private sectors, including MPs, businesses, professional representative bodies, and the unions, throughout the development of the COVID-19 support package including both the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

This proactive engagement has been widely praised, and the Institute for Government has said: “The Government’s approach to consultation compensated for some of the difficulties of accelerated policy development, because it gave it fast access to information, and an early sense of whether the measures would work and how they would be received by businesses and workers. This contributed to both positive reception on announcement and successful roll-out.”

Details of ministerial and permanent secretary meetings with external organisations on departmental business are published on a quarterly basis and are available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hmt-ministers-meetings-hospitality-gifts-and-overseas-travel.

16th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what progress his Department has made in establishing the business rates relief fund announced on 25 March 2021.

The Government is preparing guidance to support local authorities ahead of the rollout of the £1.5 billion business rates relief fund. The final guidance, its specifics and level of prescription, will reflect considerations including the existing framework of Government support, information held by local authorities and their capacity to administer the scheme.

This discretionary relief pot will support businesses on the basis of their actual economic exposure to COVID-19 rather than the pandemic’s hypothetical impact on property rental values. The alternative of prolonged litigation and appeals through the Material Change of Circumstance provision could have taken years. The Government will support local authorities to enable ratepayers to apply for relief awards as soon as possible this year, once the legislation relating to Material Change of Circumstance provisions has passed, and local authorities have set up local relief schemes.

16th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the timetable is for opening applications for the business rates relief fund announced on 25 March 2021.

The Government is preparing guidance to support local authorities ahead of the rollout of the £1.5 billion business rates relief fund. The final guidance, its specifics and level of prescription, will reflect considerations including the existing framework of Government support, information held by local authorities and their capacity to administer the scheme.

This discretionary relief pot will support businesses on the basis of their actual economic exposure to COVID-19 rather than the pandemic’s hypothetical impact on property rental values. The alternative of prolonged litigation and appeals through the Material Change of Circumstance provision could have taken years. The Government will support local authorities to enable ratepayers to apply for relief awards as soon as possible this year, once the legislation relating to Material Change of Circumstance provisions has passed, and local authorities have set up local relief schemes.

16th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the increase of employers' contributions to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme from 1 July 2021 on businesses that remain closed due to covid-19 restrictions.

From 1 July 2021, employers will be asked to make a small contribution of ten per cent of wages for hours not worked, as announced at Spring Budget when the scheme was extended to the end of September.

This is the same approach that the Government introduced last summer, where comparable restrictions were in place. It is right to continue with the existing timetable to reintroduce employer contributions, in order to strike the right balance between supporting the economy as it opens up and ensuring incentives are in place to get people back to work as demand returns. The labour market is also in a stronger position, with 5.5 million fewer people on furlough than in April 2020, and online job vacancy levels in mid-June about 27 per cent above February 2020 levels.

At March Budget 2021, the Government deliberately went long and erred on the side of generosity; specifically to accommodate short delays to the roadmap, such as this. Most of the Government’s schemes do not end until September or after, in order to provide continuity and certainty for businesses and families.

Businesses that have legally remained closed or effectively cannot operate can continue to benefit from the Government’s £2 billion of discretionary grant funding for local authorities in England, a UK-wide recovery loan scheme, business rates relief, enhanced Time to Pay for taxes, and support for paying deferred VAT. These businesses will also have recently benefitted from Restart Grants of up to £18,000 and the £25 billion grant support that has been made available throughout the pandemic.

18th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an assessment of the potential for the mass transfer of contractors into the workforce due to changes to IR35.

The changes to the off-payroll working rules come into effect on 6 April 2021 and were legislated for in Finance Act 2020. The off-payroll working rules have been in place for over 20 years and are designed to ensure that individuals working like employees but through their own limited company, usually a personal service company or PSC, pay broadly the same Income Tax and National Insurance contributions as those who are directly employed.

The off-payroll working changes shift responsibility for determining an individual's status from the individual's limited company to the client organisation engaging them. The Government has legislated to ensure there is a client-led status disagreement process where contractors can lodge a complaint, if they disagree on how they have been categorised under the off-payroll working rules.

The Tax Information and Impact Note published at Spring Budget 2021 sets out that the reform is expected to affect about 60,000 client organisations and 180,000 individuals working through their own limited companies.

The additional revenue estimated to be raised by the reform is approximately £3.8bn over the tax years 2020/21 to 2025/26.

The off-payroll working rules do not prevent anyone from continuing to work through a limited company, or require individuals to move into employment. However, the Government is aware that some businesses will reconsider whether PSCs are still the best way to engage individuals who are working like employees. Some contractors will provide their services in a different way, such as through an agency or umbrella company, and some organisations may offer individuals permanent roles instead, where that suits their business needs. These are commercial decisions, and individuals also have a decision about whether to accept the terms and conditions on offer to them.

The reform was originally announced at Budget 2018. Many businesses would have been prepared for the reform to be implemented in April 2020 as originally planned. HMRC have undertaken a significant programme of education and support to ensure that large and medium-sized businesses are ready to implement the reform. This includes a series of webinars viewed over 19,000 times since October 2020 as well as more targeted bespoke support, such as one-to-one calls and workshops with sectors and customer groups where the reform is expected to have the most impact. HMRC have also worked with representative bodies in specific sectors to reach those customers. For those customers who still require further assistance, HMRC have a dedicated helpline to provide assistance with queries related to the off-payroll working rules.

18th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what provision there will be for a contractor to challenge an IR35 decision about their employment status made by a business after 6 April 6 2021.

The changes to the off-payroll working rules come into effect on 6 April 2021 and were legislated for in Finance Act 2020. The off-payroll working rules have been in place for over 20 years and are designed to ensure that individuals working like employees but through their own limited company, usually a personal service company or PSC, pay broadly the same Income Tax and National Insurance contributions as those who are directly employed.

The off-payroll working changes shift responsibility for determining an individual's status from the individual's limited company to the client organisation engaging them. The Government has legislated to ensure there is a client-led status disagreement process where contractors can lodge a complaint, if they disagree on how they have been categorised under the off-payroll working rules.

The Tax Information and Impact Note published at Spring Budget 2021 sets out that the reform is expected to affect about 60,000 client organisations and 180,000 individuals working through their own limited companies.

The additional revenue estimated to be raised by the reform is approximately £3.8bn over the tax years 2020/21 to 2025/26.

The off-payroll working rules do not prevent anyone from continuing to work through a limited company, or require individuals to move into employment. However, the Government is aware that some businesses will reconsider whether PSCs are still the best way to engage individuals who are working like employees. Some contractors will provide their services in a different way, such as through an agency or umbrella company, and some organisations may offer individuals permanent roles instead, where that suits their business needs. These are commercial decisions, and individuals also have a decision about whether to accept the terms and conditions on offer to them.

The reform was originally announced at Budget 2018. Many businesses would have been prepared for the reform to be implemented in April 2020 as originally planned. HMRC have undertaken a significant programme of education and support to ensure that large and medium-sized businesses are ready to implement the reform. This includes a series of webinars viewed over 19,000 times since October 2020 as well as more targeted bespoke support, such as one-to-one calls and workshops with sectors and customer groups where the reform is expected to have the most impact. HMRC have also worked with representative bodies in specific sectors to reach those customers. For those customers who still require further assistance, HMRC have a dedicated helpline to provide assistance with queries related to the off-payroll working rules.

18th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of additional revenue to the Exchequer that will be raised by changes to IR35 from 6 April 2021..

The changes to the off-payroll working rules come into effect on 6 April 2021 and were legislated for in Finance Act 2020. The off-payroll working rules have been in place for over 20 years and are designed to ensure that individuals working like employees but through their own limited company, usually a personal service company or PSC, pay broadly the same Income Tax and National Insurance contributions as those who are directly employed.

The off-payroll working changes shift responsibility for determining an individual's status from the individual's limited company to the client organisation engaging them. The Government has legislated to ensure there is a client-led status disagreement process where contractors can lodge a complaint, if they disagree on how they have been categorised under the off-payroll working rules.

The Tax Information and Impact Note published at Spring Budget 2021 sets out that the reform is expected to affect about 60,000 client organisations and 180,000 individuals working through their own limited companies.

The additional revenue estimated to be raised by the reform is approximately £3.8bn over the tax years 2020/21 to 2025/26.

The off-payroll working rules do not prevent anyone from continuing to work through a limited company, or require individuals to move into employment. However, the Government is aware that some businesses will reconsider whether PSCs are still the best way to engage individuals who are working like employees. Some contractors will provide their services in a different way, such as through an agency or umbrella company, and some organisations may offer individuals permanent roles instead, where that suits their business needs. These are commercial decisions, and individuals also have a decision about whether to accept the terms and conditions on offer to them.

The reform was originally announced at Budget 2018. Many businesses would have been prepared for the reform to be implemented in April 2020 as originally planned. HMRC have undertaken a significant programme of education and support to ensure that large and medium-sized businesses are ready to implement the reform. This includes a series of webinars viewed over 19,000 times since October 2020 as well as more targeted bespoke support, such as one-to-one calls and workshops with sectors and customer groups where the reform is expected to have the most impact. HMRC have also worked with representative bodies in specific sectors to reach those customers. For those customers who still require further assistance, HMRC have a dedicated helpline to provide assistance with queries related to the off-payroll working rules.

18th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of business preparedness for implementing changes to IR35 from 6 April 2021.

The changes to the off-payroll working rules come into effect on 6 April 2021 and were legislated for in Finance Act 2020. The off-payroll working rules have been in place for over 20 years and are designed to ensure that individuals working like employees but through their own limited company, usually a personal service company or PSC, pay broadly the same Income Tax and National Insurance contributions as those who are directly employed.

The off-payroll working changes shift responsibility for determining an individual's status from the individual's limited company to the client organisation engaging them. The Government has legislated to ensure there is a client-led status disagreement process where contractors can lodge a complaint, if they disagree on how they have been categorised under the off-payroll working rules.

The Tax Information and Impact Note published at Spring Budget 2021 sets out that the reform is expected to affect about 60,000 client organisations and 180,000 individuals working through their own limited companies.

The additional revenue estimated to be raised by the reform is approximately £3.8bn over the tax years 2020/21 to 2025/26.

The off-payroll working rules do not prevent anyone from continuing to work through a limited company, or require individuals to move into employment. However, the Government is aware that some businesses will reconsider whether PSCs are still the best way to engage individuals who are working like employees. Some contractors will provide their services in a different way, such as through an agency or umbrella company, and some organisations may offer individuals permanent roles instead, where that suits their business needs. These are commercial decisions, and individuals also have a decision about whether to accept the terms and conditions on offer to them.

The reform was originally announced at Budget 2018. Many businesses would have been prepared for the reform to be implemented in April 2020 as originally planned. HMRC have undertaken a significant programme of education and support to ensure that large and medium-sized businesses are ready to implement the reform. This includes a series of webinars viewed over 19,000 times since October 2020 as well as more targeted bespoke support, such as one-to-one calls and workshops with sectors and customer groups where the reform is expected to have the most impact. HMRC have also worked with representative bodies in specific sectors to reach those customers. For those customers who still require further assistance, HMRC have a dedicated helpline to provide assistance with queries related to the off-payroll working rules.

18th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the number of (a) client businesses and (b) contractors working through personal service companies who will be affected by changes to IR35 from 6 April 2021.

The changes to the off-payroll working rules come into effect on 6 April 2021 and were legislated for in Finance Act 2020. The off-payroll working rules have been in place for over 20 years and are designed to ensure that individuals working like employees but through their own limited company, usually a personal service company or PSC, pay broadly the same Income Tax and National Insurance contributions as those who are directly employed.

The off-payroll working changes shift responsibility for determining an individual's status from the individual's limited company to the client organisation engaging them. The Government has legislated to ensure there is a client-led status disagreement process where contractors can lodge a complaint, if they disagree on how they have been categorised under the off-payroll working rules.

The Tax Information and Impact Note published at Spring Budget 2021 sets out that the reform is expected to affect about 60,000 client organisations and 180,000 individuals working through their own limited companies.

The additional revenue estimated to be raised by the reform is approximately £3.8bn over the tax years 2020/21 to 2025/26.

The off-payroll working rules do not prevent anyone from continuing to work through a limited company, or require individuals to move into employment. However, the Government is aware that some businesses will reconsider whether PSCs are still the best way to engage individuals who are working like employees. Some contractors will provide their services in a different way, such as through an agency or umbrella company, and some organisations may offer individuals permanent roles instead, where that suits their business needs. These are commercial decisions, and individuals also have a decision about whether to accept the terms and conditions on offer to them.

The reform was originally announced at Budget 2018. Many businesses would have been prepared for the reform to be implemented in April 2020 as originally planned. HMRC have undertaken a significant programme of education and support to ensure that large and medium-sized businesses are ready to implement the reform. This includes a series of webinars viewed over 19,000 times since October 2020 as well as more targeted bespoke support, such as one-to-one calls and workshops with sectors and customer groups where the reform is expected to have the most impact. HMRC have also worked with representative bodies in specific sectors to reach those customers. For those customers who still require further assistance, HMRC have a dedicated helpline to provide assistance with queries related to the off-payroll working rules.

23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much income has been generated by the Digital Sales Tax since its introduction in April 2020.

The Digital Services Tax was estimated at Budget 2018 to raise about £1.5bn from 2020-2021 to 2023-2024. However, DST payments are not required before 9 months and a day after the end of an accounting period, and as the tax has been in force for less than 9 months nothing has yet been paid.

10th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on maintaining the triple lock on the state pension.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has regular discussions with the Secretary of State on a range of issues. In response to the unprecedented economic circumstances arising from the Covid 19 pandemic, the Government has taken action by introducing a Bill in Parliament to ensure we can increase State Pension and Pension Credit rates next year. Without this legislation, it would not have been possible to increase the State Pension in 2021/22.

As with all aspects of Government policy, any decisions on future changes to the Triple Lock will be taken as part of the annual Budget process in the context of the wider public finances.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to provide additional financial support to small breweries during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is supporting small breweries through its unprecedented coronavirus economic response. This includes the job support scheme, job retention bonus, VAT deferral and repayment scheme and the bounce back loans scheme.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to provide financial support in addition to the provisions of his Winter Economy Plan announced on 24 September 2020 for businesses that continue to face capacity reduction as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has announced a package of measures in the Winter Economic Plan that will continue to protect jobs and help businesses through the uncertain months ahead as we continue to tackle the spread of the virus. The package includes a new Jobs Support Scheme, extending the Self Employment Income Support Scheme and 15% VAT cut for the hospitality and tourism sectors, and help for businesses in repaying government-backed loans. The Government will keep its support for the economy, including businesses affected by the virus, under review.?
Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will provide ring fenced funding in the Comprehensive Spending Review for community social care services.

Decisions on Local Government spending beyond 2020-21 will be taken as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review, which will be published in the autumn.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether reusable menstrual underwear is defined as a reusable menstrual product for the purposes of the forthcoming VAT zero rate for menstrual products.

The zero rate for women’s sanitary products from 1 January 2021 will apply to those products which are currently subject to the reduced rate of 5 per cent. This covers the supply of any sanitary protection product that is designed and marketed solely for the absorption or collection of menstrual flow or lochia, whether disposable or reusable. The relief specifically excludes dual purpose period and incontinence products, items of clothing such as reusable menstrual underwear, or purely incontinence products.

The Government has not estimated the potential cost to the Exchequer of including reusable menstrual underwear in the scope of the zero VAT rate for women's sanitary products.

23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 10 September 2020 to Question 84371 on Sanitary Protection: VAT, what recent estimate he has made of the potential cost to the Exchequer of including reusable menstrual underwear in the scope of the zero VAT rate for women's sanitary products from January 2021.

The zero rate for women’s sanitary products from 1 January 2021 will apply to those products which are currently subject to the reduced rate of 5 per cent. This covers the supply of any sanitary protection product that is designed and marketed solely for the absorption or collection of menstrual flow or lochia, whether disposable or reusable. The relief specifically excludes dual purpose period and incontinence products, items of clothing such as reusable menstrual underwear, or purely incontinence products.

The Government has not estimated the potential cost to the Exchequer of including reusable menstrual underwear in the scope of the zero VAT rate for women's sanitary products.

2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what support is available to small businesses which do not meet the definition of a business in the retail, hospitality and leisure industry and therefore do not qualify for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund but which were directly affected by closures in those industries during the covid-19 outbreak.

Small businesses which were not eligible for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund may have been able to receive a grant from the Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund. Local Authorities had significant discretion when it came to setting the eligibility criteria for their discretionary grant schemes. In some areas, small businesses outside of the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors may have been able to receive discretionary grants.

Small businesses which did not receive any grants should have been able to benefit from other measures in the Government’s unprecedented package of support for business during the COVID-19 crisis, including:

  • An option to defer VAT payments by up to twelve months;
  • The Bounce Back Loan Scheme, which will ensure that small and micro businesses can quickly access loans of up to £50,000 which are 100 per cent guaranteed by the Government;
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, now extended to cover all businesses including those which would be able to access commercial credit;
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, to support businesses with their wage bills; and
  • The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, to provide support to the self-employed.
Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will advise local authorities to apply discretion to the definition of the retail, hospitality and leisure industry to enable them to offer support through the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund to small businesses affected by closures in those industries during the covid-19 outbreak.

Small businesses occupying properties for retail, hospitality or leisure purposes were likely to be particularly affected by COVID-19 due to their reliance on customer footfall, and the fact that they were less likely than larger businesses to have sufficient cash reserves to meet their high fixed property-related costs. The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund was intended to help small businesses in this situation. The Government provided Local Authorities with detailed information in the Expanded Retail Discount Guidance regarding which kinds of business properties could be classified as retail, hospitality or leisure properties. Local Authorities were responsible for applying this guidance correctly when making grants.

The RHLGF, along with the other business grant schemes, closed to new applicants on 28 August. As many businesses are now able to reopen, and consumer footfall is increasing, it is right that we wind up the grant schemes.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will amend the new zero VAT rate for female hygiene products to ensure reusable sanitary underwear is brought within the scope when it comes into effect in January 2021.

At Spring Budget on 11 March 2020, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that a zero rate of VAT will apply to women’s sanitary products from 1 January 2021, at the end of the transition period. This will apply to those products which are currently subject to the reduced rate of 5%, for example, tampons and pads, and to reusable menstrual products, such as keepers.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he proposes to change the rate of VAT applied to insulation installed in dwellings and buildings used for a residential purpose.

Under current VAT rules, the installation of water and wind turbines is subject to the standard rate of VAT. However, the installation of other energy saving materials (ESMs) remains subject to the reduced rate of VAT when certain conditions are met.

Although there are no plans to extend the scope of the relief already in place, the Government keeps all taxes under review.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to change the rate of VAT applied to solar panels installed on dwellings and buildings used for a residential purpose.

Under current VAT rules, the installation of water and wind turbines is subject to the standard rate of VAT. However, the installation of other energy saving materials (ESMs) remains subject to the reduced rate of VAT when certain conditions are met.

Although there are no plans to extend the scope of the relief already in place, the Government keeps all taxes under review.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to change the rate of VAT applied to water and wind turbines installed in dwellings and buildings used for a residential purpose.

Under current VAT rules, the installation of water and wind turbines is subject to the standard rate of VAT. However, the installation of other energy saving materials (ESMs) remains subject to the reduced rate of VAT when certain conditions are met.

Although there are no plans to extend the scope of the relief already in place, the Government keeps all taxes under review.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to change the rate of VAT applied to micro combined heat and power units installed in dwellings and buildings used for a residential purpose.

Under current VAT rules, the installation of water and wind turbines is subject to the standard rate of VAT. However, the installation of other energy saving materials (ESMs) remains subject to the reduced rate of VAT when certain conditions are met.

Although there are no plans to extend the scope of the relief already in place, the Government keeps all taxes under review.

7th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the number of people who will be made bankrupt as a result of accelerated payment notices in respect of the 2019 Loan Charge.

The Accelerated Payment regime is designed to change the underlying economics of tax avoidance by requiring disputed tax to be paid upfront while an avoidance scheme is investigated. HMRC can only issue Accelerated Payment Notices (APNs) in tightly defined circumstances, set out in legislation.

The 2019 Loan Charge is a tax charge which applies to disguised remuneration (DR) loan balances which remained outstanding at 5 April 2019. APNs and the 2019 Loan Charge are two separate, distinct regimes. HMRC cannot issue APNs in relation to the Loan Charge.

There is no estimate on how many people will be made bankrupt as a result of APNs issued in connection with avoidance schemes that seek to disguise remuneration. HMRC do not want to make anybody bankrupt, and insolvency is only ever considered as a last resort. HMRC will work with individuals to reach sustainable and manageable payment plans wherever possible.

23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of mandating specialist training for police officers who support Black women and girls affected by domestic abuse.

This Government is committed to ensuring that all victims and survivors of domestic abuse get the support they need, including those from Black backgrounds. We know that domestic abuse affects a wide and disparate group and that a “one size fits all” approach is not appropriate to support all victims, especially those with specific needs and vulnerabilities, including ethnic minority victims.

The College of Policing’s Authorised Professional Practice on domestic abuse sets out that victims may have specific needs or issues relating to their cultural background or immigration status which should be considered when understanding risk and vulnerability of the victim. The Government continues to encourage forces to take on the College of Policing’s Domestic Abuse Matters training, which includes specific training on intersectionality and the different impacts of domestic abuse on black and minority ethnicity communities. This is part of their continued development, therefore, the Government does not feel it necessary to mandate such training.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what training is provided to police officers on specific issues affecting Black victims of domestic abuse.

This Government is committed to ensuring that all victims and survivors of domestic abuse get the support they need, including those from Black backgrounds. We know that domestic abuse affects a wide and disparate group and that a “one size fits all” approach is not appropriate to support all victims, especially those with specific needs and vulnerabilities, including ethnic minority victims.

The College of Policing’s Authorised Professional Practice on domestic abuse sets out that victims may have specific needs or issues relating to their cultural background or immigration status which should be considered when understanding risk and vulnerability of the victim. The Government continues to encourage forces to take on the College of Policing’s Domestic Abuse Matters training, which includes specific training on intersectionality and the different impacts of domestic abuse on black and minority ethnicity communities. This is part of their continued development, therefore, the Government does not feel it necessary to mandate such training.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent discussions her Department has had with representatives of Bexley Council on support and accommodation for Afghan families in that borough.

The Government has worked at pace to develop and launch a new and bespoke resettlement scheme, announced on 18 August, which will relocate 5,000 vulnerable people in its first year, rising to up to 20,000 over the coming years –one of the most generous schemes in British history. The Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) is in addition to the Afghan Relocations Assistance Policy (ARAP), which offers any current or former locally employed staff who are assessed to be under serious threat to life priority relocation to the UK.

The need for suitable accommodation to support those we welcome is pressing. We need the help of every Council across the country to step up to offer accommodation and support for these families, so that we can swiftly help them into permanent, safe homes and enable them to start rebuilding their lives and integrating into our communities.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will publish the evidential basis for her Department’s claim that the minimum income requirement encourages integration.

The purpose of the minimum income requirement, implemented in July 2012 along with other reforms of the family Immigration Rules, is to ensure family migrants are supported at a reasonable level so they do not become a burden on the taxpayer. The Government is committed to promoting social cohesion, good relations and a sense of belonging for all members of society. The ability to participate in activities and organisations outside the home plays a part in this. The minimum income requirement is not the only factor that promotes the ability to participate but the level at which it is set can mean that one particular barrier is reduced.

The Supreme Court has endorsed our approach in setting an income requirement for family migration which prevents burdens on the taxpayer and promotes integration into our communities. In particular that it strikes a balance between the interests of those wishing to sponsor a partner form overseas and the community in general.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what data her Department holds on the number of people with refugee status unable to work as a result of delays in accessing National Insurance numbers.

The Home Office does not hold the required data in a way that would allow it to provide an accurate assessment of the number of people with refugee status unable to work as a result of delays in accessing National Insurance Numbers (NINo). Finding the requested information would be likely to breach the disproportionate cost threshold.

In January 2018 we introduced an aligned BRP and NINo process for people recognised as refugees. We now obtain the NINo directly from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for inclusion on the Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). This means that the migrant does not need to make a separate application to DWP for a NINo.

Using this process we have issued nearly 60,000 BRPs to refugees. We have also introduced a number of checks into the BRP NINo alignment process to mitigate any delays that may arise in obtaining the NINo or printing the BRP.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how her Department decided on the amount of £39.60 per week as standard asylum support payments.

The Home Office reviews the level of the support allowances each year to ensure that they meet the essential living needs of asylum seekers and their dependants who would otherwise be destitute.

A report published in March 2018 sets out the methodology for assessing the appropriate level of the allowances used in the annual review and can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/report-on-review-of-cash-allowance-paid-to-asylum-seekers.

The standard allowance was raised to £39.60 per week from £37.75 per week with effect from 15 June, an increase of around 5%. This increase was significantly higher than the general rate of inflation, which Office for National Statistics data shows was only 0.5% in the 12 months period to May.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the effect of the minimum income requirement on families with a non-European person whose earnings have been affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

The Minimum Income Requirement is set at a level which prevents burdens on the taxpayer and promotes integration.

We recognise COVID-19 will have an economic impact on earnings including on those families where, because of a non-EEA family member, the minimum income requirement applies. We have therefore made relevant adjustments in order to support those affected.

Such adjustments are among a range of measures put in place by the Home Office to support those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. These are set out for customers on GOV.UK and are available here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents.

These are unprecedented times. We continue to monitor the situation closely and may make further adjustments to requirements where necessary and appropriate.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of reinstating the link with mainstream benefits by setting the asylum support rate at 70 percent of universal credit.

The Home Office review the level of the support allowances each year to ensure that they meet the essential living needs of asylum seekers and their dependants. There are no plans to link the level of the allowances with Universal Credit rates.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what her Department's policy is on providing support to child refugees made homeless by the recent fires at the Moria refugee camp.

We were very concerned by the impact of the devastating fire that destroyed the Moria migrant facility. The UK government responded to requests by the Greek Government to provide specific humanitarian goods. The UK has provided kitchen sets to nearly 2,000 vulnerable families to prepare and cook food, and solar lanterns to help them stay safe.

Throughout the pandemic the UK has remained ready to receive those accepted for transfer under the Dublin Regulation. We remain in regular contact with sending Member States, including Greece, who are responsible for arranging transfers. Three group flights from Greece arrived on 11 May, 28 July and 6 August, and we have received further transfers from Greece in recent weeks.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what her Department's policy is on deporting offenders who have grown up in the UK.

Under the UK Borders Act 2007 passed by the last Labour Government, the Home Secretary has a duty to deport a foreign criminal who is convicted in the UK and sentenced to a period of imprisonment of 12 months or more unless an exception applies. Where the automatic deportation threshold is not met, the Home Office will consider deportation under the Immigration Act 1971 where the person is a serious or persistent offender. Currently, European Economic Area (EEA) nationals are deported in accordance with European Union (EU) law on the grounds of public policy or public security. The UK’s departure from the EU means that, in future, an EEA national who commits an offence after the end of the transition period (31 December 2020) will be considered under the same deportation thresholds that apply to non-EEA nationals.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to review the deportation order of Osime Brown.

We only ever return foreign national offenders who we and, where applicable, the courts are satisfied do not need our protection and have no legal basis to remain in the UK. No action would be taken to deport an individual while there are outstanding legal barriers that would prevent their removal from the UK and until all outstanding representations have been considered.

It would be inappropriate to comment further while legal proceedings are ongoing.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans her Department has to provide additional support to police forces for enforcement of (a) social distancing and (b) other covid-19 restrictions on (i) 31 October and (ii) 5 November 2020.

The Government has been clear that it will provide police forces with the support they need to continue protecting the public and keeping communities safe through the coronavirus pandemic.

The government continues to work closely with policing partners on the approach to managing the pandemic and any changes.

On 8 October the Government announced an additional £30m for police forces in England and Wales to step up their enforcement of COVID-19 restrictions through the autumn and winter months.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, on what date she plans to commence the NHS surcharge exemption for migrant doctors.

The Government is committed to introducing the NHS surcharge exemption as soon as practicable.

The Prime Minister has confirmed that health and care staff who have paid the fee since 21 May will be refunded.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she plans to issue guidance to police forces in England and Wales on wearing PPE when coming into physical contact with members of the public; and if she will make a statement.

The Government recognises the importance of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for all of those on the frontline and has published guidance on appropriate PPE for emergency workers, including the police.

The NPCC and the College of Policing have issued operational guidance to all forces on the use of PPE tailored to their unique role to ensure officers and staff are protected sufficiently. The guidance covers how, when and what type of PPE to wear across a range of practical scenarios.

The guidance is available online here: https://www.college.police.uk/What-we-do/COVID-19/Documents/Personal-Protective-Equipment-Operational-Guidance-1.pdf

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect on torture victims and their communities of imposing a time limit on claims for actions in respect of personal injuries or death which relate to overseas operations of the armed forces as proposed under the provisions of the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill.

The Government unreservedly condemns the use of torture and we remain fully committed to our obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law, including the UN Convention Against Torture.

The Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill will not deprive victims of torture and ill-treatment of their right to redress in the Civil Courts. They will still be able to bring claims for personal injury or death for up to six years from either the date of the incident, or from the date of knowledge. The six-year time limit is considered to be a reasonable timeframe for claimants to gather the necessary evidence to bring a claim. The Government believes that the prompt determination of civil claims by the courts will benefit both victims and the Ministry of Defence as a defendant in such claims; the later a claim is brought, the more likely it is that witnesses' recollections will fade, making it difficult for the victim to pursue a claim and for the defendant to properly defend the claim.

22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the proposed provisions of the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill on the UK’s international reputation for opposing torture.

The Government unreservedly condemns the use of torture and we remain fully committed to our obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law, including the UN Convention Against Torture.

The Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill does nothing to undermine these obligations and does not prevent allegations of wrongdoing more than five years ago - including war crimes and torture - from being investigated and, where appropriate, prosecuted.

A decision on whether to prosecute for such criminal offences will continue to be for the independent prosecutor to make - and the Bill does not change this position.

14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether any exclusions will apply to the proposed changes to enable leaseholders to have the right to extend their lease by a maximum of 990 years at zero ground rent.

The Government is committed to promoting fairness and transparency for homeowners and ensuring that consumers are protected from abuse and poor service. We are taking forward a comprehensive programme of reform to end unfair practices in the leasehold market, in January we announced reforms to the valuation process and length of lease extensions, in response to Law Commission recommendations.

The Law Commission’s report on enfranchisement includes recommendations relating to the qualifying criteria for enfranchisement and lease extensions, including any potential exemptions. We will bring forward a response to these and the other remaining Law Commission recommendations in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will publish an estimate of costs to leaseholders other than legal fees of extending their lease by a maximum term of 990 years at zero ground rent.

The Government is committed to promoting fairness and transparency for homeowners and ensuring that consumers are protected from abuse and poor service. We are taking forward a comprehensive programme of reform to end unfair practices in the leasehold market.

Whilst the cost of a lease extension will vary depending on a number of factors including the time remaining on the existing lease, under the current system too many leaseholders find the process for extending their lease or buying their freehold (a process known as enfranchisement) too complex, lacking transparency and prohibitively expensive.

We will reform the process of enfranchisement valuation that leaseholders must follow to calculate the cost of extending their lease or buying their freehold. The Government will abolish marriage value, cap the treatment of ground rents at 0.1% of the freehold value, and prescribe rates for the calculations at market value. The Government will also introduce an online calculator, further simplifying the process for leaseholders and ensuring standardisation and fairness for all those looking to enfranchise. These changes to the enfranchisement valuation process will result in substantial savings for some leaseholders, particularly those with less than 80 years left on their lease. Our reforms to enfranchisement valuation also ensure that sufficient compensation is paid to landlords to reflect their legitimate property interests.

We will translate these measures into law as soon as possible, starting with legislation to set ground rents on newly created leases to zero in the upcoming session. This will be the first part of major two-part legislation to implement leasehold and Commonhold reforms in this Parliament.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what support has been given to (a) Bexley Borough Council and (b) Greenwich Borough Council to help rough sleepers (i) during and (ii) after the covid-19 outbreak.

In 2020/21, we are providing over £700 million to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping across England.

Greenwich have been allocated £951,740 through?rough sleeping?programmes?in 2020/21. This includes Rough Sleeping Initiative funding to support the establishment or enhancement of coordinated local services for rough sleepers or those at risk of sleeping rough, £413,207 Next Steps Accommodation Programme funding to prevent as many as possible of those brought in during the Covid-19 pandemic returning to the streets and Cold Weather Funding: giving local areas the tools they need to protect people from cold weather and the risks posed by Covid-19.

Bexley have been allocated £240,000 through?rough sleeping?programmes?in 2020/21. Bexley have been allocated £190,000 in funding through the Next Steps Accommodation Programme and Cold Weather Funding.

Both authorities are also being closely supported by our MHCLG?Rough Sleeping Initiative advisers and Homelessness Advice and Support Team. These expert advisers are pro-actively working with local areas and will continue to support these authorities with the implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act and the Rough Sleeping?Initiative.

Both authorities produced delivery plans setting out how they will be supporting rough sleepers. Delivery plans were used in the allocation of Next Steps Accommodation Programme funding.

16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether his Department has issued guidance to local authorities on banning the eviction of people living in local authority housing during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown.

On 16 November we changed the law in England to ensure bailiffs do not enforce evictions over this period of national restrictions or the Christmas period. This means that no eviction notices may be served until 11 January and, given the 14 day notice period required, no evictions are expected until 25 January at the earliest. The only exceptions to this are for the most serious cases, such as anti-social behaviour and perpetrators of domestic abuse in social housing.

Guidance for landlords, including local authority landlords, is published at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-and-renting-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities.

Guidance for social landlords on understanding the possession action process is published at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/understanding-the-possession-action-process-guidance-for-landlords-and-tenants.

We will aim to provide further guidance regarding the operation of the exemptions shortly.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to work with private student accommodation providers to offer students affected by the covid-19 lockdown measures an early release from their accommodation contract.

The Department is actively engaging with stakeholders across the student accommodation sector, including private student accommodation providers, to understand the challenges posed by the current crisis and to establish the most effective means of supporting the whole of the sector.

The negotiation of early releases from contracts is a matter between the parties concerned. The Government encourages student accommodation providers, landlords, letting agencies and tenants to act flexibly and adopt a common-sense approach to issues that may arise in the current circumstances.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will visit Erith and Thamesmead constituency to meet with leaseholders of Sark Tower who have received high bills for the removal of combustible cladding.

The Department has regular engagement with residents living in buildings with unsafe cladding. The Secretary of State hosted a roundtable with leaseholder residents of high rise residential buildings affected by building safety issues on 4 March. This provided an opportunity to hear directly from leaseholders about the issues they are facing and their concerns.

We are investing £1.6 billion to support the remediation of unsafe Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) and unsafe non-ACM cladding systems on private and social residential buildings above 18 metres.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
6th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to tackle prejudice against the Asian community in relation to the spread of covid-19.

The Government takes hate crime and discrimination of any kind very seriously. We are a tolerant and welcoming multicultural society. There is no excuse for targeting British Asian communities or anyone of any other background in this country. We have one of the strongest legal frameworks in the world to report, record and prosecute hate crime. I would encourage anyone who experiences hate crime to report it to the police.

The Government’s Hate Crime Action Plan, published in October 2018, sets out a comprehensive programme of work across Government and the police. We fund hate crime reporting platforms, including True Vision, and we continue to engage with communities of all backgrounds and local leaders, including councils and the police, to make sure we are aware of any concerns communities may have and can provide targeted support.

19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people are serving (a) prison sentences and (b) Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentences in prisons in Erith and Thamesmead constituency; how many of those people serving IPP sentences are (i) post-tariff, (ii) have been recalled to custody and (iii) have been recalled to custody for non-compliance as opposed to further offending.

For prisons in Erith and Thamesmead constituency (HM Prisons Isis, Belmarsh and Thameside), as at 31 March 2021:

(a) 1,347 people were serving prison sentences;

(b) 28 of these were serving Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentences, of which:

(i) 28 were post-tariff;

(ii) 22 of which had been recalled; and

(iii) 8 of the recalled prisoners were recalled solely for reasons other than further offending.

There is often more than one reason for recalling an offender, specifically in relation to recalls taking place on the basis of non-compliance. For the purpose of this answer, all reasons for recall other than further offending have been amalgamated to provide the answer for (b)(iii). The figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems which, as with any large scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.

The power to recall is a vital public protection measure. Offenders on licence in the community will be recalled to custody where they breach their licence conditions in such a way as to indicate that their risk has increased to the level where it may no longer be managed effectively in the community.

Our primary responsibility is to protect the public; however, HMPPS remains committed to safely reducing the number of prisoners serving IPP sentences in custody.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)